What's making gay news
There's plenty going on internationally and locally in the complex world of queer related issues. Every week, I'll take the most relevant stories from around this big, pink globe and post them here. Think of it as your one stop shop for dinner party chat that won't have your guests rolling their eyes about yet another 'Glee' related debate.
Starting in the highly toxic world of gay life in the Carribean comes a call for a repeal on anti-gay laws in the region by former UN big wig, Kofi Annan...
Leaders at the 10th Annual General Meeting of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV & AIDS (PANCAP) have called for the repeal of anti-gay laws in the region. Former UN boss Kofi Annan told the meeting on the island of St Martin, “I think it is extremely important that this be done as quickly as possible… as we move forward we are going to need creativity, leadership and sustained effort.”
St Kitts & Nevis islands Prime Minister and outgoing PANCAP chairman, Denzil Douglas told the meeting that while gay rights remained unpopular with voters in the region, it was important that politicians revisited “laws that… discriminate against people who are living with HIV/AIDS and who have been affected as a result of HIV/AIDS”.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said that many Caribbean nations still numbered among the 80 countries with homophobic laws and the 51 countries which barred HIV positive people from entering their borders.
“It is a global issue and we need to address it in a very strategic manner,” said Siddibe.
“What is important in the case of the Caribbean is to review the laws because you have two-thirds of the countries in the Caribbean who have those punitive laws against most at risk populations.”
Off to the complex and slightly confusing USA now where the recent wins by the Republic Party may put a bit of a stall on gay rights.
President Obama has said that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, banning gays in the military, and the Defence of Marriage Act which stops federal benefits going to gay married couples should be ended by the Congress not the courts in explaining why his Administration has filed court motions defending the policies he pledged to end.
In a recent interview, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said the following:
[The] Democrats will be there to block any anti-gay legislation proposed by the Republican majority in the Senate, but warns not to expect any pro-LGBT legislation to get passed:
He added, “It will be a status quo. They don’t have the votes to hurt us but we don’t have the votes to advance anything in the cause.”
Frank also said he was certain that Republicans would fail in an attempt to overturn D.C.’s same-sex marriage law.
“Do you think Barack Obama is going to sign a bill to repeal the D.C. marriage law,” he asked. “It won’t go through the Senate. There is no chance that could happen. None—zero.”
Frank noted that only five out of 179 House Republicans voted earlier this year to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“The Republicans have become much more anti-gay in their voting patterns,” he said. “There is zero chance of anything good happening with Republicans in control of the House.”
Frank said he was "hopeful" about passing 'DADT repeal' legislation in the lame duck Senate, which is perhaps all one can be at this point.
Read the full interview with Frank at The Washington Blade.
In jolly old England (well all of the UK actually), where civil unions have been the norm for some time now, the full marriage debate is heating up thanks to the aid of celebrity voice Sir Ian McKellen...
The fight for marriage equality in the UK has been given a boost with the country’s largest GLBT rights group finally joining the campaign.
Last month Stonewall founders Sir Ian McKellen and Labour EU MP Michael Cashman joined others in criticising the group for avoiding the issue.
Soon after, Stonewall announced it had widened its campaign objectives to include extending civil marriage to gay people.
“We seek to secure marriage for gay people as a civil vehicle on the same basis as heterosexual marriage, available in a registry office but without a mandate on religious organisations to celebrate it,” read a statement.
Stonewall will seek to retain civil partnerships for lesbian and gay couples but will not be campaigning to allow heterosexual couples who do not wish to marry to enter into such unions.
Stonewall has previously stated that, “campaigning to end heterosexual disadvantage is not one of its charitable objectives”.
And back home in Vancouver, Canada, it's finally some good news for Ritch Dowrey, sucker punched into a coma over a year ago in the popular Fountain Head Pub on Davie Street.
Dowrey, 62, was celebrating his retirement and had offered to buy a 37-year-old construction worker named Shawn Woodward a drink or to play pool to which the straight construction worker declined saying he “wasn’t like that.”