Homosexuality

Past or Present customs and their evolution
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Re: Homosexuality

Post by Admin »

I was surprised to find out that according to recent studies less than 0.5% (half percent) of the American population identified itself as transgender. The reason I was surprised is that so many laws are changing and so much accomodation (such as allowing them to compete in a different category in sport, changing access to washrooms, promoting trans in school amongst very young kids etc.. I though the Trans are probably making more than half of the American population as they do take so much space in society. But again, as some African leader was heard saying to the Media, in some countries, democracy is run by the voices of the majority and in some, it is ruled by the voices of the minority. So much so that even the Pope had to overule the Bible.
kmaherali
Posts: 25367
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Re: Homosexuality

Post by kmaherali »

France Gets Its Youngest and First Openly Gay Prime Minister

Gabriel Attal, 34, replaces Élisabeth Borne in a cabinet shuffle that President Emmanuel Macron hopes can reinvigorate a term marked by drift and division.

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France’s newly appointed prime minister, Gabriel Attal, arrives for the handover ceremony with the outgoing prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, at the Hotel Matignon in Paris today.Credit...Pool photo by Ludovic Marin

In a typically bold bid to revitalize his second term, President Emmanuel Macron named Gabriel Attal, 34, as his new prime minister, replacing Élisabeth Borne, 62, who made no secret of the fact that she was unhappy to be forced out.

Mr. Attal, who was previously education minister and has occupied several government positions since Mr. Macron was elected in 2017, becomes France’s youngest and first openly gay prime minister. A recent Ipsos-Le Point opinion poll suggested he is France’s most popular politician, albeit with an approval rating of just 40 percent.

Mr. Macron, whose second term has been marked by protracted conflict over a pensions bill raising the legal retirement age to 64 from 62 and by a restrictive immigration bill that pleased the right, made clear that he saw in Mr. Attal a leader in his own disruptive image.

“I know that I can count on your energy and your commitment to push through the project of civic rearmament and regeneration that I have announced,” Mr. Macron said in a message addressed to Mr. Attal on X, formerly Twitter. “In loyalty to the spirit of 2017: transcendence and boldness.”

Mr. Macron was 39 when he sundered the French political system that year to become the youngest president in French history. Mr. Attal, a loyal ally of the president since he joined Mr. Macron’s campaign in 2016, will be 38 by the time of the next presidential election in April, 2027, and would likely become a presidential candidate if his tenure in office is successful.

This prospect holds no attraction for an ambitious older French political guard, including Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister, and Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, whose presidential ambitions are no secret. But for Mr. Macron, who is term-limited, it would place a protégé in the succession mix.

“My aim will be to keep control of our destiny and unleash our French potential,” Mr. Attal said after his appointment.

//More on France
//New Prime Minister: In a bold bid to revitalize his second term, President Emmanuel Macron named Gabriel Attal, 34, as his new prime minister, replacing Élisabeth Borne. Attal becomes France’s youngest and first openly gay prime minister.
//A Small-Town Stabbing: The death of a young man in Romans-sur-Isère might have been just a local tragedy. But some of the suspects were from an immigrant community, turning the case into a cause célèbre for the far right.
//A Painful Episode: Family groups are calling for the excavation of land in southwestern France that is believed to hold the bodies of tens of Algerian children whose parents fought for France during Algeria’s war of independence and who died after being placed in internment camps at the end of the conflict.
//Immigration: Macron is standing behind a tough immigration law that Parliament passed with unwanted support from the extreme right, causing fissures in his governing coalition.

Standing in the bitter cold at a ceremony alongside Ms. Borne, in the courtyard of the Prime Minister’s residence, Mr. Attal said that his youth — and Mr. Macron’s — symbolized “boldness and movement.” But he also acknowledged that many in France were skeptical of their representatives.

Alain Duhamel, a prominent French author and political commentator, described Mr. Attal as “a true instinctive political talent and the most popular figure in an unpopular government.” But, he said, an enormous challenge would test Mr. Attal because “Macron’s second term has lacked clarity and been a time of drift, apart from two unpopular reforms.”

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President Emmanuel Macron walking in front of a line of troops.
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President Emmanuel Macron reviewing troops in Paris last week. A reshuffle, he hopes, will invigorate his government.Credit...Ludovic Marin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

If France is by no means in crisis — its economy has proved relatively resilient despite inflationary pressures and foreign investment is pouring in — it has appeared at times to be in a not uncharacteristic funk, paralyzed politically, sharply divided and governable with an intermittent recourse to a constitutional tool that enables the passing of bills in the lower house without a vote.

Mr. Macron, not known for his patience, had grown weary of this sense of deadlock. He decided to force Ms. Borne out after 19 months although she had labored with great diligence in the trenches of his pension and immigration reforms. Reproach of her dogged performance was rare but she had none of the razzmatazz to which the president is susceptible.

“You have informed me of your desire to change prime minister,” Ms. Borne wrote in her letter of resignation, before noting how passionate she had been about her mission. Her unhappiness was clear.

In a word, Mr. Macron had fired Ms. Borne, as is the prerogative of any president of the Fifth Republic, and had done so on social media in a way that, as Sophie Coignard wrote in the weekly magazine Le Point, “singularly lacked elegance.”

But with elections to the European Parliament and the Paris Olympics looming this summer, Mr. Macron, whose own approval rating has sunk to 27 percent, wanted a change of governmental image.

“It’s a generational jolt and a clever communications coup,” said Philippe Labro, an author and political observer.

Mr. Attal has shown the kind of forcefulness and top-down authority Mr. Macron likes during his six months as education minister. He started last summer by declaring that “the abaya can no longer be worn in schools.”

His order, which applies to public middle and high schools, banished the loosefitting full-length robe worn by some Muslim students and ignited another storm over French identity. In line with the French commitment to “laïcité,” or roughly secularism, “You should not be able to distinguish or identify the students’ religion by looking at them,” Mr. Attal said.

The measure provoked protests among France’s large Muslim minority, who generally see no reason that young Muslim women should be told how to dress. But the French center-right and extreme right approved, and so did Mr. Macron.

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Élisabeth Borne with Mr. Attal in a formal setting, surrounded by guards.
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Éisabeth Borne, the departing prime minister, delivering a speech during the handover ceremony in Paris on Tuesday.Credit...Pool photo by Emmanuel Dunand

In a measure that will go into effect in 2025, Mr. Attal also imposed more severe academic conditions on entry into high schools as a sign of his determination to reinstate discipline.

For these and other reasons, Mr. Attal is disliked on the left. Mathilde Panot, the leader of the parliamentary group of extreme left representatives from the France Unbowed party and part of the largest opposition group in the National Assembly, reacted to his appointment by describing Mr. Attal as “Mr. Macron Junior, a man who has specialized in arrogance and disdain.”

The comment amounted to a portent of the difficulties Mr. Attal is likely to face in the 577-seat Assembly, where Mr. Macron’s Renaissance Party and its allies do not hold an absolute majority. The change of prime minister has altered little or nothing for Mr. Macron in the difficult arithmetic of governing. His centrist coalition holds 250 seats.

Still, Mr. Attal may be a more appealing figure than Ms. Borne to the center-right, on which Mr. Macron depended to pass the immigration bill. Like Mr. Macron, the new prime minister comes from the ranks of the Socialist Party, but has journeyed rightward since. Mr. Attal is also a very adaptable politician, in the image of the president.

The specter that keeps Mr. Macron awake at night is that his presidency will end with the election of Marine Le Pen, the far right leader whose popularity has steadily risen. She dismissed the appointment of Mr. Attal as “a puerile ballet of ambition and egos.” Still, the new prime minister’s performance in giving France a sense of direction and purpose will weigh on her chances of election.

Mr. Macron wants a more competitive, dynamic French state, but any new package of reforms that further cuts back the country’s elaborate state-funded social protection in order to curtail the budget deficit is likely to face overwhelming opposition. This will be just one of the many dilemmas facing the president’s chosen wunderkind.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/09/worl ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
Posts: 25367
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

With Harsh Anti-L.G.B.T.Q. Law, Uganda Risks a Health Crisis

Post by kmaherali »

The country had made great progress against H.I.V. Now terrified patients have fled clinics, and experts fear a resurgence.

For decades, Uganda’s campaign against H.I.V. was exemplary, slashing the country’s death rate by nearly 90 percent from 1990 to 2019. Now a sweeping law enacted last year, the Anti-Homosexuality Act, threatens to renew the epidemic as L.G.B.T.Q. citizens are denied, or are too afraid to seek out, necessary medical care.

The law criminalizes consensual sex between same-sex adults. It also requires all citizens to report anyone suspected of such activity, a mandate that makes no exceptions for health care providers tending to patients.

Under the law, merely having same-sex relationships while living with H.I.V. can incur a charge of “aggravated homosexuality,” which is punishable by death.

Anyone who “knowingly promotes homosexuality” — by hiring or housing an L.G.B.T.Q. person, or by not reporting one to the police — faces up to 20 years in jail. Scores of Ugandans have been evicted from homes and fired from jobs, according to interviews with lawyers and activists.

Entrapment and blackmail — sometimes by the police — are rampant in person, on social media and on dating apps, according to interviews with dozens of people.

L.G.B.T.Q. people, and the advocates and health care workers helping them, have been subject to threats and violence.

The law has brought global condemnation and has dealt a significant blow to Uganda’s economy. But it is widely popular among its citizens. Many Ugandans see homosexuality as a Western influence and the law as a corrective. The country’s Constitutional Court is set to rule on the act’s legality as early as next week.

In response to pressure from global health organizations, the Ugandan health ministry in June guaranteed health care to anyone regardless of orientation or identity. It did not promise that patients would be safe from prosecution.

The country’s health ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the act’s impact on public health.

But Dr. Jane Aceng, the health minister, has said on the social media site X that the government will ensure access to H.I.V. prevention programs and “remains committed to ending AIDS as a public health challenge.”

Others see a disaster in the making. Although the law targets L.G.B.T.Q. people, the resulting stigma and discrimination may deter all Ugandans from seeking health care, said William W. Popp, the United States ambassador to Uganda.

“Our position from the United States government is, the whole law should be repealed,” he said in an interview. “It’s a violation of basic human rights and puts all Ugandans at risk.”

ImageTwo women sit at a desk covered with bright folders and other papers in an office. They each wear blue lanyards and blue shirts that read "H.R.A.P.F."
Justine Balya, left, a director at the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, with her colleague Saidah Nakilima, at the group’s offices.

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Bright orange shelves in a clinic lined with medications.
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Medications at the Ark Wellness Hub, which treats L.G.B.T.Q. people in Kampala, Uganda.

In interviews, dozens of L.G.B.T.Q. people, advocates and health care providers in Uganda say they feared that the legislation has had a devastating effect on public health. Although firm data are hard to find, clinics and hospitals estimated that the number of people coming in for H.I.V. testing, prevention or treatment has dropped by at least half.

Some shelters for people living with H.I.V. have closed, and some centers that once dispensed H.I.V. services on a walk-in basis now see clients for limited hours, often only by appointment, to minimize the chance of raids.

Dozens of health care providers and patients have been arrested.

“The government has tried very hard to create the impression that the Anti-Homosexuality Act is not really being enforced, that it is not an actual threat to L.G.B.T. people, but that’s not true,” said Justine Balya, a director at the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, which represents many of those arrested.

“It’s troubling from a research and academic perspective, and troubling from a scientific perspective to actually develop the medicines and tools we need to confront disease epidemics in the future,” Ambassador Popp said.

Worldwide, protection of gay rights is intricately linked to control of H.I.V.

Gay and bisexual men living in countries that enforce laws criminalizing homosexuality are 12 times as likely to be living with H.I.V. as those in the rest of the world, according to a recent U.N. report.

“We are suffering so much, and our life is in danger,” said Nathanian Issa Rwaguma, 34, a gay man and an activist.

Western supporters have offered few resources needed to protect L.G.B.T.Q. people, particularly those who have been outspoken, several said. “Do you expect a dead human-rights defender, or an alive one?” asked Hajjati Abdul Jamal, a 29-year-old transgender woman, referring to aid organizations.

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A portrait of Nathanian Issa Rwaguma, who leans on a railing and wears a button-down patterned dark shirt and a gold watch.
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Nathanian Issa Rwaguma, a gay man and human rights activist. “We are suffering so much, and our life is in danger,” he said.

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A portrait of Hajjati Abdul Jamal, who wears a white polo shirt and yellow shorts, standing against a bright aluminum wall.
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Hajjati Abdul Jamal, a transgender woman. “Do you expect a dead human-rights defender, or an alive one?” she asked.

Many Ugandans who have been arrested were not charged under the act, but instead with being a “common nuisance,” having “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” or sex trafficking, even when the so-called trafficking means moving from the living room to the bedroom of the same house, Ms. Balya said.

Nearly all of those arrested are released after about a week, but a few could remain imprisoned for years awaiting trial, she added.

In March, three gay men and three transgender women who worked as H.I.V. educators were arrested in Jinja, a city in eastern Uganda.

They spent four months in prison enduring sexual harassment, beatings and two rounds of forced anal examinations, according to the doctor who runs the clinic where they worked and their lawyers. One educator was so severely lashed with a cane that she could not sit or lie down for two weeks.
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In November, Mulindwa Benda, 24, a transgender man and educator, was in Busia, at the Uganda-Kenya border, to lead a workshop on sexual and reproductive health. He was charged with promoting homosexuality.

The police ridiculed him for “dressing like a man,” and held him for 72 hours in a tiny jail cell with eight women and a toilet that did not flush, Mr. Benda said in an interview.

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A portrait of Dr. Afunye Anthony Arthur, wearing a white lab coat and standing at a desk in a hospital office room.
Dr. Afunye Anthony Arthur at the S.T.I. clinic at Mulago Hospital. He said H.I.V. outreach efforts have put health workers at risk, and he had been accosted by people at a restaurant and at his home.

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A close-up view of a cardboard box containing lubricants, two packets visible at the top.
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Lubricants at an S.T.I. clinic in Uganda. Health care workers in Lugazi, Mbarara and elsewhere have been arrested for distributing lubricants and condoms.

Outreach workers in Lugazi, Mbarara and several other towns have been arrested for distributing lubricants and condoms. Police officers often associate the products with same-sex intimacy.

Map locates Kampala, the capital of Uganda, as well as the cities of Lugazi, Jinja, and Busia to the east of Kampala. It also locates the cities of Masaka, and Mbarara which are southwest of Kampala.

SOUTH

SUDAN

AFRICA

UGANDA

UGANDA

DEM.

REP. OF

CONGO

Busia

Jinja

KENYA

Kampala

Lugazi

Mbarara

Masaka

Lake

Victoria

100 MILES

RWANDA

By The New York Times
“It’s part of the overall climate of persecution and violence that strikes fear into health workers, as well as gay and bisexual men and trans women who need supportive, stigma-free H.I.V. services,” said Asia Russell, executive director of the advocacy group Health Gap.

About 13 percent of Ugandan men who have sex with men are living with H.I.V. Many are now cut off from care.

Mulago Hospital’s clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, among the largest in Kampala, used to treat more than 100 L.G.B.T.Q. patients a day. Now, fewer than half come into the clinic, said Dr. Afunye Anthony Arthur.

“The others hide out, so you have to look for them,” he said.

Dr. Afunye said he had been accosted by angry people at a restaurant and his home, where he lives with his wife and three young children.

To make visits safer for clients, Ark Wellness Hub, a clinic in Kampala, now stays open late into the evening and offers private appointments.

Although three of the clinic’s seven staff members have been evicted from their homes, “you have to find a way of going ahead with your work,” said Brian Aliganyira, its executive director.

Some clinics have resorted to stashing lubricants out of sight or using euphemisms to refer to them. At many clinics, staff and volunteers continue to provide care, spending their own money to deliver medications.

Still, hundreds of patients have dropped out of contact with Mulago and Ark Wellness. Some are sex workers who might pass the H.I.V. to others as their virus levels rise without treatment, Dr. Afunye said.

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A portrait of Ivan Melisa Kakuru, a trans woman leans against a yellow window sill and wears a white t-shirt with a cartoon condom on it. She also wears pink-tinted gold-rimmed glasses.
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Ivan Melisa Kakuru, a transgender woman, still picks up H.I.V. medications at the Mulago clinic, but often doesn’t have enough money to eat.

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A portrait of Carlos Bahuriine, who wears a black v-neck t-shirt, necklace, stylish jeans and sunglasses and stands in a courtyard.
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Carlos Bahuriire, a transgender man, was evicted by his landlord. Carlos Bahuriire

In an interview, a 32-year-old gay man said he had taught shoemaking but was forced to leave his job in July after he was accused of promoting homosexuality at the school. He was diagnosed with H.I.V. in 2021 and took his last anti-viral pill on Dec. 6.

Two of his friends died in August of H.I.V.-related complications after discontinuing treatment. But he was still too afraid to go to a clinic: Another friend was stoned to death in his village in Masaka district, he said, after an acquaintance recognized him on public transportation.

Ivan Melisa Kakuru, 26, a transgender woman, still picks up her H.I.V. medications at the Mulago clinic. But she often doesn’t have enough money to eat, she said. Ms. Kakuru said she fled her hometown when her father tried to kill her and does not have a place to live.

Her friend Carlos Bahuriire, 36, a transgender man, said he was evicted by his landlord and had been staying with a sympathetic friend.

President Yoweri Museveni has called L.G.B.T.Q. citizens “disgusting” and “abnormal,” and has said that they have “a type of sickness.” He has also blamed the West for bringing homosexuality into the country.

Ugandan police have falsely accused activists or educators — like those arrested in Jinja — of recruiting children into homosexuality and making pornographic videos. Some government officials also have conflated homosexuality with pedophilia.

“If you start raping children and so on, we kill you,” Mr. Museveni said last year of the law.

Dr. Aceng, the health minister, celebrated the passing of the law. “Our culture and dignity is upheld and the Ugandan Children Protected,” she wrote on X.

The criminalization of homosexuality actually is a leftover of colonialism and takes Uganda out of step with the rest of the world, said Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Global Health Policy and Politics Initiative at Georgetown University.

Image
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Doctors walk in a hallway of the Mulago Hospital's S.T.I. clinic. In the foreground, an informational poster about H.I.V. prevention intended for transgender people.

The Mulago Hospital S.T.I. clinic, among the largest in Kampala, used to treat more than 100 patients a day. Now, fewer than half that number come into the clinic.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief provides more than $400 million in H.I.V. funding to Uganda each year. More than 96 percent of that is implemented by organizations outside the Ugandan government.

Now the Biden administration has redirected $5 million of the rest away from the government, Ambassador Popp said.

As of Jan. 1, the United States has removed Uganda’s access to the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which provides duty-free access to the U.S. market. Washington has also sanctioned Johnson Byabashaija, commissioner general of the Uganda Prisons Service, for torture and human rights abuses.

But Dr. Kavanagh and other experts said the Biden administration could do more to impose financial sanctions or pressure the Ugandan government to repeal the law.

Mr. Byabashaija’s sanction was based in part on evidence from the March 2020 arrest of Henry Mukiibi, who leads an H.I.V. clinic and shelter, along with 19 others.

The group was held for 52 days, during which they were tortured and beaten; some had their genitals burned with a piece of firewood, Mr. Mukiibi said in an interview.

“Whenever I talk about this instance, I get nightmares,” he said. “It traumatized me.”

Last July, the organization was again raided and the clinic was shut down. Undeterred, Mr. Mukiibi has moved to a new secure location.

Mr. Mukiibi said he felt it was important to speak up. “Sometimes when we hide things, or when the person who’s speaking becomes anonymous, people don’t understand the exact situation you’re passing through,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/19/heal ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
Posts: 25367
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Greece Is Set to Be First Orthodox Country to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

Post by kmaherali »

The country’s Parliament is expected to also extend equal parental rights to same-sex couples, including clearing the way for them to adopt children.

Image
Participants carried a giant pride flag in the Athens Pride parade last June.Credit...Spyros Bakalis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Greece was expected to legalize same-sex marriage and equal parental rights for same-sex couples on Thursday as lawmakers considered a bill that has divided Greek society and drawn vehement opposition from the country’s powerful Orthodox Church.

Although Greece would be the 16th European Union country to allow same-sex marriage, it would be the first Orthodox Christian nation to pass such a law. The country extended civil partnerships to same-sex couples in 2015, but stopped short of extending equal parental rights at the time.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had pledged to pass the new measures after his landslide re-election last year. He told his cabinet last month that same-sex marriage was a matter of equal rights, noted that similar legislation was in place in more than 30 other countries, and said that there should be no “second-class citizens” or “children of a lesser God.”

In addition to recognizing same-sex marriages, the legislation clears the way for adoption and gives the same rights to both same-sex parents as a child’s legal guardian, whereas to date such rights have applied only to the biological parent. It would also affect the daily lives of same-sex couples, Mr. Mitsotakis told Parliament on Thursday, allowing those with children “to collect them from school, to be able to travel with them, to take them to the doctor.”

The bill does not provide same-sex couples with access to assisted reproduction or the option of surrogate pregnancies. It also does not give transgender people rights as parents.

Human rights advocates have welcomed the prospect of same-sex marriage for Greece. Maria Gavouneli, the president of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights, an independent public body, called the measure “long overdue.” And Stella Belia, the founder of Rainbow Families, an organization that supports same-sex families, called the legislation “a major victory that we’ve been fighting for for years.”

One of the first to benefit from the new law would be Lio Emmanouilidou, a 43-year-old teacher, who plans to marry her long-term partner in Thessaloniki on March 8, which is International Women’s Day. She said she was excited about the wedding and welcomed the bill as “a step in the right direction and a big victory for the community.”

She lamented, however, that even with its approval, her partner would still face a “long and expensive” adoption process — costing about 3,500 euros, or $3,750 — to become a legal guardian of Ms. Emmanouilidou’s 6-year-old son, whom the partners have raised together as a family. (Under the new bill, both members of a married same-sex couple would automatically be legally recognized as parents of children the pairs give birth to or adopt.)

Ms. Emmanouilidou also said she felt unnerved by the opposition to the measures. But she said that, in her experience, most Greeks accepted same-sex couples and that her school and community treated her family as any other.

“Society is much more ready for this than we think,” she said.

Yet in a country that remains one of Europe’s most socially conservative, where the traditional family model is still predominant and the influential Orthodox Church views homosexuality as an aberration, the measures have met some pointed resistance.

The Holy Synod, the Greek Orthodox Church’s highest authority, argued in a letter to lawmakers this month that the bill “abolishes fatherhood and motherhood, neutralizes the sexes” and creates an environment of confusion for children. Clerics echoed such sentiment in sermons across the country in recent weeks, and some bishops said they would refuse to baptize the children of same-sex couples.

Church groups also joined forces with far-right parties to hold rallies in Athens and other cities to oppose the changes. Last Sunday, hundreds of people staged a demonstration outside Parliament, with some holding banners that read, “There’s only one family, the traditional one.”

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A crowd of demonstrators holding Greek flags and signs protesting the country’s move to legalize same-sex marriage.
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Protesters held signs reading “No” during a demonstration in Athens this month against a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.Credit...Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Opinion polls conducted in recent weeks depicted a Greek society split over the issues: In most of the surveys, half of respondents expressed support for same-sex marriage, yet most respondents also said they opposed allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.

The bill also fueled dissent across the Greek political spectrum.

In the governing New Democracy party, dozens of lawmakers, including a prominent minister and a former prime minister, argued that the legislation weakened the nuclear family and undermined traditional values. The leader of Greece’s Communist Party, Dimitris Koutsoubas, told Parliament on Thursday that legalizing same-sex marriage would “abolish the unity of motherhood and fatherhood.”

And the issue caused discord within Syriza, the main opposition party: Some lawmakers said the bill did not go far enough, others were loath to back a conservative government’s bill on what they considered a liberal issue and some worried about winning support in rural areas.

Syriza even drafted its own alternative bill, but the party’s leader, Stefanos Kasselakis — who is Greece’s first openly gay party leader and has expressed a desire to adopt children through surrogacy with his partner, whom he married in New York last October — later pressed his fellow lawmakers to back the government’s legislation.

Supporters said the changes were a crucial step toward granting full rights to gay people and their children, and opening up minds in a society where traditional heteronormative attitudes prevail.

“It’s the best we were going to get from a center-right government with that kind of internal opposition and the entire Orthodox Church pressuring you,” Ms. Belia said. “I’ve got to hand it to Mitsotakis for following through.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/15/worl ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
Posts: 25367
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Greece Becomes First Orthodox Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Post by kmaherali »

The country’s Parliament also extended equal parental rights to same-sex couples, including clearing the way for them to adopt children.

Image
Participants carried a giant pride flag in the Athens Pride parade last June.Credit...Spyros Bakalis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Greece legalized same-sex marriage and equal parental rights for same-sex couples on Thursday as lawmakers passed a bill that has divided Greek society and drawn vehement opposition from the country’s powerful Orthodox Church.

Although Greece became the 16th European Union country to allow same-sex marriage, it is the first Orthodox Christian nation to pass such a law. The country extended civil partnerships to same-sex couples in 2015, but stopped short of extending equal parental rights at the time.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had pledged to pass the new measures after his landslide re-election last year. He told his cabinet last month that same-sex marriage was a matter of equal rights, noted that similar legislation was in place in more than 30 other countries, and said that there should be no “second-class citizens” or “children of a lesser God.”

In addition to recognizing same-sex marriages, the legislation clears the way for adoption and gives the same rights to both same-sex parents as a child’s legal guardian, whereas to date such rights have applied only to the biological parent. It would also affect the daily lives of same-sex couples, Mr. Mitsotakis told Parliament on Thursday, allowing those with children “to collect them from school, to be able to travel with them, to take them to the doctor.”

The law does not provide same-sex couples with access to assisted reproduction or the option of surrogate pregnancies. It also does not give transgender people rights as parents.

The bill passed with 176 votes for and 76 against in the 300-seat Parliament on Thursday after more than 30 hours of fiery debate over two days. Strong support from the center-left and leftist opposition parties pushed the measure through. (Of the 300 members of the body, a total of 254 people voted. Two of them voted present; the rest abstained.)

Mr. Mitsotakis hailed the vote in a post on social media, describing the new law as “a milestone for human rights.”

Human rights advocates have welcomed the prospect of same-sex marriage for Greece. Maria Gavouneli, the president of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights, an independent public body, called the measure “long overdue.” And Stella Belia, the founder of Rainbow Families, an organization that supports same-sex families, called the legislation “a major victory that we’ve been fighting for for years.”

“It makes life much, much easier for many people, and it protects children that have been living in a state of precariousness,” Ms. Belia said, adding that the new measures will also end the practice of taking children of same-sex couples into the state’s care after the death of a biological parent. Without the new legal protection, she said, “they would lose not one, but both of their parents.”

One of the first to benefit from the new law would be Lio Emmanouilidou, a 43-year-old teacher, who plans to marry her long-term partner in Thessaloniki on March 8, which is International Women’s Day. She said she was excited about the wedding and welcomed the bill as “a step in the right direction and a big victory for the community.”

She lamented, however, that even with its approval, her partner would still face a “long and expensive” adoption process — costing about 3,500 euros, or $3,750 — to become a legal guardian of Ms. Emmanouilidou’s 6-year-old son, whom the partners have raised together as a family. (Under the new bill, both members of a married same-sex couple would automatically be legally recognized as parents of children the pairs give birth to or adopt.)

Ms. Emmanouilidou also said she felt unnerved by the opposition to the measures. But she said that, in her experience, most Greeks accepted same-sex couples and that her school and community treated her family as any other.

“Society is much more ready for this than we think,” she said.

Yet in a country that remains one of Europe’s most socially conservative, where the traditional family model is still predominant and the influential Orthodox Church views homosexuality as an aberration, the measures have met some pointed resistance.

The Holy Synod, the Greek Orthodox Church’s highest authority, argued in a letter to lawmakers this month that the bill “abolishes fatherhood and motherhood, neutralizes the sexes” and creates an environment of confusion for children. Clerics echoed such sentiment in sermons across the country in recent weeks, and some bishops said they would refuse to baptize the children of same-sex couples.

Church groups also joined forces with far-right parties to hold rallies in Athens and other cities to oppose the changes. Last Sunday, hundreds of people staged a demonstration outside Parliament, with some holding banners that read, “There’s only one family, the traditional one.”

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A crowd of demonstrators holding Greek flags and signs protesting the country’s move to legalize same-sex marriage.
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Protesters held signs reading “No” during a demonstration in Athens this month against a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.Credit...Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Opinion polls conducted in recent weeks depicted a Greek society split over the issues: In most of the surveys, half of respondents expressed support for same-sex marriage, yet most respondents also said they opposed allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.

The bill also fueled dissent across the Greek political spectrum.

In the governing New Democracy party, dozens of lawmakers, including a prominent minister and a former prime minister, argued that the legislation weakened the nuclear family and undermined traditional values. The leader of Greece’s Communist Party, Dimitris Koutsoubas, told Parliament on Thursday that legalizing same-sex marriage would “abolish the unity of motherhood and fatherhood.”

And the issue caused discord within Syriza, the main opposition party: Some lawmakers said the bill did not go far enough, others were loath to back a conservative government’s bill on what they considered a liberal issue and some worried about winning support in rural areas.

Syriza even drafted its own alternative bill, but the party’s leader, Stefanos Kasselakis — who is Greece’s first openly gay party leader and has expressed a desire to adopt children through surrogacy with his partner, whom he married in New York last October — later pressed his fellow lawmakers to back the government’s legislation.

Supporters said the changes were a crucial step toward granting full rights to gay people and their children, and opening up minds in a society where traditional heteronormative attitudes prevail.

“It’s the best we were going to get from a center-right government with that kind of internal opposition and the entire Orthodox Church pressuring you,” Ms. Belia said. “I’ve got to hand it to Mitsotakis for following through.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/15/worl ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
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Re: Homosexuality

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‘We’re Going to Stand Up’: Queer Literature is Booming in Africa

Even in countries where homophobia is pervasive and same-sex relationships are illegal, authors are pushing boundaries, finding an audience and winning awards.

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Among the writers who have published L.G.B.T.Q. stories are, clockwise from top left, Kevin Mwachiro, Monica Arac de Nyeko, Chinelo Okparanta and Arinze Ifeakandu.Credit...Clockwise from top left: Khadija Farah for The New York Times; Pepijn van den Broeke; Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times; Cydni Elledge for The New York Times

As a queer teenager growing up in northern Nigeria, Arinze Ifeakandu often found himself searching for books that reflected what he felt.

He combed through the books at home and imagined closer bonds between the same-sex characters. He scoured the book stands in Kano, the city where he lived, hoping to find stories that focused on L.G.B.T.Q. lives. Later, in furtive visits to internet cafes, he came across gay romance stories, but they often focused on lives far from his own, featuring closeted white jocks living in snowy towns.

Ifeakandu wanted more. After college, he began writing short stories in which gay men battled loneliness but also found lust and love in conservative, modern-day Nigeria.

“I have always taken my own desires, my own fears, my own joys seriously,” Ifeakandu, 29, said. “I knew I wanted to write characters who are queer. That’s the only way I am going to show up on the page.”

His stories gained traction with readers, and with critics. In 2017, he became a finalist for the Caine Prize for African Writing, and last year, his debut collection, “God’s Children Are Little Broken Things,” won the Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers.

Ifeakandu’s work is part of a boom in books by L.G.B.T.Q. writers across Africa. Long obscured in literature and public life, their stories are taking center stage in works that are pushing boundaries across the continent — and winning rave reviews.

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The author Arinze Ifeakandu leans against a tidy writing desk. Behind him is a colorful painting. He’s wearing a patterned sweater and jeans.
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Arinze Ifeakandu said he wanted to create characters whose “Nigerian-ness is as important as their queerness.”Credit...Cydni Elledge for The New York Times

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Two editions of the book “God’s Children are Little Broken Things” are stacked one on top of the other against a dark background. The book that lies on top shows a Black man’s face in close-up.
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Part of what drove Ifeakandu to write, he said, was the desire to see his experiences represented in literature.Credit...Cydni Elledge for The New York Times

Big publishing houses in Europe and the United States are getting in on the action, but so are new publishers cropping up across the continent with the goal of publishing African writers for a primarily African audience.

Thabiso Mahlape, who founded Blackbird Books in South Africa, has published Nakhane, a queer writer and artist, and “Exhale,” a queer anthology. “So much more can be done,” she said.

The gathering momentum dovetails with a broader cultural moment. More Africans are openly discussing sex and expressing their sexual and gender identities. Small Pride marches and film festivals are celebrating queer experiences, and some African religious leaders are speaking up in support of L.G.B.T.Q. people.

Young people, who make up the majority of the continent’s population, are turning to social media to discuss these books, and the big screen is bringing some of them to a wider readership: “Jambula Tree,” a short story by Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko about the romance between two girls, inspired “Rafiki,” a film that was featured in Cannes.

The books — fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels — are also being published as a way to push back against virulent homophobia and anti-gay legislation across Africa.


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The author Monica Arac de Nyeko leans against a darkened, black and white wall in brightly patterned yellow dress.
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Social media and adaptations for the screen have helped promote these stories, including Monica Arac de Nyeko’s “Jambula Tree,” which inspired a film, “Rafiki.”Credit...Pepijn van den Broeke


By writing them, authors say they hope to engage readers and challenge pervasive notions that homosexuality is a Western import.

“These books are an invitation to change mindsets and to start a dialogue,” said Kevin Mwachiro, who coedited “We’ve Been Here,” a nonfiction anthology about queer Kenyans who are 50 or older.

“These books are saying, ‘I am not a victim anymore,’” he said. “It’s gay people saying, ‘We don’t want to be tolerated. We want respect.’”

The momentum is new, but books centering queer stories are not without precedent in Africa.

Mohamed Choukri’s 1972 novel “For Bread Alone” caused a furor in Morocco for its depiction of same-sex intimacy and drug consumption. The mesmerizing 2010 novel “In A Strange Room,” by the South African Booker Prize winner Damon Galgut, followed an itinerant gay protagonist. And the Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina made global headlines in 2014 when he published a “lost chapter” of his memoir titled “I am a homosexual, mum.”

But the books being published now, literary experts and publishers say, are expanding Africa’s literary canon. These stories — family sagas, thrillers, sci-fi and more — dive into the complexities of being queer in Africa and in the diaspora.

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“Our stories have not been told right,” said Kevin Mwachiro. “We need to take ownership. We need our work to be queer-centric.”Credit...Khadija Farah for The New York Times

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Several people hold up copies of a book called “We’ve Been Here,” which has a cover that is orange, red and black.
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“These books are saying, I am not a victim anymore,” said Mwachiro, one of the editors of “We’ve Been Here,” a collection of stories about queer Kenyans.Credit...Khadija Farah for The New York Times

Their writers interrogate the silence surrounding queer culture in their own communities (“Love Offers No Safety,” edited by Jude Dibia and Olumide F Makanjuola) and the hope and heartache of being trans or gender fluid (Akwaeke Emezi’s “The Death of Vivek Oji”), intersex (Buki Papillon’s “An Ordinary Wonder”) or lesbian (Trifonia Melibea Obono’s “La Bastarda.”)

They look into the intersection of politics, religion and sex (“You Have to Be Gay to Know God” by Siya Khumalo) and the vicissitudes of the secretive gay scene in a bustling metropolis (“No One Dies Yet” by Kobby Ben Ben.)

The books also explore the awkward and difficult process of coming out to conservative parents (Uzodinma Iweala’s “Speak No Evil”) and imagine entire families whose members are on the L.G.B.T.Q. continuum (“The Butterfly Jungle” by Diriye Osman). “More Than Words,” a 2023 illustrated book from the Kenyan creative collective The Nest, looks at the everyday life of gay Africans through sci-fi and fan fiction.

The authors often use works of fiction to imagine bold new worlds.

The Nigerian American writer Chinelo Okparanta focuses on the coming-of-age story of a young woman during Nigeria’s Biafra Civil War in her 2015 novel “Under the Udala Trees.” The book’s protagonist, Ijeoma, meets Ndidi after finishing school. Together, they attend secret lesbian parties in a church, explore sexual pleasure and even talk about getting married.

Growing up, Okparanta said she read “So Long A Letter,” a 1979 epistolary novel by the Senegalese writer Mariama Bâ in which a widow writes to her longtime friend, and found herself imagining “a world where there might be more to the women’s relationship,” she said. “I must have been hungry for an African novel with a story like that.”

“Under the Udala Trees” ends on a hopeful note: Ijeoma’s mother accepts her and she and Ndidi end up together after her marriage to a man falls apart. Ndidi even imagines a Nigeria safe for gay people — a powerful statement, given that the book was published a year after Nigeria’s former leader signed a punitive anti-gay law.

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Chinelo Okparanta poses for a portrait in a park. She’s outdoors; at her back is blurred greenery, and there’s a ray of sunshine illuminating her face. She’s facing the camera but looking sideways.
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The author, Chinelo Okparanta, made a conscious decision to end a book centered on a same-sex relationship on a positive note, with one of her characters mulling a Nigeria that is safe for gay people. Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

“There needs to be room for people to have hope,” Okparanta said.

Nonfiction authors, too, are sharing their experiences of love and dating, of navigating hostile workplaces and of facing rejection from their own kin and finding what they call their “chosen” families. Even when they prioritize confession and catharsis, some of the books also aim to give a window into the lives of gay people on the continent.

“Sometimes people think we are just freaks having sex with each other and that there’s no love, there’s no desire, there’s no sensuality,” said Chiké Frankie Edozien, whose memoir “Lives of Great Men: Living and Loving as an African Gay Man” won a Lambda Award.

“I wanted truth and honesty and vulnerability,” he said.

Like Edozien, who lives in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, with frequent stays in New York, some queer African writers have relocated or established their careers in the West, and use their work to explore not only the communities they left behind but also those they live in.

These include Abdellah Taïa, the Paris-based writer originally from Morocco who is often considered the first openly gay Arab writer and filmmaker. Taïa has written nine novels that probe what it means to be Muslim, queer, Arab and African. He has also made two films: “Salvation Army,” which is adapted from his eponymous novel, and “Never Stop Shouting,” which addresses his gay nephew.

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The author Chiké Frankie Edozien stands for a photo with a big smile, holding his memoir “Lives of Great Men.”
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Chiké Frankie Edozien, author of the memoir “Lives of Great Men,” said he hoped the books coming out now would offer future generations a “dignified and balanced” portrayal of gay lives. Credit...Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

But Taïa’s work has also focused on France and Europe and the anti-migrant and anti-Muslim sentiments that have sprung there.

“If you are gay, and only thinking about gay liberation and only about that, it means you understand nothing about how the world is functioning,” Taïa said. “I am not totally free because other people are not free.”

For many of these authors, publishing has brought public recognition and even appreciation. But some have faced harassment or even death threats.

Edozien hopes the books will inspire younger generations to read a “dignified and balanced” portrayal of gay Africans.

“Books are really powerful, books are really intimate,” Edozien said. And having these queer-centered stories in “libraries for decades to come is great, because the needle has been moved even when it doesn’t feel like it.”

Ifeakandu dreams of a future where queer-centered African stories are no longer the exception to the rule.

“I didn’t choose the country I was born into, just as much as I didn’t choose my sexuality,” Ifeakandu said. “Grudgingly, hopefully, we’re going to stand up.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/17/book ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
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Re: Homosexuality

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Ghana’s Parliament Passes Anti-Gay Bill With Jail Terms

The legislation would sentence those who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. to three years in jail and punish those who promote gay issues as well. It would be among the harshest on the African continent.

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A same-sex couple in Accra, Ghana, last month. Ghana’s bill is the latest in a wave of anti-gay legislation passed in Africa, including in Uganda, where an anti-gay law includes the death penalty.Credit...Francis Kokoroko/Reuters

Ghana’s Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill that imposes jail terms on people who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. or organize gay advocacy groups, measures that Amnesty International called among the harshest on the African continent.

The legislation, if signed into law by President Nana Akufo-Addo, would mean that people convicted of identifying as gay could be sentenced to three years in jail, those deemed “promoters” of L.G.B.T.Q. issues could get five years, and those who engage in gay sex would receive five years instead of the three years under previous legislation.

The bill is the latest in a wave of anti-gay legislation passed in Africa: Tanzania, Niger and Namibia have tightened such laws in recent years, while Uganda has adopted an anti-gay law that includes the death penalty.

Thirty-one countries on the continent criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, according to Amnesty. Many have experienced a surge in homophobic attitudes, behaviors and rhetoric in recent years, the rights group said in a report last year.

“There are still so many countries in Africa where being L.G.B.T.Q. is considered evil or un-African,” said Linda Nduri, a Kenya-based campaign manager for Africa at All Out, a nonprofit organization.

Both major political parties in Ghana support the bill, but in recent days, its passage had been slowed by changes suggested by a member of the governing New Patriotic Party, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, to make it less harsh.

He said this month that Parliament should decide whether people convicted under the anti-gay law should be given counseling and made to perform community service instead of being jailed. But some of his colleagues in Parliament shouted him down, saying that jail terms should be imposed.

The bill, which was first introduced in Parliament in 2021, has received widespread public support and has been pushed by Christian, Muslim and traditional leaders in Ghana.

But human rights organizations have warned that, if passed into law, the bill would violate fundamental rights enshrined in the country’s Constitution, like the right to equality and not to be discriminated on the basis of sex or gender.

Michael Akagbor, a senior program officer in charge of human rights at the Center for Democratic Development, a research organization promoting good governance in Ghana, said his organization was already challenging the legislation in the country’s Supreme Court.

“It is inexplicable to pass such a bill in a democracy that is Ghana,” Mr. Akagbor said. “But we still have legal remedies to prevent it from becoming reality.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/28/worl ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
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Re: Homosexuality

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Ugandan Court Upholds Draconian Anti-Gay Law

The law, which includes the death penalty as a punishment in some cases, has been strongly condemned, including by the United States.

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The five-judge panel of Uganda’s Constitutional Court at a hearing in Kampala, the capital, on Wednesday. “The upshot of our judgment is that this petition substantially fails,” one judge said. Credit...Hajarah Nalwadda/Associated Press

Uganda’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday largely upheld a sweeping anti-gay law that President Yoweri Museveni signed last year, undermining the efforts of activists and rights groups to abolish legislation that drew worldwide condemnation and strained the East African nation’s relationship with the West.

The legislation, which was signed into law by Mr. Museveni in May, calls for life imprisonment for anyone who engages in gay sex. Anyone who tries to have same-sex relations could face up to a decade in prison.

Uganda has faced international consequences for passing the law, with the World Bank suspending all new funding and the United States imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on top Ugandan officials. But the law was popular in Uganda, a landlocked nation of over 48 million people, where religious and political leaders frequently inveigh against homosexuality.

The fallout for Uganda will be watched closely in other African countries where anti-gay sentiment is on the rise and anti-gay legislation is under consideration, including in Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and South Sudan. In February, Ghana’s Parliament passed an anti-gay law, but the country’s president said that he would not sign it until the Supreme Court ruled on its constitutionality.

In Uganda, the five-judge bench said the law violated several key rights granted in the country’s Constitution, including the right to health and privacy. They also struck down sections of the law that criminalized failing to report homosexual acts, allowing any premises to be used to commit homosexuality or giving someone a “terminal illness” through gay sex.

But in their 200-page judgment, the judges largely rejected the request to quash the law.

“We decline to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement,” Richard Buteera, one of the judges, said in a reading of the judgment’s summary to a packed courtroom. He added, “The upshot of our judgment is that this petition substantially fails.”

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Yoweri Museveni, in a white shirt, gestures with his hand while sitting in a striped chair.
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Ahead of the court’s ruling, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda had remained publicly defiant.Credit...Abubaker Lubowa/Reuters

Frank Mugisha, a prominent gay rights activist and one of the petitioners, said that they would appeal the Constitutional Court’s decision to the Supreme Court.

“I am very sad,” Mr. Mugisha said in a telephone interview. “The judges have been swayed by the propaganda from the anti-gay movement who kept saying that this is in the public interest and refuting all the arguments that we made that relate to the Constitution and international obligations.”

The law in Uganda decrees the death penalty for anyone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality,” a sweeping term defined as acts of same-sex relations with minors or disabled people, those carried out under threat or while someone is unconscious. Even being accused of what the law refers to as “attempted aggravated homosexuality” carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Passage of the law — which also imposes harsh fines on organizations convicted of promoting homosexuality — alarmed human rights advocates, who said it would give new impetus for the introduction of equivalent draconian laws in other African nations. Uganda is among the African countries that already ban gay sex, but the new law creates additional offenses and prescribes far more punitive penalties.

The United Nations, along with local and international human rights groups, said that the law conflicted with Uganda’s Constitution and that it would most likely be used to harass and intimidate its L.G.B.T.Q. population.

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Three smiling Black women at an outdoor protest holding up a rainbow flag.
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Protesting the Ugandan anti-homosexuality law in Pretoria, South Africa, last year. The battle over the law in Uganda has been closely watched in other African countries. Credit...Alet Pretorius/Reuters

The ratification of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, as the law is officially known, renewed scrutiny of the government of Mr. Museveni, who has ruled Uganda with a tight grip for almost four decades. Mr. Museveni, his son — whom he recently appointed as head of the army — and other top members of his government have been accused of detaining, beating, torturing and disappearing critics and opposition members.

The law was first introduced in March last year by a lawmaker who said that homosexuality was becoming pervasive and threatening the sanctity of the Ugandan family. Some legislators also claimed that their constituents had notified them of alleged plans to promote and recruit schoolchildren into homosexuality — accusations that rights groups said were false.

Anti-gay sentiment is prevalent among Muslim and Christian lawmakers and religious leaders from both faiths. They say that homosexuality is a Western import, and they held rallies to show support for the law before it passed.

A few weeks after it was introduced in Parliament, the law was quickly passed with only two lawmakers opposing it.

Activists, academics and human rights lawyers who challenged the law in court said it contravened not only Uganda’s Constitution, which guarantees freedom from discrimination, but also international treaties, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. They also argued that Parliament passed the law too quickly, with not enough time allowed for public participation — arguments the judgments rejected in their decision.

Human rights groups said that since the law was introduced and passed, L.G.B.T.Q. Ugandans have faced intensive violence and harassment.

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People sitting in the rear of a courtroom, listening and appearing somber.
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Activists and community members listening to the proceedings at the Constitutional Court in Kampala, Uganda, on Wednesday.Credit...Isaac Kasamani/EPA, via Shutterstock

Convening for Equality, a coalition of human rights groups in Uganda, has documented hundreds of rights violations and abuses, including arrests and forced anal examinations. Gay and transgender Ugandans have also been evicted from their homes and beaten up by family members — forcing many to flee to neighboring countries like Kenya.

The law’s passage brought swift repercussions for Uganda, too. Health experts also worried the law would hinder medical access for gay people, especially those seeking H.I.V. testing, prevention and treatment.

The United States said it would restrict visas for current and former Ugandan officials who were believed to be responsible for enacting the anti-gay policy. The Biden administration also issued a business advisory for Uganda and removed the country from a special program that allows African products duty-free access to the United States.

The World Bank, citing the anti-gay law, also said in August it would halt all future funding to Uganda. The economic pressures continued to pile on, with foreign travelers and investors staying away from Uganda.

Ahead of the ruling, Mr. Museveni remained publicly defiant, but analysts and diplomats said he privately worried about his country’s being labeled an outcast, and the devastating economic repercussions it was causing.

On Wednesday, members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community said the court’s judgment would not only amplify the government’s antagonism toward gay people but also deepen the animosity they face from members of the public.

The court’s decision opens a “Pandora’s box” that will push the lives of gay Ugandans “further more into darkness,” said Steven Kabuye, a gay rights advocate who fled to Canada after he was stabbed in January in an attack that activists said was spurred by homophobia linked to the law.

“I feel very disappointed but not surprised,” Mr. Kabuye said in a telephone interview.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/03/worl ... y-law.html
kmaherali
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Re: Homosexuality

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Thailand’s Legislature Approves Same-Sex Marriage

The bill, which needs the king’s endorsement to become law, underscores Thailand’s status as a relative haven in Asia for L.G.B.T.Q. people.

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Supporters of Thailand’s same-sex marriage bill standing outside Thailand’s Parliament building in Bangkok on Tuesday.Credit...Lillian Suwanrumpha/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Lawmakers in Thailand voted on Tuesday to approve a marriage equality bill, a move that puts the country on a clear path to becoming the first in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

Thailand’s Senate passed the bill by 130 votes to 4, with some abstentions, on Tuesday afternoon. It was approved by the House of Representatives in March. The legislation would become law after it is reviewed by a Senate committee and the Constitutional Court and receives royal assent from the king, a formality that is widely expected to be granted.

“After 20 years of trying to legalize this matter,” the activist Plaifa Kyoka Shodladd, 18, said in the Senate chamber after the vote, “finally, love wins.”

The bill’s passage underscores Thailand’s status as a relative haven for gay couples in Asia. Only Taiwan and Nepal have legalized same-sex marriage.

While India came close to doing so last year, the Supreme Court deferred the decision to Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken strongly against legalizing gay marriage.

In some Asian countries, gay sex is a criminal offense. Indonesia, where gay marriage is illegal, made extramarital sex illegal in 2022. In 2019, Brunei made gay sex punishable with death by stoning. It later said it would not carry out executions, after widespread international protest.

After the bill’s passage, hundreds of supporters gathered in downtown Bangkok to celebrate the milestone despite the punishing heat, waving flags and throwing colorful balloons at a Pride rally.

A parade began with the explosive bang of a firecracker and confetti flying in the air. Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” played at the rally, as well as a ’90s-style Thai pop song called “History,” with the lyrics: “History won’t repeat anymore, history’s about to change its course, change toward equality.”

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he would host a celebration for activists on Tuesday evening, though he said he could not attend the event because of a Covid infection.

Supporters like Mookdapa Yangyuenpradorn, an activist with the Southeast Asia-based human rights group Fortify Rights, also called on the authorities to act swiftly in enforcing the legislation once it goes into effect 120 days after it is endorsed by the king.

Critics like Gen. Worapong Sanga-Nate, a senator, said that legalizing same-sex marriage would undermine the institution of the family and cause logistical challenges in the Ministry of Interior.

Thailand’s bill, which amends the country’s Civil and Commercial Code, calls marriage a partnership between two people age 18 and above, without specifying their gender. It also gives L.G.B.T.Q. couples equal rights to adopt children, claim tax allowances, inherit property and give consent for medical treatment when their partners are incapacitated.

The bill has been contentious since its first version was introduced over 20 years ago. While Thailand is one of the most open places in the world for gay couples, it is socially conservative in other ways. In February, lawmakers dismissed a proposal to let people change genders on official documents.

But a majority of the Thai public supports the marriage equality bill. Last year, 60 percent of adults in Thailand said they supported legalizing same-sex marriage in a survey by the Pew Research Center.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/18/worl ... 778d3e6de3
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