Romania pulls up the shutters

Romania is gearing up to hold a referendum to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage, a move that civil rights groups warn could put the country on an “illiberal” path alongside the likes of Hungary and Poland, writes Politico.

Romania’s civil code forbids same-sex marriage, and civil partnerships have not been introduced.

The planned vote — which could be held as early as November — is the result of a campaign by “Coalition for Family,” which brings together more than 40 groups, many of them religious or describing themselves as “pro-life.” They gathered more than 3 million signatures to force a referendum.

http://www.politico.eu/article/romania-gay-marriage-turns-illiberal-with-moves-against/

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Hate leaflet given out at UKIP conference

The Mirror reports that a leaflet which compared the “alternative lifestyle” of gay people to that of Hitler and the Yorkshire Ripper, titled ‘Homosexuality – the real alternative’, was available on a stand this morning for the Support 4 The Family group at UKIP’s annual get-together in Torquay.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/leaflet-ukip-conference-compares-gay-11257866

Adoption to be legalised in Israel

Israel’s government said today it would introduce a bill giving same-sex couples equal rights to adopt a child, in 2018.

The High Court of Justice had given the Israeli government two months to reconsider its opposition to same-sex adoption. The government said that it would present the bill by June 2018.

The court ultimatum came after a legal challenge against the Welfare Ministry and Justice Ministry challenged the state to justify its previous opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

The government had claimed that adoption by same-sex couples places an “additional burden” on children.

Same-sex couples can be approved for adoption under Israeli law, but only three such couples have managed to adopt children over the last nine years. Some same-sex couples adopt babies from other countries.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/state-commits-to-legislate-adoption-rights-for-gay-couples/

Gay and right wing

CNN looks at gay men in Germany who have joined politically far right political groups, such as Alternative for Germany (AfD), who, if opinion polls are correct, are likely to secure enough votes to enter the Bundestag after the German general election on 24 September.

Karsten P. empties a test tube filled with metal pieces into the palm of his hand. They’re the tiny screws and bolts that held his face together after he and his partner Sven were violently assaulted in a life-changing attack outside their local store.

Two surgeries later and fearful of being attacked again, the openly gay 52-year-old taxi driver — who doesn’t want to be identified because of concerns of another attack — avoids public spaces and always takes pepper spray with him. He and his partner have also been forced to move neighborhoods in the northwest German city of Bremen following mounting costs as a result of being injured.

“I went outside and saw someone kicking my partner’s head. I was trying to stop him and right at that moment, I got hit from the side,” Karsten recalls about the attack. “I kind of lost consciousness and when I got up again, I thought my partner was dead. He was all covered in blood and he didn’t move at all.”

Police identified the attackers as two locally known Muslim extremists. They were never arrested and later fled to Syria. After demanding answers from local prosecutors and the mayor’s office and not getting a response, Karsten turned to Germany’s far right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“I don’t like everything they say,” Karsten says, “but this is too dangerous for gay people to live openly here, if we get attacked like that. We need a party that’s talking openly about this.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/14/europe/germany-far-right-lgbt-support/index.html

Wedding cakes – the new battleground

American gays are concerned at the direction their new President is taking on gay rights.

Bloomberg comments:

Early on, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people seemed to be exempted from Donald Trump’s most inflammatory rhetoric. He was the first Republican presidential nominee to mention LGBT people in his acceptance speech. After his election, he declared same-sex marriage “settled law.” Once in office, he left in place an executive order protecting the federal government’s LGBT employees from discrimination.

But any early optimism among gay-rights supporters has disintegrated in recent months. The Trump administration has rescinded policies that supported transgender students and soldiers and signaled its opposition to gay rights in a pair of federal cases.

Most recently, the U.S. Justice Department filed a brief in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Colorado bakery that refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. The bakery was sanctioned by the state, and the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case this fall. The Department of Justice supported the argument that cake decoration is artistic expression and therefore deserves special protection.

Expect a major battle.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-12/trump-adds-to-rollback-of-obama-legacy-with-anti-gay-measures

US Gays feel less safe since President Trump was elected

Nearly two-thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people say they feel less safe since President Donald Trump took office, according to Time.

34% said society would be “a lot” more accepting in the next 10 years, a drop from 54%.

37% said they have faced different treatment since President Trump took office.

Gay and Lesbian Americans say 12% of them voted for Trump, and 67% voted for Hillary Clinton. 7% identified as Republicans, 57% identified as Democrats and 35% as Independents.

http://time.com/4842910/donald-trump-lesbian-gay-bisexual-lgbt-poll-safe/

Movement at last on gay “cures”?

The Church of England looks set to condemn controversial “gay cures”, a month after the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May suggested such “treatments” could be banned.

Last month Mrs May said the Government was “reviewing” “gay cure” therapies to see if they should be banned. She said: “We’re looking carefully at the extent of the problem, and the experience of other countries that have introduced bans, to ensure we get the approach to this right.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/23/church-looks-set-condemn-gay-cures-archbishops-say-sexuality/

The letter that doesn’t exist has been released to the media!

The Scottish government has published a letter it received from Northern Ireland’s Arlene Foster of the DUP, about its laws surrounding gay marriage.

The correspondence, signed by Arlene Foster, was sent in early September 2015 when she was finance minister in the Stormont executive.

In her letter to former Scottish Minister Mr Marco Biagi, Mrs Foster said she was “concerned” about Scottish government proposals over same sex marriage.

She said “neither of us would wish to place same-sex couples in an uncertain legal position”.

“In this instance, we can achieve legal certainty by restricting the definition of a ‘qualifying civil partnership’ so as to exclude civil partnerships which were entered into in Northern Ireland,” she said.

Writing in response, Mr Biagi said he had considered the issues but concluded that it would “not be appropriate to exclude civil partnerships registered in Northern Ireland from the order”.

Until the publication of this letter, Mrs Foster had been denying that it had existed.

http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2017/06/20/news/scottish-government-publishes-arlene-foster-s-letter-on-gay-marriage-1061889/

Serbia strides ahead

Congratulations to Ana Brnabić, a graduate of the University of Hull, who is Serbia’s first gay Prime Minister and first female Prime Minister.

Brnabić will take up her role as Serbia navigates a crucial few years: the country is preparing for EU membership while retaining its traditionally close relationship with Russia, and nurturing a growing friendship with Beijing.

That’s quite a job description.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/15/serbia-gains-its-first-female-and-gay-prime-minister-ana-brnabic

Lib Dems fall apart over homosexuality

Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesman, has resigned from his post, citing concerns about party leader Tim Farron’s views on various issues that were highlighted during the recent general election campaign.

Throughout the election campaign, Tim Farron, who is deeply religious, was dogged by questions over his attitude to homosexuality, though he has insisted he does not believe gay sex is a sin.

Mr Farron yesterday announced he is stepping down as party leader because of difficulties reconciling his Christianity with the demands of a political life.

Yesterday the party announced they would hold a deputy leadership election amid reports that MPs were mulling a leadership challenge.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/14/lib-dem-peer-brian-paddick-resigns-over-farrons-views-on-gay-sex