Tutu’s Daughter Marries Woman & Loses Anglican Priest License; Romanian Anti-Marriage Activists Get 3 Million Signatures; Australian State Apologizes For Harmful Sodomy Laws; Global LGBT Recap

South Africa: Tutu’s Daughter Marries Woman, Loses License as Anglican Priest

Mpho Tutu-Van Furth, Bishop Desmond Tutu’s daughter, was forced to give up her license to function as a priest in the South African Anglican Church because she married another woman in December. The Washington Post’s Max Bearak reports:

South Africa’s Anglican church, where Tutu-Van Furth until recently practiced as a priest, isn’t ready to accept those with alternative sexualities as members of its clergy. Tutu-Van Furth was ordained at the Historic Christ Church in Alexandria, Va., and since the Episcopal Church, the U.S.-based branch of the Anglican Communion, accepts priests who have entered into same-sex marriages, she can still practice in the United States.

Bearak reports that the South African Anglican Church will be reviewing its position on marriage later this year.

Romania: Marriage equality opponents collect 3 million signatures

Opponents of marriage equality announced on Monday that they have gathered 3 million signatures on an anti-marriage petition. AFP reports:

Several groups linked to the Orthodox Church and united under the umbrella Coalition for Family are seeking a constitutional amendment to narrowly define marriage as the “union between a man and a woman”.

It is the second such move in Europe this month after a group of mostly right-wing Italian politicians said they will push for a referendum to overturn the introduction of gay civil unions in their country.

“This is a historic moment,” said Mihai Gheorghiu, one of the leaders of the Romanian initiative, which has been given strong backing by the Church.

“Three million Romanians, in an unprecedented show of solidarity, signed this proposed amendment.”

Australia: Premier of Victoria offers apology for harm caused by sodomy laws; priest fights ‘gay panic’ defense

The government of Victoria, Australia, offered “a full and formal apology” for laws that criminalized homosexual conduct. In a moving speech, Premier Daniel Andrews recounted the “profoundly ad unimaginably wrong” laws and actions that “turned thousands of ordinary young men into criminals.”

For decades, we were obsessed with the private mysteries of men.

And so we jailed them.

We harmed them.

And, in turn, they harmed themselves.

Speaker, it is the first responsibility of a Government to keep people safe.

But the Government didn’t keep LGBTI people safe.

The Government invalidated their humanity and cast them into a nightmare.

And those who live today are the survivors of nothing less than a campaign of destruction, led by the might of the State.

New Ways Ministry profiles Paul Kelly, a Catholic priest who has led efforts to eliminate the “gay panic” defense in his state. Kelly became involved after the person to beat someone to death in Kelly’s churchyard used a “gay panic” defense and was convicted only for manslaughter.

Iran: Supreme Leader warns against western moral decay;  New policies subject gay men to dangerous invasion of privacy

OutRight Action International reports that in a speech to the Assembly of Experts, a council of clerics that will choose his successor, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against “ravaging moral decay” in the West, citing specifically the legalization of homosexuality, which he said would lead to legalized incest.

The government has reportedly implemented new procedures regarding men who are exempted from military service for being homosexual.

According to Iranian law, all male citizens are required to report for military service at age 18 and must serve a consecutive 24 months period. Homosexuals and transsexuals are not required to serve in the military. Prior to the ratification of the new regulation, both categories were exempt from military draft under a section of the law which classified homosexuality and transsexuality as a mental disorder. However, after the ratification of the new regulations, although homosexuality and transsexuality are still categorized as mental disorders, a specific section of the law provided two new provision with regard to these groups which are specified on their ID cards and would in essence identify them as homosexuals and transsexuals. Not only the new protocol is more time consuming, but it is also degrading and violates the basic human rights of the individual applicants. The process forces the individual applicants to declare having same sex relations and reveals intimate details of their sexual lives.

Mexico: Marriage on march with strong public approval; report on trans

The legislature in the state of Colima approved marriage equality. A survey released this week found that 65 percent of Mexicans supports the president’s proposal to make marriage for same-sex couples a right guaranteed in the country’s constitution. See journalist Rex Wockner’s site for ongoing reporting and analysis of the complex and shifting marriage landscape in Mexico.

The Transgender Law Center and the Cornell Law School LGBT Clinic released “Report on Human Rights Conditions of Transgender Women in Mexico,” which documents “pervasive discrimination, hatred, violence, police abuse, rape, torture, and murder.”

Kyrgyzstan: Anti-LGBT bill delayed, but its backers still pushing

Legislation that mirrors Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law has been delayed in a parliamentary subcommittee. Via EurasiaNet’s Anna Lelik:

Kyrgyzstan’s anti-LGBT bill was first proposed in May 2014 and closely mirrored a law approved by Russia’s State Duma the year before. But in addition to the fine for the dissemination of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” envisioned by the Russian law, the Kyrgyz bill also proposed jail terms of up to one year for those who “promote homosexual relations” through the media or among children.

The head of the committee on rule of law, order and fighting crime, Janybek Bakchiev, said that although the bill had already passed through two readings in the previous session of parliament, another second-tier examination was required.

“Considering that this [new session of] parliament has not yet discussed this bill — and I think this is a very ambiguous issue important for society — it deserves to be discussed by the MPs of the current parliament,” Bakchiev told the committee. His suggestion was unanimously approved by the committee…

But the bill’s backers do not intent to let it die in committee:

If MPs are getting second thoughts, self-styled nationalist-conservative groups are sticking to their guns. Last week, around 20 members of the Kyrgyz Choroloru and Kalys groups held a rally at what they term LGBT propaganda through the center of Bishkek. The demonstrators were particularly exercised by a show on Kyrgyz state television that featured a public discussion about cases of abuse against members of the LGBT community and a debate on same-sex marriage.

The anti-LGBT bill has, writes Lelik, hit some stumbling blocks:

The initial proponents of the legislation, Kurmanbek Dyikanbayev and Tursunbai Bakir uulu, both best-known for their full-throated advocacy for what they cast as traditional values, failed to make it back into parliament in October’s election.

Kyrgyzstan may also be wilting under international pressure. The bill drew a welter of criticism from multiple rights groups, governments, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the European parliament…

This is the second piece of contentious and patently Russian-inspired legislation to come off the rails in Kyrgyzstan in recent weeks. Earlier this month, parliament rejected a bill that would have seen internationally funded nongovernment group designated as “foreign agents.” The provision included in that law would have spelled disaster for organizations working on rights issues and other delicate areas, many of whom rely on outside funding.

Although it seems unlikely the anti-LGBT bill will meet the same fate of the foreign agents legislation — it would politically tricky for deputies to outright reject the proposed law — there is a chance the bill could end up withering in the wilderness. That way, both rights organizations and nationalist groups will have been appeased, up to a point.

Northern Ireland: New Minister of Equalities backs religious exemptions to LGBT protections


Paul Given was appointed Minister for Equalities, drawing criticism from LGBT activists over Given’s support for religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws and his refusal to say whether he believes homosexuality should be illegal. “Givan has also expressed hostility towards the country’s Equality Commission, accusing them of ‘dragging Christian families through the courts because of their deeply held religious beliefs’ in cases surrounding homophobia,” .” writed Nick Duffy at Pink News.

Equal marriage campaigner Mal O’Hara tweeted: “The selection of Paul Givan as Minister for communities is a deliberate calculated insult to LGBT people and their families.”

Activist Steve Donnan ‏added: “Paul Givan, a man who supports state-sanctioned LGBT discrimination is now in charge of tackling state-sanctioned LGBT discrimination.”

India: Ian McKellen says country should abolish sodomy law backed by Hindu nationalist party

Actor Ian McKellen, in a visit to India as part of a global tour promoting the British Film Institute’s Shakespeare on Film program, said that “India needs to grow up” and repeal its colonial-era sodomy law:

He said: “India is going through what the UK went through 30 years ago. It is appalling and ironical that India would use a colonial law to oppress its homosexuals. India needs to grow up. India needs to realise that it doesn’t need to follow British laws any more.”

The actor is referring to India’s Section 377, a gay sex ban which was introduced in 1862 under British rule.

The colonial-era law was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013.

The law criminalises sexual activity “against the order of nature” and can result in a maximum life sentence.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party MPs has consistently resisted bids to repeal the law, and in March a private member’s bill on the issue was voted down by a vote of 58 to 14.

Bolivia: New gender identity law gets approval and protest

Members of a Christian organization protested against the approval of a new gender identity law.

Colombia: Gay couple married in Cali for first time

Two men became the first same-sex couple to get married in the city of Cali. The country’s constitutional court approved marriage equality on April 7.

South Korea: Judge rejects marriage equality claim

On Wednesday a district court judge ruled against a same-sex couple seeking legal recognition as a married couple. The judge, Lee Tae-jong, said it was up to the legislature to change the law:

“The interpretation of marriage cannot be extended to include a union for the purpose of living together for life based on the love between two people,” he added.

Lee also dismissed the argument that a refusal to accept a same-sex marriage contravenes the constitutional principle of equality.

“Given that through the process of a marriage, child delivery and upbringing, a foundation is formed to continuously sustain and develop society, same-sex unions cannot be seen as the same as marriages between a man and a women,” he said.

The two men, both filmmakers, plan to appeal the decision.

Tunisia: UN condemns forced anal examinations

The UN Committee Against Torture “condemned the use of forced anal examinations as an attempt to find ‘proof’ against people accused of homosexual conduct,” reported Human Rights Watch. The committee evaluates countries’ compliance with the Convention on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.

Uganda: New documents released in SMUG lawsuit against Scott Lively

Sexual Minorities Uganda is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights in an lawsuit against American anti-gay activist Scott Lively in a novel use of the Alien Tort Statute. This week SMUG and CCR released three expert reports that they say buttress their case that the persecution facing the LGBTI community in Uganda “constitutes a crime against humanity, one of the world’s most universally condemned crimes.” Oral arguments in the case are scheduled this September.

Moldova: Orthodox Christians block LGBT march

A group of Orthodox Christians blocked an LGBT pride march in Chisinau last Sunday.

Pakistan: Trans shooting victim dies after hospital dithers

A transgender woman died after being shot eight times; activists with Trans Action Alliance Khyber Pakhtunkhwa charged that hospital authorities delayed treatment because “both the male and female wards were reluctant” to admit the patient.

Iran: Supreme Leader warns against western moral decay, legalized incest

In a speech to the Assembly of Experts, a council of clerics that will choose his successor, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned against “ravaging moral decay” in the West, citing specifically the legalization of homosexuality, which he said would lead to legalized incest.

United Kingdom: Politician releases anti-gay ‘dictionary’

Julia Gasper, a town counselor and academic with a record of anti-gay rhetoric, created an offensive “queer dictionary.” Sample definition: “Gay community: People busy killing each other then blaming heterosexuals.”

Turkey: Roundtable on LGBTI planned by European Intergroup on LGBTI Rights

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights will host a roundtable on LGBTI rights in Turkey on Tuesday in Brussels.