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Argentina's Chamber of Deputies banned antigay discrimination Dec. 4, following 19 years of lobbying by the Argentine Homosexual Community ( CHA ) and other organizations. Antidiscrimination Law 23,592 was rewritten to read, 'These, among others, are considered discriminatory: Acts and omissions motivated by reasons of race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, ideology, political or union-related opinion, sex, gender, gender identity or its expression, sexual orientation, age, civil status, family responsibility, work or occupation, physical characteristics, psychological capacity, economic position or social condition.' 'This is a historic step in the recognition of the rights of GLTTB people in the entire nation,' CHA said in a statement.GERMANY OKs MONUMENT Germany's Parliament gave final approval Dec. 15 to a $610,000 monument to commemorate gay victims of the Nazis. The memorial will be erected in Berlin's Tiergarten park. About 50,000 gays were persecuted by the Nazis and approximately 15,000 were sent to concentration camps where most of them died. 'Homosexual victims of the Nazi regime were mostly shut out of Germany's culture of remembrance in the past. That is now over,' said openly gay MP Volker Beck, according to the BBC. The construction of the monument was supported by the Greens and the Social Democrats. It was opposed by the Christian Democrats.PERUVIAN PRIME MINISTER FIRED Peruvian Prime Minister Beatriz Merino was fired by President Alejandro Toledo Dec. 12 amid rumors that she might be a lesbian. Peru's prime minister is appointed, not elected. Toledo also fired four other Cabinet ministers. Merino, who says she is heterosexual, angered Toledo by telling reporters that one of her political enemies, Congressman Luis Solari, was spreading rumors that she was gay.COPS BEAT NEPALESE GAYS Police officers viciously beat two gay men in Kathmandu, Nepal, Dec. 6, the International Lesbian and Gay Association reported. Jag Bahadur Lama, 28, and Mani Lama, 20, were attacked near Ratna Park, first by hoodlums, then by officers from a passing police van. The police reportedly put the couple inside the van and kicked them and bashed them with rifle butts for an hour, then drove them to a barracks, beat them further, and forced them to fellate numerous officers. After about two hours at the barracks, the couple was tied up, blindfolded, put back in a van and dumped in the street near Nepal's largest temple, Pashupatinath, ILGA said. The Nepalese gay group Blue Diamond Society said such attacks are not uncommon and urged activists worldwide to complain to Nepalese diplomats. Additional details are available from the Asian Human Rights Commission at OKs PARTNER IMMIGRATION Brazil's National Council on Immigration ruled Dec. 18 that gays' and lesbians' foreign partners can immigrate to Brazil when the couple has entered into an official same-sex union recognized by a local, regional or national government abroad. 'Latin American countries are advancing towards full equality for same-sex couples much faster than the United States is,' said Leslie Bulbuk, cofounder of the U.S.-based activist group Love Sees No Borders. 'Ironically, none of these countries represents itself as the 'land of the free' with 'liberty and justice for all.'' Bulbuk said Brazil is the 16th nation to extend immigration rights to same-sex couples. The others are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom, she said.JAPANESE CITY BANS DISCRIMINATION The southern Japanese city of Miyakonojo, population 130,000, banned discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people Dec. 19. Following heated debate, the city assembly passed the measure by a vote of 13 to 12. Miyakonojo, located in Miyazaki Prefecture, is about 600 miles ( 960 km ) southwest of Tokyo.CANADIAN GAYS WIN PENSION CASE Canadian gays and lesbians won a nationwide class-action lawsuit Dec. 18 to gain equal access to Canada Pension Plan benefits. When the federal government extended numerous spousal benefits to same-sex couples in 2000, it arbitrarily chose 1998 as the date for retroactive access to pensions. Now, the benefits will be available to gays and lesbians whose partner died anytime after April 17, 1985—the date on which equality guarantees were included in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. According to Toronto's Globe and Mail, the judgment will affect about 1,500 gays and lesbians and result in pension payments of more than $100 million ( US$75 million ) . The federal government could appeal the decision to a higher court.PRIDE GOES FRUITY The theme for Toronto's 2004 gay-pride celebration will be 'Pride: Bursting With Fruit Flavours.' According to the Toronto gay newspaper Xtra!, 'It might be a mouthful but at least it's easy to accessorize with, especially compared to last year's theme, 'Pride 3D: Diverse, Defiant, Divine.'' Pride Toronto co-chair Ayse Turak told Xtra!: ''Bursting' relates movement, velocity and actions symbolizing the propulsion of the queer community's endeavours. 'Fruit' acknowledges our reclamation and reintroduction of the word as a celebratory affirmation of our diversity. And 'Flavours' solidifies our message that the LGBTTIQ community is a diverse and delightful mosaic empowered by a multitude of individuality.' 'LGBTTIQ' stands for 'lesbian, gay, bi, transsexual, transgender, intersex and queer,' Xtra! noted. The pride parade, which likely will include multiple Carmen Mirandas, is June 27.BANGLADESHIS EXPECTED TO GET AUSTRALIAN ASYLUM In a groundbreaking decision Dec. 9, Australia's High Court overruled the Immigration Department, the Refugee Review Tribunal, the Federal Court, and the Full Court of the Federal Court to revive the asylum claim of two gay men from Bangladesh. The unnamed couple had been stoned, whipped and targeted with a fatwa in their home nation, they claimed. In rejecting the asylum request, the review tribunal had argued that if the men kept quiet about their sexuality, they would suffer no ill treatment in Bangladesh. But the High Court declared: 'The Tribunal effectively broke the genus of 'homosexual males in Bangladesh' into two groups—discreet and non-discreet homosexual men in Bangladesh. By doing so, the Tribunal fell into jurisdictional error that renders its decision of no force or effect.' The case was returned to the tribunal for a redetermination consistent with the High Court ruling.

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