UK: Gay asylum seekers will no longer have to answer questions about their sex lives

LONDON, England -- Gay asylum seekers in the UK will no longer have to answer questions about their sex lives thanks to new guidance from the Home Office.

Caseworkers have received the new policies on how to deal with claims for asylum by gay, lesbian and bisexual people following the revelation that a man fleeing persecution was "interrogated" and asked "shockingly degrading" questions about his sexual history.

Nepal: Sexual minorities back panel's call for gay marriage

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- When Nepali transgender Bhakti Shah married almost a decade ago, his dream of being able to walk openly, hand in hand with his wife, through the narrow streets of Kathmandu seemed close to impossible to fulfill.

Married in a small Hindu temple with little fanfare and a handful of well-wishers, the couple were ostracized by their families and their community because of Shah's sexual orientation and have endured years of discrimination.

First same-sex marriage in Mexican state of Sonora performed today

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Sonora Mexico -- The first same-sex marriage in the Mexican state of Sonora was performed at a wedding this morning, reports El Imparcial. The wedding was held in the city of San Luis Río Colorado, which is about 25 miles south of Yuma, Arizona.

The wedding was held in a private home, to which Civil Registry officials had agreed to be driven to without knowing the destination in advance.

Mexico: Baja California Congress may legalize gay marriage

MEXICALI, Baja California, Mexico -- A bill to legalize gay marriage was introduced today in Congress of the Mexican state of Baja California, according to La Crónica newspaper.

The bill would amend the state constitution to remove the ban on gay marriage in order to comply with rulings by the federal Supreme Court that have overturned such bans as unconstitutional.

Slovakia: Low turnout scuttles discriminatory referendum

BERLIN, Germany -- A low turnout in a Slovakia referendum on Feb. 7 scuttled a measure that would have set the scene for legalized discrimination against LGBT couples, Human Rights Watch said today. The decision of the majority of voters not to participate in the referendum on this regressive measure offers some comfort to minorities in Slovakia.

Amnesty International: Bulgaria must investigate and prosecute hate crimes to end climate of fear

NEW YORK, New York -- Bulgaria’s failure to adequately investigate and prosecute hate crimes is fueling fear, discrimination and ultimately violence, says Amnesty International in a new report published today.

Lack of adequate investigation of hate crimes in Bulgaria documents the severe impact of hate crimes on victims and highlights how the authorities’ failure to tackle entrenched prejudice against asylum seekers, migrants, Muslims and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is fueling further violence and discrimination.

Russia: Lawmaker threatens to close club owned by lesbian who took viral kiss photos

MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia's leading homophobe has lashed out at the lesbian club owner whose photos of her kissing another woman in front of him went viral.

The woman, only identified as Kseniya, and her partner were sat in front of St Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow.

She took several selfies kissing her partner while he pretended to ignore them in background and posted them on Russian social media. She told her followers they were their way to Infinity, a lesbian club she owns.

Milonov responded on Feb. 4 by threatening to close down the club.

Cayman Islands: Gays urged to stand up for rights

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Gay people need to come out and fight for their rights if they want to end homophobia and discrimination in the Cayman Islands, a law lecturer at the Truman Bodden Law School told an audience there.

Bermuda: Hundreds attend church event with "ex-gays"

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda -- Hundreds of people attended a controversial question-and-answer session held by “ex-gays” at the Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, featured panellists who claimed to have “found redemption, victory, healing and freedom from homosexuality.”

The speakers — Mike Carducci, Wayne Blakely and Danielle Harrison — are part of the Coming Out Ministries.

Bermuda: "Pray the gay away" sessions generate controversy

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda -- Gay rights advocates in Bermuda are criticizing a local church for hosting a weekend conference that promotes the discredited "ex-gay" movement.

Sessions will be held at 7 tonight and 11 am and 4 pm Saturday at the Southampton Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

An article published on Friday in the Royal Gazette has generated a slew of comments both pro and con.