Russia tries to block benefits for families of gay U.N. employees

Last June, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a far-reaching administrative ruling that offered marital benefits for the first time to all of the United Nations’ lesbian and gay employees, as well as to other U.N. workers who had entered legally recognized domestic partnerships. On Monday, March 2, Russia gave the plan a resounding nyet.

Uganda's "Kill The Gays" bill is back

David Bahati, the sponsor of Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), announced this weekend that he intends to reintroduce the bill in parliament, after a court found it invalid for procedural reasons last August.

But this time will be different. President Yoweri Museveni is under heavy pressure not to once again invite international condemnation by supporting it. More importantly, the Ugandan coalition opposing it is broad-based and deep.

In fact, American activists could learn a lot from their Ugandan counterparts.

Slovenia legalizes gay marriage and adoption rights

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- The parliament of Slovenia voted 51-28 on Tuesday night to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Lawmakers also legalized adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Man guilty of robbing men he met on Grindr

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia -- A man who met his victims on the social networking app Grindr before robbing them at knifepoint has been sentenced to at least 17 months jail.

Corey Draper, 23, contacted the victims via Grindr, a mobile app favoured by gay, bisexual and bi-curious men, the Sydney District Court heard on Tuesday.

Draper used the app to locate potential victims in his area. After chatting online, the suggestion was made to meet up to use the drug ice.

Mexico’s quiet marriage equality revolution

Courts in more than two-thirds of Mexico’s 31 states have granted same-sex couples the right to marry over the past two years in a series of rulings that will likely make marriage equality a reality nationwide in the near future.

The wave of rulings throughout Mexico hasn’t caused the uproar that has followed rulings in the United States over the past year striking down state laws barring same-sex couples from marrying. Couples have not rushed to marry nor have conservatives organized major protests.

Northern Ireland: Anti-gay amendment branded as "license to discriminate"

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (DUP) is seeking to add an anti-gay clause to equality laws that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people. Feedback on the anti-gay amendment takes place on Friday, Feb. 27.

Paul Givan, DUP minister, has tabled a bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly that would effectively exempt people with "strongly held'" religious convictions from equality laws – allowing them to discriminate against gay people.

Russia: Arkhangelsk bans gay-rights rally after approving it

ARKHANGELSK, Russia -- Officials in the northwestern Russian city of Arkhangelsk have banned a previously approved gay-rights rally.

The city's mayor's office told activists on Feb. 24 that the previous decision to allow the rally on Feb. 25 was reversed because officials did not know if the activists had agreed on the location of the rally.

Arkhangelsk authorities originally agreed to the gay-rights activists' request for the rally, but rejected their call for holding it at city hall, instead offering a place in a remote part of the city.

Canada: Toronto trans woman found dead

TORONTO, Canada -- Sumaya Dalmar, a 26-year-old transgender woman, was found dead on Sunday in Toronto’s east end. Described as a “bold, brave and brilliant young woman who loved her friends fiercely,” members of both Toronto’s LGBT and Somali communities are mourning her loss.

France: President calls for tougher laws on anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate speech

PARIS, France -- French President Francois Hollande has vowed to introduce tougher penalties for racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic crimes in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Speaking Monday at an annual dinner hosted by the country’s Jewish community, the President called for “faster, more effective sanctions” against hate speech and added: “I want such speech to come under criminal law rather than press laws.”

The introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013 by President Hollande was met with a steep rise in homophobic attacks.

South Korea: First openly gay celebrity turns his eyes to politics

Korea’s first gay celebrity, Hong Seok-cheon, 45, hopes to become a leader of the Yongsan District Office soon with the aim of promoting cultural spaces for young artists and small businesses, while providing welfare for sexual minorities.

“I will build a counseling center for young homosexuals and help parents who have gay children,” he told The Korea Times at an Itaewon dessert restaurant that he owns. “I want to use my diverse connections and experience to build a night market, where the fashion business will grow and young artists share their ideas.”