Italian Premier Mario Monti, who is being backed by the Vatican in his bid for re-election, says gay-rights issues, including gay marriage, should be decided by Parliament, not his government, if he wins.
Monti said Jan. 6 that issues involving personal dignity are more important than economic reforms.
But he stressed that his coalition forces, which include pro-Vatican centrists, came together to work on the more “urgent” task of achieving economic growth in recession-mired Italy.
He said the new Parliament will have a greater role than the government in dealing with gay rights. Monti didn’t express his personal opinion on gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage isn’t permitted in Italy. The Vatican, which carries significant influence in Italian politics, opposes same-sex marriage.
Ugandan court dismisses case against pro-gay play
A Ugandan court has dismissed a case against a British national arrested for staging a pro-gay play.
Frank Mugisha, a gay-rights activist, said Jan. 3 that the dismissal of the case was a sign that the rights of sexual minorities will be respected by Uganda’s courts even though homosexuality is banned in Uganda. Draft legislation that once contained the death penalty for some gay acts created an outcry from rights groups around the world.
The court dismissed the charge of disobedience against David Cecil Edward Hugh on Jan. 2. Hugh’s play showed the dilemma an openly gay man is confronted with in a country with antigay laws.
Hugh said he won’t show the play in Uganda again but may show it in Washington, D.C., Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Although the relevant part of the penal code has been in force since 1972, human-rights campaigners say it has been far more stringently enforced in recent years.
Chile: Marriage equality a key issue in presidential debates
The issue of marriage equality became divisive during the first televised debate between two potential presidential nominees for the Chilean Christian Democrat party.
One of the potential candidates, Claudio Orrego, who just finished his second term as mayor of the city of Peñalolén, said he supported the possibility of civil unions, but that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
“I have firmly supported the Acuerdo de Vida en Común, the anti-discrimination law, and I think and believe, like many Chileans, that marriage as an institution is between a man and a woman and this doesn’t seem to me to be arbitrary discrimination. I think it is part of the anthropology of life,” Orrego said.
His opponent, Senator Ximena Rincón, responded that she opposed all discrimination, and said that, “if there is love,” there is no reason to deny marriage to same-sex couples.
The Chilean government has made clear that passing a civil-union law would be among its top priorities in 2013.
On July 12, the Chilean president signed anti-discrimination legislation into law. The move came after the Neo-Nazi killing of a gay man, Daniel Zamudio, in March.
Zamudio’s killing shocked Chile and sparked a national debate on hate crimes. He suffered severe head injuries and his body was found in a city park with cigarette burns and swastikas carved in his skin.
Back in March, a gay judge won a custody case against the Chilean courts, which had taken away her three daughters in 2004, believing her sexuality put their development “at risk.”
Kenya: Police hunt gang accused of raping gay men
Police in Kenya are investigating reports of a gang accused of blackmailing — and in some cases even raping — gay men in the African nation.
The gang, made up of about five men and a police officer, has been targeting men who are not open about their sexuality.
The gang operates by luring men to houses in Nairobi, where they are then robbed and in some cases sexually assaulted.
One victim, who is married to a woman, told the paper the gang demanded money and threatened to release naked photos of him to his wife and colleagues unless he paid a ransom.
According to the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, extortion is one of the biggest problems facing the country’s LGBT community.
The issue is aggravated by the fact that homosexuality remains banned in Kenya and those convicted of consensual same-sex activity can be issued with jail terms of between five and 14 years.
— compiled by Larry Nichols