By Rex Wockner
Wedding upsets Russian church
Russia’s first gay wedding has upset religious officials.
Denis Gogolev, 27, and Mikhail Morozov, 23, paid a Russian Orthodox priest $450 to marry them in the city of Nizhny Novgorod Sept. 1.
“I am a revolutionary, a pioneer,” Gogolev told Reuters. “I am a Russian citizen, an Orthodox Christian and a homosexual. I simply wanted to marry the man I love.”
The church voided the wedding, suspended the priest who performed it, and launched an investigation.
“Such marriages are strictly forbidden,” said a spokesman for Patriarch Alexy II, the Russian Orthodox primate.
Nizhny Novgorod, previously named Gorky, is 248 miles (400 km) east of Moscow on the Volga and Oka rivers. It is Russia’s third-largest city.
Ontario: All fisting not equal
The Film Review Board in the Canadian province of Ontario has OK’d movie depictions of vaginal “fisting” but has declared anal fisting off-limits, Toronto’s Xtra! reported Sept. 18.
Scenes of vaginal fisting will be tolerated if the participants appear to be enjoying themselves and are not pregnant, but scenes of anal fisting will not be permitted even if the participants look like they’re having fun.
Review Board chair Bill Moody told Xtra! that the Ontario Medical Association told the board anal fisting is dangerous.
“It becomes physical abuse when the medical people tell us that it’s abuse,” Moody said.
The board also considered banning rimming scenes but ultimately decided, “We’re not germ police,” Moody said.
South African partner wins marital status
South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that a gay man whose life-partner was killed in a car crash is eligible for support payments from the Road Accident Fund.
News reports said the ruling effectively extends to gay partners all the financial rights of marriage.
Antonie Michael du Plessis and the late Albert Ernest Clack had lived together since 1988 with Clack as the breadwinner.
The Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court share the position of South Africa’s highest court.
Thugs attack gay booth
Thugs attacked a gay and lesbian information booth at a U.N.-sponsored AIDS information fair in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sept. 21.
The stand, staffed by Our World Gay and Lesbian Center and the gay magazine One Of Us, was assaulted by about 20 anti-gay hoodlums who shouted threats, upset a table and tried to destroy the structure.
Police intervened and quickly ended the attack.
ILGA to meet in Manila
The 22nd world conference of the International Lesbian and Gay Association is set for Nov. 11-18 in Manila, the Philippines.
There will be preconferences Nov. 11-14 concerned with youth, women and Southern Hemisphere dialogue before the opening ceremonies on the 14th.
To register, visit http://www.ilga-asia.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 011-63-2-813-4324 or 011-63-2-891-1227.
ILGA is a federation of 370 gay organizations from 90 nations. It stages conferences, publishes bulletins, issues action alerts, and networks Western GLBT activists with the growing gay movements in developing and formerly communist nations. ILGA initiatives have increased gay clout within the European Union, the Council of Europe, the World Health Organization, Amnesty International and other international bodies.
Graham norton gets U.S. show
Smash British talk-show host Graham Norton, who is openly gay, will have a new show on the U.S. cable network Comedy Central next June. The initial agreement calls for 13 episodes.
Norton’s British show, “So Graham Norton” already has a cult following on the BBC America channel. He is presently doing a stand-up comedy tour in the U.S.
Gay journalist’s sentence reduced
Openly gay Uzbek journalist Ruslan Sharipov — jailed on what he and human-rights activists say are bogus charges of sodomy, sex with minors, and enticing minors to anti-social activity — saw his five-and-one-half-year sentence reduced on appeal Sept. 25.
The Tashkent City Court dropped the third charge and cut 18 months from Sharipov’s prison term. Additional appeals are planned.
Sharipov arrived at the courthouse with a swollen eye, a facial laceration and broken glasses. Officials said there had been a minor vehicle accident in which Sharipov was the only one injured.
In a Sept. 5 letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Sharipov said he was coerced into pleading guilty via harsh torture and threats that his mother would be harmed.
“They put a gas mask on my head and sprayed an unknown substance into my throat, after which I could hardly breathe,” he wrote. “They also injected an unknown substance into my veins and warned me that if I did not follow their instructions they would give me an injection of the AIDS virus. I could not withstand such excesses, and now I am writing only a small part of what I faced.”
Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission believe the government targeted Sharipov to silence his journalistic criticism of human-rights abuses and police corruption. For more information, see http://www.hrw.org and http://www.iglhrc.org.
Tel Aviv gays confront cops
A team of gay people armed with video cameras has begun confronting Israel Police Force officers who are beating up cruisers in Tel Aviv’s Independence Park and Electricity Park.
More than 20 men have been roughed up in Independence Park during what activists say are almost nightly raids.
According to GayMiddleEast.com, there have been no violent incidents since the camera patrols began and, on Sept. 20, several cops were chased out of Independence Park by chanting activists carrying rainbow flags and anti-homophobia placards.