Friday, September 13, 2013

Manitoba's Anti-Bullying Bill 18 Passes Into Law 36-16, Not Surprisingly Christian Coalition Campaigns New Australian Government To Stop Same Sex Marriage Law, Louisiana's Revenue Department Refusing To Comply With IRS Ruling Allowing Married Same Sex Couples To File Joint Returns, Suspect In Denver Anti-Gay Hate Crime Bonded Out Of Jail, CW Develops Transgender Youth Drama, Chris Pine Steps Out With Mystery Male

In Canada, Bill 18, the Manitoba government's controversial anti-bullying legislation, has been passed. According to CBC News, the public schools amendment act (safe and inclusive schools) passed third reading 36-16 late Friday afternoon. NDP MLAs stood up and applauded after the vote results were announced, with some hugging Education Minister Nancy Allan. A clause in the legislation has concerned some religious educators and community members because it will require schools to accommodate students who want to start specific anti-bullying clubs, including gay-straight alliances. Some who attended public hearings on the bill earlier this month argued that forcing schools to accommodate GSAs goes against their own beliefs and infringes on religious freedoms. Supporters of the bill have included numerous public school boards, organizations representing school boards and teachers, and LGBT groups. Bill 18 was among 10 bills that were passed into law on Friday.

In Australia, the Australian Christian Lobby will exert pressure on Tony Abbott's new government to use its powers to override the ACT's proposed gay marriage laws by passing a bill through both houses of federal parliament. The prime minister-elect faces an immediate test on marriage equality, after the ACT Labor government announced on Thursday that it would introduce legislation to legalise gay marriage in the next sitting of parliament. ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said her government would once again "bring forward legislation that delivers equality for same-sex couples, legislation that promises them the right to marry." The Gallagher government's move comes seven years after the Howard government used commonwealth powers to override ACT legislation to legalize same-sex civil unions. Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton said Abbott's government should override the laws. "Yes, I think the parliament should override this," Shelton said. "It's in the parliament's interest to protect the constitution, the constitutional power for marriage . . . it is a constitutional nonsense for a territory to be seeking to legislate in this area. So I think the parliament would have to take action on this." Shelton described the latest gay marriage bill to be put forward as "a bit of a nonsense by the ACT government just joining up with the advocates for the same sex marriage campaign and using the territory government in probably really a mischievous way because it really doesn't have the power here and it's not appropriate." He conceded the ACT government had won an election promising to deliver this reform. "Sure that's very true but that doesn't change the fact that the territory doesn't have constitutional jurisdiction over this area," he said. University of NSW law professor George Williams said the power of the governor-general to disallow territory laws was removed in the last federal parliament. That means the Abbott government no longer has a veto over such a law. "It would be possible to override the ACT law, but only by passing a bill through both houses of federal parliament (which is what happened with the overriding of the Northern Territory euthanasia legislation in 1997)," Professor Williams said. "That of course is a much more difficult course, especially given the current numbers in the Senate. All this means that an ACT same-sex marriage law would be much harder to override than was the case in 2006. "It does require a bill to get through both houses, but the numbers are not as clear as they seem. The vote on overturning the ACT law might again be seen as a conscience issue by the Labor Party, which could complicate the matter. And, of course, the numbers will change when the new Senate begins on 1 July next year." Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said he wanted the federal government to respect the spirit of the Constitution and allow any constitutional questions raised by the Territory marriage equality law to be resolved by Australia's independent umpire, the High Court. "If Mr Abbott expects people to respect his mandate, he must in turn respect the mandate of the recently elected ACT government to provide full equality and dignity for all their citizens," Croome said. "In Australia, the reform of laws governing personal relationships -- be they marriages, de facto unions or civil unions -- have always occurred first at a state and territory level and only later federally. The recognition of same-sex marriages first at a state and territory level follows this long-established logic of federalism."

Louisiana's revenue department will not recognize same-sex marriages for tax filing purposes. That decision comes despite a new IRS rule that allows legally married gay couples to file joint federal tax returns even if they live in states that don't recognize the marriages. In a document outlining the state's position and obtained by the Associated Press on Friday, Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield says Louisiana can't recognize a same-sex marriage tax filing because of its constitutional ban on gay marriage. Louisianians overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment in a statewide vote in 2004. The language stipulates marriage "shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." Any status "identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized." Barfield writes that a gay couple filing as married on a federal return must file a separate Louisiana return as single or head of household. He suggests the state constitution trumps a state law that requires taxpayers to use the same status on state tax returns that they use on federal returns. The move comes just a week after the Louisiana National Guard issued a directive that they would not follow Pentagon policy in extending benefits to same-sex couples.

In Colorado, a suspect in what Denver Police are calling a bias-motivated beating of a gay man has bonded out of jail, reports the Denver Channel. Tilo Sandoval, 20, surrendered to police on Tuesday, according to DPD's Twitter account. Police believe Sandoval attacked Jared R. Olson, 23, in the parking lot of Sam's Hookah Lounge at 2370 W. Alameda Ave. in the early morning hours of September 2. Sandoval was with a group who shouted gay slurs at Olson and another gay man, police said. Olson said the beating left him covered in blood, with broken bones in his face that will require an estimated $50,000 in reconstructive surgery. He also had several teeth knocked out and chipped. Sandoval faces felony charges of assault causing injury, second-degree assault and bias-motivated crime. He is due back in court September 24. Denver Police ask anyone with information about this crime to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or text 274637 (CRIMES), enter the title DMCS and your message. Tipsters can remain anonymous and earn a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and charging of those responsible for this crime.

The CW is adding a one-hour drama project centered on a transgender teen, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. Written by playwright-musician Kyle Jarrow, ZE revolves around a Texas teenager who announces that she is transgendered and will be living life as a boy. As his dysfunctional family spirals into identity crises of their own, he discovers that despite his appearance, he may be the most well-adjusted of them all. Milk's Michael London will executive produce the CBS TV Studios project. The project's title, ZE, refers to the gender neutral pronoun. Past plays by Jarrow, who penned 2010's Armless, include the satirical musical, A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, which earned him an Obie Award in 2004. London is an executive producer on Amazon's Betas comedy series.

Super sexy Chris Pine spotted arriving at a show as a part of London's Fashion week accompanied by a mystery male.

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