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04/19/2007


Crowds Cheer For One Of UK's First Married Gay Couples: VIDEO

Flashinglights

As we just reported, Peter McGraith and David Cabreza of Islington were among the first same-sex couples (and quite possibly the first) to get married once marriage equality was legalized in England and Wales after midnight. When the happy couple emerged from Islington Town Hall they were greeted with a warm and raucous crowd wishing them well.  

Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron, who fought hard for marriage equality, released a statement today, as Joe.My.God. highlights:

"The introduction of same-sex civil marriage says something about the sort of country we are. It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay. That is so important in trying to create an environment where people are no longer bullied because of their sexuality – and where they can realise their potential, whether as a great mathematician like Alan Turing, a star of stage and screen like Sir Ian McKellen or a wonderful journalist and presenter like Clare Balding. We are a nation that is growing stronger economically because of our long term economic plan. But I hope we can also be a country that is growing stronger socially because we value love and commitment equally. Let us raise a toast to that – and all those getting married this weekend.”

Watch video of McGraith and Cabreza emerging as husband and husband for the first time, along with a few more photos from the big day, AFTER THE JUMP…

Crowd

(Photo at top via Twitter; photo at bottom also via Twitter)

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UK Lawmaker Who Linked Storms with Gay Marriage is Expelled from Party

Silvesteruk

Henley-on-Thames town councillor David Silvester, who was suspended from the UK Independence Party in January for remarks linking the passage of gay marriage to recent storms and flooding, has now been expelled. Silvester has had a publicly homophobic outlook since the UK's same-sex marriage bill was on the table in 2012 when he wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron warning him "that disasters would accompany the passage" of the bill. In fact, in a delicious bit of irony, Silvester defected from the Conservative party and joined the UKIP as a protest against Cameron's pro-gay message.

BBC News reports:

Last month, Mr Silvester's house was targeted by protesters, who threw eggs at the property and attached a "rainbow banner" to the wall.

In the letter to the Henley Standard he wrote: "The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war."

Silvester also claimed that Cameron ignored the will of the "Christian nation."

"But he went ahead despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.

"It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods."

He went on to say no man, however powerful, "can mess with Almighty God with impunity and get away with it."

The Henley-on-Thames town council will soon hold a meeting discussing Silvester's comments and the controversy surrounding them. In the mean time, anyone is welcome to sign a petition expressing outrage at Silvester's comments.


UK to Boost Aid to Nigeria as 'Witch Hunts' Against Gays Intensify

The UK will boost aid to Nigeria this year despite the signing of an anti-gay law by President Goodluck Jonathan which is leading to 'witch hunts', trials, lashings, and likely worse for people suspected of being gay across the African nation.

CameronThe Mail Online reports:

David Cameron warned last year the UK would review its massive aid programme if the country pressed ahead with legislation that includes a ten-year jail sentence for gay men holding hands in public.

But the Department for International Development, under pressure to meet targets on aid spending, said last night the West African state would not lose a penny despite a decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to sign off the law this week.

A spokesman added that aid to Nigeria would be increased as planned, from £200million last year to almost £270million.

Since Nigeria's law has gone into effect 38 people have reportedly been arrested — 11 in the northern Islamic Bauchi state where homosexuality carries a death sentence, and at least 24 in three southern states, according to Dorothy Aken'ova, the executive director of the International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights.


New UK "Anti-Porn" Web Filters Block Gay & Sex Education Sites

David_cameronEarlier this year, the United Kingdom had its four major internet service providers turn on parental filters to — as Prime Minister David Cameron put it — "protect children and their innocence" from online porn.

Over the coming year, the web-filters will automatically be applied approximately 95 percent of all home internet services unless otherwise requested by customers.

However, the filters have predictably blocked a lot more than just porn including sites for "child protection charities, women’s charities and gay rights groups" as well as sites covering sex education, addiction and abuse.

The filters have also blocked access to sites belonging to the British Library, the National Library of Scotland and political figures who supported the so-called "anti-porn web filters" to begin with.

Software developers have already created an extension for the Google Chrome browser which bypasses the filters for unfettered access to the web — it is called "Go Away Cameron" after the Prime Minister who supported the filters.


David Cameron to Skip Sochi Olympics, Says It Isn't a Boycott

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has no plans to attend the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, but government sources insist that his absence should not be interpreted as a statement about Russia's anti-gay record. The Independent reports:

David CameronGovernment sources told The Independent that culture ministers would be part of the British delegation to Sochi, although the final line-up had not been decided. It is also unlikely that Britain will follow President Obama’s lead and send a high-profile gay rights activist as part of the official presence.

“The PM believes in engagement. He doesn’t think that boycotts and grand gestures achieve much,” an aide said. 

Downing Street sources pointed to Mr Cameron’s decision to attend the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in November, even though the Canadian and Indian prime ministers stayed away, and pointed out that Mr Cameron raised the issue of gay rights with President Putin when he attended the G20 summit in St Petersburg in September.

In other UK news, Peter Tatchell and other gay rights activists ambushed Coca-Cola's Christmas event in Covent Gardens, London yesterday to protest against the company's sponsorship of the Sochi Games.

Peter Tatchell
 


British PM David Cameron Addresses Gay Rights with Putin; Obama to Meet with LGBT Groups

Cameron

UK Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted last night that he had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin about gay rights at a meeting at the G20 summit.

Tweeted Cameron: "2am meeting with President Putin. A candid conversation on #Syria. I also raised concerns about gay rights."

It had been reported that Cameron would bring up the issue.

President Obama, while not meeting with Putin, is scheduled to meet with Civil Society groups, and LGBT groups, Friday evening, according to guidance provided to Towleroad by the White House.

Yesterday, the White House made clear that "in particular" Obama was interested in meeting with the LGBT representatives.

Said Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes: "Given our serious concerns with some of the recent laws that have been passed and restrictions on activity for gays and lesbians within Russia, we felt it was important to ensure that we were including their voices in a discussion with the President."

Cameronputin


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