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International news briefs

By |2003-03-27T09:00:00-05:00March 27th, 2003|Uncategorized|

By Rex Wockner

Half of EU recognizes gay couples

More than half of the European Union’s 15 nations now legally recognize same-sex couples.
Two countries – Belgium and the Netherlands – let same-sex couples marry exactly like straight people do, under the same laws. The Netherlands allows foreign gays to get married there as well.
Three countries – Denmark, Finland and Sweden – have registered-partnership laws that give registered same-sex couples more than 99 percent of the rights and obligations of marriage. Two non-EU nations – Iceland and Norway – also have this type of law.
There are extensive partnerships laws in France (Civil Pact of Solidarity) and Germany (Registered Life Partnership) as well, but they do not offer the complete range of marriage rights.
Finally, Portugal recognizes same-sex couples via the legal concepts of “union of fact” and “common economy,” both of which offer considerably fewer rights than marriage.
The other seven EU nations – Austria, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and the UK – do not recognize same-sex partnerships on the national level.
Spain and Britain have limited recognition in certain localities.

Diana tapes shock

Princess Diana’s “secret video diary” from the early 1990s reveals that she believed Prince Charles had an “unhealthy relationship” with top aide Michael Fawcett, the Sunday Mirror reported March 16.
“He is too close to Fawcett,” the princess said. “What can one do when your husband is in an unhealthy relationship?”
Diana also said Charles and Fawcett appeared “uncomfortable” and “uneasy” when disturbed while together in one of Charles’ private rooms.
“I feel completely isolated,” Diana said. “Charles confides more in Fawcett than he does with me. The whole situation is completely impossible.”
Fawcett recently was forced to resign for bending palace rules forbidding staff from accepting perks, hospitality and gifts. He will continue to work for Charles on a freelance basis.
The videos, which Diana made by herself, had been hidden in the loft of her former butler, Paul Burrell, until two years ago when police took them as evidence in a theft trial against him. Burrell was cleared mid-trial when Queen Elizabeth II said she had known he was guarding some of Diana’s belongings.

Finnish president called lesbian

Right-wing Member of Parliament Tony Halme, a former boxer, called Finnish President Tarja Halonen “a lesbian” March 18.
“We have a lesbian as president and me as parliamentarian,” Halme said. “Everything seems possible.”
President Halonen, 58, is married to a man but in the early 1980s she was president of SETA, the Finnish national gay-rights organization. She was also a follower of revolutionary icon Che Guevara.

Lesbian allowed to wear pants

The education department in the South African province of Bloemfontein ordered Lereko High School to let lesbian Soliwe Ndamane, 17, come back to school on March 14 even though she refuses to wear a skirt.
Ndamane had been wearing pants for three years but teachers decided about a month ago that she was a bad influence.
The education department told the school to stop discriminating based on sexual orientation, which is banned by South Africa’s Constitution.

Equal benefits for S.A. gays

South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled March 17 that gay couples must receive the same financial benefits as straight couples.
Lesbian High Court judge Kathy Satchwell had sued to obtain work-related benefits, such as travel allowances and pensions, for her partner.
She pointed out that the South African constitution bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Gay bookstore opens in South Africa

Africa’s first gay bookstore has opened in Johannesburg.
Ultra Violet Book CafŽ is located at 2nd Avenue and Main Road in the Melville neighborhood.
“There are books for everyone gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgender people and anyone interested in gender politics and sexual identity,” owner Michelle Kneisel told the gay newspaper Exit.
“I envisage that Ultra Violet Book CafŽ will become a central point for the gay community, a safe place for us to gather and network,” she said.

Northern Ireland gays picket airline

Members of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association picketed Aer Lingus’ Belfast office March 15 to protest New York City’s continuing ban on gay groups in its St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Aer Lingus is a large sponsor of the parade.
“This is the 10th anniversary [of the ban by the parade organizers, the Ancient Order of Hibernians] and still there is no change in New York,” the group’s president, P.A. MagLochlainn, told The Belfast Telegraph. “Gay women and men can take part in St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Dublin, Cork and Belfast – but they cannot in New York. … This bigoted ban is long since out of date.”

‘On Our Backs’ censored in Canada

The February/March issue of the U.S. lesbian sex magazine “On Our Backs” was distributed in Canada with three photos obscured by stickers.
The photos, by Fakir Musafar, depicted lesbian bondage scenes.
“I’m shocked,” the magazine’s managing editor, Diana Cage, told Vancouver’s Xtra! West. “I don’t understand how we’ve been catapulted back to Victorian times.”
The decision to sticker over the pages was made by the Canadian distributor Disticor on recommendation from the Periodical Marketers of Canada, a self-policing industry group.
Canada’s press obscenity laws are, in some areas, more restrictive than those in the U.S.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.