While states like California and New Jersey grapple clumsily with the issue of same-sex marriage and equality, Portugal apparently had little difficulty in approving legislation to allow such unions. On Friday, Portugal’s Parliament voted by a sizeable majority – 125 to 99 – to permit same-sex marriages. The nation’s President is not expected to veto the measure, and ceremonies are anticipated to begin as early as April 2010.
Before you go dismissing Portugal’s actions as just another liberal EU country showing off, Portugal is hardly a bastion of liberalism. In fact, Portugal’s decision to approve same-sex marriage is significant given that the country is generally regarded as socially conservative. Perhaps, in Portugal, the leaders were able to put aside their own petty squabblings and, well, lead.
You can link to a full article discussing Portugal’s decision here.
President Obama Appoints Transgender Female To Commerce Dept.
In other news this week, President Obama appointed transgender female, Amanda Simpson, to be Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department.
“I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me,” she said in a press release by the National Center for Transgender Equality, an organization for which she has served on the board of directors.”
Simpson was most recently the deputy director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson. A flight instructor and test pilot, Simpson also holds degrees in physics, engineering, and business administration.
First HIV+ Traveler To Visit U.S. From The Netherlands
Clemons Ruland may become the first known HIV-positive person to legally visit the United States after he filed papers with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Monday, the day the HIV travel and immigration ban was officially lifted. The ban was lifted on January 4 by President Obama after 22 years of barring HIV-positive people from entering the U.S.
Ruland, pictured on the right, will travel with his HIV-negative partner pictured left. Ruland trip to the U.S. is being sponsored by Netherlands group, NGO AIDS Fonds, after he won an essay contest.
Thanks to The Advocate for reporting on this story, which you can link to here.