International News Highlights — September 23, 2022

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Peruvian fans in Qatar —  Photo by Hussein Sayed / AP
Peruvian fans in Qatar — Photo by Hussein Sayed / AP

German football fans demand rights in Qatar
At a human rights congress hosted by the German soccer federation, fan representative Dario Minden urged Qatar's ambassador to Germany to abolish the Middle East country's laws against LGBTQ people. Qatar will be hosting the World Cup in November.

"I am a man and I love men," said Minden to Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani. "I do — please don't be shocked — have sex with other men. This is normal. So please get used to it, or stay out of football. Because the most important rule in football is football is for everyone. It doesn't matter if you're Lesbian, if you're Gay. It's for everyone. For the boys. For the girls. And for everyone in between."

Minden went on, "Abolish all of the penalties regarding sexual identity and gender identity. The rule that football is for everyone is so important. We cannot allow you to break it, no matter how rich you are. You are more than welcome to join the international football community and also, of course, to host a big tournament. But in sports, it is how it is. You have to accept the rules."

Al Thani's comments after Minden's appeal were off the record, but beforehand, the ambassador had complained to the congress that human rights issues were distracting from the tournament, and he wished there was more concentration on "the enjoyment of football."

Rebel bishops in Belgium stop short of marriage
Going against certain 2021 directives from the Vatican that prohibit church blessings for Gay couples, Belgian bishops have published a proposed prayer liturgy (ceremony) of prayers, readings from scripture, and expressions of commitment, all for same-sex couples.

The bishops said that the "moment of prayer" wasn't the same thing as a marriage, but rather an effort by the Belgian church to "create a climate of respect, recognition, and integration" for its Gay members.

The news comes as part of a broader trend of progressive churches pushing for greater acceptance and outreach to the LGBTQ community, with the German church leading the way, though Catholic teachings still maintain that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered."

A spokesman for Belgium's bishops conference, Tommy Scholtes, argued that the proposed ceremony didn't really even amount to a blessing, so much as "an opportunity for homosexual couples to pray together, and others will also be able to pray for them."

"There is no blessing," Scholtes went on, "no exchange of consent. There is nothing like a marriage."