Thursday, February 02 2012 23:38

International News, February 3-16, 2012

By  Rachel Roth

President of Ecuador Appoints Lesbian to Cabinet

The woman who led the drive against the “clinics” claiming to “cure” gays is now Ecuador’s Health Minister. In line with his LGBT-friendly record, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa appointed Carina Vance Mafla, who is a lesbian, to the position.

According to Blabbeando, Ecuadoran LGBT-advocacy organization Equal Rights Now (Igualdad de Derechos Ya!) hopes that the newly appointed minister finally take decisive action and shut down the religious “clinics.”

They are also optimistic that Vance Mafla will be proactive in ending current delays in the distribution of HIV medications and creating guidelines to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals at hospitals and health centers.

 

German Soccer President Implores Gay Players to Come Out

Outgoing German Soccer Federation President Theo Zwanziger is calling for gay soccer players to come out of the closet.

ESPN.com reports that, at an even organized by soccer federation to specifically address homosexuality in the sport, Zwanziger told attendees that “society [is] more understanding than a few years ago.” While he acknowledged the difficulty, one often faces when coming out, he said that “it is time for gay players to “to have the courage to declare themselves.”

Not everyone agrees with Zwanziger. Most notably, German captain Phillip Lahm, doesn’t think society is ready.

“The politicians can come out these days, for sure, but they don't have to play in front of 60,000 people every week,” Lahm said. “I don't think that the society is that far ahead that it can accept homosexual players as something normal as in other areas.”

 

Ugandan LGBT Rights Activists Afraid for His Life

A notable Ugandan activist is afraid to go to the store or eat in a restaurant. Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda and recent recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, is dogged in his fight for LGBT rights. His December 22 op-ed piece in the New York Times describing conditions for LGBT people in Uganda has, however, once again put his life in danger.

Mugisha told SiriusXM radio station OutQ that when he receives publicity, he has to alter all aspects of his life due to his “fear of stepping out [the] house.” Because homosexuality is criminalized in Uganda, Mugisha has few options when it comes to protection.

“Here, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people suffer brutal attacks, yet cannot report them to the police for fear of additional violence, humiliation, rape, or imprisonment at the hands of the authorities,” Mugisha wrote in the Times. “We are expelled from school and denied health care because of our perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. If your boss finds out [or suspects] you are gay, you can be fired immediately. People are outed in the media—or if they have gay friends, they are assumed to be ‘gay by association.’”

Threats and violence—like the recent murder of famous Ugandan lgbt activist, David Kato—aren’t enough to silence Mugisha.

“Maybe if I keep talking, maybe they will stop, maybe the homophobia will stop,” he said to OutQ.

 

 

All Same-Sex Unions Performed in Canada Legal

Canada’s Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, cleared up the issue of the legality of certain same-sex marriages. In response to reports that Justice Department lawyers claim that a lesbian foreign couple married in Canada could not apply for divorce there because their marriage wasn't valid.

The article, published on CTVNews.ca, also reported that Nicholson also promised that the Canadian government has “no intention of reopening the debate on the definition of marriage,” reiterating that the 2005 Civil Marriage Act stands.

But it will be amended; Nicholson said the Civil Marriage Act will be changed so that all marriages performed in Canada that aren't recognized by the couple's own jurisdiction will still be recognized in Canada.

“The situation where someone can be validly be married in Canada and then not be able to dissolve their marriage because they cannot meet the residency requirement is something we need to address,” he told CTV.

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