Saudi Arabia executes same-sex couple
Saudi Arabia executed two men March 13 for the murder of a Pakistani man they feared would expose their gay relationship.
According to the Interior Ministry, Ahmed al-Inizi and Shaher al-Ruwaily ran over Malek Zade Khan with a car, smashed his head with a rock and set him on fire after he caught them having sex.
The executions occurred in Arar, a northern city near the Iraq border.
Netherlands to lift adoption ban
A bill introduced in the Netherlands' Parliament March 9 will lift the ban on adoption of foreign babies by same-sex couples.
Such couples already have adoption rights for babies living within the country.
The bill, which was introduced by a coalition representing a parliamentary majority, is expected to pass.
'However, not many intercountry adoptions by same-sex couples would take place, since hardly any country in the world allows their children to be adopted by Dutch same-sex couples,' said activist Kees Waaldijk.
In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation to legalize full marriage for same-sex couples.
Finns: No to adoption
People in Finland are not very supportive of gay adoption.
A Taloustutkimus survey for the Aamulehti newspaper found that 44 percent of Finns approve of adoption by lesbian couples and 32 percent approve of adoption by gay-male couples.
Finland has had a gay registered-partnership law since 2002 that grants all matrimonial rights and obligations except in the areas of adoption and name changes.
Singaporean health official upsets gays
Gay activists reacted angrily March 10 to a suggestion by Singaporean junior health minister Balaji Sadasivan that the annual 'Nation.04' gay circuit party could be to blame for the country's increasing HIV rate.
The party, Sadasivan said, may have attracted 'gays from high-prevalence societies to fraternize with local gay men, seeding the infection in the local community.'
Three hundred eleven Singaporeans were diagnosed with HIV in 2004, a 28 percent increase.
Activist Eileena Lee from the People Like Us group accused Sadasivan of 'paranoia.'
The party's organizer, the Fridae.com Web site, said the government must accept blame for the infection rate because gay sex is illegal and official HIV educational campaigns never target the gay community.
Only a third of the new infections among males occurred in men who acknowledged having gay sex.
Swedish prosecutor appeals antigay case
The case of a Swedish pastor who preached that homosexuality is 'a cancerous tumor on the body of society' that leads to bestiality and pedophilia is heading to Sweden's Supreme Court.
Åke Green was convicted of 'agitation against a group' by a district court and sentenced to a month in prison but the conviction was overturned by the Göta Court of Appeal.
The state prosecutor now is appealing that ruling.
'In the sermon there were statements which must be interpreted as extremely offensive for homosexuals,' prosecutor Fredrik Wersälls said March 9. 'We need guiding pronouncements about where the boundaries lie between an objective, genuine discussion and punishable abuse, as well as what the significance is if the person making the offensive statements says he has support for them in religious documents.'
Green says if he loses at the Supreme Court, he will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
Marriage protesters clash in New Zealand
Protesters for and against gay civil unions clashed in Auckland, New Zealand, March 6.
Thousands of antigays affiliated with churches staged a march from the waterfront to Myers Park.
But the kickoff was delayed when 30 gay activists sat in the street blocking the way.
They chanted, 'Celebrate, don't hate.'
Police moved the gays out of the way and kept the groups separated for the rest of the march.
New Zealand's Parliament passed a civil-union law for gay and straight couples Dec. 9 by a vote of 65 to 55.
Registered couples will receive the same rights and responsibilities as married people. The measure takes effect in April.
City councilors will wed
Two male city councilors in Aberdeen, Scotland, will tie the knot when the United Kingdom's Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in December.
Neil Fletcher and John Stewart, both Liberal Democrats, have been a couple since 1992.
'We are very much in love and have always wanted some kind of marriage,' Fletcher told the Scotsman newspaper March 6. 'We're hoping we'll be the first gay couple in the country to take part in what's called a civil partnership. We have always wanted a public and legal acknowledgment of our relationship and are over the moon that is finally going to happen.'
The law takes effect Dec. 5 and couples can get hitched at a register office starting Dec. 21 — 15 days after giving notice of their intention to do so.
Registered partners will receive rights and obligations in areas that include accident compensation, life insurance, immigration, inheritance, intestacy, pensions, taxation, tenancy, spouse and child support and workplace benefits. Couples who have entered a legal same-sex union overseas will not need to re-register in the UK to be recognized.
There will be a formal court process for dissolution of a civil partnership.
450,000 at Mardi Gras
About 450,000 people turned out to watch the 28th gay Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Australia, March 5.
Highlights included a parody of Charles and Camilla's wedding complete with Princess Diana's ghost, and an 'Adam and Steve, Ada and Eve' contingent, said the Sydney Star Observer.
Another entry depicted a wedding between George W. Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
The lead marching group carried flags of countries where gay sex remains criminalized.
After the parade, some 19,000 people attended a dance party at Fox Studios.