Once again, other nations are moving forward with progressive legislation that grants rights to LGBT citizens. The latest country moving to allow full marriage rights is Norway as reported by 365gay.com (http://www.365gay.com/Newscon08/03/031408nor.htm). Meanwhile, the province of Victoria in Australia has voted to permit LGBT couples to register as domestic partners. Sadly, here in the USA we have the likes of bigots like Sally Kern not only maligning gay relationaships by gays as an entire category of citizens. In fact, I would venture to guess that if Ms. Kern had her way, gays would lose their citizenship and be headed towards extermination camps. Here are highlights from 365gay.com:
(Oslo) The Norwegian government on Friday introduced legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry and have joint custody over children. The country already allows gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil partnerships, but LGBT rights groups have long complained the law does not go far enough and has created two classes of citizenship - one for heterosexuals the other for gays.
The new legislation amends the definition of civil marriage to make it gender neutral. It also says that when a lesbian who is married to another women becomes pregnant through in vitro the partner will have all the rights of parenthood "from the moment of conception". The legislation additionally states that in cases of adoption, both partners, gay or lesbian, would have complete joint parenting rights.
Family Issues minister Anniken Huitfeldt in introducing the bill called it "an historic step towards equality." She also had a message for some members of Parliament who claimed the bill would weaken tradition marriage. "The new law won't weaken marriage as an institution," Huitfeldt told Parliament. "Rather, it will strengthen it. Marriage won't be worth less because more can take part in it."
About 85 percent of Norway's 4.7 million people are registered as members of the state Lutheran Church of Norway, although far fewer are active. The church is split on the issue of gay marriage, and was likely to allow each congregation to decide whether to conduct homosexual weddings, as it did last year in allowing parishes to decide whether to accept clergymen living in gay partnerships.
As for the developments in Victoria, here are some highlights from The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/victoria-to-recognise-gay-couples/2008/03/12/1205126018812.html):
GAY and de facto couples will be able to formally register their relationships in Victoria after the Legislative Assembly last night passed historic legislation that split the Coalition. Liberal leader Ted Baillieu supported the Government bill, which will allow couples to record their relationships with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriage.
Mr Baillieu said he did not support the concept of gay marriage, but he was in favour of measures to help people manage their relationships, when they are together and when they are separating. "The Parliament should always preserve to itself the opportunity to legislate in particular areas in favour of marriage and the role and responsibility of raising and nurturing children," he said. "But that should not diminish our capacity to assist others and other relationships."
The bill will be passed in the upper house, with Labor, the Greens and several Liberals certain to support it. Mr Ryan said the beauty of a free vote — which Labor did not allow its MPs — was that people could express their personal views and vote accordingly.