World Briefs

Posted on 09 Feb 2006 at 11:07pm
By Rex Wockner

Czech Republic same-sex partnership hinges on decision by president

A same-sex partnership bill passed the Czech Republic Senate Jan. 26. The vote was 45 to 14 with six abstentions. Sixteen senators were absent.

The measure previously passed the Chamber of Deputies and now awaits a decision by President Vaclav Klaus, who has hinted he might veto it.

The legislation extends to registered same-sex couples many of the rights and obligations of marriage, but does not provide access to marriage itself or to adoption.

“I think the most important thing was that [MPs] actually saw us and that they saw that we are no different, that we are just normal people,” activist Tereza Kodickova told Radio Prague.

“And then of course we used the argument of the European Union a lot and of equal rights and equal treatment and the fact that registered partnerships of this kind exist in other countries,” she added.

A recent poll by the Public Opinion Research Center (CVVM) found that 62 percent of Czechs support same-sex registered partnership.

Canada’s new government ponders attack on same-sex marriage law

Canada’s new Conservative government, elected Jan. 23, is threatening to try to undo the nation’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

The Conservative Party platform promises to “hold a truly free vote on the definition of marriage in the next session of Parliament [and] if the resolution is passed, [to] introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage while respecting existing same-sex marriages.”

But the move apparently is not an immediate priority and, according to polls, would not be supported by a majority of Canadians.

The party’s press officer told the San Francisco Chronicle that “things like same-sex marriage [are] on the back burner.”

Turning back the clock also may not be possible.

The government probably does not have the votes to pass the resolution and, even if it does, the fact remains that courts in nine of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories have ruled that prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying violates the nation’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

To get around that, the government would have to utilize the charter’s “notwithstanding clause,” which has never been used. It allows provinces or the federal Parliament to enact temporary laws (for five years) that violate the charter’s protections.

Former Malaysian prime minister who outed deputy sued for defamation

Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim sued former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for about $27 million Jan. 27 for allegedly defaming him by calling him gay.

Mahathir has “outed” Anwar repeatedly over a period of several years and did so again last September, saying he fired Anwar in 1998 to prevent Malaysia from ending up with a homosexual leader.

Anwar was jailed for nine years in 2000 for allegedly engaging in same-sex sodomy but he was released in 2004 after the Federal Court ruled the evidence against him had been unreliable.

Anwar and human-rights groups have said the charges were bogus and that he was framed because Mahathir feared Anwar was scheming to replace him.
Anwar recently won more than $1 million in a lawsuit against publishers of a book that repeated the sodomy allegations.

The maximum punishment for having gay sex in Malaysia is 20 years in jail and a flogging.

Jerusalem man convicted of attempted murder in Pride parade stabbings

A man who stabbed three marchers at last year’s Jerusalem gay Pride parade was convicted of attempted murder Jan. 31, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Yishai Schlissel, 30, will be sentenced at a later date. The State Attorney’s Office is seeking a 10-year prison term.

“I came to murder on behalf of God. We can’t have such abomination in the country,” Schlissel told police.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 10, 2006.

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