No exemption from new regulations for faith-based adoption agencies, Blair says
British faith-based agencies will not be exempt from regulations compelling them to consider gay couples in adoption cases, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday, Jan. 29.
The Roman Catholic church backed by other religious groups last week asked Blair to excuse faith-based adoption agencies from complying with regulations aimed at preventing discrimination against gays.
Blair said the agencies would be given a period of time to come into line with the regulations, which will come into force at the end of 2008. Until then, faith-based groups will be required to refer gay couples to other adoption agencies.
The regulations, part of the Equality Act, will be voted on by British lawmakers in the next few weeks; amendments will not be accepted and the vote will decide if the regulations will be implemented or rejected entirely.
Moscow mayor vows to not allow “‘satanic’ gay rights parades; activists to defy ban
Moscow’s mayor vowed Monday, Jan. 29 never to allow a gay rights parade, calling such events “satanic,” but activists said they would defy a city ban.
Yury Luzhkov and city authorities barred activists from staging a parade last year, citing the threat of violence. Activists ignored the ban, and were attacked by right-wing protesters and detained by police. Speaking at a Kremlin event attended by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Luzhkov again lambasted gay and lesbian groups. He also charged that Western countries were facing a crisis of faith.
Russian gay activists said they were challenging the city’s ban of their parade in an appeal to the European Court for Human Rights, and pledged to hold a similar march in late May.
More lesbians than gay men marry in B.C. in first year of legal same-sex weddings
There were more lesbian weddings than gay-male weddings the first year the Canadian province of British Columbia allowed same-sex marriage, Statistics Canada reported Jan. 17.
In 2003, the first year for which statistics have become available, 422 female couples tied the knot compared to 352 male couples. The agency also reported that a majority of the same-sex marriages that first year, 55.9 percent, took place between people who didn’t live in Canada.
Iraq official denounces U.N. report highlighting murders of gays
Iraq has denounced a new United Nations Assistance Mission report that mentioned the increase in anti-gay killings since Saddam Hussein was removed from power.
The Jan. 18 U.N. report said armed Islamic groups and militias have been known to be particularly hostile towards gays and lesbians, frequently and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them.
“According to the Iraqi LGBT society, 26 of their members have been killed since 2003,” the report stated. “Allegedly, three Fatwas have been issued by Islamic clerics authorizing “‘good Muslims’ to hunt and kill homosexuals.”
Iraqi spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh rejected the gay section of the report as inappropriate. “There was information in the report that we cannot accept here in Iraq,” he said. “The report, for example, spoke about the phenomenon of homosexuality and giving them their rights. Such statements are not suitable to the Iraqi society. This is rejected.”
European Court accepts lawsuit filed over banned Warsaw gay rights parade
The European Court of Human Rights has accepted a lawsuit filed against Poland by Warsaw gay activists after the mayor banned the 2005 gay Equality Parade.
Former Mayor Lech Kaczynski, who is now Poland’s president, cited traffic issues in prohibiting the march. He also said he opposed “propagating gay orientation” and objected to the parade taking place on the same day the city unveiled a monument to anti-Nazi hero Gen. Stefan Rowecki. Some 2,500 GLBT people marched anyway. They were confronted by around 300 anti-gay protesters shouting slurs and hurling eggs. Ten people were arrested and three were injured, including a policeman.
Editorial assistance by Bill Kelley.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 2, 2007