BigGayNews from Florida:
Gay Marriage Ban Ends As Couples Wed Throughout Florida
ABC News reports that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage ended statewide at the stroke of midnight Monday, January 5th, and court clerks in some counties wasted no time, issuing marriage licenses and performing weddings for same-sex couples in the early morning hours.
With the end to this ban, Florida joins 35 other states that recognize legal same-sex marriage, effectively putting 70% of Americans in states where gay and lesbian couples can wed.
Although Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is not threatening an appeal to this particular decision, she is still pursuing appeals that went to the courts previously.
BigGayNews from Ohio:
Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn: “My Death Needs To Mean Something”
The Boston Globe reports that early on the morning of Sunday, December 28th, 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn died after being hit by a tractor-trailer while walking along a stretch of Interstate 71 near her Ohio hometown.
Alcorn’s death, ruled a suicide, has resonated with many after her posthumous suicide note explained how she had come out to her parents as transgender, had been forced into conversion therapy, and had been cut off from friends and supporters by her family, all of which ended up leading her to feel as though she’d reached a breaking point.
At the end of her note, Alcorn makes a poignant plea, saying that “gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something….fix society. Please.”
BigGayNews from Hollywood:
New My Husband’s Not Gay Show Causes Uproar
USA Today reports that TLC, the channel that brought us “The Duggars”, The Little Couple, and Sister Wives, prides itself on showcasing how people live, offering a look into a world we may not often see.
The channel’s newest offering, My Husband’s Not Gay, is a one hour special showcasing four men who are Mormon and married to women, but who find themselves attracted to men sexually. The four couples talk about how they deal with this within their marriages.
Many GLBT groups have decried the special, saying that it gives the idea that homosexuality is a choice, and that gay people can and should “choose to be straight” so that they can assimilate into their faith communities, something that can be very detrimental to their mental and physical well-being.
BigGayNews from the United States:
Gay Banner Removed From Pride DVD Cover In U.S.
The BBC reports that CBS Films has said it will look into why references to homosexuality were removed from the DVD cover of the US release of the British film Pride.
The critically-acclaimed film, released last year, is based on the true story of gay and lesbian activists from London who supported striking Welsh miners in the 1980s, thus bringing together two very different cultures in a concerted effort that changed minds and opinions in both groups about each other.
The director of the BFI film fund that backed the movie, Ben Roberts, stated that he is “not surprised that the U.S. distributors have taken a decision to sell more copies by watering down the gay content. I’m not defending it, it’s wrong and outmoded, but I’m not surprised.”
BigGayNews from Scotland:
Church Of Scotland Votes For Gay Ministers
GayStarNews reports that the majority of Church of Scotland presbyteries have backed the appointment of gay ministers.
Although the final decision will not be made until May at the Edinburgh General Assembly, the initial voting split was 55% in favor with 45% against the allowing of ministers and deacons in civil partnerships to be allowed to apply for vacant positions.
The presbyteries of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling were among those backing the proposal, while Inverness, Falkirk, and Kirkcaldy were in opposition.
BigGayNews from India:
First Transgender Mayor Elected In India
Advocate.com reports that for the first time in history, a city in India has elected a transgender mayor.
Madhu Kinnar, running as an Independent candidate, beat her closest competitor, BJP’s Mahaveer Guruji, by over 4,500 votes to win the election of the Raigarh Municipal Corporation.
Kinnar credits her victory to an outpouring of public support, and vowed to do everything that she can to merit the faith of those who elected her in the primarily conservative and Hindu region of the city of Raigarh.
BigGayNews from Canada:
Saskatoon Gay Couple First To Be Married in Mennonite Church
CBC News reports that Craig Friesen and Matt Wiens are the first same-sex couple publicly married in a Canadian Mennonite church.
The men’s wedding marks a point in history for the Mennonite denomination in Canada.
Friesen and Wiens are hopeful other GLBT Mennonites will learn from their example that they don’t have to choose between their faith and their sexuality. The husbands said: “Our relationship doesn’t feel different, but our relationship with our community and with our faith has changed at least a little bit. It was really beautiful and freeing.”
BigGayNews from Vietnam:
Gay Wedding Plans Take Shape After Vietnam Repeals Ban
The Boston Globe reports that for medical doctor Thuan Nguyen, Vietnam’s trailblazing move among Southeast Asian countries to allow same-sex marriage—although not quite granting the couples full legal status—is enough to plan a wedding ceremony with his boyfriend of two years.
Nguyen is among many gay Vietnamese citizens who will be positively affected by the country’s new marriage law that, as of New Year’s Day, officially did away with regulations that “prohibit marriage between people of the same sex.”
Although the government will not officially recognize gay marriages yet, it is certainly a step in the right direction for Southeast Asian countries accepting same-sex couples, and eventually giving legal recognition to same-sex marriages.
Luong The Huy, a legal officer at the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment in Hanoi, believes that the step is a sign that Vietnamese society is beginning to accept the GLBT community, and that acceptance will continue to grow with the arrival of the new U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius…a gay man who brings along his husband and son to his new post.