The Weekly LGBTQ News: Issue #5
Last weekend, an Israeli Rabbi warned a landlord of renting to a lesbian couple. Rabbi Yaakov Ariel responded to a question asked on Yeshiva, a site where users can get answers about difficult topics from religious leaders. One user asked about renting to a lesbian couple and if there was “a religious prohibition” against leasing. Ariel responded, “If only one of them is renting then you can lease it, but if you have another offer, take it.” Following the rabbi’s comments, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni sought the ministry’s legal experts to examine a legislative amendment that would make discrimination in housing a criminal offense with up to six months in prison.
In Australia, New South Wales repealed a law that allowed murderers to get a lighter sentence with the ‘gay panic’ defense. “We’ve fought for years to end this homophobic and bi-phobic legislation, and we welcome the passage of this bill,” said gay rights lobbyist Justin Koonin. Neighboring to the north, Queensland still maintains the law. In recent Australian news, the government from down under wants to use $245 million dollars to send chaplains from anti-gay religious groups to places where students have been bullied for differing sexualities. Many have become outraged at the government’s decision and have started a petition close to its goal of 150,000. You can sign it here.
South Africa recently swore in an openly gay black Member of Parliament. Zakhele Mbhele was sworn in to the South African Parliament in late May. “I know what it means as a historical milestone, but I’m not walking around thinking of myself as the first openly gay black MP,” Mbhele said to LGBTI publication Mamba Online. The recently sworn in MP has said it is important to have LGBTQ role models to inspire the younger generation and that he is keen on working on hate crimes with the police. The nation is miles ahead with marriage equality and has repealed a blood donation ban that prohibited gay men from donating.