Vocal marriage opponent loses Costa Rica presidential election

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Fabricio Alvarado on April 1, 2018, lost the second round of Costa Rica’s presidential elections. Photo by Iosepe; courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

A vocal opponent of marriage rights for same-sex couples on Sunday lost the second round of Costa Rica’s presidential election.

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Oklahoma Senate OKs LGBTQ discriminatory adoption bill

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Oklahoma Republican Sen. Greg Treat. Image from Sen. Treat’s Twitter.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A bill that opponents say would allow religious-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, single people and non-Christians has cleared the Oklahoma Senate.

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Apple celebrates Australian marriage equality in new iPhone X ad

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Apple Australia has released a new ad for iPhone X that celebrates marriage equality.

In “First Dance,” various same-sex couples are shown taking their first dances together as a married couple at their weddings. “Never Tear Us Apart” by Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barrett is played in the background.

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Georgia Senate advances adoption bill called anti-LGBT

By : wire report
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Senate has passed a bill that would allow adoption agencies receiving taxpayer funding to refuse to work with same-sex couples.

Sponsored by Sen. William Ligon, a Brunswick Republican, the measure was passed Friday by a vote of 35 to 19 after about an hour of contentious debate.

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Bermuda governor signs marriage repeal bill

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Bermuda Gov. John Rankin on Wednesday signed a bill that rescinds marriage rights for same-sex couples in the British island territory.

The Royal Gazette newspaper reported Rankin approved the Domestic Partnership Act 2017 — which allows same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships as opposed to get married — “after careful consideration in line with my responsibilities under the Constitution.”

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EU court advisor: Same-sex couples entitled to residency rights

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A legal advisor to the European Union’s highest court on Thursday said gay couples should receive the same residency rights that married couples have in the European Union.

The Associated Press reported European Court of Justice Advocate General Melchior Wathelet issued an opinion that he said is not about whether European Union countries should extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Wathelet did say, however, they should extend spousal benefits in a way that does not infringe “on the rights of citizens of the (European) Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states.”

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Same-sex couples in Australia begin to marry

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Australia on Tuesday.

SBS News reported Diana and Deanne Ribeiro tied the knot shortly after midnight local time in the Melbourne suburb of Balaclava. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Kylie and Lisa Caro — a lesbian couple who began dating in 2014 and are raising a daughter together — are among the other same-sex couples who exchanged vows on Tuesday.

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Mississippi gay marriage law affects college baseball

By : wire report
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Photo from State University of New York Stony Brook athletics web site

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — College baseball is affected by a Mississippi law that lets government clerks or private business people cite their own religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples.

The Sun Herald reports the University of Southern Mississippi was supposed to play three games in Hattiesburg in late February against Stony Brook University. The games were canceled because New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned all non-essential state travel to Mississippi after Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law in 2016.

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White House: Trump backs ‘religious liberty’ in Cakeshop case

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump backs the U.S. solicitor general in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Hours after oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case concluded Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump backs the position articulated by the U.S. Justice Department that bakers should be able to put up signs saying they won’t serve gays.

Sanders made the comments in response to a question from the New York Times on whether Trump backs the view posed by U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco during his first time in that role presenting arguments before the Supreme Court.

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Judge threatens to block all birth certificates over LGBT discrimination

By : wire report
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge’s threat to block the state from issuing any birth certificates if lawyers don’t quickly fix a law that was found discriminatory could open up a new fight with a state Supreme Court that was criticized over its handling of a gay marriage case. It could also prompt a new debate in a legislature that had planned to focus on the budget, not LGBT issues, when it meets next year.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox last week gave attorneys for the state and three same-sex couples until Jan. 5 to come up with language to strike from the state’s birth certificate law after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with his finding that it illegally favors heterosexual couples. If the attorneys can’t come up with a fix, Fox said he’ll prevent the state from issuing any more birth certificates until the Legislature addresses the issue.

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Malta same-sex marriage law takes effect

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A law that allows same-sex couples to legally marry in Malta took effect on Friday.

Gabi Calleja, coordinator of the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, a local advocacy group, told the Washington Blade on Friday during a telephone interview that same-sex couples can now fill out a marriage application with local officials. Calleja noted there is a 6-week waiting period under Maltese law before they — and any other couple — can legally tie the knot.

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