ICELAND EXPANDS GAY RIGHTS
Iceland's parliament, the Althingi, expanded the nation's gay partnership law last month.
As in Scandinavia, registered gay couples already had 99 percent of the rights and obligations of matrimony. Now gay spouses will be permitted to adopt each other's biological children as well.
Legislators also extended the partnership law to cover Danes, Swedes and Norwegians who live in Iceland since those nations have partner laws nearly identical to Iceland's. Other foreigners may enter a registered partnership after they have lived in Iceland for two years.
The adoption measure was opposed by some fundamentalist Christian activists who collected 1,050 signatures against it. Iceland has a population of 280,000.
Icelandic Gay and Lesbian Association spokesman Thorvaldur Kristinsson commented: "The determination and acuity of the small movement of lesbians and gays in Iceland has led to a miracle in the last two decades. A recent Gallup poll shows that two thirds of Icelanders find nothing wrong in lesbians and gays taking responsibility for adopting children. This is a nation that only twenty years ago was so prejudiced that homosexuals were forced to immigrate abroad. But our society is small and messages travel fast. Through cogent arguments we have reached the people of this country."
Sir Elton John denounced anti-gay Roman Catholic Cardinal Thomas Winning of Glasgow, Scotland, June 15.
In an article in The Spectator, Winning had said: "Far from liberating a person it [ homosexuality ] ensnares them in a lifestyle that can never respond to the deepest longings of the human heart. [ S ] uch behaviour is not good for the human person."
In the next issue of the magazine, John responded: "Cardinal Winning, and his ignorance, is totally representative of why people are turning away from the Church.
"I am astonished to be told by Cardinal Winning that my sexuality is not good for me. He argues that homosexuality 'ensnares them in a lifestyle that can never respond to the deepest longings of the human heart'. From what practical perspective does he form this point of view?
"As a Cardinal and presumably a celibate and solitary individual, how can he possibly be in a position to judge? As a gay man I am perfectly happy with my sexuality and my life. I can honestly say that the deepest longings of my heart are satisfied."
About a thousand people attended Edmonton, Alberta, Canada's gay pride parade June 10. They marched down 121st Street and 103rd Avenue to a festival at Grant Notley Park.
Parade co-organizer and Ward 4 City Councillor Michael Phair greeted the crowd on behalf of the City Council.
Co-organizer Warren Hurt told the Edmonton Sun he hopes people will "just recognize that Edmonton has a diverse community and that is something that we need to accept."
In Calgary a day later, about 1,000 people walked, danced, skated or rode on floats through "the Beltline" in that city's pride parade, the Calgary Sun reported.
WARSAW GAYS TO STAGE INT'L CONFAB
The Third World Conference on Gay & Lesbian Culture, scheduled for July 9-16 in Warsaw, Poland, will feature Canadian gay filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, American porn star Chris Steele and famed European erotic filmmaker Jean Daniel Cadinot.
There also will be "countless workshops, concerts, exhibitions, plays, movies and parties," said spokesman Slawek Starosta.
Full information is available at
PERUVIAN GAYS DENOUNCE ARCHBISHOP
Peru's Homosexual Movement of Lima ( MHOL ) denounced Lima Catholic Archbishop Monsignor Juan Luis Cipriani June 13 after he told his congregation that the church recognizes only the male and female genders.
Cipriani's comments were made before thousands of people attending a Great Jubilee 2000 mass.
MHOL said the archbishop displayed absolute ignorance of gay and lesbian issues and denigrated the "fundamental rights of the hundreds of thousands of homosexual men and lesbian women of Peru."
"Neither the MHOL nor the homosexual community is promoting the existence of a third sex, but rather, the full recognition and use of all our civil rights, including the recognition of and the freedom to choose our sexual orientation," the group said.
The activists also criticized Congress for not including a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in a recently passed anti-discrimination law.
Cyprus' dominant Orthodox Church launched an investigation June 12 into allegations that Limassol Bishop Athnanassios is gay.
He is alleged to have seduced a young monk who later renounced his orders and became a hairdresser.
The Second LGBT Pride March-Meeting in Veracruz, Mexico, is scheduled for July 1.
In Guadalajara, gays are scheduled to march for the first time June 24. The city had a gay protest march in 1982 in response to bar raids but has never had a pride march.
At press time, the Culiacan Gay Pride Group in the state of Sinaloa had announced a June 16 dance and demonstration in the city's central square across from the Catholic cathedral.
Ten thousand people marched in Mexico City's 22nd parade June 17, from the Zona Rosa down Paseo de la Reforma to the presidential palace in the ZĂ"calo plaza, Mexico's political center.
Organizer Beatriz Gonzalez said the march "holds people accountable at all levels of government, ahead of the next elections" on July 2.
In Tijuana, about 150 people marched in the sixth pride parade June 17 chanting "Los putos unidos jamĂˇs serĂˇn vencidos." Hundreds more cheered from the sidewalks of the city's main street, Revolution Avenue. Partiers on the balconies of the avenue's straight discotheques also hooted and hollered their support.
The parade was followed by political speeches in a city park and parties at some of the city's eight gay bars. Tijuana has a population of around two million.
The chant was a take-off on the popular revolutionary slogan "El pueblo unido jamĂˇs serĂˇ vencido," which means, "The people united will never be defeated." The gay version was "The fags united will never be defeated." There has been some movement by Mexican gays in recent years to reclaim "puto" ( "fag" ) from its strictly pejorative use.
Under the slogan "Vienna goes the other way," about 50,000 people marched the wrong way around Vienna's one-way ring road in the city's June 17 gay-pride parade.
"It's not just about putting an end to discrimination, but also formulating positive rights for those concerned," said Social Democrat parliamentary leader Peter Kostelka.
FIRST PRIDE PARADE IN NEW BRUNSWICK
The first gay-pride parade in the Canadian province of New Brunswick attracted about 100 marchers in the city of Moncton June 17.
They chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia has got to go."
Organizers said most of the city's gays and lesbians did not participate for fear of workplace discrimination.