UK Muslims Convicted in Landmark Gay Hatred Case
Reuters reports that three British Muslim men were found guilty in January of anti-gay rhetoric by distributing leaflets calling for the death of homosexuals. The men handed the leaflets out in advance of a gay pride parade in Derby, England.
South African Rights Investigators Probe Zulu King’s Alleged Gay Slur
The Washington Post reports that South Africa’s human rights agency said that it is investigating allegations that the Zulu King called gay people “rotten” during a speech. In a statement, the Zulu royal household said the king’s comments were mistranslated. King Zwelithini has no governing powers in South Africa, but is an influential figure.
Cynthia Nixon Says Being Gay ‘Is A Choice’
Actress Cynthia Nixon created controversy in a recent speech and interview claiming she chose to be gay. During a recent speech in connection with an upcoming Broadway play, Nixon said, “I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.” When asked to clarify, Nixon defended her statement saying, “…for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”
Gay Marriage Bill Advances in NJ, Despite Veto Threat
The Wall Street Journal reports that New Jersey’s state legislature advanced gay marriage legislation in January, despite a threatened veto by Republican governor Chris Christie. According to the Wall Street Journal, New Jersey Democrats might be close to having a veto-proof majority. In January, a poll from Quinnipiac University found 52% support for gay marriage among New Jersey voters, the first time approval has been above 50%.
Forced Sterilization for Transgender People in Sweden
Mother Jones reports that Sweden is considering legislation that would allow transgender individuals to marry, but would force them to undergo reproductive sterilization. The current law, passed in 1972 requires both divorce and sterilization.
Gay Groups Angry Kansas Anti-Sodomy Law Remains on Books
Reuters reports that gay rights groups in Kansas are upset over a state sodomy law still on the books, even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that such laws are unconstitutional. Thomas Witt, chairman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, a state gay rights group says, “We are angry that the governor of a state wants to keep a statute on the books that says gay people deserve to go to jail.”
Ugandan Gay Activists Honor Slain Rights Leader
AFP reports that gay activists in Uganda met to commemorate the first anniversary of the murder of fellow activist David Kato. Kato was was found beaten to death outside his home in Kampala last January. Kato’s mother told reporters, “It is not easy when a loved one dies but thanks to all the friends inside and outside Uganda who worked with David… when I get down they lift me up and help me.”
Starbucks Endorses Gay Marriage in Washington State
Reuters reports that Starbucks made a statement in January, publicly supporting gay marriage legislation in Washington state. “Starbucks strives to create a company culture that puts our partners first, and our company has a lengthy history of leading and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion.” Starbucks joins Microsoft and other major corporations to support the legislation.
Maine Poised for 2nd Public Vote on Gay Marriage
The Associated Press reports that gay marriage supporters in Maine are planning to put the issue before voters once more in 2012. A statewide vote in 2009 resulted in the repeal of marriage legislation passed by the legislature. Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, said polling by gay marriage supporters indicates 54 percent of state residents now support gay marriage.
NAACP Supports Extending Rights to Maryland Transgender Residents
The Washington Post reports that NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said in January that the organization supports legislation in Maryland that would extend civil rights protections to transgender residents. Jealous made the announcement at the 24th national conference on GLBT equality.
New Hampshire Bill Would Allow Service Refusal To Gay Couples
WCVB-TV reports that the New Hampshire legislature is considering a bill that would allow providers of wedding-related goods or services to refuse doing business with gay couples, if doing so would violate their conscience or religious beliefs. The bill would also bar lawsuits against business owners who deny business to gay couples. The state’s House Judiciary committee held a hearing in January on the bill. If the committee recommends the legislation, it will head to the full house for a vote.
Barney Frank Plans to Marry Longtime Partner in Massachusetts
The Washington Post reports that Congressman Barney Frank announced in January that he will marry his longtime partner Jim Ready. A spokesman for Frank said the the couple will wed in Frank’s home state of Massachusetts. A date has not been set. Ready is 42 and lives in Maine. He runs a small handyman business. The men have been together since 2007.