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Special to the online issue of Windy City Times

This article shared 2228 times since Wed Mar 18, 2009
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British PM

opposes Prop 8

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown opposes Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that last November re-banned same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court had legalized it.

"This Proposition 8, this attempt to undo the good that has been done, this attempt to create divorces among 18,000 people who were perfectly legally brought together in partnerships, this is unacceptable and shows me why we always have to be vigilant, why we have always got to fight homophobic behavior and any form of discrimination," Brown said March 5 at a Downing Street reception for GLBT VIPs.

On March 4, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case seeking to overturn the constitutional amendment. It is widely expected that the effort will fail, with the justices deciding, in effect, that the right of the voters to amend the constitution is more sacrosanct than the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

The court must issue its decision by early June.

300,000 at

Sydney Mardi Gras

Sydney's 31st gay Mardi Gras parade attracted 300,000 spectators, 130 floats and 9,500 participants March 7.

Openly gay Olympic gold medal diver Matthew Mitcham led off the procession. His winning dive at the Beijing Olympics was the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history.

Marching units included the Federal Police, the military and New South Wales firefighters. U.S. comedian Joan Rivers also joined in, riding on top of a truck.

Moscow police chief

slams gay pride

Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Pronin strongly denounced gay pride March 8, expressing support for Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's ongoing bans on pride festivities.

"It's unacceptable," Pronin told Interfax, according to a translation provided by "Gay pride parades shouldn't be allowed. No one will dare to do it. ( They ) will be torn to shreds."

"The West can say we're bad guys, but our people will see it is right," he said. "Our country is patriarchal, that sums it up. I positively agree with the church, with the ( Russian Orthodox ) patriarch, politicians, especially with Luzhkov, who are convinced that man and woman should love each other. It is established by God and nature."

In 2007, got hold of a letter Pronin sent to Luzhkov confirming that the police conduct surveillance to prevent public gay events.

"Units of GUVD ( city police ) in Moscow are constantly controlling mass public actions in the city, monitoring media and the Internet with the aim of taking measures of a preventive character ( against ) illegal actions on the part of representatives of sexual minorities," the document said.

Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev said he is not particularly concerned about Pronin's latest remarks.

"Mr. Pronin already showed his incompetency last year when his services were unable to prevent us unveiling a banner directed against the mayor right opposite his office," Alekseev said. "The world already knows about the systematic breach of human rights by Moscow officials. This is nothing new."

Luzhkov's bans on gay pride parades are the subject of several pending cases at the European Court of Human Rights.

He has called gay pride parades "satanic" and "weapons of mass destruction."


arrested in Guyana

The South American nation of Guyana should halt arrests and police abuse of transgender people and repeal a law that criminalizes dressing like the opposite sex, human rights organizations said March 5 in a letter to President Bharrat Jagdeo.

The letter was signed by the Caribbean Forum for Liberation of Genders and Sexualities, Global Rights, Guyana Rainbow Foundation, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and Guyana's Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination. They called on Guyanese authorities to drop the charges against seven people arrested under the law in February and investigate allegations of abuse by the police.

"Police are using archaic laws to violate basic freedoms," said Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch's LGBT Rights Program. "This is a campaign meant to drive people off the streets simply because they dress or act in ways that transgress gender norms."

Between Feb. 6 and 10, police in the capital city, Georgetown, detained at least eight transgender people, charging seven of them under a law that prohibits men and women from appearing in public in the clothes of the opposite sex for "any improper purpose."

Police kept five of the men in solitary confinement until the day of trial. All eight were fined $36 each, HRW said.

—Assistance: Bill Kelley

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