New Zealand Becomes 13th Nation to Legalize Marriage Equality

New Zealand’s parliament voted 77 to 44 on Wednesday to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making the country the first in the Asia-Pacific region and the 13th in the world to embrace marriage equality. The law is expected to take effect in August.

New Zealand has allowed civil unions for same-sex couples since 2005, but the new marriage equality law will confer two more crucial rights: couples will be allowed to jointly adopt children, and their marriages will be recognized in other countries.

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Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) Will Speak at Secular Coalition for America’s Lobby Day and Secular Summit Event

As I’ve mentioned before, the Secular Coalition for America is sponsoring a Lobby Day and Secular Summit next week. It’s a packed event full of educational meetings, panels about issues non-theists care about, and addresses by government officials.

The SCA announced weeks ago that Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) would be a Keynote Speaker on the morning of Wednesday, April 25th. And they’ve just announced that their second keynote speaker (giving a talk that same afternoon) will be Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA):

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Governor Bobby Jindal: I’ve Got No Problem if a Local School Board Says ‘We Want to Teach Our Kids About Creationism’

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is no friend of science educators. Last year, he passed a voucher plan that would give more than $11,000,000 of taxpayer money to private schools that teach Creationism.

But I can’t remember him ever supporting the teaching of Creationism as openly as he did in a recent interview with Hoda Kotb (the relevant portion begins at the 9:00 mark):

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Pennsylvania Democrat Kicked Out of Christian Band for Supporting Marriage Equality

Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith is a proud Christian running for Lieutenant Governor in the state of Pennsylvania. He was also the lead guitarist for an up-and-coming Christian rock band — until he publicly announced his support for marriage equality.

During his campaign and on Facebook, Smith has been open about supporting same-sex couples’ right to marry. His campaign website reads, in part:

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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Declare ‘National Fast Day’ to Honor God, Prayer, and Abraham Lincoln

One of the reasons church-state separation groups go after bills and resolutions that contain even a bit of religion-promotion is that they know they can’t let anything slide. They let the word “God” appear on our currency, which seems like no big deal… until decades later, when Christians use that as evidence that we’re a “Christian nation,” whatever that means.

On March 31st, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring April 30th of that year a “Day of Fasting and Prayer”:

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