Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said Jan. 29 that gay pride parades are ‚Äúsatanic.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúLast year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which can be described in no other way than as satanic,‚ÄĚ Luzhkov said. ‚ÄúWe did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future.‚ÄĚ He continued: ‚ÄúSome European nations bless single-sex marriages and introduce sexual guides in schools. Such things are a deadly moral poison for children.‚ÄĚ
Last year‚Äôs pride ban, supported by the courts, led organizers to replace the planned parade with attempts to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and stage a rally across from City Hall. Participants in both small events were violently attacked by neofascists, skinheads, Christians and riot police. Organizers again have vowed to march this year, on May 27.
Luzhkov‚Äôs new comments came on the day pride organizers filed suit in the European Court of Human Rights over last year‚Äôs ban. They seek the right to march and $26,000 in compensation. ‚ÄúNot a single European legal expert we have spoken with doubts in the success of our application to the court,‚ÄĚ said organizer Nikolai Alekseev. ‚ÄúAfter that, not a single official, including the Moscow mayor, will be able to deprive us of our legal right to freedom of public expression.‚ÄĚ
Coahuila Civil-Union Law Takes Effect
The groundbreaking civil-union law in the Mexican state of Coahuila took effect Feb. 1. A lesbian couple, Karina Almaguer and Karla L√≥pez, who traveled from the nearby state of Tamaulipas to the Coahuilan capital of Saltillo, reportedly were the first to tie the knot.
Officials said Coahuila civil unions are available to couples from anywhere in Mexico. The state Congress passed the law Jan. 11 in a 20-13 vote. It was signed by Gov. Humberto Moreira the same day. The statute allows same-sex couples to register their union with a justice of the peace and extends spousal rights in such areas as property, health insurance and pensions. Heterosexual and nonsexual couples can register as well.
Mexico City‚Äôs Legislative Assembly passed the nation‚Äôs first civil-union law last November but it does not take effect until March 16. The federal district‚Äôs statute allows gay and straight couples‚ÄĒas well as two friends, roommates or extended family members‚ÄĒto register their relationship and receive spousal rights in areas such as inheritance, pensions, property, co-parenting and medical decisions. Couples must present identification, proof of residence, birth certificates and witnesses; pay a fee of about $3.90; then return in 10 business days, with the witnesses, for the ceremony. During the interim, the city‚Äôs Justice Department confirms that both partners are unmarried and not already in a civil union.
In other Mexican news, gay federal legislator David S√°nchez Camacho is planning to introduce a proposed constitutional amendment and other legislation to extend civil-rights protections to transsexuals and assure they can change their name and gender in official documents. The proposed amendment says ‚Äúevery person has the right to the recognition and free exercise of their gender identity and their gender expression.‚ÄĚ To pass, the amendment must receive a yes vote from two-thirds of the members of both houses of the federal Congress and two-thirds of the members of the legislature in at least 16 of Mexico‚Äôs 31 states.
Portuguese Gay Couples Gain More Rights
Same-sex couples in Portugal acquired some additional rights at the end of 2006. Public employees who live with a partner for at least two years now can extend their health coverage and certain other benefits to their partners. And the nation‚Äôs ‚Äúde facto union‚ÄĚ law now covers immigration.
According to correspondent Jo√£o Paulo from the Web portal PortugalGay.PT, a Portuguese citizen who lives with a foreign same-sex partner for at least three years, whether in Portugal or abroad, can sponsor the partner for Portuguese citizenship. A declaration from a judge is required to confirm the legitimacy of the relationship.
French MP Fined For Antigay Remark
French Member of Parliament Christian Vanneste was fined about $3,900 Jan. 25 for having called homosexuality ‚Äúinferior‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúdangerous for humanity if it was pushed to the limit.‚ÄĚ A court in Douai imposed the fine under a two-year-old law that bans antigay language. Vanneste, a member of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement party, also must pay about $13,500 in costs and damages to the plaintiffs, three gay organizations. Vanneste previously vowed to appeal any guilty verdict to the European Court of Human Rights.
Canadian Gay Newspapers Stolen
Somebody has been stealing all copies of the Ottawa, Canada, gay newspaper Capital Xtra! from more than 30 newspaper boxes in the downtown area. ‚ÄúSomeone [is] so dedicated to making a point to our community that they invested the time to travel our entire downtown core and vacuum up every single paper,‚ÄĚ said Managing Editor Gareth Kirkby. ‚ÄúSomeone really doesn‚Äôt like us.‚ÄĚ
Pink Triangle Press, which publishes the paper, is restocking the boxes as needed and has sought help from the city‚Äôs Hate Crimes Unit. And Kirkby has urged readers to watch out for the culprit or culprits. ‚ÄúWe want to nab this person or persons, charge them, and give them publicity that will leave even their priest blushing,‚ÄĚ he said.
Kirkby also offered to let the vandal or vandals write a guest column in the paper. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre not afraid of your opinion,‚ÄĚ he said.
Gays Make Splash At World Social Forum
African gays and lesbians made an unprecedented splash at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, in late January. ‚ÄúNever in Kenya‚Äôs history has there been such an open and politically charged gathering of homosexual men and women,‚ÄĚ said the Sunday Nation newspaper. Among other activities, GLBT people from around the continent set up a ‚ÄúQ-Spot‚ÄĚ tent to get their message out.
According to the Nation, ‚Äú‚Äėthe love that dare not speak its name‚Äô ... shouted the news of its existence in Kenya, East Africa and the world as a whole using a public-address system in a tent set aside as a ‚Äėsafe space.‚Äô‚ÄĚ The tent‚Äôs message, said the paper, was, ‚ÄúWe are queer, we are here and we are proud.‚ÄĚ
But not all attendees were happy about the GLBT presence. A Ugandan lesbian who addressed the forum‚Äôs closing ceremonies was heckled by some members of the audience and, when she finished speaking, a group of what the Sunday Nation called ‚Äúdreadlocked men‚ÄĚ chanted ‚Äúfire‚ÄĚ at her as she left the stage.
But an attendee from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Lawrence Mute, said the commission supports gays and lesbians and will fight on their behalf if they are fired or kicked out of schools because of their sexuality.
- assistance: Bill Kelley