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International News - Rex Wockner
Section One
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

British prime minister apologizes to Alan Turing
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized to Alan Turing on September 11 after 31,564 people signed a petition on Brown's website asking him to do so.

Turing - the openly Gay founder of modern computing who cracked key Nazi military codes during World War II - was prosecuted in 1952 for the crime of engaging in Gay sex and was chemically castrated and stripped of his security clearance. He committed suicide in 1954.

"On behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better," Brown wrote.

"Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes," Brown explained. "It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of WWII could well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of 'gross indecency' - in effect, tried for being Gay. His sentence - and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison - was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own life just two years later."

"Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated," the apology continued. "While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other Gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction. I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT community. This recognition of Alan's status as one of Britain's most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue."

Leading Gay activist Peter Tatchell called Brown's apology "most welcome and commendable."

"But," Tatchell said, "a similar apology is also due to the estimated 100,000 British men who were convicted of consenting, victimless same-sex relationships during the 20th century. Singling out Turing just because he is famous is wrong. Unlike Turing, many thousands of ordinary Gay and Bisexual men were never given the option of hormone treatment. They were sent to prison."

Another famous victim of the gross-indecency law was Oscar Wilde, who was prosecuted and jailed in 1895.

British consul murdered in Jamaica
The honorary British consul in Montego Bay, Jamaica, was strangled in his home September 9 in a possibly homophobic attack.

John Terry's nude and beaten body was found with a handwritten note calling him a "batty man," which means "faggot."

Police believe Terry knew his killer.

Honorary consuls are volunteers who represent the British government and help people for whom the United Kingdom has consular responsibility. Terry, 65, filled the role for the western end of the island.

Jamaica is considered by human-rights defenders to be one of the world's most virulently homophobic countries. Gay sex is illegal.

Uruguay OKs Gay adoption
Uruguay reportedly became the first country in Latin America to allow Gay adoption September 9 when the Chamber of Senators passed a bill that previously had passed the Chamber of Deputies.

President Tabaré Vázquez indicated he will sign the bill into law.

Questions have been raised, however, about a confusing provision in the bill that requires children's full names to include both their mother's and father's last names.

Uruguay also has a national civil-union law for same-sex couples and lets open Gays serve in the military.

The civil-union law requires that couples have lived together for five years before they can take advantage of it, and grants spousal rights in areas that include inheritance, property ownership, pensions, parenting and health care.

The couple must "maintain an emotional relationship of a sexual nature [and] an exclusive, singular, stable and permanent character."

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.

Clinton says U.S. will battle anti-Gay violence worldwide
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said September 11 that the United States will fight anti-Gay violence anywhere in the world that it happens.

Speaking in New York at the Roosevelt Institute's Four Freedoms Medals Gala Dinner, where she received the institute's Four Freedoms Award, Clinton explained: "[We] must condemn violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In country after country after country, young men and women are persecuted, are singled out, even murdered in cold blood, because of whom they love or just based on claims that they are Gay.

"We are starting to track violence against the LGBT community, because where it happens anywhere in the world, the United States must speak out against it and work for its end. Through our annual human rights report, we are documenting human rights abuses against LGBT communities worldwide. And we are seeking out partners at the United Nations such as Brazil, France, Sweden and the Netherlands to help us address these human rights abuses."

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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