Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
"NewsWrap": The UN's Organization of Islamic Cooperation notifies the world body's top human rights agencies that its 56-member nations object to the scheduled March 7th meeting on violence against sexual minorities because "abnormal sexual behavior" has "nothing to do with fundamental human rights", while Libya's newly-reinstated delegate tells the UN Human Rights Council that promoting LGBT rights threatens "the continuation and reproduction of the human race"; Tunisia's Human Rights Minister tells a national TV audience that sexual minorities have no rights in his country, Gambia's President says recognizing the rights of LGBT people would "destroy our culture", Uganda's Minister for Ethics and Integrity leads a police raid on what local media describe as "a secret gay rights activists conference" in Entebbe, and Liberia's former first lady and now senator follows Uganda's lead by introducing a bill to punish gay sex with execution; three bills to open civil marriage to same-gender couples are introduced in Australia's parliament, the Canadian government makes good on a promise to close a legal loophole that questions the legitimacy of marriages of foreign lesbian and gay couples performed there, and the U.S. Justice Department advises Congress that it will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-gender unions, in lawsuits demanding equal military benefits for married gay and lesbian service members; with passage in Maryland's House of Delegates, a marriage equality bill clears what most believe to have been its biggest hurdle and sets the stage for the U.S. state to become the eighth to open civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples, but New Jersey Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE makes good on his vow to veto a marriage equality bill approved by both legislative chambers, and repeats his call for a public vote on the issue [with a brief comment by the reluctant Republican] (written by GREG GORDON with thanks to REX WOCKNER, produced by STEVE PRIDE, and reported this week by TANYA KANE-PARRY and RICK WATTS)
On February 13th WASHINGTON GOVERNOR CHRISTINE GREGOIRE signed into law a bill to open civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. Surrounded by key legislators and activists who had ushered the legislation through the House and Senate, Gregoire was exuberant during her signing ceremony remarks.
INDIA's Supreme Court began hearings this week that could have a profound impact on that country's recent gains in LGBT civil rights. When the Delhi High Court found that the 148-year-old ban on so-called "unnatural offenses" was unconstitutional in 2009, activists hailed the ruling as a major legal and political breakthrough. But the landmark judgment that decriminalized same-gender sex and opened the door to a new queer visibility is being challenged. From New Dehli, "Free Speech Radio News" reporter INDU VASHIST has the story. [www.fsrn.org]
Last weekend the campaign to stop homophobic and transphobic bullying "got better" thanks to a song released by THE L PROJECT that became an overnight hit. Some of the UK's leading lesbian performers took part in the recording, which reached Number 1 on the Amazon UK's Best Sellers Rock and Folk chart and Number 2 on the iTunes UK Rock Album chart. Proceeds from the sale of "IT DOES GET BETTER", sold at those and other music download sites, are going to the organizations Stonewall and Diversity Role Models.