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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 6, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 01
International News - Scott Wittet
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International News

by Scott Wittet - SGN Contributing Writer

AUSTRALIA: ANTI-GAY STREET PREACHERS TARGET CITY TRAINS
In Adelaide, Australia's controversial street preachers are taking their hate messages aboard city trains.

Transit staff reported that two male preachers were 'abusing' passengers with slogans such as 'homosexuals are sinners and women are all sinners' while a third recorded the incident on a mobile phone. They want police to fine them for their behavior so they can challenge free speech laws in court.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said police had been called to remove preachers from trains on the Noarlunga line in two separate incidents on December 21.

'Preaching on public transport is of concern to the Department, as it would be likely to cause discomfort for customers on board and in prescribed areas such as stations,' the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said fines could be issued by either police or Passenger Service Assistants.

Members of Street Church Adelaide have polarized the local community in recent years with vocal Friday-night protests in which they shout slogans at passing shoppers such as 'you are all sinners and will be killed by God.' The preachers came to blows with drinkers last week.

Preacher spokesman Caleb Corneloup said the group had been taking their message aboard city trains over the past two weeks.

Corneloup said no fines had been imposed as yet, but he was eager for police to issue a ticket so they could challenge the law in court.

He denied that the preachers were hassling commuters and noted that trains are 'a really good environment for preaching. You have got a captive audience and it is much easier to get your message across. You are able to preach in a lower voice.'

LESBIAN COUPLE MARRIES IN ANGOLA
A Lesbian couple was married in Angola's capital Luanda over the weekend - the second recorded Gay marriage in the southern African country.

The couple, known only as São Paulo and Mario, decided to marry following a five-year engagement. They plan to honeymoon in Brazil.

Homosexuality is illegal in Angola and since Angolan legislation does not allow same-sex marriage, the union will not carry legal weight and there will be no marriage certificate.

However, Luanda's Gay community keeps a book to 'record' all its members' marriages.

BUDAPEST MAYOR OPPOSES GAY OLYMPICS
István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest, Hungary, says that while he respects the right of the LGBT EuroGames organizers to do whatever they and their 'like-minded people' want, 'I disassociate myself from both [the Gay] lifestyle, as well as from the event.'

Despite the lack of love from the mayor, the EuroGames will take place in Budapest from June 27 to July 1, with about 4,000 athletes from across Europe expected to participate.

Gábor Demszky, former mayor of Budapest, said that he supports the event.

Openly Gay Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, to whom Tarlós made his comments in a letter, noted that the games are not only a sporting event but also are important for promoting acceptance of LGBT people.

NEW ZEALAND LEADER SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE
David Shearer, the newly-elected Labour party leader in New Zealand, says marriage equality has his support 'in principle' but he would have to see the details of the legislation first before endorsing any particular bill. Civil unions have been legal in New Zealand since 2005.

Shearer also believes that updating laws which prohibit Gay couples from adopting is 'long overdue.'

Labour currently is the opposition party, and the government, dominated by the more conservative National Party, has said that marriage and adoption equality is 'not a priority.'

Shearer's deputy, member of Parliament Grant Robertson, is openly Gay and part of the four-MP Rainbow Caucus within Labour.

GAY UGANDAN ASYLUM SEEKER FREED FROM U.S. DETENTION
A Gay Ugandan asylum seeker has been freed from detention in California after a campaign by his friends.

Joseph Bukombe had been held at an Otay Mesa, San Diego, detention facility for nearly two years.

He needed $10,000 bail. It was raised through a campaign to 'get him home for Christmas.' Friends are now raising money to fight for his asylum claim.

'It's like a dream come true,' Bukombe said.

Eight years ago, Bukombe arrived in San Diego from Uganda and came out as a Gay man. Afterwards he was afraid to go back to his country. He recalls that a few years ago a mob beat one of his friends to death in Uganda.

Hector Martinez, a friend of a friend, started a campaign supporting Bukombe.

'Thanks to all the donors who contributed to bail for Joseph Bukombe who was released last night,' the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle wrote in an email to friends and supporters on Christmas Eve.

'He enjoyed his first meal with friends in San Diego at a Kenyan restaurant and wanted to express his deep appreciation to everyone who helped to secure his release,' Ogle wrote.

However, Bukombe still faces deportation hearings.

'It's clear I will die,' said Bukombe of being returned to Uganda. 'I'm scared for the future, but at least I have hope.'

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement told a San Diego television station that 'the courts have held that [Bukombe] has failed to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States. ICE is now in the process of seeking to carry out the deportation order handed down by the immigration court.'

Bukombe plans to hire an attorney and re-apply for asylum.

Supporters also are pushing a congressional bill that could allow him to stay. They are hopeful because of the Obama administration's new policy toward LGBT immigrants who face persecution or the threat of death in their homeland.

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