Queer women Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Cardi B, St. Vincent and Brandi Carlile put the “Grr” in Grammy!
The unique Dutch-created theater piece KAMP immerses audiences in the concentration camp experience!
And in NewsWrap: same-gender couples challenge Japan’s marriage inequality, Taiwanese and Swiss legislators grapple with queer couples questions, Chile, Honduras and Cayman Islands courts contend with nuptial equity, Auckland celebrates its Big Gay Out, Buttigieg cautions Colbert about Pence, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of February 18, 2019
KAMP & Grammy Grrls!
Program #1,612 distributed 02/18/19
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Thirteen same-gender couples use
Feature: An undetermined number of political and resistance activists, and
KAMP. Don’t be fooled: despite the possibly festive sounding title, another kind of “camp” takes the stage.
Feature: Women dominated the 61st annual Grammy Awards during
“Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!”
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending February 16, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, reported this week by Brian DeShazor and Michael LeBeau
Thirteen same-gender couples used Valentine’s Day, February 14th, to file coordinated marriage equality lawsuits in district courts across Japan. While a growing number of local governments have granted minimal legal recognition to lesbian and gay couples, the ultra-conservative administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has refused to even allow debate on the issue in the National Diet, or parliament. The Associated Press reports that Abe’s government is working to restore paternalism to Japan and has already pushed “moral education” classes in schools to teach “traditional family values.”
The 13 plaintiff couples – five lesbian and eight gay – are challenging the government’s denial of marriage equality as unconstitutional and discriminatory. The couples are also each demanding compensation of a million yen – about nine thousand U.S. dollars – for the emotional distress the government has inflicted on them for not allowing them to legally marry their partners – though they say it’s not about the money, but about equality.
Article 24 of Japan’s Constitution stipulates that, “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.” The plaintiffs’ lawyers argue that Article 24‘s intent was to preserve gender equality and individual respect, and that it does not prohibit marriage between two adults of the same-gender. The government, however, says the Article applies only to heterosexual couples, and that the term “husband and wife” in civic law and family registration law refers to a man and a woman. Takeharu Kato, one of the couples’ attorneys, told Gay Star News that he expects the court cases to last at least five years.
Taiwan has been expected to be the first in Asia to open civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples. The island’s Constitutional Court in late May 2017 ordered the Legislative Yuan to pass marriage equality legislation within the next two years. May 2019 is fast approaching, and the Court ruling said that if lawmakers fail to act by that time, marriage equality automatically takes effect. According to veteran gay journalist Rex Wockner, Taiwan’s government has until February 24th to send a bill to the Legislative Yuan in order to beat the end-of-May deadline. To complicate matters, voters in November told the government to protect “the rights of same-gender couples in cohabitation on a permanent basis in ways other than changing the Civil Code.” They also specifically approved of less-than-equal civil partnerships for lesbian and gay couples. If the Legislative Yuan passes any legislation that doesn’t fully comply with the Constitutional Court’s marriage equality edict, it’s a virtual certainty that activists will go back to court to challenge it as failing to comply with that edict.
Chilé’s Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision this week that had dismissed a marriage equality lawsuit filed by journalist Ramón Gómez and graphic designer Gonzalo Velásquez. The Justices found that denying civil marriage to same-gender couples could be a violation of Article 20 of the Political Constitution of the Republic. Their attorney said that once the case is returned to the Court of Appeals, a response from the Civil Registry would be requested “to explain why [the agency] denied the application for marriage to Ramón Gómez and Gonzalo Velásquez.” The couple has already been together for 19 years, and co-wrote the children’s book Nicolas Has 2 Papas.
Chilé has offered less-than-marriage civil unions to lesbian and gay couples since 2015. A ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January 2017 ordered all countries in the region without marriage equality that have signed the American Convention on Human Rights – and that includes Chilé – to open the civil institution to same-gender couples. So one way or another marriage equality is eventually coming to Chilé.
Gómez and Velásquez received word of the high court victory – appropriately – on Valentine’s Day.
Justices of the Constitutional Chamber of Honduras met with LGBTQ advocates this week to discuss the marriage equality case they’ve filed with the court. The magistrates met with top religious leaders last week who, of course, cited their interpretations of Scripture to strongly voice their opposition to equality.
Honduras is also a signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights, and, like Chilé, is ultimately bound by the marriage equality order issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Arguments concluded on February 11th in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands in a challenge to its denial of civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. The government argued that the Constitution’s intent is to insure that marriage is only available to one man and one woman. Their lawyer also questioned whether sexual orientation is even, in fact, an “immutable characteristic.”
Lawyers for the plaintiff lesbian couple, Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush, told the high court that denying the institution to same-gender couples is clearly unconstitutional discrimination.
The Caymans are a self-governing British Overseas Territory.
According to local news reports, The Honorable Chief Justice is expected to announce his decision “in a matter of weeks.”
The Legal Affairs Committee of Switzerland’s House of Representatives approved draft legislation this week to open civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples, including their right to adopt children. It’s one of the few countries in Europe without marriage equality. But the committee said it wants more time to discuss the part of the bill that allows sperm donations for lesbian couples, which are currently only available to married heterosexual couples.
Swiss voters approved less-than-marriage registered partnerships for queer couples in 2005. There’s been no timetable announced for how long the “further discussion” of the sperm donation question might take, nor any indication as to the further advance of marriage equality.
But this week’s parliamentary committee approval – on Valentine’s Day – appears to be yet another reflection of “the people” leading their leaders. In a poll conducted more than two years ago, about 7 in 10 Swiss citizens said that same-gender couples should be allowed to get married.
The homophobic assault by a group of men on a gay journalist and his friend in Auckland, New Zealand this week marred an otherwise festive Big Gay Out, the country’s biggest annual celebration of LGBTQ Pride. AM show reporter Aziz Al-Sa’afin told Newshub that his friend was “beaten to a pulp,” while he himself escaped with a black eye. “They were yelling out ‘fags, homos, you’re going to hell’,” he said. The perpetrators were, at last report, still on the loose.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paid a high-profile visit to the 20th annual Big Gay Out and spoke at the rally, which drew an estimated 10,000 people. Labour MP Maria Lubeck rallied support for her bill to ban so-called “conversion therapy.” And Labour MP and former TV weatherman Tāmatai Coffey announced what in a good chunk of the 20th century used to be called a “blessed event”:
[Coffey] “What I love about Big Gay Out is that this is a day where we come together – all types of people – under the rainbow umbrella, and it’s a beautiful thing. We have all kinds of modern families going on and represented here today. So I applaud that. And I guess I wanted to seize this opportunity at the biggest gay event in the country right now to share the news that me and my partner over there, uh, we’re expecting a baby in July.” [cheering fades out quickly]
And finally, the first openly queer U.S. politician to be taken seriously as a legitimate Democratic candidate for president, 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, was a guest on TV’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week. He came out during a re-election campaign in 2015 at the same time that Mike Pence was the Governor of Indiana, and won with 80 per cent of the vote. During the wide-ranging interview, Buttigieg provided a stark reminder of who would become President if Donald Trump is removed from office before the end of his term:
[Colbert] “So did you work with Mike Pence?”
[Buttigieg] “Yeah, I mean look, it’s the job of the mayor to work with anybody who can benefit the city.”
[Colbert] “Would I like him?”
[Buttigieg] “He’s ‘nice.’ I mean, if he were here you’d think he’s a nice guy to your face. But he’s also just fanatical. He really believes. I mean he’s written that, you know, cigarettes don’t kill. And I think he seems to think the universe was created a few thousand years ago and that people like me get up in the morning and decide to be gay. And the thing about it is, if that was a choice it was a choice that was made way above my pay grade. And so what he doesn’t realize is that his quarrel is with my Creator. My marriage has moved me closer to God. And I wish he respected that.”
[applause fades out]
U.S. Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
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