Caribbean Catholic Push against LGBT Discrimination

Congrats to the new Dominican LGBT group Minority Rights Dominica (MiriDom) and their leader, Daryl Philip, for continuing a robust discussion on human rights for LGBT on the island. Some may remember that Dominica made the headlines when two gay Americans were arrested for sex on the balcony of their cruise ship.

Location map

MiriDom is localizing the issue of human rights for LGBT through an innovative approach of using the Catholic church to call for decriminalization. Dominicans are overwhelmingly Catholic.

MiriDom also has an ongoing poster campaign, supported by AIDS-Free World, which calls for respect of human rights for all Dominicans. These posters are placed in local watering holes, etc. and have generated a good amount of discussion on what human rights means.

In today’s Dominica News article on MiriDom, the group stated:

We were most impressed with the Bishop’s statement that ‘The Catholic Church maintains that free sexual acts between adult persons must not be treated as crimes to be punished by civil authorities’ as this addresses MiriDom’s concerns.

via 76 CRIMES

Enhanced by Zemanta

Court Victories for Equality AND Religious Freedom

Public arguments about the rights to religious freedom and to equality for all under the law have frequently been presented as if they were mutually exclusive, and presented at a high decibel level, with defenders on both sides shouting past each other. A set of decisions handed down yesterday by the European Court of Human Rights demonstrated that the two can indeed co-exist. There is no inherent conflict – as long as we respect the principle that no one right overrides all others. Everything must be kept in balance.

All four cases concerned allegations that the right to freedom of religion had been violated. In two cases where complaints concerned an apparent conflict between Christian rights to freedom of expression and LGBT equality before the law, the complaints were rejected and equality won out.

Two Christians, who claim that they were fired because they wouldn’t work with gay couples, have lost their anti-discrimination case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane both refused to work with same-sex couples because of their Christian faith. They were subsequently fired and say it was an act of discrimination. Ms Ladele was a marriage registrar for London’s Islington Borough Council but refused to conduct civil partnerships. Mr McFarlane, from Bristol, was a relationship counsellor who was sacked in 2008 after saying he refused to give sex therapy to gay couples.

– more at Pink News

What was important in these two cases, was that the complainants were not seeking simply freedom of religion and religious expression, but the right on those grounds to withhold professional services to same – sex couples, which in terms of their employment conditions, they were being paid to deliver on a basis of equality for all.

– More at  Queering the Church.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gay rights campaign backed by senior UK MP

British human rights minister is backing the Kaleidoscope Trust‘s gay rights campaign


British human rights minister Jeremy Browne is backing Kaleidoscope Trust’s campaign ‘Imagine if it were illegal for you to be you’.

The global gay rights charity launched a campaign with a mock protest at Westminster by the actor and presenter John Barrowman yesterday (4 July).

The video shows footage of people being persecuted and attacked for things they cannot help, like having blue eyes or being short.

The Liberal Democrat said: ‘This video brings home very vividly how it must feel to be singled out and abused just for being who you are. And the statistics are chilling.

In the video, it says 78 countries around the world still criminalize homosexuality and in five cases the maximum penalty is death.

Browne added it was gratifying that, thanks to campaigns like this, the ‘many millions more around the world who do not have the freedom to express their sexuality are not being forgotten.’

Barrowman, famous for his roles in Doctor Who and Torchwood, said: ‘It brings home to people how they would feel if some crazy law made it illegal for them simply to be themselves.

‘We are all human beings and we all deserve the same rights. And that includes the right to love whoever we choose to love.’

Harjeet Johal, Deputy Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust commented: ‘It is hoped this film will come as a timely reminder that whatever freedoms we may enjoy in Britain, those same freedoms are denied to millions of others around the globe.’

For more information on the campaign, visit the Kaleidoscope website.

– Gay Star News.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Lifting of gay ban must come from people says Sri Lankan activist

Sri Lankan activist Rossana Flamer-Caldera says the only way to end the ban on gay sex in the former war-torn country is to appeal to ordinary people who ‘know what it’s like to have their human rights trampled on’.


Activists from around the Commonwealth met in London today (4 July) to discuss how the global community can work towards decriminalizing homosexuality in countries where former British colonial laws which banned being gay are still alive.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell opened the World Pride conference by slamming the Commonwealth as a ‘bastion of homophobia and transphobia’.

He called on leaders of member states to stand up for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, before Sri Lankan activist Rossana Flamer-Caldera joined the panel to talk about her efforts to lift anti-gay laws in the island nation.

The founder of rights organization Equal Ground said LGBT people in Sri Lanka are criminalized under penal codes 365 and 365a, very similar to that of India’s now overturned section 377.

She said: ‘Nobody has actually been convicted or charged under this code. But the fact that this criminal code does exist leads to a lot more homophobia.

‘Our cultures were so different before colonization and before the British brought their laws into our countries.

‘Now homophobia is being embraced as part of Sri Lankan culture rather than as something which was introduced by the West many years ago.’

She added that although the campaigners’ priority is the decriminalization of homosexuality, the greatest obstacle to their cause is the emergence of Buddhist fundamentalism and nationalism which rose following the end of the country’s civil war two years ago.

‘Like an amoeba, nationalism has now built itself into this huge movement which sees anything which is against their sensibilities as something Western and something which has to be stopped and that includes homosexuality,’ Flamer-Caldera explained.

‘Now that the war is over, we are their next targets. The more visible we get, the more they push harder.’

She says the LGBT rights movement in Sri Lanka receives little support from both the government and the state influenced media.

The only way forward in the battle to end the gay ban is not through the courts and police, which she says are corrupt and homophobic, but by reaching out to the country’s ordinary people.

– more at Gay Star News.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Desmond Tutu and Nobel winners back gays in Uganda and globally

Archbishop Tutu and others make joint statement in response to Uganda’s ban on gay organizations and threats of new death penalty law

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has backed gay, bi and trans rights around the world.

Four Nobel Laureates – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu – have called on people all over the world to respect gay rights.

The statement issued by the Robert F Kennedy Center (correct) for Justice Human Rights and Human Rights was released in conjunction with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in response to that country’s government restricting the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Desmond Tutu, Professor Jody Williams, Dr Shirin Ebadi and Professor Muhammad Yunus say: ‘As a global community of individuals dedicated to a more peaceful and just world, we wish to express our grave concern as to how our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) brothers and sisters are being treated across the globe.

‘Collectively we represent a diverse array of countries and cultures. Today more than ever, we wish to express that the same cultural values, which have fostered and supported our lifelong quests for peace, also command us to speak out against the violence and discrimination our fellow human beings are enduring every day solely because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

‘By expressing our solidarity with LGBTI people around the world, we recognize the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals, without prejudice or intolerance, and we take an important step forward in our collective journey toward peace.’

– full report at Gay Star News

Enhanced by Zemanta