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  WINDY CITY TIMES

World News
by REX WOCKNER
2003-05-21

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Britain OKs some discrimination Planned laws to protect U.K. gays from discrimination in the workplace will exempt employers 'with an ethos based on religion or belief,' The Independent reported May 10.

The U.K. is enacting the measures to comply with a European Union directive on worker rights.

The Independent said the decision to limit the legislation may have been made by Prime Minister Tony Blair himself.

'The statutory instruments slipped out to Parliament last week were watered down following direct intervention by Downing Street,' the paper said. 'A Whitehall source said the decision was made 'at the highest level' and that Barbara Roche, the equalities minister, had been overruled.'

Gay campaigners denounced the development.

'The government has given in to pressure from religious bodies and created a bigots' charter,' said Terry Sanderson of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association. 'It specifically permits organized religions to deny jobs to, and sack, gay people. ... It's an anti-discrimination law that encourages discrimination. The government has been weak and cowardly.'

MONTREAL BAR RAIDED

Montreal police raided the gay stripper club Taboo May 10 and arrested 23 dancers, seven other employees and four customers.

Charges included being an inmate or patron of a common bawdy house. Police said they had staked out the bar for several months following allegations it employed underage strippers and that strippers and customers were having sex with each other.

Montreal's last big gay bar raid was in 1977, according to Toronto-based 365Gay.com .

IGLHRC BLASTS SOUTHERN AFRICA

Southern Africa is a hotbed of homophobia, Human Rights Watch and the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission said May 14.

In a report unveiled in Cape Town, the two organizations accused officials in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe of singling out GLBT people 'as scapegoats for their countries' problems.'

'Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been vilified by presidents and political leaders, which has led to a culture of intolerance,' said IGLHRC Executive Director Paula Ettelbrick.

The 298-page report—'More Than a Name: State-Sponsored Homophobia and its Consequences in Southern Africa'—details police harassment, official crackdowns and community violence. Victims reportedly have been evicted, fired, assaulted, imprisoned, expelled from school, denied access to medical care, and driven into exile or to suicide.

'When Southern African political leaders like President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe make speeches saying that gays and lesbians are 'worse than dogs and pigs,' it should be no surprise that violent attacks follow,' said Scott Long of Human Rights Watch, co-author of the report.

On paper, South Africa is one of the most pro-gay nations in the world. It bans all anti-gay discrimination right in its post-apartheid constitution and has seen a long string of gay-friendly court rulings.

However, 'based on interviews with numerous individuals and activists, the report concludes that the equality guaranteed [GLBT] people is fragile, and even endangered by the silence and foot-dragging of political leaders in South Africa,' the groups said.

Zimbabwe's President Mugabe has said of gays: 'What an abomination, a rottenness of culture, real decadence of culture. [Homosexuals are] repugnant to my human conscience ... immoral and repulsive. ... Animals in the jungle are better than these people because at least they know that this is a man or a woman. ... I don't believe they have any rights at all.'

Namibian President Sam Nujoma has said: 'We will combat this with vigor. We will make sure that Namibia will get rid of lesbianism and homosexuality. ... Police are ordered to arrest you and deport you and imprison you. ... Those who are practicing homosexuality in Namibia are destroying the nation. Homosexuals must be condemned and rejected in our society. ... It is the devil at work.'

t.A.T.u MANAGER ARRESTED

The manager of the smash Russian lesbian pop duo t.A.T.u. was arrested in Red Square May 15 as he prepared to shoot a video with 300 girls, some of them reportedly as young as seven.

Ivan Shapovalov, 36, was accused of perverting the morals of minors, and later reprimanded by a judge.

t.A.T.u. singers Julia Volkova and Lena Katina, both 18, have been denounced and banned from television in Britain for kissing and making out on stage—with some critics calling their antics 'pedophile porn.'

The 300 extras were clad in t.A.T.u.'s signature school-girl uniforms for a video shoot for this month's Eurovision Song Contest.

'He threatened the girls morality by seeking to pay them 10 rubles [32 cents] to pose,' a local cop told Britain's The Sun. 'We wanted to stop him exploiting these young children. We didn't know what he was going to do with them.'

t.A.T.u.'s biggest hit, 'All The Things She Said,' hit No. 1 in several nations earlier this year. In the video, Volkova and Katina make out passionately.

The two have said they plan to marry each other but still have sex with men as well. Russian journalists have claimed the girls really are heterosexual and that Shapovalov invented the lesbian shtick for commercial reasons.

GAYS ARE EVIL

AND SINFUL

Gays are evil and sinful, the media officer of the Methodist Church of Fiji said April 26.

'We as the church love these people, but as for the practice, we are against it,' Reverend Iliesa Naival said. 'It's very important that we stick to our biblical beliefs on these issues based in the Holy Scriptures.'

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