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Despite arrests, some participants of Uganda’s first LGBT Pride festival say the inaugural event was a relative success, Gay Star News reports. The festival, held in Entebbe along Lake Victoria, began Friday, Aug. 3, without incident.
The following day, however, police raided the festival and arrested several activists, though they were later released. No charges were filed.
GSN carried a statement from Maurice Tomlinson, an activist from Jamaica and the grand marshal of the festival’s march.
”The march, dubbed Uganda Beach Pride, was held on the grounds of the Botanical Gardens on the banks of the majestic Lake Victoria,” Tomlinson said. ”Many parents even brought their kids over to hear the music and listen to the few speeches and share in the jubilant atmosphere. The pride organizers even shared food and drinks feely with the onlookers. There was a wonderful party atmosphere and apparently one of the beachgoers complained to the police that we were conducting a gay wedding. … As a result, I got my first ride in the back of a police van!”
Tomlinson went on to describe the police conduct as ”utterly disgraceful.”
GSN also carried a quote from Frank Mugisha, possibly Uganda’s most prominent LGBT activist, coordinator of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG): ”Thumbs up to you all who made this happen. Next time we begin the march from the police station.”
With a push for marriage equality in Australia expected to fail at the federal level, Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings says her state may adopt such a law on its own, Pink News reports.
”We fundamentally believe that it’s wrong that people do not have the same choices in life that the rest of us take for granted when it comes to marriage,” Giddings said during the Aug. 4 weekend at an Australian Labor Party conference. ”The time has now come for marriage equality to be part of the community.”
Rodney Croome of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group welcomed Giddings comments, saying, ”Overnight, Tasmania has become a beacon of hope for hundreds of thousands of Australians.
”Tasmania has changed profoundly since it was the last state to decriminalize homosexuality in 1997 and we will welcome the thousands of same-sex couples from other states who want to marry in Australia rather than fly to North America or Europe to wed.”
The French Catholic Church has announced an Aug. 15 reading of an updated version of the ”prayer for France,” to be read in all of the nation’s Catholic churches. The new version includes language opposing marriage equality and adoption by gays, according to Reuters.
The tradition of such an annual prayer in France, begun by King Louis XIII, waned after World War II.
Polling data shows that roughly two-thirds of the French support marriage equality in this predominantly Catholic country.