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This Just In: The live LGBT news blog for Tuesday, June 24, 2014

("This Just In" is GLBTNN's daily blog about news affecting the LGBT community. Check back often as the blog is updated when news breaks.)



World Cup: "Puto" not anti-gay slur if used in matches

FIFA will not pursue any action against Mexican fans for chanting "puto" during World Cup games, saying the word is not a gay slur despite its most egregious definition being "faggot." FIFA had been investigating the chant for the last week.

Debate arose last week after Outsports ran a story about the use of the word, which is chanted when the opposing team's goalie has the ball. Mexico's own National Council to Prevent Discrimination has already labeled it a slur and condemned its usage. Yet FIFA has determined it is not a slur. Some have defended the use of the word, saying in that "context" it only means "manwhore" and not "faggot." Either way, it's hardly language that should be used in what should be a friendly environment.

What is interesting about FIFA's decision is that chooses one definition of the word over another. There are clearly many people, including gay and straight people, who view it as a slur. FIFA has assigned intent behind the word and invalidated the perspective of those who see it as a slur.

Source: Outsports



Pennsylvania: Moravian church approves the ordination of gays

The Northern Province of the Moravian Church has voted to permit the ordination of gay and lesbian individuals and create a ritual for solemnizing gay relationships in North America.

In a 181-62 decision, the 2014 synod delegates approved the proposal Sunday at its Bethlehem, Pennsylvania headquarters. Provisions will be revised in the Book of Order of the Moravian Church to reflect the changes as the province will allow for the ordination of every individual "whether single, married or in covenanted relationships."

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Miller, president of the Provincial Elders' Conference of the Moravian Church Northern Province, said in a prepared statement that "many differing opinions were expressed during the debate," but the decision was made after "much prayer and consideration."

"Moravians understand that God's call to us is to welcome all people because God's embrace is far larger than our capacity to imagine," Miller said in the statement.

Source: Lehigh Valley Live



Michigan: Gay rights activist "shames" Saginaw council

Gay rights activist John Stark stepped up to the podium Monday, June 23, to read a proclamation-style statement to the Saginaw, Michigan City Council.

Stark declared the summer of 2014 should be declared City Council's "Season of Shame," in connection with its decision to defeat a proposed nondiscrimination ordinance.

"To the Council: Shame on you as a body," he said. "Shame on all of you. Shame." Stark encouraged the citizens of Saginaw to "Recognize the cowardice exhibited, the failure of leadership shown, and the self-inflicted injury visited upon our great city."

The council members criticized the tone of his message.

Source: mlive.com



Florida: Gay marriage an issue in courts, political campaigns

Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is under attack in multiple courtrooms, a fight that’s spilling out onto the 2014 campaign trail

Advocates of same-sex marriage are convinced it’s a matter of when — not if — gay marriage becomes legal in Florida.

“We’ll definitely have it here in Florida,” said Rand Hoch, president and founder of the gay rights group Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. “In another few years, there won’t be ‘gay marriage.’ There’s just going to be ‘marriage.’”

Source: Sun Sentinel



Florida: City heading toward vote on LGBT Human Rights Ordinance

A proposed city Human Rights Ordinance to ban discrimination against LGBT people in Atlantic Beach, Florida is moving toward a vote by the City Commission.

The commission by a 3-2 consensus Monday night agreed to put the measure on the panel’s July 14 regular meeting agenda for a first reading.

“The ordinance requires equal treatment when people apply for jobs, houses and loans,” said Mayor Carolyn Woods, summarizing the protection that would be afforded LGBT people within the Atlantic Beach city limits if the proposed ordinance is ultimately enacted.

Source: jacksonville.com



DC: Social Security Act discriminates against gays

Further proof of the need for the Supreme Court to rule that state same-sex marriage bans are a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution came via a Friday announcement from the Social Security Administration. “Social Security has published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship,” the federal retiree agency said. Unfortunately, “the Social Security Act requires the agency to follow state law in Social Security cases.”

When the Supreme Court invalidated the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), federal agencies set about making their policies reflect the new reality. That is, ensuring that legally married same-sex couples were being treated equally under the law. In addition, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memorandum last February announcing that “same-sex marriages, valid in the jurisdiction where the marriage was celebrated” would be viewed as legal under federal law. Except if that law is the Social Security Act.

“As with previous same-sex marriage policies, we worked closely with the Department of Justice,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security. “We are bound by the law within the Social Security Act, and we have to respect state laws.” A bill sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) would “confer spousal benefits to any individual legally married in United States” and would also “eliminate the requirement that the spouse reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage in order to be eligible for Social Security benefits.”

Source: Washington Post



INTERNATIONAL NEWS



Puerto Rico: Nation's first LGBT judge is confirmed

Maite Oronoz Rodríguez will go down in history as the first LGBT judge in Puerto Rico.

After a debate, she was confirmed by the Senate by a 16-10 vote, according to Primera Hora.

She was nominated by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla to fill a court vacancy.

Her partner, Gina Méndez Miró, is the chief of staff of Senate President Eduardo Bhatía.

Lambda Legal staff attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said:

"The confirmation of Maite Oronoz Rodríguez to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court marks a historical step towards achieving a judiciary that reflects Puerto Rico’s full and rich diversity.

"We are pleased with the Puerto Rico Senate’s decision to confirm now-Associate Justice Oronoz Rodríguez to the Commonwealth’s highest court. It is critical that the judiciary be composed of judges who truly represent and understand the issues faced by all who are subject to their rulings.

"Courts matter to the LGBT community in Puerto Rico and across the country. We must care about the courts if we care about our rights, our families, our neighbors and our society. We look forward to continuing our work in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on behalf of LGBT people and people living with HIV."

Source: Lambda Legal and Source: Primera Hora



Canada: Can a gay candidate win in Hamilton elections?

Aidan Johnson’s first moment of political change was also the most humiliating of his life.

As an openly gay student at Westdale Secondary School, he was sitting on the school lawn with some of his friends, ready to take a law exam. Some students urinated in a cup, ran up behind him and poured it on his head.

The 16-year-old went into the washroom and cleaned himself off. Then he wrote his exam. And then he wrote an opinion piece about the experience that was published in the local newspaper, and it inspired the public school board’s zero tolerance for bullying policy.

Johnson is now a 34-year-old lawyer and running to be a councillor in Ward 1. His bio mentions his husband, Stefan, and he has no plans to hide his sexuality. Even since he was 16, Johnson said, the political climate has changed to one where being gay is a non-issue.

Source: CBC



UK: Serious rise in anti-gay attacks in London

Shocking figures have revealed the levels of homophobic crime for each London borough.

In the few weeks alone, a 23-year-old gay man was sprayed with ammonia outside a nightclub in Vauxhall. And a 23-year-old fashion journalist was left unconscious after he and his partner were beaten up at a cashpoint in Whitechapel.

There were 1,185 crimes across London from May 2013 to May 2014, compared to 1,109 from the previous year.

City hall says London Mayor Boris Johnson is working on a new strategy to cut homophobic attacks.

Source: Gay Star News



Spain: Gays get first-ever royal reception

Spain's newly enthroned King Felipe and Queen Letizia broke with tradition on Tuesday by officially receiving representatives from Spain's LGBT groups at the royal El Pardo palace on Tuesday and highlighting that their work "deserves to be better known and acknowledged."

Boti Garcia, president of Spain's State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals, and José María Núñez-Blanco, president of LGBT rights group the Triangle Foundation, were invited along with representatives of 350 other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and charities involved with social causes.

García added her hope that the meeting would "go beyond mere protocol" and lead the royal couple to adopt a "proactive defense" of human rights.

Source: The Local



Greece: Mayors, diplomats march in Pride parade

Greek police say 6,000 people marched in the third annual Thessaloniki Pride march on June 21 – up from only 400 people in its first year in 2012.

In 2012 counter-protestors attacked marchers, pelting them with eggs and plastic bottles but this year the march was protected by a heavy police presence and had the blessing of Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris who also marched in the parade.

Also taking part were the consuls of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland and Portugal who marched behind a banner that was carried by U.S. Consul to Thessaloniki Robert P Sanders that read "Diplomats for Thessaloniki Pride."

Source: Gay Star News



Turkey: Protests demand end to transgender violence

Protesters demanding an end to the discrimination, abuse and violence faced by Turkey's transgender population gathered in central Istanbul on Sunday for the country's fifth annual Trans Pride march.

Several thousand glitter and makeup-covered demonstrators turned up, brandishing rainbow flags and banners in the afternoon sunshine.

The police presence was heavy, however, and riot cops blocked the group from assembling in Taksim Square, focal point for last year’s anti-government Gezi Park protests. Eventually the crowd set off down Istiklal Avenue to Tünel Square instead.

Source: Vice News



India: LGBT community braves odds to open up in Chandigarh

Braving all the odds against them, Chandigarh, India's LGBT community has started coming out of their closet and speaking openly. When asked whether he prefers staying discreet, Director of Saksham Trusts, Dhananjay Chauhan proudly claimed: "I am open!"

The trust is an NGO which works towards spreading awareness about HIV among the LGBT community. He also came up with the idea of organizing the "Pride Walk" and had been organizing the same since the last two years in Sector 17.

"Pride Walks are organized in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore since long now. I find people in Chandigarh to be well-educated. They understand the trials and tribulations our community undergoes. It would also instill courage in gay people who are afraid to come out in open," said Chauhan.

Source: The Times of India



Malaysia: Harmony Bill likely to overlook LGBT protections

Malaysia's National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill 2014, which is in a draft stage, is facing a backlash from "political parties" for making it an offense to discriminate people based on their sexual orientation, said Lim Chee Wee, prompting its drafters to consider dropping it from the bill entirely.

Lim, who is the deputy chair of the National Unity Consultative Council's working committee on law and policy, said several politicians had protested against the clause, which was the prohibition of unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender.

Clause 7(1)(ii) states that the government and all persons shall not unfairly discriminate against any person on the grounds of gender, including sexual orientation and identity.

"A few political parties are objecting to this, so there is uncertainty (whether it will be included in the final draft)," said Lim, who is the former Bar Council president.

Source: MSN News



Uganda: Court rules against LGBT groups

A Ugandan court essentially sanctioned a crackdown on LGBTI rights organizations in a ruling issued Monday morning, worrying activists that government officials will be further empowered to pursue a witch hunt among civil society organizations under the guise of combating homosexuality.

Although LGBTI activists plan to appeal the ruling, High Court Judge Steven Musota dismissed the case they brought against Ugandan Minister of Ethics Simon Lokodo. The case alleged that Lokodo had violated their rights when he shut down a training workshop for LGBTI activists organized in 2012 by a Ugandan organization Freedom and Roam Uganda in partnership with the Swedish organization RFSL.

A written version of the ruling is not yet available, but according to two of the plaintiffs in the case, Musota held that Lokodo did not violate their basic rights because the event was promoting homosexuality, an illegal activity.

“I think this is like a second or third nail into our coffin,” said Geoffrey Ogwaro, one of the plaintiffs and co-chair of the coalition opposing the newly enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act, which criminalizes “abetting” homosexuality as well as imposing up to a life sentence for those found to have engaged in same-sex relationships. “It’s making it really hard for any organization to function.”

Source: BuzzFeed

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