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Content about Human Rights

March 31, 2015

South Asian country says vote against partner benefits for gay staff was based on 'sovereignty issues'

The US ambassador to India has expressed disappointment in the south Asian country for voting against LGBTI rights at the UN.

Richard Verma made the comment last week in New Delhi.

'We were disappointed... by India's support this week for the attempt to strip benefits from UN staff in same-sex relationships,' he said.

'We will continue to support the rights of LGBT individuals in India, in international institutions, and around the world.'

February 28, 2015

Convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the meeting is the first of its kind to bring together LGBTI activists, government and private sector representatives from over 30 countries

Some 200 participants from over 30 countries gathered for the three-day Regional Dialogue on LGBTI Human Rights and Health in Asia-Pacific at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok that concluded yesterday.

Speakers included Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, Member of Parliament of Mongolia; Louise Wall, Member of Parliament of New Zealand; Tarana Halim, Member of Parliament of Bangladesh; law and human rights experts; community organization workers; as well as private sector representatives.

February 25, 2015

Civil partnership ceremonies were scrapped in 2012

Queensland is making moves to reinstate state-sanctioned civil union ceremonies for gay couples.

The state attorney-general, Yvette D'Ath, said Wednesday(25 February) the new Labor government would make good on an election pledge and re-introduce civil partnership ceremonies after they were scrapped in 2012.

'It’s something that I’m getting briefings on as we speak,' she told Fairfax Radio.

'We have made it clear we will change it back. We’re putting in place (measures) to do that now.'

February 24, 2015

Randy Berry will advocate for LGBTI rights globally

The US State Department Monday (23 February) named Randy Berry as its first LGBTI rights envoy.

The openly gay diplomat is currently the US consul general in Amsterdam and has served in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda, and South Africa.

Secretary of State John Kerry said he 'could not be more proud' to announce Berry as the first-ever special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons.

February 13, 2015

State media attacks the openly gay chair of a human rights report on the hermit kingdom

North Korea has gone on another homophobic rant against the openly gay chair of a 2013 report condemning Pyongyang’s human rights record.

The Korean Central News Agency last month published an editorial demanding the US retract and apologize for the UN Commission Of Inquiry.

It claimed that a North Korean defector gave false testimony and the report 'is now being ridiculed and censured by the international community.'

February 12, 2015

Government says treating same-sex unions differently is unconstitutional

A bill to allow gay marriage and adoption in Slovenia passed its first hurdle Tuesday (10 February) as a parliamentary committee backed the measure after several hours of debate.

The committee on labor, family, social affairs and the disabled voted in favor of making marriage law gender neutral by 11 votes to two.

The amendment was proposed by the opposition party, United Left, which said that marriage applies to two people – regardless of gender.

February 11, 2015

Four government bodies reject the first LGBTI group to apply for incorporation

The first South Korean LGBTI group to apply for incorporation has said they were rejected by four government agencies because of anti-gay discrimination.

Beyond the Rainbow Foundation approached the Seoul Municipal Government, National Human Rights Commission and the ministry of justice between January 2014 to January 2015 but were rejected by them all.

February 6, 2015

New post will be filled by an openly gay Foreign Service officer

US Secretary of State John Kerry will announce the appointment later this month of a special envoy to advocate for LGBTI rights overseas.

The move pre-empts a bill introduced last week in boths houses of the Senate that would make promoting LGBTI rights a priority of US foreign policy.

January 31, 2015

'I am a strong believer in traditional marriage and I do not construe homosexual rights as human rights'

A US lawmaker sees no connection between human rights and LGBTI equality.

On 27 January, during hearing on Nigeria, Representative Chris Smith separated gay and human rights.

'I am a strong believer in traditional marriage and I do not construe homosexual rights as human rights,' the New Jersey Republican said, according PolitickerNJ.

January 30, 2015

Legislation creates a special LGBTI envoy in the State Department

US lawmakers in both of houses of congress yesterday (29 January) introduced a bill to promote and protect LGBTI rights globally.

The International Human Rights Defense Act would create a special envoy in the State Department to coordinate efforts to prevent and respond to discrimination and violence against LGBTI people worldwide.

January 28, 2015

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, has called for legislation protecting LGBTI people from discrimination in housing and employment across the United States so long as ‘religious rights’ are not compromised

The leadership of the US Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made its most accommodating statement on LGBTI issues to date on Tuesday this week in a televised press conference and online statements published on the church’s official website.

However in the same breath the Mormons accused LGBTI activists of seeking to take away the same freedom of expression for religious people that they had fought so hard to win for themselves.

January 16, 2015

Execs from Google, Sky, Barclays, Tesco, Burberry and more make the cut

Britain’s top 50 LGBTI business people have been named in a new list out today.

Executives from household names like Barclays, IBM, EY all make the grade. And in poll position is Antonio Simoes, chief executive at HSBC UK.

All of them have helped increase visibility of LGBTI people in the workplace.

Appropriate list judges were all openly gay or lesbian.

January 13, 2015

Ban Ki-moon says such laws breed intolerance even if not enforced

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 'staunchly opposes' India's anti-gay law, which he said breeds intolerance in the world's largest democracy.

He made the comments yesterday (12 January) at while addressing the Indian Council of World Affairs in New Delhi.

'We are all different from one another, but we all have the same human rights,' he said.

'I am proud to stand for the equality of all people, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I staunchly oppose the criminalization of homosexuality.

December 31, 2014

Two couples celebrated the change in Scottish law by getting married just after the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay

The first same-sex marriages have taken place in Scotland this morning.

The first couples to marry today were Joe Schofield and Malcolm Brown, both 42, who married in a Humanist ceremony at 00.01 (31 December) at the Trades Hall in Glasgow.

Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott, 54 and 59 respectively, married at the same time in a civil ceremony at a private venue, also in Glasgow. The Douglas-Scotts, who have been together 18 years, had previously entered a civil partnership with one another in 2006 and have five grown-up children.

December 30, 2014

Following a law change that came into effect on 16 December, Scotland’s first same-sex weddings will take place on Hogmanay

The first gay weddings are due to take place in Scotland after the stroke of midnight tonight.

The Scottish Parliament legalized same-sex marriage in February of this year, and the new law came into effect on 16 December.

On that date, anyone wishing to marry was able to give notice to marry: an obligatory 15-day period. This means that the first wedding ceremonies will take place tomorrow – the last day of the year.

December 29, 2014

Money will win over morality

The moral case for supporting LGBTI rights isn’t persuading global policymakers.

We have proved discrimination and abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people is a violation of human rights. But around 80 countries still criminalize homosexuality and most others don’t give LGBTI people equality or protection.

The moral argument alone won’t win. It’s time we spoke to world leaders in a language they understand.

December 19, 2014

More than 40% of MPs vote in favor of the draft bill

Polish lawmakers have voted against putting a gender-neutral civil unions bill on the agenda of this parliamentary session.

MPs on Wednesday (17 December) voted down the bill proposed by the Your Movement party by 235 ballots to 185, with 18 absentations.

This is the third time the Sejm has rejected the legislation, which was first introduced in 2012.

December 11, 2014

'I bow my head and apologize for the anxiety I have caused'

The mayor of Seoul will meet the LGBTI protesters who occupied city hall for five consecutive days over his scrapping of a human rights charter.

A coalition of 20 groups started the sit-in on Saturday demanding an apology and face-to-face meeting with Mayor Park Won-soon.

Park agreed to the meeting yesterday on Human Rights Day, the date the charter was supposed to be enacted.

December 10, 2014

Activists call on the international community to pressure Mayor Park into passing his scrapped human rights charter

The occupation of Seoul city hall by LGBTI activists enters day five as the mayor remains silent on a human rights charter he indefinitely postponed last week.

Today is World Aids Day and was the scheduled date for the enactment of the charter, which includes provisions banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

A coalition of 20 LGBTI groups started the sit-in on Saturday 'out of rage' that Mayor Park Won-soon nullified the charter after anti-gay protests, despite a citizens committee passing the measure.

December 9, 2014

Bill allows the refusal of goods and services on religious grounds

A Northern Ireland legislator is seeking to add a 'conscience clause' to equality laws after a Christian bakery was sued for refusing to make a gay marriage cake.

Paul Givan yesterday (8 December) introduced his Freedom of Conscience Bill to the legislative assembly that would allow those with strongly held religious beliefs to deny access to goods, facilities and services on the grounds of sexual orientation.

'The dilemma facing people of faith is the choice of violating their sincerely held beliefs or going out of business,' he told the legislature.

December 9, 2014

Transport for London, the authority in charge of London’s public transport and roads, will be rolling out its rainbow crossing again to mark the day that civil partnerships can be changed to marriage

England and Wales passed legislation late last year allowing same-sex marriage; in addition to previous legislation allowing same-sex civil partnerships.

Civil unions began in 2005, since which time over 120,000 people have entered into them. Same-sex marriages have been possible since March, but until now, those who were previously in civil partnerships have not been able to change their relationship status.

That all changes from tomorrow (10 December), when a simple appointment with a registrar will allow those in civil unions to become legally married.

December 8, 2014

Mayor indefintely postpones the anti-gay hate law after a Christian backlash

About 70 LGBTI activists staged a sit-in at Seoul city hall to protest the mayor's indefinite delay of a human rights charter banning anti-gay discrimination.

A coalition of 20 LGBTI groups Saturday (6 December) occupied the lobby of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) holding a banner reading, 'To sexual minorities, human rights mean life.'

They said Mayor Park Won-soon had not responded to repeated requests for a meeting and demanded he proclaim the charter, which was supposed to be enacted on Human Rights Day on 10 December.

December 5, 2014

Russian leader was forced to defend his anti-gay laws in front of the Human Rights Council

President Vladimir Putin has claimed Russia is not homophobic, saying the rest of the world has merely branded the country that way.

The Russian leader has claimed other countries, such as the US, is actually far more homophobic.

He was forced to defend his anti-gay laws, the 'gay propaganda' law and the ban on people from countries with same-sex marriage adopting Russian children. Putin was speaking with representatives of the Human Rights Council and the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia today (5 December).

December 5, 2014

Law professor says 'you cannot make a human wrong a human right'

Civil rights activists yesterday (4 December) protested a speech by an anti-gay law professor at a Human Rights Day seminar hosted by the EU Delegation to Singapore.

Several activists held a rainbow flag and placards reading 'LGBT rights are human rights' while Thio Li-ann delivered her speech.

Jean Chong, co-founder of LGBTI advocacy group Sayoni, told GSN that the silent protest 'was to address the elephant in the room and civil society’s disagreement to the EU’s insistence on inviting Thio in spite of her views on LGBTQ people.'