SUPPORT LEGAL REGISTRATION FOR GAY, LESBIAN AND TRANSGENDER ORGANIZATIONS
After 15 years of struggle, on August 28, 2004, the Honduran government finally granted legal recognition to three gay, lesbian and transgender associations. While human rights and sexual rights organizations worldwide have congratulated the Honduran government, other groups have reacted with condemnation.
A small group of religious institutions and politicians have now launched a campaign against the government's action, calling the recognition as against public order and suggesting that homosexuality is not part of Honduran national identity. The result of the campaign is that the Minister of Government was required to provide an explanation to the Parliament about the change in registration requirements.
Gay, lesbian and transgender organizations in Honduras are asking for letters of support that will show the widespread support for the government's decision, and, indeed, to affirm that the government has acted to uphold human rights and justice.
IGLHRC joins Comunidad Gay Sampedrana and GLAAD in asking for letters to be sent to the Honduran authorities.
SUPPORT CIVIL UNIONS PROPOSAL NOW UNDER ATTACK BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Asociacion Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panama (AHMNP) has submitted a legislative proposal to recognize basic conjugal rights to same-sex couples. In response, the local Catholic Church has launched a vicious campaign.
AHMNP is requesting letters from organizations and individuals around the world in support of the proposal and affirming that marriage/civil union is a civil law issue and as such is to be regulated by the State and not by the Church, AHMNP will deliver these letters to the Panamanian Parliament.
Please write today to
Ricardo Beteta (President of AHMNP)
Republica de Panama
You will find below a model letter in Spanish and its translation into English. We suggest that you send the Spanish version, to make communication easier with the Panamanian MPs. You are also welcome to write your own letter.
To Whom It May Concern:
We write to support the "Equality Before the Law for Stable Couples" proposal submitted by Asociacion Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panama (AHMNP) to the Panamanian Parliament.
We are aware of the criticism voiced by some sectors of the Panamanian Catholic Church against this proposal and we would like to address some of their concerns:
- The proposal has been rejected as being "against God’s plan". All religious beliefs deserve utmost respect, and in fact, this is a basic principle of human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, it is also important to acknowledge that the right to religious freedom applies to all religious practices, and not just the religious practice that is dominant. Moreover, many societies are diverse in their religious and spiritual practices – and Panama is no exception.. People of many different faiths made up Panamanian society, as well as people without any religious faith (a right also protected as part of religious freedom). As a secular state – Panama's Constitution recognizes the Catholic Church as being that of the "majority" but does not provide it with any official status (Article 35)- Panama's civil law mustserve and protect everyone, majorities and minorities alike, and can not be ruled by any particular group’s beliefs. Churches have their own laws, by which their faithful are ruled, and though which, according to each religious and spiritual tradition, God’s plan becomes manifest. But these rules apply only to those who practice the particular faith. Civil law is more modest – it only attempts to reflect what women and men who make up a particular society plan for their lives in order to fully enjoy those rights that humanity has recognized as essential to a dignified life, regardless of the absence or presence of religious faith.
HRC: SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES HIV/AIDS FUNDING LEVELS THAT FALL DANGEROUSLY SHORT
‘This funding shortchanges the fight against HIV/AIDS,’
said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.
WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign expressed deep disappointment at the decision by a Senate committee to flat-fund the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act and other critical federal HIV/AIDS programs.
“This funding shortchanges the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. “Prevention is our only vaccine and we need to get it out to those most at risk: young people, gay and bisexual men and people of color communities.”
In approving the flat-funding levels, the Senate Appropriations Committee provided no increase for most of the programs in the CARE Act — with the exception of one program, the Aids Drug Assistance Program. However, ADAP, which provides HIV-related prescription drugs to those without access to basic HIV treatment, was increased by only $35 million — falling far short of the $217 million needed to support this critical program. The committee also approved only flat-funding for the prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the insufficient funding levels for these critical programs, the appropriations committee disappointingly increased funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs by $36.5 million overall.
'Don't Amend' is on a roll
Amendment 3 foes outdo supporters by $500,000
By Deborah Bulkeley
Deseret Morning News
So far the campaign to kill a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage has raised more than $535,000 — a half million more than amendment supporters have raised.
Amendment 3, which will be on the ballot Nov. 2, defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman and prevents any other relationship from being given the same legal effect as a marriage.
As of Sept. 15, Don't Amend Alliance raised $535,495 and spent $281,190, according to a finance report filed with the State Elections Office. The political issues committee has raised just over $280,000 since its first finance report on June 1.