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A gunman used anti-gay slurs before he shot and killed a man in fashionable Greenwich Village early Saturday. Police were dispatched to the corner of 8th Street and Sixth Avenue just after midnight Saturday. They found the victim — Marc Carson, 32, of Harlem, pictured — on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head. Elliot Morales, 33, was charged with Second Degree Murder As A Hate Crime, as well as Criminal Possession Of A Weapon on Saturday. The gunman first urinated on the street outside the bar, then walked into the bar and made anti-gay remarks to the bartender.
There have been 22 “bias attacks” in New York City this year, compared with 13 at this time last year.
Organisers said Muslim opposition should be seen as a challenge to David Cameron’s claims to be acting in the interests of “equality” and “diversity”. They quote the Koran and say they are fulfilling a “sacred trust to God” by airing their views, and they describe marriage as a “sacred contract between a man and a woman” which they say “cannot be redefined”.
The letter has been signed by 505 imams and mosque chairmen from London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, Luton, Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Dewsbury, Newcastle, Bradford, Huddersfield and Nottingham among other cities.
Trish/Bergen Record/New York Daily News
France became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage today. President Francois Hollande signed the measure into law following months of bitter political debate. Mr Hollande acted a day after the Constitutional Council threw out a legal challenge by the right-wing opposition, which had been the last obstacle to passing the bill into law.
The legislation also legalises gay adoption.
“I will ensure that the law applies across the whole territory, in full, and I will not accept any disruption of these marriages,” said the president. French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said the first gay marriages could be celebrated as early as June. Marriages in France must take place in town halls, the application process takes about four weeks.
Agence France Press/Getty Images
Former detective constable Kevin Maxwell, a former counter-terrorism officer, who told police bosses about racism and homophobia in the Police has alleged Scotland Yard hounded him out of the force “like an enemy of the state”. This week the Met lost an employment tribunal appeal against an earlier ruling, which found in Maxwell’s favour on at least 40 points. The tribunal found that Maxwell, who is black and gay, suffered multiple counts of degrading or humiliating treatment. One officer talked of gay men “taking it up the arse”, and the tribunal found that one officer described a man in a photograph as being “as gay as a gay in a gay tea shop”, which police colleagues greeted with laughter. The tribunal also found that a Met employee had leaked details about Maxwell to a newspaper, which he says endangered his safety.
Martin Godwin for the Guardian
Mike Freer, a prominent Tory supporter of gay marriage, pictured, accused fellow Conservative MPs of attempting to “derail” the bill which will legalise gay marriage in England and Wales. The Bill is due for a series of debates and votes next week. Mr Freer said opponents were tabling a “superficially attractive” amendment that could undermine the bill. He spoke out after a group of Tories expressed confidence that they will succeed in amending the bill to grant civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.
Tim Loughton, the former Tory children’s minister who has tabled the amendment, rejected the idea that he is trying to scupper the bill. There are also reports that the Labour party, which strongly backs the bill, is hoping to find ways of undermining David Cameron by backing the Loughton amendment.
While Prime Minister David Cameron is still proposing to introduce gay marriage as a key sign that he has modernised both Britain and his party, sources report that two thirds of the government whips are opposed to the bill.
Linda Nylind for the Guardian
Gay Activist wishes all our readers a happy weekend. If you are going out, make sure you put your warmest coat on. It is summer, after all (well, our garden birds think it is) – but you should not get hypothermia due to a blast of excessively hot and humid air emanating from Westminster.
Portugal’s parliament today adopted legislation allowing individuals in a gay marriage or partnership to apply to adopt each other’s children. The bill passed its first reading by 99 votes to 94 with nine abstentions. The opposition Socialist Party and the extreme left, and 16 members of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s centre-right Social Democrats, voted in favour. The law now has to pass a second reading before being signed by the country’s president.
Two other bills seeking to give couples full rights to adopt jointly were rejected, however. In Portugal, any individual can apply to adopt but a gay marriage law passed three years ago explicitly excluded adoption for same-sex couples. The new bill aims not to revisit adoption by gay couples but to “respond pragmatically to existing family realities,” the bill’s authors said.
Agence France Press
Yesterday was of course the International Day against Homophobia and the Winnipeg Free Press looks at the progress gays in Canada have made – and finds it wanting.
Education Minister Nancy Allan said the government of Manitoba was fully committed to helping create an inclusive province for all. “We have to stand up against homophobia because we can’t be bystanders. Students can’t work if they’re humiliated, intimidated or marginalized,” she said, encouraging all Manitobans to fight homophobia. More and more bullying of gay students is occurring on the Internet and via social media, often cloaked in anonymity. “Bullying has taken on a new form and homophobia is changing. Our laws need to keep up.”
Winnipeg Free Press
More than one in four gay people in Europe have been subjected to violence, abuse or hate-filled threats in the past five years, according to a study of homophobia in Europe.
The European Union is calling for action to counter discrimination and violence against homosexuals after the survey, by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, revealed many gay people are living in fear across the 27-nation bloc. The survey of 93,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people showed that more than 80 percent of the group are verbally abused or bullied at school, nearly one in five feel discriminated against when seeking work and a quarter of the people have been attacked or threatened in recent years.
Morten Kjaerum, pictured, Director of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, said action is needed ‘to break down the barriers, eliminate the hate and create a society where everyone can fully enjoy their rights.’
2008 Photo: The Associated Press
The International Day against Homophobia was also marked in Tbilisi, Georgia, today. It turned nasty, quickly. Thousands of other Georgians led by priests broke through police barricades and forced gay rights activists to flee.
Holding banners saying “Stop Homosexual Propaganda in Georgia!” and “Not in our city!”, the demonstrators swarmed into a square in central Tbilisi where about 50 Georgians were rallying in support of gay rights. Police escorted the gay rights supporters onto buses and drove them away to avoid violence. Several people, including some journalists, received minor injuries.
Later in the evening, rowdy crowds took to the streets and started shouting at people they thought might be homosexual.
David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters (Today)
The organizers of Moscow’s gay pride have appealed to court over Moscow City Hall’s refusal to authorize their event, activists said today. They have asked the Tverskoi District Court to consider their complaint before the events are due to be held, and are seeking for city officials to be ordered to authorize the parades and rallies.
The gay pride parade organizers plan to file additional complaints with Moscow’s Tagansky District Court against a ban on holding gay pride pickets on May 25 and 26, and with the Khimki City Court against a ban on holding a rally and gay pride march on May 25. The campaigners referred to the European Court of Human Rights’ 2010 ruling that found the ban of similar public events in Moscow in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to be illegal.
Moscow City Hall: Andrei Stenin, RAI Novosti
Shepton town councillor Simon Davies has spoken out after being targeted in a “politically-motivated” slur. He feels that certain individuals have been trying to “rubbish his name” by using the fact that he is gay as a way to discredit him. They have been insistent that Mr Davies has yet another Criminal Records Bureau check as he is the council representative on the skate park committee.
Mr Davies, who does not have any dealings directly with children, said: “I would not have minded in itself, I don’t think it’s unfair but it has all started from my views on gay marriage. Every single aspect of council life involves working with vulnerable people, so on that basis every one of us should be CRB checked. People have their views and that’s fine, people with anti-gay views are never going to change, but as long as this CRB check is done fairly and not for the simple fact I’m gay. I worry that this kind of thing happens to someone more sensitive than I am. It’s really bad, and the council has to respect the public and what they may think of this behaviour. I’m a human being, I’m not paid to be a town councillor, and I shouldn’t have to be treated in this way.”
Simon Davies is the former Mayor of Wells and owns a Coffee House in Shepton Mallet.
Simon Davies in his coffee house: Shepton Mallet People
Europe’s oldest matchmaking event, the traditional Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in Ireland, is having a new gay and lesbian weekend at the start of the festival. “The Outing” is the brainchild of local hotelier Marcus White, who has enlisted Dublin Pride Festival organiser Eddie McGuinness to manage the event. They hope the Outing will become the world’s largest gay and lesbian singles event.
“At the end of the day it’s about love – that’s what the matchmaking festival has always been about. Ireland is leading the world on a lot of gay issues and hopefully we will have gay marriage soon, so the time is right for something like this to take place,” said Mr McGuinness.