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January 04, 2006

SPAIN TO OFFER ASYLUM TO "SEXUAL REFUGEES"

Iran_noose_7 Here's one piece of good news to start the year: Spain is planning to offer asylum to a wide range of "sexual refugees," according to the leading Spanish daily El Pais, as relayed by London's Daily Telegraph yesterday. This is particularly important for gays fleeing the lethal anti-gay pogrom in the Islamic Republic of Iran (which  you can read about in a round-up article on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's massive anti-gay crackdown, out today, which I wrote for In These Times.) In Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death, and the anti-gay pogrom there has resulted in numerous hangings of gay Iranians.

"Spain is planning to give refugee status to those fleeing persecution on grounds of El_pais_front_page gender or sexual orientation in a revision of its asylum laws," summarizes the Telegraph article. "The draft law on asylum, leaked to the newspaper El Pais, would allow women facing severe persecution linked to sex discrimination to claim protection under the 1951 Geneva convention. It would extend the same rights to homosexuals who faced serious discrimination, such as the death penalty or other severe punishment for homosexual acts, the newspaper said. Such an overhaul would give Spain one of the most generous asylum regimes in the world.

"The leaked draft said it would also become harder under the new law to reject an application on subjective grounds, such as a suspicion that an applicant was lying. Immigration officials would be encouraged to make judgments on 'strictly objective' examinations of the facts...." You can read the entire Telegraph article summarizing the El Pais report by clicking here.

If only the U.S., the U.K., and other Western democracies would unambiguously follow Spain's lead on the sexual persecution asylum issue, that would save lives. Spanish Premier Jose Luis Zapatero's Socialist government is arguably the most pro-Zapateroactively pro-gay national government in the world, and this new asylum initiative reflects that commitment. Zapatero (right) demonstrated his commitment to gay human rights when he made an unusual speech in defense of same-sex unions before Spain's parliament in July, when it legalized gay marriage. If you haven't read it, Premier Zapatero's address was the most remarkable speech in favor of full equality for those with same-sex hearts ever delivered by a head of government anywhere, in which Premier Zapatero quoted two of the most illustrious gay poets in history. You can read Zapatero's moving speech by clicking here.

Oreilly_vs_letterman LETTERMAN TELLS BILL O'REILLY HIS VIEWS ON IRAQ WAR ARE "CRAP"  Sparks flew on last night's David Letterman show on CBS when he got into an argument (photo left) over the Iraq war with Fox News snarling head Blowhard Bill O'Reilly (right).Bill_oreilly_1  The confrontation came when Letterman suggested, "Let's talk about your friends in the Bush administration. Things seem to be darker now than they might have been heretofore." After defending the war and arguing that Bush's lies about WMD didn't matter, O'Reilly launched into an attack on Cindy Sheehan, saying: "The United States, particularly the military, is doing a noble thing -Letterman_2   the soldiers and Marines are noble," the Fox host said. "They're not terrorists. And when people call them that, like Cindy Sheehan called the insurgents 'freedom fighters,' we don't like that. It is a vitally important time in American history and we should be very careful of what we say," NewsMax reported. The comment prompted Letterman (right) to admonish O'Reilly, "Then you should be very careful about what you say, also . . . Have you lost any family members in Iraq?....I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to Christ, honest to Christ...." A moment later, Letterman told O'Reilly, ""I have the feeling that about 60 percent of what you say is crap." Bravo, David! There's a  lot more, and you can see the entire video of the Letterman-O'Reilly confrontation over at Crooks and Liars, my eagle-eyed cybercomrade whose excellent website specializes in political video captures, by clicking here.

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Posted by: ds | Oct 25, 2006 5:39:04 AM

Mr. Bush had no one arrested.Sheehan was going to disturbe the State of The Union and got caught..Let's get that straight...Cindy is a nUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Kevin | Feb 6, 2006 11:46:46 AM

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