Gays Arrested at Russian Embassy in Paris
Five gay people were arrested outside Russia’s embassy in Paris on July 8. They were attempting to present a petition from AllOut.org, signed by some 14,000 people, opposing Moscow’s years-long ban on gay pride and Russia’s flouting of a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the bans violate European law. Arrested were ACT UP/Paris’ Audrey Grelombe and Eric Marty, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) President Louis-Georges Tin, Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev, and American photographer Charles Meacham. They reportedly were detained for not having permission to gather. Early reports suggested Alekseev might face an additional charge for some kind of alleged altercation with a police officer. Later in the evening, some 45 people protested at the embassy against the earlier incident. Reports said 150 anti-riot police and 25 police vans showed up for the second demonstration.
Indian Health Minister: Gay Sex is ‘Totally Unnatural’
Gay sex is “totally unnatural,” Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said July 4. Speaking in the Hindi language at a national HIV/AIDS conference, Azad said: “Unfortunately, in the world and in our country also, this disease has come where men have sex with each other, which is totally unnatural and which should not happen, yet it does. In our country, the numbers of men having sex with men are substantial.” Azad later said he had been quoted out of context. Calcutta’s Telegraph newspaper harshly criticized Azad in an editorial.
“Although, as a citizen of a liberal democracy, Mr. Azad is entitled to his personal views, backward and ignorant as they may be, he has no right to air them on a public platform as the health minister of the nation,” the paper said. “Mr. Azad has not only seriously undermined the fight against HIV/AIDS in India but has also tainted the image of an aspiring superpower on the international stage.”
Spanish Same-Sex Marriage Statistics Reported
More than 18,000 same-sex couples got married in Spain between 2005, when it became possible, and the end of 2010, according to newly released government statistics. The figures show 18,634 same-sex marriages have been registered. However, the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGBT) believes that not all the marriages have been recorded, and that the actual number is 23,000. In 2010, 2.1 percent of marriages were between people of the same sex, according to the official statistics. There were 2,216 male marriages and 1,367 between women.
Same-Sex Marriage Campaign Launches in Uruguay
Uruguay’s Colectivo Ovejas Negras (Black Sheep Collective) has launched a TV-ad campaign featuring 34 Uruguayan celebrities saying they support legalization of same-sex marriage. A marriage-equality bill was introduced in Parliament three months ago. “The bill—written by Uruguay’s first transgendered lawyer—will soon be discussed by Parliament, and we’re optimistic,” said the collective’s Álvaro Queiruga. The ads are online at youtube.com/ovejasweb.