World News Briefs
Published Thursday, 26-Aug-2010 in issue 1183
Mexican Supreme Court OKs gay adoption
In a 9-2 vote Aug. 16, Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld the portion of Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law that lets married gay and lesbian couples adopt.
In two other August rulings, the court had upheld the main part of the marriage law and ruled that same-sex couples who marry in Mexico City are validly married everywhere in the nation, in all 31 states.
Human Rights Watch said the trio of rulings confirmed “that the state cannot withhold any legal rights on the grounds of a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“This decision will have resonance for courts throughout the continent for protecting the basic human rights of LGBT people,” said the group’s Juliana Cano Nieto.
Mexico City’s legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption had been targeted by the federal attorney general, whose office said the moves undermined “family” and the interests of children.
The court decided, however, that married heterosexuals are just one kind of “family” and that children’s interests are served by having a loving family regardless of their parents’ sex.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Mexico City, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Mexico City same-sex marriages are recognized throughout the nation. Two other U.S. states — New York and Maryland — recognize, as full marriages, same-sex marriages that were entered into elsewhere. California recognizes both same-sex marriages from elsewhere and same-sex marriages that took place in California — if the marriage in question occurred before the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8.
Same-sex couples can adopt in Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Mexico City and 16 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. In addition, a gay or lesbian partner can adopt his or her partner’s child in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and 25 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.
Mexico City mayor sues Guadalajara bishop for defamation
The mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, has sued the Roman Catholic bishop of Guadalajara, Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, for saying that the Mexican Supreme Court was bribed by Ebrard and others to approve Mexico City’s law that legalized gay marriage and adoption. The court also ruled that Mexico City same-sex marriages are valid nationwide.
“I don’t think the judges would arrive at such absurd conclusions, against the sentiment of the Mexican public, without there being very big motives, and the very big motive may be the money that they are given,” Sandoval said.
Ebrard filed a civil suit in the Supreme Court claiming defamation. The archdiocese responded that it has proof to back up Sandoval’s claim.
“When the cardinal was talking, he didn’t do it just to hear himself speak,” said a spokesman.
“Check their bank accounts,” Sandoval himself said later.
In the original outburst, Sandoval reportedly also called homosexuality an aberration and said, “Would you want to be adopted by a pair of faggots or lesbians?”
German gay couples get equal inheritance rights
Gay couples in registered partnerships have the same inheritance rights as married couples, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled Aug. 17.
The decision reduces the maximum inheritance tax rate for a surviving gay partner from 50 percent to 30 percent, and lowers the minimum inheritance tax rate for a surviving gay partner from 17 percent to 7 percent. It also equalizes the portion of an estate that is free from inheritance tax.
Because the setup was unconstitutional, the government must go back and recalculate inheritance taxes in registered gay partnerships from the point that Germany established same-sex partnerships in February 2001.
Discriminatory Catholic adoption service slapped down in England
A Roman Catholic adoption service in Leeds, England, was denied an exemption to the United Kingdom’s ban on discrimination against gay people Aug. 18.
In a final determination, the Charities Commission said that Catholic Care has to follow the law like everyone else.
The service had wanted to limit its services to married straight people in order to remain faithful to Roman Catholicism’s heterosexist teachings.
U.N. tells Cameroon to legalize gays
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has told Cameroon to decriminalize gay sex, end anti-LGBT prejudice and stigmatization, and assure that HIV-positive people receive adequate care.
The July 29 move followed a presentation to the committee by Human Rights Watch and the LGBT group Alternatives-Cameroun.
“Since 2005, Alternatives-Cameroun, Human Rights Watch and other Cameroonian and international organizations have documented abuses and violence against LGBT people in Cameroon,” Human Rights Watch said in an Aug. 19 media release. “Suspected homosexual men have been arrested and beaten on their bodies, heads and even the soles of their feet while in custody. Women suffer violence in their families if they are suspected of being lesbians. In some cases, they have been forced to leave their homes or their children have been taken away from them.”
Alternatives-Cameroun head Steve Nemande said that implementation of the UN recommendations would result in Cameroon’s doing “the bare minimum to realize the fundamental human rights enshrined in its national constitution.”
Assistance: Bill Kelley