International News: February 2014

German Minister Comes Out as Lesbian

German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks recently came out as a lesbian in an interview, making her the country’s first openly GLBT cabinet member. In a conversation with the Rheinische Post, Hendricks casually said she would be spending New Year’s Eve with her life partner. Hendricks has served in the Bundestag for 19 years and is widely considered a strong supporter of GLBT rights.

Civil-Unions Clear Key Vote in Chile

In its first session of 2014, the Chilean Senate voted 28-6 to advance legislation that would legalize same-sex civil unions. The Life Partner Agreement (Acuerdo de Vida en Pareja, or AVP) would allow same-sex couples to receive most of the benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples.

The bill was first Introduced to Congress in August 2011 by the administration of President Sebastián Piñera.

Gay Relationships Banned in Nigeria

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (pictured left) signed a bill into law that criminalizes gay marriage, public displays of same-sex relationships, and belonging to gay groups.  According to Al Jazeera, the law penalizes anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union with up to 14 years in prison while any such partnerships entered into abroad are deemed “void.”  Anyone who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or who directly or indirectly makes a public show of a same-sex relationship will break the law and face up to 10 years in prison.  Additionally, allies also face up to five years in prison for “failing to report GLBT behavior.”

Gay Adoption Ban Repealed in Northern Ireland

The Supreme Court of Northern Ireland ruled that gay and unmarried couples are free to apply to adopt children.  This decision affirms a June 2013 lower court ruling and overrides an attempt by Health Minister Edwin Poots to keep the ban in place.

Previously, a single gay or lesbian person could adopt children in Northern Ireland, but a couple in a civil partnership could not.

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