Northern Ireland Hub




Belfast Judge Rules Gay And Unmarried Couples Can Adopt

Screen Shot 2012-10-18 at 12.27.28 PMThe good news just keeps coming. A judge in Northern Ireland today overturned a 1987 law prohibiting gay and unmarried couples from adopting, the Washington Post reports.

Unmarried and same-sex couples in Northern Ireland should be allowed to adopt children, a Belfast judge ruled Thursday, overturning a 1987 adoption law that discriminated against both groups.

Gay rights activists praised the ruling in favor of a lawsuit pursued by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. But Health Minister Edwin Poots, an evangelical Protestant opposed to gay partnerships, said the government would appeal.

Belfast High Court Justice Seamus Treacy ruled that the law clearly violated European human rights laws on privacy and discrimination.

As for conservative plans to appeal the decision, gay rights group the Rainbow Project said opponents are "wasting public money on a fool’s errand.”


Catholic Priest Accidentally Screens Gay Pornographic Images at School's Holy Communion Presentation

A Catholic priest "shocked" parents and one child at a presentation at St Mary’s School in Northern Ireland after indecent images of men appeared on screen at the beginning of his  presentation, the Belfast Telegraph reports:

McveighFather Martin McVeigh was about to host an advisory Powerpoint presentation for parents on the subject of their children’s imminent Holy Communion event last week but instead displayed shocking gay porn scenes.

It is believed among the 26 parents present, there was also an eight-year-old child at the meeting which came to a halt after the shocking images were shown. School Principal, Sean Devlin is said to have contacted the Armagh Archdiocese to inform them of the unpleasant event while the PSNI are investigating the incident but say on the basis of the evidence available, no crime had been committed.

The BBC adds:

"He was visibly shaken and flustered," said the parents. "He gave no explanation or apology to the group and bolted out of the room. The co-ordinator and the teachers then continued with the presentation. The meeting continued in his absence, however, the parents who viewed the pictures were horrified and distracted. Twenty minutes later he returned, he continued with the meeting and wrapped up by saying that the children get lots of money for their Holy Communion and should consider giving some of it to the church."


UK Government Survey: 1.5 Percent of Population is Gay

A new survey from the UK's Office for National Statistics, the largest pool for social data after the Census, reveals that 1.5% percent of the UK's population is gay, a number much smaller than previously estimated, the Guardian reports:

Uk "The findings, based on interviews with more than 450,000 people – ...show that an estimated 481,000 people regard themselves as gay and a further 245,000 – mainly women – say they are bisexual. The estimate puts Britain's gay community at 1.5% of the total population – much lower than the most commonly used estimate of 5% to 7%, which was cited by ministers introducing civil partnership legislation and implied a non-heterosexual population of 3.5 million. The ONS said the higher estimate was based on different sampling methods and responses to questions about sexual attraction and behaviour both in the past and present. The latest detailed figures show that gay people are much more likely to be in managerial or professional occupations – 49% compared with 30% for straight workers - and better educated, with 38% holding a degree. Their age profile is also much younger than the rest of the population, with 66% under the age of 44 and 17% aged 16 to 24. Just over 45% of the gay community are cohabiting, although only 8% live in a household with at least one child present. A third of bisexual households include at least one child. London is home to the highest concentration of gay people at 2.2% of the population, while this proportion falls to 0.9% in Northern Ireland."

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay rights group Stonewall, said the data collection process may have rendered certain inaccuracies:

"We warmly welcome these figures as Stonewall’s pushed for this information for some time. However this is the first time that people were asked and data collection happened on doorsteps or over the phone, which may deter people from giving accurate responses – particularly if someone isn’t openly-gay at home. Stonewall now works with 600 major employers and their experience is that these statistics increase when you regularly ask about sexual orientation as part of general monitoring information. We’d expect to see these figures increase over time as people’s confidence in the survey grows and sexual orientation becomes a routine part of data collection."


Derry, Northern Ireland Holds First Gay Pride Parade

Derry

Northern Ireland's northwest region held its first Gay Pride festival and parade over the weekend, in Derry.

The Derry Journal reports:

"With reports of up to 5,000 people attending the parade, [David McCartney from the Rainbow Project] added: 'I'm no good at judging how many people were there, but the Guildhall Square was packed with people. The reception as the parade came up Ferryquay Street and turned into Shipquay Street towards the Guildhall Square was just phenomenal. We couldn't believe it.  What they have done is extraordinary. I myself winced at the idea of ever having a Pride march in Derry, but this wasn't just a march - it was genuinely a parade. The members of the LGBT community were all understandably nervous in advance, worried that the parade might receive little support, but they needn't have been nervous. So many people came out to support us - cheering everyone on, waving flags, applauding - it was just fantastic.'"

Slideshow here.

Said McCartney of the small number of protesters: "I have to say, apart from the 20 or so miserable people hanging around Duke Street, looking thoroughly unhappy, the day was filled with smiles and colours and happiness, with no negativity from anyone. Some people just can't bear the thought of people enjoying themselves."


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RoadHouston Mayor Annise Parker praises Shanghai for openness to gay community: "Shanghainese and Houstonians are similar. They care about what you do, not who you are. To boost development, a city needs to be open to a full range of people, especially the innovative ones who break barriers, like people of the gay community."

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Road15,000 take to the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland for Gay Pride: "Police maintained a presence at North Street and City Hall near two small groups of religious protesters who were met with boos by some parade-goers. Founder member of Belfast Pride, PA MagLochlainn, said one of the main aims of the parade was to help 'excluded youngsters'. 'We are bigger, happier and more inclusive than ever. People are here to have fun with more straight people, families and kids joining us than before,' he said."

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RoadLGBT Age to help gay seniors in Scotland: "LGBT Age will tackle social exclusion and isolation through social, befriending, information and advocacy services, as part of the LGBT Centre for Health and Well-being. Garry McGregor, LGBT age coordinator, said support for the scheme was 'testament' to the need for an age-linked programme."

RoadJohn Boehner doesn't need your stinking facts.

YellowlobsterRoadUltra-rare yellow lobster caught in RI will be spared: "The lobster's color is seen in only around 1 in 30 million, experts say...Ingram says he plans to keep the yellow lobster on display at the fishermen's co-op at the State Pier in Newport."

RoadJersey Tiger Moth on the move.

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RoadIrish Times: Civil partnership bill is institutionalized apartheid.

RoadLesbian attacks gay man in UK pub: "Rachael Lavis, 38, went into Bristol's Long Bar in March shouting 'gay boys everywhere' before punching victim Jason Barrett in the face. According to the Bristol Evening Post, she then declared: 'I may be a lesbian, but I could take all of you on'. Lavis also swore and racially abused a man of Arabic background, saying: 'I hate you.'"


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RoadGay men attacked in Londonderry, Northern Ireland: "They suffered cuts and bruising to their faces. Police are treating it as a homophobic attack. One of the men, who did not want to be identified, said it had affected both of them badly. 'I'm terrified of going to bed, I'm terrified walking down the street,' he said. 'I've got to walk my fella to his work because he's terrified. It's just absolutely soul destroying and it's not on.' Police said initial enquiries had suggested it was a homophobic attack."

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RoadMinnesota's Twin Cities Pride will continue to fight against "ignored" evangelical Brian Johnson.

RoadReed Cowan, the director of 8: The Mormon Proposition, wants to kill gay pride until we have full equality: "I would like to propose to the entire worldwide gay community that they cancel gay pride events until we have marriage equality. All those thousands of people who go to gay pride, those are bodies that could put on a shirt and go into the neighborhood and tell their story. We should wait until we have equality to have our party. In the meantime we volunteer the same passion and air miles and participation and really channel that same participation into our fight for equality."

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RoadChicago LGBT activist Marc Loveless arrested for battery: "On the afternoon of June 25, Hickman stated he served Loveless with a document removing him as executive director of Coalition for Justice & Respect (CJR). The document was signed by Hickman and fellow CJR board member Billy Davis. Shortly thereafter, Hickman alleged, Loveless proceeded to grab and push him in order to remove him from the organization's office. At the time, Hickman said, more than 30 people who were in the office witnessed the altercation."

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RoadOklahoma City gay rights group's banners targeted by "repent" flyers: "local gay rights group is upset about some flyers that were posted next to their street banners. The Cimarron Alliance, which promotes gay and lesbian issues, says someone taped signs with the word "repent" directly under their banners. The typed up signs were placed along street posts near Classen and 38th street. The Alliance plans on contacting Oklahoma City Hall officials this morning about having them taken down."


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