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World news: Couple father triplets, Australian vote, John Kerry
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.

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For possibly the first time in the history of South Africa, a same-sex couple fathered triplets, their children having DNA from both men, The New York Daily News noted. South Africans Theo and Christo Menelaou provided sperm to fertilize two eggs from their surrogate, who gave birth to three babies, including a set of identical twins. Their surrogate gave birth prematurely in early July, with Joshua, Zoe and Kate each weighing only about two pounds each.

The Australian government's plan to hold a popular vote on whether the country should allow same-sex marriage suffered a setback Aug. 29 when a political party announced it would not support the proposed plebiscite, NBC News reported. The Nick Xenophon Team, which supports marriage equality, said its three senators would not support legislation to authorize the plebiscite, which would have no legal weight. Even if most Australians voted for same-sex marriage, conservative government lawmakers could still block the reform in Parliament, the party said.

Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged a prominent Bangladeshi LGBT activist who was hacked to death earlier this year, The Washington Blade noted. Kerry told employees of the U.S. Embassy in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka that Xulhaz Mannan "was murdered by extremists." He also noted the July 2 terrorist attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery that left 22 civilians and two Bangladeshi police officers dead. Mannan, who founded Bangladesh's first LGBT magazine, joined the U.S. Agency for International Development last September; he had previously worked for the U.S. Embassy.

India's government plans to ban foreigners, single parents and same-sex couples from using India's surrogacy services under a proposed law intended to protect poor women from exploitation, according to an LGBTQ Nation item. Only infertile couples who have been married for at least five years could seek a surrogate, who must be a close relative, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said. Gay couples, single parents and foreigners would not be allowed to hire Indian women as surrogates under the proposed law, which would have to be passed by both houses of parliament to become law.

More than 100 LGBT advocacy groups in Colombia have endorsed the peace deal between the country's government and a rebel group that would end a decades-long war, The Washington Blade reported Colombia Diversa, Caribe Afirmativo and other organizations launched a campaign that urges Colombians to vote for the agreement in a referendum that is set to take place on Oct. 2. The groups made their announcement a day before the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia formalized the deal in Havana. More than 200,000 people have died in the war that began in 1962.

Former Ireland President Mary McAleese has aired her views in the midst of a Catholic-related same-sex situation, PinkNews noted. The Catholic politician, who was a strong supporter of equal marriage in last year's referendum, spoke out amid an ongoing Grindr sex scandal in the Church. She said, "We have the phenomenon of men in the priesthood who are both heterosexual and homosexual but the church hasn't been able to come to terms with the fact that there are going to be homosexuals in the priesthood—homosexuals who are fine priests." Catholic Church authorities plan to monitor priests during meal times to ensure they don't use Grindr, a dating app for gay people.

Evangelical groups within the Church of England are preparing for a split, in the event that the Church opts to approve same-sex unions, according to PinkNews. Under rules implemented during the introduction of same-sex marriage, the Church of England remains opposed to same-sex weddings, meaning that clergy cannot carry out services or blessings for same-sex couples. The rules also ensure that gay members of the clergy are banned from getting married themselves.

Hope Church has announced the cancellation of Angus Buchan's visit to Scotland following a campaign highlighting his promotion of homophobic and misogynistic views, noted. The move came after action by Scottish Borders LGBT Equality and women's groups prevented the pastor from preaching his views on public premises. Buchan preaches to tens of thousands in South Africa, where he says that homosexuality is a "disease" that can be "cured" by prayer.

Requests for same-sex unions rolled in at town halls across Italy as laws allowing same-sex civil unions went into effect recently, according to an Attitude item that cites DW. Italy is the last major country in Western Europe to legalize civil unions. The law, which was passed in May this year, faced fierce opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, resulting in huge protests. The first union took place between a woman and her terminally ill partner, a teacher named Margherita, who had been together for 28 years.

Yishai Schlissel—the ultra-Orthodox Jew serving a life sentence for killing 16-year-old Shira Banki at last year's Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade—was hospitalized after being assaulted by other inmates at Ayalon Prison during an argument over the murder, The Times of Israel reported. Schlissel was taken to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center outside Tel Aviv, where he was treated for his injuries. In July, Schlissel was moved to a protected area of the prison and separated from the other prisoners after another physical altercation with a fellow prisoner left him hospitalized.

A group of anti-gay activists who marched as marijuana-loving "gay zombies" in Pride Toronto is being sued for $104 million for disseminating "hate speech," noted. William Whatcott and his supporters had participated in the pro-LGBT parade in July by registering under the fake name Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association. The group, wearing green bodysuits and rainbow accessories, passed out antigay pamphlets to Pride attendees. Disguised as condoms, the literature contained misinformation about the health hazards of gay sex as well as graphic images of sexually transmitted infections and an AIDS-related death.

After becoming Mr. Gay Belgium last May, dancer Raf Van Puymbroeck won the title of Mr. Gay Europe, NewNowNext noted. Van Puymbroeck, 21, was crowned at the closing ceremony of the pageant in Oppdal, Norway. As part of the ultimate round of competition, Raf, along with nine other finalists, participated in workshops and congresses in which they were challenged to defend their world views in debates with journalists and politicians.

A Norwegian comedian has "outed" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, inviting Islamic State's leader to "cuddle" in a gay-club anthem aimed at fighting terrorism with comedy, reported. Entitled "My Bagdaddy," the song charts an unlikely love affair between funny man Terje Sporsem and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, the head of Islamic State. Sporsem was inspired to pen the track following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead and many more injured.

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