POLL DANCING: Should more be done politically to promote gay rights?

 

Gay Marriage Protest November 15, 2008. AP Photo/Darryl Bush

AP Photo/Darryl Bush

While America was celebrating its independence, London was celebrating lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals with the sixth annual Pride London this past weekend.

In support, the new (and openly gay) Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant sent hand written personal letters congratulating three British diplomats throughout Europe for publicly showing support for gay rights—even when their actions drew anger and criticism from the government and homophobes, the Guardian reported. Bryant also made the Globosexuals.com headlines last week when he announced new guidelines for identifying forced marriages.    Bryant sent a personal letter to Ric Todd for flying the rainbow flag alongside the Union flag last year in support of Warsaw Pride 2008. The rainbow flag has long represented the gay and lesbian community since 1978 when San Francisco resident Gilbert Baker created the iconic rainbow-striped flag.  Todd was also congratulated for translating LGBT rights into Polish this year.   

Stuart Williams was praised for sending a support message to the Rainbow Friendship rally in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital. Robin Barnett, ambassador to Bucharest, also received praise for attending the gay rights march in Romania’s capital last month.

A few days earlier, India decriminalized gay sex on 2 July, The Economist reported. The decision overturned a 19th century colonial law that stated sodomy was punishable by 10 years in prison. The law also pertained to child molestation and beastiality. The overturning decision was a result of a 9-year legal campaign led by The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, a non-governmental ogranization based in New Delhi that brings awareness of issues such as AIDS, sexual health and sexuality. The campaign, which was also supported by the Health Ministry of India, began when four members were arrested on suspision of running a gay “sex racket” and charged with conspiracy to commit sodomy and possession of “obscene literature” (really AIDS awareness material). The charges were later dropped.

Meanwhile back in America, President Barack Obama held a White House meeting for 250 leaders of the gay and lesbian community on 29 June, where the president pledged to push for change to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s policy on homosexuality. Under the mandated federal law, anyone who “demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” is prohibited from serving in the US’ armed forces.

The LGBT community is anxious to change the mandate as the policy not only puts an emotional strain on relationships, it also bars a service man’s gay partner from accessing military benefits, such as free education, health benefits and notification in case of death.

This paradox only goes to prove what The New York Time’s chief political correspondent Adam Nagourney stated that, “even as cultural acceptance of homosexuality increases across the country, the politics of gay rights remains full of crosscurrents.”

So for this week’s Poll of the week we ask:

– JD

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