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As US Advances, Worldwide LGBT Rights Lag Behind

In the past few weeks, judges in both Utah and Oklahoma have found those countries anti-marriage equality amendments unconstitutional. Higher courts have stayed both rulings, but the march of progress seems to continue unabated. But, looking only at the United States can give a false view of where LGBTQ people stand around the world.

Problems related to the anti-gay laws in Russia continue to cause friction ahead of that countries hosting of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the beginning of February. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently made televised comments claiming that no gay visitors would be harassed at the games because the law does not ban nontraditional sexual expression . Rather, Putin’s comments called for gays to leave children alone, implying (incorrectly) that gay people are rampantly involved in pedophilic crimes.

These statements stand in contrast to hardline statements that have been made by other members of the Russian government, and actual practice at the games remains to be seen.

Under a new law in Nigeria, over thirty people have been arrested for homosexuality under that country’s recently signed anti-gay law. This has spread anti-gay violence and harassment throughout the country, extending it into the traditionally safer southern states. Many have been arrested for belonging to gay organizations, and those arrested are forced to implicate others. This has increased fear that the number of arrests will spread in weeks to come.

A Kazakh lawmaker has called for his fellow policymakers to join together in banning sex between men and “lesbianism.” The sponsor Bakhytbek Smagul implied that Russia intended to adopt a similar law in the near future.

However, not all news has been bad. The Ugandan President refused to sign a recent bill that would have made the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” punishable with a life sentence in prison. However, this refusal was due to procedural reasons rather than a change of opinion by President Museveni. Museveni still claims that homosexuals are “sick” and should be treated. ).

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