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Singapore libraries to destroy copies of gay penguin book Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by The Guardian   
Monday, 14 July 2014 04:55


The book 'And Tango Makes Three' tells the story of two make penguins raising a baby chick in Central Park zoo.

Row erupts as information minister backs decision to pulp all copies of book about male penguin couple following complaints.

State-run libraries in Singapore have deemed a children's book about two male penguins raising a baby chick inappropriate and are to destroy all copies following complaints the content was against the city-state's family values. The country's information minister Yaacob Ibrahim has said he supports the decision to pulp all copies of the book along with two other titles after the National Library Board (NLB), which runs 26 public libraries in Singapore, pulled them from the shelves.

The books are 'And Tango Makes Three', about a male-male penguin couple in the Central Park zoo; 'The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption', which involves a lesbian couple; and 'Who's In My Family: All About Our Families'.

"The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about," Ibrahim said. "Societies are never static, and will change over time. But NLB's approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them."

The decision triggered an online petition and an open letter to spare the books with thousands of signatures collected. Some are calling for a boycott of the libraries and their events.

Read the full story at:




Facebook lets UK users choose from 70 gender options Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by Mashable   
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 09:16


Four months after it did so in the US, Facebook is now letting UK users choose new gender options. After working with two UK organisations, Press For Change and Gendered Intelligence, the social network added over 70 new terms, allowing you to select one of the new custom genders or add your own. Users can also choose a preferred pronoun: male (he/his), female (she/her) or neutral (they/their), which is reflected in birthday notifications and suchlike. As with all profile information, Facebook lets you hide anything you're not comfortable with sharing and says it will not disclose gender selections to advertisers. To update your profile, click the 'About' tab, then hit "Edit" next to the "Gender" option in the "Contact and Basic Information" section.


US: Judge Strikes Down Kentucky's Gay Marriage Ban Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by Huffington Post   
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 08:54


A federal judge has struck down Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that gay couples have the right to marry in the Bluegrass State.

"In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote in the ruling, which concluded that the state's ban violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

The judge stayed the ruling pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, meaning same-sex weddings are not yet allowed in the state. However, Heyburn criticized Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) for arguing that the ban preserves the state's birth rate and therefore contributes to Kentucky's economic stability.

"These arguments are not those of serious people," Heyburn wrote. Beshear plans to appeal Tuesday's ruling.

Earlier this year, Heyburn ruled that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where the weddings are legal. That decision is also temporarily on hold pending legal challenges. The ruling is the latest in an unbroken string of rulings in favor of marriage equality since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June.

Read the full story at:

Elton John: Jesus Would Approve of Same-Sex Marriage Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by Time Magazine   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 02:56

Elton JohnHe also wants to sit down with Putin

Pop star Elton John called the Pope “wonderful” and said Jesus would approve of marriage equality in an interview on Sunday, the same weekend gay-pride events occurred all over the world.

Although Pope Francis does not support same-sex marriage, John praised the Pope’s attitude toward LGBT people as a sign of progress in an interview with Sky News, the AFP reports.

“He’s excited me so much by his humanity and taking everything down to the humility of faith,” he said. “It’s all basically about love and taking everybody in inclusiveness.”

The singer, who plans to marry longtime partner David Furnish, with whom he has two children, also said Jesus would approve of same-sex marriage, which became legal in England earlier this year.

“If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him … saying this could not happen,” John said. “He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together, and that is what the church should be about.”

John also said he wants to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the country’s stance on gay rights after Putin said many Russians were fans of John “despite his orientation.”

“As long as I’m alive, I will fight for people’s rights,” John said.

U.S. Court Rules That States Must Allow Gay Marriage Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by Mashable   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 02:47


Plaintiff Derek Kitchen (right) said he and his partner, Moudi Sbeity, were proud to be a part of history.

DENVER — A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that states must allow gay couples to marry. The court ruled that the Constitution protected same-sex relationships and put a remarkable legal winning streak across the country one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they want to be wedded to someone of the same sex.

The judges on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel addressed arguments that the ruling could undermine traditional marriage. "It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples," the judges wrote.

The decision upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Utah's gay marriage ban. It becomes law in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. But the panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.

The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry in the USA.

The Utah attorney general's office will appeal the decision but is still assessing whether it will go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the entire 10th Circuit to review the ruling, spokeswoman Missy Larsen said.

"Although the Court's 2-1 split decision does not favor the State, we are pleased that the ruling has been issued and takes us one step closer to reaching certainty and finality for all Utahans on such an important issue with a decision from the highest court," the office said in a statement.

Wednesday afternoon, the couples named in the appeal hugged, cried and exchanged kisses at a news conference outside their attorney's offices in downtown Salt Lake City.

"This decision is an absolute victory for fairness and equality for all families in Utah, in every state in the 10th Circuit and every state in this great nation of the United States," said their attorney, Peggy Tomsic.

Plaintiff Derek Kitchen said he and his partner, Moudi Sbeity, are "so proud to be a part of history."

"It feels wonderful to be among one of the many same-sex couples across the country that are being respected and are offered dignity by the court system, and this is just emblematic of the United States judicial process," Kitchen said. "I don't think that the state of Utah can continue to deny same-sex couples their rights for much longer."

The decision gives increased momentum to a legal cause that already has compiled an impressive record in the lower courts after the Supreme Court last year struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Since then, 16 federal judges have issued rulings siding with gay marriage advocates.

The latest of those rulings came Wednesday in Indiana, where a federal judge struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban in a decision that immediately allows gay couples to wed. Read the full story at:

See also: A Short History of Obama's Evolving Stance on Gay Marriage


Luxembourg: Marriage Equality Approved Print E-mail
News - World News
Friday, 20 June 2014 01:22

germany gay marriage

Same-sex marriage to go ahead in Luxembourg. The Luxembourg House of Representatives, has approved a bill (June 18, 2014) to legalize same-sex marriage, has moved to guarantee marriage equality and diminish discrimination based on sexual orientation, Human Rights Watch said today. The vote was 56 to 4. Luxembourg is the seventeenth country to pass legislation providing for the right to same-sex marriage in its national laws.

“This is a happy day for Luxembourg and for those who favor equal rights for all, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch. “The law will enable gays and lesbians in Luxembourg to marry the person they love and will strengthen the fundamental rights of everyone in Luxembourg to equality and non-discrimination.”

Following the formation of a political coalition after the 2013 parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel publicly announced that his government would introduce legislation guaranteeing the right to marriage equality and adoption by same-sex couples. In a meeting with Human Rights Watch on June 10, Prime Minister Bettel said that Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Luxembourg had not publicly opposed the draft legislation and had not engaged in a public campaign to mobilize opinion against its adoption.

The archbishop’s position to refrain from a campaign against marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Luxembourg starkly contrasts with the vehement opposition of local Roman Catholic authorities in France to marriage equality law being debated in Parliament in 2013.

Dittrich, a former member of the Dutch Parliament, initiated the debate on marriage equality in the Dutch Parliament in 1994. After heated debates in parliament and in society at large, the Netherlands implemented same-sex marriage legislation in 2001, becoming the first country in the world to provide for marriage equality.

Other countries have followed suit. Same-sex marriage is now legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, as well as in parts of Mexico, and in  19 states in the United States (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington and the District of Columbia).

“The decision to approve marriage equality in Luxembourg is a pivotal moment amid international efforts to guarantee the rights of LGBT people worldwide,” Dittrich said. “We look forward to other European countries also moving quickly to ensure marriage equality, including Ireland, which will hopefully endorse the right for same sex couples to marry in a 2015 constitutional referendum.”

This is a happy day for Luxembourg and for those who favor equal rights for all, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The law will enable gays and lesbians in Luxembourg to marry the person they love and will strengthen the fundamental rights of everyone in Luxembourg to equality and non-discrimination.

Boris Dittrich, advocacy director, LGBT rights program


Jamaica: Angry crowd chases man wearing lipstick Print E-mail
News - World News
Written by Daily News Xtra   
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 10:31


Jamaica: Angry crowd chases man wearing lipstick into store

Hundreds of onlookers gathered as word of incident spread

A man who was reportedly applying lipstick in public angered passersby in May Pen, Clarendon, a parish near Jamaica’s south coast. 

According to the TV Jamaica report, the man was chased into a store, where he stayed for more than an hour while a large crowd gathered in the carpark after word of the incident spread. Store staff called the police, who arrived on the scene, tried to control the crowd, and eventually escorted the man into a car that was immediately surrounded by the surging crowd as it was driven away. 

In the video, people can be seen with mobile phones at the ready — some standing on cars and other objects — to try to take a photograph of the man as he emerged from the store.

TV Jamaica reports that many of the people in the crowd, chanting that they wanted to see him, expressed disgust that the man had been wearing lipstick, one spectator saying the town doesn’t welcome men who do that, while a woman called for the man to be “sent” on his way.


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