On Saturday a throng of 1,200 convened in Taipei to hold a mock wedding banquet in a gesture meant to promote the same-sex marriage bill due to be put to a parliamentary vote soon. The supporters of the bill held a banquet, sitting at tables decorated with cloths bearing the Chinese character for “wedding” as a video featuring local celebrities streamed on a large screen. Live performances were also staged at the improvised hall outside Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building.
Russia and the International Olympic Committee are turning to each other for help in battling a “campaign” against and “speculation” about the anti-gay law that bans “homosexual propaganda” and has driven protests against the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which open in less than six months. A top IOC official told media Monday that sponsors, particularly those based in the United States, are worried about the law, raising concerns at the IOC that some could pull out of partnerships before the Games begin.
I was two days into a pleasant Baltic Sea vacation when the request from RT arrived in my inbox. Formerly “Russia Today,” RT is Moscow’s multilingual, global cable news network. RT is not your babushka’s Soviet-style propaganda; it broadcasts sophisticated conspiracy theories and “anti-establishment” attitudes to push a virulently anti-American and illiberal agenda. The network relies on a pool of talking heads, including “9/11 Truthers,” anti-Semites and other assorted extremists, who espouse the sort of views found where the far left and the far right converge.
With a gay propaganda law in the works, a history peppered with anti-gay violence, lawmakers in Parliament saying things like "homosexuality is a clearly unacceptable behavior" and a bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the situation in Kazakhstan sounds a lot like Russia's. And that's a curious place to be, when you consider the international outrage against the latter's aggressive anti-gay laws and the resulting calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi.
The first same-sex weddings have taken place in New Zealand after the country became the first in the Asia-Pacific region and 14th in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. Thirty-one same-sex couples had been due to marry on Monday, according to the Department of Internal Affairs. It comes after New Zealand's parliament passed a bill in April amending the country's 1955 marriage act.
The upcoming Winter Olympics has put Russia's anti-gay laws in the center of the coverage of the games. The best way to get more attention is for this conversation to keep going all the way through next February, not by boycotting the games. In the latest development, a spokesperson for the United States Olympic Committee clarified an earlier statement by his CEO that American athletes were expected to comply with local laws during the Olympics.
Venomous political attacks have become the norm in Venezuela, and now a governing party legislator has unleashed a tirade in the country's legislature using gay slurs in trying to discredit the opposition. The lawmaker displayed photos in the National Assembly on Tuesday showing a top aide to opposition leader Henrique Capriles dressed, along with other men, in women's clothing, apparently at a party. He suggested, without elaboration, that the photos proved the aide's involvement with drug traffickers and male and female prostitution.
The very wonderful Russian superstar opera singer Anna Netrebko this week made a very cryptic statement. She posted the following on her Facebook page: “As an artist, it is my great joy to collaborate with all of my wonderful colleagues, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. I have never and will never discriminate against anyone.”