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Challenge To Northern Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Launched - VIDEO

Gay marriage ban northern ireland

Gay rights campaigners in Northern Ireland are preparing a challenge to the legitimacy of the province’s ban on same-sex marriage, reports Buzzfeed.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where gay marriage remains illegal. Politicians at the Northern Irish Assembly have rejected motions calling for same-sex marriage on three occasions, most recently in April. This has been due in part to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) invoking a “petition of concern” to effectively veto any vote on the issue. Petitions of concern were designed to ensure no laws were passed exclusively by politicians representing either the nationalist or unionist communities. 

According to Gavin Boyd of activist group the Rainbow Project, preparations are underway for a test case challenging the status of same-sex couples who marry elsewhere in the UK but are not considered to be married when they travel to Northern Ireland.

“The legal challenge as it is planned involves two people who were lawfully married in England returning home to Northern Ireland, where they are no longer considered to be married. We consider that to be unlawful, unjust, and unjustifiable.”

Watch a report on last April's vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, is due to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage early next year.

Continue reading "Challenge To Northern Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Launched - VIDEO" »


Study Finds Global Acceptance Of Homosexuality And Gay Rights Is Rising

A new study conducted by the NORC of the University of Chicago and the Wiliams Institute at the UCLA School of Law shows global acceptance of homosexuality increased over the last two decades in a release posted on the Williams Institute website. The results were released Nov. 7 in Washington D.C. during a meeting regarding LGBT rights, global stigma and economic growth.

WI-LOGO-NEW-330x170Around 90 percent of residents in the countries that were surveyed became more accepting of homosexuality over the span of 20 years. The study reviewed responses to 2000 survey questions asked in hundreds of surveys about general attitudes toward gays and lesbians between 1981 and the present. The Director of International Programs at the Williams Institute, Andrew Park, commented on the study.

Said Park:

"Available research on global public acceptance of lesbians and gay men is limited. This study shows a clear trend toward increasing acceptance across the globe."


Norc-330x80Findings show that women are generally more accepting than men of gays and lesbians, and younger people below the age of 30 are more accepting of homosexuality than those that are 65 and older, and tend to remain supportive as they age.

The highest rate of acceptance is in the Northwestern countries of Europe with an acceptance rate of 91 percent and the lowest rate of acceptance is in the African country of Ghana with a measely 2 percent. Surprisingly, the study listed the U.S., the majority of African and Muslim countries as some of the most accepting countries of homosexuality however, most African countries that were surveyed ranked in the bottom third of all the other countries in the world in regards to their level of acceptance of lesbian and gay people.

With new, even harsher anti-gay laws proposed in Uganda, and transphobic attacks still occurring in the U.S. with limited hate crime law protections, serves as a reminder that attitudes may be changing, but the fight for civil rights and protections is far from over.

The complete report on the study is available on the Williams Institute website.


Northern Ireland Health Minister Blocks LGBT, Womens' Rights Groups On Twitter

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Northern Ireland’s new Health Minister, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member Jim Wells, has taken to blocking critics on Twitter, reports Pink News.

Appointed to the post on Tuesday, Wells replaces Edwin Poots (DUP) who has opposed same-sex marriage and refused to lift the country’s ban on gay men donating blood. Blocked from twitter by Jim Wells

Wells has previously said that he finds Pride “repugnant” and has refused to take part in gay rights debates.

In 2011, he told Belfast Pride:

“I find the behaviour of those who take part in this march repugnant. I do not wish to be associated in any way with this event. My position on this will not change in the future and I would politely suggest that any further requests of this nature will be a total waste of your time.”

According to Pink News, although their official Twitter account has been blocked, Wells has yet to give them a reason for doing so.

A hashtag #BlockedByWells has sprung up among users targeted by the Minister, including women’s rights activists groups, gay rights advocates and gay Christian group @FaithAndPride.

Yesterday, Wells took to Twitter to praise Edwin Poots' time in office as Health Minister.


Serbian Christian Orthodox Church Denounces Belgrade Pride - VIDEO

Serbia pride

Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox church, yesterday denounced a Gay Pride march planned for this weekend, reports ABC News.

In a statement, Irinej said that the "shameless" event casts a moral shadow on Serbia.

OrthOfficials have suggested they could allow the event to go ahead despite fears of a repeat of the violence in 2010 when right-wing groups attacked a pride march, triggering clashes with police that left more than 100 people injured.

Following the attacks, authorities banned LGBT rights marches for the following three years, citing security reasons.

Holding the march is seen as a test of the country's pledge to respect human rights as it seeks membership in the European Union.

However, Irinej said that the pride organizers "and their mentors from Europe" haven't learned the lesson from the past marches.

Several far-right groups have announced anti-gay marches in Belgrade next Saturday.

On Tuesday, police announced they have filed charges against eight people who had made threats against LGBT people on social media.

Milorad Todorovic, the police officer in charge of cyber crime in Serbia, has vowed to “secure the safety of all citizens” and is hopeful that the Pride event will go ahead. "I hope the pride event will be held on Sunday."

Watch police combating extremist protesters at Serbia's 2010 Gay Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Serbian Christian Orthodox Church Denounces Belgrade Pride - VIDEO" »


EU Leans On Serbia for Gay Rights In Advance of Pride March: VIDEO

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Following the brutal attack on a German gay rights activist in Belgrade, Europeans have turned their attention to gay rights in Serbia, expressing concerns about the upcoming Belgrade Pride March. Serbians have struggled putting the event together each year since the first ever parade in 2000 due to aggressive anti-gay protesters. In recent years, the parade has been cancelled or banned mutiple times due to concerns of anti-gay violence. In fact, the parade has been cancelled every year since 2010.

There is new hope for Serbians looking for a Pride March. The European Union is presently considering incorporating Serbia, but officials have said that human rights concerns is the primary reason Serbia could be denied. This may create new incentive for the Serbian government to work harder at civil rights problems.

Buzzfeed has a quote from Terry Reintke, a member of the European Parliament from Germany, who was in attendance at the same conference as the man who was beaten. Said Reintke:

This incident is again a strong sign that there is a major problem inside of Serbia with violence, hate crimes, and should be taken as a starting point … to address this much more [forcefully] from the side of the Serbian government.

Bjorn Van Roozendaal, program director for International Lesbian and Gay Association's European division expressed a similar sentiment, saying:

The way that we look at it … based on this incident, it is the time for the Serbian government to indicate that they stand up to violence and protect minorities

Time well tell, but if this year's Pride March is held, it could be a positive turning point. Not just for LGBT Serbians, but also for the nation of Serbia in toto.

ICYMI: footage of the German activist's attack AFTER THE JUMP. Warning: violence.

Continue reading "EU Leans On Serbia for Gay Rights In Advance of Pride March: VIDEO" »


Protests Follow Delay In Greece Civil Partnership Battle

Protests in Greece

Protesters gathered outside parliament buildings in Greece last Friday following the government’s decision to delay legislating civil unions for same-sex couples, reports The Huffington Post.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6dc84a9970b-320wiThe delay comes despite a European court ruling that Greece has been discriminating against LGBT people.

Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said civil partnerships had been left out of anti-racism legislation because further study was needed on how the partnerships would affect tax, social insurance and family law.

Last year, the Council of Europe's Court of Human Rights ordered Greece to pay damages to four gay couples who had taken a discrimination case against the country.

Another 162 gay couples from Greece filed a similar complaint in the international court earlier this year to pressure the government to change the law.

However, same-sex marriage remains a divisive issue in Greece, where several prominent members of the Greek Orthodox Church and members of the ruling conservative party have argued that civil partnerships for same-sex couples would undermine the institution of family.

Tom Koukoulis, one of the plaintiffs who attended the demonstration said that the legal battle is “about the right to ... visit a relative in hospital, to file a joint tax declaration, and all the rest. We do think it is going to happen because we are on the right side of history."


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