Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said March 29 that the government 'will seek to grant certain guarantees to stable homosexual unions but without ever arriving at the point of marriage.'
Photo courtesy of Presidencia de la República del Ecuador
'Let's be clear that the profoundly humanistic position of this government is to respect the intrinsic dignity of everyone, of every human being, independently of their creed, race, sexual preference,' Correa said. 'We will give certain guarantees to stable gay couples but matrimony will continue being reserved for a man, a woman and the family.'
Correa also said: 'Every person has dignity, that's to say, one must respect a person independently of their sexual preference. Be careful not to deny employment to someone because of their sexual preference. That is discrimination, that is unconstitutional.'
Ukrainian gay paper
The heads of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association wrote Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and other officials March 20 demanding that the public prosecutor in Kiev drop criminal charges against the newspaper published by the gay community center Nash Mir.
The center is charged with distribution of pornography in violation of Article 301 of the Criminal Code.
'The government should ensure that notions such as public morality are not employed to restrict in a discriminatory manner, any exercise of freedom of opinion and expression that affirms diverse sexual orientations or gender identities,' said IGLHRC's Paula Ettelbrick and ILGA's Patricia Prendiville.
They said the case also violates the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which Ukraine is a signatory.
Men arrested for
The arrest of more than 30 men attending a house party in Esfahán, Iran, signals renewed efforts by Iranian authorities to enforce morality codes, Human Rights Watch said March 28.
Sources said the raid took place Feb. 28-29 and that the men have been jailed since without access to lawyers and without being charged with a crime.
Police reportedly referred the men to a medical examiner to look for 'evidence' they had engaged in gay sex.
Iranian law provides punishments up to death for penetrative sex between men. The last documented death sentences for consensual homosexual conduct were handed down in March 2005. It is not known whether they were carried out.
Iran is known to have executed several teens and men accused of engaging in sodomy, but in the cases that have been publicized in recent years the individuals were accused of other crimes as well, such as rape.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has said it suspects that other charges are tacked onto sodomy cases to prevent the public outrage that would accompany executions carried out solely for the crime of consensual adult gay sex. The group also has said it believes executions solely for gay sex are taking place out of the public eye.
But Human Rights Watch has said it cannot fully document any executions in Iran in recent years carried out solely for the crime of consensual adult gay sex, and that there is no evidence that charges of consensual homosexual conduct are converted to charges of rape in the judicial system.
gay foster parents
In a first for Denmark, the city of Copenhagen has approved two gay couples as acceptable foster parents, the Copenhagen Post reported March 31.
The couples were placed on a list to offer homes to children removed from their own homes by government officials.
'We can't guarantee that the two couples will be used as often as other couples,' said Klaus Wilmann of the city's Center for Foster Care. 'But we feel that a family consisting of two men or two women can have the same beneficial qualities as any other.'
Famously liberal Denmark, which in 1989 became the first country to pass a same-sex registered-partnership law, has nonetheless remained squeamish on issues involving gays and children.
A spokesman for the official Danish Council of Ethics denounced Copenhagen's move as 'supporting something abnormal.'
'Boys and girls benefit by being raised by a man and a woman,' Morten Kvist said.
—Assistance: Bill Kelley, Andrés Duque