|Openly gay Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit (left), anti-gay Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and openly gay Paris Mayor Bertrand DelanoĂ« at a press conference last year in London. From Russian television
The mayors of Riga, Latvia, and Tallinn, Estonia, have declined to sign a pledge from the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association in support of the rights of GLBT people to freedom of assembly and expression.
Nineteen European mayors have signed the document â€” from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Budapest, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dublin, Ljubljana, London, Luxembourg, Manchester, Nicosia, Paris, Stockholm, Venice, Vienna, Winterthur and Zurich..
In his written refusal, Riga Mayor Janis Birks said: â€śThe Riga City Council truly supports your initiative, greatly appreciates the actions of the campaign and all the possible positive effects generated by the project [but] the decision on the appeal should rather remain an individual competence of each city.â€ť
Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar submitted the pledge to a City Council committee, which advised him that his signature was unnecessary because minorities are not mistreated in the city.
There has been no response yet from several cities.
Euro Mayors Invited To Moscow Pride -Photos
Organizers of Moscowâ€™s third gay pride events, scheduled for May 30-31, have urged the mayors of Berlin, Paris and London to attend the events. The cityâ€™s first two pride parades were banned by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who called them â€śsatanic,â€ť and people who attended the public events that replaced the parades were violently attacked by anti-gay demonstrators.
Writing to openly gay Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, openly gay Paris Mayor Bertrand DelanoĂ« and gay-friendly London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Moscow Pride organizers Nikolai Baev and Nikolai Alekseev said: â€śPlease take part in our conference and rally. This could principally change the situation in Moscow. This would give us a real chance that our civil rights will be respected by Moscow administration and that violence will be avoided.â€ť
Israel Grants Gay Palestinian Residency To Live With Partner
Israel has granted residency to a 33-year-old gay Palestinian to live with his Israeli partner in Tel Aviv because the Palestinian had received anti-gay death threats while living in the West Bank. The move was unprecedented, and even straight couples rarely receive such permission.
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forcesâ€™ coordinator of government activities in the territories said an exception was made because the manâ€™s life was apparently in danger.
The man will be required to renew the IDF-issued residence permit monthly until the Interior Ministry rules on his five-year-old application for a more permanent status.
Poles Disagree With President Over EU Charter
Sixty-five percent of Poles support the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, which would commit Poland to the European Unionâ€™s gay-friendly Charter of Fundamental Rights. And only 19 percent believed President Lech Kaczynskiâ€™s March 17 televised warning that adopting the treaty could force Poland to recognize or legalize same-sex marriages, a poll for the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper has found.
The treaty became a hotter topic in Poland after Kaczynski came under fire for using a photo and video clip from New York City gay activist Brendan Fayâ€™s 2003 Canadian wedding during the nationally broadcast speech in which he issued the gay-marriage warning. Fay filed a complaint with Polandâ€™s New York consul general, Krzysztof Kasprzyk, who called Kaczynskiâ€™s use of the photo and video â€śpitiful.â€ť
On March 29, a Polish television network flew Fay and his husband, Thomas Moulton, to Warsaw for an interview.
The Polish gay group Campaign Against Homophobia accused Kaczynski of â€śignorance and overt homophobia.â€ť
â€ś[I]n light of Lech Kaczynskiâ€™s decision to ban the [gay] Equality Parade twice [when he was] mayor of Warsaw, we worry that the president is consciously capitalizing on the fears of a certain part of Polish society towards lesbians and gays,â€ť the group said.
Police Reportedly Close Beijing Gay Bathhouses
Beijing police raided and closed two gay bathhouses on March 20 and 21, according to a report circulated on Asian gay mailing lists by AIDS activists in China and Malaysia. The March 26 report said the cityâ€™s most popular gay bathhouse, Club Oasis, was raided March 20, and 70 patrons and employees were taken into custody. It said the patrons were released 30 hours later but the staff remained jailed.
The report said another Oasis bathhouse near Dongsishitiao Bridge was raided March 21 and the staff, but not the customers, were taken into custody.
The report, which carried the byline of well-known Chinese AIDS activist Wan Yanhai, said a third bathhouse reportedly had met a similar fate at the same time, but provided no details.
The report also included a list of other recent alleged police actions against gay men, including a bar raid and temporary closure, raids of cruisy parks, and arrests of sex workers tracked down via their Web postings.
-assistance: Bill Kelley