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  WINDY CITY TIMES

World News
by REX WOCKNER
2003-06-25

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UK TO SET UP GAY PARTNERSHIPS

In the wake of Canada's stunning legalization of gay marriage, the United Kingdom is planning to create civil partnerships for same-sex couples that will give them the rights and obligations of marriage, The Independent reported June 18.

There are similar laws in the majority of European Union nations but the U.K. has lagged behind. (Two European nations—The Netherlands and Belgium—let gays marry under the ordinary marriage laws.)

The British initiative will be announced in November's Queen's Speech and should become law next year.

'The changes would transform the lives of gay and lesbian people, allowing them to benefit from a dead spouse's pension, exempt them from inheritance tax on a partner's home and give next of kin rights in hospitals,' The Independent said. 'The proposals make the civil partnership as close to a marriage contract as possible, even including provision for a form of divorce through 'dissolution' of a partnership.'

DUTCH FUND UKRAINIAN GAYS

The Dutch government has given the Ukrainian gay group Our World 170,000 euros ($199,000).

The group used some of the money to buy an office in Kiev, the capital. The remainder will fund operations and pay four employees for two years.

Our World lobbies legislators, coordinates local gay organizations, promotes tolerance and provides 'correct information' on homosexuality, said the Kiev Post.

'We're the first organization in Ukraine that's trying to be loud and visible,' said the group's Andry Kravchuk. 'And this has been good, because when we approached government bodies the first time around they were shocked. But the second time they were already getting used to us.'

The Dutch government's Social Transformation Program for Central and Eastern Europe also has funded gay groups in Moldava and Romania.

MAYOR FORCED TO PROCLAIM PRIDE

The mayor of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was forced to proclaim Gay Pride Week in mid-June, in violation of his Roman Catholic beliefs.

Bill Smith acted after pride organizers filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission—a case the city was sure to lose and which likely would have resulted in a payout of damages.

Smith refused to issue the proclamation for the previous eight years, provoking the Edmonton Pride Week Society to finally take legal action.

'I want to make it perfectly clear that my personal opinion on this issue has not changed,' Smith said. 'I have been advised that if I fail to fulfill my legal obligations ... by my continued refusal to make this proclamation, the city of Edmonton would be liable for damages.'

BRAZILIAN TRANSVESTITES ARRESTED

Police in São Paulo, Brazil, arrested 145 transvestite sex workers May 29 and 31 in and around Indianapolis Avenue.

Media reports showed the cross-dressers being beaten and forced into police vehicles.

Police said the transvestites had committed robberies and engaged in sexual intercourse without condoms.

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission took issue with the manner in which the arrests occurred, accusing police of using unnecessary force, violating privacy rights, and assuming that every cross-dresser found near Indianapolis Avenue had committed a crime. For more details see www.iglhrc.org .

KUWAITI TRANS CAN'T CHANGE DOCS

Kuwait's Civil Bench of the Court of First Instance June 8 dismissed the case of a 25-year-old woman who wanted to change her name on official documents after undergoing a sex-change operation in Thailand.

The woman's lawyer said that although she was born male, she always felt female and now has 'no manhood signs visible from the physiological point of view.'


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