Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for February, 2014

Norway, Denmark, Netherlands Cut Aid to Uganda

Jim Burroway

February 25th, 2014

Three European nations moved swiftly after Uganda president Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law:

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said his country would withhold about $8 million in aid, saying the law violates “fundamental human rights,” TheLocal.no reported Tuesday.

“Norway deeply regrets that Uganda’s president today signed a new and stricter law against homosexuality,” Brende said in a statement Monday. “It will worsen the situation of an already vulnerable group, and criminalize individuals and organizations working for the rights of sexual minorities.”

…Danish Aid Minister Mogens Jensen indicated his country would divert about $9 million in aid earmarked for Uganda, TheLocal.no said.

Dutch Foreign Trade and Aid Minister Lilianne Ploumen and Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans said the $9.6 million aid money sent annually to the Ugandan government to improve its judicial system will be stopped, DutchNews.nl reported. Justice Ministry official Teeven said the Netherlands would be flexible on granting asylum to homosexuals from Uganda now that the “draconian” measures were in effect.

Sweden has announced that they are considering redirecting its planned $10.7 milli0n in aid to Uganda. Britain had already suspended all direct aid to Uganda in 2012 following a massive embezzlement scandal in the Ugandan Prime Minister’s office.

The U.S. and Canada say they are reviewing their options. Sen. Patrick Leahy earlier today issued a statement saying he “cannot support providing further funding to the Government of Uganda” until the State Department’s review is complete.

Britain Suspends All Foreign Aid To Uganda

Jim Burroway

November 18th, 2012

Not because Uganda may be poised to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill soon, but because corruption in Uganda is so rampant that the UK has no idea where its money has gone.

Britain has suspended all direct aid to the Ugandan government with immediate effect, the international development secretary, Justine Greening, announced on Friday.

Aid to the Ugandan prime minister’s office was frozen in August, following allegations of fraud, while an independent forensic audit was ordered. Greening has now suspended other bilateral aid, which is spent through Uganda‘s financial systems, known as direct financial aid.

…”Britain has frozen all UK aid spent through the Ugandan government. This is a result of initial evidence emerging from our ongoing forensic audit of the office of the prime minister, which indicates aid money may have been misused,” said DfID. “We are extremely concerned by these preliminary findings and we will assess the decision further when we have considered the full findings of the report. Unless the government of Uganda can show that UK taxpayers’ money is going towards helping the poorest people lift themselves out of poverty, this aid will remain frozen and we will expect repayment and administrative and criminal sanctions.”

Auditors discovered that joint foreign aid funding from Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden to the tune of €12 million  (£10 million, US$15 million) have mysteriously shown up in the private bank accounts of officials in prime minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s office. Those countries and Britain suspended its aid to the Prime Minister’s office in August, and Britain has now expanded that freeze to include the entire Ugandan government. Britain was due to provide £11.1 million (US$17.7 million) in direct aid between now and the end of March. Total bilateral aid for the year was set for £98.9 million (US$157 million), but it’s not clear how much of that bilateral aid has already been spent.

A Friday cute moment

Timothy Kincaid

June 8th, 2012

The Telegraph ran a really stupid article about some completely bogus poll (biased language – push questions – meaningless sample) paid for by Catholic Voices (why are they such liars? Really, do they honestly think that God is hunky-dory with deception in his name?) And the author didn’t question a single claim. I could go on for pages about just how invalid this is, but it’s Friday so I’ll just let it go for this thread (though I may take it up elsewhere). but you can see it here.)

However, they did use this photograph. And, considering that the big news yesterday was about Denmark voting for marriage, without reading the article I responded to the pic. And my immediate thoughts were, “How cute.. and, yep, they’re Danes.”

Photo: ALAMY

Denmark legalizes marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

June 7th, 2012

ABC News

Denmark’s Parliament has approved a law allowing same-sex couples to get married in formal church weddings instead of the short blessing ceremonies that the state’s Lutheran Church currently offers.

Lawmakers voted 85-24 on Thursday to change Denmark’s marriage laws.

The law takes effect June 15 and will put Denmark on par with countries such as Iceland and Sweden that allow full wedding ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.

Not exactly detailed by ABC is that the change moves Denmark’s couple recognition from Registered Partnership to Marriage. Which makes Denmark the 11th or 12th nation to give its citizens full couple recognition equality (depending on how one counts Mexico where you can only marry in two states but the marriages are recognized throughout the country).

The last of the first: Axel Axgil

Timothy Kincaid

November 1st, 2011

Eigel and Axel Axgil. photo - Rex Wockner

There are few opportunities to be first at anything. And even fewer to be first at a truly revolutionary social declaration that would ultimately come to receive sanction in nearly all of Western Europe, much of the Americas, and which is growing to become the accepted minimum of civilized nations.

But Axel Axgil and Eigel Axgil were first.

In 1989, they were the first couple in the world to receive official state-sanctioned recognition under Denmark’s new Registered Partnership Law. This honor was in recognition of the decades long campaign for rights that the two had made their life’s work. Axel is credited for being the founder of the Danish gay rights movement in 1948.

Eigel passed away in 1995 and Axel left us on Saturday. In tribute, let’s consider the words of advice he gave in 1989:

“Be open. Come out. Keep fighting. This is the only way to move anything. If everyone comes out of the closet then this will happen everywhere.”

Denmark To Debate Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

October 24th, 2011

Denmark, which became the first country in the world to recognize same-sex unions when it instituted Registered Partnerships in 1989, will consider a bill to allow couples to hold same-sex weddings in the Church of Denmark and to be fully married under Danish law. The bill is expected to be introduced in the Folketing, Denmark’s parliament, after the New Year. The Copenhagen Post reports that some parish priests in the tax-supported state church are opposed to the measure:

Some local priests, like Henrik Højlund, who is the parish priest for Løsning and Korning and chairman for the Evangelical Lutheran Network (ELN), however, disagreed with the minister.

“Lots of people are mistaken in thinking that homosexual weddings are just the next step after female priests. But it is much more consequential and beyond the boundaries for normal Christianity,” Højlund told Jyllands-Posten.

“The Church of Denmark is being secularised right up to the alter in a desperate and mistaken attempt to meet modern people halfway,” he said, adding that same-sex marriage would be “fatal for the church”.

Polls show that approximately 69% of Danes support same-sex marriage in the church. The Church of Denmark receives about 5.9 billion kroner (US$1.1 billion) in tax support from registered members, plus an additional 130 kroner (US$24) from every citizen regardless of religious affiliation or other beliefs. Approximately 60% of Danes are registered members of the church.

Anti-Gay Attacks Rock World OutGames in Copenhagen

Jim Burroway

July 29th, 2009

According to the Copenhagen Post, a man was arrested for throwing two bombs at track and field event

Copenhagen police have charged a 31-year-old man with committing a hate crime after he threw powerful explosives at participants in the city’s World Outgames event, public broadcaster DR has indicated in a report.

A 31-year-old city man was arrested yesterday at St. Jakobs Church in Østerbro, where he allegedly threw the explosives at the games’ track and field participants at Østerbro Stadium. He managed to throw two bombs before police arrived on the scene and took him into custody.

One injury was reported. Dean Koga, 58, of the Seattle Frontrunners, was treated for shrapnel in his right hand. He returned to compete againt the following day. OutSports has more coverage:

The 55-59 age group was in the starting area in the men’s 4×200-meter relay about 2 p.m. when a loud explosion was heard. Rob Lyons, a member of the New York Frontrunners, was taking photos and standing just feet from the blast, and said that the race starter looked at his gun, thinking it had misfired. “My ears were totally ringing,” Lyons said.

After a brief delay and with everyone assuming the first blast was some one-off prank, the race was set to resume. That’s when a second bomb was tossed.

“It lit up the whole area” near the relay start, said Stephen Stuehling, a member of the Seattle Frontrunners, who was on the other side of the track warming up for his relay when the second bomb hit.

“The [bomb] container hit the ground and everyone yelled to run,” said Koga, who was in his running lane and then headed for the infield area. “That’s when I felt the impact” from the shrapnel that ricocheted off the ground and into the top part of his right hand.

OutSports reports that after police arrived, the attacker threw a third bomb that rolled under the van of a film crew. That’s when police were able to chase down and arrest the suspect.

This bomb-throwing attack follows an earlier hate crime incident during last Friday night’s opening ceremonies. Two men, aged 28 and 33, were arrested after attacking three visitors from England, Sweden and Norway. The three victims were treated at a hospital for their injuries and released.

Marriage Rights Around the World

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:

Marriage

Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)

Civil Unions

New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)

Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership

Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)

Other Methods of Limited Recognition

France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)

Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.