World Briefs

Posted on 13 Jul 2006 at 3:13pm
By Rex Wockner

EuroPride attendance in dispute; police, coordinators issue disparate numbers

EuroPride, held this year in London on July 1, was either somewhat of a flop or a smashing success depending on whose numbers you trust.

Organizers were hoping for a turnout of 500,000 and said they got 750,000. But police said only 40,000 people were present.

The march went down Oxford and Regent streets to Trafalgar Square, then on to Parliament and the Victoria Embankment.

Royal Navy sailors marched for the first time about 40 of them, in uniform.

Mayor Ken Livingstone told the BBC: “What this shows as we march through the city of London one of the greatest cities on earth is a city can be a wonderful place to live in with people of every race, religion and sexuality.”

Well-known activist Peter Tatchell carried a poster depicting the pope in drag that said: “Pope “‘Betty’ Benedict XVI Queen of Homophobia.”

“The pope talks like a gay man, walks like a gay man and dresses like a gay man,” Tatchell said. “If the pope is gay, his hypocrisy is breathtaking. Is he using homophobia to deflect rumors about his own sexuality?”

Benedict has authorized Vatican documents that condemn gay love as “objectively disordered” and a “tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”

1.5 million celebrate first anniversary of same-sex marriage at Madrid pride

Some 1.5 million people turned out for the gay pride parade in Madrid on July 1.

They celebrated the first anniversary of Spain becoming one of four nations where same-sex couples have gained access to marriage.

The theme of the march was “For diversity: All families matter,” a jab at last year’s “Families do matter” campaign against same-sex marriage by the Family Forum.

About 40,000 people turned out for the pride parade held in Barcelona. Police said the marchers themselves numbered about 3,500.

In the meantime, Spain’s first gay divorce battle is under way, El Mundo reported. One man seeks to keep the house and the dogs, and grant his husband pet visitation rights. The two men were not named.

Czech gays register under republic’s new partnership law

Three same-sex couples tied the knot in the Czech Republic on July 1 as the nation’s new registered partnership law came into force.

Two of the weddings were in Ostrava, Moravia, and the third was in Kladno, Bohemia.

“We’ve saved some money together. Now we are sure of not losing it if one of us passes away,” Karel, who married Josef in Ostrava, told the Czech News Agency.

Vendulka and Stepanka, also married in Ostrava, told the news agency they were happy to be registered but hope lawmakers now will move on to approval of same-sex adoption.

The registered partnership law was approved after the Chamber of Deputies overrode President Vaclav Klaus’s veto.

It extends to registered couples many of the rights and obligations of marriage, but withholds equality in adoption, pensions, taxation and joint ownership of property, the news agency said.

Gay prince in India disowned after revealing homosexuality in news report

A gay prince in India has been disowned by his parents for coming out in a news article.

Prince Manvendra-sinh Gohil’s wealthy family once ruled the principality of Rajpip-la in what is now eastern Gujarat state. Gohil, 40, said he previously came out to his parents privately and they sent him to doctors in an effort to change his sexuality. Coming out in the media, he said, was the last straw for them.

In a newspaper ad disinheriting him, Gohil’s mother, Rukminidevi, declared: “Manvendrasinh ceases to have rights as a son over the family property and the power of attorney issued to him also stands cancelled. Henceforth, no one must refer to my name as mother of Manvendra. If any individual or organization dares to do so, it will invite contempt proceedings against him.”

Gohil works as the director of a Gujarat HIV organization.

“I have no regrets, since I have found family in the community,” he said.

50 members of House criticize Russia for official actions against parade

Fifty members of the House of Representatives wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin “to express our dismay over the riots and violence against gay and lesbian marchers in Moscow during a gay pride parade in late May.”

“We believe that the mayor’s public statements and his banning of the parade itself as well as the fact that provocative and violently anti-gay statements by religious leaders and others went unrepudiated by elected officials helped create a situation in which violence against gay and lesbian people was in fact more likely to happen, if not inevitable,” the lawmakers said in the June 30 letter.

“Given reports that some police stood by while gay and lesbian marchers were attacked, it is difficult for us to believe that the police were unable to protect the marchers, but instead were simply unwilling to do so,” they added.

The letter was organized by gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and signed by several House leaders on international affairs and human rights issues.

The small May 27 march an attempt to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier then walk a few blocks for a rally across from Moscow City Hall resulted in violence, injuries and arrests. The marchers were attacked repeatedly by neofascists, skinheads, militant Christians and riot police. About 120 people from both sides were detained.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said he banned the march because Russia’s “morals are cleaner” than those of “the West.” He called the attempt to lay flowers a “desecration a provocation.”

“People burst through and, of course, they beat them up,” he said.

A thousand officers, representing a quarter of Moscow’s police force, were assigned to prevent the march from taking place.

International Day of Action against repression of gays in Iran planned

Gay rights advocates in 20 cities in 12 nations plan to take part in an International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran scheduled July 19.

“It is shaping up as the biggest-ever event of international solidarity with gay Iranians,” said blogger Doug Ireland, who is helping organize the events.

The date is the first anniversary of the public hanging of teenage boys Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni in the Iranian city of Mashad either because they were lovers, according to Mashad gays and some international activists, or for the crime of raping a 13-year-old boy, according to the government.

In either case, “men and women suspected of homosexual conduct in Iran face the threat of execution,” affirmed Scott Long of Human Rights Watch’s gay-rights program. “We have documented brutal floggings imposed by courts as punishment, and torture and ill treatment, including sexual abuse, in police custody.”

Editorial assistance was provided by Bill Kelley.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 14, 2006.

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