LONDON (BP)–Great Britain in December will become the latest country to liberalize its laws for homosexual couples when it legalizes same-sex civil partnerships.
The civil partnerships law, similar to civil union laws in Vermont and Connecticut, grants homosexual couples the legal benefits of marriage without using the word “marriage.”
Homosexual couples can begin the process Dec. 5 by notifying the British government and, after a 15-day waiting period, hold their civil partnership ceremony.
Unlike the United States — where there is a significant movement to ban “gay marriage” — European counties have liberalized their laws in recent years to include homosexual couples. Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain recognize “gay marriage.” Other countries, such as Germany and Sweden, grant same-sex couples at least some of the legal benefits of marriage.
Some prominent British homosexual men — such as Elton John and George Michael — say they will take advantage of the law and hold a ceremony with their respective partner.
“I’m sure Kenny and I will be doing the old legal thing, but we won’t be doing the whole veil and gown thing,” Michael, a member of the 1980s group Wham!, told the Associated Press.
Conservatives, though, say the new law is playing word games.
“We feel that it’s gay marriage in all but name,” Mike Judge, a spokesperson for the conservative Christian Institute, told USA Today. “It changes the nature of what we understand marriage to be in society: … The lifelong union of a man and woman.”
A document on the Christian Institute further states: “[O]nce marriage has been equated with such unions, where will it end? If two men can ‘marry’ or ‘partner’, why stop there? If all relationships are equal surely the bi-sexual will need to ‘marry’ two people.”
SWEDISH PASTOR ACQUITTED — Sweden’s Supreme Court Nov. 29 acquitted Swedish pastor Ake Green on “hate crimes” charges, ruling that he did not break the law by preaching about the biblical view of homosexuality. Although it was a 5-0 decision, a lower court last year gave Green a one-month jail sentence for his sermon. That ruling was appealed. The Swedish law prevents criticism of homosexuals.
The case was watched closely worldwide by conservatives, who warn that the homosexual activist movement is infringing on religious freedoms.
“Voicing one’s conscience is a fundamental human right,” Benjamin Bull, an attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, said in a statement. “This is a huge victory for religious liberty everywhere. In this contest between religious freedom and the radical homosexual agenda, religious freedom prevailed.”
According to a sermon transcript, Green read from Leviticus 18:22-30 and then said, “The Bible clearly teaches about these abnormalities. Sexual abnormalities are a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society.”
Green also quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and said homosexuals can have freedom from their sin through a relationship with Christ: “The Word of God offers power to live a pure life. This Bible passage talks about what they used to live like — in sexual immorality and adultery, but they were washed clean. Hallelujah!”
The sermon transcript is available at www.akegreen.org.
HOMOSEXUAL REPUBLICAN RETIRING — U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, the only openly homosexual Republican in the House of Representatives, announced Nov. 23 that he would not seek re-election in 2006. Kolbe has served more than two decades as a representative from Arizona. He voted against the federal constitutional marriage amendment in 2004.
N.H. VOTERS SUPPORT AMENDMENT — A new poll shows that 58 percent of New Hampshire voters support amending the state’s constitution to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Thirty-one percent oppose adoption of a marriage amendment and 11 percent are undecided. The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted Nov. 20-22 by Research 2000 for the Concord Monitor.
A state government committee has recommended adoption of a marriage amendment, although it faces an uphill battle. It would require a three-fifths vote of the legislature to place it before voters, who would then have to pass it by a two-thirds majority.
WASH. GOV. SPEAKS OUT — Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, addressed the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference Nov. 18, and made it clear she would support the state Supreme Court if it legalizes “gay marriage.” The court heard a “gay marriage” case in March and could issue its decision any week now.
“I hope the court rules soon,” Gregoire said, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “I’ll let the courts make the ruling; as a former lawyer, I’m going to respect the court’s timeliness, and I’m going to respect the decision that they reach. … We need to ensure that everyone in the state of Washington is treated with respect and gets equality.”
The conference was sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a homosexual group dedicated to electing homosexuals to public office.
The ruling could make Washington the second state to recognize “gay marriage.” Massachusetts was the first.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage