Costa Rica’s Presidential election gets nasty to gays

Fabricio Alvarado | Google+ | r

An international court ruling saying Costa Rica should allow same-sex marriage has changed the country’s presidential race, turning an evangelical former singer candidate who opposes gay marriage from an also-ran with just 2 percent support into the leading contender in today’s vote.

Fabricio Alvarado, 43, vaulted from 2 per cent to 16.9 percent in a recent survey. His nearest rivals were Antonio Alvarez of the National Liberation Party with 12.4 percent, and Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizens’ Action Party with 10.6 percent (no relation). If no candidate tops 40 percent in the vote, the first two finishers advance to a second round on April 1.

More than two-thirds of Costa Ricans oppose the court’s ruling, which requires the Catholic country to grant same-sex couples rights to adopt children and receive inheritances and other benefits from their partners. About 76 percent of Costa Ricans identify as Roman Catholic and 14 percent as evangelical, according to the CIA World Factbook.

VOA notes:

as the only major candidate openly backing same-sex marriage, Carlos Alvarado also saw his poll numbers rise about 5 percent recently as he attracted socially liberal voters who oppose Fabricio Alvarado’s anti-gay marriage stance.

Sunday’s outcome is very much up in the air with more than two-thirds of likely voters undecided, according to the CIEP poll.


Palm Springs gets all gay council!


The Council, left to right: Mayor Robert Moon, left, and the rest of Palm Springs’ new all-LGBT city council: Christy Gilbert Holstege, JR Roberts, Lisa Middleton, Geoff Kors. | Amy Blaisdell/Palm Springs city council | 18001

The American city of Palm Springs has just ushered in America’s first all-LGBT city council.

The Guardian remarks:

The struggle for gay and transgender rights, in other words, has so triumphed in this wealthy desert oasis it sees little remarkable about electing three gay men, a transgender woman and a bisexual woman, all Democrats, to its five-member council.

Your Activist thinks this is the first all-gay elected council anywhere.

Chechnya anti-gay leader sanctioned by United States

The United States has imposed sanctions on five named Russians, including the leader of Chechnya, under a U.S. human rights law that has been a major irritant between Washington and Moscow.

The five Russians were targeted under the Magnitsky Act, passed by Congress in 2012 in response to the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. They include Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Treasury Department alleges that Kadyrov oversaw “disappearances and extrajudicial killings” especially of gay people, and ordered the killing of one of his political rivals, who had accused him of personally carrying out torture.

Austria gets far-right government

Two Austrian political parties have formed a coalition government with a far-right view.

The People’s Party and the Freedom Party forged the alliance yesterday. The Freedom Party is a far-right party.

The People Party’s Sebastian Kurz will be the new chancellor. The Freedom Party’s Heinz-Christian Stache will be his deputy. Kurz, 31, will be Europe’s youngest leader.

CNN notes:

There has been a rise across Europe of populist far-right parties, many of which have campaigned on anti-immigration platforms.
Immigration has dominated the campaign. Kurz has taken a hard line, calling for limits on the number of refugees entering Europe and benefits cuts for EU migrants living in Austria.

Recently the Austrian authorities legalised same sex marriage, which is due to come in during 2019; however, I understand that the Freedom Party is against the introduction of same-sex marriage.

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.

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.

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.