TV & Radio
Gay, lesbian marriages in Canada seen under threat
Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:11 PM EST
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada last year became only the fourth nation in the world to allow same sex marriages but that right could be scrapped after the new Conservative government takes power next Monday.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper, who campaigned on the promise that he would allow Parliament to vote on whether to reopen the issue, said last week he "would prefer to do it sooner rather than later, but not immediately."
If Parliament approved the motion, the government would then introduce legislation changing the definition of marriage back to that of a union between a man and a woman. The gay marriage law was brought in by the outgoing Liberals.
Both supporters and opponents say the vote will be very tight, especially since Harper does not control a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.
"There's a real risk that this motion could succeed ... and we need to deal with it," said Laurie Arron of the gay rights group Egale, who calculates that around 150 legislators would for certain oppose the motion.
"We don't want to take any chances. We've got social peace right now. We've got the right to marry and it's working and nobody's been hurt as a result," he told Reuters.
Harper's gay marriage pledge reflects the views of social conservatives who are unhappy that the House of Commons voted last June by 158 to 133 to allow same-sex marriages.
"We're just happy, to be honest, to have a chance to deal with this," said Derek Rogusky of Focus on the Family.
"I'd put it at 140 to 130 (legislators) in our favor. I think we're out in front but that doesn't matter if you don't know where the undecideds are."
Harper stresses he is committed to same sex rights and promises to ensure the 3,000 gay marriages that have already taken place would not be annulled.
Some observers speculate Harper secretly wants to lose the vote and thereby ensure the issue does not dominate headlines, thereby alienating centrist or soft-left voters whose support he will need at the next election to win a majority.
But one leading Conservative said on Tuesday it would be wrong to assume scrapping gay marriage was a vote loser.
"Is it something that would cause huge numbers of people to vote against the Conservatives? ... It is a good issue and I think you'll eventually find we got a hell of lot of votes from people on that issue," the Conservative told Reuters.
Harper is under pressure from groups such as Focus on the Family to produce results.
"If he fails to deliver on this issue, he'll have to deliver on some significant other issue," said Rogusky. One example would be raising the age of consent to 16 from 14.
Rogusky suggested social conservatives might not support Harper next time if there was no movement on issues important to the movement, prompting the senior Conservative to reply: "They are going to support us. They're certainly not going to go vote for the Liberals."
A law changing the definition of marriage would undoubtedly face a series of court challenges. The Liberal government introduced its same sex law after courts in some of Canada's most powerful provinces ruled in favor of gay marriages.
Groups such as Egale say a law banning same sex marriages would clearly be unconstitutional and would eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court. The Conservatives say the courts should respect the wishes of legislators.
"We think Parliament is supreme and we think if Parliament was to take a position by a majority vote on an issue that the courts would not interfere, especially on a social issue," said the senior Conservative.
記事入力 : 2006/02/01 14:46
UK Sexual Offences Act 2003
State of the Union 2006
Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage.
A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids and buying, selling or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our creator and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.
A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African-Americans. I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicine in America. We will also lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African-American churches and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS and come closer to the day when there are no new infections in America.
For Immediate Release:
Friday, Jan. 27, 2006
WASHINGTON STATE BANS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER CITIZENS
‘States like Washington are picking up the slack as fairness remains stalled in Congress,’ said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
HB 2661 - 2005-06
Expanding the jurisdiction of the human rights commission.
History of Bill
Bill as Passed Legislature
2006年01月30日23時54分 - 朝日
'Gender-free' hard to define, harder to sell
Vague concept morphs into anything-goes sex ed, elicits backlash
By AKEMI NAKAMURA and ERIKO ARITA
The Japan Times: Feb. 1, 2006
Last year's cancellation of lectures on human rights in Kokubunji, Tokyo, has pitted key feminist scholar Chizuko Ueno and free-speech advocates against conservatives in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government opposed to the use of "gender-free" -- a term whose definition varies but somehow conjures up negative images.
Experts say the cancellation reflects a backlash by conservative Japanese against the changing roles of men and women.
The Kokubunji Municipal Government planned last summer to hold 10 lectures on human rights -- a project sponsored by the metropolitan government -- and chose Ueno, a professor of women's studies at the University of Tokyo, to teach the course.
Metropolitan officials then pressured the western Tokyo suburb to ensure lecturers did not mention "gender-free" issues, according to both Tokyo and Kokubunji. The course was axed in August.
"I myself do not use the term gender-free, simply because it has not been adopted by most gender studies scholars in the international academic community," Ueno told reporters Monday.
She said she has no objection to other people using whatever terms they deem appropriate for promoting gender equality, but she strongly objects to official agencies banning the use of any words in public, unless they are discriminatory or hate-generating expressions.
Since the mid-1990s in Japan, "gender-free," which has been interchangeable with "gender equality," carries the concept of being free from sexual differences in a social and cultural context.
But some quarters regard gender-free as a denial of the differences between males and females, and of traditional family values, and as a way to promote what they consider radical sex education.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party said it has received 3,500 reports of alleged "gender-free" activities that were deemed problematic.
According to the LDP's Web site, schools have had fifth-graders of both sexes share the same sleeping quarters on trips and conducted sex education classes using dolls with sex organs, drawing complaints for being too radical. The Tokyo government also claimed teachers had male and female students undergo medical checkups together.
The metropolitan board of education announced in August 2004 that Tokyo would not use the term "gender-free" in its activities, claiming the concept is sometimes misused to ignore the fact that men and women are different.
The metropolitan government thus told Kokubunji that it would not sponsor the course if the city was not sure if Ueno would avoid the term, said Shinichi Egami of Tokyo's Office of Education.
But Tetsuo Saito, director of the Kokubunji-run Honda Community Center who was in charge of planning the lectures, said he told metropolitan officials he believed Ueno would not take up "gender-free" because the theme was human rights.
Saito said he voluntarily dropped the course because Tokyo officials remained unconvinced that the concept would not be broached.
Ueno learned of the Tokyo officials' comments regarding the cancellation in a Mainichi Shimbun report Jan. 10, and asked the metropolitan government three days later to explain why it judged she was an inappropriate choice to run the course.
On Friday, five women's studies scholars submitted a written protest bearing 1,808 signatures to Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and other metropolitan officials over the cancellation, claiming the refusal infringes on freedom of speech.
"If such a stupid act (by the metro government) is accepted (in society), authorities may suppress scholars and intellectuals they don't like based on their supposition and prejudice," said Midori Wakakuwa, one of the experts and a professor emeritus at Chiba University.
Ishihara denied Friday that the metropolitan government refused to employ Ueno as a lecturer for the course but took a dim view of "gender-free."
"Gender-free is ambiguous," he said, and the concept has led to "excessive sex education conducted at schools that defies (common sense) and is grotesque. I cannot accept it."
Experts see widespread misunderstanding of the gender-free concept.
Kaku Sechiyama, an assistant professor of gender issues at the University of Tokyo, said the concept has nothing to do with sex education, radical or otherwise.
Sechiyama is more concerned with the way local governments refuse to use the internationally accepted "gender" in lecture titles, he said.
When the government revised the 2000 action plan for equality of the sexes last month, conservative LDP members opposed using "gender" in it because the connotation has yet to be properly understood by the public.
The Cabinet approved the final version of the plan using the word with a footnote definition.
Experts said the current arguments over "gender-free" and "gender" reflect a backlash against promoting sexual equality.
Since the Basic Law for a Gender-Equal Society was enacted in 1999, adherents to the patriarchal system have opposed the movement, Wakakuwa of Chiba University said.
Ueno said conservative Japanese may blame women, especially women's studies scholars and feminist activists, for the collapse of family values and for Japan's declining birthrate.
Akira Nakamura, a director at the Men's Center, an Osaka-based citizens' group focusing on men's problems, said if certain terms cause controversy, people should first discuss them and their concepts before trying to exclude them.
Some men may think a gender-equal society may strip them of what they believe is their rightful powers, he said.
The Japan Times: Feb. 1, 2006
性差否定より過激な上野教授－国分寺市「人権講座」問題 (世界日報 2006/01/31)
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
78th Annual Academy Awards Nominations
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Philip Seymour Hoffman - CAPOTE
Heath Ledger - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jake Gyllenhaal - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Felicity Huffman - TRANSAMERICA
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Catherine Keener - CAPOTE
Michelle Williams - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES
ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES
"Travelin' Thru" - TRANSAMERICA
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR