Obama Administration Will No Longer Defend Federal Law Banning Gay Marriage

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London to protest over gay Malawi couples’ imprisonment

Malawi may have come to the world’s attention recently via a certain pop star’s adoption escapades; however a far more disturbing event is currently bringing it world-wide condemnation.

Two of the countries gay citizens, Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga have been held in police custody since last December – their crime? – holding a traditional wedding ceremony.

Being gay is a criminal offence in Malawi. The couple is now facing up to 14 years in jail if convicted.

Information Minister Leckford Mwanza Thoto defended the decision saying: “Our laws criminalise homosexuality and what the two did was clearly breaking the laws of Malawi.”

Malawi is a member of The Commonwealth.

Despite being dependant on foreign aid (mostly from the UK) the country’s government has rejected international concern saying that Malawi is a sovereign country with its own laws and that it will not be influenced by the West in the running of its affairs of state.

Amnesty International is calling for immediate release of the couple. The group’s UK Director Kate Allen said: “The arrest of the two men solely for their real or perceived sexual orientation amounts to discrimination and it is in violation of their rights to freedom of conscience, expression, and privacy.”

Having twice been denied bail Monjeza and Chimbalanga are pleading not guilty to charges of gross indecency.

A protest, organized by several gay groups, is being held in central London on Monday – the day a verdict on the case is expected.

“We want Steven and Tiowonge released, all charges against them dropped and the repeal of Malawi’s anti-homosexuality laws

“These laws violate the equality and non-discrimination provisions of Article 20 of the Malawian Constitution and Articles 2, 3 and 4 and the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, which Malawi has signed and pledged to uphold,” said gay activist and co-organiser of Monday’s protest, Peter Tatchell.

“The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, has failed to speak out loudly against the arrest and jailing of Steven and Tiwonge, even though equality and human rights are supposed to be key Commonwealth principles,” he added.

The protest is scheduled to take place outside the Commonwealth Secretariat’s head office in central London.

By Gary Cosby

For weekly gay news, chat and dating hook up at www.maleforce.com

Ben & Jerry’s Gay wedding

In September last year Ben & Jerry’s sweetened up the gay marriage debate by rebranding their ‘Chubby Hubby’ ice cream as ‘Hubby Hubby’ in support of same-sex unions.

Back then, In a statement issued by the company, Walt Freese, Chief Executive Officer of Ben & Jerry’s said “At the core of Ben & Jerry’s values, we believe that social justice can and should be something that every human being is entitled to. From the very beginning of our 30 year history, we have supported equal rights for all people. The legalization of marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Vermont (Ben & Jerry’s home state) is certainly a step in the right direction and something worth celebrating with peace, love and plenty of ice cream.”

In honour of the legalization of gay marriage in Wahington D.C last week resident Ben & Jerry’s super-fans Keith Spangler-Vellios and Andreas Vellios decided to return the favour by tieing the knot at their local parlour.

The new law, approved in December, came into effect just last week. Ben & Jerry’s cofounder David Catania attended the ceremony.

“Equal rights and treatment for all people was a founding principle of Ben & Jerry’s when we started the company over 30 years ago,” Jerry Greenfield, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s, said in a statement.

“We are proud that the District of Columbia is recognizing the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry and are happy to celebrate the milestone with an ice cream wedding cake and best wishes for the happy couple.”

The district now joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont as the only places in America where gay marriages can be conducted.

By Gary Cosby

For weekly gay news, chat and dating hook up at www.maleforce.com

Gay church weddings get House of Lords blessing

Gay men and women can now marry in churches after the House of Lords voted in favour of lifting the ban on religious premises hosting same-sex unions.

An amendment to the Equality Bill, tabled by out Muslim peer Waheed Alli, received overwhelming support in the Lords which includes senior clergy in the Church of England.

Still pending House of Commons approval, the amendment gives religious venues the option to host civil partnership ceremonies.

Currently legislation forbids religious premises to conduct gay unions; however various liberal denominations have been blessing gay partnerships once a civil ceremony has already taken place.

In an interview with The Independent Lord Alli rebuked suggestion that the amendment means churches will be eventually forced to accept gay marriage.

“Religious freedom cannot begin and end with what one religion wants,” he said. “This amendment does not place an obligation on any religious organisation to host civil partnerships in their buildings. But there are many gay and lesbian couples who want to share their civil partnership with the congregations that they worship with. And there are a number of religious organisations that want to allow gay and lesbian couples to do exactly that.”

Although the amendment was backed by senior bishops in the Lords it has been strongly opposed by conservative Christians.

Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre told The Times: “What is being advanced as an issue of religious freedom today will be used to remove religious freedom in the future.

“Homosexual activists have made clear that this is not the end. It is a step towards forcing churches to conduct same-sex unions that would go against their beliefs. Changing the law will further blur the distinction between marriage and what the Government put forward as a purely secular ceremony.”

The Quakers, Liberal Judaism and The Unitarians have welcomed the amendment.

For weekly gay news, chat and dating hook up at  www.maleforce.com

By Gary Cosby

Related Link: 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7037062.ece