Canada’s Conservatives endorse gay marriage


Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press | 16225ga

Canada’s Conservative Party has decided to embrace gay marriage.

Delegates at their conference voted by 1,036 to 462 to change the definition of marriage in the party’s official policy document. Delegates from all provinces except Saskatchewan cast majority votes in favour of no longer defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

It has taken the party ten years to make the move.

“I think our party got a little more Canadian today,” Calgary MP Michelle Rempel said after the vote. “It’s a milestone and it’s not just a milestone for our party, it’s a milestone for all Canadians.”

At the Liberal Party convention which is underway in Winnipeg, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a shot at Conservatives for debating same-sex marriage more than a decade after a Liberal government made it legal. “Better late than never,” he said. “Who knows … 10 years from now, they might finally be willing to admit that climate change is real. Or that tax cuts for rich people don’t help the middle class. Or that government shouldn’t legislate what women can wear on their heads.”

Next of Kin Letters now available

The UK is to become the first country in the world to issue next of kin letters to gay couples who are travelling abroad. Foreign staff will be able to issue an official information note so that overseas medical and legal authorities in countries where gay marriage may not be recognised, will have proof that the British Government including British Consulates recognises the person in posession of the letter to be the next of kin.

The move is designed to prevent a repeat of the episode in Australia earlier this year where a British gay man was not recognised as the next of kin of his partner who had an unfortunate and fatal accident.

Well done PC Plod

Crawley Police announced its’ first seizure under the new blanket ban on legal highs, which came into effect this week. They raided three shops in Crawley town centre just hours after the new ban came into force, seizing the shops’ entire stocks of poppers.

Regular readers to Gay Activist will be aware that Poppers have not been banned, because they are not psychoactive. Poppers are legal.

A number of people responded to Crawley Police’s twitter announcement by drawing their attention to that bijou factette, but Crawley Police were having none of it. “POPPERS are now ILLEGAL”, they retorted.

A short time later they began to have second thoughts. “We are checking out the situation regarding the illegality of selling poppers and will update shortly,” they tweeted.

Minutes later they admitted the Poppers were seized “in error in good faith. All goods seized will be returned to the shops with apologies.”

Many thanks to Crawley Police for relieving the tedium of the Brexit debate for a day.

LA cops still do it


Navymailman | 16223ga

The Los Angeles Times reports that LA Police are still enticing and entrapping gay men cruising.

Undercover officers, critics contend, often exchange flirtatious signals and make arrests of men who think their advances are welcome, when no one else is nearby to be offended. They say that the stings can ensnare men who hadn’t otherwise been seeking sex and that they rarely, if ever, target straight people.

…Courts have raised questions about the stings, invalidating a number of prosecutions in various parts of the state. In some cases, judges found no crime had occurred because the undercover officer conveyed sexual interest to the target and no one else was present to be offended by the lewd conduct. Last month, a Los Angeles County judge threw out the charges in one case stemming from Long Beach’s 2014 operation, saying police were discriminating against gay men.

Some things never change. Meanwhile if you are headed for LA this summer – be sensible.

HPV Pilot scheme announced

After long delays, a vaccine to reduce the risk of cancer is to be offered in a pilot scheme to gay men in England. The jab protects against human papillomavirus, which increases the risk of oral, anal and penile cancers.

In November 2015, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation called for the HPV jab to be offered to gay men up to the age of 45. The JCVI said there would also be a “substantial benefit” in reducing the number of genital warts.

Public Health England is in the process of agreeing which GUM and HIV clinics will take part in the pilot.

New York cops caught lying

Jabbar Campbell | Susan Watts/New York Daily News | R

Jabbar Campbell of Crown Heights, Brooklyn was busted on trumped-up charges three years ago, when homophobic cops brutally beat him at his gay pride house party before a failed attempt to trash his reputation, his lawyer says. The cops accused of beating him up are changing their stories, the victim’s lawyer says.

With Campbell now acquitted on all counts, the officers in his case provided testimony contradicting both their initial version of the arrest — and their fellow cops.

Campbell, who has endured a dozen surgeries since his Jan. 13, 2013, arrest, views the police now as barely better than the people they put behind bars. “It’s frightening to think about, really,” said Campbell, 35.

Victoria is sorry

The Australian state of Victoria will formally apologise to people convicted under historical laws against consensual gay sex.

Before 1981, men faced up to 15 years in prison for having consensual sex with other men. In September Victorian premier Daniel Andrews introduced legal reforms to help those affected by the old laws to have their criminal convictions removed including the crimes of buggery, gross indecency with a male and offensive behaviour.

Australia’s Labour party proposes a gay rights champion


Harrison Saragossi/SMH | 16219ga

Australia’s Labour party would appoint a full time champion of gay and lesbian rights to the Australian Human Rights Commission to “help build a more inclusive Australia” if it wins government in Australia’s July general election/ The move that further highlights Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s adherence to his predecessor Tony Abbott’s same-sex marriage stance. role would cost $1.4 million over four years.

“Great progress has been made in the fight for a fairer Australia but there is still more to be done,” the party said in a statement. “Sadly, LGBTI Australians continue to face discrimination in many areas of life and many feel they need to hide their sexuality for fear of violence and discrimination.”

Church of Scotland’s gay ministers can now marry

The Church of Scotland has voted to let its ministers enter same-sex marriages while saying it “maintains its traditional view of marriage between a man and woman.”

At its general assembly today it voted to allow congregations to “opt out” from traditional teaching if they wish to appoint a minister or a deacon in a same-sex marriage.

Church of Scotland clergy will still not be allowed to conduct same-sex weddings. A debate on that will be held next year, after further deliberation.