World Briefs

Posted on 22 Feb 2007 at 7:55pm
By Rex Wockner

Colombian high court rules for gay couples regarding property, inheritance rights

Same-sex couples who have lived together for at least two years have the same property and inheritance rights as common-law opposite-sex couples, Colombia’s Constitutional Court declared Feb. 8.

In an 8-1 decision, the justices said the law governing such rights for heterosexual couples was unconstitutional to the extent it excluded gay couples.

The gay group Colombia Diversa had asked the court for the determination.

Italian government sends civil union bill to Parliament; measure expected to pass

The government of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi finalized its civil union legislation Feb. 8 and sent it to Parliament for a vote.

The parliamentary coalition aligned with the ruling party is expected to provide enough votes for the measure to pass.

The proposed law applies to both gay and straight couples, and grants rights in areas such as health care, social benefits, pensions, inheritance, rental contracts, and hospital and prison visitation.

Inheritance rights would apply only to relationships of at least nine years’ duration and rental rights to those that have lasted at least three years. The amount of time after which pension rights would kick in is not yet specified.

Ukrainian Parliament human rights chief once again denounces gays

The Ukrainian Parliament’s human-rights chief denounced gays again on Feb. 9, reported Kiev’s Our World Gay and Lesbian Center.

Leonid Grach, head of the Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations, said: “My colleagues and I in Parliament have to defend society from infringements upon morality and not admit into the consciousness and souls of people of any age the thought that the state is on the side of the people who are sowing debauchery, propagandizing for dissoluteness [or] sexual permissiveness, or bringing the abomination of seduction into society. [The] state must protect society from evil, from violence, including such evil as homosexuality, lesbianism and the like.”

Our World, which translated the comments, responded, “Such public statements by a high-ranking politician whose duty it is to protect human rights are simply inadmissible in civilized democratic society.”

The center asked activists in other nations to alert their governments to the situation and write protest letters to Grach and Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko.

Last November, Grach called homosexuality “an anomaly that is caused by the amorality and depravity of man,” Our World said.

Ontario’s gay deputy premier to marry partner of 18 months in August

The deputy premier of the Canadian province of Ontario, George Smitherman, will marry his partner, chocolate company manager Christopher Peloso, on Aug. 5, the Toronto Star reported.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 23, 2007

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