Jan 31, 2007

[Pink News] European Developments

Gay rights are definitely making headlines in Europe these days, and it's at opposite ends of the spectrum though.

As a follow-up to my previous post about the UK gay adoption issue. As promised, Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced his decision regarding whether or not Catholic adoption agencies could become exempt from the new Equality Act. It's definitely an interesting way of skirting the issue, in a manner of speaking.

What he's decreed is that Catholic agencies will not be given exemptions, which helps reinforce the relevance of the Equality Act in addressing concerns related to discrimination. However, he has provided a 21 month period for preparation to give everyone time to do whatever it is they need to do before full implementation. Many see this as a way to take advantage of the experience these agencies have prior to them closing out entirely should they decide to stick to their guns and stop supporting adoptions in the country given the conflict with their beliefs.

I felt this was an interesting compromise to things and just goes to show how slick these British lawmakers can be.

On the other end of Europe (which some might argue to be part of Asia already) the mayor of Moscow has vowed to prevent a gay rights parade from taking place in the capital, calling such activities 'satanic' given his views and those of some religious groups like the Orthodox Church.

Of course gay rights groups are protesting the decision, which is merely a repeat of previous pronouncement made in 2006 regarding this same issue, and have sworn to take this issue up with the Strasbourg court.

Gay rights are always a difficult issue to address given how varied opinions are and what a strong role religion plays in this particular debate. While I'm glad for the limited successes we've had here and there, there's always some form of discrimination happening elsewhere in the world that reminds us just how much more needs to be done.

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