International News

By Rex Wockner

American jailed in Afghanistan for gay sex freed

An American working in Afghanistan who was jailed for engaging in gay sex in September has been released after it was determined he is straight and was framed.
Vincent White, 52, a finance ministry adviser, spent a month in a rat-infested Kabul prison, accused of paying an 18-year-old Afghan man $49 for sex.
While in custody, he was forced to masturbate in front of policemen and doctors, he said.
He was released after the Afghan man admitted he concocted the story while being tortured by the police.
Afghan prosecutors plan to investigate the incident to determine if White was targeted by people upset over his role in vetoing certain government contracts that would have been lucrative for Western firms and Afghan officials, according to a report in London's Sunday Telegraph.
"Often in countries like this when contracts get dished out, everybody gets their palms greased and it is a bonanza for all," White said. "I wasn't prepared to let that happen and as a result I was framed."

Slovakia claims EU exemption on gay relationships

Slovakia's government said Nov. 3 it has received "a 100 percent guarantee" from European Union foreign-affairs ministers that it will not be forced to recognize same-sex partnerships or marriages from other European nations, Radio Slovakia International reported.
Slovakia was the only EU nation to make such a request and it reportedly will be granted via an amendment to the Hague Programme, a policy adopted Nov. 4-5 by the European Council regarding cross-border security and human rights issues.
"Slovakia has taken this measure unilaterally, which means that we will have different laws in this area than the rest of the EU," Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan told The Slovak Spectator newspaper.

Austria rejects gay couple

Austria's Federal Constitutional Court Nov. 3 refused to recognize a married same-sex couple for purposes of immigration.
American Lon Williams and an unnamed German man were married in the Netherlands, which grants same-sex couples full marriage rights. The German was then offered a job in Austria but had to turn it down when Austria refused to recognize his husband as his spouse.
The couple plans to appeal to the Federal Administrative Court and, if necessary, the European Court of Human Rights.
The gay-rights group Homosexual Initiative Vienna commented: "EU law unequivocally provides for any third-country spouse to join his or her EU spouse exercising the right to free movement within EU territory."
The organization said Austria's refusal to recognize the couple's marriage violated Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which bans discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation in areas that include free movement and family reunion.

220 attend ILGA Euro confab

The 26th European Conference of the International Lesbian and Gay Association drew some 220 activists to Budapest Oct. 27-31 to discuss "Coming Out to the EU."
The European Union increased in size this year from 15 nations to 25 nations.
The activists were addressed by Hungary's minister of equal opportunities, Kinga G¬öncz, and by Joop Verboom, a representative of the EU presidency.
The 2005 confab will be in Paris and the 2006 meeting will be in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Nigerian president has homophobic outburst

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo called homosexuality unnatural Oct. 27.
He was speaking in support of African Anglicans' denunciations of Gene Robinson, the gay bishop of the Episcopal diocese of the U.S. state of New Hampshire.
"I wholeheartedly salute the wisdom, courage and resilience of African bishops within the Anglican Communion for standing so firmly against attempts to undermine our faith and falsify God's will and the word of God," Obasanjo told a meeting of African bishops in Lagos, Nigeria.
"Such tendencies are clearly unbiblical, unnatural and definitely un-African," he said.

GLBTs march in Taipei

About 2,000 GLBTS marched in the gay-pride parade in Taipei, Taiwan, Nov. 6.
Some carried signs demanding access to marriage. A bill to open marriage to same-sex couples, drafted by the Cabinet, awaits action in Parliament.

Italians oppose same-sex marriage

Only 32 percent of Italians support same-sex marriage and only 21 percent support gay adoption, according to a Eurisko poll conducted for La Repubblica newspaper, which published the results in its Nov. 7 issue.
The poll also found that three-quarters of Italians are OK with unmarried couples living together and 63 percent are fine with divorce.

Jamaican singer denied entry to UK

Jamaican dancehall singer Sizzla was denied entry to the United Kingdom in early November because his lyrics encourage murder of homosexuals.
The Home Office cited public safety reasons and lyrics such as "Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom," which translates as "Shot a queer, my big gun went boom."
The London gay group OutRage! and other activists have conducted an extensive campaign against several Jamaican dancehall artists whose music supports killing gays.
They include Elephant Man ("Queers must be killed"), Vybz Kartel ("Kartel puts one [a bullet] in a queer's spine"), Beenie Man ("I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the queers"), Buju Banton, T.O.K., Bounty Killer and Capleton.

Alberta remains defiant

The premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, Ralph Klein, remains defiantly opposed to same-sex marriage even though it has been legalized in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec and the Yukon Territory.
That leaves only Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador (which is expected to move next), New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Prince Edward Island, which account for only 14 percent of Canada's population.
"We will fight, I guess, and use whatever legal means are at our disposal to make sure the solemnization of marriage remains between a man and a woman," Klein said Nov. 9.
The federal government has referred four questions on same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is reviewing a draft law to legalize gay matrimony nationwide.


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