International News: February 2015
Gambian President verbally Attacks LGBT Community
Yahya Jammeh (below), president of Gambia, spoke out harshly against the LGBT community Saturday in a speech from the country’s capital of Banjul.
According to the Washington Blade, Jammeh said; “the Bible that came first condemns homosexuality and the Bible is the book of the Almighty Allah and the Quran,” Jammeh told soldiers, adding that efforts by pro-LGBT countries including the United States to “impose homosexuality on the globe” are doomed to fail. The speech followed an alleged coup attempt against his government two weeks ago.
Egyptian Men acquitted on “debauchery” Charges
A court in Cairo acquitted 26 men on charges of “debauchery” stemming from alleged sexual activities at a public bathhouse in Egypt’s capital city. Al Jazeera reported that activists familiar with the situation say the acquittal, which comes over a month after the men were arrested, marks the first time an Egyptian court has ever cleared individuals accused of homosexuality. The case garnered additional media attention after the mens alleged sexual assault during their incarceration.
Poll: Majority of Irish voters favor marriage equality
Support for the introduction of same-sex marriage is rising steadily, with a majority supporting the move, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll has found.
When asked how they would vote in the planned referendum on the issue, 71 percent of residents said they would vote in favor, 17 percent that they would vote no, 9 percent had no opinion and 3 percent refused to respond.
U.N. Secretary-General Speaks out against anti-lgbt laws
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (above) on Monday harshly criticized India’s anti-homosexuality law during a visit to New Delhi, saying the country’s policies “violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination.” Ban, who was in India at an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the U.N.’s founding, pushed world leaders to ensure equality for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation. India is one of more than 70 countries with nationwide anti-homosexuality laws.
IOC adds Sexual Orientation Protections to Charter
The International Olympic Committee has added sexual orientation language to its Olympic Charter, adopting the change after a unanimous vote by its members.
“This is a very important step,” IOC President Thomas Bach of Germany said of the change, which will be included in the contract signed by future host cities.
Chilean Lawmakers consider Gender-Neutral Terms
A bill has been introduced in Chile that would replace references to the terms “men and women” and “husband and wife” in marriage laws to gender-neutral terms.
The bill has the backing of President Michelle Bachelet (left), as well as advocacy groups such as the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation.
Pontiff urges catholic Officials to Recognize “Sign of the times”
Pope Francis (right) has again called on the Catholic Church to soften its stance on LGBT issues. The Pope urged the church to provide support for parents with LGBT children, saying; “we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation… We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter.”
By Rachel Roth