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International News - Rex Wockner
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Embassies support Budapest pride
Thirteen embassies in Hungary issued a statement August 28 in support of Budapest's 14th Gay pride events.

Culminating with a September 5 parade, the weeklong festivities include music, parties, an "antifascist demonstration," workshops, an open-mic night, a picnic and a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of Károly Kertbeny, "who invented the term 'homosexuality,'" pride organizers said.

The press release expressing "support for and solidarity with" the events was signed by the embassies of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Human rights - including justice, equality, humanity, respect and freedom of expression - and the rule of law are the foundations upon which democratic states are built," the embassies said. "Today, many individuals face discrimination, both systemic and overt, based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties."

Last year, right-wing extremists attacked the parade's 1,500 marchers and fought with police afterward.

Hundreds of counterdemonstrators threw rocks, eggs, bottles, firecrackers, feces, acid, paint and Molotov cocktails at the participants and the cops. They also set a police van on fire and damaged media trucks.

Around 45 of the attackers were arrested. Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to subdue them.

Some 25 people were injured, including several of the 2,100 police officers protecting the event. A post-parade concert was canceled.

The European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights denounced the violence and the fact that it wasn't prevented.

"I am deeply disappointed and concerned of Hungary's inability to deal with extremists," said Intergroup President Michael Cashman.

Intergroup Vice President Sirpa Pietikäinen added, "Police forces again, like last year, failed to protect citizens exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly."

Some people are Gay. Get over it!
Britain's leading GLBT lobby group, Stonewall, has launched a back-to-school ad campaign with the theme "Some people are Gay. Get over it!"

The ads are running on 500 billboards and 20 train-station advertising screens in England, Scotland and Wales.

The theme was chosen by a group of 150 students and originally appeared on posters, stickers and postcards that were distributed in thousands of secondary schools.

The campaign has been endorsed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

UK Foreign Office to fund foreign Gay-rights cases
The United Kingdom's Foreign Office will help pay for Gay-rights legal challenges in repressive nations such as Jamaica, Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq and Iran.

Gay Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Chris Bryant said British missions also will focus on Gay legal issues in Ghana, Colombia, Uzbekistan and other nations.

Bryant recently congratulated the British ambassador to Poland for hoisting a rainbow flag at the embassy, praised the ambassador to Bulgaria for supporting Gay pride events, and thanked the ambassador to Romania for marching in the pride parade.

Italian national soccer coach disses the Gays
The coach of Italy's national soccer team, Marcello Lippi, said August 26 that an openly Gay couple would not be welcome on the team.

"Two members of the blue selection at the moment could not ever have a relationship in the light of day," Lippi told the Webcast KlausCondicio. "It's not a cultural issue but [a matter] of interests with which a relationship of this kind would come into conflict."

"Imagine how an issue like a homosexual couple who play soccer would be addressed," Lippi said. "Even if from a cultural point of view a good part of the people were in support, able to understand and accept the situation, the topic would be exploited in such a way that it would end up having a negative connotation."

Not that Lippi need worry, apparently. He also has said there are no Gay professional soccer players in Italy - "or at least in 40 years of my career I have never met any."

530,000 turn out for Vancouver pride
Vancouver's August 2 Gay pride parade brought 530,000 people to the streets of the West End, Xtra! West reported.

The city's 31st march included 150 contingents and took place in what the paper called "record-breaking heat."

Mayor Gregor Robertson wore a rainbow T-shirt and danced on a city float that portrayed the Vancouver skyline in pink. Police officers, firefighters and school-board members also took part.

Uruguay OKs Gay adoption
Uruguay's Chamber of Deputies voted 40-13 on August 27 to let Gay couples adopt children. Forty-six other lawmakers were not present for the vote.

The measure received unanimous support from the ruling Broad Front party and one vote from the conservative National Party.

The bill now is before the Chamber of Senators, where it is expected to pass. President Tabaré Vázquez supports it.

The Roman Catholic Church has fought against the measure, suggesting it violates natural law and human rights. "This is mot a matter of religion, of philosophy or of sociology," Montevideo Archbishop Nicolás Cotugno said in a statement. "To accept the adoption of children by homosexual couples is to go against human nature itself, and consequently is to go against the fundamental rights of the human being as a person."



With assistance from Bill Kelley

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