Resistance in UK to gay adoption
A recent ICM Research survey conducted for the United Kingdom's National Adoption Week revealed a high degree of resistance to adoption by gay couples.
The poll of 1,007 people found that 40 percent of those questioned think gay male couples should not be allowed to adopt and 36 percent think lesbian couples should be banned from adopting.
Susan Cotton, adoption manager for the charity Action for Children, told the BBC the findings were 'shocking and disappointing.'
'We have successfully placed children with both gay couples and single people. We know it works,' she said.
Swedish plan to legalize same-sex marriage altered
Sweden's four-party government coalition has had trouble agreeing on a measure to legalize same-sex marriage, but the law should be in place by the middle of next year nonetheless.
'We haven't had a common understanding among all the parties of the alliance,' Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told Sveriges Radio on Nov. 5. 'I respect that there can be different opinions on these types of issues, despite the fact that it hasn't been unclear how the majority feels.'
The Christian Democrats party was the lone holdout and, in the end, forced the government to agree to proceed by introducing a parliamentary bill to legalize same-sex marriage rather than by submitting a government proposal, which is what the government wanted to do.
'The government will place a joint proposal for a new law, including everything apart from the issue of making it gender-neutral. Then the three 'pro-gay' government parties in the Parliament will introduce bills with the gender-neutral component,' said Jon Voss, editor of the Swedish gay Web site QX.se. 'Sweden will have a gender-neutral marriage during the first half of 2009.'
Same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain, and will become legal in Norway in January.
In the U.S., same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts. It was legal in California until Nov. 4, when voters amended the state constitution to negate the May state Supreme Court ruling that legalized it.
Pro-same-sex-marriage lawyers have asked the California Supreme Court to suspend the amendment's taking effect, arguing that because of its far-reaching effects on the constitution's structure and purpose, the 'amendment' actually is a 'revision' of the constitution, which cannot be 'revised' solely via a ballot initiative.
Caribbean health officials want repeal of buggery laws
Some government officials in attendance at the recent annual meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS called for repeal of laws that criminalize gay sex as a pathway to slowing the spread of the virus, the Caribbean Media Corporation reported.
'If we repeal the Buggery Act it reduces risky behavior and puts the onus on men who have sex with men to act in a responsible way,' said Dr. Peter Figueroa, head of the Jamaican Ministry of Health's AIDS program. 'When people see themselves as excluded or discriminated against and stigmatized, it promotes risky behavior.'
The health minister of the island nation of Dominica, John Fabien, agreed, saying: 'We need to take this to another level, I think the level of prime ministers. ... The whole question of men who have sex with men ... we can't bow our heads in the sand and say it does not happen. I will be driving the process back home and try to see how we could get things going. ... We need to really fall in line and try to get it off the books.'
Barbados' health minister, Dr. David Estwick, asked, 'What are we going to do about reaching men who have sex with men when we have laws against their sexual activity in most Caribbean countries?'
Jamaica's Figueroa added that when gay sex is stigmatized, 'it drives not only the epidemic underground, but it also means that men who have sex with men disguise their sexuality, take on a girlfriend and have sex with women who are unaware that they are really people who have sex with men, and therefore this acts as a bridge in terms of HIV transmission from the gay community.'
The meeting was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
According to Amnesty International, 11 Caribbean-area nations continue to ban gay sex—Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Norwegian church will not marry gays when law takes effect
Norway will become the seventh nation to grant same-sex couples access to full marriage in January, but the dominant Church of Norway will not marry gays, the state church's bishops said Oct. 8.
Pastors will be permitted to offer prayers for gay couples who get married but may not bless them, the bishops said.
Same-sex marriage also is allowed in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and, in the U.S., California, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
—Assistance: Bill Kelley