Pink News – Turkey: Children fostered by European gay couples will be retrieved

Turkey: Children fostered by European gay couples will be retrieved

by Corinne Pinfold
18 February 2013, 12:04pm

Turkish authorities have begun procedures to remove Turkish children from foreign gay foster parents (Image: Freedom to Marry Site: Flickr)

A campaign has been launched by the Turkish Government to retrieve Turkish children fostered by Christian families in Europe – starting with children fostered by gay and lesbian couples.

According to the Hurriyet Daily, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has instructed Turkish international representatives to start the process in the cases of three children fostered by gay couples in Belgium.

The children had been taken from their families by child welfare officers because of abuse claims, or because the families could not financially support their children.

An investigation was launched last month after the Turkish Government estimated that 5,000 such children had been given to Christian foster parents in Europe, rather than being matched to foster parents who share their faith and heritage.

The Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights Commission (TPHRC), which lead the investigation, reported that three of the children had been given to gay and lesbian couples in Belgium.

One child, Yunus, was taken from his family at 6-months-old after allegedly being dropped on the floor by his parents. He is now 9-years-old and lives with a lesbian couple in Belgium. His family had previously applied for his return, but had been rejected by courts.

Turkish authorities have begun legal proceeding to have Yunus and other Turkish children given to gay foster parents returned, citing a violation of human rights and psychological damage done to the child.

Speaking about Yunus’ case Ayhan Sefer Ustun, head of the TPHRC, said: “We don’t condemn that culture, but the child has been given to a foreign culture, to a lesbian family. Even if a child is taken from the [biological] family for the right reasons, he or she should be placed with a family closer to his or her culture.”

He said he was concerned that the children would have their Turkish cultural background and Islamic religion “assimilated” by living with Christian European families.

“The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in a past ruling said that taking a Christian child from his family and giving him to a family of Jehovah’s witnesses was not an appropriate act,” he said. “This is a situation against human rights. It is an assimilation to take a child who has grown up with an Islamic culture to be given to a Christian family without a judicial decision.”

“We have highly successful Turks in Europe. Turkish children could be given to such Turks,” he added.

Pink News – Canada: Ontario Premier thanks church for ‘strength and refuge’ while she was coming out

Canada: Ontario Premier thanks church for ‘strength and refuge’ while she was coming out

by Joseph Patrick McCormick
18 February 2013, 1:46pm

Kathleen Wynne was appointed as the Premier of Ontario in January (Image: Twitter)

The Premier of Canada’s Ontario province has thanked a church which she attended whilst coming out for being a place of refuge, and for the “strength” it gave her.

In late January, former cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne, was appointed as Canada’s first openly-gay provincial premier. She was also the first female leader of the most populous Canadian province.

Talking about the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Ms Wynne said: “I can remember the feeling of, this is a place that’s going to give me solace and strength.”

The Metropolitan was also the place at which Canada’s first equal marriages were performed.

She went on to say that whilst coming out in the 1990s, she would “sneak” from North Toronto to the church, and that she and her partner Jane Rounthwaite, would attend some services there.

“There was lots of turmoil in that coming out; it was not easy to do that. Jane had known her whole life that she was a lesbian and I had not known until I was 37,” she continued. She also joked that she was a “slow learner.”

Referring to the recent Liberal leadership race, and questions over whether the province was ready for an openly gay leader, she cited a poll which said that most Ontario residents “couldn’t care less whether I’m a lesbian.”

Ms Wynne had been invited to the Sunday service with guest preacher Reverend Gary Paterson, who, similarly to her, was recently elected as the first openly gay moderator of the United Church of Canada.

In December, Ontario became the first province to allow trans people to amend the ‘gender’ section of their birth certificates without having to undergo gender confirmation surgery.

Pink News – Labour MP Sadiq Khan receives death threats for supporting same-sex marriage

Labour MP Sadiq Khan receives death threats for supporting same-sex marriage

by Scott Roberts
18 February 2013, 12:07pm

Sadiq Khan voted in support of marriage equality

Britain’s most senior Muslim MP has received death threats from some hardline Islamic extremists after voting in favour of equal marriage earlier this month.

Police have told Labour MP Sadiq Khan, who is also the shadow justice secretary and represents Tooting in south London, that he should review the security around him and his family following the Commons vote.

Some Islamic groups said that by voting for same-sex marriage, Mr Khan was “selling out” his religion.

Mufti Muhammed Aslam Naqshbandi Bandhalev, head imam of the Jamia Islamia Rizvia mosque in Bradford, issued a fatwa against Mr Khan declaring that he is an “apostate” from Islam who must “repent before Allah”.

The Daily Mail reports the MP told one friend that he was especially concerned about those close to him, saying: “My family do not need to suffer for what I have to do for my job.

“I’ve not had threats like this before.”

Inayat Bunglawala, of Muslims4UK, said: “It is deeply worrying to see that Sadiq Khan has been subjected to these sinister threats.

“He is a working-class Muslim from South London who has done well.

“Instead of vilifying him as an apostate, his short-sighted and bigoted detractors would do better by looking to him as a talented and hard-working role model for young Muslims.”

Mr Khan was among 400 MPs, five of them Muslim, who voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Tuesday 5 February.

22 Labour MPs voted against the bill – and 16 MPs including Gordon Brown were not present for the vote; the former PM and Labour leader was on a pre-arranged trip to the US in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Global Education.