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International News - Rex Wockner
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

El Salvador rejects move to ban Gay marriage and adoption
An attempt to put anti-Gay amendments into El Salvador's constitution failed September 24.

The proposals would have banned Gay adoption, same-sex marriage, Gay civil unions and recognition of foreign Gay unions.

Fifty-six votes were needed, a two-thirds majority. Proponents fell 10 votes short.

President Mauricio Funes' governing left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front opposed the amendments, saying they violated GLBT civil rights.

New UN president disses Gays
The new president of the United Nations General Assembly, former Libyan Foreign Minister Ali Abdussalam Treki, expressed disapproval of Gays September 15.

Asked about last year's General Assembly statement by 66 nations urging decriminalization of Gay sex worldwide, Treki said: "As a Muslim, I am not in favor of that. I believe it is not accepted by the majority of countries [and] it is not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition."

Treki reportedly went on to say that some countries think allowing homosexuality is "a kind of democracy [but] I think it is not."

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, denounced the remarks.

"The anti-Gay bigotry spewed by this Qaddafi shill demonstrates once again that the UN has been hijacked by advocates of hate and intolerance," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Likewise, the leadership of the UN Development Program is held by the Iranian regime, which denies the presence of Gays in Iran even as it murders them and other innocent citizens. We must ensure that billions annually in U.S. taxpayer dollars no longer foot the bill for the UN's anti-freedom agenda without significant reform."

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) said it was "deeply worried and outraged" by Treki's statements.

"The worrying and serious implications of this attitude, coming from the new head of an institution which is supposed to regard human rights - all human rights - as the most sacred value, cannot be overstated," ILGA Co-Secretaries General Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini said. "We appeal to the representatives of the states which signed the statement against criminalization of homosexuality, but also voted for the election of Mr. Treki in his new position, to demand an explanation [from] the UN Assembly president for his words and react consequently."

The president of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, Michael Cashman, called on Treki to "think again."

"He is there to defend the principles of the United Nations and that includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Act ... all following amendments and covenants of rights, including LGBT human rights," Cashman said. "Such statements are totally inappropriate and unacceptable. He must now speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice and forget his religious beliefs which must remain private. He must realize that the implications of his words could legitimize violence towards LGBT people."

Gay rights conference staged in Belarus
More than 100 people from nine Belarusian cities and 10 other countries gathered at the Crowne Plaza in Minsk, Belarus, on September 26 for an LGBT rights conference, GayRussia.ru reported.

Twenty-three reports were presented at the meeting, which was titled "LGBT Movement and NGOs: Prospects for Cooperation With Active Civil Society to Overcome Homophobia in Belarus."

The reports addressed such issues as public activism, GLBT identity, Gay history, homophobia in politics, psychological aspects of homophobia, education of journalists, Gay business, and homosexuality and religion.

The gathering was organized by GayBelarus.by and GayRussia.ru.

"You are making history today," Louis-Georges Tin, president of the International Day Against Homophobia Committee, told the delegates.

Jean-Eric Holzapfel from the European Commission's Belarus delegation told delegates: "The human rights situation in Belarus is of particular interest to us. This applies of course to the situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people."

At the conference's conclusion, delegates adopted a resolution that will be sent to Belarus' government and parliament urging passage of laws banning anti-Gay and -Trans discrimination, criminalizing hate speech, and extending spousal rights to same-sex couples.

Representatives attended from the French, Hungarian and Swedish embassies, and the Swedish Embassy hosted an evening reception.

Later, Lika Milovski was crowned "Miss Trans Diva Belarus" at a local nightclub.

Libel case against Moscow mayor dismissed
A libel case against Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov over his having called Gays "homos" was dismissed October 2.

After a three-hour hearing the Tverskoi District Court said there was a lack of evidence in the case filed by Moscow Pride organizers.

Speaking on TV in June against the planned Gay pride parade, Luzhkov said Russian society "does not accept all these homos."

Luzhkov has banned the pride parade for four years and has sent riot police to aggressively arrest those who ignored the bans.

He has said the bans are for Gays' own good so that "radical Christians" don't have a chance to "kill them," but he also reportedly has called Gay pride parades "demonic," "satanic" and "weapons of mass destruction."

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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picture, top: Minsk
bottom: Nikolai Alekseev
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