The altar in Malta’s a defaulter!

Registration of gay marriages, now legal in Malta, has hit a bijou snagette.

The forms aren’t ready yet.


Aren’t gay families wonderful!

More same-sex couples are adopting children in the UK.

Family court figures from the Department of Justice reveal that more gay couples are applying for adoption orders while fewer heterosexual couples are doing so.

Applications from heterosexual couples dropped by 12 per cent to 3561, while applications from gay couples rose by seven per cent to 587.

In 2002 the Adoption and Children Act allowed gay people to adopt for the first time. Since then the number of same-sex couples seeking to adopt has risen.

Gay couple win custody of surrogate baby

The rights of gay couples using surrogacy to create their families appear to have been strengthened this past week by a new ruling of the UK High Court.

A surrogate mother who decided not to hand over the baby lost custody of her child. The court ruled the child would be better placed with the gay couple who arranged for her to have the baby. The child’s “identity needs as a child of gay intended parents” would be better fulfilled if he lived with the couple.

The woman and her husband changed their minds about giving the child up, and did not tell the men about the birth for more than a week after it took place last April. The male same-sex partners began legal proceedings. Last year a High Court judge ruled that the child, now 18 months old, should live with them. The surrogate mother and father appealed.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the original decision to give custody to the gay couple with limited contact six times a year with the surrogate mother and father was correct. While surrogacy arrangements had no legal standing, the child’s genetic relationships and welfare were the most important factors for deciding where he or she should live.

Blackmailers sentenced

Two men blackmailed a man out of thousands of pounds by threatening to reveal that he was gay, and spent all the money they extorted from him on their drug habits, a court heard.

Between March and November 2015 Michael Rose, 20 and Elliot Haynes, 19 blackmailed their victim into handing over £3,360 to keep quiet about his sexuality, posted Facebook messages calling the victim a “sick paedophile” and threatening to beat him up.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lost his job and had to sell his car to pay Rose to keep quiet about his sexuality.

In June, Rose, of Hill Park Crescent, Greenbank, pleaded guilty to two counts of demanding money with menaces from a man. Haynes, of Exeter Road, Ivybridge, initially denied the joint charge of blackmail but changed his plea to guilty on November 14.

Rose was sentenced to 28 months in prison. Haynes received a 12 month sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to complete 240 days of unpaid work, 20 days of rehabilitation and 19 sessions in thinking skills.

Conversion in China

Human Rights Watch have published first-hand accounts from people in China who have been subjected to forced gay conversion therapies.

Their report details 17 cases between 2009 and 2017, including verbal and mental abuse, forced medication and electric shock therapy in Chinese hospitals. 11 of those interviewed were forced to take medication without being informed about its purpose or side-effects. Five of those interviewed were subjected to electric shocks while being shown images or videos – or given verbal descriptions – of homosexual acts.

Doctors and clinics can charge up to 30,000 yuan (£3,440) to “treat” gay people.

It’s YES

The result of the Australian postal vote on gay marriage is now known, and it is a decisive yes.

Here is the official result.

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Of the eligible Australians who expressed a view on this question, the majority indicated that the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry, with 7,817,247 (61.6%) responding Yes and 4,873,987 (38.4%) responding No. Nearly 8 out of 10 eligible Australians (79.5%) expressed their view.

Well done Australia!

Henry Badenhorst RIP

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the passing of Henry Badenhorst, the co-founder of Gaydar, one of the world’s first gay online dating sites, aged 51. Mr Badenhorst died in his native South Africa on Saturday. He is believed to have killed himself.

Two cream teas and lattés, please

The Economist has been trying to work out how evenly spread gay people are throughout the UK. Their findings turn on the head the idea that all gay people live in cities or urban centres.

They found that there may be more gay organisations and facilities per head in Devon than there are in London! (Devon and Cornwall are not usually known as gay-friendly places to live.)

And official statistics seem to miss counting the majority of gay people – or gay people do not tell statisticians the truth.

So the Economist did the only sensible thing. They looked at the use of pornography by gay people.

Though statisticians struggle to get Britons to reveal their sexual preferences, Pornhub, the internet’s most popular adult site, has no such problems. The anonymised browsing habits of its British visitors this year show that gay content accounts for 5.6% of viewing (this excludes lesbian porn, for which the main audience is straight men). Whereas gay establishments are clustered, gay porn consumption is evenly spread, with 97% of the country within a percentage point of the national average. That suggests that, though visible gay life is still mainly urban, … gay people are more widely dispersed.


US Gays still lack corporate benefits

American gays are still lagging behind in the provision of corporate benefits, reports Bloomberg.

After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015, some big companies stopped offering domestic-partner benefits, assuming that committed same-sex couples would just get married.

But that’s not the case, says the Human Rights Campaign, which is encouraging firms to offer domestic-partner benefits. Starting next year, companies will have to offer benefits for unmarried couples if they want a perfect score on the organization’s high-profile LGBT Corporate Equality Index.

Sheltering in Albania

Human Rights Watch have visited an emergency shelter for homeless gay people in Tirana, the capital of Albania.

…The shelter, which serves LGBT youth between 18 and roughly 25 who have been rejected by their families, was founded with donations from the US and UK Embassies. The Dutch embassy now provides some support, but the shelter is running out of funds.

That afternoon, I met with Tirana’s mayor, Erion Veliaj. I told him I was impressed by the shelter and asked if the city could support it. “Yes,” he said. “Let them send me a proposal, we must be able to find some money for this service.”