Friday, 28 February 2014

BBC News: World Bank postpones $90m Uganda loan over anti-gay law
28 February 2014 Last updated at 01:28 GMT

A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman lies in the treatment ward of the Mildmay Uganda clinic on 27 FebruaryThe World Bank was set to approve a new project in Uganda to strengthen its health services

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The World Bank has postponed a $90m (£54m) loan to Uganda over its tough new anti-gay law that has drawn criticism from around the world.
World Bank officials said they wanted to guarantee the projects the loan was destined to support were not going to be adversely affected by the new law.
The loan was intended to boost Uganda's health services.
The new law, enacted on Monday strengthens already strict legislation relating to homosexuals in the country.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Malta Today: Arizona Governor vetoes ‘anti-gay’ bill

“It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and nobody could ever want.”
Thursday 27 February 2014 - 09:10

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed a bill that would have allowed business owners who cited their religious beliefs to turn away gay customers.

Brewer said the bill could have had "unintended and negative consequences".

It was touted as a religious liberty protection by social conservatives but its opponents denounced it as legalising anti-gay discrimination.

Times: Uganda told its anti-gay law poses financial risk
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 00:01 by Reuters

Ugandan anti-gay activist Pastor Martin Ssempa (centre) leading anti-gay supporters after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a law imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality in Entebbe. Photo: Edward Echwalu/Reuters

Sweden’s Finance Minister Anders Borg warned Uganda yesterday that a new Bill imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality could represent a financial risk for the east African economy.

President Yoweri Museveni initialled the Bill on Monday, drawing immediate criticism from Western donors and Washington. Within hours, Norway and Denmark said they were holding back aid. Austria said it would review assistance.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Malta Today: Civil Unions Bill passes committee stage

A number of amendments proposed by the Opposition during this evening’s sitting rejected.
Tuesday 25 February 2014 - 22:23 by a Staff Reporter

In the final sitting of the Consideration of Bills Committee discussing the Civil Unions Bill, the Opposition proposed a number of amendments to the bill, which in their view, would refrain "possible detriments to our society."

The main amendments proposed were intrinsically related to Article (2)(a), which said that a number of articles found in the Marriage Act will apply mutatis mutandis (changing only those things that need to be changed) to the Civil Unions Act. This meant that the same restrictions and allowances found in the Marriage Act would be found to the Civil Unions Act.

News Book: Jgħaddi minn stadju ta' kumitat l-abbozz ta’ liġi dwar l-unjoni ċivili
Stefan Pullicino - 25/02/14 06:33 PM

Fil-Parlament illejla tlaqqa’ għat-tielet u l-aħħar darba il-Kumitat għall-konsiderazzjoni ta’ abbozzi ta’ liġi biex jiddiskuti l-liġi dwar l-unjoni ċivili.

Fi tmiem dan il-kumitat, ġie approvat minn stadju ta' kumitat l-abbozz ta' liġi li jirregola l-unjonjiet ċivili.

Din hija sekwenza kronoloġika ta' dak li ġara llejla f'dan il-Kumitat:

20.45 Jgħaddi minn stadju ta' kumitat l-abbozz ta’ liġi dwar l-unjoni ċivili.

Times: Civil partnerships on a par with marriage - minister
Monday, February 24, 2014, 20:19

Civil Rights Minister Helena Dalli said this evening that the government was placing civil unions on par with marriage between a man and a woman, arguing that this was in line with Labour's pre-election pledge.

Addressing a public consultation meeting at St Paul's Bay primary school, the civil rights minister said that any move intended to make distinctions between the two, would be tantamount to discrimination.

Malta Today: ‘No change in children’s rights,’ says Helena Dalli on gay adoptions

Civil Rights Minister Helena Dalli says civil unions law 'on a par' with marriage, will give ‘peace of mind’ to gay couples with children.
Monday 24 February 2014 - 20:35 by Miriam Dalli

Amendments to the law that will allow gay couples to adopt will not result in a "change" of children's right, Civil Rights Minister Helena Dalli told a group of 40 people gathered at St Paul's Bay primary school.

The minister was taking part in a 'Government that listens' activity, as part of a series of meetings organised by the OPM where Cabinet members listen to what the public has to say.

It-Torċa: Jien inħobb, inti tħobb
23.2.2014 minn Fr Colin Apap

Mort nara fit-Teatru Manoel il-play “Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb”. Mort l-ewwelnett għax ridt nara b’għajnejja u nisma’ b’widnejja dak li naf li żgur irrid nikkummenta fuqu kemm fi programmi tat-television kemm fuq ir-radju. Ridt inkun ġust miegħi nnifsi li nkun naf jien personalment u mhux noqgħod fuq il-kummenti ta’ ħaddieħor. L-iktar ħaġa li tirritani hija meta niltaqa’ ma’ xi ħadd li jikkundanna ktieb, play, letteratura meta lanqas biss ikun qraha jew raha.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Pink News: Ugandan President: ‘Gay sex gives you worms and all gay people are prostitutes’
24th February 2014, 5:06 PM by Joseph Patrick McCormick

Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-gay bill into law today

The President of Uganda on signing into law a bill harshening penalties for those arrested for being gay, made ludicrous claims that gay people give each other worms through sex, and that people are only gay because they have sex for money.

President Museveni signed the bill in front of politicians and reporters on Monday at 1.54pm (10.54am GMT) at State House, his official residence in Entebbe.

Independent: Uganda's president signs anti-gay bill
Monday, 24 February 2014, 13:29

Uganda's president on Monday signed a controversial anti-gay bill that has harsh penalties for homosexual sex, saying the bill is necessary because "arrogant and careless Western groups" had tried to "recruit" Ugandan children into homosexuality.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill at his official residence in an event witnessed by government officials, journalists and a team of Ugandan scientists whose report — which found that there is no genetic basis for homosexuality — Museveni has cited as his reason for backing the bill.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Times: A cause worth fighting for
Saturday, February 22, 2014, 00:01 by Gabi Calleja

I worked with Fr Paul Chetcuti first through the Christian Community at sixth form and then at the Diocesan Youth Commission for 14 years. His open letter (February 19) was addressed to me among others. I know this because he chose to e-mail me to inform me of the letter.

This is my reply to him.

Dear Pawlu,

All Out: Kill the Bill


BREAKING: Uganda's President Museveni plans to sign the ‘Jail the Gays’ bill tomorrow.
Lesbian, gay, bi and trans Ugandans could face life in jail. Call on your government to speak out – sign the petition now.
In 24 hours, Uganda's President Museveni is planning to sign into law one of the worst anti-gay laws in the world. He thinks he has more to win than to lose by targeting gay people.
But we can change his calculations, if we can get other world leaders to apply real pressure in the next 24 hours.World leaders could make things hard for Uganda’s politicians – refusing visas so they can’t travel the world and withdrawing diplomats and advisors.
This horrendous bill has been stalled time and again, when people power in Uganda and around the world has pushed world leaders to get tough. But they’re going silent now when we need them most – we have 24 hours to get them to act.
Will you sign the petition now?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Parliament: Civil Union Bill - Committee Stage

S017 - Consideration of Bills Committee - 18.2.14

S016 - Consideration of Bills - 4.2.14

News Book: Adozzjonijiet mill-koppji omosesswali: qatt ma sar studju lokali – Prof. Angela Abela

Stefan Pullicino - 18/02/14 05:36 PM

Fil-Parlament illejla tlaqqa' għat-tieni darba l-Kumitat għall-konsiderazzjoni ta’ abbozzi ta’ liġi li iddiskuta l-liġi dwar l-unjoni ċivili.

Is-sessjoni tal-lejla kienet dominata mill-intervent tal-Kap tad-Dipartiment tal-Familja fl-Università ta' Malta il-Prof Angela Abela.

Iż-żewġ rakkomandazzjonijiet ewlenin tagħha ffukaw fuq edukazzjoni akbar dwar koppji omosesswali mis-soċjetà in ġenerali, kif ukoll proċess riġidu ta' screening qabel ma koppja tingħata l-addozzjoni tat-tfal.

Dan huwa rapport kronoloġiku ta' dak li ġara fit-tieni sessjoni ta' dan il-Kumitat:

iNews Malta: Il-koppji lesbiċi kapaċi jrabbu aħjar minn koppji eterosesswali”
19:45 | 18.02.2014

Il-Professur Angela Abela, li tmexxi d-dipartiment dwar l-istudji tal-familja fl-Università ta' Malta, qalet li skont riċerka internazzjonali l-koppji lesbiċi kapaċi jrabbu aħjar minn koppji eterosesswali. Dan waqt li kienet qed titkellem quddiem il-Kumitat għall-Konsiderazzjoni ta' Abbozzi ta' Liġijiet.

Illum il-Kumitat għall-Konsiderazzjoni ta' Abbozzi ta' Liġijiet kien qiegħed għal darba oħra jiddiskuti l-liġi tal-unjoni ċivili. Il-Professur Abela kienet mitluba titkellem dwar l-interess tat-tfal vis a vis l-adozzjoni minn koppji eterosesswali.

Times: Letter to gay and lesbian friends
Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 00:01 by Fr Paul Chetcuti SJ

Dear friends, this is all about pain and healing love. There is nothing more private and holy than pain. There is nothing more personal and holy than love. I feel both when I pray for you.

I am sharing this publicly and openly because I believe that, however private and personal love and pain can be, they are also what makes us all one body and one spirit. Forgive me then if I’m being too inclusive in sharing so openly my and your own painful thirst for love.

Independent: University’s Social WellbeingInstitute not consultedon gay adoptions
Wednesday, 19 February 2014, 14:54

It was yesterday confirmed that the Department of Family Studies within the Faculty of Wellbeing at the University of Malta was not asked for its opinion on adoptions by gay couples during the drafting of the Civil Unions Bill.

Speaking during the Bill Considerations Committee meeting Head of Department Professor Angela Abela confirmed that the department had not been approached by the government and was not asked to be part of the consultative committee that drew up the Bill.

Malta Today: Family expert says homosexuality still carries stigma

Committee meeting on civil unions bills exposes plenitude of divergent opinions on gay couples and adoption
Tuesday 18 February 2014 - 22:00 by Matthew Charles Zammit

A parliamentary debate on the civil union law and adoption of children by same-sex couples open to the general public, academics and non-academics alike, this evening expressed their divergent views on the controversial issue in what turned out to be a fiery and argumentative session.

The main guest during the Parliamentary consideration of bills meetingwas Angela Abela, Head of Department of the Family Studies in the Faculty of Social Well-Being, who held that the department's philosophy was always "one of collaboration, and not of polarisation, because the latter usually comes as a result of lack of reflection."

Times: Welcome to Maltastan
Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 00:01 by Karl Consiglio, Sliema

On reading about Canon Lawrence Zammit’s lashing out against gay marriage (February 11), what shocked me the most was the fact that there are still clergymen attempting to sweep out democracy and have the Church reign supreme over the publicat large.

Apart from that, does Canon Zammit think that by not introducing civil partnership for gay folk they will therefore change their ways? Gay folk have long lived together and as such nothing new will be introduced, but simply recognised, as was the casewith divorce.

Times: Love and sex in parenting
Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 00:01 by Michael Conti

One argument that often crops up when discussing same-sex parenting is whether there are any differences between children brought up by a different-sex couple and children raised by a same-sex couple. This area is still understudied, but a number of issues warrant some clarification.

Firstly, some argue that children of same-sex parents have a higher chance to identify as non-heterosexual than children of heterosexual parents. The preoccupation with the sexual development of children of gay and lesbian parents implies a negative perspective of a non-heterosexual orientation, suggesting a pathological approach to homosexuality. However, one must bear in mind that research on sexual orientation has been going on for over 60 years. Apart from removing homosexuality from a mental disorder in 1973, this research has shown that negative outcomes on individuals are related to social stigmatisation and not to sexual orientation.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Pink News: Ugandan president condemned after passing controversial homosexuality law

Anti-gay law will see homosexuality and its promotion subject to life imprisonment after medical experts say homosexual behaviour is ‘abnormal and deviant’
Sunday 16 February 2014 - 18:33 by a Staff Reporter

Campaigners and health campaigners have condemned Uganda's president after he said he would vote in favour of the controversial anti-homosexuality laws.

A medical report prepared by more than a dozen scientists, stated that there is "no gene for homosexuality and it is not a disease but merely an abnormal behaviour ... which has serious public health consequences and should therefore not be tolerated."

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Times: Is gay marriage up next?
Saturday, February 15, 2014, 00:01 by Martha Fitz, Naxxar

Last week the Civil Unions Bill was discussed at Committee Stage for amendments. This is the first time that NGOs and interested parties could attend. The following are some reactions I had to this committee meeting.

I had the impression that the government is not open to anyone or any idea in disagreement with the Bill or with the LGBTI philosophy. One could easily feel a sense of urgency for this law to pass without too many changes.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Lonely Planet: Top 10 gay wedding destinations

Sixteen countries now allow same-sex marriage, as do 17 US states and the District of Columbia. Now LGBT couples can tie the knot beside a volcano, atop a glacier or in a countryside church in havens from Scandinavia to Bora Bora.
by KARLA ZIMMERMAN· 04 February 2014

Our top 10 gay wedding destinations are not only gorgeous and romantic, but they also make it easy to get married on-site.

1. Hawaii

Hawaii is picture-perfect for a wedding. Getty Images/Flickr Select.

In December 2013, same-sex couples joined the long line of lovebirds who take the plunge each year in Hawaii's palm-trees-and-blue-seas paradise. After the wedding, the honeymoon is ready-made: swim in waterfall pools, sway in beachside hammocks, sip celebratory tropical cocktails, ride horses with local cowboys. The Islands' aloha spirit coupled with generations of diverse populations living in sync result in a laid-back, no-one-looks-twice vibe. O'ahu (especially around Waikiki) and Maui are gay hubs, with plenty of beaches, B&Bs and resorts catering to the LGBT community.

Times: Valletta en fête - Strong message against same-sex marriage in pontifical Mass
Monday, February 10, 2014, 11:13

[Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video.]

Valletta is en fête today for the feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck, the feast which marks the birth of Christianity in Malta.

Fine weather saw hundreds of people going to Valletta to enjoy the celebrations in the past few days and this morning, when Archbishop Paul Cremona led pontifical Mass. President George Abela, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition leader Simon Busuttil led the congregation.

Independent: English gay footballer slams FIFA on Russia, Qatar
Monday, 10 February 2014, 14:29

A leading figure within the English Football Association says she won't go to the World Cups in Qatar and Russia because of their anti-gay laws.

Casey Stoney, the England women's team captain, says FIFA has set the wrong example by awarding its showpiece men's events to those countries.

Independent: Strong message against gay marriage during St Paul's Mass; MGRM reacts
Monday, 10 February 2014, 15:07 - UPDATE 1

Gabi Calleja - the coordinator of the Malta Gay Rights Movement – told The Malta Independent that the Church is entitled to its opinion and hopes that politicians do not use the same line of thinking as the Church and to base their thinking on human rights and secular beliefs rather than religious faith.

Ms Calleja was reacting to Canon Lawrence Zammit’s sermon during Pontifical Mass to celebrate the feast of Saint Paul’s Shipwreck, in which he spoke out against gay marriage and partnerships.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Buzz Feed: LGBT Activists In Moscow Arrested On Video, Beaten In Police Station

“They [beat] two of us … before that they took us upstairs and said that we have to “suck their cocks” and that we have to be burned,” the activists texted from inside the police station. Update: The eight Russian protestors were released around 12:30 Moscow time.
February 7, 2014 at 2:44pm EST, J. Lester Feder, BuzzFeed Staff

Elena Kostyuchenko being arrested in Moscow on Friday during a protest in Red / Via Facebook: elena.kostyuchenko.7

Updated: 4:30 p.m. EST

Police arrested a group of around 10 LGBT activists in Moscow’s Red Square on Friday evening as they sang the Russian national anthem as the Olympic opening ceremonies began while holding a rainbow flag. The detentions follow the arrest of four LGBT activists earlier in the day in St. Petersburg for taking photographs while holding a banner opposing discrimination during the Olympics.

This video captured the police breaking up the group in Red Square before taking them to the Kitai-Gorod police station:

Times: A Cardinal who is not naive
Friday, February 7, 2014, 12:18 by Fr Joe Borg

Last Sunday Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Catholic archbishop of Lyon marched at the head of the protest organised in Lyon accusing the government of "family-phobia" for legalising gay marriage and planning other policies that in the opinion of the Cardinal and many others will harm traditional families.

At the same time that Cardinal Barbarin was leading the demonstration held in his diocese another protest was being organised in Paris. It is estimated that one hundred thousand people took part in the demonstrations.

Times: We are to blame
Friday, February 7, 2014, 09:59 by Ramona Depares

As the winter Olympics kick off today in Russia, major corporations express holier-than-thou condemnation at Putin’s undemocratic administration.

Google gave us a rainbow, Olympic-themed doodle.

The Canadian Institue of Diversity came up with a rather amusing video showing us why the games “have always been a bit gay”.

Independent: Vatican surveys find Catholics reject sex rules
Friday, 07 February 2014, 10:45 , by Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

New surveys commissioned by the Vatican show that the vast majority of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland reject church teaching on contraception, sexual morality, gay unions and divorce, findings remarkable both in their similarity and in the fact that they were even publicized.

The Vatican took the unusual step of commissioning the surveys ahead of a major meeting of bishops that Pope Francis has called for October to discuss family issues. The poll was sent last year to every national conference of bishops with a request to share it widely among Catholic institutions, parishes and individuals.

Independent: ‘Equality does not imply the end of sexual difference’
Friday, 07 February 2014, 11:02

The Malta Gay Rights Movement said it welcomed the content of a group of concerned citizens, who wrote an open letter to the government, in which the MGRM said, the group acknowledged the capabilities that gay people and same-sex couples have to provide a loving environment for children in their care. Their main concerns seem to centre around the impact that a model of family not based on the heterosexual ideal might have on their marriages and children and more remotely, the effect on children raised by same-sex parents.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Malta Today: The love that dare not speak its name? | Simon Bartolo
Thursday 6 February 2014 - 09:58 by Teodor Reljic

The upcoming gay adoption drama Jiena Nħobb, Inti Tħobb has already sparked off a debate after it was attacked by a member of ‘gay conversion’ Christian group River of Love, and it hasn’t even been staged yet. We ask playwright Simon Bartolo whether he thinks the pre-emptive controversy will affect the outcome of the play.

Clare Agius, Roderick Vassallo and Davide Tucci.

Writing is a notoriously time-consuming endeavour that often requires a good amount of planning and trial-and-error. How did you reconcile the needs of the craft with writing something so topical?

Well, the first version of the play was ready last August, when we did a first reading with the actors. Since then, I have edited and rewritten and re-edited incessantly. The final version of the play was completed on the first day of this year, by which time rehearsals were already underway. The short version is that when I'm working on a project, I don't sleep until it's done.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Malta Today: Family expert to give her views on gay adoption before parliamentary committee

Opposition wants to hear the view of family expert Angela Abela before agreeing with clauses allowing same-sex couples the possibility to adopt.
Tuesday 4 February 2014 - 22:47 by Miriam Dalli

Professor Angela Abela, the Head of the Department of Family Studies, will be asked to give her views to a parliamentary committee on amendments to the law allowing same-sex couples the possibility to adopt.

The call was made by the Nationalist Opposition who insisted that the view of the family expert should be heeded before "rushing to take" any decisions.

Yesterday, the Opposition requested a ruling after insisting that a meeting of the parliamentary select committee on family affairs was cancelled only 24 hours before it was to be held. Abela was to appear before the committee discussing the Civil Unions Bill.

Times: EP calls for roadmap to tackle discrimination and homophobia
Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 14:22

The European Parliament has adopted a recommendation for the adoption of an EU roadmap to tackle discrimination and homophobia.

A report adopted with the recommendation condemns discrimination, and calls on the European Commission, Member States and relevant agencies to work on a comprehensive policy to protect the fundamental rights of LGBT people.

Malta Today: Gay adoptions | 89 ‘concerned’ citizens tell MPs ‘love alone is not enough’

Describing themselves as ‘friends-mothers who work in the educational and social field’, 89 write to members of parliament voicing their concern over the civil unions bill.
Monday 3 February 2014 - 19:01 by a Staff Reporter

Eighty-nine Maltese who described themselves as "mothers and friends working in the educational and social field" have written to the members of parliament urging them "not to rush" to legislate on allowing same-sex couples to adopt before "reflecting on what the children's needs are".

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Malta Today: Minister questions Opposition’s ‘U-turn’ on same-sex adoption

Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli interviewed in MaltaToday
Sunday 2 February 2014 - 07:30 by Raphael Vassallo

Helena Dalli: Even Gonzi, arguably more conservative than Simon Busuttil, agreed with the principle that each case should be decided on its merits, by experts, and not on the basis of sexual orientation

A volte-face by the Nationalist Party on the issue of same-sex couples has demolished tripartite consensus on the issue, and represents a step backwards in terms of national unity and equality, civil liberties minister Helena Dalli told MaltaToday.

In an interview in today's edition, Dalli said that until last December one could talk of political consensus regarding the issue of whether same-sex couples should legally be allowed to adopt children.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Independent: Paediatric Association urges caution on gay adoption
Saturday, 01 February 2014, 10:09

The Malta Paediatric Association today urged the government to proceed with caution when it comes to introduction gay adoption, particularly due to the “lack of scientific research in the local context.”

“The adoption of children is an emotional issue which invariably generates many thoughts and feelings in us all. Our role is not intended to either endorse or condemn sexual orientation. The guiding principle and main concern of the Association is the welfare of the child.

Malta Today: Paediatricians issue guarded statement over gay adoption

Doctors say married parents offer stability and unique influence to children, and urge caution on gay adoptions
Saturday 1 February 2014 - 08:32 by Matthew Vella

Paediatricians said children thrive in both traditional and non-traditional families, but have shown preference for married couples.

The Maltese Paediatric Association has called on MPs to give "due weight" to the "stability and the unique influence that a married couple can give to the child" in a statement on the adoption of children by gay couples.

The doctors were unequivocal in their statement that married parents created the "best environment" for children but did not discount gay adoptions outright. "Nonetheless children can thrive well in a variety of family types including single and same-gender parents. The Association is committed to equally support children in traditional and non-traditional families."