An Australian tourist and a Fijian man sent to prison for two years in Fiji April 6 for engaging in consensual gay sex in private have been released on bail after appealing their convictions. Tourist Thomas Maxwell McCosker, 55, a retired university teacher from the state of Victoria, and Dhirendra Nandan, 23, a deliveryman, were convicted of âunnatural offenceâ and âindecent practice between malesâ after pleading guilty to having sex in an apartment in the city of Nadi.
Magistrate Syed Mukhtar Shah called their crimes âsomething so disgusting that it would make any person vomit.â Police became aware of the menâs activities after McCosker reported a theft of $1,500 in Australian currency. When police questioned Nandan in connection with the theft, he reported that he and McCosker were making pornographic photos and videos together to sell on the Internet. Eighteen of the pictures were used as evidence in court. McCosker had to surrender his passport and will remain in Fiji during the appeal proceedings.
His lawyer, Iqbal Khan, will argue that Fijiâs ban on gay sex was nullified by the nationâs 1998 Constitution which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and enshrines a right to privacy. At Nandanâs bail-application hearing, however, Director of Public Prosecutions Navinesh Nand argued that the sexual-orientation protections are overridden by another section of the Constitution which states that the right to personal privacy âmay be made subject to such limitations prescribed by law as are reasonable and justifiable in a free and democratic society.â
Antigays Protest In Ottawa
Some 15,000 antigays protested in the Canadian capital of Ottawa April 9 against the governmentâs plans to legalize full same-sex marriage nationwide. It already has been legalized by courts in eight of Canadaâs 13 provinces and territories. âLiberals may talk about protecting minorities, but undermining the traditional definition of marriage is an assault on the beliefs of all cultural and religious communities who have come to this country,â Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper told ralliers. âThe Liberal Party of [Prime Minister] Paul Martin has declared war on the values of New Canadians.â
Ottawa Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Gervais said the âgovernment wants sodomy to be accepted as part of the norm and we refuse that. ... If the bill passes, we will no longer be able to tell our children that homosexual practices are not acceptable,â he said. A Tory attempt to kill the same-sex marriage bill via a hostile amendment failed in Parliament April 12 by a vote of 164 to 132. Most New Democratic Party and Bloc QuĂ©bĂ©cois MPs joined the governmentâs Liberal Party in rejecting the move.
Same-Sex Marriage Bill Introduced In Tasmania
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage was introduced in the Parliament of the Australian state of Tasmania by the Greens party April 12. Although the national Parliament passed a law last year defining marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes, states might remain free to choose their own definition.
âBy clarifying that federal law only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman, last yearâs federal marriage amendment freed the states to legislate for same-sex marriage under the constitutional marriage powers they share with the Commonwealth,â said Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome. âIn its crusade to shut one door to same-sex marriage, the federal government inadvertently opened another.â
Gay Harassment Increases In Copenhagen
Gays and lesbians in Copenhagen, one of the worldâs gay-friendliest cities, are reporting increased homophobic harassment, the Copenhagen Post said April 11.
A survey by the National Association of Gays and Lesbians (LBL) found that 90 percent of respondents have experienced verbal abuse or physical violence based on their sexuality. Organized groups of attackers apparently have begun lying in wait outside gay bars and in cruisy parks. Gay men report increased trouble on StudiestrĂŠde street and in Ărstedspark. Lesbians are having trouble at RĂ„dhusplads square.
âThere are more attacks and theyâve become more violent,â LBL consultant Kim Foss told the daily newspaper metroXpress.
Gays Protest At Charles And Camillaâs Wedding
Members of the London direct-action group OutRage! staged a pro-same-sex-marriage protest outside the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles on April 9. Three of the protesters were briefly detained under the Terrorism Act.
âLord Falconer justified the Charles and Camilla wedding on the grounds that the Human Rights Act says everyone is entitled to marry,â said OutRage!âs Peter Tatchell. âWhy, then, is his government refusing to allow same-sex couples to get married?â
Protester Brett Lock added, âIf the government and the church can engineer the law to allow Charles and Camilla to marry, why canât they amend the law to legalize marriage for lesbians and gays? The new same-sex civil-partnerships law is not legal equality.â
Slovenia Considers Same-Sex Partnerships
The former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia is considering a same-sex partnership bill.
The government discussed the measure, drafted by the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Affairs, at a regularly scheduled meeting March 31 and sent it to Parliament for a first reading. The bill addresses such issues as housing, inheritance, property, joint income, access to health information and hospital visitation. If the bill passes, additional laws will be changed to embrace same-sex relationships, government officials said.
Ireland Opposes Recognition Of Canadian Marriage
Irelandâs Cabinet said April 15 that it opposes a lesbian coupleâs demand that their Canadian marriage be recognized. Same-sex marriage is legal in eight of Canadaâs 13 provinces and territories. There are no residency requirements and there is no waiting period except in Quebec.
According to the Irish Times, government ministers fear âthe financial and social implications of recognising same-sex marriages.â
A lawsuit filed by brides Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan likely will be heard by the High Court before the end of the year. The couple says nonrecognition of their marriage violates the Irish Constitution, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.