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World news: Australia and marriage, gay journalist, Pakistani bill
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-08-15

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Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's decision to come out opposing same-sex marriage is not going down well with his own sister, PinkNews reported. Abbott—a right-wing politician who was prime minister of Australia from 2013 until 2015—is a strong opponent of LGBT equality despite his own sister, Christine Forster, waiting for the right to marry her same-sex partner, Virginia Edwards. Forster wrote, in part, "If you value mutual respect: vote yes. If you want all Australians to be equal: vote yes. If you believe in free speech: vote yes."

In related news, Australians are set to vote on same-sex marriage through a non-binding ballot by mail next month after the Senate thwarted the government's preferred option for gauging public opinion before legislating the issue, The Miami Herald reported. But the so-called "postal plebiscite" has never been tried in Australia, and faces court challenges by gay-rights advocates who want Parliament to legislate marriage equality now without an opinion poll.

A Moscow appeals court has temporarily blocked the deportation of gay journalist Khudoberdy Nurmatov to Uzbekistan, where rights groups had warned he could face imprisonment and torture, ABC News reported. Originally, the European Court of Human Rights ordered an emergency stay on Nurmatov's deportation; the judge at the Moscow City Court responded to that order, ruling that no deportation will take place until Nurmatov's case has been examined by the European Court. Nurmatov will now likely remain in a migrant detention center until the ruling, which could take a year to 18 months.

The Transgender Persons Bill was introduced to Pakistan's Parliament in an effort to provide equal protection to transgender people, The Daily Caller noted. The bill states that "transgender persons constitute one of the most marginalized and disadvantaged communities in the country. They face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of protection in their family, community and the society."

Russian LGBTI activists are concerned about one of their peers who police detained at the recent Saint-Petersburg Pride Event, Gay Star News reported. Anna Grabetskaya was detained on Saturday at the event which marred by far-right and pro-government protestors. The Russian LGBT Network said Grabetskaya was holding a solitary picket on the day. She was holding rainbow flag and a poster saying "I love my wife." After she tried to take a few steps, police detained her.

Kuwait has reportedly deported 76 gay people and shut down 22 massage parlors this year, LGBT Weekly noted. Gulf News reported that the gay men were apprehended during nationwide campaigns aimed at enforcing the law regulating massage parlors. The committee—composed of representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Interior and Kuwait Municipality—pledged to forge ahead with the crackdown.

A steamy moment in the movie Atomic Blonde, starring Charlize Theron and Sofia Boutella, will not reach Indian audiences after Pahlaj Nihalani ordered edits, according to Express.co.uk. According to The Quint, a producer said, "Delete the visual of the hand touching the bare breast in bed of two ladies, and delete the entire love-making ( having sex )." Theron has spoken openly about the scene, calling it "easy" to film.

South Africa Deputy Education Minister Mduduzi Manana has been accused of hitting a woman during a row at a nightclub, BBC News reported. Manana has apologized for the "shameful incident" saying that even though he was provoked, he "should have exercised restraint." In a tape recording leaked to the press—purportedly of a conversation between the victim's brother and the minister—the person alleged to be the minister admits to slapping the victim when she called him gay. Journalist Lumko Jimlongo told SABC news that the victim was trying to walk towards the exit when she was struck, "she fell on the floor. ... Then he proceeded to trample [her] ... and his foot was on her head."

Pope Francis, through an aide, has sent his congratulations and apostolic blessing to a legally married Brazilian same-sex couple on the occasion of the baptism of their three adopted children, according to a blog from New Ways Ministry. Toni Reis and David Harrad apparently received a letter from Monsignor Paolo Borgia, advisor to the Secretary of State Vatican, which read in part: "Pope Francisco wishes you congratulations, calling for his family abundance of divine graces, to live constantly and faithfully the condition of Christians." The couple married in 2011, and they adopted three children—Alyson, Jessica and Felipe—between 2012 and 2014.

In England, a fantasist caught on camera terrorizing a gay man in his own home has been found guilty of murder, Evening Standard reported. As the verdict came in, police faced accusations that they missed opportunities to catch murderer James Marshall before he killed another man. Posing as a policeman and an MI5 agent, Marshall, 28, stripped, gagged and smothered 58-year-old Peter Fasoli with cling film before torching his flat to cover his tracks.

In Ireland, a pastor and baggage handler who offered to "cure" a gay colleague and complained about a pink tin of deodorant left on his work locker has lost a claim for unfair dismissal and religious belief discrimination, The Belfast Telegraph reported. The behavior of former council candidate Colin robert Houston was revealed at an industrial tribunal he took against his employer ( Swissport ) at Belfast International Airport.

A redevelopment of an east London pub will only get the green light if it includes an LGBT club venue, Evening Standard noted. The planning permission condition is believed to be the first of its kind, and comes as London fights the loss of its LGBT pubs and clubs. Tower Hamlets Council has told developers of the Joiners Arms that the venue must be included in its plans to build luxury flats and offices. And City Hall will be sending an inspector to the venue, which previously counted Alexander McQueen and Wolfgang Tillmans as regulars.

Mr. Gay England, aka 37-year-old Matt Rood from Brighton, was crowned the winner of this year's Mr. Gay Europe pageant in Stockholm, Sweden, beating Mr Gay Ireland at the event that concluded during Stockholm Pride, Attitude noted. Rood, who works as a professional dog walker and trainer, won the title after winning the Social Media Challenge ( SoMe ) and "My Project" challenge, coming second in the preliminary interview, the photo challenge and the sports challenge, and coming third in the written test and fourth in the online vote. Next year's contest will be held in Poland on Aug. 4-12.


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