Tag Archives: gay

Copenhagen International Human Rights Conference

An international conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender human rights entitled “Love of Freedom, Freedom to Love,” is now going on in Copenhagen. Danish Socialist MP Kamal Hameed Qureshi, a heterosexual born in Pakistan, told the conference how he had to overcome prejudice and bigotry among family members and his community in order to speak out in favor of human rights for those whose sexual preferences did not fit normal ideas of Muslims. He emphasized the experience of growing up as a minority person in Denmark had sensitized him to issues of those who daily encounter bigotry and prejudice. Qureshi noted that while Denmark recognizes same-sex marriages the law dictates they can not take place in a church, let alone a mosque.

The Danish MP argued for an ombudsman who would deal with issues of sexual equality. Among the surprising aspects of his talk was discussion how there are already signs of change towards gays and lesbians in his conservative Muslim Pakistan community. Most probably, this arises from living in a multicultural society in which law supports the premise of equality for all members of the community.

Combat Veteran Discharged Because He Is Gay!

Lt. Dan Choi became the first New York National Guard member to be discharged from the service because he admitted to being gay. Choi, a 2003 West Point graduate, and a member of the West Point Knights Out group made up of gays and lesbians who graduated from that institution, believes it would be a violation of the Point’s honor code to lie about his sexual orientation. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy according to Choi is “an immoral code that goes against every single thing we were ever taught at West Point with our honor code.” His lawyer, Maj. Roy Diehl commented sarcastically, “they are taking effective troops– and kicking them out , removing them from the force just as effectively as if al-Qaida was blowing them up.”

Lt. Dan Choi spent 15 months leading soldiers in combat and risking his life for his country. Tell me, President Obama, since you never served in the armed forces, do you regard your policy of delay to be immoral since it ends the service of those who risked all for their nation?

Denmark Adopts Same Sex Adoption

There is now a parliamentary majority in Denmark which supports the principle of same sex adoption. The proposal would give partners registered in civil unions the right to adopt unrelated children both domestically and internationally. Denmark law currently allows individuals to adopt regardless of sexual orientation and for couples to adopt their partner’s existing children. The new proposal simply allows any civil union to adopt children. Denmark will shortly join other Nordic countries such as Norway, Sweden and Iceland in allowing such adoptions.

The movement toward extending equal rights to all people regardless of their sexual orientation is progressing, perhaps slowly, but it proceeds and within a decade this issue will not longer be of importance in most nations of the industrial world.

Army Fires Gay Soldiers

Congressman Jim Moran charged that the Army discharged 11 soldiers in January who violated the military policy of that openly gay servicemen could not be members of the armed forces. They can remain if the keep secret the reality of who they really are. “How many good soldiers are we willing to lose due to a bad policy that makes us less safe and secure? asked the legislator. The Pentagon policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was instituted under President Clinton and remains in effect until members of the armed forces and the president can join the world of 2009. During the past ten years about 10,000 men and women who wanted to serve their nation were denied that opportunity because they were honest.

President Obama supposedly is consulting with military officials about changing the policy and allowing members of the military who are honest to serve and be gay. In virtually all other aspects of life, being gay or lesbian does not result in being fired. Why should the military be any different than the rest of American society?

US Military Officers-End Gay Ban Policy!

More than 100 retired generals and admirals appealed to the incoming Obama administration to end the infamous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which prevents gays from openly serving in the armed forces. “As in the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly,” wrote the officers, “our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion and sexuality.” In a September interview, Obama made clear he opposed the current policy which bans gays, but wanted to ensure change came as a result of “working through a process, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be.”

Several officers urged Obama to avoid making the Clinton mistake of appearing to challenge military authority in pushing for an end to the gay ban. Fortunately, for Obama, life has changed and attitudes have changed over the past decade and most senior military commanders are ready to accept gays and lesbians in the ranks.

Anglican Bishops: Inclusive Communion For All!

The leadership of the Anglican Church expressed in clear terms their support for the rights of gays and women to be active participants in all facets of their religion. Duleep de Chickera, a bishop for Sri Lanka, made clear” “There is space equally for anyone and everyone, regardless of color, ability, gender or sexual orientation. It is an inclusive communion where there is space equally for everyone and anyone, regardless.” He admitted “some of us are not here”(Lambeth Conference), a reference to the decision by traditionalists to boycott the Lambeth conference in opposition of the decision by the Archbishop of Canterbury(Rowan Williams) to support gay and female bishops.

Dr. Rowan Williams received a standing ovation from the assembled bishops and he urged of the importance of finding ways to respect the ideas of liberals and traditionalists. Many observers were surprised at the remarkable sense of unity among the bishops even though there is a significant number who might still harbor doubts about the move toward allowing gay and female bishops.

Church Of England Holy Wars Heat Up

The Church of England, like many other long standing European religions, is confronting declining church attendance and increasing evidence young people are not as much into attending churches as their parents. But, the main issues confronting the Church of England general synod this summer will revolve around issues of women and gay rights. William Fittall, general secretary of the synod, admitted “there is no doubt we are at an unsettled moment in the Church of England.” Last week, the Bishop of London ordered an investigation into the so called “marriage” between two gay priests who exchanged rings and vows at St.Bartholomew church. Fittall believes the issue of women being ordained as bishops in the church and gay priests will dominate the summer meeting.

There are those who strongly oppose these changes and have threatened to take action if they occur. Stephen Parkinson, director of Forward in Faith, is concerned the feelings of those who are against these changes is not heard. “We do not want to leave but the church is not dong enough to accomodate us.”

A decade ago the religious wars revolved around ways to attract more people to enter church but today the issues revolve around those who currently are in the church. Ironically, as institutions such as the Church of England divide over these issues, other religions are growing in strength.

Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras Overwhelms Sydney!

An enormous crowd of about 300,000 people thronged the streets of Sydney, Australia, to cheer on the 30th annual Gay and Lesbian Marids Gras. They watched as 10,000 people representing a wide variety of sexual beliefs marched through downtown Sydney to cheers of happy revelers. The march began in 1978 when a band of 1,500 homosexuals took to the streets to protest discrimination. Among those marching today were 186 members of the famous “78ers” who took part in the original demonstration. Diane Minis, from that group, said the march “makes gay, leslbian, transsexual, etc… very visible and that’s what we stll need.”

The march toward equality has proven to be on the right road, but there are still many examples of discrimination towards gays and lesbians in gaining equality in tax and pension benefits. It was also apparent the group had obtained support from many members of the Australian community including clerics who marched in the parade.

Repeal ‘Don’t Ask’ Policy Urges Coalition

A coalition of gay rights groups has begun a renewed assault on the military’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” regarding personnel who are gay and lesbian. A letter signed by 28 retired generals asked Congress to repeal the policy. “We respectfully urge congress to repeal the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Those of us signing this letter have dedicated their lives in defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish. As General Colin Powell former chairman of the Joint chiefs said when the..policy was enacted, it is not the place of the military or those in senior leadership to make moral judgments.” A Pentagon spokesperson said the military will adhere to policies enacted by Congress.

The time has arrived in American history to end the hypocrisy surrounding this policy and to recognize the patriotism and heroism of all those who serve regardless of sexual orientation. As the letter writers correctly note, it is not the responsibility of those in command to inquire into the personal sexual beliefs of those who serve the nation.