N.Z. PM says husband isn't gay
BY REX WOCKNER
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark declared Sept. 17 that her husband, Dr. Peter Davis, is not gay after Investigate magazine ran photos taken from TV footage that showed him being hugged and kissed by a man.
It turned out the man was openly gay Ian Scott, an old family friend who had thrown his arms around Davis when Clark and Davis arrived at the Labour Party campaign headquarters the night of her 2005 re-election.
'I would describe him [ Scott ] as being one of an inner circle of Auckland friends whom we have, and all of them will be falling over themselves laughing today at this kind of rumor,' Clark said. 'My husband was not particularly happy with Ian's hugging of him at the time, but that happened and there is nothing more to it.'
Clark said Davis is 'absolutely not' gay and denounced the suggestion as 'schoolboy smutty rumors.'
'I've been married for 25 years, I have a happy marriage,' she said.
Scott told the Sunday Star-Times that the magazine's treatment of the video stills was 'bullshit.'
'I am not his gay lover. He is not gay,' Scott said.
Spanish airmen marry
Two male members of Spain's air force got married in Seville Sept. 15.
Spain is one of five nations where same-sex couples have access to traditional marriage.
Privates Alberto Linero Marchena and Alberto Sánchez Fernández tied the knot at City Hall, in uniform, before friends and family.
Mayor Alfredo Sánchez Monteseirín conducted the ceremony, commenting, 'This is not just your wedding. You symbolize millions of people who are not here and suffer from homophobia.'
South African gov. to introduce union law
South Africa's cabinet will introduce a bill in Parliament to create same-sex civil unions.
Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said the proposed law will complement the Marriage Act, giving same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married people.
But that may not go far enough. On Dec. 1, 2005, the nation's Constitutional Court gave lawmakers one year to change laws to allow gay couples to marry under the Marriage Act itself. It said if Parliament failed to act by the deadline, the court would rewrite the act.
The court said prohibiting same-sex marriage violated South Africa's post-apartheid Constitution. The ruling was essentially unanimous, with the sole dissenter opposing only the one-year delay, arguing that the ruling should take effect immediately.
'The exclusion of same-sex couples from the benefits and responsibilities of marriage is not a small and tangential inconvenience resulting from a few surviving relics of societal prejudice destined to evaporate like the morning dew,' the majority said. 'It represents a harsh if oblique statement by the law that same-sex couples are outsiders, and that their need for affirmation and protection of their intimate relations as human beings is somehow less than that of heterosexual couples. It signifies that their capacity for love, commitment and accepting responsibility is by definition less worthy of regard than that of heterosexual couples. [ T ] he intangible damage to same-sex couples is as severe as the material deprivation.'
Currently, same-sex couples have access to traditional marriage in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and Massachusetts. Numerous nations, states and provinces around the world have enacted civil-union or domestic-partnership laws that grant registered same-sex couples some, most or all of the rights of marriage.
Anti-gays march in South Africa
Thousands of Christians marched in several South African cities Sept. 16 against the government's plan to pass a civil-union bill that would give same-sex couples the same rights as married people.
The marches were organized by the African Christian Democratic Party, which wants to see the Constitution amended to 'protect' traditional marriage.
The civil-union bill was introduced in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that gave legislators until Dec. 1 to end the Marriage Act's discrimination against same-sex couples.
If lawmakers do not take satisfactory action by that date, the court said the Marriage Act automatically will be construed to allow same-sex marriage.
It is unclear if the proposed 'separate but equal' civil unions will satisfy the court.
Filipino gays register political party
The Filipino gay group Ang Ladlad registered in Manila Sept. 15 to run a candidate for Congress in 2007.
Chairman Danton Remoto told local media the group wants to 'reclaim the rights we have lost from centuries of homophobia and discrimination.'
Ang Ladlad means coming out. The Manila Bulletin said it comes from the word 'magladlad' which means 'to unfurl the cape that used to cover one's body as a shield.'
Euro MPs target
homophobia in schools
Members of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights and other Euro MPs launched a project Sept. 13 to combat homophobic behavior in schools.
Among other moves, they unveiled a report on social exclusion of GLBT youth produced by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organization ( IGLYO ) and the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association ( ILGA-Europe ) .
The report included results from a survey of 700 GLBT youth in 37 European nations which found that 61 percent have experienced prejudice and discrimination at school, 51 percent at home and 30 percent among their friends.
'Even though education does not lie within the EU competences, but is a responsibility of EU member states, there is a clear need to protect young people from discrimination whilst in education,' said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Patricia Prendiville. 'We will formulate concrete measures which will support LGBT young people in becoming full citizens of their societies.'
Clinton Works with Ukraine Against HIV/AIDS
Former United States President Bill Clinton and two Ukrainian foundations headed by philanthropists Elena Franchuk and Victor Pinchuk signed an agreement that will expand the work against HIV/AIDS in Ukraine, according to PR Newswire.
The Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS foundation will cooperate with Clinton's HIV/AIDS initiative for the next five years in implementing a project aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS escalation as well as increasing care and support of people living with the disease in Ukraine. Franchuk and Pinchuk are contributing $2.5 million toward the project.
Scottish firefighters punished for
Nine firefighters who refused to staff an official booth at Pride Scotia in Glasgow, Scotland, have been punished by the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue department.
A watch manager was demoted, suffering a $9,500 salary cut, and eight rank-and-file firefighters had written warnings placed in their employee files. The individuals, all from the Cowcaddens Fire Station, also must attend diversity-training classes.
The punishment could have been as strong as dismissal from the department. The individuals refused to work the Pride festival because they considered the assignment embarrassing or had moral objections to it, they said.
dignitaries call for
legal gay sex
More than 100 Indian authors, actors, filmmakers, journalists, academics, lawyers and others issued an open letter Sept. 16 calling for legalization of gay sex.
Led by writer Vikram Seth, the group called the 145-year-old ban 'archaic and brutal.'
They said it has been used to 'persecute, blackmail, arrest and terrorise sexual minorities' and 'has spawned public intolerance and abuse, forcing tens of millions of gay and bisexual women and men to live in fear and secrecy, at a tragic cost to them and their families.'
The law also has been utilized by authorities to scuttle HIV-prevention activities, they noted.
The signatories included Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen and Booker prizewinner Arundhati Roy.
Known as Section 377, the statute punishes 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature' with up to 10 years in prison.
In February, the Supreme Court remanded a case seeking to overturn the law back to the Delhi High Court, which had dismissed it on a technicality.
The high court ordered that the case be considered on its merits and that the Delhi court rule on the law's constitutionality. A hearing is set for October.
Canadian party to
stand firm on
Canada's Bloc Québécois political party has promised to stand united against Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to initiate parliamentary reconsideration of the 2005 vote that legalized same-sex marriage.
All of the party's 51 members in the 308-member House of Commons will be expected to vote in favor of same-sex marriage in any reassessment of the matter.
The 29 members of the New Democratic Party are planning to do the same.
Recent polling found that 62 percent of Canadians oppose any attempt to take away same-sex couples' access to marriage.
will be Nov. 10
The thrice-canceled Jerusalem WorldPride Parade is now scheduled to take place Nov. 10.
It was canceled last year because the police said they were preoccupied with a planned evacuation of Jews from Gaza. It was canceled twice this year, once because police said they were preoccupied with Israel's war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, and then again after police said they would be preoccupied with the Jewish New Year holiday season.
On Sept. 18, responding to a complaint by organizers, the High Court of Justice put its foot down, chose a date, told the police to cooperate, and ordered the city to support the event with funding.
WorldPride, which was last held in 2000 in Rome, is licensed by InterPride, the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Coordinators.
Assistance: Bill Kelley