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Rex Wockner
International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Uruguay sees first civil union
Uruguay's first civil union took place April 17, more than three months after Latin America's first national civil-union law came into force.

Actor Adrián Figuera, 38, and theater director Juan Carlos Moretti, 67, tied the knot before a judge, family and friends.

The couple has been together 14 years.

Couples must live together for five years before they can take advantage of the law, which grants spousal rights in areas that include inheritance, property ownership, pensions, parenting and health care.

The law applies to "two people - whatever their sex, identity, orientation or sexual option may be - who maintain an emotional relationship of a sexual nature [and] an exclusive, singular, stable and permanent character without being united in matrimony."

Other Latin American localities with civil-union laws include the city of Buenos Aires, the Argentine province of Río Negro, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, Mexico City, and the Mexican state of Coahuila, which borders Texas.

Colombian court grants pension rights to Gay couples
Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to enroll in pension plans the same as married couples, El Tiempo reported April 17.

"This is yet another incredible victory by the Colombian LGBT rights organization Colombia Diversa, which worked with the Public Interest Group at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá to bring the issue to the court and emerge victorious," said New York City activist Andrés Duque, a Colombian immigrant.

Last October, the same court ruled that Gay people can add their partners to their health-insurance plans. Same-sex couples must register their unions with a notary before applying for benefits. The ruling covered private insurance and government-run health care, known as social security.

In February 2007, the Constitutional Court extended spousal property and inheritance rights to same-sex couples.

In other Colombian news, transsexual Darlyn Acevedo Ramírez, 19, was murdered in Cali on March 23, becoming the 13th Transsexual to be killed in the city in the past two years.

She was attacked by a group of men at a traffic circle in the Alfonso López neighborhood, the same location where two of the other killings occurred.

None of the cases has been solved, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which said more than 3,000 Transsexuals live in the city.

Dutch marriage registrars told not to discriminate
The Netherlands' Equal Treatment Commission ruled April 15 that marriage registrars who refuse to marry Gay couples can't marry straight couples either, NIS News reported.

The nonbinding decision came in a case where a city placed an ad for new registrars that stipulated they be willing to perform both straight and Gay weddings.

The commission's rulings are usually upheld by courts.

The commission also ruled April 15 that the feminist magazine Opzij may not discriminate against men in filling editorial jobs.

Filipino docs in trouble for YouTube video
Doctors and nurses at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, Philippines, face lawsuits and probable penalties over a YouTube video that showed a medical extraction of an aerosol can from a man's rectum.

A hospital spokesman said making the video for nonmedical reasons and making fun of the patient violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The patient, known only as Danilo, has said he plans to sue everyone involved in the incident.

In the footage, the doctor who extracted the can of Black Suede body spray shouts "Baby out!" as he removes it. He then sprays the contents of the can at nurses and doctors watching the procedure.

Danilo has said he got drunk, hooked up with a guy, and doesn't remember how the can got inside his rear end.

Police have not figured out who uploaded the video clip to YouTube.

Irish sperm donor loses guardianship case
An Irish Gay man who gave his sperm to a Lesbian couple he was friends with so they could get pregnant has lost his case seeking guardianship of his two-year-old son, the Irish Times reported April 17.

High Court Justice John Hedigan determined it is best for the boy to remain with his mothers, who, he said, are a de facto family as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Hedigan also stressed that the Dáil, or parliament, should urgently address the dearth of Irish law on the rights of same-sex couples.

Media-monitoring group launches in India
A Gay journalists group has formed in Mumbai, India, to lobby for balanced treatment of Gay issues in the media and entertainment industries.

The Queer Media Collective kicked off its activities with an awards ceremony April 19, honoring, among others, the Hindustan Times newspaper, Time Out magazine, NDTV, Zee Café (a TV channel), Mumbai Mirror advice columnist Dr. Mahinder Watsa, Sunday Times columnist Bachi Karkaria, TV reporter Barkha Dutt, filmmaker Reema Kagti, the CNN-IBN documentary series The Alternate Sexuality, and, as Queer newsperson of the year, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, who was disowned by his family for coming out in a news article.

"Barkha Dutt, who got the best-TV-journalist award, is pretty much the most respected TV journalist in the country," said media collective spokesman Vikram Doctor.

picture top: Amsterdam; picture bottom: Mumbai

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