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Welcome to A.M. Equality - May 29, 2015


ICYMI: JOE BIDEN WANTS THE WORLD TO FOLLOW IRELAND’S LEAD: This week, Vice President Joe Biden authored an op-ed in the Advocate praising Ireland for becoming the first country to approve marriage equality via a popular vote, and saying that other countries should pay attention to the tactics the pro-equality side used to shift public opinion in a country that only two decades ago decriminalized homosexuality. Biden writes, “In 22 years, Ireland has gone from a nation where simply being LGBT was against the law to a nation where the people resoundingly stand for equal rights… I continue to believe that in every corner of the world, people want to do the right thing. You should never underestimate the epiphanies that follow when a culture makes a breakthrough of conscience.” More here:

SAY WHAT? On the 700 Club, anti-LGBT evangelist Pat Robertson was answering a viewer’s question about her son possibly having a same-sex relationship when he went into full-on conspiracy theorist mode, ranting about how gay men are constantly trying to “recruit” children into being gay themselves. In his rant completely devoid of any scientific data or proof to back it up, Robertson said, “Her son right now doesn’t know what he wants and he doesn’t know whether he’s a homosexual or not a homosexual, but this guy is trying to talk him into that… There’s so many young people, impressionable, some coach comes after them, some adult comes after them, some older sibling comes after them, and they somehow think, ‘Because they did this I must be gay.’ Well, he doesn’t know that for sure, he doesn’t know what sexual identity he’s got.” If you have any desire to watch the video, here it is:


NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR VOWS TO VETO A NEEDLESS BILL: Yesterday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced that he would veto a bill that would allow public officials to opt out of performing marriages altogether. “No public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath,” Gov. McCrory said. McCrory has been praised by organizations like Equality North Carolina, who say the governor’s actions “will send a strong message” to stop pushing this needless and mean-spirited legislation. Prior to the governor’s announcement, LGBT organizations, including HRC President Chad Griffin, had called on McCrory to use his veto pen.

BILL TO BAN “EX-GAY” “THERAPY” FOR MINORS IN ILLINOIS CLEARS SENATE COMMITTEE: A bill in Illinois aimed at banning the harmful, scientifically disproven practice of “ex-gay” “therapy” for minors has passed through committee in the state’s Senate, after passing the House last week. The Associated Press reports, “Rep. Kelly Cassidy sponsors the bill which gay and lesbian advocates support. The Chicago Democrat says conversion therapy can increase the risk of suicide and ‘mental anguish’ in teenagers struggling with their sexuality. The initiative would prevent mental health providers from using the treatment on anyone under the age of 18.” More here:


MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN AUSTRALIA?: After two Australian parties announced plans to introduce marriage equality bills to Parliament, conservatives, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, have “appeared to concede defeat” and allow MPs to “vote with their conscience” - a move that—if it pans out—seems to provide major hope for marriage equality. Since Abbott’s announcement, other conservatives, both in politics and media, have spoken out in favor of the bill. Andrew Bolt, one of the “most influential voices in conservative politics, wrote, “Relax. The public already open to the change,” in an Australian newspaper. Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, lauded her brother’s plans to allow a conscience vote, but doesn’t expect his personal views to change, and doesn’t “expect him to change that view”. However, she says “you can’t hold this tide back”, and is confident that Australia will achieve marriage equality in the coming months.

FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF IRELAND CALLS  MARRIAGE EQUALITY THE ‘CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE OF THIS GENERATION’: In a reaction to last week’s landslide referendum vote to legalize marriage equality in Ireland, former Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore penned an op-ed congratulating voters on the “national act of conclusion and liberation” for the country’s LGBT community. Now, he says, it’s up to the people of Ireland to set an example for the rest of the world and “speak out” for the rights of those who are discriminated. Just 22 years ago, you could go to jail in Ireland just for being gay - and this vote, he says, shows just how fast public opinion on an issue can shift.

TEL AVIV MAYOR WANTS ISRAEL TO LEGALIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai urged Israel to follow in Ireland’s footsteps and legalize marriage equality. Huldai is widely regarded as the reason for Tel Aviv’s thriving LGBT community, helping it win the title of ‘world’s best gay city’ by in 2012. Just weeks before Tel Aviv Pride, which will focus especially on the city’s transgender citizens, Huldai said, “I think that in the state of Israel, given the awakening that’s happening, it’s important for there to be a city that says ‘here, a person can live their life.’”

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