Pastor Bettina Eckbo led the historic ceremony in the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church
In the very second that the clock struck midnight and the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church’s new liturgy allowing gay couples to marry in church weddings came into force, Kjell Frølich Benjaminsen and Erik Skjelnæs tied the knot in Eidskog Church.
A church synod voted on Monday to approve the new liturgy, or service, allowing same-sex couples to get married in the church.
“It was great fun and really cosy to be a part of,” Eckbo told NTB.
The newlyweds have lived together for 36 years – longer than Eckbo has been alive.
“They already represent the values that marriage is about – faithfulness and supporting one another on good days and bad,” she said.
The ceremony marks a new milestone for gays and lesbians in Norway, which like its Nordic neighbours is at the forefront of gay rights in Europe. Civil marriage and adoption have been open to gays since 2009 and the Church also authorises the ordination of homosexuals.
Court of Appeals of Georgia reverses Columbia County decisions on transgender name changes
The decision came as a complete shock for attorney Beth Littrell and plaintiffs Rowan Feldhaus and Andrew Baumert, who were supposed to present oral arguments to an appellate panel on Feb. 9.
“The court decided it didn’t even need to hear from us,” Littrell said. “The arguments we already presented on paper persuaded it to direct the lower court to grant the name changes.”
Judge David J. Roper denied the men’s requests for name changes in separate 2015 and 2016 decisions, citing the name changes would “confuse and mislead” the public, and demanded the names be gender-neutral enough before granting approval, according to the appellate decision. The Court of Appeals reversed Roper’s decision and directed the lower court to “remand to enter an order” changing their names as requested.
“I was completely off-guard and surprised and I was like, is this a joke? This is too surreal,” Feldhaus, a resident of Grovetown, Georgia, said. “I’m more than happy with what I heard today. I just felt a since of ease come over me and it’s just done. There’s a precedence for this.”
“This request is not unusual and is in line with standard-of-care for treating gender dysphoria, and in line with First Amendment rights,” Littrell said. “The only remarkable think about these cases was the judge denied the request. The judge did so in both cases based on the court’s own ‘policy’ of refusing to approve [of transgender name changes] unless he approved of the name requested.”
The names requested were “too male” for Roper, who decided both of the cases months apart.
“The decisions were almost verbatim the same,” Littrell said.“Name changes are one of the ways in which transgender people live their truth and live authentically. To have the government step in and deny transgender persons the right to live their truth is outrageous, unconstitutional and we wanted to ensure it didn’t happen to another transgender Georgian.” Source: Georgia Voice
The Russian Corporate Media Giant, RT News, reported that Facebook banned them from posting anything but plain text on their page until after Trump’s inaguration
The ban, according to Facebook, will last until Saturday 10:55pm Moscow time and will extend across US president-elect Trump’s inauguration.
The timing of the ban means that RT won’t be able to broadcast President-elect Trump’s inauguration live on their Facebook page.
RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said she wasn’t surprised that RT had been blocked from posting on Facebook following a complaint from Current Time TV (a part of Radio Liberty, financed by the US Department of State.)
“I’m not surprised. If the Department of State could block oxygen to us, they would do it”, she told RIA Novosti.
“While Facebook is a powerful distributor of live-streams it is struggling with the rights ramifications. RT will continue text-only posts to Facebook until the issue is resolved.”
“There is no reason from our side as to why RT should have not been able to freely transmit our signal via their own FB page. In fact, I do not believe that AP would even be able to physically restrict client’s [sic] transmissions on their own Facebook pages. In addition, the footage was our own and the restrictions did not mention anything out of the ordinary […] In short, it must have been an issue on [Facebook’s] end,” AP Editorial Liaison representative Phoebe Paulus said in an email.
The White House says that Manning is one of 209 inmates whose sentences Obama is shortening.
According to experts, commutations and pardons cannot be undone by Donald Trump after he is sworn in Friday as the nation’s 45th president.
Manning is set to be freed from Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas in five months, on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045, The New York Times reports.
Her lawyers said in her nearly seven years behind bars, she had already served the longest sentence of anyone convicted of leaking secrets in United States history.
Many of the mainstream media reports included a detail irrelevant to her imprisonment: her former first name, given at birth. The military reluctantly agreed to adopt her chosen first name, Chelsea, in her medical records, although an Army doctor refused to change her gender marker.
What about Edward Snowden?
A White House spokesman told reporters there was a “pretty stark difference” between Manning’s plea for mercy and Snowden’s, noting what he called “some important differences.”
“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” Earnest said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
Comedian Colin Mochrie revealed that he and his wife, Deb McGrath, have a transgender daughter when he went on twitter to defend LGBTQ rights.
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The “Whose Line Is It Anyway” star revealed that he’s the father of a transgender girl when he questioned people who can’t accept transgender people.
“My 90-yr-old mother-in-law and 87-yr-old mother love and acceptance of our trans daughter warms me. Wonder why some who are younger can’t,” Mochrie tweeted.
“The negative is that my mom refers to the community as BLT. It’s a learning curve.”
My 90-yr-old mother-in-law and 87-yr-old mother love and acceptance of our trans daughter warms me. Wonder why some who are younger can't.
Mochrie hasn’t spoken publicly about his daughter, but he and McGrath performed in May at an event to fund the Welcome Friend Association’s Rainbow Camp, a one-week camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning, and allied (LGBTQA) youth that “honors creativity, individual choice, and social justice while having fun.”
L’Oréal Paris announced their first transgender spokesperson.
The French-based cosmetics giant has chosen a transgender woman as a spokesperson.
American transgender model, Hari Nef, has been chosen as the new spokeswoman for the brand.
Viewers of Transparent will recognise Nef as the actress who plays Gittel. She also made waves as the first transgender woman to front a major commercial magazine in the UK when she graced the cover of ELLE.
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the population census will recognise and count Pakistani transgender people
The Lahore High Court on Monday instructed the federal government, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the interior ministry to include the transgender community in the census while hearing a petition filed by a transgender individual Waqar Ali in November 2016.
Ali in his petition had called for the enforcement of the community’s fundamental rights, including enrolment in the upcoming census and issuance of national identity cards specifying their gender.
A deputy attorney general from the federal government was present in court during the hearing and assured the court that the transgender community will indeed be part of the upcoming census.