March 23, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 12
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Saturday, Jun 06, 2020



Rex Wockner
International News
Mexico City's civil-union law took effect March 16 and journalist Antonio Medina and banker Jorge Cerpa were among the first to tie the knot.

The ceremony took place in the plaza outside the offices of the Iztapalapa delegation, one of the city's 16 local governments. Medina, 38, and Cerpa, 31, kissed as a band played Bésame Mucho.

"A history of exclusion comes to an end," Medina told reporters. "Love between people of the same sex will now have legal recognition."

Cerpa told La Jornada, for which Medina works, that the couple met 4 1/2 years ago while "bar cruising."

Mexico City's Legislative Assembly passed the partnership law last November. It allows Gay and straight couples -- as well as two friends, roommates or extended family members -- to register their relationship and receive spousal rights in areas such as inheritance, pensions, property, co-parenting and medical decisions.

Couples must present identification, proof of residence, birth certificates and witnesses; pay a fee of about $3.90; then return in 10 business days, with the witnesses, for the ceremony. During the interim, the city's Justice Department confirms that both partners are unmarried and not already in a civil union.

Iztapalapa and some other boroughs allowed some couples to apply before the law officially took effect in order to hold ceremonies the first day.

Gay people also have access to civil unions in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. Elsewhere in Latin America, there are Gay-inclusive civil-union laws in the city of Buenos Aires, in one Argentine province and in one Brazilian state.

Teachers who come out at work or otherwise promote homosexuality "or other sexual deviance" will be fired and fined or jailed under legislation prepared by Poland's government, Deputy Minister of Education Miroslaw Orzechowski said March 15.

"These kinds of people cannot work with children," Orzechowski told Tok-FM radio. "These activities need to be acted upon when there is still a chance, before it's too late to make a difference."

The measure also targets principals, who would be fired if they allow members of Gay organizations to speak to students, the Polish Press Agency said.

According to the German news service Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the legislation is the handiwork of Roman Giertych, who serves as both minister of education and deputy prime minister.

At a recent meeting in Germany, Giertych told fellow European education ministers that "abortion must be banned immediately" and "homosexual propaganda must also be limited so children will have the correct view of the family."

"The propaganda of homosexuality is reaching ever younger children," he said. "If we will not use all our power to strengthen the family, then as a continent there is no future for us. We will be a continent settled by representatives of the Islamic world who care for the family."

Homophobia seems to be the norm all the way to the top of Poland's present government.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called Gays "perverse" and his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, shocked attendees at a recent National Forum On Europe meeting in Ireland when he warned that if homosexuality "were to be promoted on a grand scale, the human race would disappear."

President Kaczynski banned the Gay pride parade in 2004 and 2005 when he was mayor of Warsaw, and said he'd do it again if he were mayor today.

"I don't think it's appropriate that they should promote their sexual orientation," he said at the Irish meeting.

France's highest court has upheld the annulment of a same-sex marriage conducted by Bègles Mayor Noël Mamère in 2004.

The Cour de Cassation ruled March 13 that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and said only Parliament can change the law.

The couple at the center of the case, Stéphane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier, have said they may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

French same-sex couples have had access to civil unions since 1999.

Following their marriage, Chapin and Charpentier were convicted of theft for forging checks and stealing 4,000 euros from their 80-year-old landlady to pay for their wedding. They each received an eight-month suspended sentence for the crime.

Full legal equality for Gays and Lesbians hasn't ended homophobia in Quebec, the province's Human and Youth Rights Commission said in a March 6 report.

The report, based on the work of the government's Joint Task Force on Homophobia, states that sexual minorities still encounter discrimination at work, at school and within their families, as well as in health care, social services and sports and leisure activities.

It also said young Gay males are six to 16 times more likely to think about or attempt suicide, compared with young straight males, and young Lesbians are five times more likely to consider or attempt suicide.

The commission recommended appointing a government minister to draft, fund and implement a provincial strategy against homophobia. It said work is needed in the areas of information, awareness, training, scientific knowledge and support for GLBT organizations.

Quebec's minister of justice has vowed to implement the commission's recommendations.

Leaders of Canada's Anglican Church declared war on the worldwide Anglican Communion's opposition to church blessings of same-sex unions March 11.

The Council of General Synod voted to recommend that this year's full General Synod declare "that the blessing of same-sex unions is consistent with the core doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada."

The council also seeks approval from the synod to consider revising the church's marriage canon "to allow marriage of all legally qualified persons."

Canada is one of six nations where same-sex couples have access to full marriage.

Ironically, the moves came just days after an Anglican bishop in Saskatchewan stripped a priest of his license to minister because he wouldn't stop blessing same-sex marriages. The Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck of Saskatoon refused to back down as a matter of conscience, he said.

The worldwide Anglican Communion appears to be heading toward schism because of disagreements over same-sex unions and New Hampshire's selection of an openly Gay, partnered bishop.

The battle primarily is between anti-Gay national churches in Africa and Gay-friendly national churches in Canada and the United States -- with the Church of England and Anglican spiritual leader Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, stuck uncomfortably in the middle.

The U.S. branch of Anglicanism is known as the Episcopal Church.

Tens of thousands of Italians rallied in Rome's Piazza Farnese March 10 in support of Prime Minister Romano Prodi's civil-union legislation, which recently was placed on a back burner as Prodi struggled to hang on to power.

The legislation reportedly was removed from the government's priority list in late February as one of several concessions that allowed Prodi to cobble together a new parliamentary coalition large enough to save his job and prevent an election.

Scotland's Association of Chief Police Officers has sent notice to all police forces that fans who yell anti-Gay abuse during soccer matches are committing a crime.

The association said fans who taunt players with homophobic slurs should be warned and, if they don't stop, charged with breach of the peace, according to the Scotsman newspaper.

"It's about respecting people for who they are," Inspector David Lyle, Scottish co-coordinator of the Gay Police Association, told the newspaper. "Screaming racist or homophobic abuse at football matches is simply horrible behavior. People used to say, 'It's just guys letting off steam,' but I think we've moved on since then."

Gay Arabs will gather in Jerusalem March 28 for a conference entitled "Home and Exile."

Although some 1 million Arabs live in Israel, it is rare for GLBT Arabs to organize public events.

The meeting is being put together by the Haifa-based Arab Lesbian group Aswat. Up to 150 attendees are expected.
Quote / Unquote
by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way. As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of Gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior."
--Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace speaking in support of the military's anti-Gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, to the Chicago Tribune, March 12.

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot, so I'm ... kind of at an impasse -- can't really talk about Edwards."
--Pundit Ann Coulter addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2.

"C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult Gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean."
--Coulter in a March 3 e-mail to The New York Times.

"I do want to point out one thing that has been driving me crazy with the media -- how they keep describing Mitt Romney's position as being pro-Gays, and that's going to upset the right-wingers. Well, you know, screw you! I'm not anti-Gay. We're against Gay marriage. I don't want Gays to be discriminated against. I don't know why all Gays aren't Republican. I think we have the pro-Gay positions, which is anti-crime and for tax cuts. Gays make a lot of money and they're victims of crime. No, they are! They should be with us."
--Pundit Ann Coulter addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2.

"I was kissing her because that's what you do, you kiss your loved one when you win an Oscar, that's what I grew up believing."
--Singer Melissa Etheridge backstage at the Oscars Feb. 25 after she kissed wife Tammy Lynn Michaels before accepting the best-original-song trophy for "I Need to Wake Up" from Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

"This is the only naked man that will ever be in my bedroom."
--Singer Melissa Etheridge holding her trophy backstage at the Oscars Feb. 25. She won the best-original-song statuette for "I Need to Wake Up" from Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

"Even today, when I write books that are not centrally involved with Gay life, these books are put into the Gay shelves of the bookstore. I don't like labels. I don't like being called a Gay writer. I'm Gay -- proudly so -- and I'm a writer, a writer who's amassed quite a body of work."
--Author John Rechy to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, Feb. 16.

"That term sex addict really makes me laugh. Did I have abundant sex, oh yes ... my God yes, undeniably so. But being Gay allows us to experience an abundance of sexuality. ... I find that we should celebrate that difference in our lives from that of heterosexuals, I think we are different people -- that's a very good thing. I don't like what I call heterosexual imitation, because our lives are very, very rich and I don't want to see that gone. As far as sexual addiction, I would just call it bountiful sex."
--Author John Rechy to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, Feb. 16.

"I'll try anything once and if I like it I'll go back! Even at my age, I still consider myself sexual, but I don't consider myself Bisexual or homosexual or heterosexual. I think that those are trapping words. They paint sex as some sort of philosophical thing. We spend more time going to the john than having sex -- I would hate to be identified by how I go to the john!"
--Poet Rod McKuen to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, Feb. 16.

"It definitely is the Gayest show on TV: We have a kid who's into musical theater; Marc, who is totally Gay; and Daniel's brother who is a transsexual."
--Ugly Betty actor Michael Urie, who plays Wilhelmina Slater's assistant, Marc, to the Dallas Voice, Feb. 23.

"We don't know how many citizens ... have this unusual sexual orientation, but the Gay clubs are free to carry out their sexual activity. What we say is that we are against propagating, we are against promoting. Like any other society, we want to protect ourselves from the promotion of alcohol and tobacco. When we promote smoking, it's bad, it's wrong. [T]hrough the Gay parade you promote some uncertain people and it becomes an invitation to acquire this quality of the sexual minorities. [It is saying that] this is OK, that's normal, this is useful. Our view is that it is wrong and unusual. Let the Gay people do what they do, but they shouldn't involve other citizens of our country. ... I am not going to allow the Gay parade."
--Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov during a press conference in London with the pro-Gay mayor of London and the openly Gay mayors of Berlin and Paris, Feb. 28. The four had just finished their annual summit, which also was attended this year by the mayor of Beijing.

"Yuri! You do not become homosexual, there is no risk of propaganda. This is not a disease you catch at some point. It is somehow part of our identity. Some of us have brown skin, some of us have fair skin, some of us have brown eyes, some of us have blue eyes. We are born heterosexual or homosexual. And that's it."
--Openly Gay Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë to Mayor Luzhkov at the same press conference.

"Abortion must be banned immediately. Homosexual propaganda must also be limited so children will have the correct view of the family. ... The propaganda of homosexuality is reaching ever younger children. In some countries it is even forbidden for children in hospital to talk or read about Mommy and Daddy, because this allegedly violates minority rights. Let's free ourselves of this unwise political correctness. If we will not use all our power to strengthen the family, then as a continent there is no future for us. We will be a continent settled by representatives of the Islamic world who care for the family."
--Polish Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych, March 2.

"I don't want to keep on lying and lie to myself because of fear. [The photos of my Canadian same-sex marriage published by a gossip Web site] show a part of me, a part that I was not prepared to speak of in fear of rejection, of criticism, but especially for my family and its consequences. ... I believe love is the purest feeling that exists and in this career filled with loneliness, having the opportunity to share those moments with someone, that when you look into their eyes, you forget all the negative things, it's a gift of life, that I cherish more than fame. ... I don't think this is a defect, I won't deny it. Although I'm scared and filled with uncertainty I know that I can rely on the support of my fans, their love is bigger than all of this. I ask them from the bottom of my heart, not to judge me for being honest and to feel proud of who they are and never make the same mistake I did."
--Mexican pop star Christián Chávez of the group RBD, writing on the group's Web site, March 2. RBD is popular throughout much of Latin America and among Latinos in the U.S.

"I came out when I was 27 and I couldn't stop talking about it actually. My friends thought it was a career death wish. But I have always been really grateful that I wasn't in the closet, and I didn't have to spend so much energy concealing, because it really does change the integrity of your work. And when you see somebody perform and then they come out, you just see a freedom, you know, like Rosie. There's a certain freedom and power in regaining your authentic self."
--Comedian Kate Clinton to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, March 2.

"[It's] a corporation designed to milk the Gay market for money to hire more fundraisers and marketers to milk more Gay pockets. It's a racket with a plush new multi-million dollar headquarters and salaries that would make corporate America blush. Have they actually done anything for Gay rights? After a couple of decades observing them, my own view is: nada. ... They get tens of millions of dollars a year from well-intentioned Gay men and Lesbians. They've been doing it for years. And what have we got? Nothing. Wake up, guys. Give your money to people who actually fight for Gay equality."
--Writer Andrew Sullivan on the Human Rights Campaign, on his blog, March 7.

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