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Current Affairs

  • 31st January 2007

    London unites with Riga Pride

    Chair of Riga Pride Kristine Garina said she was delighted by the agreement to twin with London.

    5:14 PM — The gay and lesbian communities of London and Riga are to come together in a unique twinning partnership to support equality and tolerance in the two capital cities.Pride London and the Mayor of London will sign a statement of unity with Riga Pride at a ceremony in the Latvian capital next month.Last July the gay and lesbian community in Riga were banned from celebrating Pride and suffered violent oppression from homophobic mobs.

  • Two Jags says he is demob-happy

    The 68-year-old, who has been Deputy Prime Minister since 1997, has stood up for gay rights on several occasions.

    4:53 PM — John Prescott has told MPs that he is enjoying the "happy demob stage" of his career, as he faced more questions in the House of Commons about what his current role in government consists of.Mr Prescott, who revealed earlier this month that as a young man he was wary of homosexuals, has been an MP for 36 years.It is widely anticipated that he will stand down from the deputy role when Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves office later this year.

  • Canada lifts same-sex immigration ban 1

    In July 2005, under the previous Liberal government, Canada became the fourth country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married.

    3:27 PM — Canadians who married their gay or lesbian partners abroad will now be able to sponsor their immigration to Canada.The government has rescinded a policy that banned same-sex married couples from being treated equally to heterosexual spouses.Opposition MP Bill Siksay announced on Tuesday that the government had decided to remove the discriminatory immigration directive and treat gay and straight couples equally in this regard.

  • Ruth Kelly to seek re-election in marginal seat 4

    At the 2005 general election, Ms Kelly's majority was 2,064, or 5% of the total votes cast.

    12:33 PM — The Communities Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has confirmed that she will be contesting the constituency she currently represents at the next general election.There had been rumours that Ms Kelly would abandon Bolton West for the safer Bolton South East constituency, whose sitting MP is retiring at the next election.She is the cabinet minister with the most marginal seat.

  • Gay Mexican granted asylum in the US

    The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the will not appeal the case.

    10:57 AM — A 38-year-old man has been granted asylum in the United States after a court accepted he would be persecuted if he returned to Mexico.Jorge Soto Vega entered the USA illegally in 1988, and had previously had an asylum application turned down by a judge who said he would have had to make his sexuality obvious to face persecution.At an immigration hearing on Tuesday Mr Vega was finally told he can remain in America.

  • 30th January 2007

    Tony Blair’s fundraiser arrested again

    The arrest of Lord Levy, a close friend of the Prime Minister, is another blow for Mr Blair.

    6:47 PM — One of the Prime Minister's closest allies has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.Lord Levy, who is Mr Blair's special envoy to the Middle East, was first arrested last July and released on bail in connection with an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into the alleged selling of peerages.

  • Homophobic teen gang attack Jersey couple

    The police arrested three of the gang at the scene.

    4:20 PM — Police on the island of Jersey have arrested three teenagers after two men were attacked by a gang in the centre of St Helier at the weekend.The men, both in their 30s, were first verbally assaulted by the mob at around midnight on Sunday night, reports the Jersey Evening Post. Around half an hour later their paths crossed that of the gang again and there was a confrontation.

  • Gay activists welcome first EU equality summit

    The Eurobarometer data for the UK found that 48% of respondents felt that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is widespread in this country.

    2:43 PM — European and UK gay rights organisations have welcomed the first EU summit on equality, which began in Brussels today.450 delegates from across Europe launched the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All at the summit, which is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the German Presidency of the EU.Representatives from the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) are attending.

  • G from DG blasts Vatican attitudes

    DolceGabbana's designs are particularly popular with movie stars.

    1:48 PM — Stefano Gabbana, of DolceGabbana fame, has rounded on the Vatican for trying to stop Italian gay and lesbian people getting equal rights.The designer, in an interview with newspaper La Stampa, argued that the Roman Catholic church is trying to fight against love itself.Mr Gabbana was the sexual as well as design partner of Domenico Dolce for 19 years.

  • Gay MP questions adoption compromise 10

    Mr Williams, currently the only out gay LibDem MP, today tabled an Early Day Motion supporting the IDAHO campaign.

    1:15 PM — PinkNews.co.uk exclusive Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams has expressed scepticism about the long period of exemption from the new Sexual Orientation Regulations that the government has granted to Roman Catholic adoption agencies."I think the Prime Minister's decision is welcome."There should be no exemptions," he told PinkNews.co.uk

  • Cardinal fears social isolation for Catholics 5

    All eyes are now on the Scottish Roman Catholic Church, who have yet to respond to the government's decision.

    12:16 PM — The head of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales has spoken of his fear that the church might have to withdraw from a range of social activities.His comments follow yesterday's decision by the government that Catholic adoption agencies will not be given an exemption from rules which protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination.The Sexual Orientation Regulations will make it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.

  • Gay couple register as married in Israel

    The state of Israel is by far the most tolerant towards LGBT people in the Middle East, but does not allow same-sex marriages.

    11:40 AM — An English immigrant to Israel has had his marriage registered by officials in Jerusalem.Binyamin Rose and his American husband Avi have successfully registered themselves as a married couple.This is the first time since a Supreme Court decision three months ago ruled marriages performed abroad are legal inside Israel that two gay men have been registered as married.

  • Italian coalition parties clash over gay families 4

    Prime Minister Romano Prodi's coalition has to hold together nine different parties in government, and now proposal for new rights of gay and lesbians in Italy is causing problems.

    10:25 AM — The delicate balance of power in the Italian government could be upset by a new law that will grant gay and lesbian couples a form of civil partnership.The nature of the Italian political system means that since 1945 the country has mostly been ruled by fragile coalitions, and the group of parties that finally removed Silvio Berlusconi from office last April are no different.

  • 29th January 2007

    English Cardinal disappointed at adoption decision 10

    The Cardinal, who is the head of the church in England and Wales, adopted a conciliatory tone in his comments.

    7:10 PM — Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has expressed his disappointment at the decision by the Prime Minister not to grant an exemption from anti-discrimination legislation for Roman Catholic adoption agencies.The Cardinal, who is the head of the church in England and Wales, adopted a conciliatory tone in his comments, in contrast to his assertion last week that agencies would close rather than consider gay or lesbian couples as adoptive parents.

  • PM defends Ruth Kelly’s position

    She was given responsibility for equality issues in May 2006, but has refused to reveal her views on homosexuality.

    6:45 PM — A spokesman for the Prime Minister has said Mr Blair wants to pay tribute to Ruth Kelly.The Communities Secretary, who is responsible for equality matters, has been heavily criticised by gay campaigners and some MPs for her strong religious views.Ms Kelly, a devout Catholic, has been accused of bowing to pressure from the hierarchy of the church.

  • LibDem spokeswoman welcomes PM’s adoption stance 10

    Ms Burt, the MP for Solihull, said she was happy that the Catholic agencies will be given time to make new arrangements.

    5:27 PM — Politicians have spoken to PinkNews.co.uk of their delight at Tony Blair's decision to not grant an exemption from anti-discrimination laws to Catholic adoption agencies.Lorely Burt MP, the LibDem spokeswoman on equality, told PinkNews.co.uk:"Tony Blair's statement is welcome news.

  • Tories make no comment on adoption, LibDem furious

    A Tory spokeswoman repeated that the party's MPs will be given a free vote on the regulations when they come before the House of Commons next month.

    5:15 PM — A spokeswoman for Conservative Central Office has said the party has no statement to make about Tony Blair's announcement that Roman Catholic adoption agencies will not be exempted from anti-discrimination legislation.Meanwhile a LibDem MP who tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the government to exempt the Catholic Church has branded Tony Blair a coward.

  • Stonewall delighted by adoption decision 10

    Mr Summerskill dismissed claims that the Catholic agencies are the best in the country

    5:05 PM — The chief executive of Stonewall has warmly welcomed the statement from Tony Blair that Roman Catholic-run adoption agencies will not be granted an exemption to the Sexual Orientation Regulations.Ben Summerskill also questioned the claim by the church that their agencies are superior to state-run adoption facilities."We are delighted that the cabinet has listened carefully to what we have been saying."

  • Official – no Catholic adoption opt-out 10

    Instead, the regulations regarding adoption will come into force at the end of 2008.

    4:31 PM — The Prime Minister has announced that the government will not be granting an opt-out for Catholic adoption agencies from the Sexual Orientation Regulations.Instead, the regulations regarding adoption will come into force at the end of 2008.This means that Roman Catholic-run adoption agencies will have nearly two years to adjust to the new rules.

  • DNA evidence casts doubt on gay murder conviction

    Kennedy is reportedly becoming depressed and demoralised at his continued incarceration.

    3:51 PM — A man from Davenport who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a gay pensioner could be freed in the light of new evidence.Robert Kennedy was found guilty of murdering Arthur Eathorne, a 74-year-old gay pensioner, at his Plymouth flat on September 21, 1990.Kennedy has spent the last 16 years at Garth prison in Preston, but has always maintained his innocence.

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