Thousands Call For Same Sex Marriage In China

 

 

Legalising same-sex marriage was among the top suggestions made by the Chinese public to lawmakers tasked with amending the civil code, a spokesperson for the top legislative body said.

The public push comes despite a recent crackdown in China on LGBT activists and the wider gay community, as well as censorship of content related to homosexuality in films and on social media.

Feedback from ordinary people was solicited in November by the Commission for Legislative Affairs ahead of its meeting next week to discuss updates to the civil code, which mostly deals with matters relating to marriage and family.

The parliamentary body received more than 237,000 online suggestions and 5,600 letters on the topic, said commission spokesman Yue Zhongming at a press briefing on Friday.

These messages requested the clarification of the “definition of close relatives, improving the shared debt obligations of spouses and legalising same-sex marriage”, Yue said.

He did not offer details on whether same-sex marriage will be included in the final draft of the civil code, which lawmakers are scheduled to discuss from December 23-28.

Although China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, and officially removed it from its list of mental illnesses in 2001, same-sex marriage remains illegal.

In recent years, censors have muted discussions on the topic on social media, banned the portrayal of homosexuality in films and even prevented the selling of rainbow-themed items online.

– LGBT crackdown –

In April, a Beijing court dismissed an appeal against recently-enforced rules by the national media watchdog which ban gay content on film and television and describe homosexuality as “abnormal.”

Last year, China’s biggest online marketplace Taobao shut down shops selling rainbow flags and clothing with queer phrases — while gay scenes in “Bohemian Rhapsody”, a biopic on Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, were censored.

The government’s tightening grip on the queer community is also going offline.

For the first time in China, two LGBT groups in Guangzhou were shut down earlier this year for being “illegal organisations”, according to a government notice.

Many LGBT non-profits have struggled to legally register with the government, while those already registered can rarely publicly promote gay rights, according to NGOs.

News that lawmakers were considering revising the civil code to include same sex marriage sparked a heated debate online, with Chinese netizens divided on the issue.

“Legalizing same-sex marriage destroys the sanctity of the concept of marriage,” wrote one user, on China’s twitter, Weibo.

“There isn’t enough awareness about what same-sex marriage is, so even if it is legalised on paper, discrimination will continue,” wrote another.

Taiwan, an island that Beijing considers a breakaway province, legalised same-sex marriage in May, becoming the first place in Asia to do so.

 

AFP

Australia Parliament Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

EQUALITY AMBASSADORS AND VOLUNTEERS FROM THE EQUALITY CAMPAIGN CELEBRATE AS THEY GATHER IN FRONT OF PARLIAMENT HOUSE IN CANBERRA ON DECEMBER 7, 2017, AHEAD OF THE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE LATER TODAY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. SEAN DAVEY / AFP

Australia’s parliament passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage Thursday after the nation overwhelmingly voted in favour of changing the law, ending decades of political wrangling.

There were loud cheers, hugs and sustained clapping in the lower House of Representatives when all but four MPs voted in support of marriage equality, after the upper house Senate passed the bill 43-12 last week.

“What a day for love, for quality, for respect! Australia has done it,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the House.

The final step is for the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, the Queen’s representative in Australia, to ratify the law, which will likely take place within days.

Australia Holds Biggest Same-Sex Marriage Rally

More than 20,0000 people gathered for the biggest same sex marriage rally in Australian history.

The demonstration for LGBTIQ rights was held in Sydney on Sunday

The march began at the steps of the city’s Town Hall and comes as the country starts a postal survey which could make same-sex marriage legal.

Supporters clad in rainbow colors filled the heart of the city to insist on equal rights.

The country’s Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten amongst them.

“I am sorry that the parliament have not already resolved this matter. I am sorry for all of the hateful and stupid things which have been said and are going to be said until we win marriage equality.”

Australia is one of the only developed English-speaking countries not to have legalized same-sex marriage.

That’s despite strong popular support and the backing of a majority of lawmakers.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will begin mailing the postal surveys on the 12th of September.

Idowu Fearon Appointed World Anglican Secretary

idowu fearonThe Archbishop of Kaduna Arch Diocese, Most Rev. Josiah Idowu Fearon, has been appointed as the new Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion worldwide.

The appointment followed the resignation of former Secretary-General of the church, Kenneth Kearon, who was appointed Bishop in Ireland early this year.

Bishop Idowu Fearon was selected from initial field of applicants from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

This is the first time an African is occupying the position.

Briefing newsmen on his new appointment, Bishop Fearon expressed excitement to take up the post and gave an assurance to serve the church diligently.

The Bishop said that his appointment would assist Africa, Nigeria in particular, in tackling some of its security challenges, poverty and diseases currently ravaging the country and Africa as a whole.

He added that his appointment would not influence the Nigerian Church and Africa in adopting same sex marriage as being practiced by some churches in Europe and America.

The Anglican Communion is an international association of churches consisting of 80 million members worldwide.

Bishop Idowu Fearon has been Bishop of Kaduna since 1988 and currently, he is the Director of the Kaduna Anglican Study Centre.

Court Strikes Out Suit Challenging Same Sex Law In Nigeria

High_courtA Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit brought before it by a United Kingdom based Nigerian, Mr Teriah Ebah, contending that the newly enacted same sex marriage law, is inconsistent with the provisions of sections 34 and 37 of the Nigerian Constitution, as amended.

In his ruling, Justice Abdul  Kafarati said, Mr Ebah had no right to file a case of fundamental human rights for Nigerians, since the suit did not say his personal rights were deprived of him.

He also emphasised that there was no group in Nigeria known as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and that as such the case was lacking in merit and is thereby struck out.

In the suit, the applicant is seeking an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the Nigerian government, from enforcing the provisions of same sex marriage (prohibition) Act of 2013.

He urged the High Court to declare the law as unconstitutional, null and void. Mr Ebah also held that the provisions of the the Act against same sex marriages was an “impediment constituting disabilities to Nigeria citizens’ fundamental rights enshrined and protected in section 40 and 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”,

Anglican Church Threatens To Sue Break Away Church

The Anglican Church has threatened to sue a sect of its organisation named, the Orthodox Anglican Church.

The Anglican primate, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh made this known at a meeting in Abuja, where registrars and legal officers of the church were gathered to deliberate on ways of moving the church forward.

According to the religious leader, the activities of the sect, orthodox Anglican Church, contravenes the rules of the Anglican Communion.

He asked legal experts in the church to contribute their quota in creating stability in the church.

Reverend Okoh also appealed to Bishops of the church to ensure prompt payment of salaries and entitlement of the church workers in the country.

Legal officers in the church took turns to bear their minds on issues affecting the church including same sex marriage and child molestation.

 

Same-sex Marriage Has Been Illegal In Nigeria Since 1949

The recent passage of the anti-gay bill by the National Assembly is unnecessary as same sex marriage has already been declared illegal since 1949 when the Marriage Act was enacted in the country.

This is the view of a legal practitioner, Mr Chino Obiagwu who also serves as the National Coordinator of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a non-governmental organisation which champions human rights and the rule of law.

Mr. Obiagwu believes that the bill is merely an attempt to respond to international pressure on right to sexual orientation.

France Legalises Gay Marriage

France’s President, Francois Hollande, has signed into law a bill legalising same-sex marriage, throwing out a last-ditch effort by opponents to scupper the country’s biggest social reform since abolition of the death penalty.

After months of sometimes violent street demonstrations, the Council gave the go-ahead to a law that will make France the 14th country to legalize gay weddings, in line with an election promise by the president.

Hollande has promised to rapidly sign a bill that lawmakers adopted in late April, raising the prospect that the first gay weddings in France could take place within weeks.

“The law allowing same-sex marriage conforms with the constitution,” the council said in a statement.

While late Socialist President Francois Mitterrand braved opposition by most French people to abolish the death penalty in 1981, polls show more than half the country backs Hollande’s move to allow couples of the same sex tie the knot.

France, a predominantly Catholic country, follows 13 others including Canada, Denmark, Sweden and most recently Uruguay and New Zealand in allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed. In the United States, Washington D.C. and 12 states have legalized same-sex marriage.

U.S. Gay Couples Report Poorer Health Than Straight Married Counterparts

Gay and lesbian couples living together report poorer health than straight married couples, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday, speculating that legalizing same-sex marriage could reduce the disparities.

Studies have shown that married couples enjoy better health than people who are single, divorced or separated.

When Dr. Hui Liu, an assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University, and her team studied the health of gay and straight couples, they found marriage made a difference.

“When we controlled for socioeconomic status, the odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 61 percent higher for same-sex cohabiting men than for men in heterosexual marriage, and the odds of reporting poor to fair health were about 46 percent higher for same-sex cohabiting women than for women in heterosexual marriages,” Liu said.

Although the researchers did not study the impact of legalizing gay marriage, Liu said it is plausible that if gay unions were sanctioned by law it could improve health by reducing stress and discrimination and providing health benefits enjoyed by married couples.

“If marriage can promote health, it is reasonable for us to expect that if same-sex couples had the advantage of legalized marriage their health may be boosted,” Liu added in an interview.

Nine U.S. states and Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage, assuring gay couples the benefits of a legalized union.

The researchers compared the health of 1,659 gay couples living together and a similar number of married heterosexuals. They pooled data from 1997 to 2009 National Health Interview Surveys in which people across the country were asked to rate their overall health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.

The study, which is published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, showed that black women living together as a couple were the most disadvantaged. They reported worse health than any other non-married black women.

Liu and her co-authors, Corinne Reczek an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati, and Dustin Brown, a post-graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, suggest that the discrimination and stress that gay couples experience could contribute to their poorer health.

“Legalizing same-sex marriage could also provide other advantages often associated with heterosexual marriage – such as partner health insurance benefits and the ability to file joint tax returns – that may directly or indirectly influence the health of individuals in same-sex unions,” Liu added.

Homosexuality Remains Banned In Nigeria – David Mark

Despite pressures from some sections of the international community and Human rights activists demanding the legalization of same sex marriage in Nigeria, the Senate President, David Mark has insisted that the bill prohibiting same sex marriage is irrevocable.

In a statement signed by the chief press secretary to the senate president, Paul Mumeh, Mr Mark noted that besides banning same sex marriage, it is now a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment of not less than 14 years.

The senate president said that in spite of pressures from some quarters, the law has come to stay.

He further said the government has to prove to the rest of the world, who are advocates of same sex marriage that Nigerians promote and respect sanity, morality and humanity.

Gay Nigerian in UK fights deportation

Olamilekan Ayelokun

Nearly 2000 people have signed an online petition to support a gay Nigerian asylum seeker, who fears he might be killed if deported.
Olamiekan Ayelokun claimed he fled Nigeria eight-years -ago to escape persecution because of his sexual orientation.

However, a judge at Bradford’s Immigration Court has stated that he is not convinced Mr Ayelokun is gay and ordered for his deportation last week.

The 28-year-old was supposed to have been deported to Nigeria on October 3. However, that decision has been delayed until further notice.

A friend of Mr Ayelokun’s, Jason Feather, who started the petition to prevent him from being deported, said “I have been told that the Nigerian authorities do monitor international news. If he was to be taken to Nigeria now the authorities would know he is a gay man. In the south, he would get up to 14 years in prison and in the north where Sharia law is practised he might be killed.”

More than 1700 people have so far signed the petition asking immigration officials to change their minds.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said Mr Ayelokun a nursing student who now resides in Bradford had lived in the UK illegally, having overstayed a visitors’ visa that expired in 2003.

He put in an application to stay in the country in 2011; at that point he was then required to sign every week.

Mr Ayelokun was detained on September 25th after a routine appointment at the UK Border Agency’s Waterside Court offices in Leeds.

A UKBA spokesman said “Mr Ayelokun lived in the UK illegally for eight years, having overstayed a visit visa that expired in 2003.

“He did not claim asylum until 2011, after he was arrested by UK Border Agency officers for using false documents to gain employment.

“At no point has he been able to provide sufficient evidence of his sexuality, and our decision not to grant him asylum has been upheld by an independent immigration judge.

“Where people do not have the right to be in the UK we will take steps to remove them.”

However, Mr Ayelokun’s friends and supporters, whose petition is on change.org, have rejected the UKBA’s claims.

They said UK immigration officials are breaching the European Convention on Human Rights by “sending someone to a situation where he or she has a ‘real risk’ of being subjected to ‘torture or an inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’”.

Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is also supporting Ayelokun. He said “Regardless of his past mistakes, Ola should be given asylum on the grounds that if he is returned to Nigeria he will be at serious risk of homophobic persecution. It is outrageous for any judge to suggest that a person who has a number of gay relationships is not gay.

“This case is further evidence of the way Britain asylum system abuses refugees. The system is rigged to fail as many asylum seekers as possible regardless of their individual merit.”

He said: “The coalition government is not living up to its pledge to provide a safe haven for gay Africans who face victimisation. It is a betrayal of (Prime Minister) David Cameron’s pledge.”

Malawi may be first African country to legalise homosexuality

Malawi’s President, Joyce Banda has said she wants her country to overturn its ban on homosexual acts – the first African country to do so since 1994.

Malawi’s President, Joyce Banda

Two Malawian men were sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2010 after saying they were getting married.

Several Western leaders have recently said they would cut aid to countries which did not recognise gay rights.

Mrs Banda, who came to power in April on the death of her predecessor, said in her first state of the nation address on Friday: “Indecency and unnatural acts laws shall be repealed.” She described the measure as a matter of urgency.

She further said her government wanted to normalise relations with “our traditional development partners who were uncomfortable with our bad laws”.

But repealing a law requires a parliamentary vote and, although Banda’s party commands a majority, it is unclear how much support the move would have in this socially conservative nation.

Malawi was widely condemned for the conviction and 14-year prison sentences given in 2010 to two men who were arrested after celebrating their engagement and were charged with unnatural acts and gross indecency.

The former president, Bingu wa Mutharika had pardoned the couple on “humanitarian grounds only”, while claiming they had “committed a crime against our culture, against our religion, and against our laws”.

The Senate had last year taken a strong stand against same sex marriage in Nigeria.

Debate over same sex marriage is growing across the world. While some countries have legalised it, others are considering adopting it and few conservatives have taken similar strong stands against it.

“We as a country need to act very fast for this trend not to find its way into our country,” Domingo Obende, had said while moving the motion against same sex marriage last September.

“Same sex marriage cannot be allowed on moral and religious grounds. The Muslim religion forbids it. Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it. It should not be allowed because it will lead to a breakdown of the society,” Mr Obende said.

The United States’ State Department and 16 international human rights groups had strongly condemned the bill, calling it a violation of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly guaranteed by international law as well as by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and a barrier to the struggle against the spread of AIDS.