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November 24, 2014

Eight LGBTI people were arrested and torturted in the country this month

Gambia's president has signed into law a bill that punishes 'aggravated homosexuality' with life imprisonment.

The notoriously anti-gay President Yahya Jammeh approved the bill on October 9, according to documents uncovered last week. 

The bill targets 'serial offenders' and people living with HIV but because 'homosexuality' and 'homosexual acts' are not defined in Gambian law, human rights groups fear that LGBTI people will be persecuted arbitrarily under the new enactment.

November 24, 2014

India recriminalized homosexuality last year

Up to 2,000 people yesterday (23 November) protested India's anti-gay laws at Bangalore pride, the first since the country recriminalized homosexuality in December last year.

After an hour delay, hundreds of people set off from the city railway station for the sixth Bengaluru Pride March and Karnataka Queer Habba in India's third largest city, in Karnataka state.

Unlike previous years, the parade was redirected through the conservative Malleswaram district and most marchers decided not to wear eye masks or cover their faces, despite the law.

November 21, 2014

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has warned the government of Gambia to stop persecuting LGBTIs after it passed laws that would see homosexual ‘serial offenders’ and people with HIV jailed for the rest of their lives

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned Gambia that it is failing its international human rights commitments by its continued persecution of LGBTI people, citing the passage of new laws that even further criminalize sexual minorities.

Homosexuality was already punishable with up to 14 years in prison in Gambia but earlier this year the government passed a vaguely defined law punishing ‘aggravated homosexuality.’

November 20, 2014

Report finds the government is 'complicit' in the rise of anti-gay violence

LGBTI Iraqis are at 'imminent risk of death' amid a breakdown in rule of law and the rise of sectarian militias, according to a new report.

The report released yesterday (19 November) said Iraqi security forces gave 'tacit blessing' to religious militias to target perceived 'sodomites' with impunity.

The report was conducted by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, MADRE and the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq over two years.

November 20, 2014

Plaintiff: 'Finally my family is equal in the eyes of the state I grew up and made my life in'

The US Supreme Court has cleared the way for same-sex marriages to begin in South Carolina.

The high court denied a motion filed by South Carolina’s Attorney General for an emergency stay to further delay the issuing of licenses to same-sex couples.

A federal judge struck down the state's marriage ban last week in a case filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley.

November 20, 2014

Donations to the main group campaigning against same-sex marriage in America appear to be drying up as courts continue to rule in favor of the rights of same-sex couples across the United States

The most prominent group in America campaigning against the legalization of same-sex marriage appears to be in financial trouble, with its 2013 tax filing documents showing the organization is more than $2.5 million in debt.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) only managed to raise $5.1 million in 2013 with over half of that coming from just two big donors.

That figure was more than half what the organization received in 2012.

November 19, 2014

African country has arrested five LGBTI men and three women this month

Amnesty International has demanded Gambia stop its crackdown on homosexuality amid reports that the west African country has arrested and tortured eight LGBTI people since 7 November.

They were told they were under investigation for 'homosexuality' but have not been formally charged, despite constitutional guarantees that require people to be charged within 72 hours of arrest.

November 19, 2014

Tongzhi can mean 'comrade' or 'gay' in Chinese

The Chinese Communist Party has told its members to continue calling each other 'comrade' despite the word's second meaning - 'gay.'

The party ruled that more than half of its discipline regulations were 'outdated' and no longer applicable after a two-year review, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Among the 487 regulations to remain is a 49-year-old diktat that members call each other 'comrade,' the egalitarian form of address preferred by Communists.

November 18, 2014

Raymond Burke was head of the Vatican's supreme court until last month

Cardinal Raymond Burke has said he would refuse communion to lawmakers who voted for gay marriage, as he did with pro-choice legislators in his native US.

The prelate made the comments on Saturday (15 November) at a Catholic conference on the family in Limerick, Ireland.

Burke refused to comment on his recent demotion and Ireland's upcoming referendum on gay marriage, but said he would have 'issues giving holy communion' to lawmakers who voted in favour of gay marriage.

November 18, 2014

Grant Robertson says he will not run again

Grant Robertson today (18 November) narrowly lost his bid to be the first gay leader of the New Zealand Labour Party by 1 per cent in the final round of voting.

Despite leading in party and caucus votes, the former deputy leader did not have the overwhelming support of the unions that winner Andrew Little had.

'I want to make clear that having put myself forward for the leadership on two occasions now that I will not do so again,' he told press after the results were announced.

November 18, 2014

Unless unlikely event that high court steps in, licenses to start being issued to same-sex couples on Thursday

Same-sex marriage in South Carolina came a step closer to reality on Tuesday (18 November) after the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied the state's motion for a stay.

Last week, a US District Court struck down the state's gay marriage ban and that set the stage for same-sex couples to begin getting married this week.

Unless the US Supreme Court intervenes, the marriages will begin at noon on Thursday (20 November).

November 18, 2014

For many in the Middle East, Turkey is a safe haven for LGBTI people. But the gay and trans population still faces great hatred and real danger

Turkey is a country conflicted when it comes to its LGBTI population.

On one hand, Turkey is the first country in the Muslim world to hold a Pride march. Now, 11 years on, 2014 Istanbul Pride is widely lauded. It surpassed last year’s LGBTQI pride attendance that drew nearly 100,000 revelers and onlookers.

It is the ‘go-to’ country for LGBTI Muslims fleeing other Islamic countries for their safety.

The country’s Supreme Court acknowledged in July that calling LGBTI citizens ‘perverts’ is hate speech.

November 16, 2014

Same-sex marriage is a controversial issue in predominantly Catholic France and has drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets

In what is said to be his strongest comment on the issue, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday called for the country's same-sex marriage laws to be scrapped.

November 15, 2014

In an interview with US talk show host Larry King, 2016 GOP candidate Ben Carson warns gays want to ‘redefine everything for anybody else’

One US conservative pundit is worried gay people are trying to ‘redefine’ everything by demanding marriage equality.

US neurosurgeon Ben Carson was being interviewed by TV chat show host Larry King about his stance on gay marriage, amongst other things.

‘Why isn’t same-sex marriage a civil rights issue?’ asks King.

‘For me, it’s not a big issue,’ replied Carson.

November 14, 2014

Another senior figure in the church has lashed out at gay people who wish to marry and start families

A Catholic Cardinal in Italy has said this week that gay couples that wish to have children are undermining traditional families and are ‘irresponsible’.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who is the Archbishop of Genoa and the President of the Italian Bishops Conference, is regarded as a senior figure in the church.

Addressing a meeting of Italian bishops in Umbria on Monday, he spoke out against same-sex civil unions, saying that they ‘confuse people’, especially if children are involved.

‘It is irresponsible to weaken the family by creating new forms.’

November 13, 2014

State's governor and attorney general vow to continue legal fight to uphold ban

Same-sex couples began getting married in the state of Kansas on Thursday (13 November).

The marriages began after the US Supreme Court lifted the emergency stay it had issued earlier in the week.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who along with Governor Sam Brownback has vowed to continue the legal fight against gay marriage, had maintained that marriages should only be allowed in the two counties where successful lawsuits were filed.

But marriages were taking place across the state throughout the day.

November 13, 2014

Qatar's sports minister promises 'creative solutions', but can he guarantee safety?

Gay people will be treated similar to beer at the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, the country's sports minister, compared gay fans and footballers who wanted to travel to the soccer tournament.

Alcohol is partially banned in the Arabic country, but is sometimes punished with flogging. Both male and female homosexuality is punishable with flogging and imprisonment of up to five years.

Al-Ali, when asked by the Associated Press, said the country will find 'creative' ways that beer could be sold.

November 13, 2014

Julie Eldredge has been cut off from the two children after break-up

A woman who lost access to the two children she had been raising with her ex-partner after a bitter split will get her day in court.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday (12 November) that Julie Eldredge is entitled to a hearing on her claim for parental rights and what is in the best interest of the children.

November 13, 2014

New South Wales follows Queensland and Tasmania

New South Wales has become the third Australian state to recognize gay couples who have married abroad in places where same-sex unions are legal.

November 13, 2014

'We are thrilled she will be joining the White House team and look forward to working with her on important issues in our ongoing fight for full equality'

This week the White House named a new LGBT liaison in its Office of Public Engagement.

Aditi Hardikar's official title is director of public engagement. She will serve as the White House's point person for the LGBT and Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

November 12, 2014

Stays decision for one week so no licenses will be issued to same-sex couples before then

A federal judge on Wednesday (12 November) struck down South Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage saying it is unconstitutional.

US District Judge Richard Mark Gergel stayed his ruling for one week so no licenses can be issued to same-sex couples before then.

Gergel based his decision on a recent ruling by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld the striking down of a same-sex marriage ban in Virginia.

November 11, 2014

Pacific nation bans gay sex and marriage

The 'queen of the Cook Islands' has said it is 'unfair' to criminalize gay people because of who they love.

The paramount chief of the Takitumu tribe, Marie Pa Ariki, made the comments last week in New Zealand at Hui Takataapui, an annual gathering of indigenous people from the Pacific nations.

'[Gay] people are knowledgeable and contribute to society and to home life,' she told GayNZ.com.

'They are human like everyone else... we are all whanau.'

November 11, 2014

Milan Rozsa, who made headlines in February when he climbed into the grounds of the Russian embassy in Budapest to protest Russia’s treatment of LGBTIs, has died after stepping in front of a train in an apparent suicide

One of the leading figures in Hungary’s LGBTI equality movement has died in an apparent suicide aged just 26-years-old.

Milan Rozsa rose to prominence as one of the most outspoken young activists on the Hungarian left in just four years of activism - taking prominent roles in not just campaigns to win equality for LGBTI people but also protests against attempts to tax internet usage in Hungary and a plan for Russia to finance a nuclear power plant in the country.

November 11, 2014

High court grants emergency stay requested by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

Tuesday (11 November) was to mark the beginning of marriage equality in the state of Kansas.

But that won't be happening - at least for now - because US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a request from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt for an emergency stay.

The stay applies to a recent ruling by a federal trial judge who struck down the Kansas gay marriage ban and ruled that the decision would go into effect Tuesday evening.