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(via Idaho Won’t Allow 74-Year-Old Gay Navy Veteran to Be Buried with Her Wife: VIDEO| Gay News | Towleroad)

"I’m not surprised." Taylor said. "I’ve been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life."

Humpback whale losing ‘threatened’ status amid Northern Gateway concerns

Happy Earth Day from the Harper government.

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By Emily Chung, CBC News Posted: Apr 22, 2014 11:03 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 22, 2014 12:06 PM ET

If the Northern Gateway pipeline goes ahead, Hartley Bay near Kitimat, B.C., could become a major oil tanker shipping corridor.

If the Northern Gateway pipeline goes ahead, Hartley Bay near Kitimat, B.C., could become a major oil tanker shipping corridor. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The Canadian government is downgrading the protection of humpback whales off the coast of B.C. under the Species at Risk Act.

The move is being made as the government readies for a decision on the approval of the pipeline, which would feed oil onto a tanker shipping route that overlaps with what environmental groups describe as “critical habitat” for the whale.

Environment  Minister Leona Aglukkaq, with advice from Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, is recommending that the Northern Pacific population of humpback whales be downgraded from “threatened” to “species of special concern.” The recommendation for the change to the Species at Risk Act was published in the Canada Gazette Saturday. 

The whale population has increased “significantly” since it was first listed as threatened in 2005, said a statement supporting the recommendation. It added that a 2011 independent assessment showed the whale’s population growth rates have also increased.

The whales receive protection within the 3,400 square kilometres of Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, which has been identified as “a primary feeding habitat” for the whale in the waters off the west coast of Canada, the statement added.

It said the downgrade “could result in small benefits to industry in the form of cost savings,” since there would no longer be a requirement to protect the whale’s critical habitat and other “general prohibitions” under the act would no longer apply.

The government is accepting responses to the recommendation for 30 days following publication. After that, the change would go into effect immediately once approved by the governor in council.

Karen Wristen, executive director of the Living Oceans Society, said the decision “has absolutely no basis in science and is simply a political move to clear the way to approve the pipeline.”

Downgrading means that the government would no longer have to designate critical habitat for the whale’s recovery, Wristen said.

Currently, that designated critical habitat includes areas near Kitimat, B.C. – the proposed western end of the Northern Gateway pipeline – where the whales feed and rear their young in the spring and summer.

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Hopefully, it will be delayed permanently.
Q.

"The introduction of Brunei’s new penal code that calls for death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity has been delayed.

It was due to come into force today, although the delay has been described by officials as temporary.

They say the new penal code will be introduced once Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, returns from his trip to Singapore.”

South Carolina Mayor With A History Of Anti-Gay Remarks Fires City’s First Openly Gay Police Chief

By Adam Peck on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

South Carolina Mayor With A History Of Anti-Gay Remarks Fires City’s First Openly Gay Police Chief

Latta, SC Mayor Earl Bullard

Latta, SC Mayor Earl Bullard

Residents of Latta, South Carolina are calling into question the motivations behind Mayor Earl Bullard’s firing of Police Chief Crystal Moore, a 20-year veteran on the town’s police department.

Moore was unceremoniously relieved of her duties earlier this week after Bullard handed down a list of seven reprimands. Members of the city council have voiced their support for Moore and are condemning Bullard’s unilateral decision to fire Moore as an act of retribution, or worse: of outright homophobia.

Earlier this year, Moore — who is openly gay and the city’s first female police chief — opened an investigation into whether city vehicles were being used improperly by another city official. Among her findings was the fact that Bullard had failed to conduct a proper background check on the employee, Parks and Recreations Director Vontray Sellers.

In an apparent act of retribution, Bullard issued seven reprimands in a single day against Moore, the first reprimands she has ever received in more than 20 years on the force, before firing her on Tuesday.

City Councilman Jared Taylor suspects something even more pernicious could be at work. He provided local news affiliate WBTW with an audio recording of a phone call between himself and Bullard in which the mayor says he wouldn’t let his children be exposed to “questionable” lifestyles, and would rather have an alcoholic be responsible for his kids than a gay person.

“I would much rather have someone who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children, because that ain’t the damn way that they’re supposed to be,” Bullard says on the call. “I don’t agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don’t say anything because that’s the way they want to live. But I’m not going to let my child be around. I’m not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it, and I’m not going to see them do it with two men neither. I’m not going to do it, because that ain’t the way the world works.”

Councilwoman Lutherine Williams has led the push for answers, appearing before a crowd of nearly 100 people outside of city hall on Thursday evening in a show of support for Moore. She and other council members intended to discuss Moore’s firing at the Thursday evening town council meeting, but Bullard refused to discuss the matter at all, to the disappointment of the dozens who crammed into the chambers in search of an explanation.

"The Federal Court of Appeal has largely upheld a landmark ruling that could vastly expand the ranks of people considered Indians under the Constitution.

A Federal Court ruling last year brought Metis and non-status Indians into the ranks of people considered “Indians” under the Constitution.

On Thursday, the Appeal Court upheld part of that decision — ruling that only Metis are included as Indians under the Constitution, but not non-status Indians.

The case dragged on for years before last year’s ruling.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and several Metis and non-status Indians took the federal government to court in 1999, alleging discrimination because they were not considered “Indians” under a section of the Constitution Act.”

"Activists interviewed by the Guardian said they had documented up to nine raids across the country since October 2013 – an unusually high rate of arrests. Most significantly, at least seven raids have seen people arrested at home rather than at parties or known meeting places, raising concerns that the community is facing the start of a targeted crackdown.

The latest and most concerning raid saw four men seized from their east Cairo apartment on 1 April within hours of signing the lease, according to activists. Within a week, the four were given jail terms of up to eight years – sentences unusual for both their length and the speed at which they were handed down.”

Read more at the source link.

Gay rights victory in Ethiopia

A step in the right direction, albeit, a small one.

Q.

An anti-gay march was planned in Addis Ababa to protest against homosexuality and raise support for tougher anti-gay laws
Mulatu Teshome is the president of Ethiopia.

Gay rights victories in Ethiopia are scarce. But officials announced today (16 April) a rally protesting against homosexuality was cancelled.

Two groups had been planning to hold a large rally against gay people in Addis Ababa on 26 April.

The initiative was planned after Uganda and Nigeria recently passed anti-gay legislation, with a religious group hoping to raise support of toughening up Ethiopia’s anti-homosexuality laws.

‘The country has seen an increase in gay-related activities and this has reached an alarming stage,’ said Dereje Negash, the head of a Christian Association, Woyniye Abune Teklehaimanot.

In the east African country, Ethiopia punishes homosexuality by up to 15 years in prison.

But in a turnaround, the religious group chairman spokesman said the cancellation came after people inside the church asked the government to prevent the rally.

Redwan Hussein, a government spokesman, said the government does not support the homophobic moments that have been building in Ethiopia and across Africa.

He told the AP plans to add gay sex to a list of crimes ineligible for a presidential pardon have been dropped.

The Louisiana House of Representatives rejected legislation, on Tuesday, that would remove the state’s symbolic ban on certain kinds of sodomy. The bill failed by a wide margin on a vote of 27-67, with 11 members not voting.

Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law was overturned and declared unconstitutional in 2003, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling such state statutes could not be enforced. Still, the Legislature has been unwilling to officially strike the measure from state law, even though it can’t be used as a cause for arrest.

UN condemns Brunei over new law allowing gays to be stoned to death

Hassanal Bolkiah has been the Sultan of Brunei since 1967

Hassanal Bolkiah has been the Sultan of Brunei since 1967

The United Nations has condemned Brunei for adopting a new penal code that calls for death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

It has long been a crime in Brunei, but the maximum punishment had been a 10-year prison sentence.

However, Brunei, a predominately Muslim state, has now adopted a new penal code that calls for death by stoning for consenting same-sex sexual activity, adultery, rape, extramarital sexual relations, and for declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.

The new penal code will come into effect on 22 April.

“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder are the other offences for which the death penalty could be applied under the revised code.

Noting that Brunei has maintained an effective moratorium on the use of the death penalty since 1957, OHCHR urged the government to establish a formal moratorium and to work towards abolishing the practice altogether.

“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,” Mr Colville stated.

He added that the criminalisation and application of the death penalty for consensual relations between adults in private also violates a whole host of rights, including the rights to privacy, equality, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

Hassanal Bolkiah has been the Sultan of Brunei, head of government and state, since 1967.

Brunei gained independence from the UK in 1984.

(via Malta passes civil unions for gay couples, celebrations start | Gay Star News)

"The island nation of Malta has finally passed civil unions for gay couples tonight (14 April).

Traditionally conservative, the small European Catholic nation has given gay couples the right to have their union recognized.

With the opposition choosing to abstain from the vote, the Labour-led government passed the bill Monday evening.

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who said she had ‘no problems’ giving gay couples civil unions, is expected to sign the bill as early as tomorrow.”

Read more at the source link.

(via Malta passes civil unions for gay couples, celebrations start | Gay Star News)

"The island nation of Malta has finally passed civil unions for gay couples tonight (14 April).

Traditionally conservative, the small European Catholic nation has given gay couples the right to have their union recognized.

With the opposition choosing to abstain from the vote, the Labour-led government passed the bill Monday evening.

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who said she had ‘no problems’ giving gay couples civil unions, is expected to sign the bill as early as tomorrow.”

Read more at the source link.

(via Patchwork of progress | Daily Xtra)

Of the 60 districts in the province, only two had passed anti-homophobia policy by the end of 2004.

Fast-forward a decade: we’re up to 29 — nearly half the districts have signed on. That may not sound like a huge change, but it is.

“In the past five years in particular, there’s been a groundswell of change,” says Chamberlain, who has been there since the beginning.

(via Patchwork of progress | Daily Xtra)

Of the 60 districts in the province, only two had passed anti-homophobia policy by the end of 2004.

Fast-forward a decade: we’re up to 29 — nearly half the districts have signed on. That may not sound like a huge change, but it is.

“In the past five years in particular, there’s been a groundswell of change,” says Chamberlain, who has been there since the beginning.

(via US: Mississippi shops resist ‘religious freedom’ law with ‘we don’t discriminate’ stickers · PinkNews.co.uk)

"Hundreds of Mississippi shops and businesses are protesting against the state’s new ‘religious freedom’ law, with window stickers assuring customers they would never use it to refuse them service."

Read more at the source link.

(via US: Mississippi shops resist ‘religious freedom’ law with ‘we don’t discriminate’ stickers · PinkNews.co.uk)

"Hundreds of Mississippi shops and businesses are protesting against the state’s new ‘religious freedom’ law, with window stickers assuring customers they would never use it to refuse them service."

Read more at the source link.

A sad day for post secondary education.
Q.

"The B.C. Law Society has voted down a motion that would have barred graduates of Trinity Western University’s new law school from practising law in B.C. because of the school’s ban on gay sex.

The society benchers voted 20-6 against the motion on Friday morning in Vancouver.

“We are very pleased with this outcome,” said TWU President Bob Kuhn in statement shortly after the vote.

“This is also an important decision for all Canadians. It says that there is room in a democratic country like Canada for a law school at a Christian university.”

The B.C. government approved the creation of a private faith-based law school at the Fraser Valley’s university last December.

But the provincial approval sparked outrage from gay and lesbian advocates because the Christian university has a policy against same-sex relationships.

The school’s handbook says students must sign a covenant recognizing that sexual relations should be confined to marriage between a man and a woman.”

In which Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson back pedals on her promise to review the countries buggery laws.

“I can’t tell you when, because you are going to hold me [to it] if I give you a timeline. We are so busy trying to hold things and to see … whatever decisions we take — because we have to take tough decisions — that it doesn’t impact in a very serious way the majority of our people…,” she says.

If they’ve got extra money sitting around to promote perversion, obviously they’ve got more money than they really need.

Senator Mike Fair R-SC