April 28, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 17
search only SGN online
Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021



Rex Wockner
Wockner Wire - sorry, not in this weeks issue
Quote/Unquote -sorry, not in this weeks issue
International News

Iraq has seen an increase in homophobic killings since the U.S. invasion, the BBC reported April 17.

Frightened Gay people told the network the murders are connected to the growing influence of antiGay religious figures and the increasing lawlessness of militias.

Seyed Kashmiri, a spokesman for Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, suggested some of the killings are appropriate.

"Homosexuals and Lesbians are not killed for practicing their inclinations for the first time," he said. "There are certain conditions drawn out by jurists before this punishment can be implemented, which is perhaps similar to the punishment meted out by other heavenly religions."

Deputy Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal told the BBC that "vigilante action" is not condoned.

"We encourage the victims to inform the authorities if they are subjected to any attacks," he said.

However, the Interior Ministry is run by members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a leading Shiite party, and Gays say the council's Badr Brigades militia is among those attacking them.

"Saddam was a tyrant, but at least we had more freedom then," one Iraqi Gay man told the network. "Nowadays, Gay men are just killed for no reason."


Under pressure from Parliament and activists, the Netherlands' immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, has extended a moratorium on expulsion of Gay Iranian asylum-seekers for an additional six months.

Despite many reports of antiGay abuses by Iranian officials, Verdonk is not convinced Iranian Gays face serious persecution in their homeland. During the moratorium, the Foreign Ministry will launch a new effort to assess Iran's Gay climate.

The deportation ban was implemented last year after reports of executions in Iran for homosexual conduct.

The Etemad newspaper reported that two men were sentenced to death by the Tehran Criminal Court after the wife of one of them found a video of the two having sex. The Tehran daily Kayhan covered the hanging of two men - Mokhtar N., 24, and Ali A., 25 - in Shahid Bahonar Square in the town of Gorgan for what it said was the crime of sodomy (lavat).

"Men and women suspected of homosexual conduct in Iran face the threat of execution," affirmed Scott Long of Human Rights Watch's Gay-rights program. "We have documented brutal floggings imposed by courts as punishment, and torture and ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, in police custody."

Article 111 of the Code of Islamic Punishments, Iran's criminal code, states that sexual intercourse between men "is punishable by death." Articles 121-122 punish nonpenetrative sex between men with 100 lashes, and with death on the fourth conviction. Article 123 allows for 90 lashes "if two men who are not related by blood lie naked under the same cover without any necessity." Articles 127-134 punish sexual intercourse between women with 100 lashes, and with death if the offense is repeated three times.


The highest court in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan ruled April 15 that Regina resident Hugh Owens did not violate the provincial Human Rights Code when he placed an ad in Saskatoon's StarPhoenix newspaper quoting antiGay Bible passages and depicting two stick-figure men holding hands underneath the international "no" symbol.

A human-rights board of inquiry and the Queen's Bench court had previously found Owens guilty of offending Gays' dignity and exposing them to hatred and ridicule, but the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned the rulings even though the ad was, according to the court, "bluntly presented and doubtlessly upsetting to many."

The complaint against Owens was filed by Gay activist Gens Hellquist, who told the StarPhoenix he is disappointed that the Court of Appeal seems to be saying "that if you wrap up hatred and intolerance in religious dogma you can get away with it."


Hong Kong's Home Affairs Bureau has told the British Consulate-General it cannot perform same-sex unions under the United Kingdom's new Civil Partnership Act.

The bureau said permitting the ceremonies would amount to an inappropriate taking of sides during ongoing local debate on legislation banning antiGay discrimination.

The U.K. partnership law allows embassies and consulates to register same-sex unions when at least one partner is a British national and the host government does not object.

Some 3.5 million Hong Kong citizens hold British National (Overseas) passports - a travel document given to Hong Kongers who chose not to become solely citizens of China. In addition, about 200,000 British citizens live in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Several nations reportedly allow the unions at British consulates and embassies, including Australia, Belarus, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Israel, Japan, Moldova, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

The Web site of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong says the unions also are offered in the United States but an April 21 statement on the Web site of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., says: "For UK Diplomatic missions to be able to carry out these registrations outside of the UK, we have been asked to obtain confirmation from host governments that they have no objection. We have requested confirmation from the US State Department and we are waiting for a reply."

The British unions are not offered in countries that have their own civil-partnership or same-sex marriage legislation: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain and Sweden. British nationals in those nations must formalize their union under local law and the U.K. will then recognize it.


The Gay pride committee in the Canadian capital of Ottawa is "effectively bankrupt," the Ottawa Citizen reported April 19.

Ottawa-Gatineau Pride is $187,000 (US$162,700) in debt and needs an infusion of $25,000 from the city government to stay afloat and stage this year's parade and festival, the committee said.

"If we don't have a festival this year, then there's no guarantee we can pay back the creditors," committee member Tamara Stammis told the paper.

Ironically, $66,000 of the existing debt is owed to the city. Another $100,000 or so is owed to local businesses, some of which have agreed to accept repayment of 25 cents per dollar owed.

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