Pictured Activists and politicians celebrate outside the Congress of Deputies in Madrid April 21 following passage of a bill legalizing full same-sex marriage. The first gay marriages should occur by autumn. Wockner News photo by Agusten Catalan, El Periedico. #2 Barcelona activists Marc Corral, Jordi Petit, Albert Barbera and Antonio Guirado outside Spain's Congress of Deputies in Madrid April 21 following passage of a bill legalizing full same-sex marriage. The first gay marriages will occur by autumn. Wockner News photo. # 3 GLAAD People of Color Media Director Monica Taher. Photo by Rex Wockner. Homosexual Initiative Vienna Secretary-General Kurt Krickler. Wockner News photo courtesy of fotostudio.at. Leading Greek gay activist Gregory Vallianatos. Photo by Rex Wockner
Spain's Congress of Deputies voted to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption April 21. The vote was 183 to 136 with six abstentions.
The bill now moves to the Senate where it should pass as well, although the Senate's approval is not necessary for the bill to become law.
The measure modifies the Civil Code in 16 places, mostly replacing the words 'husband' and 'wife' with 'spouse,' and the words 'father' and 'mother' with 'parent.' It also states: 'Matrimony will have the same requirements and effects when both parties are of the same sex or of different sexes.'
Spain will be the third country to legalize full same-sex marriage, following the Netherlands and Belgium. Eight Canadian provinces and territories and one U.S. state also allow same-sex couples full access to marriage.
About 66 percent of Spaniards approve of gay marriage, polls have found.
The first same-sex weddings should occur by September.
Lawyer beats up
A leading Greek gay activist was beaten up in a public square April 11 by a well-known lawyer.
Attorney Alexis Kougias reportedly has a history of making antigay statements in the media. Earlier this year, activist Gregory Vallianatos said that Kougias' homophobic remarks 'are probably due to some failed homosexual relationship Alexis Kougias had when he was younger.'
When the two men encountered each other in Athens' Kolonaki Square April 11, Kougias reportedly called Vallianatos a 'faggot' and began punching him.
Bystanders helped Vallianatos escape and accompanied him to a police station where he filed a complaint against Kougias, who was arrested a day later.
Kougias, whose clients include the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and several bishops of Greece's Orthodox Church, also faces a disciplinary procedure from the Athens Bar Association as a result of the incident.
MP sues gay
Austrian People's Party Member of Parliament Walter Tancsits has sued the gay group Homosexual Initiative Vienna ( HOSI Wien ) in both civil and criminal court for accusing him of 'taking ideological views of the Nazis.'
'It's a disgrace for the country that even today mental descendants of the brown Nazi myrmidons, such as Tancsits, are sitting in the Parliament,' the group said.
HOSI's president, Christian Hegl, and its secretary-general, Kurt Krickler, also are named in the suits, which seek a retraction and damages for libel and defamation.
HOSI made the remarks in a press release after Tancsits opposed including the Nazis' gay victims in the Victims Compensation Act, and helped engineer their exclusion when a parliamentary committee considered the measure.
In an April 16 press release, HOSI said it 'suspects that the real reason behind these legal actions is to intimidate and to financially damage a critical NGO [ nongovernmental organization ] ... as HOSI Wien has been a decided opponent and a most vocal critic of the right-wing government in power since 2000.'
Nepalese police beat
Police officers from the Durbar Marg station in Kathmandu, Nepal, beat up a group of 18 transgender males who were walking on Kantipath Road April 13, Human Rights Watch said.
Nine of the 'metis' ( Nepalese men who dress and identify as women ) were severely beaten with batons, gun butts and sticks, the organization said.
'This attack is only the latest of a string of police assaults in Nepal against transgender people,' said Scott Long, director of HRW's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program. 'In a country where political and civil rights have been suspended, the violence sends a message that no one who looks or acts differently can feel safe.'
The metis attempted to report the incident to the Durbar Marg station but were refused entry. They proceeded to the Bir Hospital, where their injuries were treated and recorded, Human Rights Watch said.
Televisa network to get gay-sensitivity training
Activists from the U.S. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Mexico City's Pride Committee Mexico will train staff of Mexico's biggest TV network, Televisa, in hopes of improving its depictions of gays and lesbians.
A significant chunk of Spanish-language programming seen in the U.S. is produced by Televisa—airing on the Univision network.
'This is an important first step in what we hope will be a productive collaboration between Televisa and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community,' said Televisa General Programming Director Xavier Labrada.
GLAAD's people of color media director, Monica Taher, said that 'Spanish-language media have often portrayed LGBT people in a sensationalistic and stereotyped manner.'
French marriage rejected
An appeals court in Bordeaux, France, April 20 upheld the annulment of a same-sex marriage performed last year by Bégles Mayor Noel Mamere.
Mamere and the gay couple—Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier—had argued that the French civil code does not prohibit same-sex marriage.
The spurned grooms plan an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
France has a civil-unions law for gay couples but does not allow them access to full marriage, even though polls suggest the French people would support doing so.