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June 9, 2006
SGN.org
Volume 34
Issue 23
 
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Rex Wockner
International News
MOSCOW MAYOR: WE ARE MORALLY CLEANER

Three days after an attempt to stage Moscow's first Gay pride march ended in violence, injuries and arrests, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said he blocked the May 27 march because Russia is morally cleaner than other nations.

"Our way of life, our morals and our tradition - our morals are cleaner in all ways," Luzhkov told a local radio station. "The West has something to learn from us and should not race along in this mad licentiousness."

The small group of marchers was attacked repeatedly by neo-fascists, skinheads, militant Christians and riot police while attempting to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin and stage a rally in a square across from City Hall.

"These Gays wanted to lay flowers at the grave of the unknown warrior," Luzhkov said. "This is a provocation. It is desecration of a sacred place. ... It is a contamination. People burst through and of course they beat them up."

In all, at least 120 people were arrested, both Gays and counterprotesters. They were later released, but march organizers Nikolai Alekseev and Eugenia Debryanskaya face court appearances for staging an illegal picket.

"I am not going to attend the hearing," Alekseev said May 31. "They will probably fine me. I am not going to pay any fines and am ready to go all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights."

Police said the Gay marchers and their supporters numbered around 200. About 1,000 police officers, a quarter of Moscow's force, were assigned to prevent the march from happening.

POLISH GAYS WIN RIGHT TO MARCH

Polish Gays have won the right to stage pride parades.

In a definitive ruling May 25, Poland's Supreme Administrative Court upheld a ruling against Poznan Mayor Ryszard Grobelny who banned last year's parade.

Gays marched anyway and 75 of them were arrested. Courts later refused to proceed with criminal proceedings against them.

Other Polish officials - including President Lech Kaczynski when he was mayor of Warsaw - also have banned or attempted to ban pride parades.

The ruling applies nationwide.

ROMANIAN PRIDE TRASHED BY ANTIGAY MILITANTS

Fifty-one antiGay protesters were arrested June 3 at the Gay pride parade in Bucharest, Romania, after they threw bottles, rocks and eggs at the marchers.

Ten people were injured in the fracas.

More than 1,000 protesters - including nuns and priests carrying crosses - confronted the 500 marchers. Other homophobes tossed eggs from balconies along the parade route.

Earlier in the day, 400 supporters of the Christian organization Noua Dreapta (New Right) staged a so-called family-values march in protest against the Gay parade and in support of "normality."

BERMUDA REJECTS ANTIDISCRIMINATION LAW

A committee of Bermuda's House of Assembly rejected a bill May 26 that would have amended the Human Rights Act to protect Gays from discrimination.

Member of Parliament Renee Webb, the bill's author, told local media she had "never seen anything so lacking courage."

The measure was rejected in a voice vote, and Deputy Speaker of the House Jennifer Smith refused Webb's request for a roll call.

CANADIAN TRANSGENDER WINS STRIP-SEARCH CASE

The Human Rights Tribunal in the Canadian province of Ontario ruled May 25 that Transgender people who are strip-searched by police can choose whether a male or female officer - or both - conducts the search.

The case was brought by Rosalyn Forrester, a preoperative transsexual who was searched by male Peel Region police officers in 1999 and 2001, despite her requests that females perform the searches.

The tribunal found the police guilty of sex discrimination and ordered the force to produce and show its officers a video on transsexuality.

The Peel Region surrounds Toronto's international airport.

PROTESTERS THROW PROJECTILES AT IRISH JUSTICE MINISTER

Six antiGay protesters hurled verbal abuse, a glass jug of water, cups, pens and a copy of the Constitution at Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell as he spoke about same-sex civil partnership at a May 26 conference in Dublin.

The demonstrators, said to be from the Catholic group Ancient Order of Hibernians, left after 10 minutes.

McDowell described the disruption at the Royal College of Physicians as a "mini-riot" and said Irish Gays deserve equality.

The conference, "The Legal Status of Cohabitants and Same Sex Couples," was organized by government officials and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network.

AMSTERDAM GAY COMMUNITY CENTER CLOSES

Amsterdam's Gay community center, a project of the COC Amsterdam organization, has closed its doors to the public due to dwindling use, mounting debt and reduced city funding.

COC originally stood for Cultuur en Ontspannings-Centrum (Culture and Leisure Center) but the national organization and the Amsterdam branch now are known solely by their initials.

The large, three-story building near the city's Homomonument offered meeting rooms, a coffeeshop, an information center, a bar, a discothèque and a theater.

Groups reportedly left homeless by the closure include those serving leathermen, Arabs, Turks, senior citizens, youth, HIV-positives, Bisexuals, the disabled and foreigners.

"It seems to be that the fact that the Netherlands now has one of the best nondiscrimination laws in the world and the fact that marriage is open for everyone, promotes the disinterest of Lesbians and Gays," said Henk Krol, publisher of De Gay Krant newspaper. "They became part of society. Therefore, the need for separations disappears."

COC Amsterdam's projects in the larger community are expected to continue operating normally.

N.Z. FILM FEST PRIZE CRITICIZED

New Zealand's Gay film festival, Out Takes, has been criticized by some community activists for offering a trip to Fiji as a membership incentive prize.

Fiji bans Gay sex and reportedly blocks entry of people who are HIV-positive.

The group Reel Queer, which stages the film fest, defended the prize by arguing that a boycott of Fiji would be less effective than "to stand up and be present in the face of unjustified persecution."

JERUSALEM ORDERED TO FUND GAY ACTIVITIES

The Jerusalem District Court on May 29 ordered the city to fund the activities of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, including the annual Gay pride parade.

The city must give Open House $77,566 in funding that was denied in the years 2003-2005 and stop discriminating in its future funding of nonprofit groups, Judge Judith Tsur ruled.

"The municipality ... must treat this community with equality, out of recognition of the supreme value of equality, and out of respect for the values of tolerance and pluralism, which exist at the heart of democratic society," she said.

SWEDISH GAYS AND LESBIANS DIVORCE AT A HIGHER RATE

Same-sex couples united under Sweden's registered-partnership law are divorcing at a higher rate than heterosexual couples, Radio Sweden reported May 30.

According to Statistics Sweden, 30 percent of Lesbian couples and 20 percent of Gay-male couples have split after five years compared to 13 percent of married heterosexual couples.

More than 3,300 same-sex couples have tied the knot in the 11 years Sweden has offered registered partnerships.

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