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)