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World news: Church of Scotland, Australian artwork, Tutu's daughter
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2016-05-31

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The National Church of Scotland voted during its general assembly to recognize ministers and deacons who are in same-sex marriages, but it's not giving up its traditional stance that marriage is between a man and a woman, according to a NewNowNext item. The vote will allow congregations to break away from those traditional teachings if they want to appoint a minister or a deacon in a same-sex marriage. However, clergy from the Church of Scotland will still not be allowed to conduct same-sex weddings.

In Australia, Waverley Council has announced it will commission a public artwork to be erected in Bondi's Hunter Park to commemorate the victims of Sydney's gay hate crimes, which took place in the '80s and '90s, Gay News Network reported. Hunter Park is adjacent to Marks Park, a well-known gay beat that was the site of numerous gay bashings during those decades. The New South Wales Police force recently announced it may be reopening as many as 88 unsolved cold cases whose victims are now believed to have been victims of hate crimes in the eastern suburbs and Sydney metro region during the '70s, '80s and '90s.

Desmond Tutu's daughter has been forced to give up her duties as a priest in South Africa's Anglican church after she married a woman, according to Times Live, citing AFP. Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu-van Furth can no longer preside at Holy Communion, weddings, baptisms or funerals after handing in her license because the church does not recognize same-sex marriage. She said her father, the retired archbishop and celebrated anti-apartheid campaigner, was "sad but not surprised" at the news.

The Huffington Post reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not meet Elton John when he visited Russia because there was no appropriate time in the two men's schedules, the Kremlin said, noting that the two men could still meet at a later date. Putin telephoned the British entertainer in September to say he would be ready to meet for a chat after John requested a meeting to discuss his concerns about gay rights in Russia. John performed at a luxury Moscow shopping and entertainment center on May 30 as part of his world tour.

A nationwide warrant has been issued for a suspect associated with the fire that broke out at Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie in Montreal, Gay Star News noted. Jayne Ellen Heideck, 42, from Kelowna is wanted in connection with the fire that has cost the medical center damages estimated to be around $700,000. The clinic—which is the only one in Canada that performs gender-reassignment surgery, among other medical procedures the transgender community needs—was forced to close after the incident.

In the United Kingdom, a mother and her civil partner have been convicted of murdering her 2-year-old son, The Guardian reported. Liam Fee was found dead at his home near Glenrothes in Fife on March 22, 2014, having suffered a ruptured heart as a result of severe blunt-force trauma to his body. His mother, Rachel Trelfa, also known as Fee, 31, and her partner, Nyomi Fee, 29, had denied killing the child but were convicted of his murder after a seven-week trial at the high court in Livingston.

Quebec director Xavier Dolan felt vindicated after winning the prestigious second-place Grand Prix at the 69th Cannes Film Festival for his film Juste la fin du monde ( It's Only the End of the World ), which film critics panned, CBC.ca noted. The queer filmmaker, 27, has accumulated accolades and awards in his budding career, but his most recent accomplishment surprised many after Juste la fin du monde received a lukewarm reception. "This time, I didn't read the criticism from Americans since they didn't understand the film," he said. Vanity Fair film writer Richard Lawson called the movie—about a man who returns home after a long absence, only to reveal that he is about to die—"the most disappointing film at Cannes."

A Nigerian newspaper reports I Am Cait, the E! docuseries featuring and executive produced by Caitlyn Jenner, has been dropped by one of the most popular cable and satellite television companies on the African continent, LGBTQ Nation noted. MultiChoice claims it's responding to complaints from Nigerian viewers and pulling the plug out of "respect." MultiChoice has such influence, boasting a viewership of 5.4 million households, that the decision essentially takes I Am Cait off the air across all of Africa, according to Gay Star News.

On May 20, a male student of Renmin University in Beijing attracted other students because he publicly announced he loves another young male student from the same university, Yibada reported. He did it while they were standing inside a lit heart-shaped design on the floor. Footage of the announcement has gone viral.

A photo of two men kissing in front of a neo-Nazi rally has gone viral on Twitter, according to NewNowNext. David Fernandez and Gregor Eistert were on a date in Madrid, searching for a place to grab a drink, when members of Hogar Social Madrid began shouting "You've got AIDS!," "maricon" ( "faggot" ) and other slurs at them. Rather than run in fear, the couple decided to fight hate with love, and staged a big kiss in front of the homophobes. Since then, there's been a massive outpouring of support for the couple online.

A new ad promoting Dove's Men+Care line features Australian rugby player David Pocock addressing his decision in a match last year to approach a referee about homophobic slurs being made by the opposing teams, NewNowNext noted. It's part of Dove's "Strength to Care" campaign that promotes redefining masculinity as being thoughtful and inclusive. Pocock has been an outspoken supporter of marriage equality in Australia and was also arrested for taking part in a protest at the Maules Creek coal mine in New South Wales.

The tiny island nation of Nauru has become the latest to decriminalize homosexuality, according to PinkNews. The tiny independent Micronesian country sits northeast of Australia and has a population of 10,000. Until now it had kept sodomy laws that were introduced under Australian rule, based on Queensland's own colonial-era criminal code.

Marlon James, the Jamaican novelist and winner of the Man Booker Prize, has said he undertook exorcism carried out by the "ex-gay" movement in Jamaica, The Independent noted. Speaking at the recent Hay Festival, the author revealed that he struggled with his sexuality in his mid-thirties and was pushed into having exorcism that was presented as a type of therapy by the anti-gay movement. His novel, titled A Brief History of Seven Killings, is a violent thriller written partially in patois about the assassination attempt on Bob Marley.

An self-described "Catholic Arab" has won the first-ever Miss Trans Star pageant in Israel, PinkNews reported. The 21-year-old winner of the pageant, Ta'alin Abu Hanna, is from Nazareth, and wore a white bridal gown when she was crowned the competition's winner. She described the victory as "historic," and said she thinks the competition promotes equality and inclusion.

Sir Terence Etherton, Britain's first openly gay senior judge, has been appointed master of the rolls, making him head of the civil judiciary in England and Wales, The Guardian reported. Etherton, who has been on the court of appeal and is currently chancellor of the high court, was a member of the British Olympic fencing team for sabre in 1980. He will be the second most senior judge in England and Wales, outranked only by the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

In Canada, rainbow banners put up by the owner of a gay nightclub in Saskatoon are causing confusion over whether they represent Saskatchewan's first gay district, CBC.ca reported. The banners were purchased by Pink Lounge and Nightclub owner Skipp Anderson after getting city approval before Saskatoon Pride, taking place this week. Anderson believes the city should have a gay district and would love to see it established on the same two blocks the rainbow banners currently hang.

Spain's first openly gay soccer referee has said more will follow his lead by coming out—even though he quit after being verbally abused, BBC.com noted. Jesus Tomillero, 21—speaking on the day a Parliamentary inquiry into homophobia in sport heard from experts who criticized sporting bodies for a lack of action on the issue—said, "[The lack of support] been humiliating," adding, "I have broken the ice and more will come out now. For me, that will be an honor."

Puerto Vallarta is being honored as the first city in Mexico to be granted Gay Travel Approved status by GayTravel.com, a press release stated. Status recipients must be nominated and offer a safe and welcoming environment for LGBT travelers.

Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest confirmed Ukraine as the winner of the May 14 competition after being urged to revise the results by more than 325,000 fans, Billboard reported. n a move prompted by an online petition, the European Broadcasting Union ( EBU ), which governs the contest, reviewed voting results and insisted that the Ukrainian entry "1944," sung by Jamala, was the winner. EBU said that while Russia had won the audience vote and Australia had won the jury vote, Jamala had won broad support from both judges and viewers to take the overall win. The contest was broadcast in the United States for the first time this year, airing on Logo.


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