WORLD BRIEFS

Posted on 25 May 2006 at 8:04pm
By Rex Wockner

Canadian gays troubled that census
form fails to indicate marriage

Canadian gay activists are upset with Statistics Canada’s 2006 national census form. The document instructs married same-sex couples to use the “other” category to record their relationship rather than ticking the “husband or wife” box.

Statistics Canada said it hasn’t had time to change the form since same-sex marriage was legalized on July 20, 2005. But it said gays and lesbians can use a blank space on the form to note that they are married.

Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide 10 months ago, but it has been legal in Ontario and British Columbia since the summer of 2003 and in Quebec since the spring of 2004.

The president of the national gay lobby group Egale, Gemma Hickey, said the census treats gays and lesbians as “second-class citizens.”

National hotline for gays
and lesbians opens in China

China’s first toll-free national gay hotline is up and running, China Daily reported May 10.

Staffed by 13 volunteers in Guangzhou and Shanghai, the phone line offers psychological, emotional, legal and HIV advice. Volunteers have college degrees in medicine, psychology, law or sociology, and have received additional specialized training.

The service operates seven days a week. It is financed by the Heng Foundation in Hong Kong.

“Most of the calls we have had so far are from people who complain of social stigma and ignorance, or from those who don’t understand homosexuality,” said director Xiao Dong.

Frank complains to Nigeria
about pending legislation

Gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has written to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo objecting to pending legislation that would “criminalize same-sex relationships and weddings, punish those who witness, aid or abet a same-sex marriage, and outlaw any clubs, organizations or meetings as well as any form of protest that support or advocate for the rights of lesbian and gay people.”

“I find this effort to persecute innocent people based on their sexual orientation not only morally indefensible but also profoundly undemocratic,” Frank said. He also threatened to withdraw his support for United States aid to Nigeria.

“If this proposed legislation that so blatantly violates individual freedom and basic democratic rights to freedom of expression and association prevails, Nigeria would no longer in my view have any claim to genuine democratic rule,” Frank said.

Men guilty in 2005 hate murder
of gay man in London

Two London men pleaded guilty May 12 to killing a gay man who was walking through Clapham Common, a well-known meeting place for gay men.

Thomas Pickford, 25, and Scott Walker, 33, punched and kicked Jody Dobrowski, 24, in October 2005. Dobrowski later died in a hospital.

Passersby heard the two shouting anti-gay slurs during the attack. Dobrowski’s face was so mangled by the beating that his body had to be identified by fingerprints.

International Mr. Leather
marries partner in Britain

International Mr. Leather 2003 John Pendal and his partner, Dave Harris, were married in London on May 13 under the United Kingdom’s Civil Partnership Act. They tied the knot at their local registry office in West London in front of 24 guests. The couple has been together 13 years.

The partnership act grants all rights and obligations of traditional marriage.

Austrian criminal court convicts
country’s top gay group guilty of libel

Austria’s leading gay organization, Homosexual Initiative, and its secretary general, Kurt Krickler, were found guilty of defamation and libel by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court on April 21. The ruling was based on a statement by Krickler, who called a member of Parliament from the Austrian People’s Party a “mental descendant of the brown Nazi myrmidons.”

Krickler was given three years’ probation and the choice of a suspended fine or a suspended sentence of one month in jail. If he does not commit another crime during the probationary period, he will not have to pay the fine or serve time.

Homosexual Initiative was ordered to pay 1,500 euros to the libeled politician.

Krickler said the group will appeal the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Bill Kelley provided editorial assistance.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.

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