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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 4, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 09
International News - Rex Wockner
Section One
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Irish support same-sex marriage
Sixty-one percent of the Irish support legalization of same-sex marriage, according to a new Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne survey. Only 27 percent oppose it.

Support is strongest among young people, women, Labour voters, and Dubliners. It is weakest among people over 65 and farmers.

Ireland has a civil-partnership law that provides same-sex couples with many of the rights and obligations of marriage, but Gay campaigners say separate is not equal.

Trinidad and Tobago debates same-sex unions
The Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is in the midst of a debate about recognition of same-sex unions.

The matter arose when some senators objected to the fact that same-sex couples are excluded from proposed amendments to a law that pays a month's salary to the next of kin of a civil servant who passes away.

The amendments reportedly will add unmarried opposite-sex partners and children born out of wedlock.

The local group Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation said it was surprised by the political debate and had not considered proposing recognition of same-sex unions at this juncture, given that local LGBT people have more basic concerns.

The organization suggested that the government decriminalize Gay sex, address anti-Gay discrimination, deal with hate crimes and homelessness, train homophobic police officers, and make schools safer for LGBT people.

Gay guesthouses investigated in U.K.
Following the recent case in which a straight Christian couple were fined because they refused to rent a room in their bed-and-breakfast to a Gay couple, the United Kingdom government now will investigate whether Gay hotels and guesthouses have violated the same ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations.

Although there have been no complaints against any Gay venue, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said Gay-only lodgings would be subject to similar legal action if they were found to be violating the law.

Belarus president told German foreign minister to turn straight
Last November in Minsk, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko suggested to German Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle that he should cease being Gay.

Lukashenko recently acknowledged the incident, telling reporters that he dislikes 'faggots' and confirming he told Westerwelle 'it is necessary to live a normal life.'

Russian Gay activist Nikolai Alekseev expressed surprise that there was little reaction to the incident from German Gay activists or the German government.

'To leave without reaction what Lukashenko said is nothing else than setting a dangerous precedent,' Alekseev said. 'If he can bash verbally a German minister on his sexual orientation, then why he would not do it with all Belarusian LGBT people. People have to understand that their absence of reaction can have some negative side effects to others.'

Portugal approves pro-Trans policies
Portugal's Parliament on February 17 approved a law making life easier for Transsexuals.

Within a couple of weeks, those who want to change their name or legal sex can go to a civil registry office with medical proof of 'gender identity disorder' and officials must process the changes within eight days.

There is no requirement of sex-reassignment surgery as a prerequisite to making the changes.

Alterations in the Marriage Registry, however, can be made only with written consent of the spouse or ex-spouse, and changes to a birth certificate of an individual's adult child require the child's approval.

Jamaican Gay bar raided
Police raided the only Gay bar on the touristy Hip Strip in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on February 20, according to the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, or J-FLAG.

Around 20 officers kicked in doors, shouted anti-Gay slurs, beat and pistol-whipped patrons and made everyone leave, J-FLAG said.

As the customers fled, patrons of nearby straight clubs pelted them with bottles and rocks, J-FLAG said.

Ten of the raid's victims sought medical treatment for injuries sustained in the attack, according to J-FLAG.

There was a similar raid in early February at a Gay club in Kingston, the capital.

Officials have provided no explanation for either incident.

On February 25, Jamaican Gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson received an e-mailed death threat after his letter to the editor about the raids was published in a local newspaper.

The signed e-mail said [sic throughout]: 'listen battyman we in jamaica wont endorse r accept you faggots no matter what the fuck u guys try 2 say r do.....get that through ur thick skulls!!!!!!!!!!!! we have different culture n upbringing fr north americans or whomever else.....you should consider moving sumwhere there......in the meantime shut the fuck up r you will fucking die!!!!!!!!' Tomlinson reported the e-mail to police and an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He requested that the threat be publicized 'just in case anything happens to me.'

Tomlinson is a legal adviser for the organization AIDS-Free World and also works with J-FLAG.

Slovenian government proposes legalization of same-sex marriage
Human Rights Watch on February 25 urged Slovenia's Parliament to adopt a new Family Code proposed by the government that includes legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption.

'In recent years many European states have extended civil marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples,' said Boris Dittrich, acting head of HRW's LGBT Rights Program. 'The proposed Family Code is Slovenia's chance to join others in Europe in enabling same-sex couples to participate fully in family life.'

Brazilian government launches homophobia helpline
Brazil's government launched a homophobia helpline February 19 to deal with complaints of anti-Gay discrimination and violence. Brazilians can dial 100 from any phone.

The launch ceremony featured an official from the nation's Human Rights Secretariat, the Senate first vice president, São Paulo's human rights secretary, and a federal congressman, among others.

The celebration ended with a March Against Homophobia along São Paulo's Avenida Paulista. About 1,000 people joined in.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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