BREAKING: Arizona Governer Jan Brewer Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

Jan Brewer Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

A bill passed by Republican senators that would have allowed businesses to legally refuse service to LGBT customers on religious grounds has been vetoed by the governor of Arizona.

The bill had been strongly condemned world-wide as homophobic because it legalises discrimination based on sexual orientation. Yesterday in an MSNBC interview, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he hoped Jan Brewer would to “do that right thing” and veto the bill. This sentiment was also echoed by numerous businesses such as Delta Airlines, Apple, American Airlines and Marriott. The NFL also threatened to withdraw the 2015 Super Bowl from Arizona if the bill were signed into law, as it would break their non-discriminatory policy.

Although this will be a relief to Arizona’s LGBT citizens, Missouri has introduced a similar bill to allow businesses to discriminate against gay people on religious grounds.

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Prime Minister of Uganda signs Anti-Homosexuality Bill into Law

Gay Rights in Africa Map

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was signed into law today by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

  • It will extend the existing penalty of life imprisonment for gay sex to all other same-sex behaviour. This therefore could include the mere touching of another person of the same sex with the intent to have a homosexual relationship
  •  Contracting a same-sex marriage will be punishable by life imprisonment
  • ‘Promoting’ homosexuality and ‘aiding and abetting’ others to commit homosexual acts will be punishable by 5-7 years in jail. These new penalties are likely to be used against those who are involved in LGBT organisations, including volunteers that provide counselling of LGBT persons and provide them with condoms and safe sex advice
  • A person in authority who fails to report the breaking of these laws to the police within 24 hours will be sentenced to three years in jail
  • The new legislation also means that Ugandan citizens or foreign residents of Uganda who break these laws while abroad – even in countries where same-sex activity is legal – will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda

The bill, submitted by Member of Parliament David Bahati in October 2009, had been condemned world-wide with US President Barack Obama calling it “odious”. It also originally proposed the death penalty in circumstances where minors were involved – this has been replaced by life imprisonment. Over one million people had signed a petition calling for the Ugandan government to drop the law entirely.

Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands have already cut aid to Uganda following the singing of this bill. Instead, they will redirecting money to human rights groups instead of the government. In doing this, their foreign aid won’t be spent on the persecution of LGBT people. Britain had already withdrawn its aid to the government last year, in response to Uganda’s homophobic government.

Video showing Violent Attacks on Gay Men in Russia goes Viral

On the 3rd Feb, Human Rights Watch uploaded a video depicting homophobic violence in Russia. In the days following, it’s received almost 2 million views and sparked outrage worldwide.

The video’s release has coincided with the Winter Olympic Games hosted in Sochi, Russia. Human rights campaigners are using it to highlight the increase in homophobic and transphobic attacks occurring in Russia. Putin’s recent introduction of the infamous ‘gay propaganda’ law prohibits both individuals and organisations from discussing homosexuality in public. Putin and other Russian officials repeatedly confuse homosexuality with paedophilia in public statements as an attempt to make their persecuting laws seem honourable. However, there is no evidence that paedophilia occurs in homosexuals any more than it does in heterosexuals.

For more information, please visit the Human Rights Watch website.

WW2 Hero Alan Turing Recieves Pardon for Homosexuality Conviction

Alan Turing

Alan Turing, convicted in 1952 for homosexuality, has today received a royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II.

Turing is widely known as a World War II hero after helping to decipher German Naval Enigma codes. However, after being convicted of homosexuality and being forced by the government to undergo chemical castration, he lost his security clearance so was prevented from continuing his code-breaking work. Turing committed suicide in June 1954 by cyanide poisoning.

The pardon was request by Justice Minister Chris Gray who said, “His later life was overshadowed by his conviction for homosexual activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed.

Turing deserves to be remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man.”

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell stated, “I pay tribute to the government for ensuring Alan Turing has a royal pardon at last but I do think it’s very wrong that other men convicted of exactly the same offence are not even being given an apology, let alone a royal pardon.

“At least 50,000 other men were convicted of the same offence, of so-called gross indecency, which is simply a sexual act between men with consent.”

In December 2011, a government e-petition received more than 34,000 signatures but was denied by the then justice secretary, Lord McNally, who said Turing was “properly convicted” for what was at the time a criminal offence.

In August 2009, a petition was also started to demand a pardon. However, it only resulted in an apology from the then prime minister, Gordon Brown, who said Turing’s conviction for his homosexuality was “appalling”.

American State of Utah Finds Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Utah Voting Poll on Same-Sex Unions

US District Judge Robert J. Shelby has issued a ruling stating that Utah’s gay marriage ban, which was passed by voters in 2004, violates the rights of gay and lesbian couples’ to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment requires that individual rights take precedence over states’ rights whenever these two interests are in conflict. The Judge noted that Utah failed to show how allowing same-sex marriages would in any way affect opposite-sex marriages, therefore making the state’s fears groundless and insufficient to justify denying same-sex marriages. He stated “the state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason.”

Utah is now the 18th state in America to legalise gay marriage. One gay couple wasted no time and live tweeted their marriage soon after the ban was struck down, becoming the first same-sex couple to be married in Utah.

Although same-sex marriage has been successfully legalised in 17 other states, this is a surprising outcome for the socially conservative state of Utah; home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; an organisation that is strongly against same-sex marriage.

The state Attorney General’s office is in the process of appealing the ruling and is also seeking an emergency stay to prevent same-sex marriages from taking place in the state. Their official press release can be viewed here.

Uganda Passes Bill Making Homosexuality Punishable by Life Imprisonment

Gay Rights in Africa

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was passed by the Parliament of Uganda today. The Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi must now sign it for it to become law. Here’s a breakdown of what will happen if the bill becomes law:

  • It will extend the existing penalty of life imprisonment for gay sex to all other same-sex behaviour. This therefore could include the mere touching of another person of the same sex with the intent to have a homosexual relationship
  •  Contracting a same-sex marriage will be punishable by life imprisonment
  • ‘Promoting’ homosexuality and ‘aiding and abetting’ others to commit homosexual acts will be punishable by 5-7 years in jail. These new penalties are likely to be used against those who are involved in LGBT organisations, including volunteers that provide counselling of LGBT persons and provide them with condoms and safe sex advice
  • A person in authority who fails to report the breaking of these laws to the police within 24 hours will be sentenced to three years in jail
  • The new legislation also means that Ugandan citizens or foreign residents of Uganda who break these laws while abroad – even in countries where same-sex activity is legal – will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda

The bill, submitted by Member of Parliament David Bahati in October 2009, had been condemned world-wide with US President Barack Obama calling it “odious”. It also originally proposed the death penalty in circumstances where minors were involved – this has been replaced by life imprisonment. Over one million people have signed a petition calling for the Ugandan government to drop the law entirely.

David Bahati has previously said that children were ‘recruited’ by homosexuals. This claim that sexuality can be changed by human intervention has been widely dismissed by the medical community, including both the American Medical and Psychiatric Association. He also claims it is western influence that is responsible for homosexuality in Uganda. Ironically, the homophobic laws that exist across Africa are remnants of colonial rule. Therefore, it is homophobia, not homosexuality, that has been introduced by the west.

The openly gay American journalist Rachel Maddow conducted an interview with Mr. Bahati in December 2010. This can be seen below.

Further evidence of Uganda’s extreme conservative ideology is yesterdays passing of an Anti-Pornography Bill that bans miniskirts.

In January 2011 Uganda’s most prominent gay activist, David Kato, was found bludgeoned to death after his photograph was published in Rolling Stone. The Ugandan magazine had a reputation for publishing the photos, names and addresses of people believed to be LGBT with such headlines as “Hang Them”