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Russia Ends U.S. Student Exchange Program, Blames Elderly Michigan Gay Couple

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov

Russia has canceled a foreign exchange program with the U.S., alleging that a gay couple persuaded a man to stay with them and apply for asylum, reports The Guardian.

FlexSince 1992, the state department-financed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) has brought 23,000 students aged 15 to 17 from Russia and former Soviet countries to study in U.S. schools and live with local families for one academic year.

Human rights organisations have accused the Russian government of promoting discrimination following the introduction of a "gay propaganda" law last year.

Announcing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured above] said the couple became the legal guardians of the Russian student, after the student left his host family and stayed in the U.S. when the school year ended in May.

According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, the student met the couple - elderly veterans who had previously adopted two American boys - in church and the men offered to become his immigration sponsors and pay for him to study at Harvard University.

Astakhov explained on Twitter that the cancellation came about because of a “gross violation by the host country, the United States, of the obligation to unconditionally return students from Russia who travel there to study.”

In an interview with the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he added that the student moved in with the two men in Michigan, “and they gradually developed – how can I say this carefully – close friendly relations.”

Anton Meshkov, a former FLEX student, said the fact that 15 young people are thought to have stayed in the U.S. after the program ended was not a “serious reason to take away the chance to travel from hundreds of kids”.

“It’s absurd to suppose that the program could facilitate the seduction of young Russians. As a participant in this program myself, I know what a serious selection process host families go through.”

Last year, Astakhov vowed he would do everything possible to ensure that Russian orphans were only adopted by heterosexual couples. 


French Court Simplifies Assisted Reproduction for Lesbian Moms

6a00d8341c730253ef019b00262017970b-800wiThe AP reports: France's highest court has ruled that same-sex parents can adopt children born in other countries by assisted reproduction.

France has a law that limits assisted reproduction to heterosexual couples who have been together for two years. This has driven many gay couples to go abroad for assisted reproduction. 

Until now, in such cases only a child's birth mother would be legally acknowledged as a legal parent, but now the other partner will be able to adopt.

Last year, France legalized gay adoption and gay marriage, but kinks such as this one are still being ironed out for same-sex French parents.


Hundreds Rally at Utah Capitol Against Adoption and Marriage Rights for Gay Couples: VIDEO

Rally

A group of several hundred anti-gay protesters showed up at the Utah State Capitol on Thursday to voice their opposition to both gay marriage and gay adoption, The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

SummerhaysSupporters of man-woman marriage holding signs declaring "biology is not bigotry" and "two moms don’t equal a dad" cheered long and loud as conservative activist Mary Summerhays [pictured] projected on a screen images of same-sex couples and their children.

"This child has a mother," she said, as an image of Matthew Baraza and Tony Milner filled the screen. In it, the two men were holding their son Jesse. "These are the faces of the children who will pay the price of redefining marriage." [...]

Summerhays, who leads the organizing group of Thursday’s rally, Utah Celebration of Marriage, said these children were among the chief reasons several hundred people gathered under the painted dome of the Utah State Capitol: to demonstrate to local and national officials, to media and onlookers that there is still support in Utah for so-called "traditional" families, made up of one mother and one father.

Gay rights supporters also showed up to voice their own opinions on the matter. 

Watch a FOX 13 report on the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

Next week, the Supreme Court will consider seven petitions from five states - Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin - on whether those states' gay marriage bans are unconstitutional. 

Continue reading "Hundreds Rally at Utah Capitol Against Adoption and Marriage Rights for Gay Couples: VIDEO" »


Brazil Presidential Candidate Reverses Support For Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

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Marina Silva, who is expected to oust Dilma Rousseff as President of Brazil in an October election, has backtracked on an earlier promise to support same-sex marriage, reports Yahoo! News.

In May, Brazil authorized notaries to begin approving same-sex marriages nationwide.

Silva is an ecologist and evangelical Christian who holds conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage.  Last Friday, her campaign team published a manifesto that included a direct pledge to “back proposals defending civil marriage.” However, the following day her team sent out a “clarification” removing the word “marriage” and asserting that she will “defend rights relating to civil unions between same-sex couples.”

Blaming an “editorial error,” Silva said the text published was not the text which had been discussed.

According to Telesur, the new version of the text also substitutes the objective of “eliminating obstacles to child adoption for homo-affective couples" with demanding “equal treatment to couples who adopt.”

However, Silva reiterated that she remains “committed to the defense of the lay state, defence of personal freedom and the respect of religious freedom. The lay state is there to defend the interests of all, the interests of those who believe or do not, independent of their social standing or sexual orientation."

Although Rousseff called Silva's government manifesto “adventurous, obscurantist, and backward,” the incumbent previously backtracked on a plan to distribute anti-homophobia kits to schools.

Watch an interview with Silva, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

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Legal Victories For Gay Parents Across The Globe: Roundup

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Last week, gay parents in three different nations celebrated several significant wins within the court systems of their respective countries. The courts granted fundamental custodial rights to gay families in Colombia, Italy and Switzerland.

On Thursday, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that Veronica Botero could legally adopt the biological child of her lesbian partner, Ana Leiderman. Five years ago, Leiderman underwent artificial insemination to have the child, whom her partner helped raise since birth. The AFP news agency reports:

With six votes for and three abstentions, the court ruled that Leiderman, who underwent artificial insemination to conceive her daughter and raised her together with Botero, had the right to request an adoption by her partner regardless of sex.

"The court considered that the discriminatory criterion the administrative authority had used to deny the adoption procedure... was unacceptable in this case, which involves a consensual adoption in which the biological father or mother consents to an adoption by his or her permanent partner," said chief justice Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva.

This ruling, however, does not allow adoption by gay couples in cases wherein neither is the biological parent of the child.

Meanwhile in Italy, a court in that country also ruled that a woman could adopt the biological child of her partner. The online news site The Local reports:

In this case, the non-biological parent was allowed to adopt the child due to a clause in Article 44 of Italy’s adoption law of 1983, which prioritises “the best interest of the child in order to maintain the emotional relationship and cohabi-tation with the ‘social’ parent,” Pili added, such as the person who has raised the child other than the biological parent.

“This particular article of adoption law does not discriminate between heterosexual and homosexual parents,” she said

The court ruling was described as an “historic step for our country” by the gay rights group, Mario Mieli Society for Gay Culture.

In Switzerland, a court in the northern part of that country has ruled that a gay couple are legally the parents of a child born to the men via surrogate in California. 

The American birth certificate was based on a California court decision by which the surrogate mother and her husband abandoned their parental responsibilities for the newborn. The Saint Gallen cantonal department responsible for births and marriages supported the two men but the Swiss federal justice department appealed the canton’s decision, which brought the case to court.

The court ruling dated August 19th partially recognized one concern of the justice department by requiring the genetic parentage of the child to be registered as part of the birth certificate. However, in its decision the court clearly recognizes the two men as fathers. “The administrative court recognized the judgment from the United States,” Karin Hochl, the lawyer for the gay couple told SDA.

This ruling can be appealed and then brought to the Swiss Supreme Court. No word yet if there are plans to do so.


Robert Oscar Lopez: Same-Sex Marriage Is 'A Tidal Wave' Sweeping Up Children - VIDEO

Robert Oscar Lopez

In a July speech to the Stanford Anscombe Society, anti-gay activist and "ex-gay" Robert Oscar Lopez said that he cannot support same-sex marriage because it has become a “tidal wave” that has “swept up children,” reports Right Wing Watch.

The Stanford Anscombe Society aims “to help university students and young adults to promote the values of marriage, family, and sexual integrity to the broader popular culture” and “defines marriage as a union, until death, between one man and one woman.”

Lopez said that although he once supported same-sex marriage, many people “have chosen to yoke gay marriage and gay parenting together” which forced him into the opposing camp “because it ultimately means that in order to protect the sexual relationship between two adults, you have to shatter the relationship between a child and either his father or his mother.”

Lopez also attacked what he called “a very powerful gay lobby that has a lot of money” which works to “erase” the realities of life for LGBT people, including high rates of domestic violence in same-sex relationships,”rampant problems with depression, anxiety, eating disorders” and “the fact that HIV infection rate recently went up among boys 13 to 19.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Robert Oscar Lopez: Same-Sex Marriage Is 'A Tidal Wave' Sweeping Up Children - VIDEO" »


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