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Angus Reid Global Scan : Polls & Research
Spaniards Back Government on Same-Sex Marriage
April 20, 2006
(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in Spain believe their current administration was right in granting legal recognition to homosexual partnerships, according to a poll by Instituto Opina released by Cadena Ser. 61 per cent of respondents agree with the government’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was sworn in as president of the government in April 2004, following a victory for the Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) in the legislative ballot. The conservative Popular Party (PP) had administered the government under José María Aznar since 1996.
In April 2005, the PSOE-dominated Congress of Deputies approved a bill that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, divorce and adopt children. In June, the bill became law after a 187-147 vote. Spain became the third country in Europe—after Belgium and the Netherlands—to permit same-sex marriage.
In the first six months since the same-sex marriage law was sanctioned in Spain, 425 homosexual couples from all over the country were married.
Do you agree or disagree with the government’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage?
Source: Instituto Opina / Cadena Ser
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 Spanish adults, conducted on Mar. 30, 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.
Gay Couples in Belgium Get Adoption Rights
Friday April 21, 2006 6:16 AM
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The Belgian parliament has narrowly approved a bill to grant same-sex couples equal rights in adoption.
Senators backed the proposal Thursday by a vote of 34 to 33 with two abstentions. The House had earlier voted 77-62 in favor of the bill.
With the adoption of the bill, Belgium becomes the fourth European Union member state to allow same-sex couples equal rights in adoption, after Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Up to now, only heterosexual couples or single people were granted adoption rights.
``It is a memorable day for the children of gays. Finally they earn the right of a worthy legal link with both their parents,'' said Mieke Stessens of the Belgian Federation of Gays.
Belgium OK's Co-Parenting For Gay Couples
by Malcolm Thornberry, 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief
April 21, 2006 - 12:01 am ET
(Brussels) The Belgian Senate on Thursday passed legislation recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to be parents. The measure passed the lower house in December.
The law will recognize both partners where one is the biological parent and allow couples to jointly adopt children.
The bill passed by only one vote in the Senate.
In the case of adoption, the law will cover children from Belgium or who were adopted abroad.
"This bill means children can enjoy a genuine statute, which is essential for their development. Their situation is not a shameful one," Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx told the Senate.
LGBT rights groups had been fighting for the change in the law ever since Belgium became the second country in the world to permit same-sex marriage, arguing that many gay and lesbian couples are already raising children but that those children are not protected by law.
The new law will provide for custody, visitation and child support when a same-sex couple breaks up and provides rights for non biological parents if the other parent should die.
Belgium legalized same-sex marriage in 2003 but the law did not permit co-parenting.
2006年 04月 21日 金曜日 15:53 JST
［サンフランシスコ ２０日 ロイター］ 「ホモセクシュアルは恥ずべきこと」と書かれたＴシャツを学校に着用してきた生徒をめぐり行われてきた裁判で、米連邦控訴裁判所は２０日、公立の学校において、中傷的なスローガンが書かれた洋服の着用禁止を学校側が生徒に命じることができるという判決を下した。
Court Lets Schools Ban Inflammatory T-Shirts
A federal appeals panel rules that an anti-gay slogan sported by a San Diego-area high school student interfered with others' right to learn.
By Henry Weinstein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 21, 2006
Schools in the Western United States can forbid a high school student to wear a T-shirt with a slogan that denigrates gay and lesbian students, a sharply divided federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Thursday.
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a T-shirt that proclaimed "Be ashamed, our school embraced what God has condemned" on the front and "Homosexuality is shameful" on the back was "injurious to gay and lesbian students and interfered with their right to learn." Wearing such a T-shirt can be barred on a public high school campus without violating the 1st Amendment, the court said.
In numerous instances, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Americans must tolerate offensive speech, including permitting marches by Nazis through a community with a substantial Jewish population. However, the majority ruled in this instance that some limitations were permissible in a public secondary school setting.
The court concluded that San Diego-area high school student Tyler Harper's donning of the T-shirt "collides with the rights of other students in the most fundamental way," wrote 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt.
"Public school students who may be injured by verbal assaults on the basis of a core identifying characteristic such as race, religion, or sexual orientation have a right to be free from such attacks while on school campuses," Reinhardt said. "Being secure involves not only the freedom from physical assaults but from psychological attacks that cause young people to question their self-worth and their rightful place in society."
Judge Alex Kozinski issued a strong dissent. "While I find this a difficult and troubling case," the Poway Unified School District has "offered no lawful justification for banning Harper's T-shirt."
There was no evidence that gay students were harmed by derogatory messages of the type conveyed on Harper's T-shirt, Kozinski said.
Moreover, Kozinski, an appointee of former President Reagan, said there was no indication that a discussion that Harper had with other students about the T-shirt "turned violent or disrupted school activities."
In fact, Kozinski said, "while words were exchanged, the students managed the situation well and without intervention from the school authorities. No doubt, everyone learned an important civics lesson about dealing with others who hold sharply divergent views."
Thursday's ruling comes amid a growing campaign across the country to force public schools, state universities and private companies to annul policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. Plaintiffs in several lawsuits are seeking to knock out tolerance programs on the grounds that they violate their religious beliefs, which condemn homosexuality.
The sharply clashing views of Reinhardt and Kozinski, who usually agree on free speech cases, reflects that the case poses "an enormously difficult issue — the tension between schools wanting to create a more tolerant learning environment and the important value of protecting the free speech of students," said Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law professor at Duke University in North Carolina. He said that in recent years appellate courts had overwhelmingly sided with school officials who had restricted the speech of high school students.
But UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh said he found the majority opinion "very troubling…. This is very much contrary to basic principles that the 1st Amendment is viewpoint neutral. It protects hostile viewpoints as well as tolerant ones," Volokh said. He predicted that the issue would reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit decision stemmed from an incident in April 2004, when Harper, then a sophomore at Poway High School, wore the T-shirt to protest a Day of Silence at the campus intended, in the words of a school official, to "teach tolerance of others, particularly those of a different sexual orientation."
A teacher at the school told Harper that he believed the shirt was inflammatory, violated the school's dress code and "created a negative and hostile working environment for others." When Harper refused to remove the shirt and asked to speak to a school administrator, the teacher gave him a dress-code violation card to take to the front office.
After meeting with Harper, school Principal Scott Fisher said Harper could not wear the shirt on campus but declined to suspend him as Harper requested. Rather, Fisher required Harper to stay in the school's front office the remainder of day. He was not disciplined in any other way.
About six weeks later, Harper, represented by two Christian-oriented legal organizations, sued the school district, contending that both his right to free speech and freedom of religion had been violated. Harper asserted that wearing the T-shirt was "motivated by sincerely held religious beliefs" regarding homosexuality and that the school "punished" him for expressing them. He also said the school had "attempted to change" his religious views.
U.S. District Judge John Houston in San Diego ruled that Harper was not entitled to a preliminary injunction barring the district from enforcing its dress code. The 9th Circuit majority upheld Houston and rejected all of Harper's arguments. The panel has jurisdiction over federal appeals in California and eight other Western states.
At this stage, the 9th Circuit was reviewing Houston's ruling on the preliminary injunction. He is still considering Harper's larger constitutional challenge. However, Thursday's ruling will shape the rest of the case in a profound way.
Both Reinhardt, an appointee of former President Carter, and Judge Sidney R. Thomas, a Clinton appointee who joined the majority opinion, are strong supporters of the 1st Amendment. Their opinion emphasized that it was limited to high schools and elementary schools, and that the T-shirt would be permissible on a college campus.
The majority cautioned that "it is essential that students have the opportunity to engage in full and open political expression" and that "limitations on student speech must be narrow…. Accordingly, we limit our holding to instances of derogatory and injurious remarks directed at students' minority status such as race, religion and sexual orientation."
The ruling came just a few days before Poway High is scheduled to have its next Day of Silence, which will be followed by a Day of Truth. Harper's photograph appears on the Day of Truth website, which says the day was "established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective."
The website encourages students to wear Day of Truth T-shirts and to hand out cards (not during class time) saying, among other things, that "Silence isn't freedom. It's a constraint. Truth tolerates open discussion, because the truth emerges when healthy discourse is allowed."
Harper is now a senior at Poway High and will be heading off to college in the fall.
Both his lawyer, Robert Tyler, and an attorney for the school district, Jack M. Sleeth, said Harper was an excellent student and had no disciplinary record.
Sleeth said the case clearly had broad ramifications. "This is not just about Poway; it is about the rights of various people, including gay students in schools everywhere and students with religious opinions," he said.
Tyler, general counsel of Advocates for Faith and Freedom, said he was disappointed with the majority ruling and had not decided whether to appeal.
Even in the midst of his blistering dissent, Kozinski acknowledged that he had sympathy for the position of Poway officials "that students in school are a captive audience and should not be forced to endure speech that they find offensive and demeaning."
"There is surely something to the notion that a Jewish student might not be able to devote his full attention to school activities if the fellow in the seat next to him is wearing a T-shirt with the message 'Hitler Had the Right Idea' in front and 'Let's Finish the Job!' on the back," Kozinski said.
"This T-shirt may well interfere with the educational experience even if the two students never come to blows or even have words about it."
Nonetheless, Kozinski chided the majority for concluding that it was permissible to suppress points of view while extolling the virtues of tolerance. "One man's civic responsibility," he wrote, "is another man's thought control."
U.S. APPEALS COURT
Public schools can ban anti-minority messages
- Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, April 21, 2006
Public schools can prohibit students from displaying messages that attack gays or other persecuted minorities, a divided federal appeals court ruled Thursday in the case of a Southern California youth whose T-shirt proclaimed that "homosexuality is shameful.''
In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a high school sophomore in San Diego County was unlikely to be able to show at trial that his rights were violated when school officials ordered him to remove the shirt in April 2004, the day after an event at the school promoting gay-straight tolerance.
"Public school students who may be injured by verbal assaults on the basis of a core identifying characteristic such as race, religion or sexual orientation have a right to be free from such attacks while on school campuses,'' Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the majority opinion.
Reinhardt said students' constitutional right of free speech does not prohibit school officials from restricting "student speech that intrudes upon the rights of other students.''
Judge Alex Kozinski dissented, saying the majority was relying on pop psychology to create a new right for certain groups of students to be protected from offensive speech.
"I have considerable difficult with giving school authorities the power to decide that only one side of a controversial topic may be discussed in the school environment because the opposing point of view is too extreme or demeaning,'' Kozinski said.
The Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative organization that represented the student in the case, said it would ask the full appeals court to order a new hearing by a 15-judge panel.
"Students do not give up their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door,'' said attorney Kevin Theriot. "This panel has upheld school censorship of student expression if it is the Christian view of homosexual behavior.''
He contrasted the ruling with a 2001 decision by another federal appeals court, written by then-Judge Samuel Alito -- now a Supreme Court justice -- overturning on free-speech grounds a school district's harassment policy that included bans on anti-gay slurs.
The San Diego student, Chase Harper, wore his shirt at Poway High School in protest of the annual "day of silence'' sponsored by the school's Gay-Straight Alliance. The same event a year earlier had been the occasion of confrontations between students, some of them wearing T-shirts with derogatory comments about homosexuals, the court said.
The back of Harper's shirt read, "Homosexuality is shameful,'' with a biblical citation; the front read, "Be ashamed, our school embraced what God has condemned."
Kozinski, in dissent, said Harper did not intend to demean other students but to dispute the viewpoint expressed in the "day of silence." Silencing Harper's message amounts to unconstitutional "viewpoint discrimination," Kozinski said.
A teacher sent Harper to the principal's office, where Principal Scott Fisher told him the shirt was inflammatory and asked him to remove it. The student asked to be suspended instead, but the principal kept him in the office for the rest of the day without disciplining him.
Harper's suit, filed in June 2004, claimed violations of freedom of speech and religion. Thursday's ruling upheld a federal judge's denial of an injunction that would prohibit the school from enforcing its policy.
Reinhardt, joined by Judge Sidney Thomas in the majority opinion, said the Supreme Court's landmark 1969 ruling on free speech in public school -- allowing a student to wear a black armband in class to protest the Vietnam War -- left room for school officials to limit expression that disrupts education or violates other students' rights.
Those rights, he said, include the right of a historically persecuted minority group to be free from "psychological attacks that cause young people to question their self-worth and their rightful place in society.'' He also said requiring Harper to remove his T-shirt did not interfere with his religious beliefs or practices.
E-mail Bob Egelko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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IGLHRC Calls for Immediate Investigation into Reports of Gay Iraqis Targeted for Violence, Kidnappings and Murder
Date: April 20, 2006 Middle East » Iraq » Press Release
After reports from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) that gay Iraqis are increasingly targeted for violent threats, kidnappings, attacks, and murder solely because of their sexual orientation, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has written to the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and called on the Bush Administration to take all appropriate measures to publicly condemn the escalation of violence against gay men and lesbians in Iraq and take all possible measures to ensure their protection.
In addition to the letter to the State Department, Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of IGLHRC, has issued the following statement:
“IGLHRC is alarmed by the documented escalation of violence against gay people in Iraq. We call on the United States, political leaders around the world, and Iraqi authorities to take responsibility for speaking out and stemming the targeting of gay people for kidnapping and murder, and seeing that those committing these crimes are punished.
“The acts of violence within the Iraqi community are part of a larger pattern of violence that has arisen out of the current war and sectarian tensions. We believe it is the responsibility and obligation of the United States, considering its present involvement in Iraq, to protect and support the most vulnerable and marginalized populations being targeted for this violence.
“It has been well documented and observed that war, particularly one as chaotic as the one in Iraq, leads to targeting and violence against groups that are more marginalized. The rape of women being used as a weapon of war in Bosnia and the targeting of gay people in addition to millions of Jews during the Holocaust in Europe are only two such horrific examples. The violent atmosphere of war often provides cover for more personalized violence, such as that against LGBT people.
“We are grateful to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for reporting on the targeting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people in Iraq for violence and abuse. We expect that the US State Department will condemn these acts as it recently has condemned homophobic acts in Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
“Whenever public leaders—whether political or religious—espouse homophobia one can expect an increase in violence against our community. Their calls for discrimination or murder of LGBT people create an atmosphere of impunity, as police and the public in general get the message that they won't be punished for kidnapping or torturing someone who is gay. By the same token, the leaders who condemn such brutality have the power to stop it.
IGLHRC will diligently follow up on these reports and offer whatever strategic assistance we can to Rainbow for Life, the Iraqi LGBT group cited in the UNOCHA report.”
(A copy of the full letter to Secretary of State Rice is available on IGLHRC's hompage, at www.iglhrc.org.
日本軍「慰安婦」問題についての米国議会調査局の報告書 (mascka dot org 2006/04/20)
April 10, 2006
Japanese Military’s “Comfort Women”
Specialist in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Report Services
Responding to a number of inquiries, this memorandum provides background concerning the system of “comfort women” organized by the Japanese military during the 1930s and 1940s. For further questions about this issue, the author can be contacted at extension 77680.