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Packman
17-06-2007, 01:24
Colombia to Recognize Gay Unions With Extension of Health, Other Benefits

By Juan Forero
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, June 16, 2007; Page A10

BOGOTA, Colombia, June 15 -- Colombia's Congress voted to recognize gay unions, approving a bill to give same-sex couples full rights to health insurance, social security and inheritance benefits. The measure would make Colombia the first country in Latin America to extend such rights to gay couples, a prospect celebrated by gay rights advocates from Buenos Aires to New York.

The lower house of Congress approved the bill 62 to 43 on Thursday night after a long lobbying effort by gay rights activists, who argued that gay couples have a human right to the benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy. In the Americas, only Canada has approved a similar law. In the United States, a handful of states entitle gay couples to health and other benefits. But those rights are not recognized nationally, and several states have approved laws prohibiting gay unions.

"I think this is an incredible victory that should resonate across both continents, north and south," said Scott Long, director of the gay rights program at Human Rights Watch in New York. "It should definitely be an example to the United States. Colombia is a country that's Catholic, with a conservative government, and they still recognize that this is the right thing to do."

Colombia, like most Latin American countries, does not have fundamentalist groups with the kind of influence and funding to launch a national campaign against gay rights. But it does have a powerful Catholic Church, which argued that extending rights to same-sex couples would violate church doctrine. "This gives legal sanctity to families that are artificial and false," said José Galat, a prominent Catholic activist.

After a long public battle, advocates from groups such as Diverse Colombia slowly won over many lawmakers in Congress. Among those who support the bill is President Álvaro Uribe, a conservative Catholic. He is expected to sign the measure.

Elizabeth Castillo, a lawyer and gay rights advocate, said activists succeeded by shifting the debate from morality to human rights. The country is still in the midst of a long guerrilla conflict marked by widespread rights violations. But human rights groups have increasingly gained prominence here in recent years -- a trend that helped the gay rights movement.

"This argument was never based on moral or religious grounds, even though the detractors always went to the religious and moral arguments," Castillo said.

Compared with Bogota, the capital, other Latin American cities have traditionally been considered more tolerant of gays; Mexico City and Buenos Aires have passed laws extending health and other benefits to same-sex couples. But Bogota has a thriving gay neighborhood, bars whose patrons are openly gay and a center that provides counseling and legal advice to members of the gay community. Local politicians, among them Mayor Luis Eduardo Garzón and prominent members of Congress such as Sen. Armando Benedetti, have supported the drive to give more rights to gay couples.

Still, activists say violence against gays is not uncommon and discrimination remains a recurring problem. Castillo said that even with the new law, many partners in gay relationships would probably be denied health and other benefits.

"It's possible things won't change for some people," Castillo said, "as if the law had never been passed.

zhanji
17-06-2007, 03:17
Yep! A bit different from our beloved Moscow!!!

In Latam, there are only five regions that allow equal gay rights, two provinces in Mexico, including Mex City, BA, and the province of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, a province with predominantly German descendants. Nonetheless, Brazil must still be considered the most open among the Latam societies, as last weekend's 3 million people on the streets of Sao Paulo would suggest - by far the largest gay parade in the world.

Millions stage gay parade in Sao Paulo
June 10, 2007

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - An estimated 3 million gays, lesbians and transvestites paraded down the main avenue of Brazil's business capital Sao Paulo on Sunday, showing their pride in a blaze of color and festive music, organizers said.

"We want people to address machismo, racism and homophobia ... which still exists in Brazil," Nelson Matias Pereira, president of the parade told the official news agency Agencia Brasil, adding that many families took part.

The Sao Paulo Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transvestites (GLBT) Parade Association said balmy temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) helped draw more than last year's 2.5 million marchers and that the turnout would be a world record.

A police estimate was unavailable, but nearly 900 officers were on duty to help maintain order.

On a five-day visit to Brazil, the world's most populous Catholic country, Pope Benedict attracted less than 1 million to listen to his calls to reinforce traditional family values.

During Sunday's parade, bands played on 23 "trios eletricos," or huge trucks, with their music blasted from massive loudspeakers.

For their 11th parade, the gays received official backing for the first time.

Brazil's ministers for Tourism and Sport, Marta Suplicy and Orlando Silva, attended the parade. The governor of Sao Paulo state, Jose Serra, and city mayor Gilberto Kassab were also there.

Sponsors included Brazil's state energy company Petrobras and the state-owned Caixa Economica Federal bank.

The parade is seen as a major cash cow, attracting large numbers of Brazilian and foreign visitors, who boost the receipts of hotels, restaurants and shops.

A study this year by consumer research consultants Insearch found that Brazilian gays were above-average wage earners and spent 40 percent more on leisure than heterosexuals.

Packman
17-06-2007, 03:40
Borat would have loved it. Maybe the Kazak ministry of information can send him to Brazil on his next trip!:cool:

ATO1980
26-06-2007, 22:27
Well, too bad the US is just almost just as backwards as Russia is on this issue....

Packman
28-06-2007, 05:40
Well, too bad the US is just almost just as backwards as Russia is on this issue....


Yeah right. Massuchusetts has legalized gay marriages, and several other states have civil union statutes.

I know the US has far to go but to lump it with Russia where public officials routinely ridicule the idea of homosexuality itself it taking it too far. In most major cities in any case Gays (IMHO) can live a life out in the open. I'd like to see that in Moscow someday.

koshka
15-07-2007, 00:00
I welcome the day when I hear less about "peders" (said with a sneer) in our beloved Russia.

DJ Biscuit
16-07-2007, 04:34
Colombia to Recognize Gay Unions With Extension of Health, Other Benefits



It's Columbia so as Denis Leary pointed out folk will go with any idea for a bump...

''Cocaine? We started that. You're welcome! I'd like to sit in the bathroom and talk to a complete asshole stranger for seven hours on end. Is that possible please!? With no penis and a nose bleed! Where do I sign up!? That was the worst part about the coke, man, was being in that bathroom with that stranger at the end of the night. Wasn't it, huh? Talking about sh*t like solving the world's problems and the only reason you're in there is because he has the coke. That should have been a f*cking sign, don't ya think? I mean if Hitler had coke, there'd be Jews in the bathroom going, "I know you didn't do it. *snort* I like your mustache. *snort* F*cking Himmler. *snort*"

But seriously it's good to see new members signing up for the 21st Century.

karen:)
26-07-2007, 10:29
(excuse me for my bad english please)
I LIVE IN COLOMBIA; and i can say here , due to the particular ultra-catholic conception of life and its offensive outrageous way of thinking about "different" people like different religions from catholic, native and african descending communities, their practices and traditions, people with different sexual and/or gender orientation from heterosexual, and everyone who gets out of "normal" parameters considered in the popular culture and dare to think different are instantly taken out of the collective imaginary of what civil society should be.
Some say tradidions become laws. So, if people with different sexual orientation is considered as mentally ill and degenerated and, in the most offensive ways, invisibizated in family conversations, in the media, in the daily activities... how can we hope that a law project could be approved by the central government, who has(mr. Uribe) a very clear vision of authority based on the tradidional catholic system of values?
However, many people in here are trying to make things change and will work as hard as possible to deffend the right of every person to develope his/her personality and way of life as long as it doesn´t harm others.
I insist that kind of legal reformations should be joined by hard mediatic and educative campaigns to promove respect for difference and should be based on a secular value system.