Colombia to have same-sex unions within two years
Colombia's Constitutional Court on July 26 gave Congress two years to extend the rights of marriage to same-sex couples and said that if it doesn't, then same-sex civil unions will become legal anyway.
The ruling was unanimous.
"The court curiously delayed the date its ruling takes effect, on the ground that the Congress must legislate on the matter," said leading activist GermĂˇn RincĂ"n-Perfetti. "In six attempts, Congress has shelved bills on homosexual issues because of problems of religious contamination. For the seventh time, the process will begin and if there is not a favorable decision, then the court's ruling will enter into force."
The court also said that although the nation's constitution defines marriage as between a man and woman, that doesn't exclude other definitions.
It further ruled that, legally speaking, same-sex families are families, which has the effect of opening up various avenues of equal treatment for same-sex couples.
Italian Parliament blocks homo/transphobia bill
Italy's Parliament on July 26 approved a motion declaring a draft bill against homophobia and transphobia unconstitutional, said the national LGBT organization Arcigay.
The move had the effect of blocking further discussion of the measure.
"Arcigay considers this act as the latest outrage against LGBT people across the country carried out by a center-right majority composed of men and women of mediocre human, political and cultural profile," the group fumed. "We denounce before Europe and the entire civilized world that in Italy there is a real democratic emergency."
LGBTs march in Jerusalem
Thousands of people marched in Jerusalem's 10th LGBT pride parade July 28.
A spokesman said the parade was more about politics and solidarity than "sexuality."
The route was from Independence Park to a park at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, where a rally was staged.
Police prevented anti-gay protesters accompanied by donkeys from coming near the march. The protesters hoped to denounce homosexuality as "bestial."
Tel Aviv's parade earlier this year attracted some 70,000 people.
International youth group pulls conference from Israel
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organization (aka IGLYO) on July 28 canceled plans to hold its December annual conference in Israel after being criticized by Palestinian LGBT activists and some of its own member groups.
"This (support from IGLYO members) can only be seen as a continuation of the beautiful spirit of global solidarity, dominant during the South African anti-apartheid struggle and ongoing in solidarity with the rights of the Palestinian people, and oppressed people everywhere," said the group Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. (See tinyurl.com/3pazvzs.)
PQBDS said IGLYO's holding the gathering in Tel Aviv -- and its "acceptance of funding from the Israeli government" -- would have "directly implicate(d) IGLYO in Israel's occupation, colonization and apartheid, and Israeli efforts to 're-brand' Israel."
In cancelling the gathering, IGLYO said the final decision had been made by local host group Israel Gay Youth following passage of a new Israeli law that makes it a civil offense to support boycotting, sanctioning and divesting from Israel -- tactics that some IGLYO member groups apparently favor.
"Recent legal changes in Israel raised some concerns of the board of IGLYO," the group said in a statement. "In robust discussions between IGLYO and IGY following the passage of the new law and following the decision of the board of IGLYO to open a new round of consultation with member organizations, IGY subsequently decided on July 24th to withdraw its proposal to host the 2011 General Assembly as the location of the GA was subject to further consultation and possible change. (This) created an unstable environment in which to plan the General Assembly." (See tinyurl.com/3wlkftd.)
IGLYO's statement said "there has been much debate on the proposed location of the GA (in Israel) by IGLYO member organizations and also by LGBTQ and human rights allies," and that the debate had a "complex nature." At one point, IGLYO's member organizations voted 55 percent in favor of holding the gathering in Tel Aviv, with 20 percent opposed and 25 percent abstaining from the vote. (See tinyurl.com/3nmuk4v.)
Meanwhile, Israel Gay Youth will go ahead with an event that was to be a companion gathering to the IGLYO assembly.
The International LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit will take place as scheduled, and IGLYO's board said it "acknowledge(s) the opportunity that such a meeting would present (for IGLYO's) member organizations, and therefore, support(s) IGY in this event."
The Palestinian Queers group denounced IGLYO for supporting the companion summit, accusing IGLYO of "blatant hypocrisy" and "de-facto crossing our picket line."
Australian census to count married same-sex couples
In a first, the next Australian census will count same-sex couples who have gotten married abroad. "Census night" is Aug. 9.
"It is an important sign of respect that the Australian Bureau of Statistics will allow same-sex partners to indicate if they are married on the census," said Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Peter Furness. "It also highlights how nonsensical the federal government's failure to recognize same-sex marriage has become. We urge all same-sex partners who want to indicate they are married to take advantage of the fact that now they can."
Same-sex marriage is not allowed in Australia and Australian same-sex couples can't even get married in all countries where it is allowed because the Australian government refuses to issue them the "certificate of non-impediment to marriage" that some nations require of foreign couples.
Nonetheless, thousands of same-sex couples have managed to get married overseas. Many married in Canada, which does not require a non-impediment certificate, AME said, while other couples acquired a certificate from their state government rather than the federal government.
"Only some places that allow same-sex marriages require the documents that the Australian government doesn't issue," said AME's Rodney Croome.
Nations that have accepted a non-impediment document issued by one of Australia's state governments include South Africa, the Netherlands and Portugal, Croome said.
The new census figures collected Aug. 9 will be made public next July.
"ABS will provide the government with a baseline figure for the number of couples they are discriminating against on July 12, 2012, which is expected to be a key time in the marriage-equality debate," said Furness, who got married in Canada in 2006.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Mexico (where same-sex marriages are allowed only in the capital city but are recognized nationwide). It also is legal in six U.S. states -- Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont -- and Washington, D.C.
Assistance: Bill Kelley