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Marriage equality moves forward in South Africa

Another nation recognizes that it’s time to move forward and give gays and lesbians the right to marry. (365gay):

The African National Congress has voted to support the government’s same-sex marriage bill. The governing party had been split on the issue but the vote means that all ANC MPs will likely support the measure when it comes before Parliament.

The party decision also is seen as a stiff rebuke to Jacob Zuma who last month was forced to apologize for calling gay marriage “a disgrace to the nation and to God”. The former Deputy President is seen as a likely contender for president but the party vote to support same-sex relationships is seen as throwing that into question.

The full party support came after members of the national executive committee reminded party members that the ANC had fought for human rights, which included gay rights, and equality for all.

With the party’s full support there is little chance the bill will be defeated. The bill is currently undergoing public hearings across the country. The government expects the legislation to be enacted before a court imposed deadline. Last December the Constitutional Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

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And in Ireland…

Same-Sex Parents No Impediment To Child Development Court Told.

Ireland’s Supreme Court has been told that there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and those brought up by opposite-sex couples.

The High Court is hearing a challenge to Irish law that denies gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

Testifying by a video link, UCLA professor Richard Green said decades of studies of children brought up by same-sex couples has found the children are equally well adjusted, in terms of gender identity, self-esteem, peer relationships and academic success as those children reared in traditional families.

Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone, who had been together for 20 years, were married in British Columbia in September 2003 within months of the legalization of same-sex marriage there. At the time both women were working in Canada.

When they returned home and tried to file a joint income tax return the Revenue Commissioners refused to recognize the marriage citing Irish law and ordered the women to file separate returns. That would result in paying higher taxes,

The couple went to court. In 2004 a judge found there was enough reason for the case to advance. “[This] “isn’t simply about tax bands,” said Justice Liam McKechnie in his ruling, noting that in a country where homosexuality itself was outlawed until 1993, any move to accord gay couples the same legal rights as husbands and wives would have “profound ethical, cultural and religious” ramifications.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding