News You Should Know July 11

BTL Staff

CHICAGO (AP) - A survey indicates that 5,000 same-sex couples have married in Illinois. Equality Illinois reports that all of the 102 Illinois counties revealed that at least 3,274 marriage licenses have been issued and another 1,695 civil unions have been converted to marriages. The group also found that after the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act went into effect last month, the same sex-marriages performed in Washington D.C., other states and other countries were recognized in Illinois as marriages. Not surprisingly, Cook County had more marriages or conversions than any other county. But the marriages and conversions were reported all across the state, with only nine counties saying they didn't record any. Another five counties did not respond to the survey.

AUSTRALIA ( Newly-elected Senator will introduce a same-sex marriage bill as a priority, shortly after taking office. David Leyonhjelm, a liberal democrat, took office for New South Wales in July following his party's first victory in a federal election last year. According to Australia Marriage Equality, the Senator, who is the only federal Liberal Democrat representative, will shortly introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, hoping to win broad support from other parties. In his inaugural speech, Leyonhjelm said: "Liberty is eroded when we are unable to marry the person of our choice, whatever their gender."

NATIONAL (The Advocate)- Some activists are still pushing for ENDA. Since so many groups decided to publicly drop ENDA this week over the religious exemptions, there has been more talk of an omnibus bill that would ensure equal rights on all fronts for all people, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Activists were already leery of religious exemptions in the workplace discrimination bill that passed the Senate earlier this year, then the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling had several major groups abandoning ENDA over renewed concern it could harm LGBT employees more than help them. Among the groups was the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, followed by the ACLU, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Transgender Law Center, and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

DETROIT (AP)- Two pools and a bathhouse will be reopened in Detroit at Detroit's Rouge Park as part of a $5.5 million renovation project. Mayor Mike Duggan's office says he'll be joined June 9 by former Mayor Dave Bing, state officials and representatives of auto parts supplier Lear Corp. A separate advisory says Republican state House Speaker Jase Bolger and Democratic state Rep. Harvey Santana of Detroit plan to take a "pool plunge" to celebrate the reopening. The pools and bathhouse at Rouge Park haven't been used in years. Money for the renovation came from donations from the Detroit Recreation Foundation, city funding and a grant from the state. It's part of a broader effort to improve Detroit parks.

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