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Wednesday Speed Read: Ohio, India, Cleveland Gay Games, Scott Hines, Louisiana

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

T_blackOHIO STAY NEWS TODAY:

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black is expected to announce today whether he will grant a stay of his April 14 ruling that Ohio’s ban on same-sex couples marrying is unconstitutional. Briefs from both sides of the Henry v. Wymyslo lawsuit were due Tuesday afternoon.

OHIO BALLOT MEASURE CLEARS HURDLE:

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Monday that he has certified as “fair and truthful” a summary of a proposed ballot measure seeking to treat same-sex marriages the same as heterosexual marriages in the state. The certification is just one of several hurdles FreedomOhio, a pro-gay group, must clear to  put a question on the ballot in November. The proposed language states that marriage “shall be a union of two consenting adults not nearer in kin than second cousins…and no religious house of worship or the religious house of worship’s clergy shall be required to perform a marriage. All legally valid marriages shall be treated equally under the law.”

INDIA RECOGNIZES ‘THIRD GENDER’:

IndiaThe Supreme Court of India ruled Tuesday, “It is the right of every human being to choose their gender” and that people of a “third gender” should be given the rights of citizens. The decision in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India was written and approved by two different justices than the ones who, in December, upheld the country’s laws against same-sex sexual relations. But this latest opinion concluded, “We, therefore, conclude that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity includes any discrimination, exclusion, restriction or preference, which has the effect of nullifying or transposing equality by the law or the equal protection of laws guaranteed under our Constitution, and hence we are inclined to give various directions to safeguard the constitutional rights of the members of the [transgender] community.”

MUSLIM CABBIES BALK AT ADS:

GaygamesSome taxi drivers in Cleveland are asking that they not be assigned to drive airport cabs that are displaying roof-top advertisements for this summer’s Gay Games. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Tuesday that “some” drivers that work with taxi fleets at the airport object to the ads, saying they violate their Muslim religious beliefs. The cab companies are working with the airport and cab stand operator to replace the drivers in that fleet.

INCUMBENT LOSS IN CALIFORNIA:

MailerRancho Mirage City Council incumbent Scott Hines lost his bid for re-election April 8. Hines won only 17 percent of the nearly 12,000 votes cast. An openly gay candidate serving his first term on the council, Hines was the target of a hostile mailer during the campaign. Someone distributed to voters a postcard with a photo of Hines, the word “Fags,” and a message to “Send Hines Packing Back to Palm Springs, where he belongs.” But the Desert Sun newspaper suggested other factors in Hines’ loss may have been his youth (“in a city where retirees predominate”) and “questions about conflicts of interest.”

LOUISIANA CLINGS TO PAST:

The Louisiana House rejected a bill Tuesday that sought to remove from the state code a law prohibiting sexual relations between people of the same sex. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state sodomy laws in 2003, with its ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. Louisiana can’t enforce its sodomy ban against consensual adults in private, but the House voted 27 to 67 to keep the on the “books.” According to the Times-Picayune, a group called the Louisiana Family Forum sent a letter to legislators saying the “anti-sodomy statute is consistent with the values of Louisiana residents who consider this behavior to be dangerous, unhealthy and immoral."

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


India's Supreme Court Recognizes Trans People as Third Gender

India's Supreme Court has recognized transgender people as a third gender in an historic ruling, the BBC reports. Said the court: "Transgenders are also citizens of India" and they must be "provided equal opportunity to grow. The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender."

India"It is the right of every human being to choose their gender," it said in granting rights to those who identify themselves as neither male nor female. It ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities....

The judges asked the government to treat them in line with other minorities officially categorised as "socially and economically backward", to enable them to get quotas in jobs and education.

"We are quite thrilled by the judgement," Anita Shenoy, lawyer for the petitioner National Legal Services Authority (Nalsa), told the BBC. "The court order gives legal sanctity to the third gender. The judges said the government must make sure that they have access to medical care and other facilities like separate wards in hospitals and separate toilets," she said.

Approximately two million people are said to be transgender, or hijira, in India.

Homosexuality is still criminalized in India after a stunning Supreme Court ruling last year. The court earlier this month offered hope that it would reconsider that ruling after a campaign by activists.


Indian Supreme Court to Reconsider Verdict Criminalizing Gay Sex

India's Supreme Court says it will reconsider its verdict criminalizing homosexuality after a campaign by activists, The Hindu reports:

IndiaA bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, before whom the matter was mentioned by senior lawyers appearing for different parties, said that it will go through the documents and consider their plea.

Curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court and it is normally considered by judges in-chamber without granting opportunity to parties to argue the case.

The petitioners, including NGO Naz Foundation which has been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, contended that there was an error in the judgement delivered on December 11 last year as it was based on old law.

 


Homophobia Costs India $31 Billion Annually: VIDEO

Lee Badgett

Homophobia costs India $31 billion annually. Thus is the finding of the World Bank after a preliminary study that attempted to measure the economic cost of excluding sexual minorities.

IndiaIn short, acts of homophobic social exclusion - violence, job loss, discrimination, etc. - lead to individual-level shortcomings in education and earnings, which then translate into economy-level impacts such as higher healthcare and social program costs, and lower economic output.

Depending on which estimate one goes with on the homosexual population of India - a task made difficult by underreporting combined with Indian ideas of sexuality that don't necessarily line up neatly with the Western LGBT quartet - the economic cost of homophobia is between $1.9 billion and $30.8 billion annually, or .01% to 1.7% loss to the GDP. A GDP reduction of that amount would be considered a recession, according to the study's author, University of Massachusetts economist Lee Badgett.

The findings aren't conclusive and the study acknowledges that more research needs to be done. Areas of particular attention going forward will be investing in data on LGBT exclusion, a focus on poverty, research infrastructure, and replicating the study in other countries.

You can see a video of the presentation, which clocks in at a hefty 2 hours, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Homophobia Costs India $31 Billion Annually: VIDEO" »


LGBT Community In India Protests Country's Anti-Gay Law

A historic decision in 2009 legalized gay sex in India for a few short years. Last year's stunning ruling by the Supreme Court of India once again made gay sex illegal in that country. The law, which is part of section 377 of the Indian penal code, was introduced way back in 1861.

The Independent takes a look at how the reinstatement of the law has affected gays in India:

India...many young people had taken the decision to come out in the aftermath of the 2009 decision by the Delhi High Court. Now they found themselves criminalised.

Campaigners believe the decision will put up to 75m Indians at right of harassment. The threat of discrimination and harassment is particularly high in the country’s more conservative smaller towns and villages.

They also believe its significance reaches beyond India. Following the decision, both Uganda and Nigeria signed into law harsh anti-gay legislation and campaigners believe the move was influenced by the decision of the Indian court.

Activists will file a fresh “curative” appeal to the Supreme Court. Yet they are not optimistic of success. “I think we have a good case but we have bad judges,” said Anand Grover of the Delhi-based Lawyers Collective, one of those who has been leading the legal fight.

New Zealand's Channel 3 news reports on one conservative group's monstrous point of view.

"Let them do whatever, but in their homes," says Champak Rai, general secretary of right-wing group Vishwa Hindu Parishad. "But if they do it in public, we will beat them up. After all, alcohol and smoking is banned in public. There are limitations to fundamental rights."

The December ruling has apparently bolstered gay rights activists. From the piece in the The Independent:

Campaigners in India insist they will not deterred. Ms Esteves, who had been present for the historic judgement in 2009, said the day after the supreme court judgment she and others had been filled by new determination.

“[We decided] we would keep raising our voices across the length of India, that we would raise them together and so loud that not even the supreme court would be able to claim that they can’t hear us,” she said.

And in Hyderabad, activists will on Sunday march in the city’s second gay pride event. One of the organisers, Sai Tejo, a 19-year-old sociology student, said he believed people would make a special effort to support the event in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling. “One thing the judgement did was to bring the topic out into the open and put it on the agenda of ordinary people,” he said. “One thing’s for sure, no-one is going back in the closet. It means people will fight it out.”


India's LGBT Defiant at First Gay Pride After Recriminalization of Homosexuality: VIDEO

Mumbai

Gaylaxy has a nice selection of photos from Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM) 2014 on Saturday, the first LGBT Pride march anywhere in India since the Supreme Court recriminalized homosexuality.

2_indiaDNA India reported that the event drew people from around the globe:

“Ideally, the march is about taking pride in what you are. But this year’s upsurge in numbers is a reflection of the community’s anger and hurt over being recriminalised,” said one of India’s gay rights pioneer Ashok Row Kavi.

“If courts think they can brush us off and treat us like sub-humans they need to see how they have ended up giving the movement a shot in the arm instead. This movement will grow and succeed.”

Filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan and Humsafar Trust CEO Vivek Anand echoed this sentiment. “We know we have a long battle ahead. But we will prevail and succeed. In the meantime, we continue to plot our struggle with creative socio-cultural initiatives like films, music, paintings and theatre,” said Rangayan, adding, “This will not only help us as a community but also help dispel wrong notions and stereotypes among those outside.”

SridharThe Times of India reports that a song from the 60's is reemerging in the country as a gay anthem:

In 1966, musician Mina Kava and his band were asked by recording company HMV to compose a song about Bombay. Kava's wife Naju pitched in with the lyrics, and the ditty that emerged was Evening in Gay Maharashtra. Made in an era when 'gay' referred to joy and gaiety, it invited people to visit the state and its "full of life" financial capital...

...Earlier this month, a contemporary adaptation of the song, which replaced certain lyrics with bold, subversive references, made waves online. Shot last year, the video resurfaced following the Supreme Court verdict, which was seen as a denial of human rights by the LGBT community.

Sung by Suman Sridhar, the adaptation moves the song from one extolling the virtues of the state's chapatti and hill stations to one that points to the intolerance towards the gay community.

Watch the video and scenes from Mumbai Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "India's LGBT Defiant at First Gay Pride After Recriminalization of Homosexuality: VIDEO" »


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