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March 2007

  • 23rd March 2007

    Gay EU Commissioner defiant over sacking rumours

    He was appointed to the Cabinet twice, but had to resign both times.

    10:51 AM — Peter Mandelson has told the BBC that he will be staying in his post as EU Trade Commissioner until 2009.The imminent change of British Prime Minister had raised the possibility that Mr Mandelson might be sacked as the UK's Commissioner.There is an EU Commissioner from every member state. Mr Mandelson has been the UK's man in Brussels since November 2004.

  • £62 million spent on civil partnership ceremonies

    Topping the list of venues includes registry offices (54%), hotels (15 %) and stately homes (8%).

    10:33 AM — New research shows that civil partnership ceremonies are more popular than ever, with UK couples splashing out an estimated £62 million on getting hitched and 28,000 ceremonies set to happen over the next year.Three years on from the publication of the Civil Partnerships Bill, research from Direct Line Home Insurance reveals that over 15,000 same-sex ceremonies have taken place with a further 28,000 set to happen this year, costing on average £4,000 to host.

  • 22nd March 2007

    Tony Blair’s gay speech in full 3

    He has done so much more than that for gay people in this country. He has been a good friend, a good friend to Stonewall, a good friend to gay people across Britain.

    10:42 PM — The Prime Minister was speaking at the Stonewall Equality dinner at the Dorchester Hotel, central London, this evening.He was introduced by Stonewall's chief executive, Ben Summerskill. Ben Summerskill: I would like to welcome all of you here tonight. I am delighted to introduce our opening speaker. I first met him 14 years ago, when my job was to show him round Harrow Rd police station in west London - don't ask.

  • Tony Blair: civil partnerships make me proud 2

    Mr Blair paid tribute to the way in which gay equality organisation Stonewall has consistently lobbied for many years for a range of rights that are now law.

    9:18 PM — The Prime Minister this evening told a gay audience that the fact that civil partnerships are legal in the UK makes him proud.Speaking at the Stonewall Equality dinner in the Dorchester Hotel in central London, Mr Blair said it was a positive development that every major party leader supports equality and he is hopeful that will not change in the future.

  • Welsh celebs host night to celebrate free LGBT counselling

    Stonewall Cymru called the free counselling “fantastic news“ for the lesbian and gay community.

    4:27 PM — A host of celebrities to attend an event next week to celebrate a new service for the gay community in Wales.Free counselling will be available in Swansea for the first time thanks to an arrangement between the LGBT Cymru Helpline and Lynne Wager's Counselling Practice.Stonewall Cymru called the free counselling "fantastic news" for the lesbian and gay community.

  • Gay’s The Word facing closure 1

    In an attempt to raise funds, the shop is offering people the chance to sponsor a shelf for £100.

    3:36 PM — The most famous gay bookshop in Britain will have to close unless it can raise £20,000 to pay the rent.Gay's The Word, in London's Bloomsbury district, first opened its doors in 1979. A host of gay and lesbian authors have spoken about the unique place the bookseller has in the capital's gay fabric.The shop is renowned for its back catalogue of titles, some of which are very difficult to obtain.

  • US Anglicans reject gay advice 1

    The US bishops also took the opportunity to draw attention to the persecution of gay and lesbians in Nigeria.

    12:46 PM — The bishops of The Episcopal church in the United States have decided to reject the instructions of the worldwide Anglican communion over gay issues.Their decision makes a split in the church more likely.Last month a meeting of the primates from across the world instructed the wayward American church to stop ordaining gay bishops and to desist from giving church blessings to same-sex couples.

  • Activists and politicians welcome Lords pro-gay vote 5

    The Lords vote last night means the Sexual Orientation Regulations will become law in England, Scotland and Wales on 30th April.

    12:21 PM — The final passage of new rules to protect gay, lesbian and bisexual people has been welcomed by gay rights advocates.Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay equality organisation Stonewall, said they were delighted with the Lords vote.The Sexual Orientation Regulations were approved by the House of Lords last night.

  • Congress revisits hate crimes legislation 7

    More than 100 other members of Congress joined Conyers and Kirk in introducing the bipartisan bill.

    12:16 PM — Two members of the US House of Representatives have re-introduced a critical piece of legislation providing local police and sheriff's departments with federal resources to combat hate violence.John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, and Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois brought the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act before the House on Tuesday night.Gay groups Human Rights Campaign and the Matthew Shepard Foundation hailed the bill's introduction.

  • Brazil’s considers outlawing homophobia

    Last year, the Brazilian government sponsored a debate on GLBT rights at a Mercosur conference of ten South American nations.

    10:30 AM — Debate continues in Brazil over government proposals to criminalise homophobia.Under the proposals, Roman Catholic priests and other clergy might face two to five years in prison for preaching against homosexuality.A rector of a seminary who refuses admission to a homosexual student could face three to five years.

  • Gay adoption rules approved by House of Lords 5

    Labour peers said the new protections were needed given the discrimination gay people face every day.

    10:20 AM — The Sexual Orientation Regulations have been approved by the House of Lords and will become law on April 30th.A motion by Tory peer Baroness O'Cathain seeking to strike down the regulations was defeated by 168 votes to 122.They outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual people when they access goods, services and facilities.

  • 21st March 2007

    Elton John’s rails against global homophobia 1

    Sir Elton also spoke about his relationship with long term partner David Furnish.

    5:07 PM — Elton John has urged people to stand up against homophobia in an interview with the New Statesman. Sir Elton, who celebrates his 60th birthday this weekend, used the interview to raise the case of William Hernandez, a gay rights activist from El Salvador.Sir Elton also spoke about his relationship with long term partner David Furnish.

  • Exclusive: On the front line with Christian protesters 10

    Event organiser Phil Whealy told PinkNews.co.uk that the protests were supported by people across the UK.

    4:30 PM — Religious groups gathered around Parliament today to protest against the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which will be debated in the House of Lords tonight.Around 300 to 400 protesters attended the demonstration, carrying banners with the slogans: "Gay Aim = Abolish the Family" and "No to Gay Sex Lessons."Event organiser Phil Whealy told PinkNews.co.uk that the demonstration was supported by people across the UK.

  • HIV+ employees still reluctant to disclose status

    By not disclosing, the majority of HIV-positive people are denying themselves the rights that the DDA entitles them to.

    3:55 PM — New research has found that the majority of workers living with HIV are still reluctant to disclose their status to their current or potential employer for fear of facing discrimination.Since 2005, employees living with HIV have been protected from discrimination in the workplace from the moment of diagnosis under the Disability Discrimination Act.However, many employers and people living with HIV are still uncertain of what this change in legislation means.

  • Income tax cut in Brown’s Budget

    The Chancellor cut tax on nicotine patches and other smoking cessation aids to just 5% from July.

    2:51 PM — In his 11th Budget as Chancellor, the man most likely to succeed Tony Blair as Prime Minister later this year announced modest rises in taxes on beer and wine and no change in the duty on spirits.Tax exemption for capital gains will rise to £18,400 for civil partners and married couples, Mr Brown announced.The Chancellor revealed that the basic rate of income tax will fall back to 20% from April 2008.

  • Gay film festival opens in London

    An image of a pansy created by photographer Nadege Meriau will feature as the symbol for the festival as a whole.

    1:02 PM — The BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, now in its 21st year, opens this evening.The LLGFF runs until 4th April, showing over a hundred films and shorts as well as hosting a range of discussions and club nights.The opening gala tonight will screen Itty Bitty Titty Committee, the latest offering from But I'm A Cheerleader director Jamie Babbit.

  • Comment: Eurovision: no place for serious artists 1

    Having a good song or a famous name doesn't necessarily mean anything in Eurovision.

    12:33 PM — So it is to be Scooch. The UK picked its latest Eurovision entry last weekend, a camp airline-themed pop anthem. Will it win?Ben Leung forces himself to relive some of the music that the Eurovision has been responsible for and asks if any credible musician should enter. Twenty-two years ago this May, the terribly-named female duo of Bobbysocks won the Eurovision Song Contest for Norway with the annoyingly catchy La Det Swinge.

  • MEPs want to investigate Polish “Section 28″ law 1

    The Polish government plans to ban discussions on homosexuality in schools and educational institutions across the country.

    11:59 AM — The European Parliament is prepared to investigate the legality of draft legislation restricting discussion of homosexuality in Polish schools, should the bill be officially submitted to the Polish lower house.The parliament's committee on civil liberties discussed the issue yesterday and decided to launch a study into the compatibility of such legislation with EU rules.

  • Radio host apologises for gay slurs

    Keillor posted his apology on the web site of National Public Radio, which hosts his  Prairie Home Companion  show.

    11:12 AM — American satirist Garrison Keillor has apologised for comments he made last week which caricatured gay men as "flamboyant" and questioned their suitability as parents.Keillor, a prolific writer and radio personality, is most famous in the UK for his role in last year's Robert Altman film, A Prairie Home Companion.He is also the voice of Honda UK's "Power Of Dreams" campaign.

  • Welsh gays urged to use their vote wisely

    10:48 AM — Stonewall Cymru are encouraging LGBT people in the principality to make their votes count in the elections for the Welsh Assembly in May.Tomorrow the gay equality organisation will present a report at the Senedd building in Cardiff on inequality in healthcare in parts of Wales.The Inside-Out report highlights concerns about the varied attitudes of health professionals towards lesbian, gay and bisexual service users.

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