Refusal to Recognize Same-Sex Marriage Prompts Couples to Sue Japanese Government

Same-sex couples are suing the Japanese government over failing to recognize marriage equality, according to Japan Times.

The ten couples expressed disappointment with the government's position on same-sex marriage as it actively ignores marriage equality under the law and freedom of marriage that is promised in the constitution. 

In Article 24 the Constitution, it says that “marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes.” There is some disagreement about the interpretation of the article, as the government says that it only refers to heterosexual couples, but legal scholars do not see it as a prohibition of same-sex marriage.

The government also says that using the terms "husband and wife" in civic law and family registration law indicates a man and a woman, and, as such, cannot accept same-sex marriage applications. 

Marriage equality has been increasingly more accepted around the world, with the Netherlands first legalizing it in 2001 which caused other European nations to legalize it as well. Outside of Europe, countries in North America have legalized same-sex marriage. Hopefully, the Japanese government will recognize that same-sex couples deserve the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples and that the constitution will be amended to allow marriage equality. 

h/t: Japan Times

West Virginia Judge Let Off With Warning After Refusing to Marry Same-Sex Couples

A judge in West Virginia who refuses to marry same-sex couples was let off with a warning and was allowed to continue his position, according to Charleston Gazette-Mail.

An elected official breaking the law by refusing marriage licenses to a certain group of people? That sounds awfully familiar...

Unlike Ms. Davis, who served a whole six days in jail because she was found in contempt of court for denying same-sex couples the right to marry in Kentucky, Mineral Circuit Judge Lynn Nelson of West Virginia just got a slap on the wrist. 

West Virginia LGBTQ group Fairness West Virginia conducted a phone survey in which they asked several circuit judges questions pertaining to marriage. Most judges had no problem with marrying same-sex couples, but Judge Nelson openly admitted that he discriminated against them by refusing to marry them. 

Fairness West Virginia contacted Judge Nelson's judicial office and the clerk there confirmed that he does indeed only marry heterosexual couples. Despite this technically being contempt of court (the same thing that Kim Davis was charged with in 2015), the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission ethical violations of the Judicial Code of Conduct after a complaint was filed. 

After the complaint, Judge Nelson stopped performing marriages altogether, so as to avoid giving equal treatment to same-sex couples. He cites religious belief as his reason for the refusal, saying “I’ve allowed same-sex couples to adopt children in my courtroom. I’ve given them their children back in abuse and neglect cases. On divorce appeals, I’ve handled them just like everybody else, but I’m just not interested in getting them married. The Supreme Court told me I didn’t have to marry anyone I didn’t want to.”

Judge Nelson is not the only judge to not perform marriages for anyone, as judges in Ritchie, Wood, Wayne, or Gilmer counties are also against same-sex couples marrying, and, as such, do not perform marriages regardless of one's sexual orientation. 

Fairness West Virginia created an LGBTQ+ wedding guide that lists ordained officials that will perform same-sex weddings, as well as DJs, caterers, bakers, and others that will serve or perform at weddings regardless of the couples' sexual orientation. 

Judges and the judicial system, in general, are supposed to be impartial so that the process of passing legislation can be democratic. However, by refusing to marry same-sex couples, Judge Nelson and the judges who share the same mindset are clearly displaying their prejudice, and, in my opinion, do not deserve the position of judge. Yes, I recognize that everyone has their bias, but judges should be able to put theirs on hold when it comes to the civil rights of people. 

h/t: Charleston Gazette-Mail, Fairness West Virginia

Pete Davidson Is Single Again After Splitting From Fiancée Ariana Grande

Well, it was fun while it lasted. It certainly got our attention.

As reported by TMZ, Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande have called off their engagement. It seems amicable; both parties acknowledged this just wasn’t the right time for their relationship to take center stage.

The Saturday Night Live star and the Sweetener songstress announced their engagement back in May. They’d only been dating for a few weeks, and their move has made major headlines ever since.

As to why they’re calling it quits, Grande has been pretty open on social media and elsewhere about the fact that she’s going through some stuff. Notably, she’s been affected by the tragic death of her ex Mac Miller. The rapper was only 26.

Grande’s engagement ring reportedly cost a cool $100k.

Will Davidson address this on the next episode of SNL? Goodness knows he’s usually really blunt and transparent. We will see when the show returns Nov. 3.

According to TMZ, Davidson and Grande aren’t ruling out the possibility of getting back together in the future.

For more: TMZ.

Are you sad this didn’t work out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Romanian Referendum to Ban Same-Sex Marriage not Valid Due to Low Voter Turnout

If you've been keeping up with my writing, you will know that Romania had a referendum to change the definition of marriage to mean between a union between one man and one woman, which would permanently exclude gay Romanians from marrying. I wrote about it in my article "Romanian Referendum May Permanently Criminalize Same-Sex Marriage" if you want to read more about it. Anyway, the referendum did not pass because of an extremely low voter turnout, according to Global News Canada

The referendum, which cost approximately $31 million lasted two days and attempted to change the Romanian constitutional definition of marriage from the neutral word "spouses" to "man and woman." Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001 but still forbids same-sex couples from marrying or entering into a civil partnership. Thankfully the referendum didn't pass as there would be no hope for same-sex couples to marry because progress would have been halted altogether. 

The two-day referendum was backed by the Civil group Coalition for the Family and was backed by the Orthodox church, other religious groups, and the majority of parliamentary parties. It received three million signatures, triggering the vote. Despite the large number of signatures, the number of voters was seriously lacking. According to Romania's national election bureau, the voter turnout capped at just 20.4%, with at least a 30% voter turnout to be considered valid.

If the referendum had been passed, Romania would have took a step in the direction or religious authoritarianism and while the country is religious as a whole, secular values are still in place. Activists groups urged fellow Romanians to boycott the referendum and they listened, saying things such as that they had better things to do like "canning food and making wine." Romania ranks 25th out of 28 our of EU in terms of hate speech towards LGBT people and while that is certainly excellent, perhaps not passing this referendum will put them at 28.

h/t: GlobalNewsCanada

Bad News, Beliebers: Justin Bieber Got a Marriage License (And He Might Be Married Already)

Sorry to break it to any Beliebers who might be reading this, but it looks like Justin Bieber is getting hitched. In fact, he might already be off the market. 

On Friday, People actually reported that the singer, 24, had tied the knot already with model Hailey Baldwin, 21. People “confirmed” they were wed in a courthouse in NYC. The mag said that according to a source, the pair still planned to have a big blowout ceremony

Other major outlets reported the nuptials as well, but then Baldwin threw a wrench into those reports, tweeting, “I understand where the speculation is coming from, but I’m not married yet!” That tweet has since been deleted.

Bieber proposed to Baldwin on a Bahamas vacation in July. After she said yes, Bieber took to Instagram to confirm the news, "My heart is COMPLETELY and FULLY YOURS and I will ALWAYS put you first! You are the love of my life Hailey Baldwin and I wouldn't want to spend it with anybody else.”

On Thursday, TMZ obtained and published a photo of Biebs and Baldwin inside the Marriage Bureau where marriage licenses are obtained. According to that article, eyewitnesses saw Bieber sobbing, saying, “I can’t wait to marry you, baby,” to his fiancee.

Hailey Baldwin is the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.

In 2016, gay porn site men.com and their exclusive porn star Johnny Rapid offered then newly-christened Calvin Klein underwear model Bieber $2 million to film one scene with Rapid. Sadly, that scene never came to be.

We’ll keep you updated on any further developments.

h/t: Billboard, TMZ, NewNowNext, CNN, People

Here Is Where Trump's Potential SCOTUS Picks Stand on LGBTQ+ Rights and Abortion

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27th, and ever since we’ve all been curious (to put it mildly) whom the president would appoint to fill the position.

It’s hard to overstate how much is at stake here; the next Supreme Court appointee could possibly overturn Roe v. Wade or gay marriage, and will absolutely form and shape life in this country for decades.

Trump has reportedly narrowed the field down to three potential choices. Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Amy Coney Barrett on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals; and Raymond Kethledge on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. All of these candidates are conservative… to varying degrees. 

Trump intends to announce his top choice at 9 p.m. ET on Monday July 9.

Here’s where the candidates stand on the issues:

Brett Kavanaugh

In the 2017 case of Garza v. Hagan, which determined whether or not an undocumented woman could have an abortion in ICE custody, Kavanaugh’s stance was that Kavanaugh honored Roe v. Wade as the precedent here, which suggests he wouldn’t overturn it if elected.

There isn’t much information available on Kavanaugh and LGBTQ+ issues. According to a piece in the LA Times, his rulings are “predictable” and he has a tendency to uphold court precedent, which could be a good thing in terms of upholding gay marriage.

That said, Kavanaugh is also known as an advocate of “religious freedom.” As we saw in the gay wedding cake case earlier this year, this can be a damaging thing.

In the case of Kavanaugh, it’s honestly hard to predict how things could turn out if he is appointed.

Raymond Kethledge

Kethledge was appointed by George W. Bush. According to Time, Kethledge has said he will uphold Supreme Court precedent. This would, of course, be good news for LGBTQ+ rights and women's rights.

He hasn’t made any rulings on LGBTQ+ rights or abortion so far in his career so nothing is  completely clear.

Amy Coney Barrett

Trump appointee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is the most extreme of the three potential Supreme Court picks. She belongs to a highly conservative, controversial sect of Catholicism called “People of Praise,” and many are concerned her religious views could affect her work as a judge.

In 2013, she wrote an article in Texas Law Review arguing that Roe v. Wade and other similar cases needn’t be upheld as settled law. This kind of thinking could also, of course, threaten same-sex marriage rights.

In a 2006 commencement address at Notre Dame Law School, Barrett is quoted as saying:

“Your legal career is but a means to an end, and that end is building the Kingdom of God. “


Stay vigilant and informed.

h/t: http://fortune.com/2018/07/06/trump-final-three-scotus-nominee/

Gay Mayor Peter Buttigieg Married His Comedian Boyfriend Chasten Glezman

36-year-old politician Peter Buttigieg is now married!

South Bend, Indiana mayor Buttigieg (pronounced Boot-edge-edge) married his comedian boyfriend Chasten Glezman this past weekend.

The two met on a dating app and shared the desire to get out of the gay dating scene. They then got to know each other over Facetime before meeting in person and deciding to date officially.

Their wedding was attended by 200 people and their reception was attended by an addition 200, according to the New York Times.

In between those two parties, the couple made time to appear at a Gay Pride Week block party in downtown South Bend. There, they wore rainbow colored beads and took pictures with attendees.

In addition, the wedding ceremony included a reading of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in the Obergefeel v Hodges case that legalized marriage equality in the U.S.

Peter, or Pete, Buttigieg is a well-respected politician on the rise. Not only has his direct approach and Bi-party polices made him a beloved Democratic leader in a Republican city, but he’s being watched and reared by the Democratic party.

Barack Obama once called him a rising star in the party, and his run for the Democratic National Committee in 2017 earned him much respect from his peers and superiors. Many news sites like CNN and Politico have even stated that he may be a Presidential hopeful down the line.

On top of that, Buttigieg came out as gay in 2015 after Mike Pence, who was governor of Indiana at the time, passed a now infamous religious freedom law.

In an essay, he wrote:

“Like most people, I would like to get married one day and eventually raise a family,” he wrote. “I hope that when my children are old enough to understand politics, they will be puzzled that someone like me revealing he is gay was ever considered to be newsworthy. By then, all the relevant laws and court decisions will be seen as steps along the path to equality.”

Congratulations to the happy couple.

Pope Francis Says A 'Family' Can Only Be Between A Man And Woman

Over the weekend, Pope Francis once again underscored the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex couples parenting children.

IOL News reports that the Pope, speaking to the Forum delle Famiglie on Saturday, said only heterosexual families can form a family. He also hailed the "sanctity" of women who forgive cheating husbands.

"It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family," but "the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one," Francis said in unscripted remarks.

The Pope has a history of sending conflicting messages regarding his feelings about LGBTQ rights.

These new comments come just a month after the Pope seemed to comfort a gay victim of clerical sexual abuse saying God made him gay, and that both the Pope and God love him that way.

“He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are,’” Cruz, pictured above, told Spanish newspaper El País, according to The Guardian.

And yet, Pope Francis also told bishops in late May to keep an eye out for gay applicants for the priesthood. “If in doubt, better not let them enter," he was quoted as saying.

The Pope has appeared to be more liberal than his predecessors in the past regarding LGBTS, particularly in 2013, when asked about the existence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican Pope Francis replied, “Who am I to judge?”

The Pontiff has also shown some support for civil unions for same-sex couples, while rejecting same-sex marriage.

Lord Ivar Mountbatten, Cousin To The Queen, Is Having A Gay Wedding

The British Royal family is going to have its first public gay marriage.

Lord Ivar Mountbatten is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, and great-nephew of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who came out as bisexual in 2016.

Now, he’s getting ready to marry his long-term partner James Coyle.

The two will get married at a private chapel in Devon in front of close friends and family including Mountbatten’s three daughters, Ella, Alix, and Luli. In addition, he'll be given away by his ex-wife.

Mountbatten shared with MailOnline that his friends and extended family, the royal family, have no qualms with his upcoming marriage.

All my good friends have accepted James,” he revealed. “I basically told everyone: ‘I’ve found somebody — it’s a bloke.’ They just started laughing.

“Then they met James and one particular mate said: ‘If I was gay, I’d certainly go for him.'”

“Being completely truthful, it doesn’t sit comfortably with me that I’m going out with a man,” he said.

“I’ve lived my whole life as a heterosexual. So, all of a sudden, having a bloke around is unusual — even now.

“It’s brilliant but I suppose in an ideal world I would prefer to have a wife because that has always been the norm.”

That said, Mountbatten shared that he’s growing to accept and appreciate his sexuality.

“We were talking with friends in Bermuda about this nature-nurture business not so long ago,” said Mountbatten.

“I knew from the age of eight I was more attracted to men. I definitely think it’s in the genes. You’re either gay or you’re not."

Then Mountbatten moved on to talking about the wedding. Why he’s having it and what he plans it to be like.

“I really wanted to do it for James. He hasn’t been married.

“For me, what’s interesting is I don’t need to get married because I’ve been there, done that and have my wonderful children; but I’m pushing it because I think it’s important for him.

“James hasn’t had the stable life I have,” he continued, before turning to his partner, an airline cabin services director, and telling him: “I want to be able to give you that.”

Coyle also added: “It’s a very modern marriage. There was no proposal, just an acceptance of this great love. He cares. I care. The girls are very accepting."

“Three years ago they were saying: ‘Wow. Are you guys going to get married?’

We said: ‘Don’t be ridiculous. It’s absolutely not on the radar at all.’ But gradually it has become something that makes sense.

“Now we’ve started to get a plan in place, I’m getting a lot more excited. We went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and said: ‘We’re not doing that. We’re not cutting cakes. We’re not having a first dance.’

‘We’ll be pronounced partners in marriage, but the ceremony itself will be very small,” he added.

“It’s just for the girls and close family and friends.”

So this won’t be another big Royal Wedding, but its a royal wedding all the same. We wish the best for Ivar Mountbatten and James Coyle.

Indiana Republican Party Renews Support For So-Called "Traditional" Marriage

Choosing to remain stuck in the Dark Ages, the Indiana Republican Party voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm its commitment to marriage being “between a man and a woman” despite the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which made marriage equality the law of the land.

According to NWI.com, Gov. Eric Holdcomb had proposed a revised party plank regarding families that expressed support for all adults raising children.

Instead the 1,494 GOP delegates attending the biennial convention in Evansville reaffirmed the opposite-sex marriage plank first adopted in 2014.

Proposed by Porter County Republican Chairman Michael Simpson, the new language would have declared: "We support traditional families with a mother and father, blended families, grandparents, guardians, single parents and all loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day.”

Speaking to delegates from the floor of the convention, Simpson said a broader understanding of family “is the best platform for our party and the best way for us to grow.”

But Morgan County GOP chairman Daniel Elliott, pushing the issue to the forefront of the convention, told attendees that man-woman marriage “is an important part of who we are as Hoosier Republicans.”

“This language ... recognizes the reality on the ground that most families are headed by married couples,” Elliot said.