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World: Romanian court, Israeli officials, rapper/actor Common, Apple's move
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-08-02

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The Constitutional Court in Romania gave validity to a proposal that would allow only heterosexual marriage in the country on July 21, according to Opposing Views. The proposal, which had 3 million signatures gathered by the Coalition for the Family, could be placed on a ballot as a referendum to be voted on, according to Reuters. More than 20 human-rights organizations called for the court to rule against the proposal, but the Liberty Counsel, a Christian law firm in the United States, cheered the court's ruling and claimed some of the credit.

Israeli cabinet ministers condemned remarks by a prominent religious-Zionist rabbi who referred to homosexuals as "deviants," The Times of Israel reported. Rabbi Yigal Levinstein was filmed saying in an address to a Jewish law convention that "under the framework of pluralism, soldiers and officers are taught to refer to [LGBT people] as 'proud,' but I don't dare call them that. ... 'Deviants' is what I call them." Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan of the Likud party and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the religious nationalist Jewish Home party, were among those condemning Levinstein's speech.

Rapper/actor Common, in South Africa for an HIV/AIDS-awareness concert with Queen Latifah, has encouraged people to speak out about HIV, DestinyMan.com reported. Among other things, he visited the Ithembalabantu Clinic in Umlazi—the first health center in South Africa to provide free antiretrovirals, 15 years ago.

Apple has added itself to the long list of companies in Australia that support the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country, Gay Star News reported. The Apple logo showed up on the Australian Marriage Equality website, alongside those belonging other big corporations such as ANZ, Airbnb, MacDonald's, Microsoft, Mastercard, Paypal and more. Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, is openly gay and often speaks up for LGBT rights.

To mark the significance of World Hepatitis Day ( July 28 ), Medecins du Monde ( MdM ) and Treatment Action Group ( TAG ) have produced a new report, "Dying at these prices: Generic HCV cure denied," based on crowdsourced hepatitis C data from more than 40 countries available—and it's available at mapCrowd.org, according to a press release. Among the findings is that 14 of 17 high-income countries in Western Europe have treatment restrictions policies, which limits direct-acting antivirals ( capable to curing more than 90 percent of people ) to the sickest patients.

Amandala reported that, whereas the Caribbean has seen a 9-percent rise in the number of new HIV cases, the incidences have increased far more in Belize—by more than 20 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to the Prevention GAP Report ( 2016 ) recently published by UNAIDS. The report noted that Belize is among the countries with the highest rate of increase, ranking fourth among 27 and well above the regional average. The Prevention Gap Report estimates that there are 3,500 people living with HIV in Belize—up a few hundred from 2010—and about half are on anti-retroviral therapy.

Swedish officials are dismayed vandals have cut down rainbow flags raised outside the city hall in Sodertalje in honor of Stockholm's gay pride festival, Gay News Network reported. City officials arrived at the town hall to discover the flags were missing from the building; the ropes connecting the flags to the poles had been cut and the flags removed. Sodertalje spokesman Henri Tagot said new rainbow flags would be raised but taken down overnight "to prevent this from happening again."

Also in Sweden, far-right activists admitting interrupting Pride in Stockholm, claiming that "traditional family values" are "threatened," PinkNews reported. Nordisk Ungdom, or Nordic Youth, admitted to attempting to interrupting the Pride event July 30. It is suspected that the group have breached the Public Order Act by trying to demonstrate without permission.

The first-ever World LGBT Conference for Criminal Justice Professionals will be held in Amsterdam Aug. 3-6, according to the website Proud to Be Your Friend. The theme of the conference will be: "To Connect and Inspire." It is being organized by the Dutch National Police in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, LEGAL International and EGPA. Twenty-six countries from six continents are slated to be represented.

A new poll suggests that a majority of Canadians believe it's likely a gay prime minister will be in charge within the next decade, The Huffington Post Canada reported. Abacus Data recently asked respondents to weigh in on the probability of a number of possible scenarios in the next 10 or 20 years, including several related to Canadian politics. Fifty-six percent told the firm that it was "likely" Canada would have a gay prime minister within the next decade, while 58 percent predicted it would happen within 20 years.

A court has ruled that a Christian law school cannot be denied accreditation based on its exclusionary sex policies, PinkNews reported. Trinity Western University, a Canadian Christian university with around 3,500 students, had first announced plans to open a law school in 2016. The school requires all students to sign a pledge to abstain from "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman," effectively banning gay students.

More than 75,000 people have signed a petition by an international LGBT group calling on a Chinese university to apologize to two lesbian students, BBC News reported. The couple were refused their diplomas after one publicly proposed to the other at their graduation ceremony. The Guangdong University of Foreign Studies reportedly told the couple their act had "violated regulations." The couple have since been given their diplomas, but said they were told to "keep [their] homosexuality to [themselves]."

Out British Olympic diver Tom Daley, 22, told The Sun he hopes to start a family once he's past the games, Out.com noted. "It's not a question of 'if,' just 'when,'" he said. "I've always said I'll keep diving as long as my body lets me. But the beauty of being an athlete is you retire young and you've got your whole life ahead of you." Daley is engaged to Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, and the duo have also pushed plans to head to the altar until after the games in August.

Tensions flared when Viacom International Media Networks ( VIMN ) Africa "reassured" its DStv subscribers in South Africa and the rest of Africa that it would not be airing an episode from animated Nickelodeon series The Loud House that features gay parents, Channel 24 noted. The specific episode features a biracial, married gay couple who show up in a short scene in which they're seen dropping off their son at a party. The scene was deemed "inappropriate" by certain African countries that, according to their broadcasting laws, don't allow the featuring of same-sex parents on its airwaves.

Osher Gunsberg, a.k.a. Andrew G—a heterosexual vegan who is host of Australian Idol and the Bachelor—recently talked about times he's fooled around with men, Queerty reported. "You've got to go on all the rides at Dreamworld before you find the one you want to stay on all day," he said, before adding he's gave up fooling around with fellas "a long time ago." Gunsberg, 42, added he doesn't believe sexuality is a "polarized thing" and that your twenties are "there for a reason."


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