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04/19/2007


British PM David Cameron to Address Gay Rights with Putin at G20

Margotjames

Margot James, the first openly lesbian MP in the Conservative Party, tweeted a short time ago that British Prime Minister David Cameron plans to raise the issue of Russia's anti-gay laws with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit.

Tweeted James: Cameron"Europe Minister confirms that PM will raise anti gay discriminatory legislation and attacks on gay people with President Putin at the G20"

The announcement comes as Human Rights Watch urges world leaders to take action on LGBT rights while at the Summit.

Writes the group:

Leaders of G20 countries should take concrete action to show support for human rights and civil society during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg. They should meet nongovernmental organizations, for example. Russia set its priorities for its 2013 G20 presidency as growth through jobs and investment, growth through transparency and trust, and growth through effective regulation. It is hosting the leaders' summit on September 5-6 in St Petersburg.

"A strong, open society is essential for transparency," said Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director at Human Rights Watch. "Russia's leadership needs to hear from its G20 partners that its crackdown does not serve but instead contradicts the interests of an open society."

In letters to leaders of select G20 states, including Argentina, Australia, and Brazil, Human Rights Watch urged that they speak out against the crackdown on human rights over the past 16 months. Human Rights Watch asked them to meet with Russian nongovernmental organizations to hear first-hand about the impact of the crackdown on their work.

President Obama will be meeting with some of these groups, it was revealed over the weekend.


Stephen Fry And David Cameron Meet To Discuss The Problem With Russia

The Grapes
Not unlike Harvey Fierstein, actor Stephen Fry has been very vocal about the gay rights abuses happening in Russia as the Sochi Olympics draw nearer. Fry challenged Prime Minister David Cameron's assertion that Britain's presence in the games is vital to the case for gay rights in Russia. Fry wrote,

At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world. The Summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. 

For  there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement for ever and wipe away any of that glory.

The Prime Minister replied via Twitter with,

Thank you for your note @stephenfry. I share your deep concern about the abuse of gay people in Russia.

‘However, I believe we can better challenge prejudice as we attend, rather than boycotting the Winter Olympics. DC.

At this point newspaper publisher Evgeny Lebedev invited the two men to The Grapes, a pub he co-owns with Sir Ian McKellen in Limehouse, to discuss their differences over drinks in a private room. When the meeting ended, sources say that Fry was pleased at Cameron's explanations on how Britain would use its attendance to make the case for gay rights, though no specifics were revealed.


PM David Cameron Wants To Export Gay Marriage Around The World

6a00d8341c730253ef0192aa1ec345970d-300wiThe Telegraph reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron plans to use Britain's recent success in granting gay couples marriage equality as a spring-board to export gay marriage abroad.

At a special reception for the LGBT community at 10 Downing Street celebrating the marriage equality victory, Cameron remarked that the United Kingdom is "the best place to be gay, lesbian or transgender anywhere in Europe." Unless perhaps you have a serious porn addiction. Despite the jubilant and congratulatory atmosphere, Cameron did not seem content to rest on his laurels. After thanking the ministers and civil servants who helped push the marriage equality bill through, the Prime Minister shared his plans for the future:

"I’ve told the Bill team I’m now going to reassign them because, of course, all over the world people would have been watching this piece of legislation and we’ve set something, I think, of an example of how to pass good legislation in good time. Many other countries are going to want to copy this. And, as you know, I talk about the global race, about how we’ve got to export more and sell more so I’m going to export the bill team. I think they can be part of this global race and take it around the world.”

Indeed, Cameron did pass legislation in the UK in good time, much sooner than 2015, the date by which he originally promised to pass make marriage equality a reality. Though the path to equality in Britain was far from smooth, it remains unclear how the Prime Minister plans to take any lessons learned in the UK and apply them internationally.


British PM David Cameron Faces Backlash Over Plan To Censor Internet Pornography

CameronDavid Cameron's plan for automatic internet 'porn filters' in every British home has encountered significant setbacks as criticism from anti-censorship groups and concerns about the program's implementation have emerged.

Background of the proposal, courtesy of The Independent

Mr. Cameron laid out a multi-pronged approach to tackle the proliferation of both legal and illegal pornography on the internet, saying that the problem was "too big to ignore."

Under his proposals, by the end of next year all households will have to 'opt out' of automatic porn filters, which would come as standard with internet broadband and cover all devices in a house. Possession of the most extreme forms of adult pornography will become an offence, while online content will have the same restrictions as DVDs sold in sex shops.

While some, such as the Daily Mail's Melanie Phillips have applauded Cameron for acting decisively 'against a presumed liberal consensus and in defense of orderly family values,' others have expressed concerns that Cameron's plan amounts to a war on sex.

Peter Acworth, founder of the UK site kink.com, posted an open letter to Cameron criticizing his actions as "inherently short sighted, unhealthy, and indeed likely to have the opposite of the intended effect."

'You draw the conclusion that consumption of pornography by a handful of sexual offenders actually caused the offense. Let me clue you in. Consumption of pornography is widespread beyond your wildest imagination - the vast majority of it, healthily consumed. You are using a moral compass to make sweeping policy decisions without any real evidence or analysis of the consequences.

...

Further, if your assessment was correct, it would follow that countries such as Denmark, who prides herself on an absence of censorship of any kind, would have a sexual abuse problem. Far from it. Rape numbers in Norway are one quarter of those in the USA or UK.

Indeed for a country where politicians of all stripes joined together in the legalization of same-sex marriage this year, this new move seems an uncharacteristic limitation of civil liberties. More puzzling still is the question of what will be classified as illegal 'extreme forms of adult pornography,' a notion that Acworth touches on in his letter

Meanwhile, the logistical concerns of separating pornographic material from educational or scientific information on sex has not been lost on Cameron's mind. Admitting that there would be 'problems down the line' with his proposed system, Cameron seemed unclear of exactly which legal sites or content would be banned by the new filters. From The Independent:

Speaking on the BBC's Jeremy Vine programme, Mr. Cameron said what would be included in the filters would evolve over time. "The companies themselves are going to design what is automatically blocked, but the assumption is they will start with blocking pornographic sites and also perhaps self-harming sites," he said.

"It will depend on how the companies choose how to do it. It doesn't mean, for instance, it will block access to a newspaper like The Sun, it wouldn't block that - but it would block pornography."

Mr. Cameron said he did not 'believe' written pornography, such as erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, would be blocked under the plans. But he added: 'It will depend on how the filters work.'

He also admitted it could lead to some interesting conversations in families. Asked if the 'opt in' system meant a husband would have to 'fess up' to his partner if he wanted to look at porn, he finally said: 'Yes, it does."

Anti-censorship groups have pounced on Cameron's uncertainty, warning that sites about sexual health and sexuality could inadvertently get caught up in the ban.

Padraig Reidy, of the Index on Censorship, said people should not have to opt out of the filters. "If we have, as the Prime Minister is suggesting, an opt-out filter we have a kind of default censorship in place," he said

"Families should be able to choose if they want to opt in to censorship. If a filter is set up as a default then it can really restrict what people can see legitimately. Sites about sexual health, about sexuality and so on, will get caught up in the same filters as pornography. It will really restrict people's experience on the web, including children's."

At the very least, Cameron needs to ensure that LGBT individuals in the country, and especially LGBT youth, have access to internet resources on sexual health and sexuality. To do so otherwise would be an injustice to a community that has considered him a strong ally as of late. 


PM David Cameron Applauds Passage of Marriage Equality Law, Says More Work to Be Done

Prime Minister David Cameron has penned a piece in the Evening Standard praising passage of Britain's marriage equality law but warning that there are other LGBT subjects to tackle.

CameronWrites Cameron, in part:

I have backed this reform because I believe in commitment, responsibility and family. I don’t want to see people’s love divided by law.  Making marriage available to everyone says so much about the society that we are and the society that we want to live in — one which respects individuals regardless of their sexuality. If a group is told again and again that they are less valuable, over time they may start to believe it. In addition to the personal damage that this can cause, it inhibits the potential of a nation. For this reason too, I am pleased that we have had the courage to change...

...The UK is rated as the best place in Europe for LGBT equality — but we cannot be complacent. There are subjects we must continue to tackle: not least taking a zero-tolerance approach to homophobic bullying, and caring for elderly members of the LGBT community. Rest assured, this Government will work tirelessly to make sure this happens.


UK Marriage Equality Bill Saved After Anti-Gay Lawmaker's Attempt to Defeat It

The UK's marriage equality bill, under threat yesterday, was saved by a deal with the Labour party, the Guardian reports:

MillibandThe government's gay marriage bill was saved after David Cameron was forced to rely on Ed Miliband (pictured) to defeat an attempt by his own MPs to derail the measure by trying to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.

An 11th-hour plea to the Labour leadership by the Tory chief whip Sir George Young, who warned that the government was in danger of losing the vote, prompted a change of heart by Miliband, who had been planning to abstain on the amendment.

The Labour move meant that the amendment, tabled by the anti-gay marriage Tory and former children's minister Tim Loughton, was defeated by 375 to 70 votes, a majority of 305.

The decision by the Labour leadership, which has gone from supporting the amendment on civil partnerships to rejecting it within the space of 24 hours, means that the marriage (same-sex couples) bill will now experience a safer journey through parliament.

More here...


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