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WORLD NEWS only two hostile speakers,” he said. “But one of these was applauded loudly. So it seems there is still plenty of opposition, even if not publicly expressed in the assembly.” It is unclear what will happen next. In one scenario, the measures would be sent back to the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee and amended before returning to the full assembly in April. PACE is a consultative body, so its resolutions and recommendations are advisory only. But they are seen as an important indication of Europe-wide opinion. The Council of Europe is Europe’s main intergovernmental organization with a human-rights focus and is the seat of the European Court of Human Rights. There is strong opposition to LGBT rights in some CoE member nations, much more so in parts of Central and Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. Two anti-gay MPs from Azerbaijan, Gultekin Hajibeyli and Sabir Hajiyev, went so far as to boycott the assembly session. “I think it wrong to raise this issue in PACE,” Hajiyev told news.az. Religious bodies in Ukraine also expressed disapproval of the assembly’s even considering LGBT rights issues.
Mr. Gay China contest blocked by police
Beijing’s Mr. Gay China contest was
Section 1: News & Politics canceled by police an hour before it was to begin Jan. 15. Gayographic, a public-relations and event-management company that organized the contest at the posh Lan Club, told reporters that police claimed the competition lacked proper permits. The pageant, with ticket prices ranging from $15 to $22, had sold out in advance and attracted heavy attention from international media. A day later, police also canceled anniversary events of the Aizhixing Institute of Health Education, an HIV/AIDS organization. “We are saddened that Mr. Gay China pageant has been canceled,” said a Jan. 18 posting on Gayographic’s English Web pages. “Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience that has caused you and your friends. ... For those who bought tickets, please come to Mesh or Lantung this Thursday. We will give you the full refund. Our weekly Gayographic event at Lan Club is postponed indefinitely.”
Russian marriage case headed to Euro Court
The Moscow City Court on Jan. 21 upheld a lower-court decision supporting the city’s refusal to give a marriage license to a lesbian couple. Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko, who later traveled to Canada and got married, said they now will appeal the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The couple also plan to demand that Russia recognize their Canadian marriage as soon as they receive their marriage certificate from Toronto.
Portuguese support same-sex marriage, by a smidge
Fifty-two percent of Portuguese support legalization of same-sex marriage, according to a new Eurosondagem poll for Rádio Renascença, SIC TV and the Expresso newspaper. Parliament voted 125-92 to legalize same-sex marriage on Jan. 8. Barring unexpected complications, the first gay weddings will take place in April or shortly thereafter. The bill that legalized same-sex marriage specifically excluded access to adoption for married same-sex couples. The Eurosondagem poll quizzed 1,010 people by telephone from Jan. 7 to 12. Fortythree percent said they oppose same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage also is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden; in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province; and in the U.S. states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. It will become legal in March in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City.
Belarus gay picketers lose appeal
Belarus’ Minsk City Court on Jan. 19 dismissed the appeal of two gay activists who were fined for picketing the Iranian Embassy to protest Iran’s treatment of gay people. Sergey Androsenko and Sergey Pravdin said they will appeal the latest ruling to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. “The decision which found me guilty of organizing an unsanctioned event violates my right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Belarus ratified,” Androsenko said. He added that his fine—$307—was unusually harsh for nations of the former Soviet Union, equaling one month’s worth of his salary. Androsenko said he and two others staged the December picket because “the
world can’t hear the voice of Iranian gays, who are being executed.” “We, activists of LGBT movement, have to become this voice,” he said.
Malawi unfazed by int’l criticism of gay arrests
Malawi’s Information Ministry said Jan. 18 that international pressure will not dissuade the nation from prosecuting a gay couple for having a public engagement ceremony. Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were charged with “unnatural offenses” and “indecent practices between males” after holding the event in Blantyre on Dec. 26. They face 14 years in prison. The couple remain jailed pending resumption of their trial, which began Jan. 15 but was quickly adjourned after Chimbalanga, who reportedly has malaria, vomited and collapsed. He was later forced to get a mop and bucket and clean up the mess. Information Minister Leckford Mwanza dismissed international criticism of the case, saying the gay lovers clearly are lawbreakers and suggesting that Malawi does not want unsolicited advice on handling its internal affairs. Meanwhile, on Jan. 6, Chimbalanga was subjected to a forced medical exam to prove he’s had gay sex. The following day, both men were forced to undergo psychiatric testing. “Prosecuting two adults just because they affirm their love is a terrible injustice,” said Dipika Nath of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT rights program. “To subject individuals to spurious medical examinations against their will shows grave disregard for their fundamental human rights as well as for the public welfare.” Assistance: Bill Kelley
"Not only am I a single mother who's pregnant, but I'm also a lesbian mother who is pregnant and having a baby for two gay men. That might be startling to some." — Utah state Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, to the Salt Lake Tribune Jan. 8 on being impregnated by a gay-male couple she is close friends with.
Published on Feb 1, 2010
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