Turkish ‘Islamic Defense’ Group Calls for Murder of Gays; Civil Unions Stall in Cyprus; Kenyans Tell Gays to Leave, Obama to Shut Up; Brazilian Evangelicals Launch ‘Sin-Free’ Facebook; and more…
In the U.S., fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision making marriage equality a legal reality in all 50 states continues, with conservative Christian legal groups backing county clerks and others citing religious beliefs as a reason to refuse to recognize the ruling.
Fifty couples are reportedly prepared to get married in a mass wedding in Acapulco,Mexico on Friday. Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos has made it clear that the weddings will not have the blessing of the Church, but a local activist organizing the event said the wedding is a civil act that would not be affected by the Church’s position.
Robert Bank, executive vice president of American Jewish World Service, wrote this week that LGBT rights activists in the U.S. should not rest with the “magnificent achievement” of marriage equality but must “take the long view and look beyond our own borders to understand that the plight of LGBT people worldwide remains terribly grim, especially in some of the poorest and most repressive countries in the developing world.”
As we rejoice in the progress for the constitutional rights of LGBT people in the United States, let’s also remember that millions of LGBT people around the world still face immeasurable stigma and discrimination. They are still fighting for their basic human dignity. We urge President Obama to build on his record of clarity and compassion by ending discrimination against LGBT people in overseas contracting and foreign assistance programs without delay.
Fifty couples are reportedly prepared to get married in a mass wedding in Acapulco on Friday. Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos has made it clear that the weddings will not have the blessing of the Church, but a local activist organizing the event said the wedding is a civil act that would not be affected by the Church’s position.
And in case you missed it, Reza Aslan and Hasan Minhaj published an open letter to American Muslims here at RD, calling on them to celebrate LGBT’s winning marriage equality. Aslan and Minhaj acknowledge the challenge of establishing “a firm Muslim identity in a non-Muslim country” and that many “feel like the LGBT community is a living contradiction to what you were brought up to believe.”
But here’s the thing. When you are an underrepresented minority—whether Muslim, African American, female, etc.—democracy is an all or nothing business. You fight for everyone’s rights (and the operative word here is “fight”), or you get none for yourself. Democracy isn’t a buffet. You can’t pick and choose which civil liberties apply to which people. Either we are all equal, or the whole thing is just a sham.
We Muslims are already a deeply marginalized people in mainstream American culture. More than half of Americans have a negative view of us. One-third of Americans—that’s more than one hundred million people—want us to carry special IDs so that they can easily identify us as Muslim. We shouldn’t be perpetuating our marginalization by marginalizing others. Rejecting the right to same-sex marriage, but then expecting empathy for our community’s struggle, is hypocritical….
We don’t know about you, but our faith teaches us to care for the weak and the marginalized, the poor and dispossessed, those who are trampled underfoot, those who are persecuted—no matter who they are, no matter what they believe, no matter who they choose to love.
In sports news (really), after the U.S. victory over Japan in the women’s World Cup finals before a huge television audience, US soccer legend Abby Wambach sought out and embraced and kissed her wife, earning plenty of glowing media mentions, as well as inevitable right-wing grousing that the moment had “ruined” the game.
Turkey: ‘Islamic Defense’ group publicly calls for gays to be murdered
A group calling itself Young Islamic Defense put up posters calling for gay people to be killed.
Arguing that Muslims should not be silent about this issue, the group has publicly defended their call to massacre on their website: “In order to show that Islam absolutely does not allow this situation, we have shared this hadith, mentioned also in [hadith scholars] Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood: “If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot, kill the doer and the done both!” Our wish is to learn the attitude Islam demands from us in light of the Qu’ran and the Sunnah, instead of the hodjas who cannot shout out what is rightful on television.”
Local equality advocates blamed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other officials for their recent use of inflammatory anti-gay rhetoric. “The discourse of hatred against LGBTI deployed by President Tayyip Erdogan, the AKP government and the conservative media echoing on the street,” wrote LGBTI News Turkey.
Theologist Hayrettin Karaman, known for his closeness to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and for his notorious statement that “corruption and theft are different things” had said with reference to the 23rd LGBTI Pride Week: “This country’s order might be secular, liberal democrat, etc. but no one should forget that the overwhelming majority of our society is Muslim, which accepts homosexuality as immoral, homosexuals who explain themselves cannot join the community of honorable and virtuous people, the “fault” they have committed will be met with disgust as a shameful act. A Muslim cannot defend a regime that equates homosexuals with people of the faith.”
Cyprus: Civil union legislation condemned by Orthodox leaders stalls
Religious leaders condemned legislation meant to “safeguard the rights of those opting for a civil partnership on the one hand and alleviate concerns of society as regards adoptions and weddings on the other.”
During Sunday mass, Archbishop Chrysostomos called for civil partnership advocates to “come to their senses,” saying that Cypriot society “doesn’t need a new family institution like ones already in place in some European nations and the U.S.”
According to In-Cyprus.com, “His comments followed sermons read out in Greek Orthodox churches throughout the island during Sunday mass, calling on believers to ‘disapprove of civil unions’.”
The law was scheduled to go to a vote on Thursday but parliamentary leaders decided at the last minute to postpone the vote until September. LGBT rights advocates praised the delay, suggesting that last-minuted amendments to the bill would permit discrimination against gay couples in civil unions. More from In-Cyprus.com:
The original bill was proposed by the Interior Ministry in an effort to promote social justice and to bring Cypriot law up to speed with modern times.
The bill would allow couples similar rights to those married, meaning it would provide a legal framework for enjoying benefits such as property inheritance, hospital visitation rights, child custody, and alimony.
Homosexuality is a divisive issue across the island and society has been slow in accepting change mainly due to the fact the Greek Orthodox church plays such a leading role in how people live their lives in Cyprus.
Archbishop Chrysostomos called on civil partnership advocates to ‘come to their senses’ after a recent sermon at Sunday mass, saying that Cypriot society does not need unions outside of traditional marriage.
It was only in 2000 that the discriminatory ban on ‘promoting’ homosexuality was lifted.
Since 2004, Cyprus has implemented an anti-discrimination law (Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation Law 2004) that explicitly forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment.
In 2013, the penal code was amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity thus criminalising all discrimination against them.
Kenya: Official tells gays to leave ‘God-fearing nation,’ warn Obama not to raise LGBT rights
Deputy President William Ruto, speaking in a Nairobi church on Sunday, said gay rights advocates should leave the country. From the Washington Blade’s Michael Lavers:
The Standard, a Kenyan newspaper, reported that Ruto made the comments during a speech at a Nairobi church in which he dismissed last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the United States.
“The other day you heard that in America the court has ruled about homosexuality, but in this country we will defend what is right and what our faith states,” said Ruto, according to the Standard.
Ruto reportedly said “God did not create man and woman for a man to come and marry another man.”
“We believe in God,” he said, according to the Standard. “This is a God-fearing nation and we will be firm on what is right.”
“We will fight for and defend our country and faith,” added Ruto. “Those who want to engage in those things can go to those countries and not ours.”
…Eric Gitari, a Kenyan LGBT rights advocate, on Sunday told the Washington Blade that Ruto has hosted a number of anti-LGBT American Evangelicals in the East African country. These include John Eastman of the National Organization for Marriage and Sharon Slater of Family Watch International.
On Monday, anti-gay protestors at a march organized by the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya chanted that US President Barack Obama should not talk about gay rights when he visits. AFP’s Raphael Ambasu reports,”It is important for us as Kenyans to know that the US is not God, and thus we cannot follow them blindly,” said protest organiser and evangelical Christian pastor Bishop Mark Kariuki.” AFP quoptes Ruta saying “I want to say as a Christian leader that we will defend our country Kenya, we will stand for our faith and our country.”
The White House dismissed such calls. Press Secretary Joshua Ernest said, “I’m confident that the president will not hesitate to make clear” that fundamental human rights are an administration priority.
Brazil: Evangelicals launch ‘sin-free’ – ie gay-free – version of Facebook
Pink News reports, “Brazilian Evangelicals have launched their own ‘sin-free’ version of Facebook, which is founded on love and acceptance – unless you’re gay.” FaceGloria reportedly attracted more than 100,000 users in its first month.
South Korea: Gay couple sues government for marriage recognition
In South Korea, where we reported last week that anti-gay Christians had failed to block Seoul’s Pride parade, movie director Kim Jho Gwang-Soo went to court to force the government to recognize a wedding ceremony he and his partner held in 2013.
European Parliament: LGBT issues made focus of ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’
This week the EP voted to put human rights, including LGBTI rights, “at the heart of the European Neighbourhood Policy.”
The ENP organises relationships between the EU and its closest Eastern and Southern neighbours*, and has a budget of more than €15 billion (2014-2020), part of which goes to civil society.
The policy was set up after the 2004 enlargement round, with the objective of creating a “ring of friends” around the European Union.
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, reacted: “Too many people in our neighbourhood face discrimination and violence for their sexual orientation or gender identity. In some cases this is endorsed by laws criminalising homosexuality, or supported by homophobic politicians.”
“I am glad the parliament by this report has ensured that this will be taken up by the Neighbourhood Policy.”
Spain: Marriage Equality turns 10
This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of marriage equality in Spain. Pink News reports that 31, 610 same-sex couple have been married in the country, and notes that in 2012 the Constitutional Court rejected a bid to invalidate the marriage equality law. Pew Research reported that in 2013 88 percent of Spaniards agree that society should accept homosexuality.
Nigeria: Interview with LGBT activist
This week GLAAD published an inverview with Olumide Femi Makanjuola to talk about the experience of LGBT people in Nigeria.