International News

By Rex Wockner

Malaysian deputy PM released from prison

Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, jailed for nine years in 2000 for engaging in same-sex sodomy, was released from prison Sept. 2 after the Federal Court ruled the evidence against him had been unreliable.
Anwar has maintained the charges were bogus and that he was framed because then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad feared Anwar was scheming to replace him.
The maximum punishment for having gay sex in Malaysia is 20 years in jail and a flogging.

Gay N.Z. MP targeted by Christians

The first candidate fielded by New Zealand's new fundamentalist Christian Destiny Party will attempt to unseat openly gay Member of Parliament Tim Barnett.
Bone Marrow Transplant Trust CEO Allison Nicol will challenge Barnett in the liberal Christchurch Central electorate.
Barnett says he's not going to lose any sleep over the effort.

Pope blasts same-sex marriage

Pope John Paul II lashed out at same-sex unions again on Sept. 4.
Speaking to Canada's new ambassador to the Holy See, the pope said: "The institution of marriage necessarily entails the complementarity of husbands and wives who participate in God's creative activity through the raising of children. Spouses thereby ensure the survival of society and culture, and rightly deserve specific and categorical legal recognition by the state. Any attempts to change the meaning of the word 'spouse' contradict right reason: legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, cannot be applied to unions between persons of the same sex without creating a false understanding of the nature of marriage."
Courts have legalized full same-sex marriage in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec and in the Yukon Territory. The federal government is working on changing federal law to cover the rest of the nation.

Indian gays to appeal sodomy ruling

The Indian gay and AIDS group Naz Foundation plans to appeal a Sept. 2 ruling by the Delhi High Court that upheld the nation's ban on gay sex.
The court ruled that the law criminalizing homosexuality can be challenged only by people who have been "affected by it," not by organizations.
Government lawyers argued against legalization of gay sex on the grounds that society disapproves of it. They also said, "While the right to respect for private and family life is undisputed, interference by public authority in the interest of public safety and protection of health and morals is equally permissible."
Naz's Shaleen Rakesh told the Agence France-Presse news wire service: "We are not prepared to sit back and accept what the court is throwing at us. We … will file a review petition in the High Court or take the matter to the Supreme Court."
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states, "Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment … for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."

British awards dump Jamaican singers

Britain's Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards withdrew the nominations of two Jamaican dancehall-genre singers Sept. 7 because their lyrics encourage killing homosexuals.
Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel failed to respond to a MOBO invitation to apologize for their lyrics and prove they've stopped writing and performing such music.
They had been nominated for Best Reggae Act. The awards will be presented Sept. 30.
"The MOBOs have taken a lead and we hope other promoters, sponsors and record companies will follow their positive example," said Brett Lock of the London gay direct-action group OutRage!, which is spearheading an aggressive campaign against several Jamaican dancehall artists.
"The singers' refusal to apologize is indicative of their unrepentant violent homophobia," Lock said. "Incitement to murder should never be rewarded."
OutRage! also has targeted Beenie Man, Buju Banton, T.O.K., Bounty Killer, Capleton and Sizzla.
Elephant Man's lyrics include "Battyman fi dead" ("Queers must be killed") and "Dance wi a dance and a bun out a freaky man/Step pon him like a old cloth/A dance wi a dance and a crush out a bingi man" ("Join our dance and let's burn out the queer man/Step on him like an old cloth/Join our dance and let's crush queer men").
Kartel's lyrics include "Kartel buss one inna batty bwoy spine" ("Kartel puts one [a bullet] in a queer's spine"), "Bow cat, sodomite, batty man fi gat assassination" ("Oral sexer, lesbian and queer must be assassinated"), and "Faggot fi get copper to di heart" ("Faggot must get copper [bullet] to the heart").
The translations from Jamaican patwa to standard English were done by OutRage!.

Reading sees first gay pride

Four thousand people turned out for the first gay-pride celebration in Reading, England, Sept. 4 at King's Meadow.
"It was successful and absolutely fantastic," said organizer Laurence O'Meara. "It was not just the gay and lesbian communities that came along, the people of Reading enjoyed it as well."
Reading, population 148,000, is located about 40 miles west of London.

Vietnamese TV show tackles homosexuality

Vietnam's top TV show, The Crime Police, tackles homosexuality this season in a 10-episode story line.
A homophobic cop with a gay brother whom he has rejected is assigned to solve three murders that took place during gay sexual encounters.
The story is adapted from the 2000 novel A World Without Women by Bui Anh Tan, who told reporters: "Society will have to accept reality. They cannot deny it because it already exists."
The cop eventually invites his still-gay brother home — an ending that the Ministry of Public Security removed from the first two editions of the book but permitted in the recent third edition. In the earlier printings, the gay brother ended up embracing a heterosexual lifestyle.