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JUNE 5 - 11, 2009


International News Cleric calls for eradication of homosexuality A radical Shiite cleric has called for the “depravity” of homosexuality to be eradicated, but his spokesperson later said the remark should not be taken as a fatwa to kill gays. Moqtada Sadr made the statement on May 28 during a seminar of clerics, police and tribal leaders. There has been growing antigay violence in Iraq. In April, another Shiite cleric, Sattar al-Battat, repeatedly condemned homosexuality during Friday prayers, saying Islam prohibits homosexuality. Homosexual acts are punishable by up to seven years in prison in Iraq. The following week, the bodies of two gay men were found in Baghdad’s Shiite slum of Sadr City. Several days later, a third man, also believed to be gay, was found dead on the outskirts of Sadr City. Amnesty International said that in addition to the violence in Sadr City, 25 suspected gays had been killed in recent months in Baghdad. A group calling itself “Brigades of the Righteous” has posted signs around Sadr City listing the names of alleged homosexuals and threatening to kill them. Moqtada Sadr’s spokesperson on May 29 said the cleric’s call for the eradication of homosexuality was not an endorsement of the violence. “Al-Sadr rejects this type of violence,” said Sheikh Wadea alAtabi. “And anyone who commits violence [against gays] will not be considered as being one of us. The only remedy to stop [homosexuality] is through preaching and guidance. There is no other way to put an end to it.”


Larry Nichols

will retire in November. Brunne, 55, has a 3-year-old son with her partner Gunilla Linden, who is a priest. She has been praised for her natural authority, enthusiasm and sense of humor. “I am happy and very proud to be part of a church that encourages people to make their own decisions,” she said following her appointment. “Diversity is a big wealth.” A gender-neutral marriage law in Sweden came into force on May 1, meaning gay couples can now marry in the country in religious or civil ceremonies. However, they cannot yet get married in church ceremonies. The Lutheran Church, which was the state church until 2000, has said that while it supports the new law, it will not formally decide whether to perform gay-marriage ceremonies until October.

Spain: Judges must marry gays The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that judges in lower courts or in local town halls must marry gay and lesbian couples. A magistrate in Sagunto, Valencia, had presented an appeal to the Supreme Court saying

he did not want to carry out a same-sex ceremony on religious grounds. However, the General Council for Judicial Power, the body that oversees the judiciary in Spain, has already ruled that judges cannot refuse. In addition, the Supreme Court ruled that members of the judiciary are subject to antidiscrimination laws in the same way as everyone else. Spain legalized gay marriage in 2005.

Honduran trans abuse draws ire Human Rights Watch released a report May 29 calling on Honduran police to stop abusing transgender citizens. According to the group, transgender people are reporting repeated rapes, beatings, extortion and arbitrary arrests by officers. At least 17 transgender Hondurans have been murdered since 2004, yet none of the killings have led to prosecution. Juliana Cano Nieto, LGBT researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the state is “failing See INTERNATIONAL, Page 17

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Sweden appoints lesbian bishop The Church of Sweden has appointed a lesbian as the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm. Eva Brunne, who is in a registered partnership, is believed to be the world’s first lesbian bishop. She won the post by 413 votes against 365 votes and will succeed Bishop Caroline Krook, who

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PGN June 5 - 11, 2009 edition  
PGN June 5 - 11, 2009 edition  

The Philadelphia Gay News covers news and entertainment serving the GLBT community in the greater Philadelphia region and beyond.