The Equal Love campaign

To find out more about OutRage!’s Equal Love campaign, visit www.equallove.org.uk

Protest against Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in East London

Islamist group seeks to establish a global religious dictatorship

Protest this Saturday, 9 July, from 12 noon – 3pm

Outside the Waterlily Business Centre, 69-89 Mile End Road, London E1 4TT

“Hizb ut-Tahrir is an Islamist and fundamentalist organisation which seeks to impose its supremacist interpretation of Islam on the whole world. It opposes democracy and has the goal of establishing a global religious dictatorship, a caliphate. Non-Islamic political parties would be illegal. Gender apartheid and the segregation of men and women would become mandatory,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

Mr Tatchell will join Saturday’s protest at 12 noon in the Mile End Road, outside Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Caliphate Conference, together with Muslim campaigners. 

“Discrimination against people on the basis of their religion, gender and sexuality is enshrined in Hizb ut-Tahrir’s draft constitution and would be enforced in a future caliphate,” added Mr Tatchell.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir is guilty of extreme intolerance towards Muslims who do not share its harsh, fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. It advocates the execution of Muslims who turn away from their faith or convert to another religion. The group has urged the death penalty for gay people and for women who have sex outside of marriage. Some of its members have a history of anti-Semitism.

“They are even more extreme and fascistic than the odious far right British National Party.

“The Hizb ut-Tahrir conference takes place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets but its values are at odds with those of the local council: ‘Organisational pledge against Hate’: ‘We will: Promote and implement a policy that promotes diversity and equality and challenges all forms of discrimination’.

Key excerpts from Hizb ut-Tahrir’s draft constitution can be found here:

http://tiny.cc/529ft

The full draft constitution is here:

http://tiny.cc/xnjrb

Hizb ut-Tahrir regularly takes part in anti-gay demonstrations in other parts of the world:

http://tiny.cc/tin0w

“The intolerant and extreme views of Hizb ut-Tahrir are not welcome in an area of London that has already witnessed bigoted outside organisations, such as the English Defence League, promoting their divisive and hateful brand of politics,” said Mr Tatchell.

“The anti-humanitarian views of Hizb ut-Tahrir are not shared by most Muslims in Britain. Its extreme fundamentalist policies are stoking Islamophobic prejudice. We stand in solidarity with the many Muslims who support democracy and human rights.

“Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir threatened to kill me in May 1994 when I and five other activists from OutRage! picketed its 6,000-strong rally at Wembley Arena. It was six of us against 6,000 of them. Despite their abuse and death threats we made our protest. They said: ‘We will track you down and kill you.’

“We were protesting against Hizb ut-Tahrir’s call for the execution of gay people and unchaste women, and against its hateful anti-Hindu and anti-Jewish incitements. For our peaceful protest, we were arrested by the police. No police action was taken against the Hizb ut-Tahrir members who threatened to kill us,” said Mr Tatchell.

Pro-democracy and pro-human rights campaigners, including Muslims, will picket outside the conference venue at 12 noon this Saturday, 9 July, in protest against Hizb ut-Tahrir and against the Waterlily Business Centre for hosting them.

Wedding card for Prince William & Kate

Gay couples want the right to marry too

Supporters of the Equal Love campaign presented a giant wedding card for Prince William and Kate Middleton outside the gates of Buckingham Palace yesterday, Monday 25 April.

As well as wishing the royal couple “congratulations” and “a happy life together”, the campaigners highlighted the ban on gay civil marriage and urged Kate and William to support the right of same-sex couples to marry in a register office. Cupcakes with Equal Love logos were handed out to tourists and passers by. Dozens of people signed the card.

The card read:

“Congratulations William and Kate on your Wedding Day. We wish you a happy life together. You can get married, gay people can’t. We are banned by law. We ask you to support marriage equality. Equal=Love.”

“As well as wishing the royal couple happiness, our card highlighted the fact that William and Kate can marry, but same-sex couples cannot. In democratic society, we should all be equal before the law. The ban on gay marriage is discrimination and should be repealed,” said coordinator of Monday’s 12 noon event, Peter Tatchell of the Equal Love campaign.

Mr Tatchell added:

“The public response was amazingly supportive. Everyone outside the palace expressed support for marriage equality. We didn’t get a single negative reaction.

“William and Kate are a modern young couple. They have gay friends. I am sure they would not wish them to suffer discrimination. Denying gay people the right to marry is unjust and unreasonable discrimination.

“Kate and William had a choice. They could get married, or not. They chose to marry. Great. Same-sex couples don’t have this choice. We are banned from marriage by law.

“We are urging the royal couple to find a way, within official protocol, to indicate their support for marriage equality. If they did this, they’d be the first royal couple to do so.

“The majority of the British public now support gay civil marriages in register offices.

“Three of the couples involved in the Equal Love legal campaign were present outside Buckingham Palace today, including Rev Sharon Ferguson and her partner Franka.

“In February, four gay couples and four heterosexual couples filed the Equal Love application in the European Court of Human Rights, seeking to overturn Britain’s legal prohibitions on same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships.

“Even if people disagree with the monarchy and marriage, the prohibition on gay marriage is homophobic and should be overturned. We must not let the government dictate that lesbian and gay couples cannot get married.

“Equally, we object to the way heterosexual couples are prohibited by law from having a civil partnership. Perhaps William and Kate might have preferred a civil partnership? It is wrong that they were prohibited by law from having this option.

“This event is an affirmation of our opposition to discrimination in marriage law. We want to show our support for the right of everyone to be able to choose whether or not to get married,” said Mr Tatchell.

Today’s celebration was organised by the Equal Love campaign, which seeks to overturn the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships: www.equallove.org.uk

It is supported by the LGBTI human rights group OutRage! and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Giant Royal Wedding Card

London – 25 April 2011: Equal Love campaign. Supporters of lesbian and gay marriage presented a giant wedding card to Prince William and Kate Middleton outside Buckingham Palace. The card read: “Congratulations William and Kate on your Wedding Day. We wish you a happy life together. You can get married, gay people can’t. We are banned by law. We ask you to support marriage equality. Equal=Love.”

Royal Wedding – Join us for gay marriage rights

If you oppose the same-sex marriage ban, celebrate with us on Monday

12 noon to 2pm
Monday 25 April 2011
Buckingham Palace (in front of the main entrance)
London SW1

Sign up to join the event on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=198721503499425

End the ban on same-sex marriage. Supporters of marriage equality will hold a celebration in front of Buckingham Palace on Easter Bank Holiday, Monday 25th April, from 12 noon to 2pm. It is a public holiday. We invite you to join us.

Coordinator of the event, Peter Tatchell of the Equal Love campaign, said:

“We plan to deliver a giant wedding card to William and Kate. As well as wishing the royal couple every happiness, we will highlight the fact that William and Kate can marry, but same-sex couples can’t.

“Our event will urge the royal couple to support moves to end the ban on gay marriage. We want equal marriage rights for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.

“Kate and William had a choice. They could get married, or not. Same-sex couples don’t have this choice. We are banned from marriage by law.

“All welcome. Bring your friends for a party in front of Buckingham Palace. Come with flowers, rainbow flags and pink jack flags.

“Some of the couples involved in the Equal Love campaign will join us on the day.

“Even if you don’t agree with marriage, the prohibition on gay marriage is homophobic and should be overturned. Don’t let the government dictate that LGBTI people can’t get married.

“The 25 April is not a celebration of the monarchy or marriage (many of us are critical of both). It is an affirmation of our opposition to discrimination in marriage law. We want to show our support for the right of everyone to be able to choose whether or not to get married, said Mr Tatchell.

Next Monday’s event is organised by the Equal Love campaign, which seeks to overturn the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships: www.equallove.org.uk

It is supported by the LGBTI human rights group OutRage! www.outrage.org.uk and the Peter Tatchell Foundation www.petertatchellfoundation.org

Peter Tatchell to address Gay Humanist meeting on Marriage Equality

On Friday 18th March at 7:30 pm Peter Tatchell will be giving a talk entitled “Equal Rights”-are we there yet?” at a meeting at:

Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4LR

This event is organised by the Gay and Lesbian Humanists Association (GALHA) with the official support of Outrage and The Peter Tatchell Foundation. Some of the couples involved in this campaign are expected to be present. We hope to confirm soon that a guest speaker who is a legal expert on gay marriage/partnership law in Europe will also be present.

Derek Lennard (GALHA Events co-ordinator) commented:
“This event will focus on the “Equal Love” campaign which has taken the legal bid for gay marriage and for heterosexual civil partnerships to the European Court of Human Rights. Peter Tatchell will report on the progress of the campaign.”

This event is organised by GALHA with the official support of Outrage and the Peter Tatchell Foundation. Some of the couples involved in this campaign are expected to be present. We hope to confirm soon that a guest speaker who is a legal expert on gay marriage/partnership law in Europe will also be present.

GALHA has consistently supported marriage equality between gay and straight couples since long before this became an issue with mainstream support.

Some humanists strongly support marriage as a social institution. Others see Civil Partnerships as more relevant. However humanists generally agree passionately that both gay and straight couples should have equal access to both marriage and civil partnerships.

For more details of the meeting please see: http://www.galhameetup.com/events/16576277/

Postpone East London Gay Pride

Call for Muslims and LGBTIs to unite against hate

East London Mosque urged to dialogue with LGBTI communities

Commenting on the planned East London Gay Pride march scheduled for 2 April, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

“OutRage! is not supporting East London Gay Pride, following the revelation of links between some of the organisers and the right-wing English Defence League (EDL). I have also withdrawn my personal support. We fear the march will be exploited and hijacked by the far right to create divisions and stir up intolerance against Muslim people,” he said.

“OutRage! opposes both homophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. All forms of intolerance are wrong. The gay, Muslim, Jewish, Asian and black communities know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should stand together, united against hate. Let’s celebrate East London’s multicultural diversity. Don’t let bigotry divide us. Together, we can defeat the hate-mongers.

“While defending the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people to protest against homophobia and the ‘Gay Free Zone’ stickers, it would be best if the march was postponed until a later date and organised by a broad-based grassroots and community coalition, untainted by associations with the EDL.

“Muslim organisations and speakers should be invited to participate in the rescheduled East London Pride.

“Sadly, the East London Mosque and its London Muslim Centre must bear some responsibility for previously stoking homophobia. They have hosted anti-gay hate preachers such as Abdul Karim Hattin who delivered a presentation called ‘Spot The Fag’.

“Hattin is not the only homophobe who has been given a platform. So have anti-gay clerics Muhammad Alshareef, Abdullah Hakim Quick and Bilal Philips.

“These fundamentalist hate preachers fuel a culture of homophobia that first and foremost intimidates and threatens LGBTI Muslims. Our Muslim sisters and brothers must be defended against those who advocate harming them.

“We welcome the East London Mosque’s assurance that it will not give a platform to anti-gay speakers in the future. We urge them to establish a regular, permanent dialogue with LGBTI organisations, including Muslim ones, to foster solidarity between the LGBTI and Muslim communities and to combat both homophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice.

“The vast majority of British Muslims are not fundamentalist fanatics. They don’t support hate preachers. Although most of them do not approve of homosexuality, they do not discriminate or harm LGBTI people. We must be very careful to distinguish between Muslim people in general and the extremist minority who oppose democracy and human rights and who want to establish a clerical dictatorship,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, the LGBTI human rights campaign organisation.

Equal Love case goes to European Court

Legal bid for gay marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships

Eight couples file joint application on 2 February

Professor Robert Wintemute outlines the legal case for equality

Photo call:
9.30am, Wednesday 2 February
Corner Abingdon Street and Great College Street, SW1
(diagonally opposite the House of Lords)

Equal Love – European Court application launch
10.30am, Tuesday 2 February
Committee Room 17
House of Commons

“Eight British couples will formally file a joint legal application to the European Court of Human Rights this Wednesday, 2 February, in a bid to overturn the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships,” announced human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage!.

The European Court challenge will be formally announced at a meeting in Committee Room 17 at the House of Commons at 10.30am, booked in the name of Caroline Lucas MP. Ms Lucas is the keynote speaker.

Prior to this meeting, there will be a photo call at 9.30am, where the couples filing the European Court challenge will post their application in the red letter box at the corner of Abingdon Street and Great College Street, SW1, diagonally opposite the House of Lords.

Peter Tatchell is coordinator of the Equal Love campaign – www.equalove.org.uk – which seeks to end sexual orientation discrimination in both civil marriage and civil partnership law. (more…)

Statement by OutRage! on the murder of David Kato in Uganda

We, the members of OutRage! in London, express our sincere condolences to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and to the Ugandan LGBTI community concerning the tragic, brutal murder of David Kato.

We salute David and his immense, brave contribution to LGBTI human rights in Uganda.

He was an inspiring campaigner of long and great commitment. He will live on in our memories. He will also live on through the rights and equalities that LGBTI Ugandans will win eventually thanks to his many years of tireless groundwork and campaigning.

We express our admiration and appreciation to all the members of SMUG who are battling for LGBTI freedom in conditions of great adversity and danger. Their courage and tenacity is awesome.

We hope this savage killing will finally prompt Uganda’s political, religious and media leaders to cease their homophobic witch-hunts. We call on the government of Uganda to withdraw the ‘kill the gays’ Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalise same-sex relations and legislate protection for LGBTI people against discrimination and hate crimes.

Yours in mournful comradeship,

Peter Tatchell,
OutRage! London UK

Ibis hotel hosts anti-gay hate preachers

Extremists call for “death penalty” for gays

Islamic Research and Education Academy conference this Sunday

The Ibis international hotel group has been accused by lesbian and gay human rights campaigners of “irresponsibly hosting conferences by extremist anti-gay hate preachers”.

The next conference by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) will be held on Sunday 16 January at the Ibis Hotel in Earl’s Court in London.

The Ibis group is being urged to cancel the iERA booking and “stop hosting speakers who variously incite homophobic hatred and the killing of gay people.”

The iERA has featured Muslim fundamentalist preachers who advocate the criminalisation of homosexuality and even the death penalty for same-sex acts. They argue that it is necessary to execute gays to keep society pure. They defend these extreme teachings about homosexuality as a model that should be followed by contemporary societies.

The headline speakers at Sunday’s conference are associates of the hate preachers Dr Zakir Naik and Bilal Phillips. Both banned from entering Britain by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, last year. Another iERA advisor, Hussein Yee is also banned from entering the UK.

The iERA speakers at the Ibis Hotel on Sunday are:

  • Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick
  • Abduraheem Green
  • Shaykh Ala El Sayed
  • Shaykh Yusuf Estes (tbc)
  • Shaykh Shady Suleiman,
  • Hamza Tzortzis
  • Yusuf Chambers

See below examples of their homophobic incitements against lesbian and gay people.

“The Ibis Hotel group should not facilitate speakers who promote homophobic discrimination and violence. They should cancel this booking,” said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights group OutRage!

“Lesbian and gay people – and straight people of conscience – should not use Ibis Hotels while they continue to host extremist anti-gay preachers. A boycott campaign might be necessary if Ibis does not change its policy.

“Neither the government nor the police would allow an event with speakers who had called for the killing of Muslims to ‘keep society pure’ and stop the spread of their religion. Such extreme anti-Muslim hate speech would not be tolerated. The event would be stopped and the speakers arrested if they expressed those views. Why the double standards?

“Most Muslims in Britain do not believe that lesbian and gay people should be killed. These extremists are out of touch with the majority of Muslim opinion. They are divisive and they damage community cohesion. Their homophobic fanaticism is being exploited by the far right to unfairly tarnish the wider Muslim community,” Mr Tatchell said.

OutRage! is urging you to email your protest to the General Manager of the Ibis Hotel in Earl’s Court, Patrice Millot:
patrice.millot@accor.com

Please also email your protest to Jean-Jacques Dessors, CEO of the Ibis Hotel parent company, Accor, via his PA, Charlotte Young:
charlotte.young@accor.com

Brett Lock of OutRage! added:

“This is not the first time Ibis Hotels have hosted such extremist events. It is quite shocking. I doubt they would host racist and anti-Semitic conferences.

“We do not wish to ban people with religious convictions from expressing their moral opposition to homosexuality. People should have the freedom to say that they think homosexuality is a sin and incompatible with their religious beliefs. However, supporting the execution of lesbian and gay people and equating them with rapists and paedophiles is dangerous incitement. It crosses the line,” he said.

Below are samples of anti-gay incitements by Sunday’s speakers at the Islamic Research and Education Academy conference in London: (more…)

European Court case launched for Equal Love

But formal filing of Court application postponed

Lord Lester QC keynote speaker at Equal Love launch

Four gay couples and four straight couples today announced their intention to file a joint application to the European Court of Human Rights, in a bid to overturn the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships. They want both institutions opened up to all couples, without discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The formal filing of the application to the European Court of Human Rights was postponed after Camden register office inadvertently failed, at the last moment, to provide a valid letter of rejection to one of the heterosexual couples who were refused a civil partnership. Such a letter is required evidence, in order to demonstrate to the European Court that the couple suffered discrimination based on their sexual orientation,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, coordinator of the Equal Love campaign, which is organising the legal challenge.

Mr Tatchell opened this morning’s European Court case launch news confernce:

“This postponement is frustrating. It has delayed the formal application but it will not prevent it. Once we have the final letter of refusal, we will go ahead with the application, probably in the second week of January,” he said.

Mr Tatchell told the news conference: “Banning black couples from getting married would provoke national and international condemnation. The prohibition on gay marriages is equally outrageous.” (more…)

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