Uganda – President Museveni Signs Anti-Gay Bill into Law

“All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing…”  Edmund Burke

Rocco DiGrazia, an Arizonia Pizzareia owner, said:

“… any expansion of discrimination is gonna hurt everybody and open the doors for more,”

As a society we have fought wars against oppression and bigotry, and also against bullies, we must stand up and let it be known that homophobia is not acceptable in todays societies – even more so when it is government sponsored.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/arizona-pizzeria-amazing-response-state-anti-gay-bill-article-1.1698524#ixzz2uGtpvRSZ

 

UGANDA: PRESIDENT MUSEVENI SIGNS ANTI-GAY BILL 
Amnesty condemns the rise of homophobia across Africa
Spokespeople available for comment 
President Museveni has just signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. Amnesty International condemns this as a dangerous and draconian piece of legislation
Gemma Houldey, Amnesty International’s Uganda Researcher said:
“This deeply offensive piece of legislation is an affront to the human rights of all Ugandans.

“This legislation will institutionalise hatred and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Its passage into law signals a very grave episode in the nation’s history.”

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will further criminalise consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, with some offences carrying life imprisonment. It also includes offences such as ‘promotion of homosexuality’, which will directly impact human rights defenders and healthcare providers. It makes a mockery of the rights enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.”
Uganda has made important progress on human rights in recent years, including criminalising torture, but this Bill is a colossal step backwards.
Notes to editors:
Over 25,000 people in the UK have written to the Ugandan President to veto the anti-gay bill via Amnesty: www.amnesty.org.uk. In 2013 Amnesty documented the rise of homophobia across sub-Saharan Africa in its report Making Love a Crime: Criminalisation of same-sex conduct in sub-Saharan Africa.
ENDS 
Amnesty International UK media information:
Meera Pattni: 020 7033 1548020 7033 1548meera.pattni@amnesty.org.uk
Out of hours: 07721 39898407721 398984www.amnesty.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @Newsfromamnesty
Follow our blog: http://blogs.amnesty.org/pressblog
________________________________________

Relationships

When you start thinking on relationships, you suddenly realize that every one of us has a myriad of relationships which cover every strata of our lives.

A dictionary definition which I like is ‘an emotional or other connection between people’ – for me this says it all; however for some people it will probably not encompass the relationships that they have with their pets, cars, homes etc.

A wonderful quote I came across is:

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Christopher Isherwood said:

It seems to me that the real clue to your sex-orientation lies in your romantic feelings rather than ijn your sexual feelings.  If you are gay, you are able to fall in love with a man, or woman, depending on your preference, and not just enjoy having sex with him or her. (with a small adjustment by the editor).

There has been a wonderful photographic project put together by Braden Summers entitled ‘ALL LOVE IS EQUAL’.  The pictures are brilliant in their composition and in the feelings that they encompass and portray.

 

Three photographs from the project:

At One With Nature Eastern Promise Friendship with Age

ZAMBIA: VERDICT IN HOMOPHOBIC TRIAL DUE ON TUESDAY

Amnesty International UK

ZAMBIA: VERDICT IN HOMOPHOBIC TRIAL DUE ON TUESDAY

Two men accused of homosexuality subjected to anal examinations  

Trial comes in same week as Uganda looks set to sign anti-gay bill 

Amnesty International is calling on Zambian authorities to end the persecution of individuals based on their perceived sexual orientation. It comes as the trial of two Zambian men accused of having sex “against the order of nature” is set to conclude next Tuesday.

James Mwape and Philip Mubiana have been imprisoned since May 2013. Both men, aged 22, were subjected to forcible anal examinations by government doctors in an attempt to “prove” their involvement in sexual activity. These examinations are tantamount to torture.

Amnesty regards both men to be prisoners of conscience and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s Zambia Researcher said: “There has been a string of violent attacks and state prosecutions of people believed to be gay or lesbian in Zambia.

Police as well as members of the public have carried out homophobic attacks on individuals perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. These attacks have been instigated by a series of inflammatory statements made by senior government officials instructing the public to report anyone they suspect of being a homosexual or “promoting homosexuality.”

Zambian authorities must end their cycle of oppressive, violent and degrading treatment of LGBTI people. Amnesty demands they honour their obligation under international law to investigate and prevent further homophobic attacks.

Notes to editors:
The trial of James Mwape and Philip Mubiana is expected to conclude at the magistrate court in Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia on 25 February when the court gives the verdict. If convicted they face at up to 14 years in prison. In 2013 Amnesty documented the rise of homophobia across sub-Saharan Africa in its report Making Love a Crime: Criminalisation of same-sex conduct in sub-Saharan Africa. To arrange an interview please contact the Amnesty press office.

ENDS 

Amnesty International UK media information:
Meera Pattni: 020 7033 1548020 7033 1548meera.pattni@amnesty.org.uk
Out of hours: 07721 39898407721 398984www.amnesty.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @Newsfromamnesty
Follow our blog: http://blogs.amnesty.org/pressblog

Failing gay school teachers

Failing gay school teachers

Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 01:04

First published: Mon, Feb 17, 2014, Irish Times

A chara, – On behalf of the INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group, I wish to commend Patsy McGarry for his article which highlights the injustice of Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act; an exemption essentially gives religious institutions a State-sanctioned licence to discriminate (“Ireland is continuing to fail its gay teachers in the classroom”, Home News, February 11th).

Section 37.1 allows such employers to take unspecified “action” against those who “undermine its religious ethos”. This very broad statement gives no explanation as to what constitutes undermining an institution’s ethos. The lack of clarity leads to the quiet fear held by many of the teachers in the denominational schools which make up 93 per cent of our education system: “Can they discriminate against me just for being gay?”

Well, can they? It remains to be seen exactly how far such discrimination could be taken, as there hasn’t yet been a test case with regard to discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. However, the vagueness of the language in the section could certainly be open to interpretation.

A Bill is languishing in the legislative system which would amend Section 37.1 to more adequately define what constitutes the undermining of ethos. The INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group does not recommend amendment of Section 37.1, we are campaigning for its deletion. Even in its amended form, it means, as Senator Katherine Zappone stated: “the protection of religious ethos can extend beyond the ground of religion into an employee’s private life and is not confined to what she or he says or does in the workplace”.

Do denominational schools have a right to insist employees adhere to their particular ethos or philosophy? Absolutely. Section 16 of the Equality Act already specifies an employer may insist an employee carry out the duties required of them. Do they or should they, as an institution in receipt of State funds, have a broad and vaguely defined right to judge an employee based on their sexuality? Absolutely not.

The fear Section 37.1 engenders in many LGBT teachers prevents them from fully participating in their school communities. It compels them to keep details of their personal lives secret from colleagues. It prevents them exercising their employment rights in relation to their partnerships.

Our schools are special places in which individuality, diversity and self-respect are supposed to be nurtured and protected. A school is as much a community and a family as it is a workplace and it requires strong collegial relationships and friendships in order to operate effectively.

Section 37.1 is responsible for creating a climate of fear and discrimination in our schools. Rather than protecting a school’s ethos, the silencing and closeting of LGBT teachers undermines the job a school is supposed to do. Section 37.1 needs to go. – Yours, etc,

NIALL CALLAN,

INTO LGBT Teachers’

Group,

Irish National Teachers’

Organisation,

Parnell Square,

Dublin 1.

 

Further reading:

 

The Rev'd Geo Mervyn Kingston Memorial Service

Last Saturday I had the privilege to attend the memorial service for the Rev’d Mervyn Kingston, a friend to many, including myself, and an inspiration for his cross-community work. I am attaching pdfs for the Order of Service, and a an audio file of the service (over time I will work on cleaning the file up) but for now it has a few extraneous sounds on it due to echo etc.

Mervyn Kingston, was the co-counder of Changing Attitude Ireland, his memorial service was held in St George’s, High Street, Belfast, at 11.30am-12.30pm on Saturday 8 February.

Mervyn Kingston, co-founder of Changing Attitude Ireland, at Belfast Pride in 2010

 

 

Copy of Order of Service (PDFs):  M Kingston-1 M Kingston-2 M Kingston-3