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December 10, 2013

UK Government announce same-sex weddings to start from March 29

UK Government announce same-sex weddings to start from March 29

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Maria Miller, the minister who led the same-sex marriage bill through Parliament.
Image: Work and Pensions Office.

The British government announced today that marriages in England and Wales between members of the same-sex will be conducted from March 29 of next year. The change follows the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act earlier this year.

The equalities minister Maria Miller said: “Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex. This is just another step in the evolution of marriage and I know that many couples up and down the country will be hugely excited that they can now plan for their big day and demonstrate their love and commitment to each other by getting married.”

The government have not given details of how couples already in a civil partnership will be able to convert to a marriage. The government are also working on arrangements for those who wish to change their legally recognised gender while married. Miller said arrangements on both of these issues would be in place by the end of 2014.

Ben Summerskill from the gay rights group Stonewall said: “This historic step will mean that, for the first time, every gay person in England and Wales will finally enjoy exactly the same rights as their heterosexual friends and family.”

The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said on Twitter that it was “great news”.



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November 21, 2013

Scottish legislature gives green light to same-sex marriage

Scottish legislature gives green light to same-sex marriage

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Alex Neil introduced the legislation on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Image: The Scottish Government.

Members of the Scottish Parliament voted 98–15 in a free vote yesterday to approve the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill, which seeks to legalise marriage between partners of the same sex. If the legislation is passed, Scotland may start allowing same-sex couples to marry in 2015.

Scottish government ministers have attempted to reassure religious groups who oppose same-sex marriage they will not be required by law to conduct them, but may “opt in” to conduct ceremonies for same-sex partners. The law also contains provisions that would protect individuals from being required to perform marriages if their congregation has opted-in but they disagree with same-sex marriage.

Alex Neil, the Scottish government health secretary, said the bill “will create a more tolerant society in Scotland and will mean that, in respect of marriage, there is genuinely equal rights right across the entire community”.

Support for the bill crossed party lines. Jim Hume from the Liberal Democrats said the vote was “a demonstration that our Scottish society values everyone — no matter their sexuality”.

Conservative MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament) Ruth Davidson — who is herself a lesbian — argued in Parliament that the bill “matters to the future nature of our country. We have an opportunity today to tell our nation’s children that, no matter where they live and no matter who they love, there is nothing that they cannot do. We will wipe away the last legal barrier that says that they are something less than their peers. We can help them to walk taller into the playground tomorrow and to face their accuser down knowing that the Parliament of their country has stood up for them and said that they are every bit as good as every one of their classmates.”

From the Labour party, Mary Fee argued against the claim that existing civil partnership legislation was satisfactory: “I ask the opponents of the bill who comment that civil partnerships were introduced for LGBT people whether the suffragettes were happy when the Representation of the People Act 1918 was introduced, allowing women over 30 to vote. No, they were not. They fought for a further decade to enfranchise all women and equalise the voting ages of men and women.”

Elaine Smith, also a Labour MSP, said she feared MSPs opposing same-sex marriage were being “bounced” into supporting the bill for fear of being branded homophobic. “Since indicating that I did not intend to support the redefinition of marriage, my religion’s been disparaged, I’ve been branded homophobic and bigoted, I’ve been likened to the Ku Klux Klan and it was suggested that I be burnt at the stake as a witch”, Smith claimed.

John Mason from the Scottish National Party said “Parliament is not reflecting public opinion on this issue” and the public was more divided on the issue than the parliamentarians in Holyrood were.

Outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, a demonstration was held by the LGBT rights group Equality Network supporting the bill. Tom French from the Equality Network said of the vote: “Tonight the Scottish Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to back same-sex marriage and uphold the principle that we should all be equal under the law.”

Colin Macfarlane from the gay rights group Stonewall Scotland also welcomed the vote: “This is a truly historic step forward. We’re absolutely delighted that MSPs have demonstrated overwhelmingly that they’re in touch with the twenty-first century.”

The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland both oppose the Bill. Reverend Dr William Hamilton from the Church of Scotland said while the Church opposes same-sex marriage, they stand against homophobia and “will continue to be a constructive voice in the national debate” about the bill.

In July, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed into law in Westminster and will allow same-sex couples to marry in England and Wales.



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August 29, 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury: Church\’s attitude to same-sex marriage considered \’wicked\’ by the young

Archbishop of Canterbury: Church’s attitude to same-sex marriage considered ‘wicked’ by the young

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, stated yesterday that he thought the Church of England’s view on same-sex marriage and homosexuality as out-of-step with the views of society but defended his vote against the same-sex marriage bill earlier this year. Welby also said Christians needed to “repent” for their homophobic treatment of gay and lesbian people.

Speaking at an event organised by the Evangelical Alliance, Welby said the Church was “deeply and profoundly divided” over the question of same-sex marriage, and noted younger people found the Church’s view on the topic to be “wicked”:

“We have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 not only think that what we’re saying is incomprehensible but also think that we’re plain wrong and wicked and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice.”

Despite this, he said he did not regret voting against the same-sex marriage bill, but he wishes to keep an open mind and listen to those in the Church who have a different opinion from him.

Canterbury Cathedral.
Image: Hans Musil.

Welby also stated he thinks the Church needed to stress the things they are for rather than against: “One of [the] things that I think is most noticeable where we make a bad impression in society at the moment is because we are seen as against things, and you talk to people and they say I don’t want to hear about a faith that is homophobic”. Welby stated the Church needed to make “an alliance with the poor”.

Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, responded to Welby’s comments: “It is a tiny bit rich to say he has great sympathy for gay people when in the 10 years since the introduction of civil partnerships the Church has doggedly refused to bless people’s long term partnerships even though they are happy to have services for pets and even canals.”

Benjamin Cohen, publisher of the PinkNews website, welcomed the Archbishop’s acknowledgment that most younger people support same-sex marriage and explained the nature of people’s reaction to the Church’s views: “They do see that attacking gay people for the gender of the person that they love is as evil and incomprehensible as attacking someone for being born black or disabled. People don’t chose to be gay just like they don’t chose their race.”



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July 1, 2013

Pride in London 2013: in pictures

Pride in London 2013: in pictures – Wikinews, the free news source

Pride in London 2013: in pictures

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Yesterday, thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and their supporters and allies, paraded through central London and partied in the streets as part of Pride in London. With the Parliamentary debate around the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill continuing, the organisers decided that the theme for this year’s parade was to be “Love and Marriage”, with a number of the parade participants dressing as brides or grooms.


Pride in London 2013 - 161.jpg

Some attendees took drag to extravagant levels.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 129.jpg

Rainbow-coloured dresses worn by paraders as part of ‘Filipino LGBT UK’.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 167.jpg

Two men both wearing hats with the word ‘Groom’ on the front.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 003.jpg

Topless barmen and go-go boys.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 160.jpg

Three men dressed as masked nuns to protest Vatican anti-gay attitudes.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 181.jpg

Members of Imaan, an Islamic LGBT support group.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 197.jpg

Members of LGBTory, a group for LGBT members of the Conservative Party.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 203.jpg

Marchers from the Metropolitan Community Church, a gay-affirmative Christian group.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 214.jpg

A group of gay and lesbian Jews with rainbow-themed Star of David flags.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 220.jpg

An enthusiastic steward.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 237.jpg

Supporters of Bradley Manning.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 243.jpg

A man wearing a costume made primarily of inflated balloons.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 246.jpg

Marchers from Stonewall with placards reading “Say I Do to equal marriage” and wearing t-shirts saying “Some people are gay. Get over it!”
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 269.jpg

A drag queen with an enormous red wig.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 312.jpg

A man wearing a costume made up of party animal balloons.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 105.jpg

A group of leather enthusiasts.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 342.jpg

Gay squash players.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 041.jpg

Members of a small Christian anti-gay protest in Lower Regent Street, before the parade started.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 315.jpg

A man with bright red feathers and an ornate headpiece.
Image: Tom Morris.

Pride in London 2013 - 353.jpg

Two women sharing an affectionate cuddle at the end of the parade.
Image: Tom Morris.



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  • “WorldPride London 2012: In pictures” — Wikinews, July 7, 2012

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February 26, 2013

Scottish Cardinal Keith O\’Brien resigns amid sex abuse allegations

Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigns amid sex abuse allegations

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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Keith O’Brien in 2007.
Image: Gavin Scott.

Following accusations that he engaged in “inappropriate acts” with three priests and a former priest, Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned yesterday from his post as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh. O’Brien had been expected to take part in the papal conclave to decide the next Pope and to retire shortly thereafter.

O’Brien had tendered a resignation to the Pope nunc pro tunc (now for later) on November 13. He stated yesterday that it had taken effect: “The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013, and that he will appoint an apostolic administrator to govern the archdiocese in my place until my successor as archbishop is appointed.”

The sexual abuse allegations were published in The Observer and stem from incidents alleged to have happened as long as three decades ago. The former priest alleges O’Brien approached him inappropriately when he was a seminarian at St Andrew’s College in Drygrange in 1980. The former priest claims his resignation from the priesthood was the result of O’Brien’s elevation to bishop: “I knew then he would always have power over me. It was assumed I left the priesthood to get married. I did not. I left to preserve my integrity.”

The three priests allege they were also the subject of unwanted sexual advances from O’Brien. The four complained to Antonio Mennini, the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain. After the story was made public on Sunday, the Vatican confirmed Pope Benedict had been made aware of the complaints.

O’Brien disputes the allegations. Following the publication of the allegations, he chose not to preside over Mass on Sunday. The auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Bishop Stephen Robson, gave a statement: “A number of allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been made against the cardinal. The cardinal has sought legal advice and it would be inappropriate to comment at this time. There will be further statements in due course. As always in times of need such as this we cannot but be saddened by the events of the last 24 hours. It is to the Lord that we turn now in times of need.”

The cardinal had been outspoken in his condemnation of proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, calling it a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”, and saying gay relationships are “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved”. Last year, the gay rights charity Stonewall awarded O’Brien the title of “bigot of the year”.

The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described O’Brien as “hypocritical”: “He appears to have preached one thing in public while doing something different in private. Several other prominent opponents of equal marriage are guilty of double standards and vulnerable to similar exposure. They include anti-gay clergy and politicians. It is estimated that around 40% of Catholic priests in Britain are gay, which makes the church’s opposition to gay equality so two-faced and absurd.”

O’Brien has questioned whether the continued requirement that priests be celibate and unmarried should continue. In an interview with BBC Scotland, he said: “There was a time when priests got married, and of course we know at the present time in some branches of the church — in some branches of the Catholic church — priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine of origin and it could get discussed again.”



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September 16, 2012

Chris Moyles departs from BBC Radio 1 breakfast show

Chris Moyles departs from BBC Radio 1 breakfast show

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

BBC

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File photo of Chris Moyles from September 11, 2009.
Image: Rabbro.

Radio personality Chris Moyles presented his last edition of The Chris Moyles Show, a breakfast radio programme on UK station BBC Radio 1, from 0630 to 1000 BST (0530 to 0900 UTC) Friday. At its peak in 2010, the programme was receiving an audience of 7.9 million.

Moyles, who had been presenting the breakfast show since January 2004, announced his departure in July. Moyles said he had had “the best time of [his] life” and wished to “give [the listeners] a heads up and tell [them] that we are going to wrap it up” on his show on July 11.

“Thanks for supporting us,” Moyles told his audience that morning, “and, with the risk of sounding ridiculously cheesy, for making all our dreams come true.” To get as far as he did was like “some weird victory”, he said, taking into account “all the flak we’ve taken”.

The first song played on the last show was ‘Blind Faith‘ by Chase & Status featuring Liam Bailey. The last was Coldplay‘s ‘Viva la Vida‘.

Moyles, who has referred to himself as the ‘saviour of Radio 1’, broke the record for the longest-running breakfast show on Radio 1 in September 2009, surpassing Tony Blackburn‘s record from September 1967 to June 1973. The Chris Moyles Show has also achieved two Sony Awards. From later this month, Moyles is to portray the role of Herod in a UK tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

File photo of Nick Grimshaw (right) from November 21, 2009.
Image: Katherine Oneill.

Moyles said his position was “his dream job” and one he had “wanted since I was a child … I wanted the biggest radio show you could get and eventually I got it”, he said. BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper considered Moyles to be “the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1 history” and described him as “fantastic”.

Nick Grimshaw, who was previously a late-night presenter at the radio station, is scheduled to replace him on September 24, although Greg James was reportedly widely anticipated to take Moyles’ position after his departure before the news emerged. “[I am] super-excited to be hosting the iconic Radio 1 Breakfast Show,” Grimshaw said in July. “[I]t’s been a dream of mine since the age of 11 and to be honest it hasn’t really sunk in yet.” Grimshaw said he “love[s] Chris and [has] always looked up to him as one of the best broadcasters ever”.

However, Moyles’ show has not been without its controversial moments. One such incident was a remark he made after his appearance on BBC television programme Who Do You Think You Are? in January 2009. “[U]nlike a lot of the Who Do You Think You Are? shows I didn’t go to Auschwitz,” he said. “Pretty much everyone goes there whether or not they’re Jewish. They just seem to pass through there on their way to Florida.” The incident prompted the BBC to respond: “[W]e regret that on this occasion his comments were misjudged and we are speaking to Chris and his team about them.”

In a separate incident in a May 2006 programme, Moyles said he did not want to get a certain ringtone because it was “gay”, prompting accusations of homophobia. In his defence, the corporation explained “the word ‘gay’, in addition to being used to mean ‘homosexual’ or ‘carefree’, was often now used to mean ‘lame’ or ‘rubbish’.” The Guardian also quoted Moyles as saying in November 2006: “Yeah, I’m homophobic, I don’t like the gays. Sorry, it just does my head in.” LGBT charity Stonewall awarded Moyles ‘Bully of the Year’ at their award ceremony the same year.

At the time of Moyles’ departure being announced in July, Cooper was reportedly placed under pressure to try and decrease the age demographic of the audience of Radio 1. Having been told the station should attempt to broadcast primarily to individuals aged between 15 and 29 by a BBC Trust review in 2009, a separate review by the body in June 2012 found too many of its listeners were over the age of 30.

Cooper described Grimshaw as a “great broadcaster with a passion for music and a mischievous sense of humour” back in July and believed he would be an “excellent” replacement for Moyles, “bringing a new generation of listeners with him.”



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July 11, 2012

Chris Moyles announces departure from BBC Radio 1 breakfast show

Chris Moyles announces departure from BBC Radio 1 breakfast show

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BBC

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In the United Kingdom, radio personality Chris Moyles has announced his intention to stop presenting his breakfast show, The Chris Moyles Show, on BBC Radio 1 in September of this year, having presented it since January 2004. Nick Grimshaw, who is currently a late-night presenter at the radio station, has been appointed as his replacement.

Moyles, who presents Channel 4 game show Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night, broke the record for the longest-running breakfast show on Radio 1 in September 2009, surpassing Tony Blackburn‘s record from September 1967 to June 1973. The Chris Moyles Show has also achieved two Sony Awards. Moyles hosted an edition of his show in March 2011, lasting for 52 hours, which raised £2.4 million for British charity Comic Relief. It was at the time the longest radio broadcast ever. From September of this year, Moyles is to portray the role of Herod in a UK tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

Cquote1.svg [Chris Moyles has been] the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1 history Cquote2.svg

Ben Cooper, BBC Radio 1 controller

In July 2011, Moyles had signed a BBC contract, worth a million pounds, to allow him to continue presenting his show until January 2014. According to The Guardian, Greg James had been widely anticipated to take Moyles’ position after his departure. Moyles said his position was “his dream job” and one he had “wanted since I was a child … I know some kids want to be a professional footballer or a fireman but not me, I’m a geek and I wanted to be on the radio and I wanted the biggest radio show you could get and eventually I got it.”

Moyles, who has referred to himself as the ‘saviour of Radio 1’, wished to “give [the listeners] a heads up and tell [them] that we are going to wrap it up” on his show. In a speech, Moyles said he has had “the best time of [his] life” and spoke of his belief that “it’s almost time to go, and so we’re off. I just wanted to let you know. A couple more months of us and then it’s someone else’s turn to have a go, so thanks for listening and I hope you stay with us until the end because I promise it’s going to be brilliant.”

BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper considered Moyles to be “the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1 history” and described him as “fantastic”. Grimshaw said that he “love[s] Chris and have always looked up to him as one of the best broadcasters ever”.

In contrast, Daily Mail columnist Paul Connolly criticised Moyles, calling him a “cultural barbarian” who “assault[s] our eardrums with drivel” and describing him as “deliberately, determinedly yobbish”. There have been numerous occasions when Moyles has caused controversy, such as feeling the breasts of singer Melanie Brown live on air in June 2008 while providing a running commentary as he was doing so. After his appearance on BBC television programme Who Do You Think You Are? in January 2009, he remarked: “[U]nlike a lot of the Who Do You Think You Are? shows I didn’t go to Auschwitz. Pretty much everyone goes there whether or not they’re Jewish. They just seem to pass through there on their way to Florida.” This caused the BBC to state in response: “[W]e regret that on this occasion his comments were misjudged and we are speaking to Chris and his team about them.”

Moyles said in a May 2006 programme: “I don’t want that [ringtone], it’s gay”, prompting accusations of homophobia. In his defence, the corporation explained “the word ‘gay’, in addition to being used to mean ‘homosexual’ or ‘carefree’, was often now used to mean ‘lame’ or ‘rubbish’.” The LGBT charity Stonewall subsequently awarded Moyles ‘Bully of the Year’ at their award ceremony that year. The Guardian also quoted him as saying in November 2006: “Yeah, I’m homophobic, I don’t like the gays. Sorry, it just does my head in.”

Cooper has reportedly been placed under pressure to try and decrease the age demographic of the audience of Radio 1. Having been told that the station should attempt to broadcast primarily to individuals aged between 15 and 29 by a BBC Trust review in 2009, a separate review by the body in June 2012 found that too many of its listeners were over the age of 30.

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Recent figures have suggested BBC Radio 2 breakfast show host Chris Evans is more popular than Moyles’ programme. RAJAR statistics for the latest period indicate that Evans’ programme received a peak of 9.2 million listeners every week on average while The Chris Moyles Show achieved a figure of 7.1 million at the same time. During the same period last year, Moyles’ show was getting an audience of approximately 7.5 million.

Grimshaw, who is one of the presenters of youth programming block T4 on Channel 4, commented he was “super-excited to be hosting the iconic Radio 1 Breakfast Show, it’s been a dream of mine since the age of 11 and to be honest it hasn’t really sunk in yet.” Cooper describes Grimshaw as a “great broadcaster with a passion for music and a mischievous sense of humour, which has made him a hit with our listeners” and believes he will be an “excellent” replacement for Moyles, “bringing a new generation of listeners with him.”

File photo of Chris Moyles from September 11, 2009. Image: Rabbro.

File photo of Chris Moyles from September 11, 2009.
Image: Rabbro.

File photo of Nick Grimshaw (right) from November 21, 2009. Image: Katherine Oneill.

File photo of Nick Grimshaw (right) from November 21, 2009.
Image: Katherine Oneill.

Official logo for BBC Radio 1. Image: Gr1st.

Official logo for BBC Radio 1.
Image: Gr1st.

Related news

  • BBC DJ duo break radio record” — Wikinews, March 19, 2011
  • “Chris Moyles breaks record for longest running breakfast show on BBC Radio 1” — Wikinews, September 7, 2009

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July 7, 2012

WorldPride London 2012: In pictures

WorldPride London 2012: In pictures – Wikinews, the free news source

WorldPride London 2012: In pictures

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Radical ‘Queer Resistance’ marchers brought a political edge to Pride.
Image: Tom Morris.

Despite allegations that the Mayor of London‘s office exerted pressure on the organisers of WorldPride in London to change the start time of the event to reduce the number of people attending, thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and their supporters marched from Portman Square to Whitehall today. The event celebrated forty years since the first gay pride march in London in 1972.

Veterans of the 1972 march led the parade, and were followed by groups representing LGBT charity and campaigning groups including Stonewall and Terrence Higgins Trust, trade unions, student groups and corporations including Tesco, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Ernst and Young, Smirnoff, and KPMG.


WorldPride 2012 - 015.jpg Walking groups gathering together in Portman Square before the march started.
Image: Tom Morris.

London Gay Pride 2012 Brian Paddick.jpg Brian Paddick, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and candidate for London mayor, marching with other elected Liberal Democrats.
Image: Fæ.

WorldPride 2012 - 011.jpg Marchers with Stonewall with placards reading “Some people are gay. Get over it.”
Image: Tom Morris.
WorldPride 2012 - 114.jpg Workers from Tesco marching in the parade.
Image: Tom Morris.
WorldPride 2012 - 138.jpg Members of the gay swimming group Out To Swim.
Image: Tom Morris.
WorldPride 2012 - 143.jpg LGBT students from Middlesex University.
Image: Tom Morris.
WorldPride 2012 - 146.jpg London Raiders, a gay and lesbian softball team.
Image: Tom Morris.
WorldPride 2012 - 156.jpg A drag queen hands out condoms followed by a group of men in lederhosen.
Image: Tom Morris.
WorldPride 2012 - 167.jpg Transgender campaigners marching down Oxford Street.
Image: Tom Morris.
WorldPride 2012 - 168.jpg Leathermen marching down Oxford Street.
Image: Tom Morris.
London Gay Pride 2012 London gothic.jpg Members of London’s gothic community joined the parade.
Image: Fæ.
WorldPride 2012 - 182.jpg A small group of anti-gay Christians protested in Haymarket.
Image: Tom Morris.



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June 27, 2006

Conditions in the womb determine male sexuality

Conditions in the womb determine male sexuality

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Research published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests a link between male sexuality and conditions in the womb.

Initial research by Dr. Anthony F. Bogaert and his colleagues at Brock University, Ontario revealed a possible link between the number of elder brothers a boy has and the likelihood he is to be gay. Whether this correlation be attributed to nature through the prenatal effects of the womb or to nurture through the psychosocial effects of growing up with elder siblings, however, remained unclear.

To further his research Bogaert studied 944 heterosexual and homosexual men. The men were either “biological” brothers and shared the same mother or “non-biological” brothers through adoption or as half or step siblings. Boegart reasoned that if the link between homosexuality and elder brothers was due to the nurturing effects of the family environment it would show regardless of any biological relationship.

The study showed, however, that the link was found only in biological brothers. The amount of time an individual spent being raised with elder brothers had no bearing on sexual orientation; the relationship was even found to be true in brothers who were raised apart from one another.

Bogaert writes in this month’s PNAS: “These results support a prenatal origin to sexual orientation development in men and indicate that the fraternal birth-order effect is probably the result of a maternal ‘memory’ for male gestations or births.”

He suggests that each male foetus prompts a progressively stronger immune reaction in the mother’s body. The antibodies that are produced by this reaction may account for sexual differentiation of the brain.

Scientists from Michigan State University added in an accompanying article: “These data strengthen the notion that the common denominator between biological brothers, the mother, provides a prenatal environment that fosters homosexuality in her younger sons.”

“Increasingly, credible evidence appears to indicate that being gay is genetically determined rather than being a so-called lifestyle choice. It adds further weight to the argument that lesbian and gay people should be treated equally in society and not discriminated against for something that’s just as inherent as skin colour,” said Andy Forrest, a spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall. However; Dr. Bogaert’s study made no explanation for the origin of lesbianism.

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