Tuesday, October 22, 2013
ABC News Australia has the great news:
The Labor Government passed its Marriage Equality Same-Sex Bill in the Legislative Assembly with the help of Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury. The laws will allow an authorised celebrant to marry gay couples within the ACT, regardless of where they live. "I am proud to stand for equality. I am proud to stand for decency and I am proud to stand for respect," Mr Rattenbury told the Assembly today. "Perhaps most simply I am proud to stand in support of the notion that two people who love each other should be able to get married." Amendments were also passed to strengthen the laws against any challenge in the High Court. It is expected same-sex couples will be able to take advantage of the new laws before Christmas, after they give four weeks notice of their intent to marry.The federal government is expected to challenge the bill.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has warned the ACT that the laws will be subject to a High Court challenge. Earlier this month, Senator Brandis said he had received advice the bill was "invalid by reason of inconsistency" with the Commonwealth Marriage Act. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's sister and Sydney City Councillor, Christine Forster, has bought into the debate, calling for federal Liberal MPs to be allowed a conscience vote on the issue if legislation comes before the Parliament. Revealing that she and her partner have been engaged since March, Ms Forster said she hoped the new Liberal party room would regard the issue as a matter of conscience. "Marriage is about love, it's about people's feelings, it's a matter of the heart," she told Channel 9.
In May of this year, two Native American JMG readers married in Michigan at the approval of the Odawa tribe. And now two gay Native Americans have married in Oklahoma with the blessings of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.
For the past five years, Jason Pickel has wanted to marry boyfriend Darren Black Bear. The two even planned a trip to Iowa, a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. But when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June, Pickel had an idea. He called the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe's courthouse and asked a simple question. "I was really expecting a big no,” said Pickel. “I thought we're on our way to Iowa, but I called the tribe and they said, 'Yeah come on down, it's twenty bucks.'" Twenty dollars for what no amount of money could buy in Oklahoma -- a marriage license made legal by the tribal code. Its requirements, both people be of Native American descent and live within the tribe's jurisdiction. Nowhere does it specify gender. “I do know at the end of the day the state offices won't recognize it, but they kind of have to,” said Pickel. That's because on sovereign Indian land, state laws don't apply, making Jason and Darren the first publicly married same-sex couple in Oklahoma, a milestone, he hopes is followed.Pickel's happiness is hampered by only one thing: "When we have equality in all 50 states and all U.S. territories, that is when we'll have true equality. That's when I will be truly, truly happy." (Tipped by JMG reader Brandy)
RELATED: Other Native American tribes that have approved same-sex marriage: The Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon (2009), The Suquamish Tribe in Washington state (2011), the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013), The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington state (2013), the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013), and the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California (2013).
Keep Opening the Door
When you sit down to meditate, you never know what’s going to come up. Some days you’re hammered by relentless trivia; other days you’re caught in storms of anger or grief or fear. What’s important is just to keep coming back to the cushion, to keep opening the door to the possibility of peace and insight.
- Anne Cushman, "Fifteen Weeks of Dharma Dating"