LGBT Morning Mix: Obama’s UN Speech and Other Global News
Today’s LGBT Morning Mix comes with a global flavor sporting stories from Tasmania to Belize and a few stops in between.
First, Obama’s words from a Wednesday address before the United Nations General Assembly. While there to focus on the Palestine statehood bid, Obama also included the following gay rights mention:
And to make sure our societies reach their potential, we must allow our citizens to reach theirs. No country can afford the corruption that plagues the world like a cancer. Together, we must harness the power of open societies and open economies. That’s why we’ve partnered with countries from across the globe to launch a new partnership on open government that helps ensure accountability and helps to empower citizens. No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.
A small but significant inclusion for the attention of world leaders. You can read Obama’s full speech here.
Wondered how the repeal of ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” went down with American troops overseas? Well, for Matthew Walmsley stationed at the United States Air Force base at Mildenhall in East Anglia in the UK it was mostly “business as usual” but Walmsley admits to a sense of relief: “I am really happy that DADT is ending,” he is quoted as saying. ”It means that [...] I will not have to lie anymore about who I am – that’s the really good thing for me.” However, another U.S. servicemember at the base said that because the U.S. retains other laws like the Defense of Marriage Act, he and his partner are still not equal. Read these reactions and more over at UK Gay News.
Speaking of marriage equality, Tasmania’s lower House voted this week to pass a resolution that supports the principle of marriage equality with Premiere Premier Lara Giddings saying the vote was a historic day for the state. The Greens’ motion is supported by the presiding Labor party and calls on the federal government to change the Marriage Act to allow for same-sex marriage. While this motion doesn’t in itself legalize marriage equality, which must be done by the federal government, it does send a clear signal that a strong proportion of Tasmanian’s lower House supports the move, while the upper chamber is also being lobbied to pass a similar resolution. Read more on that here.
Tasmania’s gay marriage stance has also put pressure on Australian lawmakers who have been flirting with the notion of same-sex marriage for months now, with marriage equality supporters within the country calling on the Australian government to act and pass a marriage equality bill. Whether there is enough support among lawmakers for such action remains to be seen, but pressure is mounting. Read more on that here.
Back on American soil for a moment, Rev. Disani Christopher Senyonjo, a former Anglican bishop in Uganda, will speak at All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church (2300 Cathedral Ave., N.W.) in Washington on Sunday reports the Washington Blade. Rev. Senyonjo is on what he calls a “Compass to Compassion Tour” in the U.S. in order to try and educate Americans on the persecution of LGBTs in his home country and 75 other countries where being LGBT is effectively criminalized. You can read more about Rev. Senyonjo’s tour here.
Lastly, LGBT rights groups from around the Caribbean are supporting a judicial review of Belize’s anti-buggery laws. Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard in the Supreme Court in early December of this year, and LGBT rights advocates are looking to this as a test case for overturning laws that are used to criminalize homosexuality in the region. More on that here.