|International Mr. Leather 2003, John Pendal, right, and partner Dave Harris got married in London May 13 under the United Kingdom's Civil Partnership Act.
Canadian gay activists are upset with Statistics Canadaâ€™s 2006 national census form. The document instructs married same-sex couples to use the â€śotherâ€ť category to record their relationship rather than ticking the â€śhusband or wifeâ€ť box. Stats Can said it hasnâ€™t had time to change the form since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide on July 20, 2005, but said there is a blank space where married same-sex couples can note that they are married.
Although same-sex marriage was not available in every province and territory until 10 months ago, it has been legal in Ontario since June 2003, in British Columbia since July 2003 and in Quebec since April 2004.
The president of the national gay lobby group Egale, Gemma Hickey, said the census treats gays and lesbians as â€śsecond-class citizens.â€ť The groupâ€™s executive director, Gilles Marchildon, added, â€śEveryone who completes the 2006 Census will see that our relationships are segregated.â€ť
Canada conducts a census every five years.
National Gay Hotline Opens in China
Chinaâ€™s first toll-free national gay hotline is up and running, China Daily reported May 10. Staffed by 13 volunteers in Guangzhou and Shanghai, the phone line (800-988-1929 within China) offers psychological, emotional, legal and HIV advice. The volunteers have college degrees in medicine, psychology, law or sociology, and have received additional specialized training. The service operates weekdays from 7 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 4 to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m. It is funded by Hong Kongâ€™s Chi Heng Foundation.
â€śMost of the calls we have had so far are from people who complain of social stigma and ignorance, or from those who donâ€™t understand homosexuality,â€ť director Xiao Dong told China Daily.
Barney Frank Complains to Nigeria
Gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has written to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo objecting to pending legislation that would, Frank said, â€ścriminalize same-sex relationships and weddings, punish those who witness, aid or abet a same-sex marriage, and outlaw any clubs, organizations or meetings â€” as well as any form of protest â€” that support or advocate for the rights of lesbian and gay people.â€ť."
â€śI find this effort to persecute innocent people based on their sexual orientation not only morally indefensible but also profoundly undemocratic,â€ť Frank said.
He also threatened to withdraw his support for U.S. aid to Nigeria. â€śIf this proposed legislation that so blatantly violates individual freedom and basic democratic rights to freedom of expression and association prevails, Nigeria would no longer in my view have any claim to genuine democratic rule,â€ť Frank said.
Men Guilty in London Hate Murder
Two London men pleaded guilty May 12 to killing a gay man who was walking through cruisy Clapham Common. Thomas Pickford, 25, and Scott Walker, 33, punched and kicked Jody Dobrowski, 24, in October 2005. He later died in a hospital. Passersby heard the two shouting antigay slurs during the attack.
Dobrowskiâ€™s face was so mangled by the beating that his body had to be identified by fingerprints.
Intâ€™l Mr. Leather Gets Married
International Mr. Leather 2003, John Pendal, and his partner, Dave Harris, got married in London May 13 under the United Kingdomâ€™s Civil Partnership Act. They tied the knot at their local registry office in West London in front of 24 guests. The couple have been together 13 years. The partnership act grants all rights and obligations of traditional marriage.
Top Austrian Gay Group Guilty of Libel
Austriaâ€™s leading gay organization, Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI Wien), and its secretary general, Kurt Krickler, were found guilty of defamation and libel by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court on April 21 for calling Austrian Peopleâ€™s Party Member of Parliament Walter Tancsits a â€śmental descendant of the brown Nazi myrmidonsâ€ť (â€śgeistiger Nachfahre der braunen Nazi-Schergenâ€ť).
Krickler was given three yearsâ€™ probation and the choice of a suspended fine of 240 euros (US$306) or a suspended sentence of one month in jail. If he does not commit another crime during the probationary period, he will not have to pay the fine or serve time. HOSI was ordered to pay Tancsits 1,500 euros.
The libelous remark appeared in a March 2005 press release that denounced Tancsits for opposing inclusion of homosexuals in the Nazi Victim Compensation Act and engineering their exclusion when a parliamentary committee considered the measure.
â€śWe will appeal against this judgment and then take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg,â€ť Krickler said May 17.
-Assistance: Bill Kelley