Politics and Society: April 2015

April 2, 2015 in General

UnArkansas/Indiana: Republican Indiana Governor Rob Pence is at panic stations as national US backlash and fury mounts over an antigay service provider discrimination law that was unconvincingly cloaked as a ‘religious freedom’ statute. Now, Arkansas is also getting cold feet and insuring that it doesn’t get caught in the slipstream of public backlash against such ‘bigot bills.’  Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said his own son had signed a petition asking him not to sign his state’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” and as it turns out, he isn’t signing it yet. At least not in its current form. As for Pence, he’s also lying- when a federal US Congressperson, he never voted for any LGBT-inclusive legislation.   Horror author Stephen King has delivered a takedown of that Indiana law that allows state businesses and other service providers to refuse to serve gay people. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York have banned state-funded travel to Indiana as a consequence of its antigay legislation.

Pence and Hutchinson have now  signed a revised version of the “religious liberty”  bills that they hope addresses these concerns. The amendments mean his state’s law more closely mirrors what Bill Clinton signed into federal law in 1993. The Indiana amendment prohibits businesses from using the law as a legal defence if they refuse to provide services to gays and lesbians, or other groups. The change does not apply to churches, religious schools, or non-profit religious organisations. It also prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, ancestry, religion, age, disability, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and military service. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has now said he’ll also refuse to sign any “Religious Freedom Restoration Bill” placed before him.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Lagos:  The reign of Nigeria’s antigay president, Goodluck Jonathan, and his People’s Democratic Party has come to its end. But whether that means any change for LGBT oppression is yet to be seen. Challenger Muhammadu Buhari, a former general who once took the reigns of power in Nigeria and ruled with brutal severity, has beaten the incumbent in an historic election by about 2 million votes. However, Buhari and his party voted for the antigay Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act and his antigay stance is virtually indistinguishable from that of his predecessor. As a conservative Muslim, he may introduce shariah law, although he has said that one of his priorities is tackling the repressive Boko Haram insurgency.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Dallas: Lambda Legal won a victory Monday, securing safekeeping housing for Passion Star, a black trans woman who has been fighting alleged abuse and rape she faced in Texas prisons for over a decade, before transitioning.  Incarcerated in seven all-male facilities since she was convicted of aggravated kidnapping as a teenager, the now 31-year-old woman says in her legal filing that she has faced repeated rapes, been forced to perform sexual acts to avoid violence, and been threatened with sexual assault while imprisoned. Star’s conviction, she claims, resulted from her boyfriend refusing to return a used car he was test-driving, instead driving for several hours with the car salesman in the passenger seat and Star in the backseat. She is currently serving a 20-year sentence.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Indianapolis:  The owners of a pizza shop in Indiana have said they intend to use the state’s new ‘religious freedom’ law to refuse to serve same-sex weddings. Crystal O’Connor, whose family owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, made the claim after Governor of Indiana Mike Pence signed the misnamed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (or ‘bigot bill,’ or ‘Service Providers Discrimination Act’) into law.  Good luck with expanding into more mainstream US states with that policy, young woman.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Dublin:  An Irish Senator has claimed it would be better to spend money ‘testing for HIV’ instead of voting  on marriage equality.  Jim Walsh left the Fianna Fail party after it affirmed its support for marriage equality.  The Republic of Ireland is to vote in a referendum on the subject  at the end of May.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

London: The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party  is probing allegations that one of its prospective MPs made a series of homophobic and anti-Muslim Facebook posts. Alan Harris – who is the party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Oxford West and Abingdon, allegedly made the comments on his Facebook. The anti-Muslim comment was a temper tantrum about not getting a bacon sandwich, although Harris has since claimed that his Facebook page has been hacked.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Cardiff: Former UK (fundamentalist)  Christian Party mayor of Llandrindod Wells Jeff Green has said he will stand as a candidate in the general election. He took the case of his hotel’s intentional  accomodation discrimination at his hotel against a gay couple to UK courts and then the European Court of Human Rights, and lost at both.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Kentucky: The Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear has said that a ban on same-sex marriage is not discriminatory to gay people- because straight people can’t marry the same sex either!

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

 Canberra: Former Australian federal Prime Minister Julia Gillard  has sought legal advice after an antigay group linked her apology for forced adoptions to the marriage equality debate. The antigay advertisement, which depicts marriage equality as “harmful” to children,  begins with footage of Ms Gillard’s 2013 apology to victims of forced adoptions. It then warns that marriage equality would produce a “motherless generation”.  SBS refused to air the advertisement, while Channels Seven and Nine later refused to broadcast it after escalating objections from LGBT community members and allies for misleading the public. An Australian Christian Right activist group, the “Australian Marriage Forum”, is the ringleader behind the antigay network and responsible for the advertisement.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said she had been unaware of the video until The Canberra Times drew it to her attention. The spokesman said Ms Gillard thought it wrong for her apology to be taken out of context and misused.

“As well as being hurtful to those the subject of the apology, who have already suffered so much, Ms Gillard believes the video is offensive to gay couples, who are parents. Ms Gillard is seeking legal advice about this matter.” Aboriginal rights activists are also angry at the exploitation of the forced adoption debate, given its destructive effects on previous generations of Aboriginal Australians.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au

 London:  UKIP Leader Nigel Farage has defended comments made in the TV leaders’ debate about migrants using the NHS for HIV treatment costing £25,000 per year. Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood responded by calling the comment “scaremongering” and saying he should be “ashamed”. HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust said “HIV doesn’t discriminate and politicians shouldn’t either”.

Farage said, “There are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year, people who are HIV positive. Not a good place for any of them to be, I know. 60% of them are not British nationals. You can come into Britain, from anywhere in the world, and get diagnosed with HIV, and get the retroviral drugs that cost up to £25,000 a year per patient. I know there are some horrible things happening in many parts of the world but what we need to do is put the National Health Service there for British people and families, who in many cases have paid into this system for decades.” Farage prefaced his comments by saying he was sure the others would be ‘mortified’ that he ‘dared to talk about it’, and indeed the other leaders reacted strongly.

The Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood slammed Farage in reply:  “This kind of scaremongering rhetoric is dangerous, it divides communities and it creates stigma to people who are ill, and I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” Her retort earned the night’s first round of applause from the audience, almost 55 minutes into the 2 hour long debate.  Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon – widely agreed to have won the debate overall – then responded: “When somebody is diagnosed with a dreadful illness, my instinct is to view them as a human being, not consider what country they come from.”  Later, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg added their condemnation.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Dublin: The upper house of Ireland’s parliament, the Seanad, has passed a bill that will allow greater adoption rights,  including enablement of inclusive adoptive parent responsibilities for same sex couples.  The bill extends guardianship, custody and adoption rights to various family situations, including same sex civil partners and co-habiting couples who will be able to jointly adopt children. It also gives step parents and grandparents greater access to children when relationships break down. The bill has gone through a remarkable 122 amendments, and after eight hours of debate on Tuesday night, 20 Senators voted for the Bill, and 2 voted against. The passing of this bill comes just weeks before the country’s referendum on same sex marriage on 22nd May.

Belfast: A Northern Ireland mother has complained to the Police after her daughters  attended a Girls’ Brigade event in February where homosexuality was described as a “sin” which was equated to murder. The girls were attending a spiritual programme as part of the Girls’ Brigade, when they were asked to place a number of sins in order – including murder, adultery, stealing and homosexuality – after which they were told that in fact all of these sins were “equal” in the eyes of God. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the Newtownards mother explained her children were upset after she picked them up. “Someone’s sexuality is certainly not regarded as a sin in our family as they have an uncle who is not only gay, but openly lives with his partner whom they love dearly.”

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Atlanta: Right-wing lesbian   radio host Tammy Bruce has argued that gay liberals have “turned into bullies”.  Bruce  appeared on FOX News in early April 2015 to discuss the threats that were made against a restaurant in Indiana that engaged in service provider discrimination after it  refused to cater a gay wedding, claimed that gay liberals need to stop chastising people for having different opinions.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Sydney: Recent cases of permanent eye damage following amyl use have prompted one New South Wales specialist to raise concerns over a possible link.

Malta: Malta has become the first country in the world to outlaw medical practitioners or other professionals from conducting any involuntary or coerced surgical intervention on minors without the permission of their parents or informed consent.  Worldwide, intersexed rights organisations have applauded the measure.   The Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act was passed through Maltese Parliament with cross party support, without a vote, in the early of the morning in Australian time. The new law  recognises the right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy and protects intersex infants and children from unnecessary medical intervention. These sorts of medical procedures still take place in Australia and around the world, with parental distress or improving marriage prospects as common reasons for it. The Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act also meets several other key demands of the intersex movement.  The new Maltese law also provides for an administrative mechanism for the recognition of gender identity, and protection from discrimination for intersex and transgender people. While OII Australia president Morgan Carpenter said he “warmly” congratulated the Maltese government and parliament, he urged Australian parliamentarians to pass similar legislation, as well. [And New Zealand too, for that matter- Craig]

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

London: Obnoxious right-wing tabloid Daily Mail and Sun columnist Richard Littlejohn has  questioned a gay Liberal  Democrat candidate’s suitability because of his past and HIV status. Liberal Democrat candidate for Vauxhall Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett discussed his past struggle with drugs, mental health problems and bullying. He spoke about how this led to him contracting HIV in a bid for “annihilation”.

Atlanta: Right-wing media commentator Anne Coulter has slammed other US Christians for their ‘cowardice’ in not opposing marriage equality and LGBT rights strongly enough.

Sacramento:  A judge has ordered the California prison system to grant gender reassignment surgery to a prisoner. Michelle-Lael Norsworthy has won her case with the help of the Transgender Law Center, and it is the first time such a ruling has been made. Ms Norsworthy has been in prison for second-degree murder since 1987, and began transitioning in 2000. Ms Norsworthy had argued that continuing to be denied surgery was causing her extreme psychological pain, and this needed to be rectified urgently. The California Department of Corrections argued that since she had been waiting for a long period of time already, it could not be considered. The judge disagreed, and ordered them to make the necessary steps as soon as possible. The judge found that while she had been allowed hormone treatment, and had been recommended for surgery by her psychologist, the prison “chose to ignore the clear recommendations of her mental health provider” and “instead of following his recommendations, they removed her from his care.”

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

 Seoul: In South Korea, new sex education guidelines outlaw teaching about sexual minorities.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Arkansas:  Tom Cotton, the junior US senator from Arkansas, thinks the critics of Indiana’s ‘religious freedom’ law need some perspective. There has been a national backlash against the state over its Religious Freedom Restoration Act which opens the door for private businesses and others to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs: ’I think it’s important we have a sense of perspective,’ Cotton said on CNN this week. ‘In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.’

Source:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/us-senator-critics-religious-freedom-laws-need-perspective-least-gays-arent-executed030415

 Brisbane: Pressure is mounting for the abolition of a law allowing Queenslanders who kill homosexuals to have a murder charge reduced by arguing that their victim ‘propositioned’ them.

Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz

Sacramento: Former Californian Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken out against the  abortive “Religious Freedom Restoration Bill” which was introduced in the U.S. state of Indiana, and largely seen as a way to discriminate against gay people.   The former Governor of California says that as a Republican, he’s furious with those of his  party members who practise “the politics of division”.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 New Orleans: Mike Johnson, a  Republican member of Louisiana’s legislature has filed a “religious freedom” bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against gays and lesbians if they object to marriage equality on “moral” grounds.   The bill, known as HB 707, will be considered when the Louisiana legislative session begins April 13. Unsurprisingly, LGBT Equality Louisiana has blasted HB 707.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Moscow: Russia’s main support group for teenagers who identify as LGBT is to be blocked under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.

Indianapolis:  A church minister in New York spent his Easter weekend handing out free cupcakes at gay bars – after Indiana passed its anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ law. Reverend Drew Ludwig of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York, distributed over 500 cupcakes outside a number of gay bars on Saturday night.

London: UK Christian Right pressure group and antigay charity Christian Concern has complained that the National Union of Teachers is “intolerant” – for calling on the next government to make it compulsory to teach about same-sex relationships.

Washington DC: The US Christian Right pressure group and antigay lobbyists Family Research Council will begin a 21-day fast tomorrow, in order to thwart an expected ruling from the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, three-quarters of Republican Members of Congress have neglected to sign a court brief opposing marriage equality, ahead of that Supreme Court battle.

Denver: A bakery in Denver, Colorado that refused to bake an anti-gay cake has been cleared of discrimination allegations.  Last year, C0lorado-based anti-gay Christian activist William Jack asked Azucar Bakery in Denver for cakes bearing the message: “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:2″. Bakery owner Marjorie Silva declined to write the hateful message herself but offered to provide him a blank cake and icing to do so himself. However,  the homophobe made a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, claiming that he was discriminated against because he was a Christian.

Canterbury:  An anti-gay fundamentalist “Anglican”  Nigerian bishop has been appointed as the new head of the Anglican Communion. Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the former Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna, has been named the new Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. The Communion – of which Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is Primate – has struggled in recent years to reconcile the views of Western and hardline African churches.

London: Aderonke Apata faces deportion after a High Court judge rules she “fabricated” her sexuality. She says she faces persecution, imprisonment and even death if she returns to Nigeria, where she had been an outspoken gay rights activist before moving to the UK in 2004. Gay people can face 14 years in prison in Nigeria.Her applications for asylum were repeatedly denied as the Home Office did not believe she was “really” a lesbian.

Dublin:  The Catholic Primate of All Ireland used his Holy Thursday Mass to talk about the “persecution” of Christians. Archbishop Eamon Martin spoke out about the difficulties faced by Christians who believe in the “Church’s understanding of marriage and the family”.  [The problem is not with their beliefs, it is that they want to preserve discriminatory marriage and parenting laws- Craig].

 Pasadena:  Rabbi Becky Silverstein offers his blessings and support to trans teen at Passover. Inspired the story of a thirteen year old trans boy, Tom Chai Sosnik, whose coming speech out to his school went viral, trans Rabbi Becky Silverstein wrote a open letter of support. In it, he compares the story of the exodus, celebrated by Jews at Passover, to the courage of LGBT teens coming out. He also praises Tom’s family, school and Rabbi for their support. Rabbi Silverstein, of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, California is one of the only openly trans Rabbis in the world.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Atlanta:  36-year-old Ashley Diamond has been confined to a men’s prison in Georgia for over two years and denied hormone therapy despite being a transgender woman and says she has been raped over seven times as a result.

Salt Lake City:  The Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have used the church’s 185th Annual General Convention to speak out against ‘counterfeit lifestyles’ that are outside of straight marriage.

Arkansas: Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and possible 2016 candidate for the White House, claims US business is controlled by the ‘militant gay community.’ When asked to explain why companies like Apple and Walmart were opposed to such laws, the Republican argued they were responding to ‘outside influences.’

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/mike-huckabee-calls-business-hypocritical-standing-against-indianas-religious-freedom-law040415

Melbourne:  Adoption agencies are at risk of closure unless they are allowed to show preferential treatment to heterosexual families, an Australian religious pressure group warns. In a submission to the government in Victoria, the Australian Christian Lobby are looking to introduce a ‘religious exemption’ clause, that would give faith-based agencies the right to choose which couples can and cannot adopt children, according to the beliefs of the agency. Not only are they hoping for the right to refuse to place a child in the care of same-sex parents, they also intend for birth parents to be able to stipulate whether or not same-sex couples can adopt their child.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/christian-group-asks-right-discriminate-against-same-sex-parents300315

 Philadelphia: According to conservative Catholic potential Republican presidential nominee Rick Santorum,   tolerance is a “two-way street”. The prospective 2016  candidate made the remark while he was discussing Indiana’s controversial “religious liberty” legislation.  In a new interview, Santorum argues that because the government wouldn’t demand a gay man make a ‘God Hates Fags’ sign, they shouldn’t “force” those with religious views to cater for the LGBT community.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 New Orleans: A school in Louisiana has decided not to ban a lesbian student from wearing a tuxedo to prom, after her story circulated online.

London: A Louis Theroux documentary looking at the growing number of young transgender people has been broadly positively received.

 Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Paris: The Holy See is to receive its first ever openly gay ambassador in the form of France’s Laurent Stefanini and not everybody’s sure they’re too thrilled about that.

Atlanta: According to elderly antigay US televangelist Pat Robertson, being lesbian or gay is “unnatural” because “no-one has children that way.”

Islamabad:  Two transgender women in Swabi district, Pakistan, are dead and another has been gang raped after they were ambushed in a field after performing at a wedding. A group of four or five men tried to abduct all three women as they were traveling back to town but open fired on them when they refused.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gunmen-attack-group-transgender-women-pakistan-killing-two070415

 Brisbane: Queensland will shortly become the next jurisdiction to repeal the so-called “provocation defence.”  The Queensland Government is taking steps to ensure a homosexual advance is no longer considered provocation for murder, while also looking at expunging historical convictions for homosexual sex, righting wrongs in Queensland’s past which have stood for decades. The homosexual advance defence, more commonly referred to as the gay panic defence, is a rare but usable legal defence under Queensland law. It allows defendants to claim they were provoked into killing because of an alleged homosexual advance, by claiming it drove them into temporary insanity, reducing what could be a murder conviction to one of manslaughter.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au

Paris:  The head of France’s far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, has said she will move to stop her father Jean-Marie from standing in polls later this year. In a statement she said her father’s status as honorary president of the party “does not mean he can take the Front National hostage”. Last week she condemned her father for repeating his anti-Semitic claim that the Nazi gas chambers were “a detail of history”. She is widely expected to run for president in 2017.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

London:  A new study shows that discrimination against gay and lesbian job seekers is surprisingly commonplace in the United Kingdom, despite employment anti-discrimination laws.  The research, carried out by Dr Nick Drydakis of Anglia Ruskin University and published online today by SAGE in the journal Human Relations, involved 144 young people – all first-time job seekers – making 11,098 applications. The study found that gay applicants of both sexes are 5% less likely to be offered a job interview than heterosexual applicants with comparable skills and experience.

Of the 2,312 students who volunteered for the study, Dr Drydakis was able to match 72 students whose CVs mentioned having a prominent role in their university’s LGBT society with 72 students whose skills and experiences were identical, but whose CV didn’t indicate their sexuality. The firms who offer interviews to gay male candidates pay an average salary of 2.0% less than those who invite heterosexuals for interview (£23,072 compared to £23,544). For lesbian women, the average salary is 1.4% less (£22,569 compared to £22,907). Gay men receive the fewest invitations for interviews in traditionally male-dominated occupations (accounting, banking, finance and management jobs), whereas lesbians receive the fewest invitations for interviews in traditionally female-dominated occupations (social care, social services and charity jobs).

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 Rome: The Vatican has removed a priest from office after allegations that he engaged in gay orgies with various religious officials, including members of the Vatican’s Swiss guard. A man came forward to Italian media with a recording of a conversation with the priest in which he admits to the consensual adult gay sex.

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

Atlanta: Ky Peterson, a black transman from Georgia, has been imprisoned three years for the ‘involuntary manslaughter’ of his attacker, which he says was in self-defense.

Hollywood:  Out pop superstars Elton John and Michael Stipe are taking a stand for their incarcerated transgender sisters after hearing about the atrocious treatment of Ashley Diamond and Zahara Green, two transgender women placed in Georgia prisons for men. In a lawsuit filed by theSouthern Poverty Law Center,Diamond claims she’s been denied access to the hormone medication she’s been taking for 17 years, harassed, and raped multiple times. Green’s story is just as harrowing: She requested protection from sexual harassment and was then placed in a cell with the man she claimed had raped her.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Salt Lake City: The Mormon Church may have bent a little on its antigay stances by supporting the ultimately successful drive for antidiscrimination legislation in Utah, but speakers at the church’s Annual General Conference over the weekend left no doubt that the church’s traditional views remain intact, especially insofar as marriage and parenting are concerned.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Washington DC: An Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama that outlaws anti-LGBT discrimination among US federal contractors has come into effect.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Seoul:  The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has written to South Korean officials to express concern over two recent ‘conversion therapy’ seminars hosted in government buildings. The letter dated 3 April said failure of high-level government officials and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) to denounce ‘gay cures’ therapy and groups promoting these practices contravened the country’s international commitments to human rights. ’Two recent convenings by anti-LGBT hate organizations in South Korean government buildings that convey the troubling impression of the government’s tacit endorsement of so-called “conversion therapy” and tolerance for discrimination against LGBT Koreans,’ the letter reads. In November, South Korean Christian Right pressure groups Holy Life, Chosen People Network and People’s Solidarity for Healthy Society held an ex-gay “human rights” forum at the National Assembly Members Office Building. Then last month, the same groups held a second forum on NHRCK premises.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/south-korea-government-slammed-hosting-conversion-therapy-seminars080415

 Washington DC:  US President Barack Obama has condemned  fundamentalist psychiatric pseudo-”therapies” designed to “repair” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. Mr Obama’s statement was in response to an online petition calling for a ban on conversion therapies. It gained over 120,000 signatures in three months.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

 London: More children are being referred to transgender counselling.  The rise in child referrals shows a greater understanding of transgender issues.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/more-british-children-being-referred-to-transgender-counselling/article23862306/

Dallas:  Texas lawmakers are planning to cut the state’s HIV prevention budget dramatically. Despite the state having the third-highest rate of HIV infection in the US in 2013 overall, new plans drawn up by Texas Republicans intend to slash $3 million dollars from the disease prevention budget and waste that money teaching school children about abstinence.   In order to become law, the bill must pass through Senate, which is mostly dominated by right-wing social conservatives. Meanwhile, in yet another totally educated and responsible move from the  same state, another amendment that passed last week would ban schools from distributing educational literature from abortion clinics to minors.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Brisbane: Testing for HIV and other STIs offered by the Queensland AIDS Council has surpassed the “significant milestone” of 5000 tests since the introduction of rapid testing in 2012.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

Guam: Two women in Guam who have been a couple for 28 years were denied a marriage license by a bureaucrat who said he may sympathize with cause of equality but had to follow Guamanian law, which forbids marriage equality. Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero are now taking their desire to wed at home — on the island of Guam — to federal court. The couple’s lawyer said the women are aware that the U.S. Supreme Court may decide the questions of marriage equality later this year.

Miami: The Florida Senate today quashed an attempt to reinstate a ban on adoptions by gay and lesbians, just as the state House of Representatives appeared poised to pass a bill that would allow private adoption agencies, even those with state contracts, to discriminate against prospective parents who offend their religious beliefs, such as LGBT individuals or same-sex couples.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Melbourne: Older and ageing LGBTI people in Victoria will soon have the option of a new aged care home environment in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb Prahran under a project set to start later this year.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

Belfast:  Dr Mark Gilfillan, a  research associate of Irish Jewish History at Ulster University made some extreme antigay  comments in Facebook posts discussing the case of a bakery that refused to bake a pro-gay marriage cake. The university has distanced itself from Gilfillan’s remarks about genetics and pedophilia.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Kyrgyzstan: The headquarters of Kyrgyzstan’s LGBT organisation Labrys has been attacked with explosives.

Brasilia: Congressman Jair Bolsonaro has said his far-right Progressive Party would implement a policy meaning patients would be made aware when they were receiving a blood donation of its origin, and would be able to reject it if it came from a gay donor.

London:  A ‘reparative theraoy:  convention is scheduled to take place in London this month.  The Holy Sexuality Conference will take place over five days from 21 to 25 April, with gay people being specifically invited in order to help them ‘overcome’ their ‘sexual habits’. Three of the biggest ‘ex-gay’ advocates have been invited to speak; Mike Carducci, Wayne Blakely and Danielle Harrison of the Coming Out Ministries.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-cure-summit-comes-central-london100415

Nicaragua: The Central American nation has prospectively banned marriage equality and same-sex parenting.

London: