Dozens of U.S. House Republicans join Democratic representatives to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would finally get the Defense of Marriage Act off the books — and codify same-gender and interracial marriage equality! Our coverage includes highlights from the floor debate, analysis from GayUSA TV and a dash of obligatory Cruz-y venom.
And in NewsWrap: the European Commission takes Hungary to the Court of Justice over its “no promo homo” law, Andorra approves marriage equality, a Taipei court bends the rules to approve the marriage of a gay Taiwanese-Japanese couple, a U.S. federal court blocks President Biden's trans protection orders, a Greek gay activist's killer goes free after serving two months of a 10-year prison term, No. 1 Russian female tennis player Daria Kasatkina comes out, Christian zealots zap Seoul's Queer Culture Festival, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and Joe Boehnlein (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the July 25, 2022 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of July 25, 2022
U.S. House Respects Marriage Equality!
Program #1,791 distributed 07/25/22
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The European Commission sues Hungary in the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice for violating E.U. human rights tenets with its “no promo homo” law … civil marriage equality finally comes to the tiny European nation of Andorra … a Taipei court orders the legal recognition of the marriage of a gay Taiwanese citizen and his Japanese husband, even though current law requires marriage equality to also exist in the foreign spouse’s home country … a Trump-appointed U.S. federal judge in Tennessee blocks the Biden administration from enforcing anti-bias protections for transgender people because it may prevent states from discriminating against them … one of the vicious killers of Greek gay activist and entertainer Zak Kostopoulos is released after serving just two months of a 10-year prison sentence for “injury resulting in death” … Russia’s top-ranked women’s tennis player Daria Kasatkina comes out, even though she might face persecution if she returns to her homeland … and, after a three-year COVID-induced hiatus, some 13,000 people celebrate LGBTQ Pride in Seoul — and demand basic anti-bias protections from the South Korean government (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by ELENA BOTKIN-LEVY and JOE BOEHNLEIN, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: The U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade threatens the further erosion of basic constitutional rights now generally taken for granted, including the rights to contraception, consensual adult sex, and marriage equality. So, with the somewhat surprising support of 47 Republican members, majority Democrats in the U.S. House Of Representatives approved the Respect For Marriage Act on July 19th to codify the right to legal civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples. It now faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate. This comprehensive coverage includes comments by Senators Ted Cruz and Chris Murphy, Congressmembers Sean Patrick Maloney, David Cicilline, Mondaire Jones, Jim Jordan and Ritchie Torres, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with ANDY HUMM and ANN NORTHROP of GayUSA, a cameo by the late DOMA defeater Edie Windsor, and music by ARETHA FRANKLIN and FRANK SINATRA.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending July 23, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and Joe Boehnlein,
produced by Brian DeShazor
The European Commission is suing Hungary over its “no promo homo” law. It’s been a year since the Commission put the government of autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on notice that the blatantly anti-queer law violates basic tenets of the European Union. Taking its case to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice on July 15th, a statement issued by the Commission explained, “the Hungarian authorities did not sufficiently respond to [our] concerns in relation to equality and the protection of fundamental rights, and did not include any commitment to remedy the incompatibility.”
Orbán enthusiastically supported the measure that bans disseminating to minors any content that “promotes or portrays … divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change, or homosexuality.”
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga called the Commission's lawsuit "baseless,” and declared, “E.U. membership does not affect Hungary's right in any way to make decisions of its own about child protection and in accordance with its national identity."
High in the Pyrenees Mountains, same-gender civil partnerships have climbed to the same status as civil marriage in the Principality of Andorra. The General Council’s unanimous July 21st vote changed the Family Code to grant queer couples all the rights of their heterosexual peers.
About 80,000 people live in Andorra, a small number compared to the millions of tourists who visit its luxury ski resorts annually. Citizens will now have the marriage equality already offered to lesbian and gay couples in neighboring Spain and France.
The legislation includes the right to change legal gender identity without medical intervention, as well as divorce law reforms.
Andorra became a parliamentary co-principality under its own constitution in 1993, but retained the president of France and Catalonia, Spain’s Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell as ceremonial two “co-princes.” The amendments to the Family Code are expected to take effect six months after the formal “rubber stamp” signatures of French President Emmanuel Macrón and Bishop of Urgell Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia.
The Taipei High Administrative Court overruled the decision of a local registry office to deny a bi-national gay couple an application to record their marriage. It only took a five-minute hearing for the court to recognize Taiwanese Lu Yin-jen and his Japanese spouse Eizaburo Ariyoshi.
Taiwan opened civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples in 2019, but the law does not allow a Taiwanese citizen to marry a same-gender spouse from a country where the marriage would be illegal.
Thirty-four-year-old Lu told a post-hearing press conference, “We have been together for seven years, and now we can finally become, legitimately, husband and husband.”
Forty-two-year-old Ariyoshi added, “I had always thought marriage would not be an option in my life, but I wanted to prove that homosexuals and heterosexuals should be treated the same. Today I believe I achieved that."
Taiwanese queers have had to go to court to get their marriages to spouses from Macau, Malaysia and Singapore recognized. Activists are pushing Taiwan’s government to fix the laws to make such cases unnecessary. A draft amendment for that purpose was offered in January 2021, but has yet to be approved by the Cabinet.
A U.S. federal judge won’t let the Biden administration protect transgender people from discrimination. Tennessee’s Republican Attorney General Herbert Slattery had argued that separate guidance issued by the Department of Education and by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may prevent states from enforcing laws that ban trans girls and women from competing in school sports, and laws that deny trans people the use of single-sex public facilities based on their gender identity.
In his temporary injunction, Judge Charles Atchley of the Eastern District of Tennessee agreed. He wrote that the federal guidance “directly interferes with and threatens Plaintiff States’ ability to continue enforcing [those] state laws.”
Volunteering to join “The Volunteer State’s” lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.
The federal agencies based their guidance on last year’s Supreme Court rulings that said LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination in school and in the workplace.
Judge Atchley was appointed by the former president in 2020. His temporary injunction will remain in force until the court case has been resolved.
Greek gay activist Zak Kostopoulos is dead, and a man serving a 10-year prison term for helping to brutally beat him to death has been released after just two months behind bars.
The 33-year-old, HIV-positive sometime-drag performer known as Zackie Oh ran into a jewelry store owned by Spyros Dimopoulos -- private investigators hired by his family say that Zackie was fleeing unknown assailants. The 77-year-old proprietor and his 60-year-old friend Thanassis Hortarias inexplicably assaulted Kostopoulos. He was beaten almost to death by the time police arrived.
According to video recovered by the private investigators, officers called to the shop continued what some call a “hate crime” – they cuffed Kostopoulos’ arms behind his back and kicked him several times in the head. The official conclusion was that the two elderly men were defending themselves against a violent robbery attempt by someone on drugs. The Kostopoulos family’s investigation found no drugs in his blood stream.
Because of family responsibilities including his wife’s health, Hortarias was provisionally released as he appeals his conviction. Dimopolous has been allowed to serve his sentence at home because of his advanced age. Four police officers charged with “injury resulting in death” were acquitted in a separate trial.
Zak’s mother Eleni Kostopoulos asked, “What kind of justice is this?”
Russia’s top female tennis player came out during a July 19th interview with a Russian blogger. World number 12-ranked Daria Kasatkina condemned the increasing official homophobia in the country. She said, “This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming one is ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight.”
Kasatkina later posted on social media photos with her girlfriend, Olympic figure skater Natalia Zabiiako. She notes that she is not now in her homeland, and expressed fears that it may not be safe for her to return to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Kasatkina may have sealed her fate with a closing comment: “Living in the closet is impossible. It is too hard, it is pointless. Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters. … F everyone else.”
Finally, an estimated 13,000 dancing people waved rainbow flags at Seoul’s Queer Culture Festival on July 16th. Parade-goers in the South Korean capital’s downtown district heard rally speeches calling for laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.
It was the first public LGBTQ Pride event in Seoul in three years after COVID shut down celebrations in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The barrier this year was a noisy virus of counter-protest by right-wing Christian conservatives. Thousands of police officers from close to 60 units kept the two sides separated.
Matching queer activists’ pursuit of equality, Christian zealots have gained increased political power in socially conservative South Korea in recent years.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon told a Christian newspaper earlier in the week, “the city may prohibit the Pride event from accessing the city hall plaza from next year onwards if this year’s participants exhibit indecent materials or overexpose their bodies.”
Speaking to the Associated Press, rights activist Bae Jin-gyo responded to Oh’s comments that the mayor should be more concerned about “the environment of discrimination that surrounds us.”
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