By Associated Press

Activists focused on changing public opinions on gay marriage

Hundreds of gay-rights supporters marched on the streets of Bucharest last year in Romania’s first gay pride parade.

BUCHAREST, Romania Romanian gay-rights activists launched a new campaign Tuesday to legalize gay marriage aimed at opening talks with the government on revising marriage laws.

Romanita Iordache, president of the gay rights group ACCEPT, said that activists hoped to show the government where public opinion stands on the issue through debates, film screenings and a weekend march during a gay Pride festival this week. The GayFest events began Tuesday and conclude Saturday.

“Guaranteeing the equality of rights through the recognition of gay marriage is just a step forward,” ACCEPT spokesman Florin Buhuceanu said. The activities are the most focused drive yet to change opinions on gay marriage in Romania, he said.

The government decriminalized homosexuality in 2001 to bring its laws in line with European Union countries, which Romania hopes to join in 2007. Romania also passed an anti-discrimination act which bans discrimination on the basis of sex, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Romanian President Traian Basescu has said in the past that he supports gay rights, but not necessarily gay marriages.

Justice Ministry officials declined to comment Tuesday on whether there were plans to legalize gay marriage.

Some Romanian gays have traveled abroad to get married, activists say. “If we want to be true to ourselves and if we speak about equality of rights and nondiscrimination that applies to every citizen,” Iordache said. “It’s time to demand our rights.”

Hundreds of gay rights supporters marched on the streets of Bucharest last year in Romania’s first gay pride parade.

Jerusalem ordered to pay gay organization

A Jerusalem district court judge on Monday ordered the city of Jerusalem to pay the city’s leading GLBT rights organization about $77,000 to make up for payments the city did not give the organization from 2003 through 2005.
The judge ruled that city officials illegally discriminated against Jerusalem Open House by not allocating municipal funds to the organization in those three years during its annual allocation of funds to various community groups.

The ruling ended a three-year court battle between Jerusalem Open House and city officials regarding the allocation of public funds.

“Even if municipal officials have a hard time accepting the community and believe this is an unwanted phenomenon, the municipality cannot veer off from fundamental principles and ignore this community,” District Court Judge Judith Tzur wrote in her decision in the case.

Jerusalem “must treat this community equally, out of recognition of the supreme value of equality, and out of respect for the values of tolerance and pluralism, which are at the core of democratic values,” Judge Tzur ruled.
The ruling was the second time Jerusalem Open House has won a legal victory over the city’s ultra-Orthodox mayor, Uri Lupolianski. Last year, the organization won an injunction invalidating Lupolianski’s attempt to ban the annual gay Pride march in Jerusalem.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 2, 2006. сайтреклама в директе