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September 29, 2014

We travel through time and the United States in honor of LGBT History Month, looking at where gay rights history was made

During October, we celebrate LGBT History Month in the US.

While the first celebration of LGBT History Month took place in 1994, the struggle for social, political and economic equality had been brewing for decades before.

Well into a new century, we look at the huge wins and massive losses we’ve seen in the legal and social battles to achieve true equality for LGBTI individuals not just in the US, but the world over.

We’ve been inspired by rebellious drag queens to stand up and speak out.

September 29, 2014

Grant Robertson is downplaying suggestions his being gay will affect his chances

Gay politician Grant Robertson has downplayed suggestions his sexuality will affect his chances at the New Zealand Labour Party leadership.

The MP for Wellington Central announced his intention to run for leadership yesterday after Dan Cunliffe said on Saturday that he would resign tomorrow and seek a new mandate.

Robertson told the New Zealand Herald, 'There may well be some people who raise that. That's fine. But that's not where I think I'll be judged.

'I'll be judged, I'm sure, on my ability to reflect Labour values.'

September 29, 2014

Court postpones ruling on a case seeking to repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act for a second time

A Nigerian court last week postponed the ruling on a case seeking to repeal of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act for a second time.

September 29, 2014

Kamla Persad-Bissessar hinted that a referendum may be called on decriminalizing gay sex

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago has said decriminalising homosexuality and gay rights are not possible in the country because public opinion is too divided.

The first female prime minister made the comments on Thursday at the Trinidad and Tobago Investment Conference in New York.

She said, 'At this moment it is not legally possible. The draft gender policy came to the Cabinet, discussed at length and given the very divided voices of Trinidad and Tobago.

September 28, 2014

The semi-autonomous region of Aceh province has passed a law to punish gay and lesbian sex by 100 lashes in public

Lawmakers in the Indonesian province of Aceh have passed a law Saturday that punishes gay sex with 100 lashes in public and subjects non-Muslims to the province's strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

According to media reports, the Aceh Islamic Criminal Code explicitly outlaws anal sex between men and 'the rubbing of body parts between women for stimulation,' making homosexuality technically illegal for the first time in Aceh.

September 27, 2014

'However, the State urges that residents of Alaska possess the same fundamental right to retain the traditional definition of marriage'

The US state of Alaska argues citizens, not courts, have the right to define marriage.

Yesterday, 26 September, the state filed papers in federal court for a suit five same-sex couples initiated this past May. The plaintiffs insist the state's ban on marriage equality, passed by voters in 1998, violates the Constitution.

Alaska counters such decisions by citizens are essential to democracy.

September 26, 2014

After surviving a total of seven hostile amendments from Egypt, resolution passes 21-16 with seven abstentions

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday (26 September) passed a resolution which condemns discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Chile, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, states that it 'does not seek to create new rights. ... There are some whose rights are more violated and need more protection.'

Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay were joined by 42 additional co-sponsors.

September 25, 2014

Richard Perrins is part of the team of specialists at fertility and family law firm Natalie Gamble Associates. He explores the relative pros and cons of entering into a prenuptial agreement prior to a marriage or a civil partnership in England and Wales

When contemplating entering into a marriage or civil partnership the thought of entering into a pre-nuptial agreement is perhaps not the most romantic item on a couple’s list of things to do.

However, such agreements are not uncommon and can be incredibly useful documents.

Traditionally, in England and Wales, prenuptial agreements have long since been deemed as not legally binding and therefore generally not used as result. This has much to do with how family law is dealt with in the context of any disputes that may arise in any divorce or dissolution case.

September 25, 2014

Jane Fae takes on web filters, calling out the UK government for using a filtering system that does not comply with UK equality law

Pride, the film of how lesbian and gay activists gave support to the striking miners in 1984/5, may be a hit at the box office.

It is not quite such a hit with Hertfordshire Council, a county north of London, whose public Wi-Fi filters have deemed a Wikipedia page detailing the history of this campaign is 'adult content' and as such in breach of their conditions of use.

September 25, 2014

Lambda Legal hails Holder's leadership in the fight for federal recognition of same-sex marriage

US Attorney General Eric Holder plans to step down as head of the Justice Department as soon as a successor is in place.

His impending departure was confirmed Thursday (25 September) by President Barck Obama.

Holder, 63, has been in the job for five-and-a-half year which is the fourth-longest ever for an attorney general.

Holder is considered a hero by LGBTI activists for his record on civil rights.

September 23, 2014

Jim Deva fought a 20-year battle against the censorship of LGBTI books

A Canadian activist who fought a 20-year battle against the censorship of LGBTI books died yesterday in a freak accident.

Jim Deva, co-owner of Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium in Vancouver, fell from a ladder and broke his neck while gardening. He was 65 years old.

When Deva opened Little Sister's in 1983 it was the only LGBTI bookshop in western Canada and the target of repeated vandalism and bombings.

September 23, 2014

Leader of the Labour party announces Lord Michael Cashman will be the party's special envoy on LGBTI rights

Ed Miliband has promised a huge LGBTI role if he is elected prime minister.

The leader of the Labour party in the UK announced at the party conference that he will create a role that will promote equality all over the world.

Michael Cashman, a gay former Member of European Parliament until he stepped down this year to take a place in the House of Lords, would become that ambassador.

September 22, 2014

Gay rights campaigners are calling for the gay and bisexual men to receive a vaccine for HPV, claiming current policy is 'homophobic'

Thousands of gay and bisexual men could be saved from cancer if British scientists decide to offer them a simple vaccine today (22 September).

The panel will discuss whether to offer men who have sex with men a vaccine for HPV, the infection which causes 5% of all cancers worldwide. While most known to be a cause of cervical cancer, the often sexually transmitted virus can also cause cancer in the throat, anus and penis.

Men who have sex with men are at higher risk of being infected with the virus, and therefore more at risk of developing cancer.

September 22, 2014

Ruling comes in case that involves lesbian couple's adoption of a child

A state judge in Lafayette has ruled that Louisiana's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional in a case involving a lesbian couple and the adoption of a child.

The ruling by Judge Edward Rubin will be made public on Tuesday (23 September) and is expected to be appealed by the state's attorney general.

Rubin's ruling came in family court in the case of Chasity S. Brewer and Angela M. Constanza who were legally wed in California and want the marriage recognized in Louisiana where they live.

September 22, 2014

Associate justice does the honors for her former law clerk and his husband

As the US Supreme Court is poised to announce which, if any, same-sex marriages cases it will review in its upcoming term, Justice Elena Kagan has reiterated where she stands on the issue.

The associate justice presided over the wedding of her former law clerk, Mitchell Reich, and hos husband, Patrick Pearsall, over the weekend in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

It was the first same-sex marriage officiated by Kagan.

Her colleague on the c0urt, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, has resided over four same-sex ceremonies.

September 21, 2014

Three couples filed their case against the state's same-sex marriage ban approximately a year ago

A US judge in West Virginia is waiting on the Supreme Court before going on with the gay marriage lawsuit on his docket.

According to WOUB.org, District Judge Robert Chambers points to an 'overlap of issues' with the marriage equality case in neighboring Virginia as the reason for delay.

September 20, 2014

'It been really great to hear the response of the entire community. It’s not just gay people who are signing the petition'

A friend of the gay couple recently attacked in Philadelphia is now working to include sexual orientation in the state's hate crime laws.

Caryn Kunkle is a longtime friend of the pair and put up a petition, for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, on change.org.

September 20, 2014

The sharia bylaw, which could be passed as early as Monday, will apply to everyone regardless of religion

Indonesia's Aceh province – the only part of the country to enforce Islamic sharia law – is re-seeking to punish anyone who has same-sex sexual relations by 100 lashes of the cane.

According to an AFP report, the draft bylaw outlaws anal sex between men and 'the rubbing of body parts between women for stimulation.'

September 19, 2014

US President writes in letter to her daughter: ‘Not only did she make us laugh, she made us think’

Joan Rivers, not long before her death, caught some blowback from the LGBTI community for a joke she made about US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

In July, Rivers was asked about being asked about likelihood of the US ever having either a female or a gay person elected.

She replied, 'We already have that with Obama. You know Michelle is a tranny. A transgender. We all know.'

Obama is not holding a grudge.

September 19, 2014

Her hiring comes come five months after India's Supreme Court recognized transgender people as a legal third gender

Transgender female Padmini Prakash has made history by being hired as a news anchor at Lotus News in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Prakash is the first openly trans anchor in India - ever.

'I was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could understand me,' Prakash tells the Times of India.

September 19, 2014

Homophobes killed by gay people: Very few, if any. Gay people killed by homophobes: Countless

Scott Lively has claimed gay people are out to murder him.

The hate preacher, currently on trial for crimes against humanity for his alleged LGBTI human rights abuses in Uganda, has published an article condemning the Human Rights Campaign and their 'hit list'.

As he is number one on the HRC's 'exporters of hate', he says he has 'special cause for concern'.

'Not every “gay” activist is physically violent, thankfully. Most limit their “human rights advocacy” to harassment, intimidation and slander,' Lively claims in his article on Barbwire.

September 18, 2014

Norman Fowler apologizes for the law that banned the 'promotion' of homosexuality in schools

A long-serving member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet has apologized for the controversial Section 28 which banned the 'promotion' of homosexuality in schools.

Former health minister Lord Norman Fowler told the Evening Standard, ‘We have come a long way. It [Section 28] was a great mistake and I think it’s now recognized as a great mistake and I would apologize for it. It was totally misjudged.’

The law was repealed in 2003.

September 17, 2014

Associate justice says there will only be urgency for high court if a state ban is upheld

Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the US Supreme Court won't be in a big rush to hear a gay marriage case unless the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds state marriage bans.

If that were to happen, 'there will be some urgency,' Ginsberg said during a talk at the University of Minnesota Law School on Tuesday (16 September).

The Sixth Circuit covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee and has marriage equality cases pending.

September 17, 2014

The US retailer appears to be working harder to assert its diversity and LGBTI-friendly credentials

US retail giant Target has not always stuck out its neck in support for LGBTI rights.

In 2010, it emerged that it had previously made financial donations to Republican politicians fiercely opposed to advancing gay rights, prompting a short-lived boycott by some customers.