|Two Moscow lesbian activists who were turned down for a marriage license in Russia got married in Toronto Oct. 23. Irina Fedotova-Fet, in black, and Irina Shipitko then returned home to demand that Russia recognize the Canadian marriage. GayRussia.ru phot
Two Moscow lesbian activists who were turned down for a marriage license in Russia got married in Toronto Oct. 23. Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko honeymooned in Niagara Falls, then returned home with their lawyer, gay activist Nikolai Alekseev, to demand that Russia recognize the Canadian marriage.
According to Alekseev, Russian law requires recognition of all foreign marriages except in cases of bigamy or incest. Homosexual unions are not among those prohibited, he said. “It’s sort of a loophole in the law,” Alekseev said.
Should Russia refuse to recognize the marriage, Alekseev and the couple will file a case with the European Court of Human Rights, he said.
“Even though it is not my marriage, this is a day I will hardly forget,” Alekseev said in Toronto. “Many in Russia, including in the LGBT community, think that same-sex marriage is impossible but the fight for marriage equality in Russia today is an investment in a democratic and free future of the country. We know that we will get it one day and this is the reason why we have to start now. I salute the courage of Irina and Irina who are showing today that there are no barriers to love. They give a great message of hope”.
Irish Hurler Comes Out
Irish hurling star goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack, 32, has come out as gay in a new autobiography, becoming the first Gaelic Athletic Association player to do so. “I get more out of men,” he wrote. “I just do. Always have. I know I am different but just in this way. Whatever you may feel about me or who I am, I’ve always been at peace with it.”
Hurling is an ancient team sport played with sticks and a ball on a field with goals. It is thought to be the world’s fastest-moving field team sport. For a detailed explanation, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurling.
Church Of Sweden Will Marry Same-Sex Couples
The Church of Sweden will marry same-sex couples, the general synod decided Oct. 22 in a 176-62 vote. Individual pastors will be permitted to opt out of performing gay weddings. The Lutheran church counts 74 percent of Swedes as members, though only 2 percent go to church regularly.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Sweden on May 1. Gay couples also can marry in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, South Africa, and four U.S. states.
Uganda Considers Draconian Anti-Gay Bill
Legislators in Uganda, where gay sex is banned under penalty of life in prison, are considering a bill that would criminalize touching anyone in a gay way; funding or sponsoring gay organizations; broadcasting, publishing or marketing gay material; homosexual advocacy; and the failure by any person to report to police his or her awareness of the existence of a gay person within Uganda’s borders within 24 hours of learning that the homosexual exists.
Penalties for the various crimes that would be created by the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009” range from three years to life in prison.
“This new draft bill includes a provision that could lead to the imprisonment for up to three years of anyone, including heterosexual people, who fails to report within 24 hours the identities of everyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or who supports human rights for people who are,” said Human Rights Watch.
The bill also creates something called “aggravated homosexuality” and punishes it with the death penalty in the case of “repeat offenders” and people who are HIV-positive. It further targets gay Ugandans who get married abroad. They would be imprisoned for life upon return to Uganda.
The bill’s first sentence says: “The object of this Bill is to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting (i) any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and (ii) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any Government entity in Uganda or any non governmental organization inside or outside the country.”
For the full text of the bizarre legislation, see tinyurl.com/hatebill. For information on how to help fight the bill, see tinyurl.com/iglhrc-ug. For Human Rights Watch’s analysis of the bill, see tinyurl.com/hrw-ug.
IGLHRC Targets Guangzhou Public Security Bureau
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has set its sights on the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau in China over its harassment of gay men. IGLHRC expressed “dismay at the repeated acts of arbitrary detention and harassment of the police towards HIV prevention outreach workers and men suspected of being gay.”
In one incident, in August, the police tried to eject around 100 gay men from Renmin Gongyuan People’s Park, claiming they were harassing straight people and committing petty crimes. In an unusual move, the gays resisted and the police eventually left. “The raids and patterns of harassment in Guangzhou discriminate against individuals by targeting them on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation,” IGLHRC said. “They also threaten access to the limited space that the gay and bisexual men of Guangzhou can access. Social spaces, such as public parks, are sites in which ... LGBT people build community and promote HIV education and prevention. These venues are particularly important since private space is less accessible to many Chinese gay men and lesbians, many of whom live with family.”
ILGHRC launched a letter-writing campaign to police chief Wu Sha. For details, see tinyurl.com/gayguang.
ILGA-Europe To Meet In Malta
The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (aka ILGA-Europe) is holding its 13th annual conference in Malta from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 with the theme “Overcoming Religious and Cultural Barriers to LGBT Equality.” Thirty workshops will tackle such matters as European policy, hate crimes, asylum and transgender rights. Participants will include officials from the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Scottish and Dutch governments. For more information, see ilga-europe.org.
-assistance: Bill Kelley