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Colombia marriage deadline approaches

Some notaries and judges will refuse to allow gays to register relationships

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Colombia, Senate, gay news, Washington Blade

The Colombian Senate (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Even though same-sex couples in Colombia will be able to legally register their relationships on Friday, it remains unclear whether some notaries and even judges will allow them to do so.

The country’s Constitutional Court in 2011 ruled gays and lesbians can legally register their relationships after June 20 if lawmakers failed to extend to them the same benefits heterosexuals receive through marriage. The Colombian Senate in April overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have allowed same-sex couples to tie the knot in the South American country.

Marcela Sánchez Buitrago, executive director of Colombia Diversa, an LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade on Monday that some notaries have already said they will not marry same-sex couples after the court’s deadline passes. They would instead allow them to enter into a “solemn contract” that is similar to an agreement between two people who buy a house together.

“This in the view of Colombia Diversa does not comply with the Constitutional Court’s order,” Sánchez said.

Colombia Diversa and other LGBT advocacy groups are advising couples who encounter a notary or a judge who refuses to allow them to register their relationships–or enter into a civil marriage as Sánchez and other activists have described it–to petition a court to reverse the decision. Lina Cuéllar, director of Sentiido, an LGBT website she co-publishes in Bogotá, the country’s capital, told the Blade she expects some notaries and judges will accommodate gays and lesbians in the same way they treat heterosexual couples.

She said they will follow the court’s order, but it remains unclear how exactly they will interpret it.

“It is difficult to state concretely what is going to happen after June 20,” Cuéllar told the Blade.

Argentina is among the 12 countries in which same-sex couples can legally marry.

Gays and lesbians will be able to tie the knot in Uruguay and New Zealand in August.

Brazilian lawmakers have yet to consider a nationwide same-sex marriage bill in spite of a ruling from the country’s National Council of Justice last month that said registrars in the South American nation cannot deny marriage licenses to gay couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court later this month will issue rulings on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Advocates remain critical of government’s response to marriage debate

Dr. Zayuri Tibaduiza, an advisor to Vice President Angelino Garzón, told the Blade during an interview last month at her Bogotá office the Colombian government respects both the Constitutional Court’s ruling and the Senate’s vote against the same-sex marriage bill. Advocates remain critical of President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration for what they maintain is its continued silence on the issue.

“There is a general discontent on how the government managed the situation, since they could have legislated on this topic,” Cuéllar said. “They instead waited until the Constitutional Court’s deadline when nothing could have been done.”

Even though she said one can describe the tribunal’s ruling as “ambiguous,” Sánchez told the Blade it did not explicitly deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

“As of June 20, we are going to put this interpretation to the test,” she said. “We hope it will hold up because it is the one that recognizes equality for couples.”

Centro de Cuidadanía LGBTI Sebastián Romero, The Sebastián Romero LGBT Community Center, Teusaquillo section, Bogotá, Colombia, gay news, Washington Blade, Bogota

Centro de Cuidadanía LGBTI Sebastián Romero (The Sebastián Romero LGBT Community Center) in the Teusaquillo section of Bogotá. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Laura, a transgender woman who works at the Sebastián Romero LGBT Community Center in the Teusaquillo area of Bogotá that is named in honor of the first openly gay person elected to political office in Colombia told the Blade last month many people have what she described as a “limited understanding” of the same-sex marriage debate.

She noted during the same interview that anti-trans discrimination, homelessness and general mistreatment of LGBT people on the streets are among the problems that she and her colleagues continue to confront.

A report that Colombia Diversa released last month indicates 58 of the reported 280 LGBT Colombians who were murdered between 2011-2012 were killed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender Women (REDLACTRANS) noted in a separate report that 61 Colombian trans women have been reported murdered between 2005-2011.

“There are those who are definitely not interested in the (same-sex marriage campaign,) but simply want to gain their rights,” Laura said.

Opposition to same-sex marriage remains strong in Colombia, but Cuéllar said the “equality for all” message that came from the campaign in support of the issue has had a positive effect.

“A lot of allies have joined the cause,” Cuéllar said. “This has helped to widen the scope of what equality means in a country like Colombia.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Alfredo Sarabia Quintero

    June 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    This is so sad to know about all the murdered to those people… I hope everything goes better in Colombia and I hope they can approve that law for the Gay marrige…

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World

Polish House passes bill echoing Russia “gay propaganda” law

Measure passed on Jan. 13 by 227-214 vote margin.

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The Polish parliament's lower House, the Sejm (Screenshot via Polish government Sejm RP YouTube)

A measure that would give school administrators and superintendents the power to remove books, lessons, and ban student participation in events or clubs that are LGBTQ affirming passed the lower house of Poland’s parliament, known as the Sejm, on Jan. 13 in a 227-214 vote.

The measure, dubbed “Lex Czarnek,” or “Czarnek’s Law,” after Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek,  who has been vehemently opposed to the LGBTQ rights and the country’s equality movement, now moves on to the upper house, the Senate where it faces opposition and likely will be rejected Polish broadcast media outlet RMF 24 reported.

According to RMF24, “The Sejm adopted the amendment to the Educational Law, prepared by the Ministry of Education and Science. The project is commonly known as ‘Lex Czarnek.’ The role of school superintendents will be strengthened, and the rules governing the functioning of non-governmental organizations in schools and educational institutions will be changed.”

Opposition to LGBTQ rights has an ally in the education minister whose role would determine the outcome of implementation of the measure:

“Pursuant to the amendment, the headmaster of the school or facility will be required — no later than two months before the commencement of classes conducted by associations or organizations —to obtain detailed information about the action plan in the school, the outline of classes and materials used in the offered classes, as well as obtain a positive the opinion of the education superintendent for the activities of such an organization at school or in an institution. The curator has 30 days to issue an opinion.”

The law also contains a stipulation that “if the head of the school or educational institution fails to comply with the recommendations issued by the school superintendent, he will be able to summon him to explain why he did not do so. If the principal still does not follow the recommendations, the probation officer may apply to the governing body of the school or facility with a request to dismiss the principal during the school year, without notice.”

A member of the Sejm, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, a progressive leftist politician who in addition to protesting against abortion laws, has also been active in protests for LGBTQ rights, tweeted her outrage; “The voice of the curator Nowak, as if it were not stupid and dangerous to health and life, is more important for PiS deputies than the voice of students, parents and teachers.”

The MP and Czarnek, target of Dziemianowicz-Bąk’s anger, has staked out several public vitriolic anti-LGBTQ positions that has included an attack on the LGBTQ community in West Hollywood.

Speaking with a reporter on Serwis Info Poranek with the national state-run TVP Info (TVP3 Polska) last June, the newly appointed education minister said (translated from Polish):

“Let’s end the discussion about these LGBT abominations, homosexuality, bisexuality, parades of equality. Let us defend the family, because failure to defend the family leads to what you see.

As he spoke these words, he was holding a phone in his hand, on the display of which he showed a picture of several people.

“These are the Los Angeles guys in downtown last June. I was on a delegation there, I was passing through, there was a so-called gay pride parade there,” he added. “We are at an earlier stage, there are no such things with us yet, but such chaps shamelessly (sic.) Walk the streets of the western city of Los Angeles,” he added.

Przemysław Czarnek (Screenshot via Serwis Info Poranek)

Serwis Info Poranek also noted that according to Czarnek, “Europe is also heading for this, Poland is heading for this … These people are not equal to normal people, let’s end this discussion.”

During the ongoing battles over the so-called LGBTQ “Free Zones” with the European Commission Czarnek weighed in comparing the LGBTQ community to the Nazis.

“There’s no doubt, that LGBT+ ideology grew out of … the same root as Germany’s Hitlerian National Socialism, which was responsible for all the evil of World War II,” Czarnek said as PinkNewsUK reported.

Renew Europe, the liberal, pro-European political group of the European Parliament tweeted its outrage over the actions by the Sejm:

Observers think that the law will be rejected by the senate although under the Polish constitution there is still a possibility it could be signed off on by the anti-LGBTQ Polish President Andzej Duda.

PinkNewsUK reports:

“Although it seems that Lex Czarnek is on track to becoming law, Rémy Bonny, executive director of pan-EU LGBT+ rights organisation Forbidden Colours, insists that all is not lost.

With pressure from politicians both in the EU and around the world, Poland could be forced to backtrack.

He told PinkNewsUK that “in September, after threats by the European Commission to take away funding, four out five provinces that declared themselves ‘LGBT+ free zones’ withdrew their anti-LGBT+ resolutions … International pressure on Poland works.”

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Murdered Honduran transgender activist buried

Thalía Rodríguez shot outside her home on Monday

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The funeral of Thalía Rodríguez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Jan. 11, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Reportar sin Miedo)

The Washington Blade on Thursday published a Spanish-language version of this story from Reportar sin Miedo, the Blade’s media partner in Honduras.

A prominent transgender activist in Honduras who was murdered on Monday has been buried.

Reportar sin Miedo reported activists are among those who attended Thalía Rodríguez’s funeral that took place in Tegucigalpa, the country’s capital, on Tuesday.

Rodríguez led Asociación Cozumel Trans, a Honduran trans rights group.

The U.S. Embassy in Honduras, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras and the U.N. Refugee Agency have all condemned Rodríguez’s murder. U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power in a tweet said she was “horrified” by the murders of Rodríguez and Pablo Hernández, a leader in Honduras’ indigenous Lenca community who was killed on Sunday near San Marcos de Caiquín, a municipality in the country’s Lempira department, while he was on his way to church.

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France, Greece to end restrictions for MSM blood donors

Calls for U.S. to remove abstinence requirement grow

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(Bigstock photo)

France and Greece this week announced they will allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood without restrictions.

Têtu, a French LGBTQ magazine, noted men who have sex with men previously had to remain abstinent for four months before they could donate blood in France.

French Health Minister Olivier Véran on Tuesday announced this requirement would no longer be in place as of March 16. Têtu also noted officials will no longer ask potential blood donors about their sexual orientation.

“It’s a whole new relationship with the blood donor that we want,” said Véran.

Greece on Monday also said it would allow MSM to donate blood without restrictions.

Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris and Deputy Health Minister Mina Gaga issued a decree that will become official once the Government Gazette publishes it.

Greece and France are the latest countries to lift restrictions for MSM who want to donate blood.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently allows MSM to donate blood if they have not had sex with another man for three months.

The American Red Cross this week declared a blood crisis because of the surge in COVID-19 omicron variant cases. The declaration sparked renewed calls for the U.S. to allow MSM to donate blood without restrictions.

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