Civil partnerships bill sparks debate in Thailand

By : Victor Maung OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Thailand could become the first country in Asia to endorse same-sex marriage after a bill that would allow same-sex unions was approved.

The country’s Cabinet approved the civil partnership bill on Dec. 25, which has sparked debate among members of the LGBTI community. The move is seen as a milestone in efforts to improve legal rights for the estimated 6 million LGBTI people — an estimated 8 percent of the country’s total population — who live in Thailand.

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Feeling ‘vindicated,’ Malaysia’s Anwar takes lawmaker oath

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Malaysian Prime Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said he felt “vindicated” after taking his oath as a lawmaker Oct. 15, marking his return to active politics three years after he was imprisoned for sodomy in a charge that critics said was politically motivated.

The swearing-in ceremony in parliament followed Anwar’s landslide win in a by-election Oct. 13 in the southern coastal town of Port Dickson in which he defeated six other candidates. The seat was vacated after a lawmaker from his party quit, paving the way for Anwar’s political comeback.

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Biden urged to run in 2020 at Human Rights Campaign dinner

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Attendees at the annual Human Rights Campaign national dinner Saturday night urged Joseph Biden to challenge President Trump in 2020 amid speculation the former vice president is mulling a run for the White House.

As Biden approached the podium at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, he was greeted with calls of “Run, Joe, Run!” and “2020!” In response, Biden didn’t convey any thoughts about the upcoming presidential election, but thanked the audience and proceeded with his remarks.

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Malaysian PM says public caning of lesbians tarnishes Islam

By : wire report
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on September 6 criticized the public caning of two Muslim women for attempting to have sex, saying it tarnished Islam’s reputation as a merciful and compassionate religion.

Mahathir made the comment after the rare caning of the two women in an Islamic court on Monday, which was witnessed by more than 100 people. Lawmakers and rights groups criticized the punishment as a form of torture.

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Malaysian Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Two Malaysian Muslim women convicted under Islamic laws of attempting to have sex were caned Monday in a rare public whipping that was slammed by lawmakers and rights activists as a form of torture.

Lawyers and activists said the women, aged 22 and 32, were seated on stools facing the judges and given six strokes from a light rattan cane on their backs by female prison officers. More than 100 people witnessed the caning in a Shariah courtroom in northeast Terengganu state, they said.

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Amnesty urges Malaysia to quash caning sentence of lesbians

By : Wire Report
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Amnesty International urged Malaysia Aug. 29 to quash a caning sentence for a lesbian couple, calling the punishment cruel and unjust.

Two unidentified ethnic Malay women, aged 22 and 32, had pleaded guilty for attempting to have sexual intercourse and were sentenced to six strokes of a cane and fined by a Shariah court earlier this month.

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Countries use registration laws to hinder LGBTI advocacy

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Russian LGBT Sports Federation President Alexander Agapov holds a rainbow flag during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the 2018 World Cup in Moscow. Russia is among the countries that use registration laws to hinder LGBTI advocacy efforts. (Photo courtesy Agapov)

A new report indicates governments around the world are using registration laws to target LGBTI advocacy groups.

The report, which OutRight Action International released on Tuesday, indicates 28 percent of the 194 countries surveyed have LGBTI groups that “cannot legally register as LGBTIQ organizations.”

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Malaysia, Indonesia Muslim groups call for Starbucks boycott

By : Wire Report
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Muslim groups in Malaysia and Indonesia have called for a boycott of Starbucks because of the coffee chain’s support for LGBT rights.

Malaysian group Perkasa, which supports a hard-line form of Islam and nationalism, this week called on its more than 500,000 members to stay away from Starbucks coffee shops. This week and last, leaders of Indonesia’s second largest mainstream Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, with an estimated 29 million members, denounced the chain.

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Rights group slams Malaysia for prosecuting transgenders

By : Wire Report
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Human Rights Watch on June 21 criticized a Malaysian Islamic court for fining nine Muslim transgender women for cross-dressing and jailing two of them for a month.

Religious authorities in northeastern Kelantan state arrested the group in a raid on June 16 and they pleaded guilty the next day, the New York-based watchdog said in a statement. Their lawyer has filed an appeal and the two sentenced to jail were released on bail pending the outcome, it said.

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Six AIDS researchers aboard shot down Malaysian plane honored at conference

By : Wire Report
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – An international AIDS conference opened in Australia on July 20 with a tribute to several delegates who were killed en route to the gathering when their plane was shot down over Ukraine.

Officials at the opening ceremony for the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne held a moment of silence for the six AIDS researchers and activists killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

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