|Sue Wilkinson, right, and Celia Kitzinger have run out of funds for their battle to force the United Kingdom to recognize their Canadian marriage. Photo courtesy of OutRage!
Two British university professors have abandoned their battle to make the United Kingdom government recognize their Canadian marriage. In July, the High Court Family Division upheld a U.K. law that automatically converted Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger‚Äôs foreign marriage into a same-sex civil partnership. The court also slammed the couple with more than $46,000 in court costs, which is approximately equal to their life savings. As a result, they have no money to appeal the decision, they said. ‚ÄúThis financial penalty is clearly intended to deter us from seeking justice,‚ÄĚ they wrote in an e-mail. ‚ÄúWe will campaign in other ways instead.‚ÄĚ
Those wishing to help pay the court costs can visit www.equalmarriagerights.org. Canada is one of five nations where same-sex couples have access to ordinary marriage.
Sweden Gets A Gay Government Minister
Sweden has an openly gay government minister for the first time. Andreas Carlgren has been appointed environment minister by new Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Carlgren and partner Tomas Harila Carlgren live together in an official registered partnership. Reinfeldt also appointed the country‚Äôs first black minister, integration minister Nyamko Sabuni, and its first male minister with a ponytail, finance minister Anders Borg.
Dublin Police Set Up Pink Patrol
A special unit of plainclothes Dublin cops, dubbed the ‚ÄúPink Patrol,‚ÄĚ is targeting the city‚Äôs gay community to catch gay-bashers. Bashing has become particularly problematic in the George‚Äôs Street area on the city‚Äôs south side ‚ÄĒ especially near the high-profile gay pub The George. Several arrests have been made, and the cases are working their way through the courts..
HRW Hits The Netherlands, Sweden Over Iran Deportations
A decision in Sweden and plans in the Netherlands to deport GLBT asylum-seekers back to Iran came under fire from Human Rights Watch Oct. 9. ‚ÄúBoth ... governments must adhere to their international legal obligations not to send people back to the risk of torture,‚ÄĚ HRW said. ‚ÄúHuman Rights Watch has documented torture and executions for homosexual conduct in Iran.‚ÄĚ
Iran‚Äôs penal code, the Code of Islamic Punishments, sets a punishment of ‚Äúdeath‚ÄĚ for male-male intercourse (lavat). Nonpenetrative sex (tafkhiz) between men is punishable with 100 lashes the first three times one is convicted, then with execution the fourth time. In addition, men who ‚Äúare not related by blood‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúlie naked under the same cover without any necessity‚ÄĚ can be punished with 99 lashes. Sex between women is punishable with 100 lashes for the first two convictions and with execution the third time.
Sitges Gets Gay Sculpture
The gay resort town of Sitges has become the first Spanish locality to erect a gay sculpture in a public space. Mayor Jordi Baijet unveiled the pink-triangle stone Oct. 5. It reads: ‚ÄúSitges Against Homophobia‚ÄĒ‚ÄôNever again‚Äô ‚ÄĒOctober 5, 1996-2006.‚ÄĚ In 1996, the city government came under fire for keeping special records on homosexuals who walked along the beach after dark. The then-mayor ordered the documents‚Äô destruction, but a right-wing city councilor took offense at the mayor‚Äôs move and began telling the media that gay men had forced local youths into prostitution. As a result, tensions flared between gay and straight residents throughout the summer, and, in September, a group of neo-Nazis attacked a gay waiter. .
On Oct. 5, 1996, gays staged a protest against the attack and to call for the city councilor‚Äôs resignation. They were met by counterprotesters who bombed them with eggs and assaulted them. Police had to escort the gays to safety.
The antihomophobia sculpture remembers that day. The city government also is distributing antihomophobia posters and has staged a photographic exposition of the Oct. 5, 1996, conflict.
Eugeni Rodr√≠guez of the Gay Liberation Front of Catalonia told Europa Press that the city‚Äôs new actions ‚Äúclose a wound.‚ÄĚ
Euro Commission Funds Gay Youth Project
The European Commission has funded a two-year project called ‚ÄúFamily Matters ‚ÄĒ Supporting families to prevent violence against gay and lesbian youth.‚ÄĚ It will be run by the Department of Social Research at Italy‚Äôs University of East Piedmont and by groups for parents, families and friends of gays in Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom..
The commission said gay and lesbian youth frequently lack support and role models within their families and, as a result, may have trouble accepting themselves and become vulnerable to bullying, harassment and self-harming. Families of gays and lesbians need help to accept their children and assist them in dealing with discrimination, the commission said.
The money will be spent on polling, on identifying public and social-service sector ‚Äúgood practice for families of homosexual young people,‚ÄĚ and to produce educational material, a documentary video and a Web site.
Budapest Tourism Extends Hand To Gays
Budapest Tourism has set up a gay page on its Web site. ‚ÄúBudapest had a significant gay and lesbian population all the time,‚ÄĚ the site says. ‚ÄúThe significant aversion against them, the legal and social exclusions, started to decrease after 1990 only. A Hungarian word, ‚Äėmeleg,‚Äô was born for homosexuality without abusive, discriminating content.‚ÄĚ
The page includes lists of gay bars, gay clubs, lesbian parties, gay-friendly restaurants and cafes, gay accommodations, ‚Äúgay homepages,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúsexshops,‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúuseful informations.‚ÄĚ See www.budapestinfo.hu/en/free_time/ and click on ‚ÄúGay and Lesbian Budapest.‚ÄĚ
Turkish Gay Group Survives Shutdown Attempt
The office of Turkey‚Äôs Public Prosecutor has dismissed an attempt by the governor of Bursa to shut down that province‚Äôs transgender and gay group, the Rainbow Association (G√∂kkusagi Dernegi). The governor‚Äôs office had claimed the group‚Äôs existence violated laws that ban organizations which promote activities that are illegal or offend public morality.
In its determination, the Prosecutor‚Äôs Office said ‚Äúhomosexuality is not an offense‚ÄĚ and that the Rainbow Association exists ‚Äúto reach accord with society and defend their rights while explaining their identity.‚ÄĚ
The organization has ‚Äúnot acted with a deliberate intention of offense,‚ÄĚ the ruling said.