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French lesbian couple banned from adoption

A lesbian couple in France has been barred from adopting a child despite one of them being his birth mother.

Judges in Versailles refused a request recently by a lesbian woman to adopt the child, who was conceived in Belgium by her partner through medically assisted procreation.

The landmark decision is the first of its kind since France legalized same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gay couples last year.

Currently in France, methods of medically assisted procreation like IVF are reserved only for heterosexual couples.

But the lesbian couple assumed France’s reforms protected the rights of children conceived abroad using medically assisted procreation.

It turns out the law was not as clear-cut as the couple believed, and it was left up to judges to decide their case.

In a major blow to LGBT rights, judges in Versailles turned down the couple’s request and said going abroad for assisted reproduction before seeking to adopt in France was a violation and “fraud of the law.”

The couple, along with LGBT-rights campaigners, are horrified at the decision.

“I pulled the baby out of my partner’s womb. I cut the cord. I take him to school,” the aggrieved member of the couple said.

“Children of LGBT families are the new bastards of the Republic,” the group Inter-LGBT added.

The Association of Gay Parents went even further, calling the court “homophobic.”

The couple has vowed to appeal and say they will continue with plans to have a second child through medically assisted procreation abroad.

In February, French President Francois Hollande was accused of caving in to homophobes after shelving legislation that would have legalized medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples.

The government said the bill had not been dropped but only postponed until 2015 in the hope the atmosphere by then would be “more calm.”

Organizers of the homophobic protest group Manif pour Tous (Demo for All), which brought more than 100,000 people onto city streets days before in defense of what it described as the traditional family, claimed a victory after the announcement.

Richard Branson announces boycott

Sir Richard Branson has announced a boycott at his company of a Brunei-owned hotel chain over the country’s new antigay law.

The law, which is being phased in as of last May 1, replaces the maximum 10-year prison sentence for homosexuality with death by stoning in the Islamic state.

Celebrities including Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Osbourne have urged companies to boycott the Dorchester Collection luxury hotel chain, owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

Branson has now added his voice to the calls, announcing a boycott across his Virgin Group of the luxury hotel chain, which will take effect across his business empire.

He said: “No Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the sultan abides by basic human rights.”

Earlier this year, the Virgin boss lobbied with business leaders against Uganda and Nigeria over antigay laws, and he also backed the Out4Marriage campaign in 2012.

The president of the Human Rights Campaign wrote to every group that is due to hold an event at the Dorchester Collection’s Los Angeles hotels, Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel, encouraging them to take their business elsewhere.

Brunei is one of eight countries in the world that maintains the death penalty for homosexuality.

Brazil activists honor Pride

Gay-rights advocates called for a Brazilian law against discrimination as they gathered by the hundreds of thousands in Sâo Paulo for one of the world’s largest gay Pride parades.

The city blocked its main central avenue May 3 to allow room for colorful floats and exuberant crowds of people dressed as drag queens with stilettos and wigs, the Statue of Liberty, flamenco or cabaret dancers.

Organizers say they also want to see Brazil pass a gender-identity law like that in neighboring Argentina, where people can legally change their gender without needing a surgery or a judge’s approval.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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