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Bi British politician talks marriage; Uganda arrest
World news: Extended for the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2013-01-08

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Simon Hughes—the bisexual deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, one of Britain's leading parties—wants to stop all religious groups from marrying couples, gay or straight, according to Gay Star News. Hughes is to meet the United Kingdom's equalities minister, Maria Miller, to discuss if only civil officials should be allowed to conduct weddings. In some countries, like France or Belgium, only state officials can preside over marriages—straight or gay. However, in Britain ministers of many faiths are "authorized celebrants" and can legally wed couples.

In Uganda, two men were arrested and charged with crimes related to homosexuality, according to LGBTQ Nation. Kabuye Najibu was arrested while visiting Joseph Kaweesi, executive director and co-founder of the Kampala-based LGBT group Youth on Rock Foundation.Male and female homosexual activity is illegal in Uganda; under its penal code, "carnal knowledge against the order of nature" between two males carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment.

France's first baby of 2013 was born to a lesbian couple, Gay Star News reported. The baby boy, named Sacha, was born on the morning of New Year's Day between midnight and a minute past midnight at the Moulins Hospital Centre. Under current laws the couple was not allowed to get artificial insemination in their own country, so they had to travel to Belgium.

In Uganda, the courts have dropped all charges against David Cecil, the 34-year-old theater producer who had faced prison time for staging the gay play The River and the Mountain, according to an Advocate.com item. (In addition, his passport was returned to him.) Little evidence was produced against the defendant, but more than 2,500 people, including celebrities, signed a petition to drop the charges.

Argentina's Chamber of Deputies—the equivalent of the U.S. Congress—has passed a bill that would make it legal for gays and lesbians to donate blood, according to an EDGE Boston item. The bill will go up before the Argentine Senate in 2013. Mexico recently lifted a similar ban.

In Italy, a hospital in Padua has started to write "partner" on new parents' bracelets instead of "mom" and "dad," according to Gay Star News. The new move was requested by a lesbian couple who gave birth to a baby on New Year's Eve. Hospital manager Giovanni Battista Nardelli said, "We decided to satisfy the two mothers' needs. And we've done our best."

Silvio Berlusconi, a prime ministerial candidate in Italy, recently said during a radio interview that "the left accuses me of everything except being gay and stealing money from Italians," according to Gay Star news. He did add, "But I have a lot of gay friends. They're friendly and funny." The billionaire media tycoon, 76, has been prime minister three times since 1994.

In Nigeria, two pastors—Prince Ejimole, 26, and Lawrence Udo, 25—have been arrested and charged to court after they were allegedly caught having sex with each other in a hotel room, according to PM News Nigeria. They are facing charges of having carnal knowledge of each other against the order of nature before the presiding magistrate, Mrs A. O. Awogboro.

Also in Nigeria, members of the country's House of Representatives are debating a bill concerning same-sex marriage, according to BBC News. Under the new bill, same-sex marriages would carry a 15-year prison sentence, and individuals who witness or help these couples would face 10 years in jail themselves.

In Kenya, Nairobi police have promised to arrest the ringleaders of a notorious gang that targets closeted gay men for extortion, blackmail and rape, Gay Star News reported. Men and women pretend to be gay on social-networking sites, invite married men on "dates" and photograph their victims in compromising positions. A recent victim has alleged the gang demanded 65,000 in Kenyan shillings ($755), and threatened to expose the nude photos to his wife and friends.

The organization the Nigerian Humanist Movement has condemned the Nigerian Senate President David Mark for telling people at a reception that, despite the pressure from some quarters, the law banning same-sex marriage will be enacted, according to a press release. Nigerian Humanist human rights activist Leo Igwe, who is a supporter of the UK gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust, said, "The statements made by David Mark that the ban on same sex marriage was irrevocable are reprehensible. They are a clear demonstration of homophobia and show a lack of appreciation of the humane moral values of the contemporary world."

The Turkish government submitted a new draft regulation for the Turkish Armed Forces that retains the article "unnatural intercourse," which has been used to stigmatize and punish LGBT people, according to Gay Star News. Turkish LGBT-rights group KAOS GL accuses the government of colluding with the army to preserve anti-gay and anti-trans measures. In Turkey, compulsory military service applies to all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 41; however, the military openly discriminates against those viewed as "passive" or "effeminate."

Facebook has removed a page aimed at outing Ugandans who were perceived or rumored to be gay and could be persecuted under the law, Gay Star News reported. The page, called "Kampala Exposed: Facts and Rumors," was brought to wider attention by a Change.org petition that LGBT organization Freedom and Roam Uganda started.

In New Zealand, LGBT-rights advocates have called for a gay player with the legendary All Blacks rugby team to openly declare his sexuality, according to Radio Australia. Broadcaster Steve Gray recently said that he was aware there had been several gay All Blacks, and that it was time for one to stand up and be counted. The openly gay TV presenter also claims to have slept with one player.

In Cameroon, an appeals court has overturned the conviction of two men jailed in 2011 for same-sex acts, according to BBC News. In November 2011, a court sentenced the two men to five years in prison after police arrested them for allegedly having oral sex in a car in the capital, Yaounde. The judge in the lower-court case had reportedly said that "the way the men dressed ... spoke and the fact that they drank Bailey's Irish Cream proved they were gay."

In Uganda, the courts have dropped all charges against David Cecil, the 34-year-old theater producer who had faced prison time for staging the gay play The River and the Mountain, according to an Advocate.com item. (In addition, his passport was returned to him.) Little evidence was produced against the defendant, but more than 2,500 people, including celebrities, signed a petition to drop the charges.

In Nigeria, two pastors—Prince Ejimole, 26, and Lawrence Udo, 25—have been arrested and charged to court after they were allegedly caught having sex with each other in a hotel room, according to PM News Nigeria. They are facing charges of having carnal knowledge of each other against the order of nature before the presiding magistrate, Mrs A. O. Awogboro.

Argentina's Chamber of Deputies—the equivalent of the U.S. Congress—has passed a bill that would make it legal for gays and lesbians to donate blood, according to an EDGE Boston item. The bill will go up before the Argentina Senate in 2013. Mexico recently lifted a similar ban.


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