International News – 7/19/19


Irael’s prime minister condemns his minister’s remarks on gay people

Israel’s prime minister is condemning remarks by his education minister in favor of “conversion therapy,” a controversial psychotherapy technique that seeks to turn gay people straight.

Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that Rafi Peretz’s statements are unacceptable and “do not represent my government’s position.”

In a televised interview, Peretz said he supports conversation therapy and has performed it. Health officials have said the technique is scientifically dubious and possibly even dangerous.

Peretz, who leads small religious party, drew wide condemnation July 14 for his comments. Justice Minister Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, said “sexual orientation does not require therapy nor conversion. Preconceived notions and ignorance require therapy and conversion.”

Peretz also stirred controversy last week when he compared intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews to a “second Holocaust.”

South Korean LGBT soldiers face physical and sexual violence, report finds

While LGBTQ-plus people are becoming “increasingly visible” in South Korea, soldiers are facing “harassment, discrimination and violence at the hands of their commanding officers and their peers,” a new report reads.

According to the report “Serving in Silence: LGBTI people in South Korea’s military” released by Amnesty International July 11, it is compulsory for all men in the country to serve a minimum of 21 months in the military.

For South Korean civilians there is no law criminalizing gay sex, but Article 92-6 of the Military Criminal Act “punishes sexual activity between men in the military with up to two years in prison under an ‘indecent acts’ clause,” the report reads.

It continued: “Military code allows the invasion of privacy of soldiers allegedly engaging in sex between men both on and off base and on or off duty. Soldiers who do not conform to existing gender norms – including gay men, bisexual men, transgender women and nonbinary people – find it extremely difficult to fulfill compulsory military service free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence at the hands of their commanding officers and their peers.”

When men turn 19, they are required to undergo physical and psychological testing to assess their capability for military service, and several people interviewed for the report said they were questioned during testing about whether they were attracted to the same sex.

UK lawmakers back gay marriage, abortion access for Northern Ireland

British lawmakers have voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages and expanding abortion access in Northern Ireland, though the vote won’t automatically lead to changing laws.

Northern Ireland has its own legislature, which did not follow the British and Scottish parliaments in allowing same-sex marriages starting in 2014. Abortion access also is severely restricted there.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended for more than two years amid a dispute between the major Protestant and Catholic parties, leaving Britain’s Parliament to make some key decisions.

On July 9, British lawmakers supported the opposition Labor Party’s calls for Parliament to vote on expanding abortion and same-sex marriage rights if Northern Ireland’s assembly is not up and running by Oct. 21.

If the Belfast assembly reconvenes, it could overturn actions taken in London.

Anglican church of Canada rejects gay marriage by one vote

The Anglican church of Canada voted against approving gay marriage at its general assembly, or synod, on July 12, in a decision that hung on a single vote.

The motion would have changed the language in the church’s marriage canon so that marriage would no longer be defined as only between a man and a woman.

In order to pass a motion, the church requires two rounds of voting, the first of which on the marriage canon was held three years ago and passed, but the second on July 12 failed.

To pass a vote, there must be at least a two-thirds majority in three different groups: laypeople, clergy and bishops.

There was 81 percent approval among laypeople and 75 percent among clergy, but 63 percent of bishops were in favor, just below the 66 percent requirement. This means that the motion was rejected on the vote of one bishop. 

Reporting via Associated Press