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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."


Thousands March For Marriage Equality In Dublin, Urge Ireland To Replace 'Tolerance' With 'Citizenship' - VIDEO

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An estimated 8,000 people took part in the fifth annual March for Marriage in Dublin, Ireland, last Saturday, reports The Irish Times.

Some dressed in sashes and tiaras after the news that the newly crowned Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh had revealed she is gay.

NoiseThe organisers of the march said that hoped this would be the biggest - and last - gathering for same-sex marriage equality prior to a referendum on the issue to be held early next year.

Comedian and writer Tara Flynn, who last week starred in an LGBT Noise video spoofing the “Armagayddon” that sadly some believe will come about if marriage equality becomes law, introduced speakers at the end of the march.

Watch an Independent report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Warning against complacency among supporters of equal rights, Marriage Equality’s Gráinne Healy asked the crowd to check the electoral register to make sure they and their friends and family are registered to vote.

Representatives from LGBT youth organisation BelongTo, INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group, the Union of Students in Ireland, trans rights organisation TENI, and LGBT Pavee representing the traveller community also spoke.

Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole called for Irish society to replace “tolerance” of LGBT people with “citizenship”. He told the crowd:

"What we’re asking for is a recognition of a change that has already happened... The slogan I would suggest is ‘if you want a Republic, put a ring on it.’”

Continue reading "Thousands March For Marriage Equality In Dublin, Urge Ireland To Replace 'Tolerance' With 'Citizenship' - VIDEO" »


60 Percent Say Irish Baker Who Refused To Make Cake Supporting Gay Marriage Should Not Face Legal Action

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A ComRes poll commissioned by the Christian Institute shows that 60% of respondents think no legal action should be taken against a bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to make a cake for an LGBTI activist group, reports Pink News.

Earlier this month we reported that Ashers Baking Company refused an order for a cake which was to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and wrote to Ashers asking that it remedy the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

However, the Christian Institute poll shows that 60% do not approve of legal action against the bakery.  Additionally, 80% of those polled over the aged of 65 disagree with legal action.

In a similar ongoing case in Colorado, Denver baker Jack Phillips has appealed an order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission requiring him to prepare wedding cakes for same-sex couples. Phillips said that although he has no problem with LGBTI people, he disagrees with same-sex marriage.  He has also stated that he would rather close down his business than make cakes for same-sex weddings.


European Court Of Human Rights Rules Transgender Woman Must Divorce Before Her Gender Is Recognized

European court of human rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that married transgender people living in countries where same-sex marriage is illegal must divorce if they want their true gender to be recognized, reports Gay Star News.

The decision comes after Heli Hämäläinen, a Finnish transgender woman, was told on July 16th that she can only have her gender recognized if she divorces her wife.

The ECHR ruled that there is no obligation on states without same-sex marriage laws to marry two people of the same gender if one of the partners is transgender.

The couple, married for 18 years with one child, say that getting divorced would go against their religious convictions.

Although the ECHR recognized the difficulties of daily situations for transgender people without legal gender recognition, it said that forcing the couple to end their marriage and instead enter into a registered partnership should not be a problem.

Arja Voipio, Transgender Europe’s Co-Chair from Finland, said:

“Our thoughts are today with Heli Hämäläinen and her family. The Court decided that their rights as a family are inferior to a narrow minded opinion about what a family and marriage should look like. The verdict shows that transgender issues at stake are still not properly understood.”


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