"NewsWrap": New Zealand becomes the first country in the Asia Pacific region, and the 13th in the world, to open civil marriage to same-gender couples, while France's road to expected marital equality is a bumpy one, and a convention in Ireland proposes a constitutional marriage equality amendment; America's Republican Party doubles down on its opposition to civil marriage for same-gender couples, while the Boy Scouts of America offers a half-measure change to its ban on openly gay members; two of the leading Catholic schools in Ghana expel a total of 53 students for "practicing homosexuality" and trying "to convince more students to practice the act," or "the detestable act of lesbianism"; and the removal of Sydney's cherished Oxford Street rainbow crossing sparks a "chalk revolt" across Australia and in at least one other seemingly unlikely corner of the world (written by GREG GORDON, produced by STEVE PRIDE, and reported this week by RICK WATTS & WENZEL JONES)
NEW ZEALAND lawmakers voted to open civil marriage to same-gender couples following debate on the third and final reading of the "Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment" on April 17th. The final tally wasn't really in doubt, though no one knew exactly how large the margin would be. 62-year-old National Party M.P. MAURICE WILLIAMSON became an Internet sensation for his humorous and heartfelt comments during debate. Sustained cheers in the public galleries following the announcement of the favorable 77-to-44 vote led to the joyful singing of "POKAREKARE ANA", an indigenous Maori love song (segment intro'd by a few bars from an instrumental version of "God Defend New Zealand", the country's national anthem)
He was ushered into office under heavy security in 2003, and retired recently as a respected religious leader and author. That may sound like an episode of "The Borgias", but it’s the story of GENE ROBINSON, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop. The former head of the diocese of NEW HAMPSHIRE has been speaking around the country about his book, "GOD BELIEVES IN LOVE: STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE" (Random House), and a documentary on his life called "Love Free or Die". He visited his home turf in Concord, New Hampshire recently, where award-winning WNHN broadcaster ARNIE ARNESEN took him back to the beginning
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