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April 15, 2014

United Nations has appealed to Brunei to delay the penal code that will introduce death by stoning for several crimes including homosexuality

Brunei will now stone you if you have gay sex from next week.

The predominantly Muslim nation of south-east Asia has adopted a new penal code calling for death by stoning for several crimes.

This includes homosexuality, adultery, rape, and declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.

Gay sex was originally only punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The United Nations human rights office has appealed to Brunei to hold off enforcement of the new penal code, scheduled to take effect 22 April.

March 17, 2014

Inspirational advocates from across Asia share their stories at landmark awards ceremony in Singapore

Asia’s LGBTI heroes have been honored at the first Asian Pink Awards in Singapore.

Campaigners and company representatives flew in from all over the region and as far away as Europe for the event last night (16 March), organized by Asian gay men’s magazine Element.

Among those honored was A-Mei, the hit Taiwanese singer who held a free concert in 2013 to support same-sex marriage.

Another singer, Laure Shang, a past winner of the Chinese Supergirls contest and an LGBTI advocate was also given an award.

March 13, 2014

By the end of the year, Scottish gay couples should be able to unite in matrimony. England and Wales couples will be able to marry on 29 March

Queen Elizabeth II has signed same-sex marriage into law in Scotland today (13 March).

By the end of the year, Scottish gay couples will be able to unite in matrimony.

It is the last step in the long battle to get the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill through parliament, making it an Act.

Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing, said: 'I am delighted that the Same Sex Marriage Bill has now received Royal Assent.

March 5, 2014

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has announced his support for same-sex marriage a year after signing civil unions for same-sex couples into law

Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has announced that he wants his state to join the growing list of US states that allow same-sex couples to legally marry – releasing a statement in support of the campaign for equal marriage in his state.

‘We have advocated for equal rights for all Coloradans and we will continue to advocate for equal rights for all Coloradans,’ Hickenlooper said in his statement for advocacy group Why Marriage Matters Colorado.

February 21, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry slams Yahya Jammeh for calling gay people ‘vermin’ that must be dealt with like mosquitoes

Secretary of State John Kerry said the US is 'deeply troubled' by Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh calling gay people ‘vermin’ that must be dealt with like mosquitoes.

Kerry labeled Jammeh's remarks 'hateful rhetoric' and called on the international community to condemn them.

'All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation,' Kerry said in a statement.

February 20, 2014

Joaquim Chissano has called on African leaders to remember the immortal words of Nelson Mandela and to fight for equality

Mozambique’s former president has called for Africa to respect and stop introducing harsher penalties for homosexuality.

Joaquim Chissano, who served as the country’s second president from 1986 to 2005, has reacted to Nigeria introducing one of the most draconic homophobic laws in the world.

Not only does the law ban gay marriage and gay rights organizations, but any person who even provides services to someone LGBT could be imprisoned.

February 12, 2014

International human rights group Human Rights Watch has called on the Malaysian Government to stop trying to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim prosecuted over claims he has had sex with men and to end its colonial era ban on gay sex

Human Rights Watch have called on the Malaysian Government to end its attempts to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim jailed over claims he has had sex with men in what is widely viewed as an effort to keep the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in power.

BN have ruled Malaysia since 1974 and Ibrahim is a former BN MP turned vocal critic of the government who has been trying to unseat the Malaysian Government since 1998.

February 10, 2014

Debbie Harry has revealed that Blondie were approached to perform at the Sochi Winter Olympics but turned down the offer over Russia’s human rights record

Blondie singer Debbie Harry has revealed that her band was approached to play during the Sochi Winter Olympics but turned down the offer over Russia’s human rights record.

Harry took to Twitter to post a photo of the offer by the Red Rocks Festival which is being held in Sochi as part of the Cultural Olympiad which surrounds the games.

On it she had written, ‘Pass – human rights.’

Blondie had been asked to travel to the games to perform in front of a crowd of 25,000 people during a 45 minute set on 13 February with a 9pm start.

February 4, 2014

Scottish Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill making Scotland the 17th country in the world to legalize equal marriage

Gay marriage is officially legal in Scotland.

Members of Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage this evening (4 February).

There was huge standing ovation as the votes were announced. Politicians voted Yes 105, No 18 and there was no abstentions. 

This means Scotland is the 17th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

The new legislation, described as one of the most ‘progressive’ equal marriage bills in the world, will allow religious bodies to opt in to perform same-sex unions.

January 17, 2014

Joaquim Chissano, the former President of Mozambique, has pleaded with African leaders to show more tolerance for sexual minorities and to respect their human rights in an open letter

Joaquim Chissano, president of Mozambique from 1986 to 2005, has pleaded for African leaders to be respectful of the human rights of sexual minorities and move away from discriminating against them.

January 16, 2014

The Russian Government has published a report criticizing human rights in the European Union in which it slams Europe for trying to force its tolerance of ‘queers’ on the international community

The Russian Government has struck back against criticism of its ban on so-called ‘homosexual propaganda to minors’ with a human rights assessment of the European Union in which it claims that European nations are trying to force their tolerance of ‘queers’ on the rest of the world.

January 15, 2014

Calls for review of constitutionality of law which 'may fuel prejudice and violence'

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday (15 January) condemned Nigeria's new anti-gay law which have already resulted in numerous arrests and 11 allegedly gay men being put on trial in an Islamic court.

A spokesperson for Moon said the Secretary-General has 'deep concern' particularly about the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria which is 'in breach of fundamental human rights.'

January 15, 2014

Calls for review of constitutionality of law which 'may fuel prejudice and violence'

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday (15 January) condemned Nigeria's new anti-gay law which have already resulted in numerous arrests and 11 allegedly gay men being put on trial in an Islamic court.

A spokesperson for Moon said the Secretary-General has 'deep concern' particularly about the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria which is 'in breach of fundamental human rights.'

January 11, 2014

Malaysia's Home Ministry has banned and accused the country’s leading human rights coalition of pursuing gay, lesbian and transgender rights which "run contrary to Islam"

In a move that has been denounced by human rights groups including Amnesty International, Malaysia's Home Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement declaring the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) illegal because the group and 39 of its 54 member-organisations are not registered with the government.

January 10, 2014

Wedding bells could be ringing for gay couples by the end of 2014 as the European country with a gay Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister finally looks set to pass marriage equality

Luxembourg is set to pass gay marriage this summer.

If approved by parliament, gay couples could be finally walking down the aisle by the end of the year.

Justice Minister Félix Braz announced the news this week, saying he hoped it would be finally made law after years of delays.

Drawn up by the former government in 2010, the same-sex marriage draft law was due to be voted on late last year.
But following a change of government in October, the vote was postponed.

January 3, 2014

If 2013 was marked by setbacks for LGBTI rights, what can we expect from 2014?

LGBTI activists in many parts of the world will look back on 2013 as one of the worst years in memory for the cause of equal rights. In countries as far apart as Uganda and India, Russia and Australia, organizations and human rights defenders have been trying to assess the damage and work out new strategies to make 2014 a year of progress rather than retreat.

Many of the worst blows came in the closing weeks of 2013. In a long-awaited decision, the Indian Supreme Court effectively re-criminalized homosexuality, overturning an earlier ruling in Delhi.

December 25, 2013

SMUG is defiant in the face of parliament pushing through act giving life in prison to ‘repeat’ gays. Calls on president not to sign and make it law

Leading LGBTI rights organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has pledged to fight to the end to stop the anti-gay law passed by the country’s parliament.

The passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill on Friday (20 December) took LGBTI activists and governments around the world by surprise. It appears it may even have been a shock to Uganda’s own government.

December 23, 2013

Saying she would have rather stayed in prison, Maria Alyokhina remains strongly anti-Putin after his new amnesty law released her from jail three months early

A member of Russian anti-Putin group Pussy Riot has been released early from prison.

Maria Alyokhina, who was jailed in March 2012 along with fellow Pussy Riot band members Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova for performing and filming an anti-Putin music video, went straight to human rights group Committee Against Torture after being released from prison today (23 December).

December 15, 2013

In acceptance of award from Auburn University, Apple CEO Tim Cook connects his experiences growing up in the US South to today's struggle for LGBTI rights

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, repeated his call for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

The out business leader made the comments in a speech in New York City this past week. His alma mater, Auburn University, gave him the International Quality of Life Award.

December 11, 2013

Following the Health Minister Edwin Poots' attempts to keep the ban, the Supreme Court has said gay couples are now free to apply to adopt children

Gay and unmarried couples are now free to adoption children in Northern Ireland, following a ban being finally lifted today (11 December).

They can now apply in the same way as straight couples.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: 'Following the Court of Appeal judgement in June 2013, unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, and those in a civil partnership may apply to adopt.

'The final decision regarding the granting of an adoption order will lie with the court.'

December 6, 2013

The Green Liberal Party of Switzerland put forward a parliamentary initiative on Tuesday which would allow same-sex couples to marry in the face of efforts by the country’s Christian Democrats to ban same-sex marriage while treating gay and straight couples the same for tax purposes

Switzerland’s Green Liberal Party wants to make sure people are taxed the same regardless of whether they are in same or opposite-sex committed relationships and also want to allow gay couples to marry, putting forward two parliamentary initiatives to that end Tuesday.

December 3, 2013

After this weekend’s vote where only 34% of voters were in favor of changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, Croatia’s leaders pledge to keep fighting the increasingly difficult fight for marriage equality

Croatia’s leaders have vowed to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples in as little as two weeks.

Despite this weekend’s devastating blow to plans for civil unions, where 66% of Croatian voters said marriage should stay defined between a man and a woman, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic supports some form of marriage equality, regardless of how it is defined. 

December 2, 2013

Dozens of gay and lesbian couples exchanged vows in the middle of the night to celebrate Hawaii becaming the 16th state to allow same-sex marriages

As Hawaii’s new gay marriage law came into effect Monday (2 December), couples rushed to tie the knot at midnight.

Same-sex couples in Hawaii are now able to register for a marriage license and get married on the same day, making the process easy and attractive for tourists looking to take advantage of the new law in the world-renowned romantic island setting.

University of Hawaii researchers estimate the islands could receive a $217 million (€160 million) boost in tourism because the state passed same-sex marriage.

November 27, 2013

‘Same Love’ rapper Macklemore and musical collaborator Ryan Lewis have been named LGBTI Equality Champions by the United Nations Human Rights Office as part of its Free & Equal human rights campaign

Hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have joined the United Nations Free & Equal campaign aimed at raising awareness about the need for equality for LGBTI people around the world.

As part of their role as Equality Champions they will use their social media to spread the campaign’s messages and materials about the need to protect the human rights of LGBTI people.