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Swedish Court Rules
A new court ruling forces Swedish
public administrations to recognise that
adults have the right to choose first
names, no matter what was traditionally
regarded as male or female.
This comes after the Swedish Supreme
Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten)
ruled that Jan-Olov Ågren can now add
"Madeleine" to his name. The verdict is
seen as a victory for transgendered peo-
ple who have fought for many years to
change its law regarding names.
Approval was also given to allow a
young boy to be named Q, overruling a
lower court's objections. "Q cannot be
deemed objectionable or cause offence,"
the court said.
Ann-Christine Davidsson from the
west coast town of Varberg also won
the right to be officially called "A-C" as
she has been known for years, the Göte-
borgs-Posten newspaper reported.
for rights in DC
Tens of thousands of gay rights sup-
porters rallied in Washington to demand
that President Barack Obama keep his
promises to end discrimination against
gays and to let them serve openly in the
military. The National Equality March
coincided with National Coming Out
Day, and came a day after President
Obama's speech to the Human Rights
Campaign, the nation's largest gay and
lesbian rights group.
Obama's speech was met with enthu-
siasm by gay rights supporters, as he
said he has urged Congress to repeal the
Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the
Domestic Partners Benefit and Obliga-
tions Act. However, Obama has been
criticised recently by gay rights activists
who say he has not fulfilled his cam-
paign promise of bringing more equality
to the LGBT community.
March organiser Cleve Jones, creator
of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and a pro-
tegé of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk,
said he had initially discouraged a rally
earlier this year. But he and others began
to worry Obama was backing away from
his campaign promises.
A Moscow court has ruled against two lesbians
s eeking to become Russia’s ﬁrst legally married gay couple.
Last May, Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko walked
into a Moscow registry ofﬁce dressed in wedding attire
and sought a marriage license. The ofﬁce director denied
their request, saying that Russian law only recognises a
marriage between a man and a woman. The couple took
their case to court.
In the recent court ruling, the Tverskoi District
Court upheld the decision by the city's civil reg-
istry, repeating that Russian law deﬁnes mar-
riage as between a woman and a man.
In hearing the ruling Shipitko said,
"We want recognition of our relation-
ship by society and the state. We are
a family already, we live together
and share household chores. We
also would like to have children.
That is why we want legal rec-
ognition of our union."
The women's lawyer
and Russian gay activ-
ist Nikolai Alexeyev told
reporters that they plan
to ﬁght the ruling. “We
understand quite well that
it is a long road that must
be taken before such unions
will be recognised. But I
have no doubt this recogni-
tion will come."
The two women are going
to ﬂy to Canada to marry and
then return to Russia, in a bid
to force authorities to recognize
Uganda's anti-homosexuality increases
Uganda's Parliament recently expanded the
new anti-homosexuality bill to include gay mar-
riage and harsher penalties.
Not only is there a lifetime imprisonment
on conviction of homosexuality, but, like the
ﬁrst draft, the bill includes a complete ban on
all LGBT activities. In a severe elimination
of human rights, the ban includes such things
as blogging, because blogging could be con-
strued as "promoting homosexuality". The bill
also bans all organisations which advocate on
behalf of LGBT citizens.
The bill claims that "same sex attraction is
not an innate and immutable characteristic and
that people who experience this mental disor-
der can and have changed to a heterosexual
orientation... homosexuals are not born that
way, but develop this disorder based on ex-
periences and environmental conditions, it is
preventable, especially among young people
who are most vulnerable to recruitment into
the homosexual lifestyle."
The bill also retains provisions which re-
quire people to report (within twenty-four
hours) if they know of someone engaging in
homosexuality. To not report it carries a ﬁne
and/or up to a three year prison sentence. The
bill also extends jurisdiction to acts committed
outside Uganda by Ugandan citizens.
In an attempt to turn partners against each
other, the bill provides compensation for "vic-
tims" of homosexuality. This would allow a
consensual same-sex partner to avoid impris-
onment for homosexual activities by claiming
the status of "victim" and seeking compensa-
The newest addition to the bill is an explicit
ban on same-sex marriage. Anyone who enters
into a same-sex marriage, either in Uganda or
abroad, will liable for lifetime imprisonment.
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