Sunday, May 13, 2012

Last week was one of mixed fortunes for the human rights of lesbian and gay people. The week began with the presidential election in France, and the victory of Francois Hollande - a supporter of equal marriage.

On Wednesday the Queen announced some of the legislation we can expect in the coming months. Newsround might have had something to say about proposals to increase powers of the Children's Commissioner, but instead the programme concentrated on possible changes to the House of Lords. Fortunately for CBBC there was no hint of marriage equality legislation - so this time Newsround can't be accused of censoring LGBT-related news.

Across the pond, residents of North Carolina were voting on whether same-sex marriage and partnerships should be made unconstitutional.  Last time North Carolina amended their constitution on marriage it was to ban interracial marriage:

North Carolina's marriage amendment in 1875

North Carolina again decided that human rights do not apply to some citizens.

Later that day President Obama told the world that his position on the issue of marriage had evolved, and that he had now personally decided that gay and lesbian couples should, indeed, be entitled to marry. Obama said his daughters - Malia and Sasha (aged 13 & 10) - didn't understand reasons for the discrimination.

President Obama: Malia and Sasha - it wouldn't dawn on them that, somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently. It doesn't make sense to them. And frankly that's the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective - you know not wanting to somehow explain to your child why somebody should be treated differently ...

Meanwhile it turns out that President Obama's rival, Mitt Romney, had been something of a homophobic school bully. Romney's conditional apology and failure to condemn bullying, give little sign that he's become a more compassionate man as he's grown older.

On Tuesday Newsround asked its audience: "Is there something that matters to you that you think no one else cares about? Or maybe you've already done something about an issue that affects you. We want to know the things that really matter to you."  Unfortunately a "technical fault" intervened. So if any kids were concerned about, for example, homophobia or bullying, they'll just have to wait.

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