World News Briefs
Published Thursday, 09-Sep-2010 in issue 1185
Castro: I’m responsible for past anti-gay persecution
In an Aug. 31 interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, Fidel Castro accepted responsibility for Cuba’s persecution of homosexuals decades ago.
From 1959, when the previous government was overthrown in an armed rebellion, until the 1970s, gays were branded counterrevolutionaries and forced into labor camps.
“Those were moments of great injustice,” Castro told La Jornada. “A great injustice! ... If anyone is responsible, I am.
“It’s a given that at that time, I couldn’t occupy myself with this matter. I found myself immersed primarily in the October Crisis (Cuban missile crisis), the war, political questions (but) I’m not going to toss the blame on others.”
These days, Cuba stages official public LGBT events.
On May 15, hundreds of LGBT people marched in Havana’s Vedado nightlife district in advance of the May 17 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. They were led by President Raúl Castro’s daughter Mariela, who heads CENESEX, the National Sex Education Center.
Other IDAHO events included workshops on LGBT issues and a huge, officially sanctioned outdoor drag show May 17 in the city of Santa Clara, 160 miles (258 km) east of Havana.
Conservative British MP comes out Foreign Minister denies being gay
Conservative British Member of Parliament Crispin Blunt, the government’s minister for prisons and probation, announced Aug. 28 that he has separated from his wife of 20 years so he can embrace being gay.
A statement issued by his office said: “Crispin Blunt wishes to make it known that he has separated from his wife Victoria. He decided to come to terms with his homosexuality and explained the position to his family. The consequence is this separation. There is no third party involvement, but this is difficult for his immediate and wider family and he hopes for understanding and support for them. The family do not wish to make any further public comment and hope that their privacy will be respected as they deal with these difficult private issues.”
Blunt, 50, is a former Army officer. He has been an MP since 1997.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister William Hague released a statement Sept. 1 denying that he’s been having an affair with a 25-year-old male assistant, who nonetheless resigned because of what Hague called “untrue and malicious allegations” that the two are involved.
Hague, 49, acknowledged that he and the adviser, Christopher Myers, had “occasionally” shared a hotel room during the election campaign.
“In hindsight I should have given greater consideration to what might have been made of that, but this is in itself no justification for allegations of this kind, which are untrue and deeply distressing to me, to (my wife) Ffion and to Christopher,” Hague said.
“Any suggestion that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man,” he said.
Tasmanian Parliament moves to recognize foreign gay unions
The Australian state of Tasmania’s lower house of Parliament, the House of Assembly, voted Sept. 1 to recognize official same-sex unions and marriages that take place elsewhere in the nation or world.
The measure now moves to the upper house, the Legislative Council.
Australia does not allow same-sex marriage but three states and the Australian Capital Territory have same-sex partner registration schemes. Those partnerships also are recognized by the federal government for purposes of all spousal entitlements associated with marriage.
The Tasmanian bill will recognize overseas same-sex marriages only as state civil partnerships, not marriages, because Australian federal law explicitly bans recognition of foreign same-sex marriages.
New South Wales passes gay adoption bill
The Legislative Assembly of the Australian state of New South Wales, where Sydney is located, passed a bill to legalize adoption by same-sex couples Sept. 2. The vote was 46-42, following two days of debate.
The measure permits church-affiliated adoption agencies to continue to discriminate against gay couples without fear of prosecution.
One other state, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory allow gay couples to adopt together. The bill now moves to the upper house, the Legislative Council.
Assistance: Bill Kelley