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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Mexican marriage bill, Luxembourg PM, China watching Buttigieg
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-04-16

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In a secret ballot, the plenary of the Yucatan state congress in Mexico voted against a marriage-equality bill that was forwarded by a committee, YucatanExpatLife.com reported. Fifteen lawmakers voted against the measure, with nine in favor and one abstention; passage would have required 17 "yes" votes out of 25. Voting was accomplished by secret paper ballot despite a request by Silvia Lopez Escoffie ( MC ) for a traditional show of hands or electronic tally.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel addressed the Mexican Senate, calling on lawmakers to advance LGBT rights in the country of some 120 million people, Reuters reported. On the third day of his first official visit to Mexico, Bettel—one of the only openly gay heads of state in the world—also spoke about the importance of women's rights. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Mexico City in 2009 and, in 2015, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional.

Pete Buttigieg, who launched his 2020 presidential campaign on April 14, could become the first openly gay U.S. president—and it seems even people in China are watching his campaign with a keen eye, PinkNews noted. According to a CNN report, LGBT+ leaders and human-rights groups in the country have shown an interest in Buttigieg—despite his rise through the political ranks going unreported by China's state media. Although homosexuality is not illegal in China, LGBT+ communities in the country have been subjected to censorship and discrimination under the Communist government.

Fifteen LGBT Syrian refugees launched a legal challenge against the British Home Office claiming they have been abandoned to a life of danger in Turkey—despite promises to bring them speedily to safety in the United Kingdom, The Guardian reported. The Home Office accepted all 15 on to a refugee resettlement scheme, which avoids the need for them to go through the often lengthy asylum process. Yet many are still waiting to be airlifted to safety two years or more after applying.

Protesters from far-right and religious groups disrupted an international lesbian conference that kicked off in the Ukrainian capital of Tbilisi, OpenlyNews.com reported. A few tried to break into the premises and threw tear gas canisters but were held back by police, said Olena Shevchenko, the head of local LGBT+ group Insight, which helped organize the event. Homosexuality has been legal in Ukraine since 1991, with authorities increasing their support for gay rights since a pro-Western government took power in 2014.

In London, the Brunei-owned Dorchester hotel has been dropped as a venue for the Police Federation's bravery awards after widespread condemnation of the country's introduction of new laws imposing death by stoning to punish adultery and same-sex relations, The Guardian reported. The snub follows the imposition this month of sharia law in the southeast Asian kingdom, which includes punishments such as amputating thieves' hands. Brunei's shift to a more conservative form of Islam has sparked outcry with celebrities such as George Clooney and Sir Elton John among a chorus of critical voices backing a boycott of the Dorchester Collection chain of hotels.

CCTV footage has found a new witness in the murder of Greek LGBT+ activist Zak Kostopoulos, also know by his drag name Zackie Oh, PinkNews noted. Kostopoulos was beaten to death by a mob in broad daylight on Sept. 21, 2018. Video of the attack in central Athens was widely shared on social media—but new footage has since emerged that revealed a previously unknown witness.

A new study published by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Leiden University, Netherlands and Rutgers University has found that nations offering more rights to lesbian, gay and bisexual ( LGBT ) people enjoy significantly higher per capita GDP than those who trail in LGB equality, and that nations fostering exclusion of LGB people are causing substantial harms to their economies, a press release noted. The report, "The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: Macro-Level Evidence," appears online in the journal World Development. Visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0305750X19300695?dgcid=author.

Rugby Australia and the North South Wales Rugby Union announced that Israel Folau would be terminated from the league—and the decision follows Folau's anti-LGBTQ+ posts on Twitter and Instagram, Out.com reported. "In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract," a release said. Folau had recently posted a graphic to Instagram: "Warning" it read over a listing that included "Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators" and more. "Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves."

Jean Wyllys—one of Brazil's first openly gay federal lawmakers—is living in exile after renouncing his congressional seat over death threats, France24.com reported. He said the country's new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a threat to activists. Wyllys is now living in self-imposed exile in Berlin, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. "I did not resign, because I was never sworn into office. I renounced the term I was elected to. I did so because of the death threats I had been receiving for some time in Brazil," Wyllys told journalists in Paris.

Canada's federal government rejected a public effort to ban conversion therapy, CBC.ca reported. "We're disappointed that we don't have legislation at this point. But we will continue to advocate for those who don't have a voice," said Alberta activist Devon Hargreaves, who started a petition in late 2018 asking the federal government to ban conversion therapy—particularly with regard to minors. The World Health Organization issued a statement in 2012 saying this type of therapy poses a "severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons."

A new dollar coin designed to commemorate 50 years of LGBT rights has sparked a dual backlash—from both members of Canada's LGBT community and from a social conservative group, CBC.ca reported. The loonie, to be launched April 23 at an invitation-only event in Toronto, will feature a stylized depiction of two overlapping human faces within a large circle, the dates 1969 and 2019, and the word "equality" in English and French. Some LGBT-rights activists contend that Canada did not decriminalize homosexuality in 1969 and that LGBT Canadians still faced official persecution in the decades that followed.

Danish pro soccer player Viktor Fischer called out fans after they twice this week used gay slurs in chants against him, Outsports.com noted. "The problem for me here is that the word 'gay' was used as an insult. That is a very, very bad culture for young people and generally for everyone who comes to a football stadium to see football," Fischer told TV2. The Danish football association said it is considering disciplinary action while it condemned the chants.

Korean heartthrob Go Tae-seob, aka Holland, has released his first music video—for the song "Nar_C," Out.com noted. Holland's debut video, "Neverland," which was also very gay, racked up 1 million views in fewer than 24 hours. Holland is unique in the K-pop world in that he has no major agency behind him the way other major K-pop celebrities do.

Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has won his defamation case against a Sydney newspaper publisher and journalist over reports he had been accused of inappropriate behavior toward an actress, Page Six noted. He had sued The Daily Telegraph's publisher and journalist Jonathon Moran over two stories and a poster published in late 2017. Rush won the best actor Oscar in 1996 for his portrayal of pianist David Helfgott in Shine, and is famed for his portrayal of Captain Barbossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.


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