|European Parliament President Josep Borrell.
A United Nations committee rejected consultative status May 17 for the Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany (Lesben- und Schwulenverband in Deutschland) and the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association. The groups had sought access to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The status was opposed by Cameroon, China, Iran, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Sudan and Zimbabwe. It was supported by Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, Romania and the United States. India and Turkey abstained from the vote.
â€śWe believe this completely unfair decision is motivated by prejudice and ignorance,â€ť said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Patricia Prendiville.
In January, the same ECOSOC Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations also turned down the main ILGA organization as well as Denmarkâ€™s National Association for Gays and Lesbians (Landsforeningen for BĂ¸sser og Lesbiske). That time, the United States sided with the antigay faction. Afterward, a coalition of 40 organizations, led by the Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling â€śfor an explanation of the vote which aligned the United States with governments that have long repressed the rights of sexual minorities.â€ť
The main ILGA organization had ECOSOC status from 1993 to 1994 but was stripped of it following a scandal, orchestrated by the U.S. right wing, in which a small number of ILGAâ€™s member organizations were accused of not taking a strong enough stance against pedophilia.
Achieving consultative status is the only way nongovernmental organizations can participate in discussions among member states at the U.N. Nearly 2,900 groups have the status.
Euro Parliament Holds Antihomophobia Seminar
European Parliament President Josep Borrell headlined a seminar to mark the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) May 17 at parliament headquarters in Strasbourg, France. May 17 is the day on which, in 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
British Member of the European Parliament Michael Cashman lashed out at European Union nations from the former Eastern Bloc that have rejected European standards for gay equality. â€śThere is a worrying trend in some of the new member states where politicians encourage discrimination and persecution of homosexuals and where, in some cases, they actually endorse and call for violence,â€ť he said.
Norway Welcomes Gay Iranians
Norwayâ€™s immigration agency will grant automatic residency to Iranian asylum-seekers who say they are gay, the newspaper Aftenposten reported May 19.
Iran has a death penalty for the crime of engaging in gay sex and apparently has used it several times in recent years. For details, see new research by the London gay organization OutRage! at http://petertatchell.net/international/iranstatemurder.htm.
Killer Of Jamaican Gay Leader Gets Life
The man who killed leading Jamaican gay activist Brian Williamson in 2004 was sentenced to life in prison this month. Dwight Hayden, 25, will be eligible for parole after 15 years. Williamson was stabbed and chopped 77 times in the attack in his apartment.
Amnesty International called Williamson â€śa courageous individual prepared to speak out for one of the most marginalized and persecuted communities in Jamaica: the gay and lesbian community.â€ť
Jamaica is widely considered to be one of the worldâ€™s most overtly antigay nations.
Gays March In Mauritius
Several hundred people staged the first gay pride parade in the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius on May 20. Reports said Saturday shoppers were shocked by the display in a busy section of Rose Hill. Drag queens led the parade wearing feather boas and high heels, Reuters said. Attorney General Rama Valayden called the march â€śa new page in the history of Mauritius ... the page of freedom.â€ť
Located off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius has a population of 1.2 million.
Aussie P.M. Calls Gays Fundamentalists
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said May 24 that gays who seek full equality are fundamentalists. Answering a question about same-sex marriage from a student at Irelandâ€™s University College Dublin, Howard said, â€śI think it is a form of minority fundamentalism to say that you have to, in every aspect of oneâ€™s institutions and oneâ€™s arrangements in society, have technical equivalence.â€ť
Costa Rica Rejects Same-Sex Marriage
Costa Ricaâ€™s Constitutional Court ruled 5-2 May 23 that same-sex couples do not have a right to marriage. At the same time, the court urged legislators to grant gay couples justice and legal security by creating a way to regulate stable, loyal same-sex unions. Plaintiff YashĂn Castrillo, a gay lawyer, sought to have the Family Codeâ€™s heterosexual definition of marriage declared unconstitutional.
He said he will appeal to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Mounties To Marry
Two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers will marry each other June 30. It will be a first. Constable Jason Tree, 27, and Constable David Connors, 28, will tie the knot, in uniform, in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, before friends, family and co-workers.
Canada legalized same-sex marriage nationwide last July. Nova Scotia legalized it in September 2004, following in the footsteps of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Yukon.
Tree and Connors have been together for eight years, since they were students at the University of New Brunswick.
â€śThe RCMP welcomes a workforce that is representative of Canadian society,â€ť provincial RCMP spokesman Sgt. Frank Skidmore told the Canadian Press news service.
But that doesnâ€™t mean the couple hasnâ€™t suffered jokes from fellow officers about â€śBrokeback Mounties.â€ť â€śIâ€™ve heard that, and itâ€™s funny,â€ť Connors said.
-Assistance: Bill Kelley