Welcome In Bahamas Military
In light of the recent uproar
over gay-cruise visitors, Bahamas National Security Minister and Deputy
Prime Minister Frank Watson has announced that the Bahamas military,
prison service and police force do not discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Anti-gay activists have staged three rallies in the Bahamas this spring,
the most recent on April 13 as an Olivia Cruises ship sailed into port
filled with 800 lesbians. Calling themselves "Save the Bahamas," the protesters
have demanded new laws banning gay sex, gay venues, gays in government
and "open sodomites," and have declared May 8 a "National Day of Repentance.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham supports gay tourism.
In a recent televised speech
devoted solely to gay issues, he said: "Homosexuality is not a contagious
disease and it is not a crime in the Bahamas. ... Whether a private sexual
act between consenting adults is homosexual or heterosexual is not my business
and I do not think it is your business either. We cannot, and ought not
try to, dictate or to legislate morality.... I believe that the hysteria
is, as is usually the case with hysteria, unfounded. It is also un-Christian.
"Homophobia began coming out of the closet in the Caribbean in January
when the Cayman Islands denied docking privileges to a cruise ship carrying
900 U.S. gays, explaining, "We cannot count on this group to uphold the
standards of appropriate behavior expected of visitors." Partially in response,
Britain asked its Caribbean Dependent Territories to decriminalize gay
sex ,provoking outrage on several other islands.
Definition Of 'Spouse' Is Unconstitutional
Ontario's highest court,
the Court of Appeal, rewrote a piece of the federal Income Tax Act April
23 to recognize same-sex couples. The ruling came in a case where Canada's
largest union had been prevented from paying pensions to same-sex couples
due to Revenue Canada's heterosexist definition of "spouse." Pension plans
must be registered with Revenue Canada to be tax-free. "Differences in
cohabitation and gender preferences are a reality to be equitably acknowledged,
not an indulgence to be economically penalized," Madam Justice Rosalie
Abella wrote for the court. "The only rational solution is to include them."
John Fisher, spokesman for
the national lobby group Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere said,
"It opens the door for same-sex pension benefits, certainly, but ... clearly
the broader impact of the ruling is the federal government must reconsider
the definition of spouse in all federal laws to ensure it doesn't discriminate
against gays and lesbians."
Real Women of Canada and
the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada denounced the ruling. Revenue Canada
has not decided whether to appeal to Canada's Supreme Court.
Mugabe Erupts Again
The world's most vocally
homophobic head of state has erupted again. "Animals in the jungle are
better than these people [homosexuals]because at least they know that this
is a man or a woman, "Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said April 22
at the wake of Herald newspaper owner Charles Chikerema, who died April
21. In earlier outbursts, Mugabe called homosexuals "repugnant to my human
conscience ... immoral and repulsive." He declared gay sex "an abomination"
and "sub-animal behavior" and urged citizens to "hand [gays] over to the
police. ... I don't believe they have any rights at all," he stated in
1995. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's highest court ruled March 26 that former President
Canaan Banana will go to trial for allegedly forcing himself sexually on
several male aides .Banana, who was president from 1980-1987, had claimed
he could not receive a fair trial because of extensive media attention
but the court disagreed. He is charged with 11 counts of sodomy, attempted
sodomy and indecent assault on seven aides, a cook, a gardener and a bodyguard.
In yet more Zimbabwean gay drama, some local church leaders are outraged
that the upcoming World Council of Churches conference in Harare, the capital,
will allow participation by the group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe. "We
cry shame that it should be sanctioned by a body claiming torepresent Christians,"
said Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe President Andrew Wutawunashe. "We
roundly condemn such blatant perversion of the Christian faith."
Contributing to this week's
report: David Olson, Alejandra Sarda.
Rex Wockner's weekly international
news reports dating back to May 1994 can be searched at http://www.wockner.com.
The reports in their original form are archived at http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/world/wockner.html,
which also archives Wockner's Quote Unquote column and some of his longer