Archive for the ‘Gay Marriage’ Category

Catholic Archbishop encourages ‘no vote’ – Perth Now

THE leader of Perths Catholic community has intervened in the gay marriage debate, calling on West Australians to make sure they are enrolled so they can vote against any change.

In a long letter to be distributed at Mass in the Perth diocese this weekend, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe also says that just because someone is opposed to gay marriage, they should not be labelled homophobic.

It is unworthy to suggest that those who argue against the proposed redefinition of marriage are homophobic or some way lacking in intellectual depth, he wrote.

It is unfair to suggest that they are trying to force their views on others. It is cruel to claim that such people are devoid of love, compassion or understanding of those in same-sex relationships.

Significantly, Archbishop Costelloe tells WAs 530,000 Catholics the Church should be able to lead debate on controversial issues.

That our convictions are based on these foundational beliefs should not be a surprise to anyone we are a religious organisation, he says.

Nor should the religious foundations of our convictions disqualify us from engagement in the public discussion on these important matters.

The Archbishop argues society would be best served by retaining the traditional understanding of marriage, between a man and a woman and says he sincerely hopes Catholics ensure they are registered to make their vote count in the November postal plebiscite.

In affirming this longstanding position it is important to remember that it is based on our convictions about the beauty and dignity of marriage understood as a union of a man and woman for life, and as the best way to provide for the upbringing of children, Archbishop Costelloe wrote.

In arguing marriage between a man and a woman is best for children, he concedes this ideal is not always realised in practice, and that many children are raised in loving environments after a marriage has failed.

But the fact that this ideal is often not realised in practice does not make the ideal any less worth striving for, he says.

The Federal Government announced it would hold a non-compulsory postal plebiscite on whether to make gay marriage legal after a group of rebel Liberals led by WAs Dean Smith threatened to introduce a private members Bill in an attempt to force change.

The plebiscite will cost taxpayers $122 million and MPs across Parliament have signalled their right to ignore the outcome.

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Northern Ireland court rules gay marriage ban doesn’t violate rights – Reuters

BELFAST (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage does not violate the rights of couples affected, the Belfast High Court ruled on Thursday, in a blow to campaigners in the only part of the United Kingdom that bans gay marriage.

The case was brought by three same-sex couples, backed by campaigners who are trying to pressure the region’s largest party, the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to reverse its veto on same-sex marriage.

The judge, Justice O’Hara, said the refusal to allow same- sex marriages in Northern Ireland was not a contravention of human rights “because that right does not exist.”

O’Hara said it was up to Northern Ireland’s devolved government to decide on the issue and that a ban on gay marriage did not violate international human rights standards.

He said the European Court of Human rights had ruled that the right to gay marriage was not a right under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“It is not difficult to understand how gay men and lesbians, who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion, feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same sex marriage,” he said.

“However, the judgment which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on law.”

The ruling applied to two cases, the first brought by the first female couple and first male couple to have their civil partnership recognized in Northern Ireland: Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close and Christopher and Henry Flanagan-Kane.

In a second case – known as Petition X – a male couple that married in England in 2014 was challenging the downgrading of their relationship to a civil partnership when they moved to Northern Ireland.

The DUP, whose 10 seats in the British parliament prop up the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, have repeatedly vetoed gay marriage despite opinion polls that indicate it is supported by a significant majority in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visited a gay rights event in Belfast and said the legalization of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was just a matter of time.

The couples did not speak to the media after the ruling, but Gavin Boyd of gay rights group The Rainbow Project said they were disappointed and would consider whether to appeal.

“This is now a matter for the politicians, the [Northern Ireland] Assembly or Theresa May,” Boyd said.

Writing by Conor Humphries and Ian Graham; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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Northern Ireland court rules gay marriage ban doesn’t violate rights – Reuters

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Haiti may ban gay marriage, public support for LGBTQ rights – Wisconsin Gazette

A gay rights group in Haiti is fighting to head off a proposed law that would ban same-sex marriage as well as any public demonstrations in favor of LGBTQ people.

A bill passed by the Haitian Senate earlier this summer provides for up to three years in prison and a fine of about $8,000 for either party to a marriage not between a man and a woman.

The bill also would prohibit any public support or advocacy for LGBTQ rights.

Haitian law already specifically defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Charlot Jeudy of the gay rights organization Kouraj said the legislation would violate Haitis constitution and his group will try to persuade members of the Chamber of Deputies to reject it.

We have the right to protest and we have the right to be who we are and we have the right to be free, Jeudy said in an interview.

Jeudy said his group has been collecting signatures on a petition that it hopes to present to sympathetic lawmakers in the chamber.

LGBTQ people have long faced discrimination in Haiti.

In September, a cultural festival celebrating the community in Port-au-Prince was canceled the after organizers received threats and a local government official said he would prohibit the event he said violates the countrys moral values.

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This Timeline Helps Untangle the History of Gay Marriage in Australia – Unicorn Booty (blog)

If youre a regular reader of LGBTQ media, chances are youve recently heard of the Australian governments ongoing struggles over same-sex marriage. Most recently, the island nation has decided to conduct a country-wide survey gauging citizens feeling about same-sex marriage, but the survey and its potential results are being challenged by a wide-range of political factions.

Thats why weve created this explainer to help untangle the history of gay marriage in Australia and the political factions behind it.

Right now, Australia does not offer marriage to gay people. Several Australian states recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other countries, but the nations federal government still recognizes the institution as only being between a man and a woman. The recent survey could change that, however, if it survives a court challenge.

In Hyde vs Hyde and Woodmansee, a civil case about polygamy and adultery between a Mormon man and one of his former wives, the presiding judge Lord Penzance defined marriage as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others. While this definition stuck in the countrys common law, it wasnt the same as the legal definition of marriage created through federal legislation.

Despite the federal government not yet having a legal definition of marriage, a 1932 news article mentioned an increasing phenomenon of men marrying one another in Brisbane, the capitol city of Queensland, Australia. The articles author implored the police to help stop the phenomenon.

In an attempt to create uniform marriage laws for all Australian states and territories, the 23rd Australian parliament passed The Marriage Act 1961, a bill legally defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Two Australian same-sex couples lesbian couple Jacqui Tomlins and Sarah Nichols, and gay couple Jason and Adrian Tuazon-McCheyne were married in Canada in 2003, shortly after that country legalized same-sex marriage. Both couples then lodged an application in Victorian Family Court to ascertain the validity of their marriages in the eyes of the Australian government.

In response, then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard introduced the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life, adding that other unions are not marriages and that same-sex marriages solemnized in other countries must not be recognized as marriages in Australia. The Parliament approved that bill on Aug. 16, 2004.

And yet in 2009, Australia began recognizing de facto marriages between a long-term cohabitating man and woman (also known as common law marriages), showing that other unions are in fact marriages in the eyes of the Australian government.

That same year, Green party Sen. Michael Organ introduced the Same Sex Relationships (Ensuring Equality) Bill of 2004 in an attempt to extend marriage to same-sex couples, but it died in Parliament.

In 2006, two Democratic senators introduced the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2006, and in 2009, Green party Sen. Sarah Hanson Young introduced the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009, the first marriage equality bill ever to be reviewed by a parliamentary committee.

In November 2009, the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee suggested the bill not be passed. Nevertheless, amid growing public protests in favor of same-sex marriage, the Senate voted on the bill on Feb. 25, 2010. It lost in a 45-to-5 vote with only Green Party senators supporting it and many other senators not even in attendance.

Then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party made an election season promise that her administration would not try to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Despite her pledge, Labor Party members began speaking out against her position and, at the Labor Partys December 2011 National Conference, the party overwhelmingly endorsed a party platform change to support marriage equality.

At the conference, Gillard allowed a non-binding free vote on same-sex marriage legislation, which passed 208 to 184.

In 2012, the Australian government held a Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, and those bills became the most publicly commented upon in the nations history. Of the 276,437 responses, 177,663 favored legalizing same-sex marriage, 98,164 opposed it and 610 felt unsure.

In September of 2012, however, both the Australian Senate and the House of Representatives voted against the legislation. It failed to pass, in part, because of uniform opposition from the Liberal/National Coalition Party, who had pledged to oppose any such legislation during the 2010 elections.

That same year, Gillards Labor government announced that it would provide same-sex couples wishing to wed abroad Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage, a certificate sometimes required by other governments to confirm that individuals arent already married in another country. Australia used to deny these certificates to same-sex couples.

In March 2013, former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised to introduce same-sex marriage legislation if his party won the 2013 federal elections. His party didnt. The Liberal/National Coalition Party did, and continued to oppose same-sex marriage.

In September 2013, the case of Commonwealth v. Australian Capital Territory decided that the parliaments of Australian states and territories didnt have the authority to legalize same-sex marriages in their regions.

In November 2014, Liberal Democratic Party Sen. David Leyonhjelm introduced the Freedom to Marry Bill 2014, but the Liberal/National Coalition declined to allow a free vote on it.

After Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, several Australian members of parliament including members of the Liberal/National Coalition Party began vocally supporting a free vote on marriage equality.

On June 1, 2015, Labor leader Bill Shorten introduced the Marriage Amendment (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015. Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised a parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage and, after a special joint party room meeting between the Liberal and National Parties, Abbott announced his strong disposition to hold a national plebiscite (a nationwide vote to gauge public feedback) or a constitutional referendum to let citizens vote directly on legalizing same-sex marriage after the 2016 federal election.

Critics called Abbotts pledge a stalling tactic and a waste of money compared to the less complicated possibilities of just gauging public opinion through a poll or just passing same-sex marriage legislation in the parliament.

Since then, all attempts at same-sex marriage plebiscites and legislation has been held up by parliamentary committees of both the Australian Senate and House of Representatives, with the Labor and the Green Party generally favoring marriage equality and the Liberal/National Coalition Party generally opposing it.

In March 2016, Attorney General George Brandis (a member of the Liberal Party) said that the Liberal/National Coalition would allow a plebiscite in 2016 if the federal election restored the coalition to power. However, after the Liberal/National Coalition narrowly won the federal elections, several coalition members of parliament said that they would vote against same-sex marriage, even if a plebiscite found citizens in favor of it.

On Sept. 16, 2016, Prime Minister Turnbull introduced Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 into the Australian House. The plebiscite would ask Australian voters to write yes or no in response to the following question: Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? While the bill passed the House, it didnt pass the Senate.

As of December 2016, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria all recognize same-sex marriages and civil partnerships performed overseas in their respective state registers.

On Aug. 9, 2017, a 31-to-31 tie vote in the the Australian Senate rejected a motion to discuss the plebiscite. Afterwards, Australias Finance Minister and Treasurer instructed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to conduct a postal plebiscite. Theyre calling it a survey of citizens feelings on same-sex marriage rather than a plebiscite. Australian citizens have until Aug. 24, 2017, to sign up to participate in the postal survey.

However, the heads of the Australian Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Rainbow Families, two pro-LGBTQ groups, have announced their intention to challenge the legality of the postal survey, stating the government and the ABS may have overstepped their executive authority in conducting such a plebiscite without parliamentary approval.

The countrys High Court has agreed to hear the case on Sept. 4 and 5, 2017. Whether their lawsuit goes through or not, the results of the postal survey will still send a clear signal to the Parliament about the will of the Australian people which could either affirm or deny the rights of LGBTQ Australians to marry whomever they love.

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This Timeline Helps Untangle the History of Gay Marriage in Australia – Unicorn Booty (blog)

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Steve Beshear Talks to RCN: Brent Spence, Gay Marriage, Pensions & More – The River City News

In a wide-ranging interview, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear talked toThe River City Newspublisher Michael Monks in an in-depth podcast. You can listen by streaming or downloading here.

Beshear has a new book about his time in office,People Over Politics, written with Dan Hassert, the formerKentucky Postwriter who worked as a speechwriter in Beshear’s administration.

On Wednesday, Beshear explored topics close to home such as his effort to get the Brent Spence Bridge corridor project moving – and his relationship with now-Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, who also worked in his administration. He also addressed a recent op-ed written by State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) that criticized the Democrat’s position on pensions.

Additionally, Beshear touched on recent events such as the turmoil in Charlottesville, Va., his thoughts on his successor, Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican’s ongoing feud with his son, Attorney General Andy Beshear. The expansion of Medicaid in Kentucky as “kynect” was explored as a highlight of his time in office, and Beshear also spoke about his evolved position on same-sex marriage – an issue that earned an entire chapter in the new book after his name was attached to the losing end of a U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized it nationwide.

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Baptist Pastor: Gay Marriage Is Fine As Long As the Couple Is Shot at the Altar – Patheos (blog)

Pastor Logan Robertson, an independent Baptist preacher from Auckland, New Zealand, said in a recent sermon that he would be glad to support two gay people getting married as long as they were shot at the altar.

The short clip of the Westcity Bible Baptist Church sermon was posted online in late July but got more attention after the New Zealand Herald covered it today.

Someone just emailed me the other day about our church. I [believe] he lives in Auckland. Hes like, Whats your view on homo marriage?

I was like, My view on homo marriage is that the Bible never mentions it, so Im not against them getting married as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss.

Because thats what it talks about. Not homo marriage, but homo death. Theres no such thing as homo marriage.

Thats what should happen. Now weve got Christians that would rather side with them side with their cute little fag cousin or brother or whoever it is than with Christians, than actually preach against it.

The love of Christ + a hatred of LGBT people = This sermon.

To be sure, many Christians have already condemned his hateful rhetoric. But make no mistake Robertson feels fully justified in saying this sort of thing because he thinks its inspired by the Bible.

When contacted by the Herald tonight, Robertson said he did not deny his words were hate speech.

Of course it is. Does it sound like hate speech to you? he said. If the world thinks thats hate speech then thats fine.

Just like Pastor Steven Anderson and Theodore Shoebat, Robertson reiterated that he wasnt calling on anyone to kill gay people that should be the governments job in his mind but he also wasnt about to take responsibility if anyone acts his message.

Its got nothing to do with me they could read that verse in the Bible.

Im not inciting vigilantes I believe its the Governments job.

This isnt Robertsons first time in the news. In 2014, he told a gay Christian author, I pray that you will commit suicide. When a reporter (who also happened to be gay) asked him for clarification, Robertson said once again that the man should kill himself.

Its not often you see a video when the hateful commenters seem tamer than the person in front of the camera, but leave it to a Baptist pastor to make that happen.

(Thanks to Sid for the link)

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Australia’s anti-gay marriage campaign warns of apocalyptic ‘consequences’ from Yes vote – PinkNews

An anti-gay marriage campaign is spreading outrageous lies in Australia,claiming that Pride events will become mandatory and kids will be taught how to have gay sex.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hasgiven the green light toan informal postal vote of Australianson equal marriage, which will be advisory and non-binding in nature.

In a bid to circumvent Parliament, the vote will be carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which means it will not beregulated under election laws or subject to regulations on misleading campaign material.

The anti-gay marriage lobby is not wasting time in exploiting the latter, with an anti-gay marriage lobbying group launching in the country this week.

The Campaign for Marriage launched this week, urging voters to reject equal marriage by promoting a laughable list of apparent consequences of the decision, brazenly spreading outright falsehoods.

Firstly, the group is warning that if equal marriage becomes law, thousands of children will come out as transgender.

It claims: There is increasing evidence that the removal of gender from marriage and the removal of gender from society more broadly are inextricably linked.

In countries where marriage has been redefined, an acceptance of gender fluidity is backed by law and government policy.

This begins with the concept of gender fluidity being taught in schools.

The group claims that this will lead to a 4000% increase in children coming out as transgender.

Its far from the only misleading statement, with the groups website also claiming that faith-based schools that refuse to teach homosexuality and gender identity issues are being faced with closure.

The Coalition for Marriage claims:When marriage is redefined, there are consequential changes in education programs and policies in schools, and parents are increasingly excluded from having a say in the sex education of their children.

It claims: In countries where marriage has been redefined, optional programs like Safe Schools have become compulsory.

Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Canada, the school curriculum changed to introduce increasingly explicit content to children. This program is mandatory, even in faith-based schools.

If youre not sure about how changing the definition of marriage will affect what your children and grandchildren are learning in school, vote no.

Meanwhile, the group claims that letting two people of the same sex get married will lead to restrictions on churches.

It says: The impact that redefining marriage will have on the religious freedom of every day Australians is an area of great significance to the millions of people of faith in this country.

Concerns about the freedom of religion extend far beyond whether an individual minister of religion or celebrant is required to solemnise a same-sex wedding.

It has to do with what faith leaders will be able to preach, what schools and parents will be able to teach, and how every day Australians will be able to conduct their businesses in accordance with their beliefs.

The group is also claiming that equal marriage will lead to employees being compelled to participate in LGBTI pride events at work.

It says: There are also the informal restrictions on free speech, with television and radio outlets refusing to broadcast views which promote traditional marriage, to say nothing of boycotts and even threats of violence against those organisations which express either a pro-marriage or even a neutral stance on this issue.

If youre not sure how the redefinition of marriage will affect your rights to free speech, vote no.

LGBT campaigners had long warned that a public vote on equal marriage would lead to misleading homophobic nonsense.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten told the PM: I hold you responsible for every hurtful bit of filth that this debate will unleash not because the Prime Minister has said it, not because he agrees to it, he clearly doesnt. But because the Prime Minister has licensed this debate.

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’90s Superhero Captain Planet Supports Same-Sex Marriage While Responding to Anti-Gay Critics – Unicorn Booty (blog)

Anyone who was a kid during the 1990s might remember Captain Planet and the Planeteers, an environmentally minded, animated childrens show that featured five kids from around the world with magic rings from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth. Each ring controlled a different element of nature and could also summon the superhero Captain Planet. Well now, the cartoons Facebook page has come out in support of marriage equality in Australia and has even responded to fans disappointed with its pro-marriage stance Go Planet!

Last Thursday, the Captain Planet Facebook fan page posted the following message: Without heart, there would be no Captain Planet! Australia, you have only 14 days to make sure you are enrolled to vote for the postal vote on same sex marriage: http://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/ THE POWER IS YOURS!

In the message above, heart refers to the fifth ring in the animated series: The shows four other rings controlled wind, water, earth and fire, but the fifth ring allowed its wearer to use love and empathy to detect emotions, read thoughts, communicate with animals and sometimes change peoples attitudes.

The slogan The power is yours, was Captain Planets tagline and motto, reminding young people of the power they have to heal the environment.

The link in the Facebook message led to a sign-up page for The Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, a study of citizens views on whether or not the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. The sign period lasts until Aug. 24, 2017.

One of several Facebook commenters criticized the pages pro-gay stance, stating, Earth, fire, wind, water gay marriage? Stick to the environment, Captain. Captain Planet responded, You seem to have missed a power there Pete. People are part of and have a huge impact on the environment and caring about each other is one of the most powerful things we can do.

Another said, Same-sex is a term for mentally disordered people; the mental hospital is their planet. Captain Planet was my favorite cartoon character, dont pollute it to which Captain Planet replied, You might have been watching a different show Zakir, sorry to hear you say that. The Power Is Yours.

When another commenter sarcastically asked, Captain planet was gay? Captain Planet responded:

People are a huge part of our planet and caring about each other is one of the most important things we can do to make our world a better place. The power of heart is all about compassion, caring about our planet and each other and like when we did episodes about children in war torn countries, AIDS and gun violence we care.

The Australian government has been struggling over whether to legalize same-sex marriage, having had several legislatives votes and having considered a public vote with no final decisions reached.

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Haiti Aims to Ban Gay Marriage and Stifle LGBTQ Rights – Care2.com

Haitis Senate has passed a bill designed to not just ban same-gender marriage, but also to prohibitthe so-called promotion of homosexuality. Why is Haiti so preoccupied with same-gender marriage, and is there any way to stop this attack on LGBTQ rights?

Haiti already bans same-gender marriage by only recognizing marriages between a man and a woman, and there are no equivalent or even diminished partnership rights offered to same-gender couples. But apparently, this stonewalling isnt enough for Haitis lawmakers.

Legislation passed by the Senate at the beginning of August would make it a criminal offense to attempt to marry someone of the same gender, proscribing up to three years in prison and an $8,000 fine for each party involved. But thats not all.

The legislation also makes it a criminal offense to have participated in any such wedding, meaning that supporters of the couple involved could be breaking the law. Obviously, thereach of this clause would businesses providing services and a venue also be liable? will depend on how rigorously the bill is enforced. Regardless, the legislationcertainly would appear to alienatesame-gender couples fromthe rest of the community.

Furthermore, the bill reportedly contains a somewhat loosely-worded ban that is designed to prevent people married outside of Haiti from attempting to force legal recognition within Haiti: No foreigner can avail himself of his personal status and the provisions of the law of his country to solicit the celebration in Haiti of a marriage between two persons of the same sex.

The legislation also aims to prohibit any promotion, in any form or by any means of anything that constitutes an offense of contempt of good morals and public decency. Essentially, this bill carries a gay advocacy ban which, while not identical, would have the same chilling effect as Russias anti-gay propaganda ban.

Charlot Jeudy of the LGBT rights organization Kouraj emphasizedthat the bill fundamentally violates Haitis constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression. Many human rights advocates hope that by threatening legal action,the lower Chamber of Deputies might abandon the bill.

We have the right to protest and we have the right to be who we are and we have the right to be free, Jeudy told NBC.

Haitis fight against HIV

It is no secret that, over the past few decades, various problems have plagued Haiti. A lack of international response, particularly in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake and 2016s Hurricane Matthew, have left the countrystruggling to rebuild and maintain its infrastructure. This, in turn, has led to outbreaks of several communicable diseases and put a strain on health services.

Despite these circumstances, Haiti has had success in reducing HIV numbers within its territory. The countrycontinues to have the highest prevalence of HIV in the Caribbean, but it has managed to significantly scale back heterosexual transmission and mother-to-infant transmission, the two leading transmission routes.

Nevertheless, more progress would have been possible if Haitis increasingly religious lawmakers put more influence on STI prevention through education and outreach to communities like men who have sex with men and sex workers.

Therefore, to add to the nations existing anti-LGBT legislation specific bans that would dramatically curtail the powers of LGBT charities seems nonsensical. Previousdatashows that anti-gay bans dramatically impact HIV numbers among MSM communities.

Haitis lawmakers are apparently considering this legislation because of their strong religious beliefs against same-gender marriage. But because the country already has a ban on same-gender marriage, there is nothing to be gained by pursuing this bill. And indulging in this morality policing could seriously harm the health of Haitis entire population.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Catholic Archbishop encourages ‘no vote’ – Perth Now

THE leader of Perths Catholic community has intervened in the gay marriage debate, calling on West Australians to make sure they are enrolled so they can vote against any change. In a long letter to be distributed at Mass in the Perth diocese this weekend, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe also says that just because someone is opposed to gay marriage, they should not be labelled homophobic. It is unworthy to suggest that those who argue against the proposed redefinition of marriage are homophobic or some way lacking in intellectual depth, he wrote. It is unfair to suggest that they are trying to force their views on others. It is cruel to claim that such people are devoid of love, compassion or understanding of those in same-sex relationships. Significantly, Archbishop Costelloe tells WAs 530,000 Catholics the Church should be able to lead debate on controversial issues. That our convictions are based on these foundational beliefs should not be a surprise to anyone we are a religious organisation, he says. Nor should the religious foundations of our convictions disqualify us from engagement in the public discussion on these important matters. The Archbishop argues society would be best served by retaining the traditional understanding of marriage, between a man and a woman and says he sincerely hopes Catholics ensure they are registered to make their vote count in the November postal plebiscite. In affirming this longstanding position it is important to remember that it is based on our convictions about the beauty and dignity of marriage understood as a union of a man and woman for life, and as the best way to provide for the upbringing of children, Archbishop Costelloe wrote. In arguing marriage between a man and a woman is best for children, he concedes this ideal is not always realised in practice, and that many children are raised in loving environments after a marriage has failed. But the fact that this ideal is often not realised in practice does not make the ideal any less worth striving for, he says. The Federal Government announced it would hold a non-compulsory postal plebiscite on whether to make gay marriage legal after a group of rebel Liberals led by WAs Dean Smith threatened to introduce a private members Bill in an attempt to force change. The plebiscite will cost taxpayers $122 million and MPs across Parliament have signalled their right to ignore the outcome.

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Northern Ireland court rules gay marriage ban doesn’t violate rights – Reuters

BELFAST (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage does not violate the rights of couples affected, the Belfast High Court ruled on Thursday, in a blow to campaigners in the only part of the United Kingdom that bans gay marriage. The case was brought by three same-sex couples, backed by campaigners who are trying to pressure the region’s largest party, the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to reverse its veto on same-sex marriage. The judge, Justice O’Hara, said the refusal to allow same- sex marriages in Northern Ireland was not a contravention of human rights “because that right does not exist.” O’Hara said it was up to Northern Ireland’s devolved government to decide on the issue and that a ban on gay marriage did not violate international human rights standards. He said the European Court of Human rights had ruled that the right to gay marriage was not a right under the European Convention on Human Rights. “It is not difficult to understand how gay men and lesbians, who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion, feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same sex marriage,” he said. “However, the judgment which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on law.” The ruling applied to two cases, the first brought by the first female couple and first male couple to have their civil partnership recognized in Northern Ireland: Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close and Christopher and Henry Flanagan-Kane. In a second case – known as Petition X – a male couple that married in England in 2014 was challenging the downgrading of their relationship to a civil partnership when they moved to Northern Ireland. The DUP, whose 10 seats in the British parliament prop up the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, have repeatedly vetoed gay marriage despite opinion polls that indicate it is supported by a significant majority in Northern Ireland. Earlier this month Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visited a gay rights event in Belfast and said the legalization of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was just a matter of time. The couples did not speak to the media after the ruling, but Gavin Boyd of gay rights group The Rainbow Project said they were disappointed and would consider whether to appeal. “This is now a matter for the politicians, the [Northern Ireland] Assembly or Theresa May,” Boyd said. Writing by Conor Humphries and Ian Graham; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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Haiti may ban gay marriage, public support for LGBTQ rights – Wisconsin Gazette

A gay rights group in Haiti is fighting to head off a proposed law that would ban same-sex marriage as well as any public demonstrations in favor of LGBTQ people. A bill passed by the Haitian Senate earlier this summer provides for up to three years in prison and a fine of about $8,000 for either party to a marriage not between a man and a woman. The bill also would prohibit any public support or advocacy for LGBTQ rights. Haitian law already specifically defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Charlot Jeudy of the gay rights organization Kouraj said the legislation would violate Haitis constitution and his group will try to persuade members of the Chamber of Deputies to reject it. We have the right to protest and we have the right to be who we are and we have the right to be free, Jeudy said in an interview. Jeudy said his group has been collecting signatures on a petition that it hopes to present to sympathetic lawmakers in the chamber. LGBTQ people have long faced discrimination in Haiti. In September, a cultural festival celebrating the community in Port-au-Prince was canceled the after organizers received threats and a local government official said he would prohibit the event he said violates the countrys moral values.

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August 17, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

This Timeline Helps Untangle the History of Gay Marriage in Australia – Unicorn Booty (blog)

If youre a regular reader of LGBTQ media, chances are youve recently heard of the Australian governments ongoing struggles over same-sex marriage. Most recently, the island nation has decided to conduct a country-wide survey gauging citizens feeling about same-sex marriage, but the survey and its potential results are being challenged by a wide-range of political factions. Thats why weve created this explainer to help untangle the history of gay marriage in Australia and the political factions behind it. Right now, Australia does not offer marriage to gay people. Several Australian states recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other countries, but the nations federal government still recognizes the institution as only being between a man and a woman. The recent survey could change that, however, if it survives a court challenge. In Hyde vs Hyde and Woodmansee, a civil case about polygamy and adultery between a Mormon man and one of his former wives, the presiding judge Lord Penzance defined marriage as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others. While this definition stuck in the countrys common law, it wasnt the same as the legal definition of marriage created through federal legislation. Despite the federal government not yet having a legal definition of marriage, a 1932 news article mentioned an increasing phenomenon of men marrying one another in Brisbane, the capitol city of Queensland, Australia. The articles author implored the police to help stop the phenomenon. In an attempt to create uniform marriage laws for all Australian states and territories, the 23rd Australian parliament passed The Marriage Act 1961, a bill legally defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Two Australian same-sex couples lesbian couple Jacqui Tomlins and Sarah Nichols, and gay couple Jason and Adrian Tuazon-McCheyne were married in Canada in 2003, shortly after that country legalized same-sex marriage. Both couples then lodged an application in Victorian Family Court to ascertain the validity of their marriages in the eyes of the Australian government. In response, then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard introduced the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life, adding that other unions are not marriages and that same-sex marriages solemnized in other countries must not be recognized as marriages in Australia. The Parliament approved that bill on Aug. 16, 2004. And yet in 2009, Australia began recognizing de facto marriages between a long-term cohabitating man and woman (also known as common law marriages), showing that other unions are in fact marriages in the eyes of the Australian government. That same year, Green party Sen. Michael Organ introduced the Same Sex Relationships (Ensuring Equality) Bill of 2004 in an attempt to extend marriage to same-sex couples, but it died in Parliament. In 2006, two Democratic senators introduced the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2006, and in 2009, Green party Sen. Sarah Hanson Young introduced the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009, the first marriage equality bill ever to be reviewed by a parliamentary committee. In November 2009, the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee suggested the bill not be passed. Nevertheless, amid growing public protests in favor of same-sex marriage, the Senate voted on the bill on Feb. 25, 2010. It lost in a 45-to-5 vote with only Green Party senators supporting it and many other senators not even in attendance. Then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party made an election season promise that her administration would not try to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Despite her pledge, Labor Party members began speaking out against her position and, at the Labor Partys December 2011 National Conference, the party overwhelmingly endorsed a party platform change to support marriage equality. At the conference, Gillard allowed a non-binding free vote on same-sex marriage legislation, which passed 208 to 184. In 2012, the Australian government held a Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, and those bills became the most publicly commented upon in the nations history. Of the 276,437 responses, 177,663 favored legalizing same-sex marriage, 98,164 opposed it and 610 felt unsure. In September of 2012, however, both the Australian Senate and the House of Representatives voted against the legislation. It failed to pass, in part, because of uniform opposition from the Liberal/National Coalition Party, who had pledged to oppose any such legislation during the 2010 elections. That same year, Gillards Labor government announced that it would provide same-sex couples wishing to wed abroad Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage, a certificate sometimes required by other governments to confirm that individuals arent already married in another country. Australia used to deny these certificates to same-sex couples. In March 2013, former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised to introduce same-sex marriage legislation if his party won the 2013 federal elections. His party didnt. The Liberal/National Coalition Party did, and continued to oppose same-sex marriage. In September 2013, the case of Commonwealth v. Australian Capital Territory decided that the parliaments of Australian states and territories didnt have the authority to legalize same-sex marriages in their regions. In November 2014, Liberal Democratic Party Sen. David Leyonhjelm introduced the Freedom to Marry Bill 2014, but the Liberal/National Coalition declined to allow a free vote on it. After Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, several Australian members of parliament including members of the Liberal/National Coalition Party began vocally supporting a free vote on marriage equality. On June 1, 2015, Labor leader Bill Shorten introduced the Marriage Amendment (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015. Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised a parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage and, after a special joint party room meeting between the Liberal and National Parties, Abbott announced his strong disposition to hold a national plebiscite (a nationwide vote to gauge public feedback) or a constitutional referendum to let citizens vote directly on legalizing same-sex marriage after the 2016 federal election. Critics called Abbotts pledge a stalling tactic and a waste of money compared to the less complicated possibilities of just gauging public opinion through a poll or just passing same-sex marriage legislation in the parliament. Since then, all attempts at same-sex marriage plebiscites and legislation has been held up by parliamentary committees of both the Australian Senate and House of Representatives, with the Labor and the Green Party generally favoring marriage equality and the Liberal/National Coalition Party generally opposing it. In March 2016, Attorney General George Brandis (a member of the Liberal Party) said that the Liberal/National Coalition would allow a plebiscite in 2016 if the federal election restored the coalition to power. However, after the Liberal/National Coalition narrowly won the federal elections, several coalition members of parliament said that they would vote against same-sex marriage, even if a plebiscite found citizens in favor of it. On Sept. 16, 2016, Prime Minister Turnbull introduced Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 into the Australian House. The plebiscite would ask Australian voters to write yes or no in response to the following question: Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? While the bill passed the House, it didnt pass the Senate. As of December 2016, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria all recognize same-sex marriages and civil partnerships performed overseas in their respective state registers. On Aug. 9, 2017, a 31-to-31 tie vote in the the Australian Senate rejected a motion to discuss the plebiscite. Afterwards, Australias Finance Minister and Treasurer instructed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to conduct a postal plebiscite. Theyre calling it a survey of citizens feelings on same-sex marriage rather than a plebiscite. Australian citizens have until Aug. 24, 2017, to sign up to participate in the postal survey. However, the heads of the Australian Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Rainbow Families, two pro-LGBTQ groups, have announced their intention to challenge the legality of the postal survey, stating the government and the ABS may have overstepped their executive authority in conducting such a plebiscite without parliamentary approval. The countrys High Court has agreed to hear the case on Sept. 4 and 5, 2017. Whether their lawsuit goes through or not, the results of the postal survey will still send a clear signal to the Parliament about the will of the Australian people which could either affirm or deny the rights of LGBTQ Australians to marry whomever they love.

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Steve Beshear Talks to RCN: Brent Spence, Gay Marriage, Pensions & More – The River City News

In a wide-ranging interview, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear talked toThe River City Newspublisher Michael Monks in an in-depth podcast. You can listen by streaming or downloading here. Beshear has a new book about his time in office,People Over Politics, written with Dan Hassert, the formerKentucky Postwriter who worked as a speechwriter in Beshear’s administration. On Wednesday, Beshear explored topics close to home such as his effort to get the Brent Spence Bridge corridor project moving – and his relationship with now-Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, who also worked in his administration. He also addressed a recent op-ed written by State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) that criticized the Democrat’s position on pensions. Additionally, Beshear touched on recent events such as the turmoil in Charlottesville, Va., his thoughts on his successor, Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican’s ongoing feud with his son, Attorney General Andy Beshear. The expansion of Medicaid in Kentucky as “kynect” was explored as a highlight of his time in office, and Beshear also spoke about his evolved position on same-sex marriage – an issue that earned an entire chapter in the new book after his name was attached to the losing end of a U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized it nationwide. Listen here:

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Baptist Pastor: Gay Marriage Is Fine As Long As the Couple Is Shot at the Altar – Patheos (blog)

Pastor Logan Robertson, an independent Baptist preacher from Auckland, New Zealand, said in a recent sermon that he would be glad to support two gay people getting married as long as they were shot at the altar. The short clip of the Westcity Bible Baptist Church sermon was posted online in late July but got more attention after the New Zealand Herald covered it today. Someone just emailed me the other day about our church. I [believe] he lives in Auckland. Hes like, Whats your view on homo marriage? I was like, My view on homo marriage is that the Bible never mentions it, so Im not against them getting married as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss. Because thats what it talks about. Not homo marriage, but homo death. Theres no such thing as homo marriage. Thats what should happen. Now weve got Christians that would rather side with them side with their cute little fag cousin or brother or whoever it is than with Christians, than actually preach against it. The love of Christ + a hatred of LGBT people = This sermon. To be sure, many Christians have already condemned his hateful rhetoric. But make no mistake Robertson feels fully justified in saying this sort of thing because he thinks its inspired by the Bible. When contacted by the Herald tonight, Robertson said he did not deny his words were hate speech. Of course it is. Does it sound like hate speech to you? he said. If the world thinks thats hate speech then thats fine. Just like Pastor Steven Anderson and Theodore Shoebat, Robertson reiterated that he wasnt calling on anyone to kill gay people that should be the governments job in his mind but he also wasnt about to take responsibility if anyone acts his message. Its got nothing to do with me they could read that verse in the Bible. Im not inciting vigilantes I believe its the Governments job. This isnt Robertsons first time in the news. In 2014, he told a gay Christian author, I pray that you will commit suicide. When a reporter (who also happened to be gay) asked him for clarification, Robertson said once again that the man should kill himself. Its not often you see a video when the hateful commenters seem tamer than the person in front of the camera, but leave it to a Baptist pastor to make that happen. (Thanks to Sid for the link)

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Australia’s anti-gay marriage campaign warns of apocalyptic ‘consequences’ from Yes vote – PinkNews

An anti-gay marriage campaign is spreading outrageous lies in Australia,claiming that Pride events will become mandatory and kids will be taught how to have gay sex. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hasgiven the green light toan informal postal vote of Australianson equal marriage, which will be advisory and non-binding in nature. In a bid to circumvent Parliament, the vote will be carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which means it will not beregulated under election laws or subject to regulations on misleading campaign material. The anti-gay marriage lobby is not wasting time in exploiting the latter, with an anti-gay marriage lobbying group launching in the country this week. The Campaign for Marriage launched this week, urging voters to reject equal marriage by promoting a laughable list of apparent consequences of the decision, brazenly spreading outright falsehoods. Firstly, the group is warning that if equal marriage becomes law, thousands of children will come out as transgender. It claims: There is increasing evidence that the removal of gender from marriage and the removal of gender from society more broadly are inextricably linked. In countries where marriage has been redefined, an acceptance of gender fluidity is backed by law and government policy. This begins with the concept of gender fluidity being taught in schools. The group claims that this will lead to a 4000% increase in children coming out as transgender. Its far from the only misleading statement, with the groups website also claiming that faith-based schools that refuse to teach homosexuality and gender identity issues are being faced with closure. The Coalition for Marriage claims:When marriage is redefined, there are consequential changes in education programs and policies in schools, and parents are increasingly excluded from having a say in the sex education of their children. It claims: In countries where marriage has been redefined, optional programs like Safe Schools have become compulsory. Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Canada, the school curriculum changed to introduce increasingly explicit content to children. This program is mandatory, even in faith-based schools. If youre not sure about how changing the definition of marriage will affect what your children and grandchildren are learning in school, vote no. Meanwhile, the group claims that letting two people of the same sex get married will lead to restrictions on churches. It says: The impact that redefining marriage will have on the religious freedom of every day Australians is an area of great significance to the millions of people of faith in this country. Concerns about the freedom of religion extend far beyond whether an individual minister of religion or celebrant is required to solemnise a same-sex wedding. It has to do with what faith leaders will be able to preach, what schools and parents will be able to teach, and how every day Australians will be able to conduct their businesses in accordance with their beliefs. The group is also claiming that equal marriage will lead to employees being compelled to participate in LGBTI pride events at work. It says: There are also the informal restrictions on free speech, with television and radio outlets refusing to broadcast views which promote traditional marriage, to say nothing of boycotts and even threats of violence against those organisations which express either a pro-marriage or even a neutral stance on this issue. If youre not sure how the redefinition of marriage will affect your rights to free speech, vote no. LGBT campaigners had long warned that a public vote on equal marriage would lead to misleading homophobic nonsense. Opposition leader Bill Shorten told the PM: I hold you responsible for every hurtful bit of filth that this debate will unleash not because the Prime Minister has said it, not because he agrees to it, he clearly doesnt. But because the Prime Minister has licensed this debate.

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August 15, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

’90s Superhero Captain Planet Supports Same-Sex Marriage While Responding to Anti-Gay Critics – Unicorn Booty (blog)

Anyone who was a kid during the 1990s might remember Captain Planet and the Planeteers, an environmentally minded, animated childrens show that featured five kids from around the world with magic rings from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth. Each ring controlled a different element of nature and could also summon the superhero Captain Planet. Well now, the cartoons Facebook page has come out in support of marriage equality in Australia and has even responded to fans disappointed with its pro-marriage stance Go Planet! Last Thursday, the Captain Planet Facebook fan page posted the following message: Without heart, there would be no Captain Planet! Australia, you have only 14 days to make sure you are enrolled to vote for the postal vote on same sex marriage: http://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/ THE POWER IS YOURS! In the message above, heart refers to the fifth ring in the animated series: The shows four other rings controlled wind, water, earth and fire, but the fifth ring allowed its wearer to use love and empathy to detect emotions, read thoughts, communicate with animals and sometimes change peoples attitudes. The slogan The power is yours, was Captain Planets tagline and motto, reminding young people of the power they have to heal the environment. The link in the Facebook message led to a sign-up page for The Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, a study of citizens views on whether or not the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. The sign period lasts until Aug. 24, 2017. One of several Facebook commenters criticized the pages pro-gay stance, stating, Earth, fire, wind, water gay marriage? Stick to the environment, Captain. Captain Planet responded, You seem to have missed a power there Pete. People are part of and have a huge impact on the environment and caring about each other is one of the most powerful things we can do. Another said, Same-sex is a term for mentally disordered people; the mental hospital is their planet. Captain Planet was my favorite cartoon character, dont pollute it to which Captain Planet replied, You might have been watching a different show Zakir, sorry to hear you say that. The Power Is Yours. When another commenter sarcastically asked, Captain planet was gay? Captain Planet responded: People are a huge part of our planet and caring about each other is one of the most important things we can do to make our world a better place. The power of heart is all about compassion, caring about our planet and each other and like when we did episodes about children in war torn countries, AIDS and gun violence we care. The Australian government has been struggling over whether to legalize same-sex marriage, having had several legislatives votes and having considered a public vote with no final decisions reached.

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August 15, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Haiti Aims to Ban Gay Marriage and Stifle LGBTQ Rights – Care2.com

Haitis Senate has passed a bill designed to not just ban same-gender marriage, but also to prohibitthe so-called promotion of homosexuality. Why is Haiti so preoccupied with same-gender marriage, and is there any way to stop this attack on LGBTQ rights? Haiti already bans same-gender marriage by only recognizing marriages between a man and a woman, and there are no equivalent or even diminished partnership rights offered to same-gender couples. But apparently, this stonewalling isnt enough for Haitis lawmakers. Legislation passed by the Senate at the beginning of August would make it a criminal offense to attempt to marry someone of the same gender, proscribing up to three years in prison and an $8,000 fine for each party involved. But thats not all. The legislation also makes it a criminal offense to have participated in any such wedding, meaning that supporters of the couple involved could be breaking the law. Obviously, thereach of this clause would businesses providing services and a venue also be liable? will depend on how rigorously the bill is enforced. Regardless, the legislationcertainly would appear to alienatesame-gender couples fromthe rest of the community. Furthermore, the bill reportedly contains a somewhat loosely-worded ban that is designed to prevent people married outside of Haiti from attempting to force legal recognition within Haiti: No foreigner can avail himself of his personal status and the provisions of the law of his country to solicit the celebration in Haiti of a marriage between two persons of the same sex. The legislation also aims to prohibit any promotion, in any form or by any means of anything that constitutes an offense of contempt of good morals and public decency. Essentially, this bill carries a gay advocacy ban which, while not identical, would have the same chilling effect as Russias anti-gay propaganda ban. Charlot Jeudy of the LGBT rights organization Kouraj emphasizedthat the bill fundamentally violates Haitis constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression. Many human rights advocates hope that by threatening legal action,the lower Chamber of Deputies might abandon the bill. We have the right to protest and we have the right to be who we are and we have the right to be free, Jeudy told NBC. Haitis fight against HIV It is no secret that, over the past few decades, various problems have plagued Haiti. A lack of international response, particularly in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake and 2016s Hurricane Matthew, have left the countrystruggling to rebuild and maintain its infrastructure. This, in turn, has led to outbreaks of several communicable diseases and put a strain on health services. Despite these circumstances, Haiti has had success in reducing HIV numbers within its territory. The countrycontinues to have the highest prevalence of HIV in the Caribbean, but it has managed to significantly scale back heterosexual transmission and mother-to-infant transmission, the two leading transmission routes. Nevertheless, more progress would have been possible if Haitis increasingly religious lawmakers put more influence on STI prevention through education and outreach to communities like men who have sex with men and sex workers. Therefore, to add to the nations existing anti-LGBT legislation specific bans that would dramatically curtail the powers of LGBT charities seems nonsensical. Previousdatashows that anti-gay bans dramatically impact HIV numbers among MSM communities. Haitis lawmakers are apparently considering this legislation because of their strong religious beliefs against same-gender marriage. But because the country already has a ban on same-gender marriage, there is nothing to be gained by pursuing this bill. And indulging in this morality policing could seriously harm the health of Haitis entire population. Photo credit: Thinkstock. Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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August 11, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed


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