Ecuador has first same-sex marriage, following court ruling
A lesbian couple has married in Ecuador in the first same-sex wedding since a landmark ruling last month by the country’s highest court.
Michelle Aviles and Alexandra Chavez were wed July 18 at the civil registry office in the coastal city of Guayaquil. They said they will have a party to celebrate the occasion in November.
Aviles said she knows that some people disapprove of gay weddings, but that she and Chavez have a normal life like anyone else.
Civil registry official Andrea Alban oversaw the wedding and said several other same-sex couples are preparing to get married.
In June, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court granted two gay couples the right to marry following a lengthy legal battle.
About a half dozen Latin American nations have approved same-sex marriage.
More than 20 people detained for attack on LGBT parade in Poland
More than 20 people were detained after an attack on participants and police at the first LGBT pride parade in Bialystok in eastern Poland.
Four of the people detained are suspected of offences including threatening police officers and assault, a spokesman for the regional police headquarters told Bloomberg on July 21. Surveillance-camera footage is being used to identify further suspects, he said.
Some of the 800 pride participants were spat on and kicked, footage in the local media showed. Police were also attacked with bottles and stones and one officer was wounded.
Offenders will be punished, Interior Minister Elzbieta Witek said in a Twitter post on July 21.
Gay rights are a polarizing issue in Poland before fall general elections. The ruling Law and Justice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has warned that the advancement of gay rights is a “grave danger” for family life and the future of the European Union, underscoring a departure from the EU’s liberal, multicultural mainstream.
Kaczynski’s supporters have embraced his message, with about 30 cities, mostly in the former communist country’s poorer eastern regions, adopting declarations saying they’re “free from LGBT ideology” and opposing “social engineering that’s foreign to Polish culture and natural order.”
The pro-government Gazeta Polska weekly is now planning to distribute “LGBT-free zone” stickers to its readers.
Egypt releases trans woman after 4 months in jail
An Egyptian rights group said authorities have released a trans woman held for more than four months in connection to a call for protests.
The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms said July 16 that Malak el-Kashef was released.
El-Kashef was among dozens arrested over calls for demonstrations following a Feb. 27 train crash in Cairo that killed at least 25 people. Prosecutors say they suspect she belongs to an unnamed terrorist group, a reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The rights group said el-Kashef underwent a forced anal exam at a government hospital that amounted to torture and sexual harassment.
Egypt has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent in recent years, targeting political critics as well as anyone believed to be gay or lesbian.
Israeli education minister apologizes for remarks on gays
Israel’s education minister has apologized for controversial remarks about homosexual “conversion therapy” and intermarriage among Diaspora Jews that drew widespread criticism in Israel and the U.S.
Rafi Peretz, leader of a small religious nationalist party, wrote in a letter to the head of the Jewish Agency on July 16 that his likening of marriage between Diaspora Jews and non-Jews to a “second Holocaust” was “misplaced.”
Peretz’s comment at a Cabinet meeting was leaked to the press.
In another letter to school administrators, Peretz said he “vehemently opposed” a controversial technique that seeks to convert gay men into heterosexuals after originally saying he supported it.
The minister’s comments about conversion therapy drew widespread condemnation and hundreds protested in Tel Aviv.
Peretz, a former chief rabbi in Israel’s military, assumed office in Israel’s interim government last month.
Reporting via Associated Press