Italian PM: Gay unions
will be kept at lower level
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said February 26, 'As long as we are in power, traditional marriage and Gay unions will never be on the same level.'
The national LGBT group Arcigay denounced the remark as 'another ruthless use of homosexuals and Transsexuals' lives and feelings with the sole objective of restoring the alliance with the Catholic electorate, disgusted by months of sexual scandals.'
'The prime minister should look around and tell us which countries are treating LGBT people like he does,' said the group's president, Paolo Patanè. 'Maybe he will find out that this does not happen anywhere in the civilized world.'
Euro Court rules against
Russia in HIV case
The European Court of Human Rights ruled March 10 that Russia violated the European Convention on Human Rights when it denied a residence permit to a man from Uzbekistan because he is HIV-positive.
The man is married to a Russian woman and they have a child together.
The ruling created European legal precedent in two ways: It recognized HIV-positive people as a distinct group whose fundamental rights are protected from discrimination, and it elevated HIV-positive people to the status of a 'vulnerable group with a history of prejudice and stigmatization.'
Restrictions on the rights of vulnerable groups face the highest level of court scrutiny and are presumed to be illegal from the get-go.
The court said, 'The mere presence of an HIV-positive individual in a country is not in itself a threat to public health.'
Russia was found to have violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which concerns right to family life, and Article 14, which bans discrimination.
Last October, the Euro Court ruled against Russia in the matter of Moscow's ongoing bans of Gay pride events.
The court found that the nation violated guarantees of the European Convention in the areas of freedom of assembly and association, right to an effective remedy and prohibition of discrimination.
statement to be
delivered at U.N.
A joint statement recognizing human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity will be delivered at the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 21. The deadline for countries to sign onto it is March 18.
At present, 58 nations have endorsed the statement. Gay activists who are involved in U.N. affairs are urging colleagues around the world to lobby their national governments to sign up.
Among the nations being targeted are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine.
The statement will be read out by the U.N.'s ambassador from Colombia.
Euro Parliament warns
on Gay equality
Adopting resolutions on Turkey's and Montenegro's progress toward joining the European Union, the European Parliament on March 9 told both nations they will have to do better on LGBT equality if they want to be part of the EU.
Turkey must 'ensure that equality, regardless of sex ... or sexual orientation, is guaranteed by the law and effectively enforced,' the parliament said.
Ongoing problems include forced closures of LGBT organizations, the army's classification of homosexuality as a psychosexual illness, murders of Transgender people, and the withdrawal of sexual orientation from a draft anti-discrimination law, the parliament said.
While Montenegro does ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment and public services, the Euro Parliament said that discrimination persists 'including on the part of state authorities.'
The co-president of the parliament's LGBT Intergroup, Ulrike Lunacek, said: 'We demand that Ferhat Dinosa, minister for human minority rights, defend LGBT people's human rights instead of displaying intolerance and insensitivity to these issues. This is the only way forward for Montenegro's accession process.'
Lithuanian MPs want to ban
Conservative members of Lithuania's Parliament have proposed banning gender-reassignment surgery via the Civil Code.
They said the move would protect the nation 'from any preconditions which create grounds for the appearance of claims against Lithuania at the European Court of Human Rights.'
Lithuania lost an ECHR case in 2007 concerning a Transsexual's right to gender-reassignment surgery. The court said the nation violated the individual's right to respect of private life and ordered payment of damages in the amount of 40,000 euros, which Lithuania paid.
The Civil Code currently allows for gender-reassignment surgery but the nation lacks necessary laws setting forth the conditions and procedures for surgery.
The Lithuanian Gay League denounced the parliamentary proposal.
blasts Iran on Gays
The European Parliament on March 10 adopted a resolution urging Iran to 'stop discriminating against people on the basis of their sexual orientation' and denouncing 'the inhumane and medieval practice of sentencing people to death for alleged offences pertaining to choice of partners or sexual practices.'
The parliament also welcomed 'steps taken by several Member States to provide shelter to those Iranian human rights defenders, dissidents, journalists, students, women, children and artists who are persecuted for their religious beliefs, opinions, sexual orientation, or other aspects of the exercise of their human rights.'
Iran has the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex. While no such executions have been documented in recent years, it is widely believed they may have occurred. Executions are known to have taken place in recent years following convictions in cases of alleged nonconsensual sex between males.
British Gay magazine
launches Thai edition
The well-known British Gay magazine Attitude launched a Thai-language edition in Thailand on March 9. According to local correspondent Douglas Sanders, it was full of fancy ads, including from Jean Paul Gaultier, Diesel, Puma, Giorgio Armani, Davidoff, and Playboy eyewear.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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