Illinois Approves Civil Union Legislation

This afternoon civil union legislation was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn(pictured) at the Chicago Cultural Center. Quinn quoted Abraham Lincoln, saying,  “We’re a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and it shall not perish from the earth.”

The legislation is cause to celebrate, but this is still not equality. Civil unions will provide most of the state rights that a marriage would, but not all. If these few rights didn’t matter, state governments wouldn’t be withholding them.

The new legislation will come into effect on June 1st, and gives gay and lesbian unions recognition before the state, as well as granting the power to decide an ailing partner’s medical treatment and the right to inherit property between partners.

State representative, Greg Harris, echoed this when he said, ” there is more work to be done…things can get better”, implying that his goal was to attain full equality via marriage.

This is a great step in the right direction, and hopefully we are on the path to equality.


Parkinson’s Disease v. Irresistible Urge to Cross Dress…Hmm

A married father of two, Didier Jambart,  is suing a British drug manufacturing company for production of Requip.  He claims Requip made him into a gay sex and gambling addict.

Jambart has been treating his Parkinson’s disease with the drug since 2003. He alleges that taking the medication developed an irresistible craving for sex with other men and a need to gamble.

Jambart has filed suit for $610k in damages he says were  incurred from the drug encouraging him to cross-dress, look for sex on the internet, and to be raped by a man.

According to Jambart,  these symptoms stopped as soon as he discontinued use of the medication, but by then it was too late.

Not only has Jambart been suffering from memories of his drug ‘trance’, but he was also fired from his government job due to erratic behavior.

No Same-Sex Divorce In Nebraska

Are you a bit ‘iffy’ about staying married to your same-sex spouse? If so, Nebraska is not the state for you.

Otoe County district judge Randall Rehmeier has ruled that because same-sex marriage doesn’t exist in Nebraska neither does same-sex divorces. This ruling came after a lesbian couple that had legally wed in Vermont 8 years ago came to court seeking a divorce.

The judge did, however, issue a ruling on visitation, custody, and child support for the 4-year old child of the two women. The child will remain with her biological mother, except for weekends and holidays granted to the child’s non-biological parent. This parent will also be responsible for paying  $200 a month in child support on top of day-care and school expenses . The two will share health care costs for their daughter.

Same-sex divorces have been an issue in many states granting same-sex marriages. Sadly, many of us who wanted marriage so badly have not been able to stick it out.

Gay-Straight Alliances Emerge at Indian Universities

Groups like Ardhek Akash have sprung up at university campuses around India in the two years following the Delhi High Court’s elimination of sodomy laws.

“Five years ago, most homosexual students or cross-dressers preferred to remain closeted, even on our campus,” student Chhandak Chatterjee told the India Times.

“The reason was fear of ostracism. It is a crime to look down upon our college mates or force them into a corner just because they do not have heterosexual preferences.”

“We are happy to say that gay students sit around with their partners on the campus just as other students sit out with their opposite-sex partners,” Madhurima Ghosh, a member of Ardhek Akash, said, expressing her delight at the changes on campus since the group’s creation.

Adhek Akash chapters have also emerged at Jadavpur University and St. Xavier College and are looking to expand to more campus communities across India.

LGBT Asylum Seekers Face a Heavier Burden of Proof

As a wide variety of homosexuals come out across the globe the immigration system lags in recognition of the full spectrum of homosexual personality.

Gay refugees and their advocates in New York City are criticizing the immigration system’s treatment of homosexuals that do not fit the stereotypical notion of ‘gay’.  If you don’t present a visibly gay demeanor  your application may be denied.  Even if you are found as a credible gay, officials may still deny you believing your ‘stealthy’ gay nature would allow you to escape persecution in the nation you’ve  fled.

The Czech Republic’s test of sexual orientation takes a bit more extreme approach. Officials attach a cuff to the asylum-seeker’s genitalia and monitor the level of arousal the person’s genitals undergo as pornography is viewed by the subject.

In the United States individuals may qualify for asylum if they can prove they were discriminated against in the past or that they have a well-founded fear of future persecution based on their membership in a particular social group. One social group now considered to have a valid fear of persecution is homosexuals.

Proving past persecution can be difficult for individuals fleeing countries where they could face their own imprisonment or execution based on admitting their homosexuality. Many fail to report hate crimes committed abroad against them in fear of homophobic attacks and discrimination by police and other government agencies. Even in countries where homosexuality has been decriminalized on the law books  the stigma placed upon homosexuals may still remain in local culture.

The increased vigilance against admitting homosexual asylum seekers to the United States has been fueled by American’s scapegoating of illegal immigrants for the failed economy, as well as different ‘immigration coaches’ advising heterosexual individuals seeking asylum to pose as persecuted homosexuals.

Whatever the case may be, it is a sad thought that people with valid asylum cases are being denied due to xenophobia, lies, and the perseverance of stereotypes placed upon the LGBT communities.

Namigadde Escapes Pressing Deportation to Hate Ridden Uganda

Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan lesbian seeking refugee status in the United Kingdom, has been given a temporary reprieve from her expected deportation.

Namigadde’s attorneys will be filing a fresh appeal to the High Court asking for asylum. After the recent murder of LGBT activist David Kato, and a drastic increase in anti-gay sentiment in Uganda, Namigadde’s asylum case may be stronger than ever.

Press coverage that Namigadde had received over her deportation along with the recent publication of known homsexual’s names and addresses in Rolling Stone(a Ugandan magazine having nothing to do with the American Rolling Stone magazine) pictured above, make her an easy target for hate-crimes. Hate-crimes that will not be pursued by the police as the killing of gays because of their sexuality.  For instance, the Ugandan police’s recent statement that David Kato’s killer was a burglar not a man looking to dispose of a known homosexual as Rolling Stone had suggested readers do.

Namigadde  initially fled Uganda in 2002 after being assaulted due to her sexuality. According to reports, her original asylum application was denied because the judge did not believe that Namigadde was in fact a lesbian.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has advised other countries that LGBT Ugandans seeking refugee status should be protected and approved. It looks as though the United Kingdom has decided to take Guterres’ advice.

Marriage Only For HIV- In Chechnya

Muslim religious leaders in Chechnya have declared that only individuals found to be HIV negative will be permitted to marry in the federal subject of Russia.

“Any potential bride or groom is obliged to receive a medical certificate proving they are HIV-negative,” the Chechen mufti’s press service stated this week. An imam will only perform a marriage once a certificate of negative HIV status is presented by those looking to marry.

This new regulation has less to do with fears of homosexual activity in the region, and is more heavily influenced by the heroin crisis in Russia. Intravenous drug use is leading to the spread of the virus. The United Nations has released statistics finding that at least 1 million people in Russia are HIV positive.

Muslim power and influence  has been on the rise in Chechnya, last year the mufti demanded the closing of all eateries during Ramadan and that men hound women who fail to wear their hijabs(headscarves). Although the mufti has no legal power, his position of high esteem in the community  and ties to Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechnyan leader, leads to his declarations being followed.

Sorenson Fails Attempt to End Same-Sex Marriage in Iowa

Senator Kent Sorenson’s motion to suspend the rules of Senate attempting to allow a vote claiming a constitutional ban on same sex marriage was  frustrated by Thursday morning’s party-line vote. Sorenson has recently been focusing on overturning the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court finding that the prohibition against same-sex marriage was in fact violative of the constitution.

Sorenson(pictured below) even called the same-sex marriage debate, ” the debate of our generation”.

Sorenson sought an approval from the senators for Senate Joint Resolution 8. This bill would amend the consitution of Iowa to define marriage between one man and one woman as the only recognizable legal union of the state. Jack Kibbie, the Senate President gave an outright denial for the amendment, but allowed the other senators to vote on the issue and override his objection.

26 Democrats and 24 Republicans defeated the motion.

Senate Majority Leader, Mike Gronstal, has previously committed to never allowing a discriminatory marriage amendment to come up for debate. Gronstal claimed that this was not a vote on marriage, but a vote on Senate rules.

“It is not a vote on the constitutional vote, but I understand that people can lie and say it is,” Gronstal said.

Sorenson stated in an interview last month that he would be able to force a vote on marriage despite the objection of the Senate majority leader. Secretary of the Senate, Mike Marhsal, has verified that there is no procedure to override a majority leader.

A constitutional amendment has been passed by an Iowa House committee, but in order for an actual amendment to the constitution to take place the lesgislation would have to be passed this year as well as in 2013 before being put up for popular vote.

Hopefully, Iowa will live up to its seal.

Whatever Happened to Christian Charity?

The House of Mercy Homeless Shelter director in Columbus, Georgia, refuses to serve gay and lesbian people.

This month the shelter’s director, Bobby Harris,  forced two women to leave the shelter for breaking curfew and smoking cigarette. Harris alleges that the women were breaking curfew to meet one another for some forbidden ‘rendezvous’.

“That act is not tolerated here at all,” Harris said. “Let me tell you one of the reasons why, because of the bible of course, and then we have little children that we won’t have tolerate that kind of act here.”

Remember, the bible says that mercy and charity are for only a select few. I don’t know if Harris has actually read the bible, but according to Jesus’ parable about the “Good Samaritan” everyone deserves help even your hostile neighbors.

Another authority that Harris seems confused about is the government. Harris’ shelter  is partially funded by the federal government and he is risking these women bringing a case for discriminatory use of government funds.

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