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Current Affairs

  • 11th July 2007

    Senator opposed to gay marriage favours paid-for sex 3

    Senator Vitter said in a statement today that God had forgiven him for his sins, along with his wife.

    4:00 PM — A major political scandal involving prostitution in Washington DC has claimed its first Congressional scalp.Republican Senator David Vitter has been forced to admit he used the escort services of Deborah Jane Palfrey, the "DC madam" who is accused of making nearly $2m (£1m) over thirteen years providing call girls to Washington's elite.Senator Vitter strongly opposes gay rights and is a 'family values' stalwart.

  • Homophobic bus driver brought to book by gay motorist 3

    “Is it because you are a dirty, f***ing batty boy,“ the irate driver of the No 200 bus screamed at him during a road rage incident.

    1:43 PM — Former Grenadier Guardsmen Lee Wardle caused traffic mayhem in south London last month after being subject to a bus driver's homophobic abuse."Is it because you are a dirty, f***ing batty boy," the irate driver of the No 200 bus screamed at him during a road rage incident.Mr Wardle called the police after blocking in the bus driver with his car when the driver refused to repeat his homophobic comments on June 26th.

  • Birmingham towpath rapists might get life

    Judge Peter Ross has delayed sentencing the pair until he has seen reports, but said they posed a serious risk to the public.

    11:38 AM — A judge at Birmingham Crown Court told two man convicted of robbing and then raping his male victim that they could be given a life sentence.Daniel Myers,20, of Barry Jackson Tower in Aston, was found guilty alongside Nikos Johnson, 26, of Rawling Street, Ladywood, of one charge of robbery and two of rape.The Birmingham Post reports that during the trial Myers revealed under cross-examination that he is HIV+

  • Presidential hopefuls to participate in gay TV debate 3

    Front runners Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have confirmed they will participate.

    11:15 AM — Human rights activist Joe Solomnese and gay performer Melissa Etheridge will question Democratic candidates for President of the United States in the first televised debate for the gay community.The hour-long event will take place on August 9th and broadcast live on gay network LOGO and through live streaming at LOGOonline.comFront runners Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have confirmed they will participate.

  • Pride organisers demand investigation into violence

    Last Saturday's Pride march in the capital, Budapest, was marred by nationalist violence against gay participants.

    10:56 AM — Gay rights activists in Hungary have accused the police of not doing enough to protect Pride marchers from attacks by homophobic protesters.Last Saturday's Pride march in the capital, Budapest, was marred by violence against gay participants.Skinheads and fascists massed along the 7km (4.3 mile) route of the march. They threw eggs and bottles filled with sand at the marchers.

  • UPS accused of discrimination against gay employees

    UPS also stated that it was not acting out of homophobic sentiments but according to New Jersey law.

    10:37 AM — Gay rights groups have criticised the delivery company UPS for depriving employees in same-sex partnership of health insurance benefits.According to New Jersey law, same-sex couples in civil unions have equal entitlement to employment benefits, yet UPS makes a difference between married couples and those in civil-unions in terms of health insurance.This means the company is defying a court ruling which required equality regardless of sexual orientation.

  • Castro’s niece pushes for gay rights in Cuba 3

    Following Fidel Castro's coup d'dtat in 1959 and the Cuban revolution, LGBT people were persecuted and imprisoned.

    10:30 AM — Almost a year after Cuba's president Fidel Castro temporarily resigned from power due to his ill health, human rights are still under threat on the island.At the same time improvements of LGBT rights are in sight.There is a change in attitude towards LGBT people in the Caribbean dictatorship under Fidel's brother Raul Castro, who holds the position of interim head of state.

  • 10th July 2007

    Catholic hierarchy tussle with gay group over Mass rights 2

    A spokesperson for the Archdiocese asserted that Quest is not a officially recognised group in the Catholic Church.

    5:25 PM — Quest, the lesbian and gay group for Catholics, has accused the Catholic Church of un-Christian behaviour after the Archdiocese of Liverpool prevented them from using the University Catholic Chaplaincy for a Mass.The service was intended to help gay Catholics discuss their experiences and pray for understanding of issues of faith.Following the ban the meeting was held in a location not controlled by the church.

  • Cameron’s families speech doesn’t mention civil partnerships 12

    Mr Cameron conceded that the UK has become more tolerant under a Labour government.

    4:45 PM — David Cameron's big speech on social policy today ran to nearly 1,800 words, but several phrases were missing, among them 'civil partnerships.'The Tory leader set out proposals to encourage marriage through the tax system, which might introduce a married couples tax allowance, worth around £20 a week, aimed at making it easier for one parent to stay at home.Mr Cameron was responding to a report from former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.

  • Budapest mayor defiant over Pride violence

    SZDSZ yesterday announced that it would ask for same-sex unions to be legalised.

    3:56 PM — Extremist elements who attacked gay Pride participants in the Hungarian capital over the weekend have been roundly condemned as "intolerant, primitive and cowardly."Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky said yesterday that he and his political party, The Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), totally condemn the violence at last weekend's Gay Parade in Budapest.On Saturday skinheads and fascists massed along the route of the march for gay rights.

  • Vienna court acquits gay rights activists of libel 1

    The accused had lost a previous trial and were ordered to reimburse the MP an April court ruling.

    3:14 PM — Two activists from a gay rights organisation based in Vienna were fully acquitted in their appeal against a court ruling yesterday.The chairman of the Homosexual Initiative (HOSI), Christian Högl, and general-secretary Kurt Krickler, had been accused of libel by a Member of Parliament from the Christian-Conservative Party, Walter Tancsits.The accused had lost a previous trial and were ordered to reimburse the MP an April court ruling.

  • Blair laughed then worried about minister’s cruising 1

    Davies, married three times and the father of two children, later admitted he is bisexual.

    3:05 PM — It has emerged that Prime Minister Tony Blair laughed when first told that Welsh Secretary Ron Davies had been mugged while cruising on Clapham Common in 1998.However, after another gay revelation he started to worry that his government's image might be damaged.Alistair Campbell, the former Prime Minister's communications chief, published a bowdlerised version of his diaries yesterday, called The Blair Years. 

  • Homophobic government faces election test

    The Prime Minister rejected a demand by the democratic left alliance (SLD) to immediately dissolve parliament.

    12:37 PM — The conservative Polish coalition government, known for its nationalistic and homophobic views, is at risk of falling apart.Twins Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski, the Prime Minister and President respectively, run one of the largest countries in the EU with a population of 38 million people.Yesterday Prime Minister Kaczynski fired his coalition partner, deputy and head of the main coalition party, Andrzej Lepper, for suspected involvement in corruption.

  • Cherie Blair persuaded Tory to defect over Section 28

    Shaun Woodward was appointed to the Cabinet by Gordon Brown last week, as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

    11:40 AM — The much-anticipated diaries of spin doctor Alistair Campbell may have disappointed politics junkies with their lack of information about the decade-long feud between No 10 and No 11 Downing St, but his reminiscences still contain some interesting insights into the Blair years.One such nugget is the revelation that the Prime Minister's wife and a former gay Radio 1 DJ helped persuade a senior Tory MP defect to the Labour party because he was about to be sacked for supporting gay rights.

  • 9th July 2007

    Senate approves judge who attended gay ‘wedding’

    The Senate Judiciary Committee had approved Judge Neff for a seat on the US District Court in Michigan's Western District in October 2006.

    5:23 PM — An attempt by a conservative Republican to block the appointment of a federal judge because she had attended a same-sex commitment ceremony was defeated in the US Senate yesterday.Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas is one of the less prominent politicians vying for the Republican party's nomination for President.Last year he blocked the nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet Neff to the federal court.

  • Synod fails to heal Anglican divisions on gay issues

    The synod held that the issue of homosexuality, and the ordination of gay clergy in particular, exposed the 'deep flaws in how Anglican unity is maintained.'“

    4:03 PM — This weekend's General Synod in York resolved to create a disciplinary covenant that might see some gay-friendly clergy and bishops thrown out of the Anglican church.There is no resolution in sight as the Church of England continues to equivocate on the issue of the ordination of gay clergy.The rows over the blessing of same-sex relationships and the ordination of gay clergy threatens to split the worldwide Church.

  • Blair to recommend Peter Mandelson for House of Lords

    Mr Mandelson has had a colourful political career. One of the architects of New Labour, he became arguably Tony Blair's closest adviser.

    3:11 PM — Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is to recommend his close political ally Peter Mandelson for a peerage.Traditionally a departing PM draws up a resignation honours list, though for the first time the names put forward for the House of Lords will be scrutinised by the appointments commission.It is thought Mr Blair will only nominate a few people to the Lords because of the ongoing 'cash for peerages' criminal investigation.

  • Gay divorce becomes a reality in South Africa

    Mr Van Zyl and Mr Liedenberg married in Johannesburg on February 16th.

    2:03 PM — A South African gay couple divorced last week in the Praetoria High Court following just five months of marriage.IT support consultant Ignatius Kloppers van Zyl, 47, set in motion divorce proceedings against Jacques Liebenberg, 36.They were one of many homosexual couples who took advantage of legislation passed by the South African National Council in December 2006 permitting same-sex marriage.

  • Married woman pleads guilty to civil partnership charges 2

    Ms Mitchell, a mother of three children, denied the charges at an earlier magistrates hearing in March.

    1:32 PM — A married woman admitted to a court this morning that she made a false statement to a registrar, after she illegally entered into a civil partnership.Suzanne Mitchell appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court before Judge Robin Onions, who chastised her for giving a press interview about her story.The 29-year-old lives in Wingfield Gardens in Shrewsbury. Ms Mitchell, a mother of three children, denied the charges at an earlier magistrates hearing in March.

  • Feature: The long road to decriminalisation 1

    Leo Abse, in an interview in The Observer, said the supporters of the bill had to use all their political acumen to drag it through parliament.

    12:07 PM — 40 years ago this month, a campaiging Welsh Labour MP by the name of Leo Abse managed to guide a Bill through both Houses of Parliament.By a combination of smart tactics and appealing to politicians to pity those 'less fortunate' than themselves, he got them to agree to a partial decriminalisation of male homosexual relations.It brought an end to hundreds of years of legal persecution, as Alex Bryce explains. 

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