July 29, 2005
Volume 33
Issue 30

Tuesday, Mar 01, 2016 02:08
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by Rex Wockner

Anti-Gays trash Latvia's first pride parade

Latvia saw its first Gay-pride parade July 23 after the Riga Regional Administrative Court slapped down a ban on it issued by city leaders three days earlier.

The approximately 150 marchers were heavily outnumbered by around 1,000 anti-Gay protesters who hurled insults, bottles and rotten eggs; blocked the streets; and forced the parade to be rerouted.

The protesters chanted "No sodomy" and "Gays fuck the nation."

In the end, police formed a human chain around the marchers to keep them safe. At least six anti-Gay demonstrators were arrested.

The parade ended at an Anglican church where a "rainbow mass" was celebrated by Maris Sants, a former minister in Latvia's dominant Lutheran church who was defrocked after he came out.

When the service ended, anti-Gays blocked the church exits. Police escorted the marchers from the building and bussed them to safety.

"I have never experienced so much hate before," Swedish marcher Rickard Lundgren told the Stockholm Web site "The hate was shining in their eyes."

Officials in the capital city banned the march July 20 after Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis denounced it as "a parade of sexual minorities [taking] place in the middle of our capital city next to the Dom [Cathedral]."

"This is not acceptable," he said. "Latvia is a state based on Christian values. We cannot promote things that are unacceptable to a large part of society."

A city spokesman claimed the march would harm Gays and Lesbians by reducing tolerance for them.

"The majority of society was against it, and it could result in unrest," said Ugis Vidauskis, spokesman for Riga City Executive Director Eriks Skapars.

Canadians want to keep same-sex marriage

Now that it's the law of the land, Canadians want to keep same-sex marriage, a new poll has found.

The Globe and Mail/CTV poll found that 55 percent of those surveyed say the next government should leave the law as is, while 39 percent would support an attempt to undo it. Six percent lacked an opinion.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper has pledged that if the Conservatives come into power, they will try to overturn the House of Commons and Senate votes that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

The poll also found that 51 percent of those surveyed oppose Gay adoption and 46 percent support it. The legalization of same-sex marriage probably automatically legalized adoption by married same-sex couples. But adoption law is made at the provincial level, and not all provinces and territories have had a court decision on the matter yet.

The poll questioned 1,000 Canadians and the results are said to be accurate within 3.1 percentage points 95 times out of 100.

The same-sex marriage bill passed the House of Commons 158-133 on June 28 and passed the Senate 47-21 with three abstentions on July 19. It received royal assent and became law July 20.

By then, only two territories - Nunavut and the Northwest Territories - prohibited same-sex couples from marrying. Of the other 10 provinces and one territory, nine were forced by courts to legalize same-sex marriage over the past two years. The other two jurisdictions simply announced they would not block same-sex couples from marrying. They did so after the House of Commons vote but before the Senate vote.

Foreign couples are welcome to marry in Canada, and only Quebec has any kind of waiting period.

Full same-sex marriage also is legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Massachusetts. Marriage-like civil unions are offered in numerous nations.

Argentine Senate recognizes Gay relationship

Argentina's Senate granted spousal rights to one of its employees who registered his relationship under Buenos Aires' Civil Union Law, local media reported July 13.

Eduardo Gabriel Crimi will receive 10 days off for his honeymoon. The Senate also formally asked the Ministry of Work's Social Security Secretariat if Crimi should be granted the special bonus employers give people who get married.

"The Senate's decision sets a key legal precedent because through an administrative act, dated and numbered, the Senate of the nation has affirmed the [city's] Civil Union Law on the national stage," said C├ęsar Cigliutti, head of CHA, the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina.

Police shoot rubber bullets, tear gas at AIDS protesters

Police in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, broke up a demonstration by AIDS activists with rubber bullets and tear gas July 12, Human Rights Watch said. Forty protesters were injured.

The demonstrators, organized by the Treatment Action Campaign, were protesting the government's poor record in providing antiretroviral drugs to people with HIV.

In December, the Eastern Cape Health Department stopped accepting new HIV patients and referred those already on treatment to Frontier Hospital in Queenstown, which is caring for fewer than 200 of the approximately 2,000 people in need. More than 50 AIDS patients have died while on the hospital's treatment waiting list.

South Africa has some 5.3 million HIV-positive residents. In November 2003, the federal government promised to provide 53,000 patients with free antiretroviral treatment by March 2004. But a year later, only about half that number were receiving the drugs.

Eastern Cape province's largest city is Port Elizabeth.
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