Northern Ireland gay groups clash over Civil Partnerships
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
Gay rights groups in Northern Ireland have clashed with the Christian Institute, which is calling for the province to be excluded from the Civil Partnerships bill.
Members of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association (NIGRA) protested outside a Christian Institute last week, in which the religious hardliner group called for the "immoral" bill to be dropped.
Already well known for its opposition to the bill, the Institute thinks the government should not include Ulster in the legislation, which gives legal recognition to same-sex couples for the first time.
NIGRA's P A MagLochlainn told the Belfast Telegraph that the gay community deserves the rights and responsibilities offered in the legislation, and that the Institute is wrong to link it with Christian ideas of marriage.
London sees homophobic crime increase
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
Attacks on London's lesbian and gay community have sharply increased over the last year, according to new figures from the Met Police.
According to the capital's police force, homophobic attacks have risen by more than 10% in the last 12 months, with attacks including verbal and physical abuse.
Attacks rose from 1,365 in 2002 to 1,536 in the following twelve months the force says.
However, it adds that the rise could be a result of increased confidence amongst the city's LGB community, rather than a spike in anti-gay feeling.
Gay-rights speaker: Ignorance begets hate
by Randy Kim
Judy Shepard received a standing ovation upon her arrival at the Dalton Center on Wednesday, where she shared her personal experience with students.
“You’re not supposed to make me cry before I start,” she said.
“The Legacy of Matthew Shepard: An End to Hate Crimes,” sponsored by the Western Student Association and Outspoken, opened with a video documentary that displayed hate across the nation, including a life story of Matthew Shepard and an in-depth parallel story of James Byrd, whose murder exhibited hate toward the black community.
“This isn’t a gay thing, it’s a hate thing,” Shepard said. Her son, Matthew, was killed because of his sexual preferences. His murder several years ago raised the media profile for such assaults
Yardies threaten to shoot Tatchell
THEY call him the Batty Man in Jamaican patois. Peter Tatchell, the gay rights campaigner, has a bounty on his head after declaring war on reggae artists who advocate the killing of homosexuals.
Tatchell, who has previously taken on opponents such as President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, has put himself in the firing line by targeting the likes of Beenie Man, Bounty Killa and Elephant Man, whose lyrics preach death to gays.
His campaign, often resulting in concerts being cancelled at short notice, has cost performers, promoters and venues an estimated £2m in Britain and the United States.
Last week police in Manchester intervened to secure the cancellation of a concert by another singer, Buju Banton, amid concerns about possible public disorder and threats to local lesbians and gays by his fans.
Democrats Score Victory for Gay and Lesbian Americans
Discrimination Against Federal Employees Blocked
Washington, DC – Democrats scored a major victory on behalf of gay and lesbian Americans this week when, according to recent press reports, the Social Security Administration (SSA) halted its attempts to remove sexual orientation from the Administration’s non-discrimination policy. The head of the SSA abruptly halted the Administration’s proposed discrimination within one day of Democratic National Committee Chairman (DNC) Terry McAuliffe’s public statement condemning the move.
"This is a victory for the Democratic Party, but more importantly a victory for gay and lesbian Americans against discrimination," McAuliffe said Friday, upon receiving the news.
Bush-appointed SSA administrators had proposed to rollback gay and lesbian rights by striking protection based on sexual orientation from their contract with union workers, an act which would have allowed discrimination, including job termination, based solely on sexual orientation.
"George Bush has consistently tried to take away hard-won rights and move our country in the wrong direction," continued McAuliffe. "In contrast, John Kerry has a plan to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because he knows no American should be discriminated against because of his or her sexual orientation."