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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 17:40 GMT
Portugal blocks lesbian marriage - BBC
A lesbian couple say they will fight a decision by Portuguese officials not to allow their request to get married.
The couple had expected the bid to be rejected as Portuguese law only allows marriage between a man and a women.
But Helena Paixao, 35, and Teresa Pires, 28, who have lived together for three years, say they will appeal and take the case to court if necessary.
Neighbouring Spain legalised gay marriages last year, despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church.
Portugal has a law that allows gay couples certain legal, tax and property rights.
Lawyers for Ms Paixao and Ms Pires say they could challenge the marriage law on the grounds that the country's constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The Socialist government has said that it does not intend to change the law.
Frank Blasts Condi's UN Gay Position
by Doreen Brandt, 365Gay.com Washington Bureau
Posted: February 2, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET
(Washington) Saying he had expected more from her Congressman Barney Frank criticized Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her role in the rejection of two international LGBT civil rights groups by a United Nations body.
Last month the United Nations Economic and Social Council, a think tank made up of non governmental agencies from around the world, voted not to admit the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the Danish Association of Gays and Lesbians.
Their application to join other nongovernmental agencies on the council was rejected without a hearing after the United States voted with some of the world's most repressive regimes, including Iran, Zimbabwe, China, Cameroon and Columbia to turn down the request. (story)
"I was deeply troubled to learn that the U.S. Government, presumably at your direction, sided with some of the most undemocratic, anti-human rights regimes in the world in voting against consultative status for two international organizations, solely on the grounds that they represent gay and lesbian people," Frank said in a letter to Rice.
"I had hopes for better from you."
Frank also criticized Columbian president Alvaro Uribe for also voting against the application.
"As a gay man who has been very supportive of your efforts to defeat the anti-democratic forces in Colombia, I was personally as well as officially offended by your government's failure to support the request of two gay and lesbian organizations to receive consultative status at the UN," he wrote to Uribe.
"There was clearly no reason other than the fact that they represented gays and lesbians that led to their rejection, and I am sorry that you refused to join several democratic nations in support of their request. Your lack of respect for the essential dignity of myself and other gay and lesbian people is, as I said, deeply disappointing to me.
ECOSOC status allows NGOs to attend UN meetings and speak in their own name. The Council already has participation from labor and social rights groups.
The governments of Iran and Zimbabwe are considered to be among the most repressive anti-gay regimes in the world.
President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has long scapegoated and persecuted gay men and lesbians. The recently-elected president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has overseen an anti-gay campaign in recent months, in which many young people accused of homosexual acts reportedly have been executed.
Egypt also voted against considering the application. That country too has a history of persecuting gay men.
The ILGA has been trying to get inclusion on the Council for the past four years. Each time it has been met with roadblocks created in part by the US.
Three years ago, the United States abstained from voting on a sexual orientation nondiscrimination resolution offered by Brazil via the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Male Student Wins Fight To Wear Skirt
by The Associated Press
Posted: February 2, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET
(Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey) A male high school student can wear a skirt to school after the American Civil Liberties Union reached an agreement with school officials.
The ACLU announced the deal. It will allow the Hasbrouck Heights School senior to wear a skirt to protest the school's no-shorts policy.
The district's dress code bans shorts between Oct. 1 and April 15, but allows skirts, a policy 17-year-old Michael Coviello believes is discriminatory.
"I'm happy to be able to wear skirts again to bring attention to the fact that the ban on shorts doesn't make sense," Coviello said in a statement.
The Hasbrouck Heights superintendent, Joseph C. Luongo, did not return telephone messages left Tuesday seeking comment.
Coviello first wore a costume-style dress but high school officials told him to go home and change. The district's superintendent then advised the Coviello to purchase everyday dresses and skirts at a retail store, which Coviello did, the ACLU said.
But after a few days, he was sent home with a note from his principal saying if he wore a dress, kilt or skirt, he could no longer attend school.