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Current Affairs

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gay rights more important than Christian ones, claims bishop 6

    Gay equality organisation Stonewall said they are continuing to lobby peers to support the regulations.

    10:16 AM — A senior Church of England clergyman has complained that gay people's rights take precedence over everyone else's.The Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt made his comments ahead of a vote on the Sexual Orientation Regulations in the House of Lords later today.The regulations were approved by the House of Commons on Monday night by 310 votes to 100.

  • 20th March 2007

    Russian faith groups come out against Pride march 4

    If the march is banned again, the organisers will appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.

    5:25 PM — Russia's Orthodox Church announced today that it is opposed to the planned Moscow gay Pride parade, as it believes homosexuality is harmful to society.Gay activists plan to hold the parade on the 14th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Russia.Representatives of Russian Muslims and Jews joined the calls for a ban on the parade.

  • New website gives advice on work discrimination

    It is the first website to offer detailed advice on what to do, who to contact, what laws protect you and how.

    5:25 PM — The first website solely designed to help employees and employers fight discrimination in the workplace has been launched today.Discriminationonline.com is a website run by Brabners Chaffe, specialists in discrimination law.It contains useful information for anyone who thinks they are being discriminated against.

  • Italian family day out to oppose gay rights 1

    The rally will take place in Rome's central San Giovanni Square.

    3:56 PM — Catholic organisations in Italy have announced that May 12 will be "Family Day", featuring a demonstration in Rome against legislation which will could give legal rights to civil unions.The planned civil unions will be both for heterosexual and homosexual couples, a proposal that has outraged the Catholic Church.The Family Day manifesto does not specifically mention the laws, but focuses on calls for legislation promoting more traditional families.

  • JP Morgan tells law firms to focus on gay equality

    Last year the Law Society report revealed that the “macho“ culture of law firms is hindering gay and lesbian lawyers.

    3:25 PM — One of the world's largest financial services companies has told law firms it uses to bring their policies on gay and lesbian staff up to standard.JP Morgan has invited 15 external law firms to attend a meeting with Stonewall next month to learn about best practice towards homosexual and bisexual staff.The company's assistant general counsel and managing director Tim Hailes told The Lawyer: "The firms' commitment to this agenda will be a relevant factor."

  • Anti-gay propaganda from Christian activists on YouTube

    The Christian protest against the SORs will be held in Parliament Square tomorrow at 12 noon for one hour.

    2:18 PM — An offensive video created by an unnamed Christian group denouncing the new Sexual Orientation Regulations is circulating on YouTube.The footage shows a primary school teacher reading about homosexuality to a group of small children.It comes with a warning that nobody aged under 18 should view it.

  • Exclusive: Ming Campbell speaks to PinkNews.co.uk

    Campbell himself says he has always been supportive of the rights of gay and lesbian people to live their lives in freedom. photos: Mark Vessey

    12:39 PM — When PinkNews.co.uk spoke to Sir Menzies Campbell at his office in the Palace of Westminster earlier this month, the Liberal Democrat leader discussed his values and attitudes towards gay rights, and how British society has changed since the days of Ted Heath and Jeremy Thorpe. It is just over a year since Sir Menzies Campbell won the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

  • Switch of tactics on marriage splits US activists 6

    Aronda Kirby and Digit Murphy of Rhode Island were both once married to men, but lost the protections that marriage afforded them when they came out.

    12:09 PM — Supporters of gay marriage in America have been outraged by the tide turning against their cause, even amongst other gay rights advocates.Bills to legalise gay marriage have been introduced in the state of Rhode Island every year for the past ten years, and have been rejected every time.So this year, as well as filing for the legalisation of gay marriage, campaigners are fighting for basic rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

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