Global gay

Global gay


USA: More than half of students at the University of Michigan’s Law School walked out of their own graduating ceremony on May 8 to protest the voting record of the speaker, US Senator Rob Portman (Ohio). Portman voted to support a ban on same-sex adoption, for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and for the Defense of Marriage Act. “Senator Portman, in public life, has actively worked to deny some members of the graduating class their civil rights … we are concerned about the message Michigan Law is sending by giving an anti-gay rights speaker the honor of marking what should be a joyful occasion,” a letter signed by more than 200 alumni read.


MEXICO: A gay campaigner for civil unions has been found dead in the city of Chilpancingo in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Leiji Herrera’s bruised body was discovered on May 4. Police believe he may have been stoned to death. Local activists have organised a petition calling on Governor Angel Aguirre to call an independent investigation of the murder. The petition says there is a climate of “harassment and criminalisation of the work of defenders of human rights in Mexico and the cruelty and brutality of the murder presents evidence of a homophobic hate crime”.


USA: The story of an early gay rights pioneer has been added to the Library of Congress’ Creating the United States exhibition. In 1957 Dr Franklin E. Kameny was fired from his job as an astronomer with the US Army Map Service. Four years later he petitioned the US Supreme Court that he had been unjustly fired. In 1966 the chairman of the US Civil Service Commission, John W. Macy, wrote to Kameny to tell him, “Persons about whom there is evidence that they have engaged in or solicited others to engage in homosexual or sexually perverted acts with them, without evidence of rehabilitation, are not suitable for federal employment.” Both the letter and the petition have been included in the exhibition. They are part of a trove of 50,000 documents donated by Kameny to the library which relate to what was the first civil rights claim relating to sexual orientation in the United States.

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