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This article shared 1632 times since Wed Jul 13, 2005
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Vietnamese P.M.: We have few gays

There aren't very many gays in Vietnam, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai said June 27.

Visiting Canada, Khai was asked how his government handles the equality rights of gays and lesbians, according to the Canadian Press wire service.

He laughed and said: 'This is not a serious problem in Vietnam at the moment. Only a few people, I think. The issue has not been rising or debated in Vietnam.'

Gay couple denied marriage license in Spain

The High Court of Justice in Spain's Catalonia region said July 6 that citizens of other countries cannot marry a same-sex partner in Spain unless the other country also allows same-sex marriage.

Spain legalized full same-sex marriage and gay adoption July 3.

The case involves a Spanish man and his Indian partner, who is a resident of Spain but holds an Indian passport. The court cited a section of Spain's civil code that says foreigners who wish to marry in Spain are bound by their home country's marriage laws.

Besides Spain, only Belgium, the Netherlands, 10 of Canada's 13 provinces and territories, and Massachusetts allow same-sex couples to marry under the same laws as opposite-sex couples.

The couple, Vipul Dutt, 33, and Enric Baucells, 45, may appeal to the Ministry of Justice.

Uganda bans same-sex marriage

Uganda's Parliament amended the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage July 7 by a vote of 111 to 17 with three abstentions.

Legislators also criminalized the act of staging a same-sex wedding.

Penalties will be determined during an upcoming revision of the nation's penal code.

Poles protest

U.S. gay chorus

The Boston Gay Men's Chorus got less than a unanimous welcome at its June 27 concert in Wroclaw, Poland—the nation's first such performance.

The League of Polish Families staged a crude demonstration, and the singers had to be transported to the concert site in secure buses and protected by police as they entered the building.

Ticket sales were suspended after the league threatened to buy up all remaining tickets and occupy Philharmonic Hall during the performance. Sales were reopened just prior to the concert, and 450 of the hall's 500 seats were filled.

'Early in the day, we noticed a substantial police presence at our hotel, with two large blue police vans filled with four armed police at each entrance,' said chorus Executive Director Steve Smith. 'Chorus members were advised to stay in the hotel.

'Although the concert hall was only four blocks away, we were required to be transported to the concert in buses that received police escort. At the hall, I saw more than 25 armed policemen forming a secure path to the concert hall from the street. Five more vans with obvious riot gear were parked next to the hall.'

As the singers entered the building, protesters called them pedophiles and disease carriers.

But inside the hall, the chorus received numerous standing ovations. 'The chorus had to reenter the stage twice for bows after the concert,' Smith said. 'Literally hundreds of people were visibly in tears.'

Antigays march in Fiji

Even though there are no proposals to legalize same-sex marriage, 200 Methodists marched against it in the Nausori neighborhood of Suva, Fiji, June 25.

'A marriage between two men is very sinful, it's against God's law,' the Rev. Kalivati Ravoka told the Fiji Times. 'We need to make a stand before it happens. ... The legalization of gay marriage will bring other ungodly acts to our country.'

'These people who have this spiritual disease do not like to listen,' added the Rev. Malakai Tuikadavu. 'Even if we talk to them nicely and in the right way, they still look at us and walk the opposite way. ... This is a sickness and can be healed. ... It is a sickness caused by the devil.'

The Sexual Minorities Project tried to stop the march by writing to church leaders, the attorney general and the Fiji Human Rights Commission.

'It basically infringes upon the constitution,' said Coordinator Carlos Perera. 'Why have they marched? Nobody called for the legalization of marriage.

'We don't choose to be gay,' he added. 'Who wants to be gay in a country that still treats gays with so much discrimination? It's a life of hardship.'

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