Petition for Full Marriage Equality in Rhode Island

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Anita Kanitz
4 years ago
You know, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender - people are people. Judith Light

Women who love women are Lesbians. Men, because they can only think of women in sexual terms, define Lesbian as sex between women. Rita Mae Brown

Rape, murder and abuse: The penalty for being a lesbian today !

Despite a general global trend towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality, it is still illegal to be a lesbian or bisexual woman in almost a quarter of countries across the world today, according to a new report.

Barbados, Morocco, Dominica, Maldives, Indonesia and Sri Lanka are just a few of the places where homosexuality is classified as a criminal act.

A survey by the Human Dignity Trust (HDT), a charity that supports challenges to anti-gay laws worldwide, has revealed the devastating ways in which the laws against homosexuality impact millions of vulnerable homosexual women.

In some countries, women had endured sexual and physical violence, rape and abuse from the police as well as state-sanctioned family and community abuse – all purely based on their sexual orientation or being a suspected homosexual.

Seventy-eight per cent of women surveyed in India said they had felt suicidal, or had experienced some form of violence, just for being gay.

Lesbian and bisexual women are particularly vulnerable to violation of their human rights, a result of their sexual orientation and gender.

Most have no option but to be forced into heterosexual marriages, meaning they may have little or no control over their sexual and reproductive choices – and resulting in a life time of undocumented and state-sanctioned rape.

Economically, homosexual women are also disadvantaged as a result of their gender. In the majority of countries that still see homosexuality as a criminal offence, men are the breadwinners.

They also tend to be limited when it comes to education - and even if they did earn money for themselves, the gender pay gap is incredibly restrictive.

All these factors combined, see millions of homosexual women dependent on husbands they never wanted in the first place.

One woman in Cameroon described how she couldn't visit her children because she was a lesbian.

“My brothers told my children’s fathers that I was a lesbian. Immediately a family meeting was convened, and it was decided that I should not bring the children up. I had no say, because I am a lesbian. I still try and contact my children to visit them, but the fathers deny me visits,” she said.

Tea Braun, legal director of the HDT said women were particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. "The point is that while a lot of the types of discrimination and abuse can happen to anybody in the LGBT community, often women are more vulnerable to sexual violence such as ‘corrective rape’ as well as family abuse and control.

"Gay men may in some cases find it easier to have a sham marriage but still meet with other gay men. There is more control and restrictions over a woman’s freedom," Braun added.

Britain was originally responsible for criminalising homosexuality during the 19th century, enforcing the law upon the Commonwealth. While the UK has moved forward and laws have been changed, 80 per cent of Commonwealth countries still view homosexuality as a crime.

'Breaking the Silence', the report from HDT, aims to address this LGBTI persecution and cater to the specific needs of female homosexuality, with the aim of eradicating violence against women.

Baroness Barker, a Liberal Democrat peer said: “This is a ground-breaking piece of research. There is not another document in existence that looks so comprehensively at the legal and social impact of anti-gay laws on women who have sex with women. It is an important document for anyone working to help lesbian and bi women live in safety and with dignity the world over."

The report contains harrowing accounts. One Burundian woman whose female lover, Mou, was killed by her husband said: “Mou was stabbed to death by some miscreant hired by my husband. That fateful night that Mou was killed, my husband raped me. During the forced intercourse, my husband depicted to me how Mou was killed.”

Justice Edwin Cameron, of the constitutional court of South Africa, said: “The HDT report reminds us that LGBT people are not a homogeneous group. Lesbians and bisexual women, as a sub-group experience distinct and additional human rights violations from those of gay men.”

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens are bullied and ostracized in epidemic proportions. It's disgusting, and it must change. Monica Raymund

We women continue to swallow this line that it's unladylike or even proof of being a lesbian if you wear flat shoes like Doc Martens. I'm prepared to put up with that accusation, because at least my feet aren't killing me and I don't look like a bandy ostrich. Jo Brand

Murder, torture and rape of lesbians:

South Africa, May 2017:

Soweto lesbian raped and stoned to death a day before starting new job!

An openly lesbian woman from Soweto has been brutalised and murdered in a suspected hate crime, the day before starting her promising new job.

The half naked body of 27-year-old Lerato Tambai Moloi, described by activists as a “butch” lesbian, was found in Naledi Ext.

She was discovered by community members who were cutting down tall grass in a field near a railway line. Her trousers and underwear had been pulled down. Large rocks had been thrown onto her head.

According to a police statement, Moloi also had three wounds to her neck. A knife was found next to her body. It is believed that she was raped.

Moloi was last seen at the Gift’s Inn tavern with a 38-year-old man, who has now been arrested as a suspect in the murder. Forensic samples will be taken from both the victim and the suspect, said police.

Steve Letsike, Director of Access Chapter 2, was among a group of activists who met with Moloi’s family and the police. They also visited the tavern and the location where her body was discovered.

The young woman, who lived with her aunt, had just landed a new job, which she was excited to start. “The family is shocked, they are traumatised,” Letsike told Mambaonline. “It’s so sad to be around them, listening to how she was going to be able to help at home and the family”.

When she left the house , Moloi told her aunt that she would buy her something for Mother’s Day when she got her first paycheque. “She will never see another Mother’s Day. That opportunity for them to take care of one another was taken away,” said Letsike.

“I am broken. I am angry, because we are sitting here with a rise in hate crime incidents in South Africa. Prevention of these incidents is not prioritised. I think we have to face reality; that we are facing a war on women’s bodies – and particularly the LGBTI community.”

Letsike noted that the attack took place on the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which will be commemorated around the world. (This past weekend also saw the funeral of 28-year-old Nonkie Smous, another lesbian woman who was murdered and set on fire in Kroonstad in April 2017.)

Letsike revealed that she would be attending a meeting of the National Task Team on Gender and Sexual Orientation-Based Violence against LGBTI Persons.

“This can’t be business as usual. I am thinking of all the silence that we have in our country. And it starts at the helm; the president himself. Those in charge are not necessarily taking responsibility to do their duty.”

She said that the country needs to take a united stand against gender based violence and violence against LGBTI people. “We have to occupy spaces, we must occupy the presidency, we must occupy parliament. Lives are being lost!”

The Love Not Hate project launched its “5 – Justice Denied” campaign to highlight the appalling delays and injustices in five ongoing LGBTI hate crime cases.

“Not only is the criminal justice system failing these and other LGBTI victims of hate, but so too are the structures initiated by government to tackle this scourge,” said Lerato Phalakatshela, Hate Crime Manager at OUT LGBT Well-being and spokesperson for the Love Not Hate campaign.

He admitted that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Task Team and Rapid Response Team “are not delivering what was expected”.

The National Task Team on Gender and Sexual Orientation-Based Violence against LGBTI Persons was announced in 2011, while the Rapid Response Team to monitor and fast track pending and reported LGBTI related cases was launched in 2014.

In the last year, of 26 cases submitted to the Task Team, just one has been successfully resolved, said Phalakatshela. Of updates requested by Love Not Hate from the Rapid Response Team in September 2016 concerning 22 outstanding cases, responses to just six of the cases have been returned; and these responses were described as “inadequate”.

Meetings of the teams are often delayed or do not take place, and there is still no functioning Rapid Response Team in Gauteng, claimed Phalakatshela.

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Luke Perkins
5 years ago

I support the rights of all consenting adults to their relationships. Every bit of time and money spend trying to deny consenting adults their right to be together as they mutually agree is time and money that could be better spent preventing and treating abuse.
It is wasteful, counterproductive, unjust, and cruel to try to keep consenting adults who love each other apart. Real people, including children, are hurt by making criminals and second-class citizens out of adult lovers.

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andreas georgiou
5 years ago
Full Marriage Equality in RI will ensure that 'everyone in RI has the right to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any and all consenting adult(s) of their choice, regardless of birth or sexual orientation.' The law needs to be changed to allow CIAO people to marry.

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Flora S
5 years ago
I am a mother that has been with my son for many years and would love to marry him