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Politics

  • 7th November 2007

    Lesbian couple push for full marriage rights in Ireland

    Last week the Irish Government voted down a Labour Party Bill on civil unions but proposed an alternative by the end of next March.

    11:01 AM — A lesbian couple from the Republic of Ireland who married in Canada yesterday renewed calls to have the same legal rights as those in heterosexual marriages.Dr Katherine Zappone and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan took part in the first expert meeting on the recognition of married same-sex couples at the European Parliament in Brussels.They joined couples from across Europe who are seeking recognition of their marriage.

  • Dutch politician calls for ban on gays holding office 1

    The Netherlands has in recent years experienced a series of violent attacks on gay people.

    10:50 AM — A leading member of the ChristenUnie party, the third group in the Dutch ruling coalition, has demanded that practising homosexuals should be expelled from administrative positions in the party.Yvette Lont, councillor for Amsterdam South-East, announced that she would be proposing a motion for the exclusion of practising homosexuals from senior party and government posts at the forthcoming party congress on November 17, according to Dutch newspaper Trouw.

  • 6th November 2007

    Homophobic Prime Minister of Poland leaves office

    In August 2006, when quizzed by the EU over his gay rights record, Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he was not a homophobe.

    7:01 PM — Jaroslaw Kaczynski has handed in the resignation of his cabinet, officially bringing an end to the Law and Justice-led government who had been in power in Poland since autumn 2005.Prime Minister Mr Kaczynski handed his resignation documents to his twin brother President Lech Kaczynski, during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw yesterday.His resignation follows his party's defeat in elections held last month.

  • Lib Dems accuse government over equality legislation

    Jo Swinson claimed that discrimination law is in a mess and that the proposed Single Equality Bill is “long overdue.“

    5:25 PM — A Liberal Democrat spokesperson has accused the government of dragging its heels over equality issues.Jo Swinson claimed that discrimination law is in a mess and that the proposed Single Equality Bill is "long overdue."A spokesperson for the Government Equalities Office said that work on the bill has not fallen behind and that it will be introduced in this parliament as promised.

  • Interview: New equality commissioner on gays as sinners 39

    “Homoerotic practices are inconsistent with the Bible, sex belongs in marriage.“

    4:41 PM — This interview was first published in June 2006"Why is anything which is not from the gay position defined as homophobic," asks Joel Edwards, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, a Christian charity and lobby group in its 160th year of using a commitment to Christ and the Bible to engage with society.My view of evangelicalism has often been megaphone-wielding preachers in Oxford Street telling shoppers to accept Jesus, or having leaflets shoved into your hand telling you homosexuality is a one way route to hell.

  • Anti-gay Christian appointed to equality body 39

    The EHRC incorporates three new human rights strands - age, sexual orientation and religion and belief.

    4:31 PM — The general director of the Evangelical Alliance has spoken of the "huge challenge for Christians" living in a liberal democracy after his appointment as a commissioner to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.Joel Edwards was a controversial choice for some gay rights groups.The Evangelical Alliance are one of the most strident voices against gay rights in the UK. Just last month they gave evidence against a new crime of incitement to violence on the grounds of sexual orientation.

  • Incitement law will extend to trans people 5

    While Labour are very supportive of the proposed new incitement laws, the opposition parties are questioning the need for new legislation.

    2:35 PM — The government will introduce a new offence of incitement to violence on the grounds of sexual orientation in the new Criminal Justice and immigration Bill, it has emerged.The Queen made no mention of the proposed new law in her Speech this morning, but a Ministry of Justice briefing document said that that they would be in the bill.Transgender and disabled people are to be included in the new law.

  • US Congress to vote on workplace protection law

    In 1996 similar legislation failed in the Senate by one vote.

    2:11 PM — After weeks of delay, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be voted on today by the US House of Representatives.It is unclear if an amendment to re-introduce protections to trans people along with lesbians, bisexuals and gay men will be considered by lawmakers.The decision to remove trans people from the scope of the legislation caused anger among the LGBT community in the US, with many demanding an "all or nothing" stance on ENDA.

  • Rising gay populations in America’s “red states”

    Three of America's 50 largest cities showed decreases in same-sex couples from 2000 to 2006: Atlanta, Philadelphia and Detroit.

    1:40 PM — An American sexual orientation think-tank has released a report that reveals a "gay demographic explosion" in some of America's most conservative regions.The Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA released the report yesterday.The report used data from the 1990 and 2000 censuses and the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) from 2002 to 2006.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 5th November 2007

    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'.

  • 2nd November 2007

    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.

  • 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.

  • 1st November 2007

    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.

  • Irish government to introduce civil partnerships 12

    A recent opinion poll found 84% in favour of some sort of recognition for lesbian and gay couples.

    10:45 AM — The Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has announced that the government will introduce a bill to legalise civil partnerships by March 2008.While opposing a similar bill put forward by the opposition Labour party yesterday, Brian Lenihan said that details would follow soon.He confirmed that in the government's opinion the special place of marriage in the Irish Constitution there would be no moves to legalise gay marriage.

  • Republican resigns amid gay sex scandal 7

    Originally, Curtis told police he was the victim of an extortion attempt by Castagna at the posh Davenport Tower hotel on October 26th.

    10:15 AM — A Washington state lawmaker who was caught with his pants down earlier this week - figuratively and literally - has resigned.On Monday Republican State Representative Richard Curtis told a local newspaper, The Columbian, "I have not had sex with a guy," the guy in question being Cody Castagna, a 26-year-old waiter from the Spokane area.Originally, Curtis told police he was the victim of an extortion attempt by Castagna at the posh Davenport Tower hotel on October 26th.

  • 31st October 2007

    Gay workplace protection law stalls in Congress

    Federal employment discrimination protections are currently provided on race, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability.

    3:24 PM — The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was due to come before lawmakers this week, but a slew of other business has delayed its passage, as arguments about trans protections continue.Attempts by a lesbian lawmaker in the US Congress to include trans people in new workplace legislation may fail to gain support from Democrats.Many of the Democrats elected for the first time last November do not want ENDA to include protections for trans people, fearful of a backlash from conservatives.

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