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Chile civil unions bill advances

Country’s Senate voted 28-6 to move measure out of committee

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National Congress of Chile, gay news, Washington Blade

National Congress of Chile (Photo by the Photographic Collection of the Library of the National Congress of Chile; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions in Chile advanced in the country’s Senate on Tuesday.

The 28-6 vote to move the proposal out of committee took place more than six hours after lawmakers began to debate it.

“We have been given an opportunity to go one step further towards no discrimination,” said Sen. María Isabel Allende. “It is important to take steps that allow partners to gain access to rights they are now denied.”

Sen. Fulvio Rossi, who in 2010 introduced a bill that sought to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in the South American country, also testified in support of the measure.

“[The bill] is of great importance because it recognizes that there is another way to build families that goes beyond marriage,” he said.

Opponents of the civil unions measure held signs inside the Senate chamber that said “Return to Christ.”

Oscar Rementería, spokesperson for the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, said on Twitter that police had to remove a “belligerent” Evangelical pastor and his supporters from the Senate chamber. Lawmakers who voted against the measure and other opponents also reacted angrily after the vote.

“Conservatism is afraid of change,” said Sen. Alejandro Navarro as he spoke in support of the measure. “I have news for you: The changes have already occurred.”

Movilh praised the vote.

“All partners who live together are going to benefit, especially the poorest families that lack any judicial and social protections,” the group said in a statement. “These families that every day seek help from our organization can now see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Movilh in 2012 filed a lawsuit with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on behalf of three same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses.

The tribunal last July gave the Chilean government a two month deadline to respond to the case. Two members of Piñera’s cabinet told Movilh during an October meeting the government has already begun the “process of internal consultations” to respond to the lawsuit.

President-elect Michelle Bachelet, who regained the Chilean presidency last month after defeating Evelyn Matthei, supports marriage rights for same-sex couples. Bachelet also backs a proposal that would allow transgender Chileans to legally change their name and sex without sex-reassignment surgery, hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations.

Bachelet’s platform also supports efforts to strengthen Chile’s LGBT-inclusive hate crimes and anti-discrimination law named in honor of Daniel Zamudio, a 24-year-old man whom a group of self-described neo-Nazis beat to death inside a park in Santiago, the country’s capital, in 2012 because he was gay. The convicted mastermind of the attack in October received a life sentence for the crime.

Andrés Ignacio Duarte Rivera, founder of the Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity, told the Washington Blade he expects senators will consider whether to advance the trans rights measure later on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Senate is expected to consider proposed amendments to the civil unions bill in the coming weeks.

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1 Comment

  1. Mirele

    February 2, 2014 at 5:32 am

    The greed for more & more money turned my susope of 26 years into a greedy, & eventually, lonely man. Money became more important to him than I was, even though he was making an extrememly nice living.I divorced him & met the man of my dreams! I make my own money & he makes his. We are together out of love & respect. I have never been understood or treated better in my life!!! He has such a wonderful heart & giving spirit.I’ll make my own way, but it feels so great to have a wonderful man whom I can admire, to share it with!!

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Local

Missing gay man found ‘alive and well’

Police say Richard ‘Rick’ Woods found in good health

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Richard G. ‘Rick’ Woods, a 65-year-old gay man, was found alive and well.

D.C. police announced on Friday that Richard G. ‘Rick’ Woods, a 65-year-old gay man who police said was reported missing and last seen on July 14, has been located. But the announcement doesn’t provide information on where he was found or why he went missing.

Friends who know Woods say he operated for many years an antique wood furniture restoration business in various locations in D.C. The most recent location of his business, friends said, was in Georgetown a short distance from where police said he was last seen on the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.

“MPD does not publicly disclose the circumstances surrounding a missing person and how they are found, however we do release their flyer as well as a notification when they are located,” said D.C. police spokesperson Brianna Burch. “Mr. Woods was found in good health,” Burch told the Blade.

Police sought help from the public in their initial announcement that Woods was missing. The announcement said he was reported missing to police on Friday, July 23.

Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and LGBTQ rights advocate John Fanning, who said he has been friends with Woods for many years, said he was delighted to hear Woods was found in good condition.

“Rick is known by many in our community,” Fanning told the Blade at the time Woods was reported missing. Fanning said he and others who know Woods stand ready to provide support for him should he be in need of such support.

The Blade couldn’t immediately reach Woods for comment.

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Politics

Biden to nominate LGBTQ synagogue rabbi to religious freedom commission

Sharon Kleinbaum joined NYC’s Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in 1992

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Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

President Biden on Friday announced he plans to nominate the chief rabbi of an LGBTQ synagogue in New York City to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum joined Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in 1992.

“She was installed as CBST’s first rabbi in 1992, arriving at the height of the AIDS crisis when the synagogue was in desperate need of pastoral care and spiritual leadership,” reads a bio that announced Biden’s intention to nominate Kleinbaum to the commission. “She guided the congregation through a period of loss and change, while addressing social issues and building a strong and deeply spiritual community. Under her leadership as senior rabbi, CBST has become a powerful voice in the movement for equality and justice for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.”

Kleinbaum is married to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

The commission seeks to defend religious freedom in the U.S. and around the world. The president and Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress nominate members.

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Some D.C. gay bars to require proof of COVID vaccination

Action prompted by mayor’s order reinstating masks indoors

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Adams Morgan’s A League of Her Own is among the area queer bars requiring proof of vaccination for entry.

At least four D.C. gay bars announced this week on social media that they will require patrons to show proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 as a condition for being admitted to the bars.

They include the Logan Circle area gay bars Number Nine and Trade, which are operated by the same co-owners, and the Adams Morgan gay sports bars Pitchers and A League of Her Own, which are also operated by the same owner and share the same building.

The four bars, which also offer dining service, announced their proof of vaccination requirement shortly after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday issued a new order reinstating the city’s requirement that facial masks be worn inside all businesses and other public establishments.

The mayor’s order applies to all vaccinated and unvaccinated people over the age of two. It was scheduled to take effect 5 a.m. Saturday, July 31.

At a July 29 news conference, Bowser pointed to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance issued two days earlier recommending that fully vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in places where transmission of the coronavirus is considered “substantial” or “high.”

The mayor said that, at the advice of her public health experts, she decided to issue the new order to help curtail the rising number of COVID cases in D.C. over the past month or more due to the rapid spread of the virus’s delta variant, which is surging throughout the nation. Like other parts of the country, Bowser and D.C. Department of Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbit said people who are unvaccinated in D.C. make up nearly all of the newly infected cases.

“I know D.C. residents have been very closely following the public health guidelines, and they will embrace this,” Bowser said in referring to the new mask requirement.

The four-page order released by the mayor’s office, similar to the city’s earlier mask requirements, allows indoor patrons of restaurants and bars to remove their masks while “actively” eating or drinking.

But some representatives of restaurants and bars have pointed out that other jurisdictions, including Maryland and Virginia, have followed the CDC’s initial policy of making mask wearing a recommendation rather than a requirement.

“Mayor Bowser’s announcement that nightlife hospitality patrons must wear a mask indoors when not ‘actively eating or drinking’ renders the reinstated mandate essentially unenforceable and results in the rule being reduced to a largely theatrical requirement,” said Mark Lee, director of the D.C. Nightlife Council, a local trade association representing bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other nightlife related businesses.

“The greatest disappointment for many venue operators and staff, however, is that the mayor’s decision does not allow an option for establishments to admit only fully vaccinated patrons and be exempt from the mandate, as a number of other jurisdictions across the country have done,” Lee said.

John Guggenmos, co-owner of the bars Trade and Number Nine, told the Washington Blade he and his co-owners adopted the proof of vaccination policy as an added means of protecting the safety of both patrons and employees of the two bars.

“We’re hopeful that this will be in effect for just a few weeks or a month or two,” Guggenmos said. “Our patrons have always been very supportive,” he said in referring to the city’s public health directives last year and early this year in which masks were required up until May of this year.

Guggenmos said Trade and Number Nine will allow an alternative to the vaccination requirement if patrons provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the previous three days of their admission to the bars.

In its social media postings, Pitchers and A League of Her Own said their proof of vaccination requirement was based on the concern for the health of their patrons and staff.

“We will require proof a COVID vaccination until further notice at Pitchers/ALOHO and masks per the mayor,” a Facebook posting says. “We take guidelines and the health of our patrons and staff very seriously. We will accept a picture or hard copy of your COVID vaccination card,” it says. “No exceptions, no arguing, no talking to the manager.”

Tammy Truong, owner of the gay bar Uproar Lounge at 639 Florida Ave., N.W., told the Blade the bar has no immediate plans to require proof of vaccination as a requirement for admission, but Uproar will fully comply with the mayor’s order requiring indoor masks.

Justin Parker, co-owner of the nearby gay bar The Dirty Goose at 913 U St., N.W., told the Blade he and his staff decided on Friday to also put in place a requirment that patrons show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past five days. He said a 5-day window for the COVID test, which the CDC allows in some cases, was chosen rather than three a requirement to accomodate people who may not be able to get tested during weekends.

Owners of other D.C. gay bars couldn’t immeidately be reached. But the Blade could not find any announcements by the other gay bars as of Friday afternoon that they planed to put in place a proof of vaccination requiremenet. 

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