Civil unions bill approved

DOVER, Del. — Last month, the Delaware House of Representatives voted 26-15 to approve a civil unions bill that will provide same-sex couples who enter into such arrangements the same rights, protections and obligations now granted to married couples in the state. The Senate had approved the measure earlier, and the governor has announced he will sign the bill into law. It will go into effect on January 1, 2012.

Law firm drops DOMA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within days of the last issue going to press, it was announced that the law firm of King & Spalding had filed a motion to withdraw from defense of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages. The firm received harsh criticism for accepting the case — which it took at the request of the U.S. House of Representatives. GOP congressional leaders decided to take up the legal defense of the law after President Barack Obama announced that his administration would not defend it.

COLAGE summit this month

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Later this month, COLAGE, an organization for people with LGBT parents, will present the Voices Raised! Leadership Summit, the first-ever conference of its kind specifically for people of color. The gathering will be held May 27-30 in Oakland, Calif. Some of the workshop topics the summit will feature are written storytelling, using social media to amplify the voices of people of color and LGBTQ families, intersectionality of movements and identities, media trainings, and strategies to connect with peers across the country.

Legislative update Part I

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) is reintroducing the Reuniting Families Act, a bill that that would ensure visas are allocated efficiently and alleviate lengthy wait times that keep legal immigrants and their overseas loved ones separated for years. The bill also eliminates discrimination in immigration law against LGBT Americans and their foreign-born partners. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is lead sponsor of a similar bill in the Senate.

Legislative update Part II

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has reintroduced The Every Child Deserves a Family Act. This legislation would expand the number of qualified foster and adoptive parents for youth in the foster care system by banning all discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status in foster and adoption agencies that receive federal funding. This change would potentially open up hundreds of thousands of new homes to youth in need of placement.

Pres. Clinton calls for N.Y. marriage

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Former President Bill Clinton wants New York legislators to approve marriage rights for same-sex couples. In a statement to elected officials, he asserted, “For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York’s welcome must include marriage equality.” In addition to Clinton’s efforts, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will travel the state to build support for a marriage equality bill.


Gay wedding causes a stir

KUMASI, Ghana — Gay partners Akwasi Boakye and Kwame Amankwa were joined in a traditional wedding on Easter Sunday. The ceremony, which was symbolic since same-sex marriage is not legal in Ghana, was attended by hundreds of members of the local LGBT community. According to reports, Boakye filled the role traditionally reserved for the bride, festooned with false eyelashes, acrylic nails and face make-up. When Kumasi Chief Nana Agyin Frimpong II heard about the ceremony, he banished the couple from the town, but they had apparently already departed for a honeymoon in Accra. No additional details were available at press time.

No ‘gay’ internet domain names

ANKARA, Turkey — The word “gay” and its Turkish equivalent, “gey” have been banned from Turkish internet domain names. Earlier this month, the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate sent the nation’s web-hosting firms a list of 138 words that are not allowed in domain names. The list was accompanied with a warning that websites using any of the prohibited words will be shut down. Along with the banned words, websites also cannot have the number 31 in their domain names because it is Turkish slang for male masturbation.

David Stout is the former associate editor of QNotes.