by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
Same-sex marriage legalized in Buenos Aires
A judge legalized same-sex marriage in Buenos Aires on November 13. Mayor Mauricio Macri quickly said he would not appeal the ruling, a Gay couple was given a marriage license on November 16, and they will marry on December 1.
In the case filed by Gay couple Alex Freyre and José María Di Bello, Judge Gabriela Seijas ruled that it is unconstitutional not to treat everyone equally under the law.
Other local same-sex couples now can use the ruling to demand their own marriage licenses.
Freyre is head of the Buenos Aires AIDS Foundation and Di Bello works for the Red Cross.
Buenos Aires, some other Argentine cities and the province of Río Negro already have civil-union laws for same-sex couples. Elsewhere in Latin America, similar laws are in force in Uruguay, Mexico City, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, and the Mexican state of Coahuila, which borders Texas.
The Buenos Aires archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church criticized Seijas' ruling, saying banning Gays from marrying is not "discrimination."
In a statement, the archdiocese said society is in "moral crisis" and that matrimony is about legal recognition of women's children.
Indian election officials recognize third gender
Indian Transgender and Intersex people will no longer have to choose "male" or "female" when they vote, the Election Commission said November 12.
They can instead choose "O" for "other."
India has a class of Transgender people known as "hijras." Most have penises or are Intersex; some are female and some have undergone genital modifications. They usually use female pronouns and dress as women.
Iranian HIV stats released
Iran's Health Ministry says that as of mid-October, a total of 20,130 Iranians have tested HIV-positive, 2,097 people have been diagnosed with AIDS and 3,409 HIV-positive people have died.
The ministry said 93 percent of those who tested HIV-positive are male and only 13 percent of infections resulted from sex, with 77.5 percent resulting from sharing needles to inject drugs.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has claimed that Iran does not have Gay people "like you have in [the U.S.]"
"In Iran ... absolutely such a thing does not exist as a phenomenon," he said in 2007.
There have been persistent, though unconfirmed, reports for years that Iran hangs men for the crime of engaging in sodomy, but the only sodomy-related executions that have been publicized involved individuals who were accused of additional crimes as well, such as rape.
In a 2008 interview, Ahmadinejad denied that people are executed solely for engaging in homosexual acts.
"Homosexuals are not even known who they are to be hanged," he told the Democracy Now! radio program. "So, we don't have executions of homosexuals. Of course, we consider it an abhorrent act, but it is not punished through capital punishment."
Australian Capital Territory legalizes same-sex unions
Australia's Capital Territory has again legalized same-sex unions.
Two previous attempts were overturned by the national government, which has cited a national law that bans legal statuses that mimic marriage.
Local legislators this time banned straight couples from entering into civil unions so as not to "mimic" marriage. It is unknown if the attorney general will allow the new law to stand.
Protesters march on Uganda's N.Y. mission
Around 50 Gays and their supporters protested at Uganda's Permanent Mission to the United Nations on November 19 against a draconian anti-Gay bill pending in Uganda's Parliament.
The legislation bans anything and everything Gay, including: touching someone in a Gay way; funding or sponsoring Gay groups; broadcasting, publishing or marketing anything Gay; advocating for homosexuality; renting to or harboring a homosexual; engaging in "aggravated homosexuality"; and failing to report to authorities one's awareness of the existence of a Gay person within 24 hours of learning the person exists. "Aggravated homosexuality" applies to repeat offenders and people who are HIV-positive. It is punished with death, while the other crimes carry penalties as high as life in prison.
The bill has been strongly denounced by the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs' chair, vice chair and ranking minority member, along with openly Lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who called the legislation "egregious."
The New York demo was organized by the African Services Committee, Health Gap, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch, the Council for Global Equality, ACT UP/Philadelphia, Advocates for Youth, and Proyecto Sol Philadelphia. A similar protest took place at the Ugandan Embassy in Washington, D.C.
For the full text of the bill, see tinyurl.com/hatebill. For information on how to help fight the bill, see tinyurl.com/iglhrc-ug.
Activists target Turkish law
The Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association in Ankara, Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission have teamed up to demand that Turkey's "Law of Misdemeanors" be rewritten to protect Transgender people's rights to free expression, association and movement.
"In recent months," the groups said, "the harassment of Transgender and Transsexual persons in Turkey has intensified as police abuse the country's Law of Misdemeanors to legitimize daily fines, extortion, eviction, detention and police brutality. The law gives security forces tremendous leeway to punish any noise, disobedience and disturbance, with virtually no oversight in how the law is applied or recourse to those who are penalized."
The groups said Trans people are routinely fined $67 under the law's Article 32, which applies to anyone who disobeys an order issued "to protect public security, public order or commonweal," and are fined $34 under Articles 36 and 37, which target anyone who "makes noise with a purpose of discomforting or breaking the peace of others" or "disturbs others to sell goods and services."
"In Ankara, Transgender people report being regularly ... taken into custody and being kicked, slapped, punched and physically brutalized," the groups said. "Persecution of Transgender people in Istanbul has ... become especially vicious with the introduction of a bonus system [that] gives officers 'points' for the number of fines they issue and lawbreakers they apprehend."
The groups said Trans people in Istanbul are being apprehended in broad daylight while shopping or running errands and subjected to fines, detention, extortion, police brutality and eviction from their homes.
For more information or to join the campaign against the law, see tinyurl.com/transturkey.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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