LGBT people picketed the Russian Embassy in London on July 1, urging that Russia's voting rights at the Council of Europe be suspended because of the nation's defiance of a European Court of Human Rights ruling against Moscow's gay pride bans. LGBT people picketed the Russian Embassy in London on July 1, urging that Russia's voting rights at the Council of Europe be suspended because of the nation's defiance of a European Court of Human Rights ruling against Moscow's gay pride bans. Photo by Matthew Perkins
Monday, August 01 2011 17:58

International News, July 22 - August 4, 2011

By  Rex Wockner

LGBTs Picket Russian Embassy in London

LGBT people picketed the Russian Embassy in London on July 1, urging that Russia’s voting rights at the Council of Europe be suspended. Despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling this year that Moscow’s yearly bans of gay pride violate the European Convention on Human Rights, authorities there prohibited the march again in May. When a small group of people attempted to defy the ban, 18 of them were aggressively arrested, much the same as in previous years, when the activists also were beaten by anti-gay hooligans and assaulted by religious counterprotesters.

“Prohibiting Moscow Gay Pride and arresting the participants is illegal under Russia’s constitution, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly,” said noted British activist Peter Tatchell, who joined the London demonstration. “It defies a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that the event should be allowed to proceed. Some of us are now pressing the Council of Europe to suspend Russia’s right to vote in the Council’s parliamentary assembly. Russia must not be permitted to defy the European Court with impunity.”

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.

 

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