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Current Affairs

  • 6th November 2007

    Scottish Parliament considers gay hate crime law

    Recent Scottish studies revealed that violence against the gay community is reaching a devastating level.

    1:10 PM — Scotland's lawmakers will today discuss new laws making violence towards gay and disabled groups be treated as seriously as violence incited on religious or ethnic grounds.The Sentencing of Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill, proposed by Patrick Harvie, a Scottish Green MSP, would bring Scotland into line with England and Wales, where courts have been able to impose tougher sentences for offences committed due to the victims disability or sexual orientation since April 2003.

  • The Queen’s Speech in full

    My Lords and Members of the House of Commons: I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

    12:39 PM — My Lords and Members of the House of CommonsMy Government will take forward policies to respond to the rising aspirations of the people of the United Kingdom; to ensure security for all; and to entrust more power to Parliament and the people.My Government's programme will meet people's aspirations for better education, housing, healthcare and children's services, and for a cleaner environment.

  • British man arrested at Malaysian orgy 2

    Homosexuality is not specified as a crime in Malaysia, but there is a law prohibiting sodomy.

    12:30 PM — Police in Malaysia, where sodomy is a crime, have raided a gay sex party and arrested 37 men, including a Briton.According to AP, police chief Azam Abdul Hamid said officers acting on a public tip-off had raided a fitness centre in northern Penang island on Sunday while a sex party was in progress. The men arrested were aged between 20 and 45.Apart from the Briton and a Chinese national, all the men were ethnic Chinese Malaysians, including three who worked at the centre.

  • Legal recognition for same-sex parents in Queen’s Speech

    The new Human Tissues and Embryos Bill has angered “family values“ campaigners.

    12:23 PM — The government has announced in the Queen's Speech a major change in the status of gay and lesbian couples who have a child through donated sperm, eggs or embryos.Her Majesty opened Gordon Brown's first session as Prime Minister this morning, and also revealed plans for a draft bill on citizenship and the establishment of a new agency to increase the number of affordable homes.The new Human Tissues and Embryos Bill, one of 28 bills announced today, has angered "family values" campaigners.

  • Los Angeles LGBT workers to get protections after cop test case

    The settlement provides a vast array of protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and job applicants in Los Angeles, as well as those living with HIV.

    10:54 AM — In what has been called a "momentous" decision, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously last week to approve settlement of the non-damages portion of a lawsuit brought by former Sergeant Mitchell Grobeson, the LAPD's first openly gay officer.The settlement provides a vast array of protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and job applicants in Los Angeles, as well as those living with HIV.It mandates recruitment from the LGBT community.

  • Gay rabbi hits out at Bible-inspired homophobia 4

    Mr Greenberg is a symbol for the growing Jewish gay movement.

    10:10 AM — An Orthodox American rabbi spoke out against using the Bible to justify prejudice in a sermon yesterday.Steven Greenberg, America's first openly gay rabbi, shared his belief that the Bible is open to interpretation and should not be used to condemn homosexuality.According to The Columbus Dispatch, Mr Greenberg said: "No one can say, 'It says in the Scripture,' to ground any policy."

  • 5th November 2007

    Lesbian group’s transgender ban challenged

    The group only allows those who were female at birth to join.

    4:01 PM — An Australian transgender psychotherapist has taken a lesbian support group to an equal opportunities tribunal on the grounds of discrimination.Tracie O'Keefe in Sydney, claims that she was refused an invitation to an event organised by the gay organisation Sappho's Party because of their strict policy excluding transgender people.The group only allows those who were female at birth to join.

  • Army sexual orientation discrimination tribunal begins 2

    Ms Fletcher is claiming sex discrimination and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    2:15 PM — A lesbian soldier's life was made hell by a male sergeant who vowed to "convert" her, an employment tribunal will be told.According to Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher, 30, the senior officer told her that she had not yet experienced a "real man."He also added, "You don't know what you're missing."Her case is being heard at an employment tribunal in Leeds today. The Ministry of Defence said: "We take allegations of sexual discrimination seriously."

  • Howard declines to say who would “turn him” gay 2

    Last month Mr Howard, the Prime Minister since 1996, called a general election for 24th November.

    12:32 PM — The Prime Minister of Australia was asked an unusual question on the election campaign trail yesterday: Who would you turn gay for?68-year-old John Howard was campaigning at a shopping mall in Gosford, New South Wales, when "jeans shop worker" Danielle tackled him about that particular big issue.The PM laughed off the question, but his consistent refusal to grant equal rights for gay and lesbian Australians has been less easy to avoid.

  • 4th November 2007

    Former Equality Minister apologises for misspending public money 2

    Ruth Kelly's offending leaflet (thanks to ConservativeHome)

    11:20 PM — Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, formerly Tony Blair's controversial choice as Equality Minister has been forced to apologise after misspending taxpayer's money on Labour party publicity.MPs are allowed to spend £10,000 of public funds on neutral leaflets but are not allowed to use them to make party political statements. A newsletter published this Autumn distributed to constituents in Ms Kelly's marginal Bolton West seat and paid for from her allowance, repeatedly refereed to 'Labour', 'Labour Party' and 'Labour Government'.

  • Aide had sex with royal father- new claims in blackmail plot 17

    As yet, the royal at the centre of the claims has not been named

    11:35 AM — The aide at the centre of the alleged royal blackmail plot has now appeared to claim that he also had a gay relationship with the royal's father and a well known Conservative MP. The claims were made on a recording seized by police investigating the case.The Sunday Times reports that the allegations are contained in 16 audio and 24 video files contained on two computer discs.Ian Strachan, 30, was arrested along with Sean McGuigan, 40, last month after police mounted a sting operation.

  • 2nd November 2007

    No comment from Bigot of the Year 6

    The bishop joins last year's “winner“ Chris Moyles in the Hall of Shame.

    5:59 PM — A bishop who asked a gay job applicant a series of humiliating questions and then rejected him for the post on the grounds of his sexuality was named Bigot of the Year at the Stonewall Awards last night.The gay equality organisation's chief executive Ben Summerskill told an audience of 400 gathered at the Victoria Albert museum in London that the Bishop of Hereford had been invited but claimed to be on holiday.

  • Royal “blackmail plot” man refused bail 17

    Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the alleged blackmail plot, saying only that it is a matter for the police.

    5:35 PM — One of the two men charged with attempting to blackmail a minor member of the Royal Family was refused bail at a hearing at the Old Bailey today.Ian Strachan, 30, was arrested along with Sean McGuigan, 40, last month after police mounted a sting operation.They are alleged to have demanded £50,000 not to release a video showing an aide to a member of the Royal Family discussing engaging in oral sex with his employer.

  • Dead parents better than gay ones says Romney 134

    The Republican candidate will be announced at the party's convention at the start of September 2008.

    5:20 PM — A candidate for the Republican party nomination for President of the United States has said that he thinks a child would be better off with a dead parent rather than a gay one.Mitt Romney, a former Governor of Massachusetts, was speaking at a college in rural Iowa.Asked what he would say to a gay couple wanting to get married, he pointed out his support for a change to the US Constitution to bar gay and lesbian Americans from marriage.

  • Prison for tennis coach who had sex with 13-year-old 1

    Lyte was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison and is banned from working with children.

    1:45 PM — A former tennis protege turned coach has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison.Last month Claire Lyte, 29, was convicted of four counts of sexual activity with a child at Liverpool Crown Court.During her three week trial, the court heard testimony from the mother of a 13-year-old girl, who caught them in bed together in 2005.Lyte's worked as a coach at the Lawn Tennis Association academy in Loughborough, Leicestershire and the girl was one of her pupils.

  • Commonwealth meeting could promote homophobia 10

    CHOGMs are one of the most important events in the Commonwealth calendar and take place every two years in a different country.

    12:48 PM — Members of Parliament in Uganda have urged the country's government to speak out against gay rights at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next month.One MP, demanding a "clamp down" against lesbian and gay Ugandans, said that the international event, to be held in the capital later this month, would be a good opportunity to "send a clear message that gays are not welcome in Uganda."Ishaa Otto, speaking at a press conference earlier this week, claimed that the gay community is growing.

  • Foster couple agree to council diversity policy

    The intention of the Equalities Promise is to ensure that foster carers are aware that they should not discriminate against children in their care.

    12:05 PM — A Christian couple have agreed to abide by the local council policy on diversity, despite previously resigning as foster carers over a row about homosexuality.65-year-old Vincent Matherick and his 61-year-old wife Pauline attracted the attention of the press when they stood down after six years of providing foster care, claiming that Somerset County Council was asking them to "promote" homosexuality.They have now issued a joint statement with the council and signed the Equalities Promise and may be allowed to continue fostering.

  • 1st November 2007

    Met found guilty over Menezes shooting 1

    The jury made clear that they fully clear the operation commander Cressida Dick of any culpability.

    3:20 PM — London's police force has been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws when they gunned down Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell undergound station in July 2005.On their second day of their deliberation the jury found the Metropolitan Police guilty.The Met was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £385,000 costs by judge Mr Justice Henriques at the Old Bailey.

  • Christians call for boycott of Stonewall 1

    Other nominees for bigot of the year are Jeremy Clarkson, Ian Paisley Jnr and Roman Catholic activist Patricia McKeever.

    12:45 PM — The nomination of two senior bishops as Bigot of the Year at tonight's Stonewall Awards has angered an evangelical group of Scottish Christians.CARE Scotland said the nomination of the Bishop of Hereford and the Archbishop of Birmingham was an insult and in a letter to First Minister Alex Salmond called on the Scottish government to stop working with Stonewall.Archbishop of Birmingham was nominated for speaking out against new goods and services protections for gay people.

  • Australian “family values” party in new gay scandal

    The party has had limited electoral success at federal level, and only has one member in the federal parliament, a Senator.

    11:35 AM — The leader of a minor political party in Australia has had to apologise for one of his candidates who tried to out an electoral rival.In the Courier Mail newspaper, Family First candidate for the Leichhardt constituency in Queensland Ben Jacobsen said the voters had a right to know if his Liberal opponent Charlie McKillop is a lesbian."The voters might not give a rat's if a candidate is gay, but they have a right to know who you'll bat for," said Mr Jacobsen.

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