Barbados’ top court strikes down laws that criminalize gay sex
A top court in Barbados has struck down colonial-era laws that criminalize gay sex, becoming the third nation in the conservative Caribbean region to do so this year.
The ruling issued Monday by the Barbados high court is a pivotal moment for activists and non-profit organizations who have long fought against such laws on the eastern Caribbean island, including one that demands up to a life sentence for gay men found guilty of having sex.
“It’s gone from a certain ripple effect to a tidal wave in the Caribbean, which is what everyone involved set out to achieve,” said Téa Braun, chief executive of the London-based Human Dignity Trust, a human rights organization.
While the laws were rarely invoked, they signal that LGBTQ+ people are criminal and lesser citizens, Braun said. Several Christian churches and organizations across the Caribbean have opposed the abolition of such laws, with support from some political leaders who invoke God in their arguments.
Biden Signs Bill to Protect Same-Sex Marriage Rights
A celebratory crowd of thousands bundled up on a chilly Tuesday afternoon to watch President Joe Biden sign gay marriage legislation into law, a joyful ceremony that was tempered by the backdrop of an ongoing conservative backlash over gender issues.
“This law and the love it defends strike a blow against hate in all its forms,” Biden said on the South Lawn of the White House. “And that’s why this law matters to every single American.”
Singers Sam Smith and Cyndi Lauper performed. Vice President Kamala Harris recalled officiating at a lesbian wedding in San Francisco. And the White House played a recording of Biden’s television interview from a decade ago, when he caused a political furor by unexpectedly disclosing his support for gay marriage. Biden was vice president at the time, and President Barack Obama had not yet endorsed the idea.
“I got in trouble,” Biden joked of that moment. Three days later, Obama himself publicly endorsed gay marriage. Lawmakers from both parties attended Tuesday’s ceremony, reflecting the growing acceptance of same-sex unions, once among the country’s most contentious issues.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wore the same purple tie to the ceremony that he wore to his daughter Alison’s wedding. She and her wife are expecting their first child in the spring.
Millions in Western aid flowed to churches in Ghana despite years of campaigning against LGBTQI+ rights
An exclusive CNN investigation has found that some Western governments who pledged to support LGBTQI+ rights have also funded supporters of a controversial bill in Ghana that could introduce harsh sentences for advocating for sexual and gender minorities’ rights.
In the five years up to 2021, at least $5 million in aid from Europe and the US went to projects run by or benefiting churches in Ghana whose leaders have backed this bill and have a long track-record of anti-LGBTQI+ statements and activities, according to CNN’s analysis of financial data and communication with the donors.
There is no indication the funding identified went to any explicitly anti-LGBTQI+ activities. However, these religious organizations are now pushing for the anti-LGBTQI+ bill, introduced last year and officially known as the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, to be made law.
In one instance, CNN’s analysis revealed that more than $140,000 of UK and US taxpayers’ money in 2018-2020 went to the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), an association of 29 churches and Christian organizations, which in 2020 said: “As we indicated in times past, our cultural norms and religious values as a nation do not support LGBTQ rights.”
During that same period, the UK became co-chair of the international Equal Rights Coalition to “protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people” and promote “inclusive development” worldwide.
CNN’s analysis also found that some other members of the Equal Rights Coalition — the US, Germany, and Italy — have funded projects by or for churches in Ghana that have similarly opposed LGBTQI+ rights before, during, and after they benefited from aid money.