Colombian Senate approves civil-union bill
Colombia's Senate approved a civil-union bill Oct. 10 in a 48-40 vote.
The measure still faces action in the House and, if it passed there, would need President Álvaro Uribe's signature.
The bill, known as Project 130, sets up a registration mechanism and grants registered couples marriage rights in the areas of social security, health benefits, pensions and joint ownership of property.
'Although there is still a long legislative road ahead for the bill to become law, Colombian LGBT advocates are elated and celebrating the fact that this is the first time ever that a Colombian congressional branch has voted to recognize the rights of gays and lesbians,' said New York City activist and blogger Andrés Duque, a native of the South American nation.
Irish support rights for gay couples
Sixty-four percent of the Irish support granting same-sex couples spousal rights in legal and financial matters, a Sunday Tribune/Millward Brown IMS poll has found.
Twenty-six percent oppose such rights and 10 percent have no opinion.
The poll also found that half of respondents oppose same-sex adoption and 37 percent support it.
Men, farmers and people over 50 were more likely to express antigay positions while women and people between 18 and 35 were more likely to support gay equality.
U.K. to add
The United Kingdom will implement rules by April to prohibit anti-gay discrimination by providers of goods, facilities and services, the government has announced.
The measures were set to take effect in October but were delayed after churches said they feared such things as being forced to rent their premises to gay groups for meetings.
supports rights for same-sex couples
While he opposes same-sex marriage, and civil-union laws that too closely resemble marriage, Conservative Australian Prime Minister John Howard pledged Oct. 21 to work to grant gay couples some legal rights.
Reports said the areas to be considered include taxation, Medicare, pharmaceutical benefits, pensions, elderly care, immigration and subsidized military housing.
The Weekend Australian newspaper said Howard expressed interest in the matter following a quiet lobbying campaign by Liberal members of Parliament.
cable company over
lesbian sex scenes
Singapore's StarHub Cable Vision has been fined $6,360 by government regulators for airing pixelated footage of lesbian sex and bondage during the midnight reality show Cheaters.
Officials said the scenes depicted unnatural sex acts and were 'offensive to good taste and decency' in violation of the Subscription TV Program Code, which prohibits promotion and glamorization of 'lesbian lifestyles.'
Gay sex—'carnal intercourse against the order of nature'—is banned in Singapore under penalty of up to life in prison, though the law does not seem to be enforced.
Police raid Lima bars
Several Peruvian police agencies joined together to raid two Lima gay bars—69 and Avenida 13—on Oct. 13, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported.
Accompanied by TV reporters, officers from the Lima City Security Department ( Serenazgo ) , the tactical actions unit, the motorized police and the National Police first raided the lesbian bar Avenida 13.
'Many of [ the women ] were dragged out of the local bar and forced into police trucks, while television crews filmed them,' IGLHRC said.
Following what IGLHRC called 'the massive detention of the young lesbians,' the officers went to the building's second floor and raided the gay-male bar 69.
IGLHRC accused Serenazgo of 'a pattern of verbal and physical aggressions, extortion and robbery against the gay, lesbian and travestis [ transgender ] community in Lima.'
For information on a letter-writing campaign against the harassment, visit www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/section.php?id=5&detail=690.
Press outs British MP
Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper outed Tory Member of Parliament Greg Barker on Oct. 26, reporting that he left his wife and three children to have an affair with the male interior decorator who had redone the family home.
Barker, 40, who represents Bexhill and Battle in East Sussex, has a mostly anti-gay voting record and has described himself to constituents as a 'family man,' reports said. He did, however, vote in favor of the Civil Partnership Bill in 2004.
Barker is not expected to suffer any political damage from the outing. Several reports said Conservative Party Leader David Cameron, to whom Barker is a top lieutenant, plans to stand by him.
'The revelations about Mr. Barker caused little surprise at Westminster, as he is not the only married MP who is gay,' London's Times reported. 'MPs from all wings of the Tory party expressed support for Mr. Barker last night.'
The affair with decorator William Banks-Blaney reportedly lasted a year and is now over.
Barker refused to comment on the outing except to confirm he has separated from his wife and demand that he is 'entitled to a private life.'
'I am not in a current relationship,' he said.
Barker's mother-in-law, Georgina Harrison, told the Daily Record: 'Of course it was a shock. But these days it's not really unusual any more. It's modern life, isn't it? Men seem to think they can get away with it now.'
She said Barker and his wife, Celeste, 'still get on really well.'
'She still loves him. You don't just stop loving someone. And anyway, I think there's still a chance they could work it out. ... They talk all the time.'
—Assistance: Bill Kelley