Britain to count country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual population
The British government will count gays, lesbians and bisexuals in a survey by the Office for National Statistics, according to a report in The Times. The decision follows lobbying by gay groups and government officials who need the information to adequately provide services.
“LGB individuals and the community as a whole have historically suffered discrimination, and there are concerns that this group is currently ignored in terms of policy and service provision,” the office said.
Current government estimates are that 6 percent of the population is gay, lesbian or bisexual.
Officials have hesitated to ask about sexual orientation in the census as opposed to in a survey because, said census coordinator Joy Dobbs, “We’re still not sure what it is we are trying to measure. Is it behavior, inclination, identity, lifestyle?”
Gately, singer for defunct band Boyzone, marries male partner
Steven Gately, a singer in the defunct British boy band Boyzone, married partner Andy Cowles on March 19 in London.
The ceremony was held at the Goring Hotel near Buckingham Palace.
In the 1990s, Boyzone sold more than 10 million records and had six No. 1 singles in the U.K.
Ireland considering legal moves to recognize unmarried partners
Ireland is considering legal moves to recognize and protect cohabiting couples, the Irish Examiner reported on March 22. The Department of Justice will set up a working group to lay out options for the government.
A government spokesperson told the paper the working group will not directly address same-sex partnerships but will “see what they can do to give a legal basis to partnership.”
Same-sex marriages level off since 2002 in the Netherlands
Fewer Dutch gays and lesbians are getting married now compared with 2001 and 2002, shortly after the Netherlands legalized full marriage for same-sex couples.
But activists say it’s logical that there would be a leveling off after an initial burst of weddings of long-term couples, local media reported.
According to Statistics Netherlands, there were 1,166 same-sex marriages in 2005 and 1,210 in 2004 compared with 2,414 in 2001 and 1,838 in 2002.
The Netherlands was the first nation in the world to grant same-sex couples access to ordinary marriage. Since then, Belgium, Canada and Spain have followed suit, and South Africa will do so in December when a court decision takes effect.
Bradshaw, gay member of British Parliament, to marry longtime partner
British Member of Parliament Ben Bradshaw and BBC Newsnight journalist Neal Dalgleish will marry in June under the United Kingdom’s Civil Partnership Act, the BBC reported.
Bradshaw, who represents Exeter for the Labour Party, was the first member of Parliament to come out as gay before being elected for the first time.
Gay film from Quebec wins 10 honors at Canada’s Genie Awards
The Quebec gay film “C.R.A.Z.Y.” won 10 of Canada’s Genie film awards on March 13.
Jean-Marc Vallee’s coming-of-age drama snagged best film, director, actor, supporting-actress and original screenplay awards along with technical honors. The film was the nation’s top-grossing Canadian-made movie in 2005.
Royal Navy vice admiral says life in the closet is “‘unhealthy’
It’s a good thing that gays in the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy can be out of the closet now, personnel chief Vice Admiral Adrian Johns said on March 16.
Leading a “secret life [is] an unhealthy way to be … in the armed services,” he said, according to The Daily Telegraph. “Those individuals need nurturing so that they give of their best. Our mission is to break down barriers of discrimination, prejudice, fear and misunderstanding.
Debate underway in Croatian Parliament over same-sex unions measure
Debate on a bill to expand the rights of same-sex couples is under way in Croatia’s Parliament.
In response to demands by the gay organizations Iskorak and Kontra, gay-supportive legislators hope to beef up the existing Law on Same-Sex Unions to reduce the number of areas in which it provides fewer rights than marriage.
Gay activists have denounced the current law as self-contradictory, saying it prohibits anti-gay discrimination but embodies that discrimination.
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense announces plans to life military ban on gays
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense will lift its ban on gays in the military, Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported. The decision follows a National Human Rights Commission recommendation
Under the new policy, the military will not out gay members of the armed forces and anyone who comes out voluntarily will receive special supervision to protect his or her human rights, personal life and living situation, the report said.
Rights groups criticize Nigeria over effort to criminalize same-sex relationships
Sixteen human rights groups wrote to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo demanding he withdraw legislation to criminalize gay relationships and same-sex marriage, and ban gay organizations and activism. It also criminalizes public displays of a “same-sex amorous relationship” and bans gay adoption. The rights groups said the bill violates both the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 31, 2006.