Canadian gov't accused of blocking Outgames visas
Canada's government is denying and delaying visas for some people who planned to attend the 1st World Outgames July 29-August 5 in Montreal, Liberal members of Parliament charged July 11.
Quebec MP Raymonde Folco said more than 250 individuals—mostly participants in an associated human-rights conference—lack entry visas, and that the new Conservative government's anti-gay sentiments may be to blame.
'I would like to be generous and say there may be another common denominator, but I don't see it,' she said.
A spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg dismissed the accusation, telling the Winnipeg Sun that 'most of the applicants are still in the normal review process.' At the same time, the spokeswoman, Lesley Harmer, told the Montreal Gazette that more than half of the individuals in question have yet to submit a visa application.
Outgames Press Secretary Pascal Dessureault said he is 'really worried' about the delays.
Czech gays register
Three same-sex couples tied the knot in the Czech Republic July 1 as the nation's new registered-partnership law came into force.
Two of the weddings were in Ostrava, Moravia, and the third was in Kladno, Bohemia.
'We've saved some money together. Now we are sure of not losing it if one of us passes away,' Karel, who married Josef in Ostrava, told the Czech News Agency ( CTK ) .
Vendulka and Stepanka, also married in Ostrava, told CTK they were happy to be registered but hope lawmakers now will move on to approval of same-sex adoption.
The registered partnership law was approved only after the Chamber of Deputies overrode President Vaclav Klaus's veto of it.
While it extends to registered couples many of the rights and obligations of traditional marriage, it withholds equality in the areas of adoption, pensions, taxation and joint ownership of property, CTK said.
Congress members blast Russian
Fifty members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin June 30 'to express our dismay over the riots and violence against gay and lesbian marchers in Moscow during a gay pride parade in late May.'
'We believe that the mayor's public statements and his banning of the parade itself—as well as the fact that provocative and violently anti-gay statements by religious leaders and others went unrepudiated by elected officials—helped create a situation in which violence against gay and lesbian people was in fact more likely to happen, if not inevitable,' the lawmakers said.
' [ G ] iven reports that some police stood by while gay and lesbian marchers were attacked, it is difficult for us to believe that the police were unable to protect the marchers, but instead were simply unwilling to do so,' they added.
The letter was organized by gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and signed by several House leaders on international-affairs and human-rights issues.
The small May 27 march—an attempt to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier then walk a few blocks for a rally across from Moscow City Hall—resulted in violence, injuries and arrests. The marchers were attacked repeatedly by neofascists, skinheads, militant Christians and riot police. About 120 people from both sides were detained.
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said he banned the march because Russia's 'morals are cleaner' than those of 'the West.' He called the attempt to lay flowers a 'desecration ... a provocation [ and ] a contamination.'
'People burst through and of course they beat them up,' he said.
A quarter of Moscow's police force—1,000 officers—was assigned to prevent the march from taking place.
Brit papers pay libeled soccer star, DJ
English professional soccer player Ashley Cole and Choice FM disc jockey Ian Thompson ( known as Masterstepz ) will be paid damages by London's News of the World and Sun tabloids for articles that falsely suggested the two are bisexual.
The pair accused the newspapers of harassment, breach of privacy and libel even though the articles in question did not name them. They argued that a pixelated photo that accompanied one article in the News, as well as followup reports in The Sun, led members of the public to speculate that the two were involved in a gay-sex incident relayed in the reports.
The February articles said two unnamed bisexual Premiership soccer stars
had engaged in what the News called a 'gay sex orgy [ and ] made some very dirty phone calls—using a mobile [ phone ] as a gay sex toy.'
They 'were caught on camera cavorting with a pal well-known in the music
industry in a homosexual orgy,' the News said.
At the time, Cole's lawyer, Graham Shear, protested, 'The newspapers knew there was no basis to name Ashley but arranged the articles and pictures in such a way that readers would identify him.'
In apologizing and agreeing to pay damages, the News said: 'Although the photograph was pixellated, some readers have understood Mr Cole to be one of the footballers and Masterstepz to be the DJ concerned. We are happy to make clear that Mr Cole and Masterstepz were not involved in any such activities. We apologise to them for any distress caused and we will be paying them each a sum in the way of damages.'
Cole reportedly will receive around $190,000. The newspapers also will pay the pair's legal fees.
6,800 couples get hitched in U.K.
More than 6,800 same-sex couples have gotten married under the United Kingdom's Civil Partnership Act since it took effect in December.
The law grants civil partners all the rights and obligations of traditional marriage.
In England and Wales, male couples tying the knot have vastly outnumbered female couples—4,311 to 2,205. In Scotland, 343 ceremonies have taken place. Male couples lead there also—220 to 123.
—Assistance: Bill Kelley