A same-sex registered-partnership law came into force July 23 in Slovenia, a country formed from the former Yugoslavia, Belgradeâ€™s B92 radio reported. Gay groups welcomed the law but criticized it for not granting full marriage rights. They also said itâ€™s unacceptable that the ceremonies must take place only in a government office and only with the two partners and the registrar present. No one else is allowed to attend.
Couples must apply for registration 30 days in advance and prove they are single, healthy and mentally stable.
Chilean Lesbian Denied Custody Goes To International Court
A lesbian denied custody of her three children by Chileâ€™s Supreme Court has taken her case to the Organization of American Statesâ€™ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Chilean court ruled in 2004 that Judge Karen Atalaâ€™s lesbian life created for her daughters â€śa situation of riskâ€ť whose â€śpernicious consequencesâ€ť would â€śdamage their psychic developmentâ€ť and make them â€śobjects of social discrimination,â€ť according to a New York Times translation.
The commission accepted the case and Atalaâ€™s lawyer, Macarena SĂˇez, told the Times she will argue that â€śdue process was not respected, [Atalaâ€™s] right to privacy was violated when courts had her computers searched looking for evidence of strange behavior, and the right of her children to be heard, which is binding in Chile, was completely set aside.â€ť If Atala wins, it will set precedent in several Latin American nations whose constitutions stipulate that rulings by the Inter-American system override those of their own courts.
Chilean activists believe the stage is set for progress on gay causes under new president Michelle Bachelet, a socialist, feminist, single mother and former health minister who oversaw AIDS programs. â€śWe are living through a profound transition of ethics, values and morals,â€ť Rolando JimĂ©nez, head of the Movement for the Integration and Liberation of Homosexuals, told the Times.
150,000 At Berlin Pride
Some 150,000 people filled the streets of downtown Berlin for the gay pride parade July 22. Marchers included openly gay mayor Klaus Wowereit.
Scottish Fire Department Advertises In Gay Bars
The Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, which covers Edinburgh and southeastern Scotland, has put up posters in gay bars seeking recruits, The Scotsman newspaper reported July 24. A spokesman said the current workforce is disproportionately straight, white, male and young. â€śWeâ€™ve got posters that are going into all the gay bars to encourage people to come along and look at joining the fire service,â€ť said the brigadeâ€™s equalities manager, Ross Wynn. â€śYou cannot deliver the best service unless you involve the whole community in working for that service.â€ť
Meanwhile, nine firefighters in Glasgow are in trouble for refusing to staff a fire-safety booth at the recent gay pride festival. The firefighters from the Cowcaddens Fire Station face a disciplinary hearing at Strathclyde Fire and Rescue headquarters. They could end up getting fired.
Members of the group complained that the task would be embarrassing or that it violated their moral values.
Push To Legalize Gay Sex In India
The Indian governmentâ€™s National AIDS Control Organization on July 20 urged repeal of a law that criminalizes gay sex, saying it impedes efforts to slow HIV transmission. The organization filed a petition with the Delhi High Court, to which the Supreme Court recently remanded a case seeking to overturn the sodomy ban. â€śThe fear of harassment by law enforcement agencies leads to sex being hurried, leaving partners without the notion to consider safer sex practices,â€ť the agency said.
The Delhi court previously dismissed the case on a technicality, claiming the plaintiff, the AIDS organization Naz Foundation, lacked standing to bring suit because Naz had not been injured by the ban. The court also said homosexuality is an â€śunnatural offenceâ€ť opposed by Indian society. The Supreme Court ordered the lower court to reconsider the case on its merits and rule on the constitutionality of Penal Code Section 377, which punishes â€ścarnal intercourse against the order of natureâ€ť with up to 10 years in prison.
Everything Looks Good for Estoniaâ€™s Third Pride Parade And Festival
Despite the recent disasters when gays tried to stage pride parades in Russia and Latvia, everything looks good to go for Estoniaâ€™s third pride parade and festival in Tallinn Aug. 7-13. (See the Latvia story in last weekâ€™s Bay Times for details on the chaos in Moscow and Riga.) â€śEstonia has proven to be the most tolerant of the three Baltic states [Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania], the pride marches have never been banned nor has there been any acts of violence or public hate speech from politicians,â€ť said Lisette Kampus, publicist for Tallinn Pride 2006.
â€śWe can only hope that Estonia will show the best example to our beloved neighbors Latvia and Lithuania. ... Soviet times are gone for a long time now and Estonia has proven to be a worthy member state of the European Union.â€ť
This June, Estoniaâ€™s Parliament increased protections for GLBT people. In a 62-18 vote, lawmakers criminalized human-rights violations; unfair advantages; and incitement of hatred, violence or discrimination based on, among other things, sexual orientation. Violators face a fine or jail sentence. The author of the amendments said Estonia was lagging behind other European nations in protecting gay people. â€śNow homophobia has been criminalized here as well,â€ť said Peopleâ€™s Union MP Jaak Allik.
Tallinn Prideâ€™s theme will be â€śEqual Obligations with Equal Rights!â€ť Kampus said there is a â€śsevere needâ€ť for a partnership law to â€śprotect gays and lesbians and their families.â€ť
Events will include exhibitions, movies, a karaoke competition and the parade on Aug. 12. For more information, see www.pride.