Republican Lawmakers Condemn Antigay Uganda Legislation
According to the Associated Press, five Republican House members are urging Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to oppose the proposed antigay legislation that seeks to impose the death penalty in some cases. They put their concerns in a letter to him, saying the bill was antithetical to Christian belief. Representatives Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana, Trent Franks of Arizona, Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, Chris Smith of New Jersey, and Frank Wolf of Virginia signed the letter.
US Lifts HIV/AIDS Immigration Ban
The United States has lifted its 22-year-old immigration ban that prevented anyone with HIV/AIDS from traveling to the United States. It was imposed at the end of the 1980s in response to widespread panic about the HIV virus. Last fall, President Barack Obama said the ban was “rooted in fear rather than fact.” The end of the ban comes just a couple of months after the International AIDS Society announced it would hold its 2012 conference in Washington, DC.
Houston Now Nation’s Largest City with Gay or Lesbian Mayor
After a private ceremony, openly lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker took her oath of office again as part of public inaugural ceremonies and celebrations. She received almost 54 percent of the vote in a December runoff election. Houston now is the nation’s largest city to have an openly gay or lesbian mayor.
Gay Marriage Legal in New Hampshire
Same-sex marriage became legal on New Year’s Day in New Hampshire, making it the fifth state to allow gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. New Hampshire Union Leader reported that about 15 couples exchanged vows outside the New Hampshire State House in Concord. The state previously allowed civil unions. Couples currently in civil unions can convert them to marriage by having a marriage ceremony, filing paperwork, or waiting until they automatically are converted in 2011.
Malawi Gay Wedding Couple Loses Bail Appeal
A gay couple in Malawi that has been denied bail remains imprisoned on three counts of “unnatural practices and gross indecency,” according to the BBC. Gay sex, which is illegal in Malawi, carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. The pair, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, were arrested at their home after they started the process of getting married. They have pleaded not guilty.
Antigay Hate Crimes Surge in Honduras
UPI reports that up to 18 gay and transgender men have been killed in Honduras in the past six months, which is reportedly the same number of crimes committed in the previous five years. Activists allege the killings are the result of the breakdown in the rule of law in Honduras since former President Manuel Zelaya was deposed. New York attorney and human rights investigator David Brown told UPI, “Since the coup, there’s been a noticeable uptick in violence. There is a social breakdown and a breakdown in law enforcement.”
First Government-Funded Gay Bar Finally Opens in China
AFP states that China’s first government-funded gay bar finally has opened after a three-week delay. The bar, in the town of Dali in the Yunnan Province, is funded in part by the local government to help spread HIV/AIDS prevention information. It originally was scheduled to open on December 1, World AIDS Day, but volunteers and officials were concerned about media attention.