Venner, 78, took his life inside Notre-Dame cathedral on May 21, reportedly in front of the altar.
Earlier the same day, the award-winning essayist published a blog post savaging the legalisation of homosexual marriage.
Venner also wrote that “spectacular and symbolic actions” were needed to wake up the French people.
Marine Le Pen of the National Front has hailed the suicide as a “political act”.
The French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said: “Notre Dame is the cathedral of Paris, one of the capital’s and the country’s most beautiful monuments, so we realise how symbolic this event truly is.”
On the evening of the suicide, gay-rights supporters gathered in Paris’ Place de la Bastille for a live music event to celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriages in France.
The mayor of the southern city of Montpellier, sometimes called “the French San Francisco,” intends to officiate at the first gay wedding, which is likely to be no sooner than May 29, because by French law an application for a marriage must be filed at City Hall 10 days before the ceremony itself.
“Love has won out over hate,” the mayor, Hélène Mandroux, a Socialist like Mr. Hollande, said Saturday. She has been pressing for a gay marriage law since 2009, while voicing concerns that the first such wedding could attract violent protests along with the inevitable and engineered publicity.
The government’s spokeswoman and minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, intends to attend.
One couple seeking to be the first to wed under the new law is Vincent Autin, 40, the president of Lesbian and Gay Pride Montpellier, and his partner of seven years, Bruno, 30. Bruno prefers not to provide his surname because he works for the state, though the couple has been featured on television, in newspapers and magazines.
France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage. In the United States, Washington, D.C., and 12 states have legalized same-sex marriage.
For Mr. Hollande, who is riding low in the opinion polls, the passage of the law over considerable public opposition was a significant victory, given his campaign promise to legalize gay marriage within the first year of his administration (Saturday was within days of his May 15 anniversary in office).
But considering the opposition and significant economic problems in France, now in a triple-dip recession, Mr. Hollande also wants to move on to other important and controversial changes in the structure of the French economy, including pension changes and spending cuts.
Mr. Hollande signed the bill a day after the Constitutional Council dismissed a legal challenge by the right-wing opposition. “I will ensure that the law applies across the whole territory, in full, and I will not accept any disruption of these marriages,” he said.
Gay rights advocates praised the law, while a watchdog group, SOS Homophobie, said that France “has taken a great step forward today, although it is regrettable that it was taken in a climate of bad faith and homophobic violence.”
Protests against the law, led by religious leaders and conservative groups, drew hundreds of thousands of people at their height, with scattered violence on the margins. Opponents of the measures have vowed to fight on, having already called another protest for May 26. There was a small protest Friday night near the historic Pantheon, in the Latin Quarter.
The law allows all married couples to adopt children. It does not provide state aid to help same-sex couples procreate, however.
The leader of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, Jean-François Copé, told the newspaper Le Monde on Saturday that if the right returned to power (which is hardly imminent), it would “rewrite” the measure to clarify the legal descent of children adopted by gay couples and to “better protect the rights of children.”
He said he disagreed with the law as it stood but respected the decision of the Constitutional Council. “It is a decision that I regret but that I accept,” he said Friday.
Mr. Copé said he would attend the May 26 demonstration, which he hoped would broadly include all those disappointed with Mr. Hollande’s leadership. He called on them to turn their unhappiness into political commitment.
Source: New York Times
Following the second set of semi-finals last night, Finland’s Eurovision entrant Krista Siegfrids found herself with a place in the final, following her performance of her pro-equal marriage song, which included a lesbian kiss.
Siegfrids insisted that her song ‘Marry Me’ was not political, but did go on to say that she did want to make a statement about the lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriages in Finland. Organisers forbid “lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature”.
When an interviewer asked how Siegfrids thought viewers in countries such as Belaruse and Azerbaijan might react to her performance she said: ”I think that everybody should have the right to do that. It’s no big deal, it’s not big deal to me. It’s a show, and it’s about love and love is beautiful in any form.”
The TRT station claimed that the cancellation of the broadcast was due to low ratings, but last year a quarter of Turkish households tuned in to watch.
All Out has launched a petition urging the President of the European Broadcasting Union to address the issue, and to ensure that Eurovision would “uphold the values of unity and love”, as opposed to censoring Krista’s performance.
“All Out members are not fooled by Turkey’s weak excuse,” Andre Banks Co-founder and Executive Director of All Out said, “It is clear to the world that Turkey pulled the popular Eurovision show simply because two women expressed love through a kiss. Nothing could be more harmless than a kiss between two people.”
“The Eurovision kiss was not revolutionary. Turkish people already saw a kiss between two women on television. Two women kissed during the 2012 Olympics and that kiss was broadcast on Turkish TV,” Andre Banks said, “The world kept turning and the sun came up the next day. Love should never be feared, it is censorship we should fear.”
Source: Pink News
Uruguayan lawmakers voted Wednesday to legalize same-sex marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so, after Canada and Argentina. President José Mujica, whose governing Broad Front majority backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days.
Source: New York Times
A Mararaba in Nasarawa State, Northern Nigeria ordered three men accused of gay sex to be remanded in prison and await a possibly judgment of up to 14 years in jail for their ‘offence’.
The News Agency of Nigeria named the accused as Armstrong Ihua, 40, of Ikorodu, Lagos State; Collins Ejike, 30, of Lugbe, Abuja, and Pius Bamayi, 25, of Masaka, Nasarawa State.
They pleaded not guilty to the charge.
According prosecutor Stephen Kwaza, Ihua and Ejike lured Bamayi under false pretenses to Ihua’s room in a local hotel to smoke Indian hemp.
When Bamayi fell asleep, the other two men started having sex, and then removed his trousers and attempted to performed fellatio on him.
He said the act woke Bamayi up, who hit Ihua with his elbow, causing commotion ‘alerting’ staff at the Luna Gest Inn, where the men have been staying.
The case was reported to the police by staff, Pius Bamayi and Patrick Okorie who work at the Luna Guest Inn, in Mararaba, on 31 March.
Kwaza stated that the ‘unnatural offence’ contravened the provisions of Section 284 of the Penal Code.
Section 284, which applies to the Northern States of Nigeria, provides that:
‘Whoever has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man [or] woman ... shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years and shall also be liable to fine’.
He also demanded the judge does not grant the accused bail, so further ‘investigation’ could be carried out.
Despite pleads by defense lawyer, Messrs Charles Maduewyi, Momoh Mohammed and Gabriel Okpake for bail, Judge Vincent Gwahemba, refused the accused bail ordering the accused be remanded in prison.
He adjourned the case to April 23 for further hearing.
But the Nigerian LGBT rights activists have been warning that such cases are often more a result of the laws against gay people being used to extract blackmail and bribes.
Adebisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT rights advocate told Gay Star News: ‘The Nigerian news reporting not only does not do its job investigating a story but aid to spread moral panic and misinformation about cases, that most of the time, are set ups.
‘This usually involves unpaid blackmail fees by gay people, or a group of guys ganging up against someone they know is gay as the law puts LGBT people in Nigeria at risk of precisely such acts’.
Alimi further stressed that this not only biases justice and inflames public opinion but further puts LGBT Nigerians in danger: ‘The increasing arrest of LGBT people and subsequent outing in the Nigerian media is of high concern and very worrying.
‘Naming of people and using their pictures without yet being convicted of a crime is not just destroying their lives and that of their family, but it is a pure violation of their fundamental human rights to privacy.
‘It seems Nigerian press is waging war against LGBT people just like the media in Britain was over 40 years ago and though I am sure this is a battle we will win. The harmful thing will be the many lives that would have been destroyed along the way’.
Source: Gay Star News
Tuesday will be the first of two days of oral arguments on the issue. On Wednesday, the court will consider the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples.
Rulings in both cases are expected by the end of June.
In what is scheduled to be about three hours of deliberations with lawyers over the two days, the justices will have their say on what gay activists see as a key civil rights issue reminiscent of famous Supreme Court cases of the past, including Loving v. Virginia, a 1967 case in which the court invalidated bans on interracial marriage.
The cases come before the high court at a time when more states have legalized gay marriage. Last year three more - Maryland, Maine and Washington - did so, bringing the total to nine plus the District of Columbia.
"Never before in our history has a major civil rights issue landed on the doorstep of the Supreme Court with this wave of public support," said Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer for opponents of the California initiative, which is known as Proposition 8.
Strong opposition to gay marriage still exists, however, both among Republicans in Congress and in many states across the nation. A total of 30 states, including California, have constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage. Nine states, including California, recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships among same-sex couples.
Advocates for both sides plan to demonstrate outside the multi-columned Washington courthouse. Those who plan to attend include Chief Justice John Roberts' cousin Jean Podrasky, a lesbian from California who would like to marry her partner.
"There's no fundamental right to same sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution," said Austin Nimocks, a member of the legal team arguing in support of the California law.
Some legal experts think that with the issue unsettled in the states, a majority of the justices might not be inclined to make any sweeping pronouncements on the issue as the democratic process plays out.
There are various ways in which they could do that as the Proposition 8 case presents the justices with multiple options.
The justices could proclaim that gay marriage bans are constitutionally unsound. They could uphold Proposition 8 as a law with a legitimate purpose that was approved by a majority of voters in California. They could also plot a middle path by striking down the law without making any broad pronouncements about whether gay marriage bans in other states that have them should be struck down.
Another way the court could rule might be viewed as an anticlimax of sorts: The justices could simply decide that it cannot rule on the merits because of the procedural complexities that brought the case to the high court.
The state of California declined to support Proposition 8 when the plaintiffs filed suit in 2009 in a federal district court in San Francisco, meaning there was no party defending the law until its proponents entered the case. The federal judge struck the law down, a ruling that was upheld by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A Supreme Court decision concluding that the law's backers do not have legal standing to defend the law would wipe out the appeals court decision, but leave the district court decision that struck down Proposition 8 on the books.
The way the justices rule could depend in large part on the likely swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy. Although a conservative appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Kennedy has in the past authored two opinions that expanded gay rights.
Lawyers representing two same-sex couples in California who want to marry are hoping the justices will go big and are making the most sweeping arguments.
The counsel for Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo will argue that under the U.S. Constitution's equal protection guarantee, there is a fundamental right for people to marry someone of the same sex.
Kris Perry, who has raised four children with her partner, Sandy Stier, was hopeful and optimistic.
"We have been waiting for a long time to get married," she said last week. "We are very excited to have the end in sight."
Men and women, some with their children — along with a strong contingent of elderly people — assembled near the Arc de Triomphe and hoisted signs reading “Don’t touch marriage, take care of unemployment!” and “Everyone is born from a man and a woman.”
The police estimated that 300,000 protesters took part, 40,000 fewer than they said attended a similar rally in January, but organizers said 1.4 million people showed up. Among the marchers were prominent politicians from the main opposition party, the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, which has called upon its members to protest.
Near the end of the demonstration, small groups of young protesters tried to overrun barriers onto the Champs-Élysées, and the police fired tear gas to drive them back, The Associated Press reported.
Roman Catholic, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders oppose the bill, which has already passed the lower house of Parliament and is expected to be approved by the Senate next month. The Catholic Church, in particular, has mobilized its members to protest.
Many opponents have focused on a provision that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children. Some opponents also say they fear the bill would eventually lead to the legalization of artificial insemination for lesbian couples or surrogate mothers for male couples.
Mr. Hollande, a Socialist who was elected last May, campaigned on a pledge to legalize same-sex marriage; his party holds majorities in both houses of Parliament, and passage has seemed all but assured.
But he has waffled on occasion. He once voiced support for a provision to allow mayors, who preside over civil marriage ceremonies in France, to decline to wed gay couples. He has since stepped back from that position.
Civil unions have existed in France since 1999 and are open to same-sex couples. But the unions are not accompanied by the same suite of rights as marriage.
Opinion polling suggests that a solid majority of French favor legalizing same-sex marriage; the proportion is closer to half with regard to adoption by same-sex couples.
Source: New York Times
The Most Rev Justin Welby told the BBC he had "particular friends where I recognise that and am deeply challenged by it".
But he said he still supported the Church of England's formal opposition to active homosexuality.
He spoke ahead of his enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral later.
The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister David Cameron will be among the 2,000 expected guests.
Mr Welby - the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the Anglican communion - said: "You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship."
While he did not doubt the Church's policy on same-sex relationships, he was "challenged as to how we respond to it", he added.
"The Church of England holds very firmly, and continues to hold to the view, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman," he said.
"At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human, is the essential dignity of the human being. And so we have to be very clear about homophobia."
Asked if the Church would turn a blind eye to some gay relationships, he said: "It's not a blind eye - it's about loving people as they are and where they are.
"You'll find that in every church and you'll find that because it imitates the character and the practice of Jesus himself."
Last month, the archbishop said he stood by the Church of England's opposition to the introduction of gay marriage.
He spoke before the Commons approved same-sex marriage in England and Wales by voting for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by a majority of 225.
The government believes the wording of the bill will ensure the Church of England and the Church in Wales will not face any legal challenges to their opposition to holding same-sex marriages in their buildings.
All religious organisations will be able to opt in to holding ceremonies, but the Church of England and the Church in Wales would first need to agree to change canon law.
Mr Welby, 57, is married with five children. He went to school at Eton, and later Cambridge University.
He rose to the top of the oil industry - ending up as treasurer of Enterprise Oil - and gave up a six-figure salary to train as a priest.
He was a vicar in Warwickshire, a canon of Coventry Cathedral, and the Dean of Liverpool, before being appointed as Bishop of Durham in November 2011.
The BBC's religious affairs correspondent, Robert Pigott, says the new archbishop is inheriting a Church which has seen congregation numbers decline dramatically in recent decades, and which is struggling to promote a Christian message to an increasingly sceptical and secular society.
It will be seen as his job to unite a Church deeply riven by disputes about women bishops, and, more dangerously, sexuality, our correspondent adds.
Source: BBC News
Both Baashi and another man, who was also charged with murder, were found guilty after apparently admitting their crimes. The judge supposedly said “We investigated, and this man did what Muslims shouldn’t do and as a result, he will be stoned to death and the one that killed someone will be shot because homosexuality is more punishable in Islam.”
By investigated, the process likely involved torturing the individuals involved until they confessed, and then executing them. Such actions are typical for Al Shabaab, which has allegedly used Sharia law to execute anyone they wanted to even if they were not guilty of the crimes involved.
The scene, which has been described on Towleroad and The Advocate, is reminiscent of an exchange in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel Small Gods in which Didactylos explains to Brutha that most people carrying out the sentence often do so out of fear of being the next person to be stoned to death. Unfortunately, there is no sure way to know if Baashi was or was not gay. He was 18 years old.
Source: RezGet Real
Bergoglio has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, contraception and abortion and is considered to be among the most conservative in Latin America. In 2010, for instance, Bergoglio stated that same-sex adoption is a form of discrimination against children and has said that same-sex marriage is “a scheme to destroy God’s plan” and “a real and dire anthropological throwback.” He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow for marriage equality, writing a letter warning that it would “gravely harm the family.”
However, Bergoglio has focused on helping the poor throughout his career, noting, “The suffering of innocent and peaceful continues to slap us, the contempt for the rights of individuals and peoples are so far away, the rule of money with his demonic effects as drugs, corruption, trafficking people, including children, along with material and moral poverty are big problems.”
In 2001, upon becoming cardinal, Bergoglio “discouraged people from spending the money to fly to Rome to celebrate with him and advised that they instead donate the funds to help alleviate poverty at home.” He lived in a simple apartment, cooked his own food, and traveled by bus instead of a chauffeured limousine.
However, Bergoglio has been criticized by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for his behavior during the 1976-1983 dictatorship in Argentina, with some journalists claiming that he prevented human rights groups from finding political prisoners by imprisoning them in his vacation home.
During the period of the dictatorship, the Catholic Church failed to confront the regime, even as it was kidnapping and killing thousands. The church eventually issued a blanket apology for its actions in October of 2012, though Bergoglio “invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court” to address two cases in which he was directly involved. When he did testify in 2010, his “answers were evasive,” human rights activists claim.
It has been 1,272 years since a non-European pope led the Church, and is particularly appropriate today, as the number of Catholics have declined in Europe, but grown significantly throughout Latin America. It is now home to 41 percent of Catholics and is “perceived as a Catholic bedrock that needs support to counter the tremendous growth of Protestantism. ”
White smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel at 7:07 PM at Vatican City, as the crowd cheered loudly in anticipation. The inaugural mass for the new Pope could take place as early as this week.
Source: Think Progress