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Current Affairs

  • 28th March 2008

    ‘Blogfather’ joins Paddick campaign as nominations close 5

    Nominations for Mayor close today and the election will be held on May 1st.

    12:45 PM — A second American political strategist has been appointed to Brian Paddick's campaign to become the first Lib Dem Mayor of London.Nominations for Mayor close today and the election will be held on May 1st.Jerome Armstrong, sometimes called the Blogfather, will be the campaign's web strategist. He was instrumental in US Presidential hopeful Howard Dean's grassroots campaign in 2004, regarded as the first major campaign to effectively use the internet to fundraise and win support.

  • Homophobic politician meets gay family group 10

    In 2004 Kern was elected for the first time with 67.65% of the vote.

    11:45 AM — An Oklahoma politician who described gay people as a bigger threat to America than terrorism has met with local members of the advocacy group Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).Representative Sally Kern received international attention after her homophobic speech to a group of fellow Republicans was posted on YouTube earlier this month by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.Her supporters claim she has been subject to death threats, something denied by state police.

  • Homophobia claims rejected by police complaints body 16

    Nineteen witnesses gave evidence to IPCC investigators about a range of incidents.

    11:10 AM — Sixteen allegations of homophobia made against the eight Devon and Cornwall police officers have been rejected by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.The complaints were made in 2004 and 2005 by Malcolm Lidbury, a local LGBT activist.He claimed he was "treated poorly" because of his sexuality and claimed that the Devon and Cornwall police have an "inherently homophobic" attitude.

  • 27th March 2008

    ‘Obama Girl’ wants Hillary Clinton out of Presidential race 11

    The first “Obama Girl“ video was released last summer and rapidly spread like wildfire, launching Ettinger into semi-stardom.

    6:50 PM — Amber Lee Ettinger, also known as "Obama Girl," has released a new video calling for New York Senator Hillary Clinton to drop out of the US Presidential race against Barack Obama.The first "Obama Girl" video was released last summer and rapidly spread like wildfire, launching Ettinger into semi-stardom.The videos are the creation of BarelyPolitical.com and the original video has been viewed more than seven million times on YouTube.com alone.

  • Tax company under fire for gay discrimination

    H  R Block claim to have more than 22 million customers worldwide and had a $4bn (£2bn) turnover in 2007.

    5:50 PM — H R Block, America's leading tax preparation company, has said it is "evaluating alternatives" after it emerged that their online services refuse to accept legal civil unions.Connecticut gay couple Jason Smith and Settimo Piscu were attempting to use their "Tax Cut" service but a message told them: "We don't support Connecticut civil union returns."Through its website, the company said the couple would have to work with one of their professionals, by phone or at one of their office locations, which would be more time consuming and cost an additional $150 (£75).

  • UK asylum system “not fit for purpose”

    The head of the Border and Immigration Agency, Lin Homer, told the BBC: “I totally refute any suggestion that we treat asylum applicants without care and compassion.“

    1:55 PM — A commission established to examine asylum policy and practice in the UK has concluded that it falls below the standards of a civilised nation.The 12-member Independent Asylum Commission's findings have been rejected by the Border and Immigration Agency, who claim they treat people with "care and compassion."The volume of people seeking asylum in the UK has fallen sharply and last year there were just over 23,000.

  • Cuban parliament considers LGBT rights bill 1

    The proposed change to Cuban family law would put members of same-sex unions on a par with heterosexual couples.  photo: exfordy@flickr.com

    1:10 PM — A draft lesbian, gay and trans rights bill will be considered by Cuban legislators today.The proposed new law would grant equal rights to all citizens and is the first step towards same-sex unions and access to gender reassignment surgery.Mariela Castro, director of the National Sex Education Centre, said:"A relevant resolution will be signed in the nearest future by the Ministry of Health, which will determine the procedure for such surgery."

  • Fight against “ex-gay” movement goes multi-media

    TWO's website will include an extensive video catalogue of “ex-gay“ survivors and sexual orientation experts.

    11:10 AM — TruthWinsOut.org (TWO), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to debunking the "ex-gay myth", launched a newly revamped web site this week.The goal of the site is to serve as an educational resource and an "all-encompassing look at the dangerous world of conversion therapy".TWO claims the ex-gay industry has dominated the flow of information about conversion therapy in the past and the new web site is geared to help "counter ex-gay lies and reach vulnerable people with messages of truth and hope."

  • Obama and Clinton supporters attracted by McCain

    Republican John McCain can possibly expect to receive a healthy dose of Democratic support in November regardless of whether he is facing Clinton or Obama.

    10:55 AM — A surprising number of supporters of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would throw their votes to Republican John McCain if their candidate does not become the Democratic Presidential nominee, according to a new Gallup poll released yesterday.While only 19 percent of Obama supporters said they would vote for McCain over Clinton, 28 percent of Clinton supporters would switch their vote to the Republican nominee.

  • Mardi Gras clergy feel the wrath of fundamentalists 1

    Despite a few vocal opponents to the Reverends' participation, many lay churchgoers emailed the ministers with words of support.

    10:30 AM — Some Sydney-based clergy who marched in this year's 30th anniversary Mardi Gras have had their careers threatened by those who objected to their public participation and support of gay rights.Some 35 ministers marched, alongside eight people who acted as proxies on behalf of their church's Reverends, as part of a group known as 100Revs.The name refers to the 100 Reverends who signed a formal apology to the LGBT community.

  • 26th March 2008

    Paddick still favourite with gay voters 47

    Mr Paddick was until last year was the most senior out gay police officer in the UK.

    6:20 PM — The results of the second PinkNews.co.uk Mayor of London poll show that Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick still leads among respondents.225 people who live in the London area took part in the poll. Mr Paddick, who until last year was the most senior out gay police officer in the UK, won 43.5%, or 98 of the first preference votes.He was followed by incumbent Mayor and Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, with 29.4% (66 votes). Tory candidate Boris Johnson won 12% (27 votes).

  • Moroccan newspaper sued by judges over gay party story 1

    Last November Al Massae published the first reports of an alleged gay wedding party in the town and said that a local judge attended.

    5:45 PM — One Morocco's leading newspapers has been ordered to pay four judges more than £100,000 each after it mistakenly reported that a judge had been present at a gay "wedding" in the city of town of Ksar el-Kbir.Last November Al Massae published the first reports of an alleged gay wedding party in the town and said that a local judge attended.The paper did not name him, so all four local judges sued. It later emerged that a man with the same name as one of the judges was arrested.

  • Hillary caught out over “sniper fire” claims

    footage of her arrival uncovered by US TV stations shows the First Lady and her daughter being greeted by a small girl with a posy of flowers as they walk calmly from the plane.

    3:55 PM — Presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton has admitted she "made a mistake" over her claims that while visiting Bosnia in 1996 she was subject to sniper fire.The Former First Lady has been keen to portray her time in the White House as proof of her foreign affairs credentials.In a series of interviews last week she claimed that after her plane landed in Tuzla, Bosnia, she and her daughter Chelsea had to run for cover as they were targeted by sniper fire.

  • US rules gay married name ‘illegal’ and refuses passport

    As it stands, the American government only recognises heterosexual marriages.

    1:20 PM — An American AIDS activist was denied a new passport by the US State Department on the grounds that his hyphenated surname with his married gay partner is illegal.The Sun Chronicle reports that Jason Hair-Wynn, who married his partner in 2005 in Massachusetts - which is currently the only American state to have legalised same-sex marriage - is now having to face reapplying for a new passport.The federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibited the legal recognition of his new name.

  • Israel grants visa to gay Palestinian 1

    The unnamed 33-year-old Palestinian from Jenin is planning a reunion with his Israeli partner in Tel Aviv once he gets his visa.

    1:10 PM — A Palestinian homosexual was granted an extraordinary Israeli temporary residential visa, after it was claimed he faced persecution and possible danger if he remained in the West Bank, it was revealed yesterday.After failed attempts to gain a visa through the Israeli Interior Ministry - a process which can take years - the man was granted a visa after he applied directly to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).The unnamed 33-year-old Palestinian from Jenin is planning a reunion with his Israeli partner in Tel Aviv once he gains his visa.

  • Married American man ordered to pay gay lover

    The ruling may set a precedent as it is the first time that assets have been split between a gay couple who did not live under the same roof.

    12:50 PM — A court in Brazil has ruled that a married American man must share part of his wealth with a Brazilian man with whom he had a four year relationship.The Court of Justice in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, a state that legalised civil unions in 2004, recognised that the US citizen and the Brazilian man had a 'stable union.'The couple, whose identities have been kept secret, had frequent meetings in Brazil, the US and other countries, the court was told.

  • Lords debates illustrate objections to gay equality 17

    Their Lordships spent hours discussing whether it is correct to remove the 'need for a father' and replace it with the need for 'supportive parenting.'

    12:45 PM — The Prime Minister's decision to allow Labour MPs a free vote on three clauses of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has surprised many Westminster watchers.The issues surrounding so-called 'saviour siblings,' human-animal embryos and the requirement for doctors to consider 'the need for a father' when deciding on whether to agree to carry out fertilisation or fertility treatments were all discussed at length in the Lords.Those debates should give us a flavour of the debate in the Commons, which is not expected until after the local council elections in May.

  • Downing St explains why MPs are getting a free vote 17

    As many as 12 ministers, three of them in the Cabinet, were reported to be considering leaving the government rather than vote for parts of the bill.

    12:30 PM — Gordon Brown is "following the precedent set in 1990 with the original Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill" in allowing his MPs a free vote on measures that ensure gay equality.Roman Catholic Labour MPs are expected to challenge the removal of a requirement for doctors to "consider the need for a father" when deciding to consent to IVF or assisted conception treatments.The bill proposed to replace that with a need for "supportive parenting."

  • How will the embryology bill help gay and lesbian parents? 17

    At present the law requires that NHS fertility clinics take account of the “need for a father“ when assessing women for treatment.

    12:30 PM — The Prime Minister's announcement that Labour MPs will be allowed a free vote on legislation designed to ensure equal treatment for gay and lesbian people has dismayed gay rights groups and angered many in his own party.The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill currently before Parliament aims to make it easier for lesbian couples to access NHS fertilisation services and ensure that a lesbian or gay couple can become the legal parents of their children.Tory MPs will be given a free vote on the bill.

  • Stonewall “disappointed” over free vote on gay equality 17

    As many as 12 ministers who are also Roman Catholics reportedly threatened to resign unless they were allowed to opt out of voting in favour of parts of the bill.

    11:40 AM — Gay equality organisation Stonewall has criticised the Prime Minister's decision to give Labour MPs a free vote on provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that aim to give gay and lesbian people equal access to NHS fertility and assisted conception services.The bill, currently before Parliament, would replace the current need for doctors to consider the need for a father when decided whether or not to provide such treatments with the need for supportive parenting.

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