Flashback 2013: Progress vs. backlash around the globe

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Friday, 13 December 2013 11:50

A marriage equality rally in France. - PHOTO: AP

France, Uruguay, New Zealand and England legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 — unprecedented advancements in the quest for equality for LGBT people.

Pope Francis is Time's Person of the Year

Written by The AP Thursday, 12 December 2013 11:22

Pope Francis.

Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time.

First same-sex weddings in England, Wales set for March 29

Written by The AP Thursday, 12 December 2013 05:13

Save the date: The British government announced this week that the country's first same-sex weddings can be held on Saturday, March 29.

Equalities Minister Maria Miller said from then on marriage "will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex."

Russia to set up protest zones during Winter Olympics

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 11 December 2013 03:18

IOC President Thomas Bach said Russia will set up public protest zones in Sochi during the Winter Olympics, a move unlikely to defuse criticism of the country's human rights record and a recent law banning gay "propaganda."

With the opening ceremony less than two months away, Bach said Sochi organizers notified him of the decision during their report to the International Olympic Committee executive board this week.

Michigan to require extra health insurance policy for abortions

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 12 December 2013 14:46

Michigan will join more conservative states in requiring residents who want health insurance coverage for abortions to buy an extra policy, after Republican legislators passed the law on Dec. 11 over the objections of Democrats who pleaded for them to take the issue to voters instead.

The citizens' initiative approved 62-47 by the House and 27-11 in the Senate - almost entirely along party lines - will become law in March without the signature of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who vetoed similar legislation a year ago. The anti-abortion group Right to Life collected more than 300,000 signatures to put the legislation before lawmakers, who also had the option of letting it go to a statewide vote next November.

Over 700 same-sex couples wed in New Jersey in 7 weeks

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 12 December 2013 11:03

More than 700 same-sex couples have gotten married or renewed their vows in New Jersey since the state allowed gay nuptials.

Brrr: Antarctica set record of -135.8

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 12 December 2013 04:53

Feeling chilly? Here’s cold comfort: You could be in East Antarctica which new data says set a record for “soul-crushing” cold.

Try 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit below zero; that’s 93.2 degrees below zero Celsius, which sounds only slightly toastier.  Better yet, don’t try it. That’s so cold scientists say it hurts to breathe.

Transcript: Obama honors Mandela as 'giant of history'

Written by WiG Tuesday, 10 December 2013 07:44

President Barack Obama delivered the following remarks at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela on Dec. 10 at the First National Bank Stadium in Johannesburg. He spoke at about 1 p.m. SAST.

The remarks:

A dozen Republican U.S. senators have introduced legislation intended to allow organizations to discriminate against gay people.

The proposed Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, according to a news release from the office of right-wing Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, would bar “the government from denying any person or group tax-exempt status for exercising their religious conscience rights.”

Navratilova, Collins speak out against homophobia

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 12 December 2013 05:19

Martina Navratilova.

Former professional basketball player Jason Collins and tennis great Martina Navratilova this week urged world sports bodies such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA to take gay rights into consideration when awarding major sporting events.

‘Blackfish’ prompts Heart, Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson to cancel SeaWorld gig

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 11 December 2013 13:39

The rock bands Heart and Barenaked Ladies along with country singer Willie Nelson have canceled their planned performances at SeaWorld in Florida, citing a recent documentary that raises questions about the effects of captivity on whales.

Heart was the latest act in the past week to cancel appearances at SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew & Barbecue music series in February, making their announcement over the weekend. The series is held over several weekends and features top classic rock and country acts.

Edith Windsor among 10 finalists for Time's Person of the Year

Written by WiG Tuesday, 10 December 2013 05:08

Time magazine on Dec. 9 announced the top 10 finalists for its person of the year for 2013. The person of the year, as chosen by editors will be announced early on Dec. 11.