Podcast: 20th Anniversary Of Matthew Shepard, Taylor Swift, Facebook & Broadway’s ‘Once On This Island’

The Randy Report podcast is your source for LGBT political, pop culture and entertainment news via podcast

In this week’s podcast:

• The nation observed the 20th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard

• Anti-LGBTQ forces in Romania faced an epic fail in trying to outlaw marriage equality

• New Jersey moves to protect transgender students

• The Trump administration requires foreign diplomatic employees’ partners to be married in order to be in the US or face deportment

• Taylor Swift goes political speaking out for LGBTQ rights and Democratic candidates

• Facebook added coming out as a new “Life Event” option as the US observed National Coming Out Day

• New polling shows 70% of Americans support protecting LGBTQ folks from discrimination

• Plus my review of the fantastic Broadway revival of ‘Once On This Island’

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report. Hit the play button below.

Romania Eyeing Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples

In the aftermath of an epic fail by conservative groups in Romania to change the country’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage this past weekend, Reuters is reporting that Romania’s ruling party now hopes to introduce legislation legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples.

European Affairs Minister Victor Negrescu told the state news agency, “This draft bill is finalized and…my fellow lawmakers will submit it in parliament next week.”

The anti-gay referendum, supported by the Romanian Orthodox Church, only drew 21% of voters.

To approve a constitutional change, at least 30% of eligible voters must participate in order for it to be valid.

The Romanian Constitutional Court ruled last month that gay couples should have the same rights as all families.

In June 2018, the European Union’s high court ruled that member nations must grant residency rights to LGBT couples legally married in other EU countries after a Romanian national sued to bring his American husband to Romania.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 14 of the 28 EU member nations. Six European Union countries, including Romania, offer no legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

According to ILGA-Europe, Romania ranks near the bottom of European Union countries (#25) when it comes to LGBTQ issues like equality, family issues and hate speech to legal gender recognition, freedom of expression and asylum rights.

Romania: Epic Fail For Haters As Anti-Marriage Equality Referendum Fails To Garner Enough Votes

Anti-LGBT forces sought to write a permanent same-sex marriage ban into the country's constitution, but failed on an epic level when only 20% of registered voters turned out.

Anti-LGBT forces sought to write a permanent same-sex marriage ban into the country’s constitution, but failed on an epic level when only 20% of registered voters turned out.

The referendum needed at least 30% participation in order to be considered valid.

Opponents had encouraged voters to boycott the referendum.

Even though the Romanian Orthodox Church supported the constitutional revision, the church failed to mobilize its followers.

The Romanian Constitutional Court ruled last month that gay couples should have the same rights as all families.

In June 2018, the European Union’s high court ruled that member nations must grant residency rights to LGBT couples legally married in other EU countries after a Romanian national sued to bring his American husband to Romania.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 14 of the 28 EU member nations.

European Union’s High Court: Same-Sex Married Couples Have Residency Rights In Member Nations

Clai Hamilton and Adrian Coman

Adrian Coman and his American boyfriend Clai Hamilton married in Belgium in 2010 after dating for 8 years.

Living in New York City at the time, Romanian-born Coman requested residency permits in 2012 for Mr. Hamilton to live and work in Romania. But the request was denied on the basis that the country doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The couple took their case to the Romanian courts which referred the gentlemen to the European Court of Justice to inquire whether EU law applied to the issue of same-sex marriage.

According to the BBC, the EU court ruled on Tuesday that member states must recognize marriages contracted between people of the same sex in member countries.

“Although the member states have the freedom whether or not to authorise marriage between persons of the same sex, they may not obstruct the freedom of residence of an EU citizen by refusing to grant his same-sex spouse, a national of a country that is not an EU Member State, a derived right of residence in their territory,” the court said.

Of the 28 member nations of the European Union, only 14 have moved to legalize same-sex marriage. Six member nations have no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

Romanian Same-Sex Marriage Case Could Affect Several European Union Countries

Within the European Union, 13 countries currently recognize same-sex marriage, 9 additional nations offer civil unions or a similar legal status but 6 countries have no legal recognition of same-sex couples.

That could change soon as the European Union’s highest court is looking at a case brought by a Romanian man’s desire to live in his home country with his husband of 7 years.

One of the fundamental principles of the EU is to provide the citizens of the bloc’s member states and their family members the right to move and freely reside across the region, subject to certain conditions.

But when Adrian Coman and his American husband, Claibourn Robert Hamilton, sought to move to Coman’s home country of Romania, the authorities there refused to recognize their relationship in regards to legal residency for Hamilton.

Should the court rule in their favor, it could effectively force Romania and the other five non-marriage-equality nations residency and working rights as long as one member of the couple is a citizen of a European Union country.

In a country of 20 million Romanians, 3 million signed a 2016 petition calling for the constitutional definition of marriage to be defined as between “one man, one woman.” A referendum on the issue could be held as soon as next year.

So this decision by the high court will be especially timely.

Stay tuned.

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