BigGayNews from Hawaii:
Hawaii Governor To Sign State’s Gay Marriage Bill
ABC News reports that Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign a bill Wednesday legalizing gay marriage, expanding the state’s aloha spirit and positioning the islands for more newlywed tourists.
After passing the state Senate with a vote of 19 to 4, cheers broke out both inside and outside the gallery, and with the governor’s signature, Hawaii will become the 16th state, including the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriage.
The passage of the bill is a culmination of over two decades of debate in Hawaii over the gay marriage issue, which began in 1990 when two women applied for a marriage license, setting off a court battle and beginning the national discussion on same-sex marriage.
BigGayNews from Washington, D.C.:
US Jewish Group Slam Beit Shemesh Mayor Over Anti-Gay Slurs
The Jerusalem Post reports that the mayor of Beit Shemesh is facing blowback from American Jewish groups after calling gays a health problem that needs to be “taken care of”.
Mayor Moshe Abutbol had referred to GLBT people as being unholy and impure and thanked God that there were no gays in his city in a television interview earlier in the week, a statement that brought swift retribution from many prominent Jewish leaders and activists.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League stated: “Expressions of intolerance have no place in Israeli public discourse, especially coming from elected officials. We strongly condemn the insensitive and hurtful comments made by Beit Shemesh’s mayor about his city’s GLBT population.”
BigGayNews from Minnesota:
Minnesota House Republican Who Supported Gay Marriage Won’t Run In 2014
The Star Tribune reports that a Republican state representative who broke with most in her party to support legalizing gay marriage says she won’t run for re-election next year.
State Representative Andrea Kieffer, Woodbury, said that while she had been honored to serve the people in her district to the office in which she was elected, she never intended for the Legislature to be her career.
Representative Kieffer was one of five Republicans who joined Democrats in May to vote in favor of the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.
BigGayNews from Nebraska:
Ahmed Mohammed Tuma, Muslim Nebraska Man, Allegedly Attacked Lesbian Sister With A Crowbar
The Huffington Post reports that a 20-year-old Muslim man in Nebraska stands accused of a hate crime after allegedly attacking his sister with a crowbar because she is a lesbian.
Tuma, along with another man, faces charges of attempted assault, criminal mischief and making terroristic threats, all three of which carry a hate crime enhancement. The two suspects allegedly attacked Tuma’s sister and her fiancée, and when both women locked themselves inside their car, the men tried to push the vehicle into oncoming traffic.
Police say that Tuma believes his sister’s relationship with another woman is a disgrace to both their family and to their Muslim beliefs.
BigGayNews from Illinois:
Naomi Jakobsson, Illinois State Representative, Left Her Dying Son’s Side To Vote For Gay Marriage Bill
The Huffington Post reports that an Illinois state representative made a decision any parent would dread in order to press the “yes” button on legislation she had co-sponsored to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Jakobsson left the bedside of her 46-year-old son who was dying of Pick’s disease in order to make the 90 minute drive to Springfield to cast her vote in favor of allowing same-sex marriage—a vote that was approved with 61 votes, only one more than the minimum that was needed in order to pass.
The lawmaker stated that the marriage bill vote was “one that I felt I could not miss and I know my son was proud of my decision.”
BigGayNews from the United States:
General Motors To Offer Benefits To All Gay Married Employees
The Huffington Post reports that General Motors made a groundbreaking policy change this week and announced that the company would extend marriage benefits to the spouses of same-sex employees, even if the pair lives in a state where gay marriage isn’t legal.
The one requirement for the plan, which includes pension, savings and health care plans, is that the couple has legally married in one of the fifteen states where same-sex marriage is recognized.
GM’s Chief Diversity Officer Ken Barrett stated: “This decision is in line with GM’s efforts to find, keep and grow the world’s best talent and to offer our employees policies and benefits that are competitive with many of the largest and best-managed industrial companies in the U.S.”
BigGayNews from Luxembourg:
European Court: Gay Refugees May Have Grounds For Asylum
Time reports that the European Union’s top court ruled Thursday that refugees who face imprisonment for being gay in their home countries might have cause for E.U. asylum.
The Court of Justice determined that sexual orientation is “a characteristic fundamental to a person’s identity”, and that it could be held that laws imprisoning people for such could be deemed as persecution if enforced.
Many countries around the world, mostly in Africa and the Middle East, have laws against homosexuality, and could be affected by this.
BigGayNews from Senegal:
Five Women Arrested Under Senegal’s Anti-Gay Law
ABC News reports that Senegalese police detained five women accused of violating the country’s anti-gay law, highlighting increased pressure on suspected lesbians in the deeply homophobic West African nation, an activist group said Tuesday.
The women were detained following a birthday party at a restaurant that has been described by Senegalese police as a meeting place for gays and lesbians in Dakar’s Yoff district.
While arrests of lesbians are not as common as arrests of gay men, it has become a more common occurrence in the heavily Muslim country which criminalizes homosexual acts, and calls for prison sentences of up to five years and fines up to $3,000 for those found to be “committing an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex”.