Cuban Parliament Votes on Lesbian and Gay Workers’ Rights

cuba-gay-1The Cuban parliament has adopted changes to labor codes that will explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination based on a worker’s sexual orientation. 

This will be the first law that protects gays in the workplace in Cuba. Mariela Castro, the daughter of the current Cuban president, Raul Castro, even requested additional language that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, HIV status, or disability.  

Some critics warn that the gay rights included are merely a mask to distract from the language that was removed from the original proposal protecting anti-Castro employees. The original proposal would have also protected employees who were political dissidents of the current regime, but that language has since been removed.

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Uganda Passes “Kill the Gays” Bill

images (15)Sadly, the Ugandan government has finally passed the “Kill the Gays” bill, after years of rejection.

The parliament introduced the original bill in 2010. The bill was widely condemned by other nations as severe and unwarranted. . The new legislation must be signed by the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni,  before it will become official law. Proponents of the bill proclaimed that it is necessary to protect Ugandan families from Western influences, influences they claim will threaten their families and values.

The new version of the bill criminalizes “aggravated homosexuality” and removes the death penalty from possible punishments for gay sex. However, those convicted can be sentenced to life in prison for their sexual acts with members of the same sex. “Aggravated homosexuality” is defined to include homosexual acts committed by a person who is HIV-positive, is a parent or authority figure, or who administers intoxicating substances, homosexual acts committed on minors or people with disabilities, and repeat offenders.

Let’s hope the Ugandan president gets a grip, and refuses to sign.

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Same-Sex Israeli Couples with Children May Soon Enjoy Tax Breaks

393582547_640Gay Israelis with children will see an improvement their country’s tax policy now that opposing political parties have come to a compromise allowing same-sex couples to enjoy similar benefits to their heterosexual counterparts.
The Israeli centrist party, Yesh Atid, and members of the religious conservative party, Bayit Yehudi, have agreed to allow same-sex couples with children to to enjoy the same tax breaks straight couples in the country do.
Bayit Yehudi has been very vocal about its opposition to same-sex couples enjoying equal rights and had, in the past, threatened to veto bills that came before them. Fortunately, the group has come to its senses a bit and is working with other lawmakers. Bayit Yehudi has agreed to this compromise if the tax breaks are treated as regulations by the Finance Ministry, rather than being made into legislation and encoded in law. This permits Bayit Yehudi to save face by not putting their stamp of approval on a pro-gay law.

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Obama Appoints Lesbian Delegates to Olympic Games

President Obama has appointed two openly gay delegates to the Sochi Olympics in Russia. Currently, Russia bans “gay propaganda” or bascially anything openly gay that children could see and supposedly want to emulate(Because we all know that is how we became gay, we saw a gay person kiss another one.). Violation of this law can lead to fines of up to $6,250. Foreigners who violate the law can face up to 15 days of administrative detention before deportation.Sochi 2014 Company Olympics

The two delegates include tennis legend Billie Jean King as well as two-time ice hockey Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow. Both are openly lesbian. Obama aimed to send a message to Russia by not only sending lesbian delegates, but also by not attending the games himself. This is the first time since 2000 that a president has not been involved in the Olympics. The French President, Francoise Holland, and German President Joachim Gauck, will also not be attending.

Another member of the delegation will be famed figure skater Brian Boitano, who has never made an official statement about his sexual preference.

Good News for Same-Sex Couples Facing Loss

"Till death do us part"
“Till death do us part”

Couples in Illinois dealing with a life-threatening illness can enjoy a bit of good news this week. That’s because  a federal court has ordered the state’s county clerk’s office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who want to marry quickly due to a partner’s life-threatening illness.

Illinois is now the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Most same-sex couples will not be permitted to marry until June 1, 2014 when the legalization officially takes effect. This new order to allow emergency marriages was made by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman and is being applied to Cook County. Couples will need to bring proof of the life-threatening illness from their doctors.

There is also good news for those same-sex spouses who have recently suffered the loss of their partner now that DOMA is donezo. Widows/Widowers from same-sex marriages are now able to collect survivor benefits according to the Social Security Administration recent press release.

The IRS has also gotten in on the action releasing a new guidance on same-sex couple filings.

Things are looking up for our more “seasoned” brothers and sisters.

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