Gay rights groups threaten Australian government over marriage ban
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
The Australian government could face a challenge in the country's courts, after gay rights groups claimed the new ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
According to the AAP, the Equal Rights Network, a coalition of LGBT groups, has begun working with lawyers on whether they could challenge the law in the High Court.
The law was passed last week, after the country's Labour party sided with the coalition government on the bill, which also bans recognition of same-sex marriages conducted abroad.
The country's Prime Minister John Howard had originally drawn up the proposals after the ongoing row in the US over gay marriage.
Gay rights divides the government . .
The issue of equal rights for same-sex couples in Austria is dividing both the ÖVP and the coalition.
The debate began when the Styria ÖVP's chairman, Christoph Drexler, called for equal rights for same-sex couples. That put him at odds with federal party officials in Vienna.
The general-secretary of the ÖVP, Reinhold Lopatka, said that the issue of granting gay couples the same legal rights as straight couples is not currently on the party's agenda.
Lopatka says Drexler could raise the issue at the Styrian ÖVP's annual party congress this autumn after which the issue could be brought before the federal party by Styria governor Waltraud Klasnic. The governor backed Drexler up announcing to make sure of discussing the matter in the federal ÖVP.
Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) said he had no comment on the issue, while Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser said he supported Drexler's proposal. A straight no to Drexler's proposal came from the FPÖ. Judicial spokesman, Dieter Böhmdorf- er, said equal rights for same- sex couples would discrimi- nate against families.
Indian press accused of targeting gays after murder
Christopher Curtis, Gay.com/PlanetOut.com Network
India's LGBT community is feeling targeted by the press after two allegedly gay men were found murdered over the weekend.
Police found the bodies of Pushkin Chandra, 38, a project development officer with US Agency for International Development (USAID), and his friend known as Vishal in Chandra's New Delhi home, a place described by Indian newspapers as "posh".
While police suspect the two men were killed by robbers, the press has highlighted the men's supposed sexuality, including accounts of homosexual pornography found at Chandra's residence and his status as an out gay man.
"Look at what the newspaper headlines are saying: 'Double murder outs Delhi's gay culture,'" a designer told the Newindpress.
UN Concerned About Gay Arrests In Nepal
(New York City) The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Monday voiced concern about the arrests and reported mistreatment of nearly 39 gay men in Nepal.
The men are all members of the Blue Diamond Society. They were swept up in a series of raids on August 9. A senior police spokesperson said the men were indulging in illegal activities.
“We respect homosexuals as citizens," said Devilal Tamang. "However, we arrested them as they were indulging in acts prevented by the law,” he said.
Sapana Pradhan Malla, a spokesperson for Blue Diamond, said the arrests meant nothing but a way to harass minority communities.
The organization is the only LGBT rights group in the tiny country sandwiched between China and India in the Himalayas. Last month, police forcefully dispersed a crowd of gays who had marched on the Parliament building to deliver a petition for civil rights to the Prime Minister.
SEX SWAP WOMAN'S ASSAULT RAP VOW
A TRANSSEXUAL vowed to take out a private prosecution against a man cleared yesterday of ramming her with his car.
A jury found John Stewart, 52, not guilty of assaulting Lisa-Anne Docherty.
The 34-year-old, formerly known as William Wotherspoon before a sex change, slammed the jury's decision.
Stewart, of Holytown, Lanarkshire, had been accused of knocking her over with his car and attacking her with a pickaxe last March.
Openly gay man appointed judge in busy Detroit court
DETROIT (AP) -- The newest member of the 36th District Court bench is believed to be the first openly gay person appointed to a judgeship in Michigan.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm named Rudy Serra, 49, to the position on June 25. The Detroit resident was sworn in Aug. 9 as one of 31 judges on the district court, one of the busiest in Michigan.
Several gay rights organizations' Web sites have identified Serra as the state's first openly gay judge. But, Serra told the Detroit Free Press last week: "I think it matters only because it breaks another barrier.
"There had to be a first woman judge. There had to be a first African-American judge. Those psychological barriers are now broken. Now, if a gay or lesbian individual comes along in the future that's qualified, it sets a precedent and demonstrates that that person can serve and do a good job. That's the significance."
Legal bid to place two children in lesbian home
By Chris Millar, Evening Standard
Social workers have launched a fight to take two toddlers from their foster parents so they can be rehoused with a lesbian couple.
A court must now decide whether to remove the children, a girl of two and boy of three, from the care of the heterosexual couple with whom they have been living for more than a year.
Social workers at Labour-led Greenwich council believe the boy and his stepsister must be cared for by a lesbian couple because their mother was in a same-sex relationship.
The male social worker behind the action has been seeking lesbian couples prepared to care for the children.
Ottawa won't oppose gay unions
No more court battles: Minister Announcement `significant shift'
LEGAL AFFAIRS REPORTER
WINNIPEG—The last federal barrier to same-sex marriage and divorce collapsed in dramatic fashion yesterday, with Justice Minister Irwin Cotler offering a blanket assurance that Ottawa will no longer stonewall or resist applications.
"We will not be opposing any of these," he told the annual conference of the Canadian Bar Association. "We will allow these proceedings as they arise."
During a question-and-answer session, Cotler was asked point-blank by Toronto lawyer Doug Elliott if the federal government plans to force gays and lesbians to endure court battles as they continue their fight for equality in provinces across the country.
The government opposed same-sex marriage in constitutional challenges to the law brought by gays and lesbians in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. When courts in those provinces ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional, Ottawa reversed its position in materials filed for an upcoming hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Military policy forces gay partners to quietly struggle on homefront
BY GAYLE WORLAND
CHICAGO - (KRT) - Katy and her partner were still teary-eyed from the exchange of a promise to spend the rest of their lives together - made just hours before one of them was to ship off to Iraq for more than a year.
But when the two women said farewell at the base, all they could share was a platonic hug.
Even as Americans debate whether it's right to legalize same-sex marriage, caution remains a fact of life for servicemen and women communicating with a gay or lesbian partner back home.
"We still sign our e-mails with `I love you,'" even though the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy makes it risky, said Katy, 24. Like others interviewed for this story, she spoke on the condition that her full name be withheld, for fear it could be traced to her partner. If her partner were "outed," she could lose her job and the free college tuition that enticed her to enlist in the first place.