When same-sex marriage was legalised in England and Wales in 2013, many people who cared about LGBT celebrated as if the fight for equality had taken a massive step forward. This was the right thing to do because it was an important day in the British LGBT rights movement. However there were some people who only took a passing interest in the cause of LGBT rights, and mistakenly believed that this was the final battle. This perception was false. There are a number of issues that affect LGBT people in British society, and one of these issues was the stain on the character of those men convicted of homosexual acts before the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 decriminalised such behaviour. After a long campaign, this injustice has been rectified.
After 33 years of self-imposed diplomatic exile, Morocco has been readmitted into the African Union (AU). Previously, the country had left the organisation after the AU made a series of statements in support of the Polisario Front. The Polisario Front- who have been seeking the right to an independent nation-state in Western Sahara- have been engaged in verbal and military combat with the Moroccan government since the start of the Western Sahara War in 1975. I have mixed emotions towards this decision, and this is what I want to outline in this piece.
When talking about the forefront of the struggle for LGBT equality, many people will think about the horrific treatment of LGBT people in the Middle East. This is perception is warranted, as in many countries in the region face social stigmatisation and legal persecution. However news out of the Middle East in the last 24 hours offers a glimmer of hope. A judge in Lebanon has ruled that homosexual acts are not punishable under the Lebanese legal system. This is an important step forward for Lebanon and the Middle East in a number of different ways.
On Sunday the Israeli government announced that the moratorium on new settlements in East Jerusalem would be lifted, and that 560 new settlements would be constructed. In an interview on Israel Radio, Meir Turgeman, the Chairman of Jerusalem city hall’s Planning and Building committee said that he had been advised to wait until Obama left office as US President: “I was told to wait until Trump takes office because he has no problem with building in Jerusalem”. This is an ominous look forward into what the future of the Israel-Palestine situation will be with Trump in the White House, and ordinary people need to act to mitigate the US’ approach to Israel.
One of the first things that Donald Trump has done in office is introduce new barriers for women seeking an abortion. Specifically, Trump has reintroduced the ‘Mexico City policy’, an approach to US developmental aid that requires NGOs to not preform abortions in order to qualify for federal funds. This policy was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 but had been ignored by Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama. Trump’s decision will make women seeking abortions around the world more difficult, but there are some who are willing to stand up.
In a move that shouldn’t have surprised anyone, the British Supreme Court has ruled that the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will begin Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, must be approve by Parliament. Theresa May and other senior Tories had tried to argue that the result of the referendum was such that Cabinet ministers could act without parliamentary approval, however the Supreme Court disagreed. Legislation will now be put forward by the government to trigger Article 50 and the House of Commons will vote on the bill.
Since the election of Donald Trump people from across the political spectrum have been scrambling to explain how Trump’s message was spread and why it was so potent. As a result there has been a lot of talk about ‘fake news’ and how it is a scourge that needs to be eradicated. However I believe that ‘fake news’ is a loaded term invented by centrist liberals to easily whitewash dissenting opinions and redefine existing concepts. In short, we shouldn’t use the term ‘fake news’.