Displaying items by tag: lgbt

Germany set for snap gay marriage vote

  • Published in World





Photo: A balloon chain in rainbow colours is seen in front of the Reichstag building housing the German parliament as activists of the LGBT movement demonstrate against homophobia. Photo: 17 May 2017Image copyrightDPA

The reform would give gay men and lesbians full marital rights
German MPs are expected to vote to legalise same-sex marriage, days after Chancellor Angela Merkel dropped her opposition to the idea.
The reform would give gay men and lesbians full marital rights, and allow them to adopt children.
At present, German same-sex couples are limited to civil unions.
On Monday Mrs Merkel, who previously opposed a vote on gay marriage, said she would allow MPs from her CDU party to "follow their conscience".
How did Merkel prompt the vote?
During her 2013 election campaign, Angela Merkel argued against gay marriage on the grounds of "children's welfare," and admitted that she had a "hard time" with the issue.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: 29 June 2017Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES


Mrs Merkel says she had a "life-changing experience" when she met a lesbian couple who cared for eight foster children
But at an event hosted by the women's magazine "Brigitte" on 26 June, she shocked the German media by announcing on stage that she had noted other parties' support for it, and would allow a free vote in the future.
The usually-cautious chancellor said she had had a "life-changing experience" in her home constituency, where she had dinner with a lesbian couple who cared for eight foster children together.
As the news spread on Twitter, supporters rallied under the hashtag #EheFuerAlle (MarriageForAll) - and started calling for a vote as soon as possible.
Will the vote pass?
Yes, with strong cross-party support it is expected to.
A recent survey by the government's anti-discrimination agency found that 83% of Germans are in favour of marriage equality.
The day after the Republic of Ireland voted to legalise gay marriage in May 2015, almost every German newspaper splashed a rainbow across its front page.
"It's time, Mrs Merkel" Green party leader Katrin Goering-Eckhart exclaimed then. "The Merkel faction cannot just sit out the debate on marriage for everyone."
Why is this happening now?
Because of an upcoming general election.
Germans go to the polls on 24 September, and the sudden Merkel turnaround will deprive her opponents of a campaign issue.
The Greens, the far-left Linke, and the pro-business Free Democrats all back same-sex marriage. In fact, they have refused to enter a future coalition deal unless reform is agreed on.
Mrs Merkel's current coalition partners - the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) - have done the same.
The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is now the only party to oppose same-sex marriage.
Conservatives within Mrs Merkel's party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), are against a change in the law, however.
They have argued that a gay marriage bill would require a change to the constitution, and that marriage between a man and a woman should enjoy special protection.
The CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has also expressed opposition.
Its members champion "traditional" families - and pragmatist Mrs Merkel needs their votes in the September election.
Commentators say this partly explains why she has rejected a vote on marriage equality until now.
How did Merkel's opponents react?
Amid a groundswell of public support for a vote, Mrs Merkel's rivals have moved to capitalise politically.
A day after her comments, the SDP's candidate for the chancellorship Martin Schulz declared - "we will take her at her word," and called for an immediate vote.
The Greens and Linke promptly backed the prospect.
The CDU responded by condemning the SDP, its coalition partner, for its "breach of trust" after four years of joint rule.
The angry exchange came just days after Mr Schulz angered conservatives by accusing Mrs Merkel of an "attack on democracy", saying she was deliberately making politics boring so that opposition supporters wouldn't bother to vote.
Has the vote been politicised?
On Wednesday, Mrs Merkel branded the political dispute "totally unnecessary" in an interview with business weekly Wirtschafts Woche (in German)..
"This isn't about some legislative footnote, but... a decision that touches on people's deepest convictions and on marriage, a cornerstone of our society", she said.
Die Welt, a German national daily agreed.
"This could have been a great moment for Germany's parliament. But the CDU/CSU have been forced into a corner and all the joy has been drained," it wrote.
Where else in Europe has same-sex marriage?
A host of European countries have beaten Germany to a same-sex marriage law.
Civil marriages are legally recognised in Norway, Sweden, Denmark (excluding the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, France, the UK (except Northern Ireland and Jersey), and the Republic of Ireland.
But in Austria and Italy - as in Germany - gay couples are restricted to civil partnerships.-BBC


Australian Politician Calls For Immediate Suspension Of Foreign Aid To Indonesia Over Gay Lashings

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"Suspend aid and the policy might just change."

Justice Party senator Derryn Hinch has called on the Australian government to suspend its aid program to Indonesia, after two Indonesian men were publicly caned in Aceh.

The men, aged 20 and 23, were allegedly having sex in a house in Aceh on March 28 when a group of vigilante enforcers entered the dwelling and filmed them.

The men were sentenced to 85 lashes each, and the sentence was carried out in front of a crowd of hundreds of people in Banda Aceh on Tuesday.

According to Human Rights Watch, they each received 83 lashes, with two subtracted for the two months they had spent in detention.

Australia and Indonesia have a crucial bilateral relationship, with significant cooperation on a number of economic and political fronts, notably trade and tourism.

Australia budgeted $365.7 million in foreign aid to Indonesian in the 2016-17 financial year, and has budgeted $356.9 million in 2017-18.

Hinch said in a statement the government should suspend all foreign aid to show Australia's "disapproval and disgust".

“Coupled with the jailing of Jakarta's Christian governor, known as Ahok, for blasphemy earlier this month, the use of this medieval form of punishment indicates that Indonesia’s values far from align with our own," he said.

The Victorian senator said he was "disappointed" by the Australian government's silence about the canings, which he described as "barbaric".


Foreign minister Julie Bishop's office said Bishop had raised Australia's "serious concerns" with the Indonesian government about the canings.

"Earlier this month, the Australian government recommended that Indonesia reject discrimination on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, during Indonesia’s UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review," Bishop's office told BuzzFeed News.

That's not good enough for Hinch.

“Foreign minister Julie Bishop has reportedly raised concerns with the Indonesian government about these canings," he said. "Well, let’s hit them where it hurts. Suspend aid and the policy might just change."


Shadow foreign minister Penny Wong told BuzzFeed News the caning was "deeply disturbing news".

"Labor is fundamentally opposed to the oppression of anyone on the grounds of their gender, sexual orientation or their religious beliefs," she said.

"We would support a clear and unambiguous statement by the government expressing Australia’s firm position on these matters."

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Taiwan top court rules in favor of gay marriage

  • Published in World

TAIPEI, Taiwan – A top Taiwan court ruled in favour of gay marriage on Wednesday, May 24, a landmark decision that paves the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalize same sex unions.


The constitutional court said Taiwan's current Civil Code, which stipulates an agreement to marry can only be made between a man and a woman, "violated" the constitution's guarantees of freedom of marriage and people's equality.

It gave Taiwan's government two years to implement the ruling.

If parliament does not make the change within two years, the court said same-sex couples could register to marry regardless, based on its interpretation.  

"The current provisions of the marriage chapter do not allow two persons of the same sex to create a permanent union of an intimate and exclusive nature for the committed purpose of managing a life together. This is obviously a gross legislative flaw," a statement from the court said. 

The push for equal marriage rights has gathered momentum on the island with hundreds of thousands rallying in support.

But there has also been anger among conservative groups, who have staged mass protests against any change in the law.

The court ruled that the decision to allow gay marriage would contribute to social stability and protect "human dignity."

Supporters from both camps had gathered in central Taipei to await the decision, with hundreds of pro-gay marriage campaigners flying rainbow flags outside parliament.

A panel of 14 grand justices made the ruling – a majority of 10 was needed. Only two judges dissented.  – Rappler.com

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