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Nepal LGBT Rights Set to Go Backward

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Nepal Gay RightsAfter becoming one of the most progressive Asian countries in the wake of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, Nepal is preparing to recriminalize gay sex and block same sex marriage.

Gay Star News reports:

Today, the LGBTI community faces fresh opposition as the law ministry under law and justice minister Narahari Acharya of the ruling Nepali Congress is seeking to enact punitive laws to recriminalize gay sex, Sunil Pant, the country’s first openly gay politician and former member of parliament, told Gay Star News in an email. Gay sex was decriminalized in 2007 after Nepal’s parliament voted to abolish the monarchy. Up till then, homosexuality was deemed an ‘unnatural sex act’ that carried a prison term of up to a year. Under the new laws, gay sex acts will be punishable by three years imprisonment. The new laws will also prohibit same-sex unions, oral and anal sex among heterosexuals, and narrow the definition of rape to only apply to women.

It’s extremely sad to see that a country that had made such progress on KGBT rights may be turning its back on its LGBT community. Maybe the ban on oral sex for straights will help stir up some opposition?

It just goes to show that you can never stop being vigilant in the fight for equal rights.

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Vietnam Gay Rights Bill Derailed

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Vietnam - google maps

from Google Maps

A Vietnam gay rights bill that would have given some rights to same sex couples has been dropped.

Gay Star News reports:

Vietnamese LGBTI activists are disappointed that the government has backed down on plans to legally recognize the property rights of same-sex couples with a bill to rewrite the country’s marriage laws amended at the last moment to exclude them. During a 27 May session of Vietnam’s National Assembly the Committee for Social Affairs revised the Draft Law on Marriage and Family to remove its Article 16 which would have provided some legal recognition of same-sex relationships for the first time. It also placed language in the draft law that would not ban same-sex marriages but simply ignore them legally. ‘The State does not recognize marriage between same-sex people,’ the draft bill now states.

It’s sad – Vietnam was showing promising signs of maybe being the first country in Asia to recognize same sex marriage.

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Sri Lanka: No Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Sri Lanka Apple Maps

Apple Maps

A governmental minister in Sri Lanka has ruled out marriage equality for the country.

LGBT Weekly reports:

The Sri Lankan government will not legalize gay marriages in Sri Lanka, said Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa according to Speaking to newspaper editors in Colombo April 24, the minister said that there had been a request for marriage equality in the form of a condition to obtain aid by the British Government. The Sri Lankan government is not prepared to entertain that request, he said. Same-sex relations are illegal and punishable with jail in Sri Lanka, just as it is throughout the Indian subcontinent, which was part of the former British Empire and had the similar anti-gay laws.

Marriage equality is going to be a long time coming to Asia, where many countries still criminalize homosexuality.

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Taiwan: President Expresses Support for Marriage Equality

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Taiwan - Google Maps

from Google Maps

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou apparently just expressed his support for marriage equality in the country. reports:

Ying-jeou noted that when he was mayor of Taipei 15 years ago it was one of the only cities in the world that had a budget for supporting gay rights activities and is now one of the most gay-friendly cities in Asia. However, heterosexual marriage in Taiwan developed over thousands of years of history and Ying-jeou lamented that advancing gay marriage, which is still illegal in the country, is going to take “a high degree of consensus”.

Could Taiwan become the first Asian country to institute a marriage equality law?

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Going Global

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

In November, MEUSA National Media Director Stuart Gaffney and Director of Legal and Policy John Lewis are traveling to Japan to give a series of public lectures and seminars on marriage equality and LGBT rights, and to meet with Japanese LGBT leaders. Though we are seeing some signs of progress for greater legal recognition of LGBT equality and relationship recognition in countries across Asia, currently same-sex couples cannot marry legally in any Asian country.

Read the full story on the MEUSA news blog…

Taiwan: Gay Wedding Banquet Planned To Push for Marriage Equality

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Gay Wedding - HandsLGBT activists in Taiwan are planning a huge gay wedding banquet as part of the push for marriage equality in the country.

Pink News reports:

Over 800 activists have pledged to support the “Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights” campaign this September, in a bid to press for the legalisation of same-sex unions. Following the recently upheld same-sex marriage of a transgender couple earlier this month, gay activists in Taiwan have announced a ‘wedding banquet’ campaign to push for an amendment to the country’s Civil Code. The alliance said it would host a rally in front of the presidential office in Taipei on 7 September.

Do you think Taiwan will be the first Asian country to embrace marriage equality?

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Vietnam: Country to Debate Marriage Equality This Year

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Vietnam - google maps

from Google Maps

Of all the places that I thought would get marriage equality this year, Vietnam was pretty low on the list. Their only discussing it, but still… The Advocate reports:

While there has been some cynicism about the Communist Party-led government’s support for gay rights, as it is a cause that doesn’t threaten to undermine the regime’s authority, some activists see progress for LGBTs as a first step toward greater freedom for all in the nation. “I’ve seen there’s change,” Le Quang Binh, founder of the social justice group ISEE, told USA Today. “They understand that human rights is human rights. It’s the right thing to do.” He continued, “We always push for more freedom, more justice, more equality. We test the waters.”

If Vietnam does take this step, it would be the first nation in Asia to have marriage equality. Fingers crossed.

Cambodia: Some Provinces Recognizing Lesbian Couples as Married

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Cambodia - Google Maps

from Google Maps

At least 15 lesbian couples have been legally recognized as married in some provinces in Cambodia. Gay Star News reports:

Cambodian law defines marriage as between a man and a woman only but in some provinces in the country local government officials have decided to recognize gay couples. Some of these local government leaders will share their experiences at an IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) organized by RoCK as part of Cambodia Pride Week on 17 May. There are 15 lesbian couples that Srorn knows have been issued marriage certificates in Kandal, Takeo, Prey Veng and Kampong Chhnang provinces. ‘After Pride Week my job is to visit more provinces and interview gay couples who been given family books from the local authorities, because when they give you a family book it means that they are officially, legally family.’

This makes them the first same sex couples legally recognized by a government in Asia.

Nepal: Asian LGBT Activists Meet to Plan Strategy

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

LGBT rights have historically expanded much more slowly in asian countries than in the West. A group of LGBT activists is working to change that. Pink News reports:

LGBT activists from across Asia gathered this weekend to plan a strategy ahead of this summer’s United Nations Human Rights Council meeting. The LGBT activists from over a dozen countries, met in Nepal this weekend to formulate a plan for overcoming problems in the region surrounding religion and culture. The event was also attended by Nepalese government officials.

The UN Secretary General even spoke to the gathering:

In a video speech to kick off the conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “Far too many people and governments still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and the hardship it causes.”

There have been recent signs of change in Asia – nepal has become surprisingly gay friendly. In Taiwan, a gay couple is pursuing a lawsuit for marriage equality. Even Vietnam is said to be considering marriage equality, although the vote was put off until 2014.

But change is coming to this part of the world, just as it’s sweeping through Europe, the USA, and Latin America.

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Taiwan: Leading the Way on Marriage Equality in Asia?

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Will Taiwan become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013?

Perhaps, judging from recent developments on the island, where the legislature has held its first hearings on the issue, a move that signifies “a major step towards becoming the first Asian territory to approve marriage equality,” the Shanghai-based Web site Shanghaiist reported, citing Gay Star News.

In another sign that change may be on the way for Taiwan, senior judges recently asked for advice from the country’s constitutional court, the Grand Justices, on whether to legalize same-sex marriages after two men from Taiwan, Nelson Chan and his long-term partner, Kao Chih-wei, filed an administrative lawsuit last year following the rejection by a local registration office in Taipei of their application to marry.

Authored By Didi Kirsten Tatlow – See the Full Story at The New York Times

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