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Estonia Becomes First Ex-Soviet Nation to Recognize Gay Partnerships

Estonia lawmakers have voted 40-38 to approve a partnership act that recognizes the civil unions of same-sex couples, the Associated Press reports:

EstoniaThe new law will gives those in civil unions — heterosexual or gay — almost the same rights as married couples, including financial, social and health benefits provided by the government and legal protection for children. It does not give adoption rights for couples in such unions but does allow one partner to adopt the biological child of the other.

It comes into force in January 2016, after it has been signed by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves who supported the bill.

The Estonian Human Rights Center hailed the vote as "historic," saying it would send a strong message to neighboring Russia, which passed what it called "a draconian anti-gay law" last year.

"Estonia (has) made a leap toward a society that is freer, more equal and values human rights for all," the group's director, Kari Kasper, said.


News: Hillary Clinton, Estonia Pride, Gael Garcia Bernal, Mike Jones

road.jpg Jim David on The Gay Squirm Factor: "It's enough to make you want to move to Scandinavia, where nobody cares about the gays. If it just wasn't so freaking cold."

Bernalroad.jpg Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna host human rights benefit in Mexico City: "The $300-a-plate meal in the capital will benefit Mexico's Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights as well as Witness, an organization founded by singer Peter Gabriel that promotes the use of video and film to document human rights abuses."

road.jpg Former Andy Warhol sidekick Bob Colacello to W magazine: "I'm presumably gay. I believe in going out, not coming out. It takes more courage to be openly Republican than to be openly gay in New York today. I'm a bit of a contrarian."

road.jpg Putting it all online? Recent developments in "cloud storage" solutions from Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

road.jpg Tropical Depression 4 forms in Atlantic. Will become "Dean" if named...

Martinroad.jpg Ricky Martin shows off his skills.

road.jpg Gay Pride march in Estonia takes place peacefully: "An estimated 300 people gathered in the historic part of the city to celebrate their sexuality, protected by private security officers and an increased police presence. Despite fears of a repeat of last year's violence, when Estonian skinheads injured several marchers by hurling missiles, the event passed off without any significant incident. About halfway down the route, anti-gay demonstrators formed an alternative procession. About a dozen mostly Russian-speaking men, women and children chanted 'no pride' at the marchers."

road.jpg Ted Haggard escort Mike Jones in new play about soldiers who "go AWOL after being exposed to friendly-fire nerve gas in an all-base orgy."

road.jpg British military puts gag order on soldiers' blogs: "Members of the Armed Forces and MOD Civil Servants must seek prior permission from [MoD media authorities] if they wish to communicate about defence via books, articles or academic papers; self-publish via a blog, podcast or other shared text, audio or video; take part in external questionnaires, polls, surveys or research projects, speak at conferences, private engagements or other events where the public or media may be present; or contribute to any online community or share information such as a bulletin board, wiki, online social network, or multi-player game..."

Brithookuproad.jpg Britney Spears' hot tub hook-up talks to Access Hollywood.

road.jpg Inside the Hillary Clinton fundraiser at The Abbey in West Hollywood: "...we hear people starting cheering loudly in the VIP room and camera flashes seep through the curtain separating us common folk. She's coming! The crowd begins to chant "Hillary! Hillary!" and it really starts to feel like a rock concert. Then at about 9:00 we see it, her bright red jacket slips through the maroon curtain and the crowd is in a frenzy! 'We Love You Hillary!' and 'You're Fabulous!' seem to be the shouts of choice."

road.jpg Artist constructs Stephen Colbert portrait out of 768 mini Rubik's Cubes.


News: Cornwall Great White Shark, Gordon Brown, Cher, Estonia

road.jpg Veanka McKenzie, a worker at New York state's Human Rights Division, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the division discriminates against women and blacks in its dress code, offering preferential treatment to gay white men, some of whom are inclined to wear cowboy hats: "Lawyers for McKenzie, 40, argued that the inconsistent policy was a reaction to negative publicity about alleged ageism and race discrimination against whites when Commissioner Kumiki Gibson, who is black, fired two older Caucasian women. Tom Shanahan, a spokesman for the Human Rights Division, said, 'We categorically deny the allegations and we look forward to vigorously defending against them.'"

Becksmotoroad.jpg Becks' pecs: Motorola uses the subtle approach to marketing their new phone.

road.jpg Does Bush have a new poodle in UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown? "Gordon Brown last night praised George Bush for leading the global war on terror -- saying the world owed America a huge debt. The Prime Minister vowed to take Winston Churchill's lead and make Britain's ties with America even stronger. Mr Brown stunned critics by THANKING President Bush for the fight against Islamic extremism, and insisted the UK-US relationship will be his No1 foreign policy priority."

road.jpg Mark Carter, a polieman in Great Britain who was crowned Mr. Gay UK last October, has lent his support to a hate crime reporting center. Carter: "It is very important that the public can have a facility to report hate incidents other than at police stations. If minority groups are unlikely to report incidents, then the police cannot do their job correctly."

Greatwhiteroad.jpg Debate over Great White Shark spotted off the coast of Cornwall, UK continues: Some experts are skeptical while others insist it's possible: I would not rule out the possibility of this being a Great White — the tail is identical. There are other sharks off the coast of Britain that have similar features. But I would be amazed if there are not Great Whites in the sea off Cornwall. There is a plentiful supply of food and I cannot see why they could not thrive in the conditions."

road.jpg Al Gore's son enters guilty plea in Prius drug charge: "In case you're not familiar with this case, young Mr. Gore was pulled over for going 100 mph in his Toyota Prius over the July 4th holiday weekend, and subsequently charged with possession of various drugs found in his vehicle."

road.jpg Cher at work on new album with "very very difficult songs."

road.jpg Estonian capital of Tallinn receive authorization for gay parade: " Police suggested in mid-July that organizers reroute the march away from the city center, saying six participants in the 500-strong Tallinn Pride parade were seriously injured when attacked by Estonian nationalists last year. Several organizations representing sexual minorities in the ex-Soviet Baltic state of 1.4 million approached the president, prime minister and other senior government and city officials for assistance after the police refusal. The issue was resolved when organizers agreed to hire security guards to ensure the marchers' safety in line with police recommendations."


London Mayor Condemns Violence Against Gays

LivingstoneLondon Mayor Ken Livingstone has condemned Estonian leaders for failing to protect gays and lesbians during the recent violence that occurred at a Gay Pride parade there earlier this month:

Estonia"The failure of the police and political authorities in Tallinn to protect lesbian and gay citizens from violence during this year's peaceful Gay Pride parade is inexcusable. Having permitted the parade, and being aware of the potential for violence, Tallinn City Council and the city's police should have taken all reasonable steps to robustly defend the fundamental human rights of those taking part. I also deplore the violence at Gay Pride events this year in Latvia, Poland, Russia, Moldova and Romania and the encouragement given to right wing extremists by religious and political leaders. I strongly endorse the European Parliament resolution of 18 January 2006 that lesbian and gay people should be protected from homophobic hate speech and violence and treated with 'respect, dignity and protection.'"

Although we're of course not part of the EU, it's a shame that American officials rarely make this kind of gesture, or exhibit an awareness of hate and prejudice occurring places other than their own backyards. Or sometimes even in their own backyards for that matter.

Mayor of London hits out at Gay Pride violence [24dash]


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