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  WINDY CITY TIMES

World News
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Rex Wockner
2011-05-04

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Liechtenstein to hold voter referendum on partnership law

The same-sex registered-partnership law that passed Liechtenstein's Parliament in March will be subjected to a voter referendum in June.

Anti-gay forces turned in enough signatures on April 21 to mandate a vote, gay activists reported.

The tiny nation, located between Switzerland and Austria, has about 18,500 voters.

The Liechtenstein lesbian and gay organization, FLay, says it needs financial support to mount a campaign to save the law, which is scheduled to come into force in September.

Same-sex couples registered under the law would have the same rights as married people except in areas such as second-parent adoption, artificial insemination and surrogacy.

For more information or to donate, see www.flay.li. To translate the site, paste the URL into translate.google.com .

Gay activists rally for royal wedding

Same-sex marriage activists presented a giant wedding card for Prince William and Kate Middleton outside the gates of Buckingham Palace on April 25.

The card congratulated the royal couple on their wedding, which took place four days later, and urged them to support legalization of same-sex marriage. The United Kingdom currently offers same-sex couples civil partnerships that carry the same rights as marriage.

The card said: "We wish you a happy life together. You can get married, gay people can't. We are banned by law. We ask you to support marriage equality."

Organizer Peter Tatchell said the action was well-received.

"Everyone outside the palace expressed support for marriage equality. We didn't get a single negative reaction," he said. "We are urging the royal couple to find a way, within official protocol, to indicate their support for marriage equality."

Tatchell is involved in a case before the European Court of Human Rights that seeks to overturn Britain's ban on same-sex marriage and its ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships. The case, sponsored by the Equal Love campaign, was filed by four gay and four straight couples.

Conflicting reports on OK to hold Moscow Pride

Several recent reports from Moscow said that officials had greenlighted this year's May 28 gay pride parade, which would have marked the first time in its six years of existence that the parade wasn't officially banned.

But on April 27, City Hall said those reports were incorrect and that organizers' application is still being studied.

Pride co-organizer Nikolai Alekseev said it would not be surprising if the initial reports had been floated to gauge public opinion.

On April 11, Moscow Pride got a final ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that previous years' pride bans by the city's ex-mayor were illegal. The ECHR determined that the bans placed Russia in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the areas of freedom of assembly and association, right to an effective remedy and prohibition of discrimination.

Pride organizers now are asking the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to help make sure the ECHR ruling is implemented.

"After this court decision ... the Council of Europe must stand firm on our side," said pride co-organizer Nikolai Baev. "We feel lonely."

In previous years, when gays tried to hold pride events despite the city bans, the gatherings were attacked by anti-gay hooligans, picketed by religious protesters and broken up by riot police.

In related news, a recent poll commissioned by Moscow Pride and GayRussia.ru found that 56 percent of Muscovites have heard about the attempts to stage a pride parade in the city over the past six years.

Nationally, 33 percent of Russians have heard of the pride efforts.

Young people, people with more education, and people who live in midsize cities were more likely to have heard about Moscow Pride.

The Public Opinion Foundation poll, conducted April 20-24, quizzed a representative sample of 1,500 Russians from more than 100 cities in 44 regions of the nation. The margin of error is 3.6 percent.

Alekseev said it was "amazing" that so many people had heard of the efforts of "a small group of people like us without funding and without any institutional support."

Group targets 'sissy boot camps'

International LGBT activist group All Out has launched a campaign to convince Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to ban what the group called "sissy boot camps."

According to activist groups, 66 teenage male students whom teachers deemed effeminate recently were sent to a state-government-sponsored camp in the state of Terengganu to unlearn such behavior and not end up gay.

All Out said Malaysian activists will deliver a petition to Razak at the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, which takes place May 7-8 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The group is collecting signatures at allout.org/en/petition/malaysia.

Sodomy and unnatural carnal intercourse are illegal in Malaysia.

Poland to stop blocking foreign same-sex marriages

Poland will change a form that Poles must obtain before getting married abroad so that it no longer asks the name of the future spouse, the nation's Campaign Against Homophobia said April 27.

The group said some registry offices had refused to issue the required form when both future spouses appeared to be of the same sex. The form also is needed if a Pole wants to enter a civil union in another nation.

Assistance: Bill Kelley


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