Island ban on “‘Brokeback Mountain’ draws protests, claims of censorship
A Bahamian government board’s decision to ban the movie “Brokeback Mountain” from theaters has prompted charges of discrimination and censorship in the island chain.
Gay rights groups and others have called on the Plays and Films Control Board to reverse its decision prohibiting theaters from showing the award-winning U.S. movie about a troubled love affair between two cowboys.
Some have suggested the board could have issued a rating that would have barred anyone under 18 from seeing the film. Theaters in Nassau, the capital, had already begun to advertise the movie when the board announced its ban at the request of the Bahamas Christian Council.
The board said it chose to ban the film because it shows extreme homosexuality, nudity and profanity, and said the film has no value for the Bahamian public.
The Rainbow Alliance, a gay rights group, called the ban a “farce.”
Australian Capital Territory to enact civil union law
The Australian Capital Territory will enact a civil-union law granting registered opposite- and same-sex couples the rights and obligations of marriage. The government introduced the legislation in the ACT Assembly on March 28.
“Civil-union legislation will give social and legal recognition to couples who are, for various reasons, currently denied it,” said Jon Stanhope, chief minister of the Capital Territory. “The ACT government is committed to equality.”
Australia has a national law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, and federal Attorney General Philip Ruddock said the federal government will attempt to block the Capital Territory from using federally licensed marriage celebrants to conduct same-sex union ceremonies.
But Ruddock said the feds are OK with states and territories granting same-sex couples the rights of marriage as long as the laws don’t “create confusion over the distinction between marriage and same-sex relationships,” The Age newspaper reported.
Colombian president favors some rights for same-sex couples
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has said he supports granting gay couples spousal rights in areas such as inheritance and health care, but opposes marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.
During a meeting with college students, Uribe was asked, “Will you and your political team support legislation to provide civil rights and Social Security [health care] to same-sex partners?”
He responded: “I will be completely sincere. First topic, marriage: No. Second topic, adoption: No. Inheritance rights: Yes. Social Security: Yes.”
Uribe added that he was prepared to grant same-sex couples access to Social Security benefits “immediately” and to pension benefits “gradually.” The latter will take time “due to the country’s fiscal problems,” he said.
The government responded to Uribe’s comments by throwing its support behind a bill already pending in the Senate. The measure grants gay couples access to spousal rights in the areas of inheritance, division of property, health care and pensions.
Swazi prince vows no same-sex marriage in his country
Swaziland’s minister of justice and constitutional affairs, Prince David Dlamini, said March 25 that there will be no same-sex marriages in Swaziland.
“The constitution reflects the custom, culture as well as the religious tendencies of our people,” he said. “Swaziland is not about to endorse human sexuality at a time when a number of African countries are making specific legal provisions banning such a practice.”
Prosecutor battles Spanish judge who blocked marriages,/b>
A Spanish judge who refused to let two British gay couples marry in Spain faces an appeal by the Alicante prosecutor’s office, TypicallySpanish.com reported.
Judge Laura Alabau reportedly refused to let the couples marry because Spain grants same-sex couples access to full marriage while the United Kingdom offers only civil partnerships that, nonetheless, grant all rights of marriage.
The prosecutor’s office said Spain indeed permits marriages between two foreigners as long as at least one of them resides in Spain, regardless of the laws of other nations.
Havel disses Klaus after deputies override veto of partnership bill
Family is not about bulls inseminating cows, former Czech President Vaclav Havel suggested on March 27, explaining why the Chamber of Deputies voted to override President Vaclav Klaus’ veto of a same-sex partnership bill.
“I was most intrigued in the debate by the absurd ideology advocated by the Christian Democrats and Klaus, who argue that family should have advantages since, unlike homosexual couples, it brings children to life,” Havel said. “This is the concept of family as a sort of calf shed in which bulls can inseminate cows so that calves are born.”
Klaus has denounced the override as “a defeat for all of us who believe that the family in our society is fundamental, unique, unrivaled.”
Polling suggests that 62 percent of Czechs support same-sex partnership registration.
Taiwan extends domestic violence law to cover gays
Taiwan’s interior minister, Lee Yi-Yang, announced on March 22 that the Domestic Violence Prevention Law is applicable to same-sex couples, the Taipei Times reported.
The determination was made public as legislators reviewed the law in a Judiciary Committee meeting.
Speaking in support of the move, Legislator Kuo Lin-Yung said gays “have been derided, persecuted and constrained in the past, but now they have begun to speak out [and] must now be equally protected by the law.”
British lesbian sentenced for attacking lover with bleach
British lesbian Juliet Wilson will spend three years in prison for pouring boiling bleach over her sleeping lover, Maxine Grizzle, the BBC reported.
Wilson was upset that Grizzle planned to meet up with an ex-lover.
“I went to sleep and I didn’t know she had got out of bed. I was woken up by some hot thing over me,” Grizzle told Wood Green Crown Court in the North London borough of Haringey.
Grizzle went to a mirror and said it seemed that her face was coming off. She said she shouted, “Help me … I’m burning,” and Wilson replied: “Help you? I wouldn’t spit on you.”
Grizzle later forgave Wilson and asked the judge for leniency, which resulted in the sentence being shortened, the BBC said.
Second Cameroon publisher jailed for outing public figures
A second newspaper publisher has been jailed in Cameroon for printing lists of public figures and celebrities alleged to be gay.
Nouvelle Afrique Publisher Biloa Ayissi was sent to prison for one year on March 27 for trying to out a prominent doctor and the minister for parliamentary affairs.
Ayissi also was fined $7,319. He plans to appeal the defamation conviction.
On March 3, the editor of L’Anecdote was jailed for four months and fined $1,833 for publishing the same minister’s name on a long list of alleged homosexuals.
HIV infections increase in Australian state of Victoria
Newly reported HIV cases increased 28 percent in 2005 in the Australian state of Victoria where Melbourne is located, the Sydney Star Observer has reported.
Three-quarters of the 286 new cases were among gay men.
The latest Melbourne Gay Community Periodic Survey found that among respondents who have casual sex, 30 percent had anal sex without a condom in the previous six months.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 07, 2006.