Global News Notes
British victim decries gay bashing
LONDON, England — Police are investigating the anti-gay beating of a man who was attacked by three teenagers as he was walking home alone at night. The attackers, thought to be minors in their late teens, repeatedly kicked and punched Stephen Scott while shouting insults. Scott received treatment at a hospital for head and leg injuries, as well as broken ribs.
“As far as I’m concerned, they’re scum,” Scott said. “It was enough to take a life — there were three of them on me and I was left for dead.” Scott has urged other victims of assault to come forward with their experiences so that support can be offered.
“It’s a matter of coming forward and accessing it. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is not to suffer in silence,” said David McCartney (pictured), a representative of gay support group the Rainbow Project.
Ugandan pro-gay bishops rebuked
KAMPALA, Uganda — Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda, has declared that the only way to repair the rift in the international Anglican community is for liberal bishops “espousing sexual perversion, [to] repent and return to Christ’s teachings.” Orombi will be present at the synod in Jerusalem that meets once each decade. The division within the communion growing out of the consecration of LGBT clergy and the sacrament of LGBT marriage has threatened to cause a worldwide schism.
Bishop cleared of hate charges
NAMUR, Belgium — A bishop who had been charged with homophobia for saying that homosexuality is the result of hindered sexual development has been cleared by a court for breaking the country’s 2003 Anti-Discrimination Act.
“Homosexuals have encountered a blockage in normal psychological development, rendering them abnormal. I know very well that in a few years, I could be imprisoned for holding this position, but this could mean a bit of a vacation for me,” said Monsignor André-Mutien Léonard, Bishop of Namur. The court found that although hurtful, the Bishop’s comments do not constitute slander or discrimination.
In 2004, the late Cardinal Gustaaf Joos of Brussels was sued for saying, “I am willing to write in my own blood that of all those who call themselves lesbian or gay, a maximum of 5 to 10 percent are effectively lesbian or gay. All the rest are just sexual perverts.” He added, “Real homosexuals don’t wander in the streets in colorful suits. Those are people who have a serious problem and have to live with that. And if [real homosexuals] make a mistake they will be forgiven. We have to help these people and not judge them.”
Lithuania enshrines homophobia
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Despite passing equal employment opportunity standards in 2004 as part of the process for applying to join the European Union, most Lithuanians struggle with understanding equality based on sexual orientation. A statute in the constitution protects people from discrimination based on sex, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, religion, convictions or opinions, but sexual orientation is specifically left unnamed. This has been condemned by the Lithuanian Gay League.
A statement released by LGL said, “We would like to point out that such an amendment considerably narrows the application of the non-discrimination principle in Lithuania. [European Union] Directive 2000/78/EC obligates governments to ensure that people complaining of discriminatory behavior… based on their age, disability and sexual orientation should have the right to get support and be represented by relevant trade unions or expert organizations or associations. Furthermore, governments must guarantee that the sanctions imposed in cases of discrimination are effective and proportionate, and that they do not encourage any further discrimination.”
The mayor of Vilnius, along with the National Parliament, has banned Pride demonstrations on the basis of “security.” The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has chastised the government for its position. “According to the established case law of the European Court of Human Rights, peaceful demonstrations, be they in favor of the rights of LGBT persons or others, cannot be banned simply because of the existence of attitudes hostile to the demonstrators or to the causes they advocate.”
“It will be useless to apply for permission to hold our events for the next 10 years, because we won’t get approved,” LGL chairman Vladimiras Simonko said. “Assurance of security during these events is not our responsibility. We pay taxes, and laws obligate the authorities to ensure our safety during our events.”
U.K. group rejects gay counseling
ULSTER, Northern Ireland — Member of Parliament Iris Robinson (pictured) has called for LGBT people to receive counseling. Robinson stated that with help gay people could be “turned around.” David McCartney of the Rainbow Project rejected this statement saying there is “no body of evidence” that supports the notion that sexual orientation is an attribute changeable by “therapy.”
Robinson said on a BBC radio broadcast, “I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals — trying to turn away from what they are engaged in. I’m happy to put any homosexual in touch with this gentleman and I have met people who have turned around and become heterosexuals.”
“There are equality laws in the north of Ireland,” said Sinn Féin’s Education Minister Catríona Ruane. “I think it is really important that politicians play a leadership role and that leadership role should be not to say anything that could possibly inflame the situation or cause further distress.” The Royal College of Psychiatrists has rejected the notion that homosexuality is a psychiatric disorder.