Appeal court overturns Prop 8
LOS ANGELES – A U.S. federal appeals court has declared California's same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional. The ruling puts the bitterly contested, voter-approved law on track for a likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 — a response to an earlier state court decision that legalized gay marriage — was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians. However, the appeals court said gay marriages cannot resume in the state until the deadline passes for Proposition 8 sponsors to appeal to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit. If such an appeal is filed, gay marriages will remain on hold until it's resolved. “Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling states. Backers of Proposition 8 said they would ask the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.
Archbishop attacks gay marriage
YORK, England – The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, second most senior bishop in the Church of England, has been denounced by gay rights campaigners and has also received racist e-mails after publicly opposing gay marriage, which the government says it is considering.
Peter Tatchell, co-ordinator of the Equal Love campaign, told a protest at Yorkminster recently “Archbishop Sentamu is a religious authoritarian who wants to impose his personal opposition to same-sex marriage on the rest of society.” The Anglican church is split over gay rights and also the ordination of women. It has lost a large part of its flock as a result.
UN urges respect
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged African leaders to respect gay rights. Discrimination based on sexual orientation had been ignored or even sanctioned by many states for too long, Ban told an African Union summit. Ban Ki-moon said discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity “prompted governments to treat people as second class citizens or even criminals.” Homosexual acts are illegal in most African countries, including key Western allies such as Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Botswana.
Hungary shuts out gays
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungary’s new constitution, which bans gay marriage and does not explicitly protect gay people from discrimination, has come into force despite public unrest.
The new constitution – enacted in April of last year – saw 80 members of parliament boycotting the drafting and voting process. It took effect on Jan. 1, 2012. The document specifically limits marriage to straight couples. Amnesty International says the legislation does not meet international human rights laws and offers no protection for sexual orientation.
Mugabe accused of gay sex
ZIMBABWE – A Zimbabwean MP who was arrested after saying President Robert Mugabe had sex with other male politicians has been released on bail of $200. Lynette Karenyi, of the Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested after reportedly alleging in an interview that homophobic Mugabe had practised homosexuality with Jonathan Moyo and Canaan Banana.
Jonathan Moyois was a former Information Minister and Canaan Banana was the country’s first president in the 1980s. Banana, who died in 2003, was convicted by a Zimbabwean court of eleven sodomy charges following allegations he had used his presidential powers to coerce men into sexual relations.
Trans flight attendants hired
BANGKOK, Thailand – Thailand’s first transgender air stewardesses have taken part in PC Air’s inaugural flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani. The new airline took on four transgender crews last year when hiring thirty in-flight staff. PC Air boss Peter Chan told the Daily Telegraph last year: “I think these people can have many careers – not just in the entertainment business – and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess. Thailand is considered one of the most tolerant countries towards the wide spectrum of transgenderism.
Gay spies welcome
LONDON, England – MI5, Britain’s counterintelligence agency and ‘employer’ of fictional James Bond, used to worry that any of its closeted gay employees might be blackmailed by the Russians. How things have changed. The British spy agency has now been listed as one of the most gay-friendly organizations in Britain. The list was compiled by Stonewall, an equality charity, based on 7,500 confidential surveys sent out to gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees/ MI5 ranked 62 out of 100 gay-friendly British employers – a welcome sign for the intelligence agency, which recently said it wants to employ more recruits from a variety of backgrounds and sexual orientations.
WorldPride 2012 gearing up
LONDON, England – Planning for London WorldPride 2012 has kicked into high gear, as organizers prepare to host the biggest Pride event in Britain’s history. “Like everyone else, we’ve been hammered by the recession the past couple of years,” says Paul Birrell, chairman of Pride London, which is organizing the event. “Whether it’s because of the WorldPride brand or because sponsorship is picking up more generally, we appear to be in a much better position than we’d hoped for.” The two-week festivities will take place from June 23 to 8 July 8. The festival is expected to attract between 1.5 million and two million revellers. It has a $2 million budget.
- Peter Carlyle-Gordge is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.