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Human Rights Commission Condemns Attack On Gay Bar In New Zealand

Steven Mawhinney gay bar attack New Zealand

The Human Rights Commission has condemned an alleged violent attack on staff and patrons at a gay bar in Wellington, New Zealand on August 22nd, reports TVNZ One News.

Steven Mawhinney, a bar manager at the Ivy Bar, said a group of men came into the venue without realising "what sort of bar it was.”

Mawhinney initially made the men leave but they returned soon after, reportedly throwing cans of alcohol at patrons.

An argument then broke out and when Mr Mawhinney tried to intervene, he was set upon by the group.

Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley said New Zealand's excellent human rights record is worthless if such blatant homophobia is still taking place.

"We value our freedom in New Zealand and that includes being able to live our lives free from fear. Respect for others is a founding principle of human rights - you don't pick and choose who deserves dignity and who doesn't."

According to Stuff.co.nz, police arrested a 23-year-old man on the night of the incident and charged him with two counts of common assault. The man was released on bail and was due to appear in the Wellington District Court last Friday.

Earlier this year, a 30-year-old Minneapolis gay man was beaten unconscious in a brutal attack after leaving a gay bar.


San Diego Man Charged With Willfully Exposing Boyfriend To HIV - VIDEO

Thomas Guerra

The San Diego City Attorney's Office has charged a 29-year-old man with knowingly exposing an ex-boyfriend to HIV, who is now testing positive. Thomas Guerra has also been accused of infecting 24 other men with HIV, reports Gawker.

Guerra's unnamed accuser said that he was messaged by a man on Facebook who told him of Guerra’s HIV positive status.

The accuser also said that he discovered a number of text messages on Guerra's phone allegedly implicating him:

"Texts where he's stating he's negative to people then bragging to others about giving people his 'positive load.’ It's crude, it's...I don't know how someone could treat another individual like that."

Guerra, who is also known as Ashton Chavez, currently faces a maximum of six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, his alleged victim is hopeful that additional text message records could prompt prosecutors to upgrade the case to a felony, punishable with up to eight years in prison.

Watch an ABC 10 News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "San Diego Man Charged With Willfully Exposing Boyfriend To HIV - VIDEO" »


Gay Marriage News Watch: Updates from WI, IN, NV, ID, HI, UT, VA, OK, NC, FL, OR - VIDEO

AFER

AFER's Matt Baume reports on the beating that anti-gay forces took at the Seventh Circuit last week; the upcoming oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit; Utah, Virginia and Oklahoma's petitions to the Supreme Court, the National Organization for Marriage's setback in Oklahoma and more. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch: Updates from WI, IN, NV, ID, HI, UT, VA, OK, NC, FL, OR - VIDEO" »


Joan Rivers on Life Support in NYC Hospital, According to Reports

Joan Rivers continues to fight for her life Sunday morning in a NYC hospital, according to media reports.

1_riversTMZ reports that the comedy icon is not breathing on her own:

According to our sources, the family will have to decide in the next couple of days whether to keep the 81-year-old on life support. We're told the family remains hopeful that if they do decide to turn off the machines, she will make a turn for the better and fight through it.

Rivers was taken to the hospital on Thursday after reportedly after stopping breathing during throat surgery.

Rivers' daughter has said her mother is "resting comfortably" and thanked the public:

Melissa Rivers said in a statement Friday that her mother was "receiving the best treatment and care possible." She also thanked Rivers' fans and friends for their support.

"My mother would be so touched by the tributes and prayers that we have received from around the world," Melissa Rivers said. "Her condition remains serious ... We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts as we pray for her recovery."

The NY Daily News offered a more dire report:

Sources told the Daily News that Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, is “in denial” over her mother’s condition.

“She still thinks everything is going to be OK. She is refusing to admit that a world might exist without her mother in it,” said a source close to the Rivers family.

“Others that are close to Joan are starting to realize that the outcome they want is very unlikely.”

Fellow entertainers have tweeted many messages of support.

Watch an interview (via Just Jared) of Rivers on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1986, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Joan Rivers on Life Support in NYC Hospital, According to Reports" »


Charlie Crist Pens Letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott Asking Him to Stop Defending Gay Marriage Ban

Crist

Charlie Crist has written an open letter to Rick Scott asking the Florida governor to stop defending the state's gay marriage ban in court, writing that "Florida deserves a governor who will stand up for all of the people of this state."

Four years ago, a district court of appeals ruled Florida’s ban on gay and lesbian adoption unconstitutional.
 
When the ruling came down, I believed it was my job as Governor to exercise the authority vested in me by the people and our Constitution. The day the judge ruled, I declared Florida’s adoption ban over. Gay and lesbian parents began adopting the children they loved immediately.
 
It is one of my proudest moments as an elected official.
 
Last Thursday Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle gave you the same chance to speak out for what is right when, in a ruling that would apply statewide, he struck down Florida’s ban on same sex marriage. By declaring the marriage ban finished you could discourage any future appeals and end the nightmare that loving same sex couples all across our state endure every single day, ending court battles that could drag on for months or years.

You can read the full letter HERE

Crist, who as Republican governor supported the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage when it was passed by Florida voters back in 2008, is now running as a pro-equality Democrat in this year's gubernatorial race.

Pam Bondi, the state attorney general working with Scott to defend the ban, has refused repeated calls to stop defending the ban, saying "I am just getting started"


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.


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