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“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 million 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.

Belated Congratulations, Norwegians

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2009

norway.jpgI don’t know how I forgot to mention this earlier this month, but on January 1, 2009, Norway became the sixth nation to offer marriage equality nationwide.

Netherlands – 2001
Belgium – 2003
Canada – 2005
Spain – 2005
South Africa – 2006
Norway – 2009

Guess Who Else Isn’t On Board With the U.N. Resolution to Decriminalize Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2008

Mark, at Slapped Upside the Head, has a good take on yesterday’s news that the Vatican is opposing a U.N. resolution calling on member states to rescind laws outlawing homosexuality — which in some countries includes the death penalty. We discussed the Vatican’s intrinsically disordered logic here. Mark has his own take here.

There are a lot of countries which have already signed on to the declaration, including: Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Those last three are rather surprising. Also surprising co-sponsors are three African countries: Gabon, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. That’s quite an impressive list.

So, who’s missing? Well, let’s see. Oh look: the United States and Australia.

Norway’s Upper House Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

June 17th, 2008

The vote was 23-17, and it follows last week’s historic vote in the lower hose of Parliament. The new law will take effect on January 1, 2009.

Norway Becomes Sixth Nation to Provide Marriage Equality

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2008

According to GayMormonBoy, who happens to read Norwegian, same-sex marriage has now passed the Parliament in Norway.

They join

Netherlands – 2001
Belgium – 2003
Canada – 2005
Spain – 2005
South Africa – 2006

UPDATE

Pink News is confirming the news with an article in English

Do You Know How To Say “I Do” In Norwegian?

Jim Burroway

June 11th, 2008

If you do, then maybe you can confirm if this Norwegian news outlet is reporting that Parliament has passed the same-sex marriage bill in a late night vote.

At any rate, I do know that the bill came up for debate on Wednesday, and was expected to pass Wednesday evening — and it’s still Wednesday evening in Oslo. On August 1, 1993, Norway became the second Scandinavian country to provide for same-sex registered partnerships.

Marriage is Coming to Norway

Timothy Kincaid

May 29th, 2008

norway.jpg Anti-gays like to wail and moan about how awful, just awful, things have gotten since Norway “began allowing same-sex marriage in the 1990s.” But as we pointed out, while Norway has allowed civil unions since 1993, it does not currently recognize gay marriage.

That is all about to change.

Back in March we told you that Norway had proposed legislation that would allow for same-sex marriage. Now the AP reports that adequate support is pledged to ensure passage.

Two Norwegian opposition parties on Thursday backed the rights of gay couples to marry in church, adopt and have assisted pregnancies, effectively assuring the passage of a new equality law next month.

The new law would allow marriage, adoption, and assisted procreation for same-sex couples. It seems that the Norwegians took a little closer look at their society and culture and decided that gay couples just aren’t the curse that anti-gays like to think they are.

Nordic Myths

Jim Burroway

May 28th, 2008

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa) recently published an op-ed denouncing the recent California Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. There’s much to criticize in Sen. Santorum’s op-ed, but this statistical nugget stood out in particular:

Look at Norway. It began allowing same-sex marriage in the 1990s. In just the last decade, its heterosexual-marriage rates have nose-dived and its out-of-wedlock birthrate skyrocketed to 80 percent for firstborn children.

Anti-gay activists are returning once again to Scandinavian marriage and birthrate statistics as real-world examples of what happens when you allow same-sex marriage. The argument goes something like this: If you allow same-sex marriage like Scandinavia did, then you will soon see rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and a general breakdown in marriage.

But right off the bat, Sen. Santorum gets it wrong about same-sex marriage in Norway because there is no same-sex marriage there. Instead, Norway as adopted a limited form of civil unions. Norway’s 1993 civil unions laws, for example, do not permit adoptions by same-sex couples (although Norwegian law was later changed to allow a parent to adopt his partner’s children). Norway also prohibits artificial insemination for same-sex couples as well.

And what about that statistic: Eighty percent of all firstborn children in Norway are born out of wedlock? Where did he get that figure?

Well one thing I know for certain is that Santorum didn’t get it from the StatBank Norway website. StatBank Norway is the official repository for all statistical information about Norway. They have tons of statistics on population growth and characteristics, births, deaths, marriage, divorce, and economic data. But I’ve been unable to find anything on their web site breaking down the family status of firstborn children.

And so I started looking around for where this 80 percent statistic might have come from. It appears to have originated with Stanly Kurtz’s National Review article from May 25, 2004, where he claims:

Add the children of single parents and step families, and we are surely at over 50 percent of children living with unmarried parents in Norway’s liberal north. If that sounds high, consider that in 2002, 83 percent of first-born children in the northern Norwegian county of Nord-Troendelag were born outside of marriage, as were 58 percent of subsequent children.

If what Kurtz says is true, then it’s not all of Norway that is experiencing this explosion of firstborn babies born outside of marriage. It is just one county of Nord-Troendelag. But Kurtz doesn’t provide any citation for that statistic, so we still don’t know where it comes from. He later provides a link to a summary from StatBank Norway, but it doesn’t mention the firstborn statistic at all. (I’ve updated the link to a cached version of the page as it appeared on StatBank Norway as of April 6, 2004.) So we’re still left in the dark as to where this statistic came from, and we have no way to verify whether it’s true or not.

But we can verify that Norway’s overall birth rate outside of marriage is pretty high, and it has been for quite some time. We can see this by combining data from Norway’s Statistical Yearbooks for 2007 and 1996 and plotting that data on a single graph. When we do that, we can see that the rate of births outside of marriage had skyrocketed throughout the seventies and eighties, only to level off somewhat in the 1990′s and 2000′s.

Norwegian Births Outside of Marriage

But more specifically with respect to civil unions, look at what the data tells us:

  1. Before 1993, the percentage of births outside of marriage grew steadily by an average of about 9% per year.
  2. After civil unions were enacted in 1993, the growth of that birth rate slowed dramatically. The the growth rate fell from 9% per year to an average of less than 1.5% per year between 1993 and 2006.

Which means that if there were a cause and effect between Norway’s birth rate outside of marriage and providing civil unions for same-sex couples, the data suggests that civil unions actually had a dramatic affect in slowing the rate of births outside of marriage.

Now I don’t believe that a case can be made linking civil unions with the rate of births outside of marriage. But if Santorum, Kurtz or anyone else insists on there being a connection, then so be it. The data is on our side.

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.

Norwegians Support Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

April 25th, 2008

According to Aftenposten, the citizens of Norway support the government’s plan to bring about marriage equality.

Left-wing voters of the Socialist Left (SV) and Red parties were particularly supportive, with over 90 percent saying they favored the new Act, which gives equal rights to gay and heterosexual married couples.

The Act gets solid majority backing from Labour and Liberal Party voters as well, just over 50 percent support from Conservative Party voters, and 50 percent of populist Progress Party voters say no.

Christian Democrat Party voters stand out with about 90 percent opposition to the new law proposal.

Norway to Become Sixth Nation to Provide Marriage Equality?

Timothy Kincaid

March 14th, 2008

norway.jpgIn 1996 Norway became one of the first nations to offer recognition of same-sex couples. Since then, several nations have gone further, removing gender restrictions from marriage laws, thus eliminating the separate-but-equal status of gay couples.

First was the Netherlands in 2001, followed by Belgium in 2003. Then Canada and Spain raced for next in line in 2005, followed by South Africa in 2006.

Now Norway has introduced legislation that would make them the sixth nation to provide marriage equality.

Norway already has a so-called “partnership law” that has allowed homosexuals to form legal domestic partnerships. Now they likely will be able to marry, with all the rights that entails, since the government has a majority in parliament and the law is expected to win approval.

After over a decade of experience with same-sex couples, the minister in charge of children’s and family issues, Anniken Huitfeldt, has come to a conclusion.

“The new law won’t weaken marriage as an institution,” Huitfeldt claimed. “Rather, it will strengthen it. Marriage won’t be worth less because more can take part in it.”

But Norway’s legislature had better hurry if they want to take sixth place. Sweden is rushing for that spot.

Gay Lutheran Pastors in Norway

Timothy Kincaid

November 16th, 2007

International Herald Tribune reports:

Norway’s state Lutheran church on Friday lifted an outright ban on allowing those living in homosexual partnerships to serve in the clergy, but will leave it up to each bishop to make individual decisions on whether to employ them.