by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
120,000 at Vienna Pride
Some 120,000 people turned out for Vienna's 13th Gay pride parade July 12.
Organizers called for an end to discrimination and for legalization of same-sex marriage.
The festivities were programmed by Homosexual Initiative Vienna, aka HOSI Wien.
Italian gay man wins 100,000 euros for discrimination
A Gay man on the island of Sicily won 100,000 euros (US$159,000) from the Italian government July 12 after the military and the Transport Ministry discriminated against him.
Danilo Giuffrida came out as Gay during his military medical exam. Doctors later relayed his coming-out to driver's-license officials, who then accused him of having a sexual identity disturbance, told him to retake his driving test and, when he passed it, gave him a one-year disabled-person's license instead of the normal 10-year license.
A court determined the events amounted to "sexual discrimination" and were unconstitutional. It is likely the first ruling of its sort in Italian history.
Singer: No Gays in Cuban Communist Party
Famous Cuban singer Pablo Milanés has told Spain's El Mundo newspaper that there are no Gay people in the Cuban Communist Party.
Asked if things are improving for Cuban Gays, Milanés said: "I don't know what to tell you. I have many homosexual friends who still complain that they are discriminated against, that they lack opportunities. There are no Queers in the Party. And those are signs that they are still alienated. To the best of our knowledge, none of the rulers have come out of the closet yet."
The translation of Milanés' remarks was done by the Miami Herald.
Milanés also said things haven't really changed in Cuba since Fidel Castro stepped down as president.
"What I don't understand is how everything stays the same," he said. "The government said a year ago that many things were going to change, but we stayed the same and the people are very desperate. Raúl Castro still has not had an opportunity to demonstrate what he thinks, because his brother Fidel is there and still emits his opinions. Owning a [mobile] telephone and being allowed to enter a [tourist] hotel is not reform. When it comes to freedoms, we're going backward."
British Army joins Gay-equality program
The British Army has joined the Gay group Stonewall's Diversity Champions program to work toward increased equality for Gay and Bisexual soldiers.
"Discrimination against those in the army who are Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual does not give them a chance to contribute or to play a full part in the teams that are vital for our success on operations," said Gen. Richard Dannatt, chief of the General Staff. "It is ... our absolute duty to treat our fellow soldiers as we would wish to be treated ourselves."
Britain banned Gays from the military until 2000. The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are already members of the Stonewall program.
Moscow officials ban Gay picket at Iranian Embassy
Moscow city officials banned a planned Gay picket in front of the Iranian Embassy July 14.
The protest, which was allowed the past two years, was to target Iran's treatment of Gays.
Iran has the death penalty on the books for sodomy and is believed to have used it somewhere between a few and thousands of times since the Islamic revolution, though no accurate information is available. Human Rights Watch has "documented brutal floggings imposed by courts as punishment, and torture and ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, in police custody."
Protest organizer Nikolai Alekseev said one word in the picket notification led authorities to ban the event.
"We applied to the prefecture with the identical notification to the ones we used in the last two years adding one word. Before, we said that we were protesting against executions of minors and this time we said that we will protest against executions of minors and homosexuals," he said.
Alekseev vowed to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, adding it to four other pending cases there concerning Moscow's apparent blanket ban on public demonstrations by Gay people. Gay pride has been banned for three years running.
"This is just another example that Moscow authorities actually banned all public events of sexual minorities in the city, depriving this social group of their constitutional right which is guaranteed by Article 31 of the Constitution," he said.
Lambda Istanbul eradicated by court
Istanbul's Beyoglu Court of First Instance has formally eradicated the Gay group Lambda Istanbul, saying its existence contravened societal norms of morality and decency.
Issuing its opinion this month in a case it decided in May, the court declared: "While members of the association are, as men and women, subject to Article 10 of the Constitution, which states that all persons are equal before the law; since there are no constitutional regulations regarding any other gender identity besides man and woman, forming an association based solely on sexual orientation and gender identity is against the essence and the spirit of this Article, and the concept of equality aimed by it."
The court continued: "It is observed that encouragement and propaganda, in all levels of the society, of the sexual orientation of the members of the association through organizing instructive programs are predominant in the association's aims, and that these activities are likely to bring about a tyranny of a minority over the majority, which is against legal and constitutional regulations, and that this would jeopardize the rights and freedom of the family and children, as mentioned in Article 41 of the Constitution, and the rights and the freedom of the youth, as mentioned in Article 58 of the Constitution."
The court proceeded to "dissolve" Lambda Istanbul, saying the European Convention on Human Rights allows obstruction of the right to association "to protect public morality and others' freedom."
The court also found that Lambda's bylaws contravened a Turkish law that states, "No association may be founded for unlawful or immoral purposes."
Lambda Istanbul has been in existence since 1993 and had been officially registered for two years. The group has continued to operate since the ruling and is appealing the decision to the Court of Cassation.
With assistance from Bill Kelley