1,201,607 is more than 734,300

1,201,607 for same-sex marriage and 734,300 against it means that the Republic of Ireland has set itself on course to be the 20th country to legislate for same-sex marriage, and the first to do it by popular acclaim.

One vote would have been enough for victory: in the end it was nearly two-to-one in favour, with almost every counting district saying “yes” and the one area voting “no” doing so by a tiny margin.

It’ll take until the end of 2015 for the legislative process to conclude and the first weddings to be held there, though.

Congratulations Ireland.

More LGBT MPs, fewer Bi MPs

photo: Houses of Parliament

photo: Houses of ParliamentBi Community News reports that following the General Election the UK has fewer bisexual MPs – down to just one openly bisexual Member of Parliament.

During the campaign polls had suggested there would be bi MPs on the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat benches, but the last-minute swing cost both Lib Dem and Labour the crucial seats.

ECJ neutral on blood ban

European Union Flag

European Union FlagThe European Court of Justice has ruled that blood donation bans on men who have sex with men may be justifiable and are a matter for member states to reconcile with anti-discrimination laws.

Practice varies widely across the 28 countries with some having no restrictions on blood donation based on sexual orientation and behaviour, some having lifetime bans, and others – like the UK since 2011 – having time limits. In Wales, Scotland and England, gay and bi men and their partners are barred from donating unless they have not had sex for 12 months, while in Northern Ireland there is a life ban.

The ruling came following an appeal from a man whose blood donation offer was refused in France and reflects a balance between epidemiological evidence and latest best testing techniques.

Their published ruling declares that

“(T)he Court rules that, although the permanent deferral provided for in French law helps to minimise the risk of transmitting an infectious disease to recipients and, therefore, to the general objective of ensuring a high level of human health protection, the principle of proportionality might not be respected. It is possible that HIV may be detected by effective techniques able to ensure a high level of health protection for recipients.

“The national court will have to verify whether such techniques exist, it being understood that the tests must be carried out in accordance with the most recent scientific and technical procedures.

“If there are no such techniques, the Tribunal administrative de Strasbourg will have to ascertain whether there are less onerous methods of ensuring a high level of health protection for recipients other than permanent deferral from blood donation and, in particular, whether the questionnaire and the individual interview with a medical professional are able to identify high risk sexual behaviour more accurately.”

However with recent HIV detection techniques effective just weeks after infection it will be surprising if the French courts are able to defend the life ban.

Obama comes out against ‘queer cure’ therapy

usaUSA President Obama has publicly positioned himself against “gay cure” treatments supposed to turn gay and bisexual people straight or turn trans people cis.

The move was prompted by the death of Leelah Alcorn at the end of last year, and an ensuing petition to the White House that garnered more than 120,000 signatures.

The petition read, “On Sunday, December 27, 2014, Leelah Alcorn a 17 year old transgender youth wrote a suicide note, posted it on Tumblr and then walked in front of a semi-truck tragically ending her life. Leelah explained how her parents had forced her to attend conversion therapy, pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity. ‘Conversion therapies’ have been documented to cause great harms and in this case, Leelah’s death. Therapists that engage in the attempt to brainwash or reverse any child’s gender identity or sexual orientation are seriously unethical and legislation is needed to end such practices that are resulting in LGBTQ+ deaths. We respectfully seek your help to ban the practice known as ‘conversion therapy’ and name the bill in honor of Leelah Alcorn.”

The White House’s formal response began with a quote from the President reflecting on the internal torment of queer children fearing or knowing their family and society hates them for who they are.

It then set out the Obama administration’s position:

“Conversion therapy generally refers to any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.[1] Often, this practice is used on minors, who lack the legal authority to make their own medical and mental health decisions. We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth.

“When assessing the validity of conversion therapy, or other practices that seek to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation, it is as imperative to seek guidance from certified medical experts. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.

“As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

It goes on to celebrate those US states that have outlawed the practice and the impact that supportive families have on their LGBT children.

Marriage equality in Luxembourg

luxembourg

Last year Luxembourg became the ninth EU country to legalise same-sex marriage – and today the law came into effect.

Jean Paul Olinger and Henri Lorenzo Huber were the first same-sex couple to take advantage of the law, with Differdange town hall opening for the ceremony despite the New Year’s Day bank holiday.

The bill passed by a landslide last summer – with 56 votes in favour and 4 against. Luxembourg has an openly gay Prime Minister, the Liberal Xavier Bettel, and also an out-gay Deputy Prime Minister, Socialist party leader Etienne Schneider.

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