Sloveniaâs National Assembly approved a same-sex partnership bill June 22 by a vote of 44 to 3. Forty-three other deputies were missing for the vote. Gay-rights groups denounced the bill, saying they were shut out of the process and that it doesnât go nearly far enough.
The measure grants registered couples spousal rights in the areas of property, support, hospital visitation and, partially, inheritance. âThe new bill, which is bringing only partial rights, is discriminatory, treating LGBT citizens as second-class citizens,â said Tatjana Greif of SKUC-LL, the Lesbian Section of the Studentsâ Cultural Center.
âWe do not want to participate in the process of âvirtual-democracy,ââ she said. âHowever, we see the new law as the first and fundamental step towards introducing more equal legislation for sexual minorities in Slovenia. Our mission and our goal for the future is to take all the necessary steps to improve the existing law.â
Huge March Against Gay Marriage In Madrid
Somewhere between 166,000 and 1.5 million people marched against same-sex marriage in Madrid, Spain, June 18âdepending on whose numbers are accurate. The National Police said 166,000; the largest newspaper said 180,000; the city said 200,000; the regional government said 700,000 and organizers said 1.5 million.
A bill legalizing full marriage for same-sex couples, as well as gay adoption, faces one more perfunctory vote in Congress before becoming law by early July.
The march, organized by the Spanish Forum for the Family, was led by 20 Roman Catholic bishops. Officials of the ruling Socialist government responded by defending the bill and accusing the protesters of bigotry. Polling suggests between 55 percent and 65 percent of Spaniards support letting same-sex couples marry.
In Mexico City, several dozen people joined in by protesting outside the Spanish Embassy. In Barcelona, 3,000 people marched in favor of same-sex marriage. The demonstration was organized at the last minute by two lesbians sending cell-phone text messages. On June 22, the marriage bill was rejected by the Spanish Senate, in a 131-119 vote. But it doesnât matter. The Congress canâand willâpass the bill into law without the Senateâs consent, Spanish media said.
Lesbians Flock To British Town
The rural British town of Hebden Bridge, located less than an hour from Manchester in the valleys of the Yorkshire Dales, has become a lesbian haven, Reuters reports. The 5,000-population village has a gay bar, and some Web sites have reported that lesbians outnumber straight women six to one. âWe go to this pub regularly and you couldnât move for lesbians,â straight resident Judith Inman, 52, told Reuters. âIt makes me feel awful, really uncomfortable.â Hebden Bridge has been a hippie hangout since the 1960s.
Argentine Actor Denied U.S. Visa
Prominent Argentine actor and comedian Fernando PeĂ±a was denied his visa renewal by the U.S. Consulate in Buenos Aires because he is HIV-positive, Immigration Equality reported June 22. PeĂ±a had had a U.S. travel visa most of his life, using it to visit relatives and to perform at events such as the Latin American MTV Video Music Awards.
The U.S. bans nearly all openly HIV-positive visitors because immigration law classifies HIV as a âcommunicable disease of public health significance.â In certain instances, brief waivers of the ban are granted. âThe United States should be the world leader in fighting the HIV epidemic; instead we continue to perpetuate stigma and misinformation about how HIV is transmitted,â said Victoria Neilson, Immigration Equalityâs legal director. âNot only are the laws discriminatory, they are also ineffective in terms of prevention.â
Costa Rican Cops Face Punishment For Attack On Gays
Two agents from Costa Ricaâs Department of Criminal Investigations may be suspended or fired after San JosĂ© police arrested them for shouting insults at men leaving a gay bar and for firing their pistols and attacking a taxi driver at the scene, InsideCostaRica.com reported June 22.
The departmentâs internal affairs unit is investigating the incident. The agents were turned over to the Public Ministry, which will process their cases through the judicial system.
Venezuelans Stage Kiss-In At Supreme Court
Gay activists staged a kiss-in outside Venezuelaâs Supreme Court of Justice in Caracas June 14, demanding marriage rights for same-sex couples. Dozens of people took part in the protest, chanting, âWeâre Venezuelans, tooâ and âMarriages now, no more fucking around.â
âWe had to repeat the protest 10 times because every 15 minutes another journalist showed up,â said Santiago FarĂas from the gay group Affirmative Union.
Anglicans Give Americans, Canadians The Boot
The Anglican Consultative Council on June 21 told the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to leave the council because theyâre too gay-friendly. The vote was 30-28.
The U.S. church installed an openly gay bishopâGene Robinson in New Hampshireâand the Canadian church has allowed blessings of same-sex unions, in British Columbia. The Consultative Council is the worldwide Anglican Communionâs central administrative body. The punishment will remain in effect until 2008.
The issue of the acceptability of gay sex eventually may lead to a full-blown Anglican schism, some observers believe.
Canadian Commons Oks Full Same-Sex Marriage
Following rowdy debate, Canadaâs House of Commons voted 158 to 133 on June 28 to legalize full same-sex marriage nationwide. Courts already have forced legalization of same-sex marriage in nine of Canadaâs 13 provinces and territoriesâeverywhere except Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Prince Edward Island.The measure now moves to the Senate, where it faces quick and easy passage.
â[This] is about the Charter of Rightsâ said Prime Minister Paul Martin. âIn a nation of minorities, it is important that you donât cherry-pick rights. A right is a right.â âItâs about the right to love,â gay MP RĂ©al MĂ©nard of the Bloc QuĂ©bĂ©cois told The New York Times. âWhen you are in love, things are different, and everyone is entitled to that.â
Foreign couples are welcome to marry in Canada, and only Quebec has any kind of waiting period.Belgium and the Netherlands also have legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, and Spain is expected to finish the process of doing so next month.