Pulse Pilgrimage

Once the scene of a horrific homophobic hate crime, the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida has become a shrine of the movement. This Way Out’s Lucia Chappelle joins members of Metropolitan Community Church on a visit to the site of the 2016 mass shooting.

Britain’s new 50-pound banknotes will pay tribute to persecuted World War II hero Alan Turing.

Russia racks up another Euro-Court loss over LGBTQ rights, Moscow social workers are investigated for allowing gay dads to adopt, a lesbian couple sues Serbia for civil partnerships, Canadian Anglicans narrowly nix marriage canon equality, Martin and Bunny join the chorus of protests over Puerto Rico’s governor, and more international LGBTQ news!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of July 22, 2019

Pulse Pilgrimage!

Program #1,634 distributed 07/22/19

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): The European Court of Human Rights finds Russia guilty for at least the third time since 2017 of violating LGBTQ people’s basic human rights, this time for denying the legal registration of three legitimate queer advocacy groups the city of Strezhovoy was set to make history by allowing an LGBTQ Pride parade – until Russian reality set in Vladimir Putin’s administration suddenly launches an investigation of Moscow social workers who allowed the adoption of two young children by a gay couple – about a decade ago a Serbian lesbian couple files a landmark lawsuit demanding the right to a civil partnership for all same-gender couples the Anglican Church of Canada narrowly rejects a proposal to bless same-gender weddings  Puerto Rican-born global pop star Ricky Martin joins tens of thousands in the streets of San Juan to demand the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello after hundreds of pages of misogynistic and homophobic online chats between him and several members of his Cabinet and inner circle in the U.S. Commonwealth made headline news across the island (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL LEBEAU and SARAH SWEENEY, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).

Feature: Brits will soon have their most noted gay mathematician helping them count their money. The Bank of England announced on July 15th that its next 50-pound banknote would feature the image of Alan Turing. It’s set to enter circulation by late 2021. There’s also a quote from Turing: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.” Turing’s story as told in this expanded Rainbow Minute will help explain what he meant (produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, read by JIM NELSON).

Feature: One night it was the scene of a horrific mass shooting, but now it’s become a Mecca for LGBTQ rights advocates. This Way Out’s LUCIA CHAPPELLE accompanied members of Metropolitan Community Church on a pilgrimage to the Pulse in Orlando, Florida, with assistance from Rev. Terri Steed Pierce (Joy MCC, Orlando) (with music from Pulse by ELI LIEB and BRANDON SKEIE).

NewsWrap

A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending July 20, 2019
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Sarah Sweeney,
produced by Brian DeShazor

The European Court of Human Rights has fined Russia for refusing to register three legitimate NGOs that advocate for LGBTQ rights.

Rainbow House, Movement for Marriage Equality and the Sochi Pride House all had their applications rejected between 2006 and 2011. Russian officials argued that legal recognition of those groups would “destroy the moral value of society.” They also claimed that registering the NGOs would “undermine [national] sovereignty and territorial integrity” by decreasing the population.

The July 16th EuroCourt ruling wrote that the rejections were clearly discriminatory. The judges decided that, “Citizens should be able to form a legal entity in order to act collectively in a field of mutual interest.” They called that ability “one of the most important aspects of the right to freedom of association.”

The defense also pointed to Russia’s ban on “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.” Vladimir Putin happily signed that “no promo homo” law in 2013. The EuroCourt condemned it in 2017. Russia also lost a case in 2018 over its bans on peaceful LGBTQ Pride events.

Russia’s government has ignored those EuroCourt decisions against it, and it will probably ignore this one, too. The monetary punishment of more than 40 thousand U.S. dollars is symbolic at best.

Officials in the Russian oil refinery town of Strezhevoy were planning to allow an LGBTQ Pride march … until they were not. It’s veteran queer activist Nikolai Alexeev’s mission to ask city officials across the country for permission to hold local LGBTQ Pride marches. Alexeev announced on social media that Strezhevoy officials had approved his request to hold a march on July 24th. Just two requirements: it had to be held between 8 and 10 p.m. “to eliminate road traffic”, and it could not take place near any schools. Alexeev took that as a victory.

But the victory was short-lived. The Mayor got “cold feet,” pointing to that “no promo homo” law. He also said that the city could not ensure the “safety” of the participants. That’s a well-worn excuse for denying for Pride permits.

Alexeev says his campaign covers 378 Russian cities. Each city that refuses to allow a Pride event can expect to see him court. Then he’ll bundle the local suits together for yet another case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Police have broken up defiant “attempted Pride” efforts in Moscow, St. Petersburg and a number of other cities since the “no promo homo” law took effect in 2013. Sometimes marchers have been marched to jail.

Not enough homophobic Russian news this week? Officials also announced an investigation into the adoption of two children by a gay couple — almost 10 years ago.

The Investigative Committee’s criminal negligence case is against the Moscow social workers who allowed a gay man “cohabiting with another man” to adopt in 2010. It charges the unidentified officials with “failing to take appropriate measures to protect minors from information harmful to their health and development.” The Moscow Times says that anyone found guilty could be fined and jailed for up to three months.

Maxim Olenichev is an LGBTQ rights lawyer with the activist group Coming Out. He told the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the 12 and 14 year-old boys “feel comfortable and safe.” Olenichev said that there were no indications of an unhealthy or dangerous family living situation with the “well off” couple. One of the men holds a prestigious position at the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics.

It’s not clear to the attorney whether one or both men could also face charges for violating the “no promo homo” law. Olenichev is also concerned that the state might try to annul the adoptions if the social workers are found guilty.

It’s also not clear why the decade-old alleged offenses are suddenly being investigated. But Gay Star News noted a comment made just days before by Russia’s Upper House Speaker Valentina Matvienko. She dramatically told a youth conference that allowing same-gender couples to adopt would “simply lead to the extinction of mankind.”

Russia banned foreign adoptions of its children into marriage equality countries at the same time it banned so-called “gay propaganda.” Since Russian same-gender couples can’t marry, there are no specific laws banning them from adopting.

Jelena Dubovi and Suncica Kopunovic could be making Serbia’s lesbian Prime Minister uncomfortable. The couple is bringing a lawsuit seeking a civil partnership.

Dubovi and Kopunovic are in their late 20s and say they’ve dated for about four years. They’re allowing themselves to be fully named with their photos in local media. They’ve started a crowd-funding campaign to raise the thousands in legal fees they’ll need for what’s expected to be a protracted fight. They’re also “prepared for some backlash.” They say on their fundraising page, “By rejecting anonymity, we are fighting not only for our rights, but also for the rights of those who are unable to stand up and fight.”

Dubovi told reporters that, “We want more than the right to march in a parade once a year.” LGBTQ people and their supporters only recently got that right in the Balkan nation. In fact, Serbia lags behind more than 20 countries in Europe when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

One of the couple’s lawyers said that the case would first go to the Serbian Commission for Equality. They’ll probably lose there, then appeal to the Constitutional Court. The case could eventually go to the European Court of Human Rights. That could take three to five years of what the lawyer called “legal wrangling.”

Why would P.M. Ana Brnabić be skittish? Although she identifies publicly as lesbian, Brnabić has been criticized by equality activists for not promoting a single LGBTQ rights measure during her tenure thus far.

If she’s commented on the lawsuit, we’ve missed it.

The Anglican Church of Canada failed to allow wedding ceremonies for same-gender couples by a single vote on July 12th. Delegates to the Church’s General Assembly were asked to change the language in its marriage canon that currently defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Such changes require two rounds of voting, and there must be a two-thirds majority vote among laypeople, clergy, and bishops each time. A motion to include same-gender couples in the marriage canon passed three years ago. This time the motion carried by at least three in four with laypeople and clergy. But according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, just one bishop’s “no” vote kept that house from meeting the two-thirds majority for passage.

Church of Canada Communications Director Meghan Kilty acknowledged that for those who supported the change “There’s a lot of grief now among the delegates”. Several local Anglican congregations have been performing marriage ceremonies for same-gender couples since 2016, and the national body has taken no action against them. Kilty said that the General Assembly did pass another resolution — one recognizing that each diocese may respond to the issue in a way that best suits its theological understanding and practice.

The basic recognition of LGBTQ people in Church life and marriage blessing equality has roiled the Global Anglican Communion for years. Those tensions have essentially divided the more progressive denominations in North America and the Pacific from burgeoning conservative congregations in South America, Asia, and Africa. The Communion’s titular leader is Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. He has labeled those differences “irreconcilable.”

And finally, gender-fluid Latin rapper Bad Bunny and Puerto Rico-born global pop star Ricky Martin joined a massive march to the Governor’s Mansion in San Juan this week. Demands for the resignation of Democratic Governor Ricardo Rosselló have gripped the island since hundreds of pages of his misogynistic and homophobic online chats were leaked to the press. The chats were with members of his administration and inner circle of friends, and were released by the Center for Investigative Journalism. They included Rosselló referring to two of his critics with a crude term for men who engage in fellatio. Rosselló also called Puerto Rican New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the Spanish word for “whore.” In another exchange, Puerto Rico Chief Financial Officer Christian Sobrino claimed that Ricky Martin chooses men to have sex with because he doesn’t think women measure up — making him a male chauvinist. Sobrino has since resigned. Secretary of State Luis G. Rivera Marin also made offensive comments and has resigned.

The U.S. Commonwealth is still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the Trump administration’s failed response to it. Puerto Rico’s beleaguered citizens are fed up with the governor’s complicity in that failure and reports of rampant corruption in his administration. They flooded the streets on July 18th in a hurricane of protest.

Ricky Martin used a bullhorn to tell the crowd that even though he lives in the States he also has a home in Puerto Rico. Many of his family members and friends live there, too. He said, “This is about respect, to all Puerto Ricans. What matters in Puerto Rico matters to me.”

Rosselló has resisted calls to resign. Instead he issued an “apology to all the people I have offended.”

© 2019 Overnight Productions (Inc.)

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