In Australia, prime minister candidate Kevin Rudd said he would, if re-elected, introduce same-sex marriage legislation within 100 days of office, Gay Star News reported. The incumbent prime minister made the announcement on a televised debate against opponent Tony Abbott, who agreed that same-sex marriage was "a very important issue ... [although] it's not the only important issue." Christian groups in Australia called Rudd's shift in opinion a betrayal to voters and a political mistake.
InterPride (the International Association of Pride Organizers), GLISA (the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association) and ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) issued a joint statement condemning Russia. Part of the statement reads, "We add our voice to the already overwhelming messages at the Kremlin's abhorrent, homophobic, anti-human rights legislation, especially in light of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia." The release also urges "the International Olympic Committee take swift and appropriate action to ensure the safety of all athletes and visitors."
In a related development, Pride House International, a coalition of sporting and human-rights organizations, is restating its recommendation to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that it include sexual orientation and gender identity in its charter, according to a press release. The urging resulted from IOC President Jacques Rogge recently saying, "The Olympic charter is clear. A sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation." David McFarland, director of United for Equality in Sport and Entertainment, said Rogge's comment encouraged the group but that sexual orientation and gender identity are not actually included in Principle 6 of the charter.
And in another related happening, Russia World Cup chief Alexey Sorokin defended the country's anti-gay law, comparing gay people and Nazis in the process, according to the Chicago Tribune. "The Olympics and World Cup are not a stage for various views ...," he told the Internet publication World Football Insider. "Not for Nazis, not for any other ways of life." He also said, "Would you like a World Cup where naked people are running around displaying their homosexuality? The answer to that is quite obvious."
The White House announced that President Obama would not meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a one-on-one meeting in September because of the country's record on human rights, among other thing such as granting asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, according to Advocate.com . The meeting was scheduled to take place after the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. The meeting was canceled due to a "lack of progress on issues like missile defense, arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
In a decision that surprised many, the Taiwanese government has decided not to revoke a marriage between two transgender women, according to Gay Star News. After a marathon meeting with colleagues from justice and welfare ministries and other experts, the Interior Ministry announced that the marriage license of Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu should remain valid. Abbygail admitted she had thought the government would either drag its feet or simply cancel the marriage.
In an interesting twist, it turns out that Mexico's first gay mayor does not support same-sex marriage, according to ABC News. Benjamin Medrano, 47, recently won the election in Fresnillo, a conservative and largely rural county in Zacatecas state. When it comes to marriage equality, he said, "I'm not in favor of gay marriage.Wwe are still a very small town. ... We're not prepared, in my view." He stated that, as a Catholic, he wished the church had "a different view" on that matter, but added, "I cannot go against doctrine. ... I respect my church, and I don't want to dig any deeper beyond what's permitted and what is appropriate."
In France, the mayor of Salleles d'Aude recently approved plans for a gay retirement village in what is being called a landmark decision, according to the Huffington Post. However, it seems Mayor Yves Bastie did not know exactly what he was approving, and is now publicly contesting the village, saying developers did not include any mention of the town's true purpose. Developer Danny Silver explained to France TV that plans changed late in the game. The over-50s "active lifestyle" community will feature 107 houses in "traditional village style" that will be separated from other hamlets the Villages Group owns.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is brushing aside criticism of Ottawa's defense of sexual minorities' rights in other countries, saying the vast majority of Canadians support the government's stance, according to the Canadian Press. Baird said, "With respect to sexual minorities, we've focused on three things. One, against the criminalization of sexual minorities; two, against violence; and three, against the death penaltyand I think 99.9 percent of Canadians support us on those three issues." His comments come in response to an attack from conservative group REAL Women of Canada, which accused Baird of using taxpayers' money to promote "his own personal agenda" and attempting to set standards of the laws of foreign countries.
Beefy Russian gay icon Pavel Petel has told LGBT entertainment blog The Back Building that, despite his muscular appearance, he's still scared to walk down the street in Moscow, according to Advocate.com . Petel said he's been harassed and beaten, and is thinking of leaving the country to escape the persecution. Petel has made a name for himself as an artist and model, often cross-dressing or being naked in public; however, under the new laws, Petel said he "will censor and change [his] style."
Approximately 250 people took part in the second annual Viet Pride LGBT pride festival's bicycle rally in Vietnamtwice as many as last year, according to Gay Star News. The participants passed the Ho Chi Min Mausoleum and Vietnam's House of Parliament, ending up in Lenin Park. Riders wore white T-shirts with the slogan "Love = Human Rights" over a rainbow graphic.
Four Philippine gay-rights organizations are supporting a transgender celebrity who won a beauty pageant last month, only to become the victim of an Internet smear campaign, accoridng to Gay Star News. The Association of Transgender Philippines, Gender and Development Advocates Filipinas, TransMan Pilipinas and Transpinay of Antipolo Organization are standing behind Francine Garcia, who won the Super Sireyna Queen of Queens Pageant. After the win, nude photos (allegedly of Garcia) were posted online along with supposed statements by the show sponsors saying Garcia has been stripped of her title.