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  WINDY CITY TIMES

World news: Kazakhstan law struck down; marriage developments
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-06-02

This article shared 5061 times since Tue Jun 2, 2015
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Kazakhstan has struck down a proposed law that would have banned "gay propaganda" similar to its Russian neighbors—thanks in part to athletes such as Martina Navratilova, Gay Star News reported. The tennis legend and 26 other sporting heroes, like Robbie Rogers, wrote a letter to the IOC ( International Olympic Committee ) that Kazakhstan should not be allowed to host the 2022 Winter Olympics if the country went ahead with the law. The country's Constitutional Council said the law "was not in line with the constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan." The law had passed with very little resistance in February.

Ireland's historic vote in favor of same-sex marriage has reverberated across Italy, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's lieutenants came out in force to call for fast-track passage of a stalled civil-partnership law, The Telegraph reported. Socially conservative Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same-sex marriage or civil unions. The face that the Irish referendum garnered an unexpectedly strong 62-percent vote of approval in such a deeply Catholic country rallied backers of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.

German politicians have spoken about same-sex marriage in the wake of the development in Ireland, Metro Weekly reported. Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose Christian Democratic Union party governs in coalition with another party, continues to oppose marriage equality in Germany. Katrin Goring-Eckardt, leader of opposition Green party, told Germany's Die Welt newspaper, "The Merkel faction cannot just sit out the debate on marriage for all. I am confident that the Irish vote will accelerate equality in Germany." However, Merkel spokesperson Steffen Seibert said, "Every country makes its own laws—some countries go one route while others go another. In Germany, we'll take a path that suits Germany."

Poland has rejected civil unions for same-sex couples for the fourth time, Gay Star News reported. Fewer than a third of the members of Parliament ( 146 ) voted for the discussion, with 215 voting against. Twenty-four abstained and 75 refused to vote at all. In January 2013, a draft bill for same-sex civil partnerships was thrown out by just 17 votes.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's lesbian sister says she wants same-sex marriage to be a non-partisan issue, and is confident it will be legal throughout the continent by the end of 2015, 9News.com .au reported. Christine Forster, who is engaged, described the prime minister's shift on the introduction of a same-sex marriage, cross-party marriage-equality bill as significant. Abbott has agreed to attend her wedding, she added.

Greenland has become the 21st nation in which legal marriage rights are now available to same-sex couples, Advocate.com noted. The new law, which was agreed to unanimously in Greenland's Parliament, will go into effect Oct. 1, and will include adoption rights for same-sex couples. The autonomous nation, located within the Kingdom of Denmark, first adopted a civil-union law in 1996, in accordance with Danish law at the time.

Recently, more than 1,000 LGBT Cubans marched through the streets of Havana to protest against discrimination, BBC News reported. President Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela Castro, organized the event. Also, although same-sex marriage remains illegal, dozens of couples took part in symbolic gay weddings presided over by religious leaders from Cuba and the United States. Two years ago, Cuban law banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The provincial government of West Bengal in India has appointed a transgender woman as a college principal, HNGN.com noted. Manabi Bandopadhyay will be first transgender college principal in India—and maybe the first in the world—when she takes charge of Krishnagar Women's College on June 9. Bandopadhyay, in her late 40s, teaches Bengali literature at Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya in West Bengal state. She underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 2003.

For the first time in Turkey, an out gay candidate is running in the country's general election, according to PinkNews. Baris Sulu, 37, is standing for the People's Democratic Party ( HDP ), in the northwestern Eskisehir district. Sulu said he hopes to use his position to promote LGBT rights if elected June 7, and has campaigned for gay rights in the country for almost two decades. His party is liberal, left wing and pro-Kurdish, and currently holds 29 of 550 seats in the Turkish Parliament.

The Journal of the International AIDS Society ( JIAS ) recently called for abstracts for a supplement on transgender health and HIV, according to Plus Magazine. In the call, JIAS pointed to a 2012 systematic review and meta-analysis, which reiterated that transgender people, especially trans women who have sex with men, face a disproportionate rate of HIV infection. According to JIAS, that international study showed that 19 percent of trans women ( in 15 countries ) will likely become HIV-positive.

A Northern Ireland bakery found guilty of discriminating against a gay customer after it refused to bake a gay marriage-themed cake seeks to appeal the ruling, The Guardian reported. Belfast county court ordered Ashers Baking Company to pay 500 British pounds sterling ( about $765 U.S. ) in damages for "injury to feelings" after Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled the customer had been treated less favorably, and the bakery had breached political and sexual-orientation discrimination regulations. The Christian Institutue, which backed the McArthur family who owns the bakery, confirmed that an appeal against the decision had been launched.

In the United Kingdom, deportation is on hold, again, for bisexual Orashia Edwards, Advocate.com noted. His forced flight from the U.K. to his native Jamaica has been canceled, pending another appeal, as he tries to convince British authorities he is, in fact, bisexual. The asylum tribunal alleged Edwards was "experimenting" with his orientation. His partner, Michael Mardel, has testified to their relationship.

In Canada, Denis Morris High School student Blair Gaboury said that St. Catharine's administration initially denied the quote he wanted included with his yearbook profile: "It's brighter outside of the closet," according to The Winnipeg Sun. Gaboury, 17, said that rejection was overturned by the principal; however, the student ended up with a three-day suspension over a social-media account of his denial. Principal Danny DiLorenzo said the issue was never about denying the quote, but one of process, as the yearbook statement was handed in anonymously.

In the United Kingdom, Benjy the bull ( who was once thought to be gay ) is being castrated—and is apparently bisexual, Advocate.com noted. When it was found out that the bull was going to be slaughtered, hundreds of people ( including the late Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon ) donated funds to transfer the animal from Ireland to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwhich, England. "I know they say Benjy's gay, but we won't be taking any chances," farmer John Watson has said. "Any animals that come here are neutered because we want to rescue animals in need, not breed them and fill up the sanctuary."

Male model Aaron Frew, the one gay man left in Big Brother UK, was removed for "inappropriate behavior," Gay Star News noted. Frew, 24, was removed from the show after he stripped naked in front of housemates, prompting 19-year-old Joel Williams to complain, The Independent added. Simon Gross was the first gay housemate to leave following the show's first big twist, where he was forced to exit after only being there for two hours.


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