News - Pride

When will Japan board the Equality train?

Although liberal when compared to other Asian countries, Japan is still relatively backwards when it comes to LGBTQI rights. While there has been no prohibition of same-sex activities since 1880 and the age of consent is equal since that date, same-sex couples are not eligible for rights and protection enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts. Many Japanese citizens therefore experience disadvantages when it comes to property or hereditary matters, not to mention immigration of partners of LGBTQI citizens..

Equally there is no real protection for LGBTQI people, at least in no explicit form, in such areas as employment, education, housing, health care and banking. 

But there are signs that the situation is changing, especially because a growing number of younger Japanese citizens are increasingly showing more a liberal outlook than their parents. A 2015 opinion poll found 51 percent of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage. More than than 70 percent of those in their twenties approved, compared with only 24 percent among people in their seventies.

Speaking to Bloomberg News on the day Australia became the latest nation to legalize gay marriage, Kanako Otsuji, 42, the only openly gay member of parliament in the country with the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, has expressed the hope that one day her country will also be able to recognise LGBT relationships. However she faces a stiff opposition from conservative elements in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party

"First of all we want to pass a law banning discrimination," Otsuji, a new lower house member with the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said Thursday at her offices in Tokyo. "It will then become clear that the lack of a law permitting same-sex marriage or partnership is discriminatory.”

Passing such a bill will require a lot of compromise and cross-party agreement, something that makes the path of any equality legislation very steep, because although those in their twenties and thirties may support a change in attitudes, low voting rates among these age groups mean that politicians must appeal to the over-fifties, Otsuji said.

Love (finally) Wins in Australia

Australia is the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage, after a very long and bitter campaign. This reverts the same-sex marriage ban which was enshrined in the legislation by then-PM John Howard in 2004.


Although many surveys have for years indicated a solid majority for equality, various proposals to change the marriage law in Parliament failed to reach a positive result, mostly because of the bitter divisions in both major parties, but especially within the Liberal Party.


The current Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, himself a supporter of LGBT rights and presiding over a constituency amongst the more diverse in the country, decided to avoid further conflict in his party by organizing a very controversial non-binding postal survey, which delivered an overwhelming result in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage (61.6%).
Following such a strong result, a bill was quickly introduced in the Senate (during the same-sex marriage debate in the Upper House, Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposes to his long term partner Ryan Bolger), and then passed by the lower house today 7th December at 5:58pm local time.


Only four MPs voted against the change, and so clear was the result that a formal count was not required. A handful of MPs - including former Liberal PM Tony Abbott and Treasurer Scott Morrison - chose to abstain.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in his excitement to hail the end of this days' rivers of words, cried "What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. It is a time for more marriages, more equality, more love!"


Opposition Labor Party Leader Bill Shorten wanted the world to know that "we are no longer a nation who voted yes or no; we are Australians."

Equality for Austrian same-sex couples

In a breakthrough ruling, Austria's Constitutional Court has decided that same-sex couples shall be allowed to marry by the end of next year, ruling that the existing laws are discriminatory. 
 
Following a complaint from two women who were refused permission to enter a formal marriage by authorities in Vienna, the Constitutional Court examined the current 2009 Marriage Law. In a statement, Austria's Constitutional Court said "the distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples," adding that keeping the two institutions separate suggests that "people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation".
 
As a result, it established that restrictions on same-sex marriage will be lifted at the end of 2018 unless the government does so itself earlier.
 
Same-sex couples in Austria have been allowed to enter legal partnerships since 2010, but until now have not been able to marry.

Rainbow Fireworks for Sydney's NYE

This year’s famous New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Sydney, Australia, will have a distinct LGBT-hue.

Following the recent postal referendum survey in which a majority of Australians voted to legalise same-sex message, the Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, a long-time supporter of LGBT rights, has revealed that a rainbow coloured firework waterfall cascading off the Sydney Harbour Bridge will feature as part of the New Year’s Eve event.

Mayor Clover Moore said the display would show the world Sydney was now an “accepting place”. And with an estimated 1 billion viewers of the event on TV around the world, the rainbow cascade will also hopefully spread the equality message beyond Sydney, especially in countries where LGBT acceptance is still a long way away.

Steve Warren who marched in the first Mardi Gras in 1978 said it will be a "beacon of hope for other people in other countries where LGBTI rights have still not been achieved”. Sydney will celebrate in March 2018 the 40th anniversary of its world-famous Mardi Gras, with a sparkling programme of events.

Same-sex marriage arrives to Malta

Map of Europe showing MaltaMalta has finally same-sex marriage. The law that allows same-sex couples to legally marry in Malta took effect on Friday, 1 September. Now there is a 6-week waiting period under Maltese law before any couple can legally tie the knot, so the first weddings can take place this October. The Maltese Parliament in July nearly unanimously approved the marriage bill. Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who was re-elected in June, is among those who backed the measure. ILGA-Europe and Rainbow Rose, the LGBT network of the Party of European Socialists, also applauded Muscat and Maltese advocates on Friday. Malta last December also became the first country in Europe to ban so-called conversion therapy.

News

Indonesian Gay Club Workers sentenced to 2-3 Years in jail

December 16, 2017 Travel Advice Giorgio Petti 76 Hits
Indonesia’s crackdown on the local LGBT community continues: on Thursday a court of justice has sentenced 10 men arrested in a raid at a gay club and sauna in the capital Jakarta to between two and…

A new Axel Hotel for Valencia

December 10, 2017 Industry Giorgio Petti 9 Hits
The next hotel of the ‘straight-friendly’ chain Axel is likely to be located in Valencia, Spain. It has been reported by the local press that the group has acquired a building in the district of El…
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