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.”

Half-million demand pardon for persecuted gay men day after Oscar speech

On the heels of screenwriter Graham Moore's moving Oscars speech for his role in creating "The Imitation Game," the family of the film's protagonist, late mathematician Alan Turing, is demanding justice.

More than 60 years after their British ancestor died, the family is fighting for others who, like Turing, experienced mistreatment because of their sexual orientation.

Switzerland: Panel recommends gay marriage vote

Swiss LGBT umbrella associations welcome the recommendation by the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council to adopt the parliamentary initiative “Marriage for All.”

The committee vote was 12 in favor, 2 opposed, with 1 abstention.

Philippine court makes not guilty plea for U.S. Marine charged in transgender Filipina's killing

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine court entered a not guilty plea Monday for a U.S. Marine charged with murdering a transgender Filipina, allegedly after he discovered her gender when they checked into a hotel.

Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton refused to enter a plea in the brief proceeding in a court in Olongapo city northwest of Manila, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Journalists were barred from the courtroom.

Jewish Home hopeful boasts of being "proud homophobe"

RAMAT GAN, Israel -- A Knesset hopeful with the Jewish Home party described himself as a “proud homophobe” during a discussion panel at a Ramat Gan high school Sunday.

“At home, everyone can be abnormal and people can form whatever family unit they want,” he said. “But they can’t make demands from me, as the state,” Bezalel Smotrich can be heard telling students in a recording obtained by Army Radio.

After one student interrupted him and called his remarks homophobic, Smotrich welcomed the criticism and responded to the student by saying, “I am a proud homophobe.”