Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

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As 2012 draws to a close, PinkNews.co.uk takes a look back at the biggest international stories of the last twelve months.

1 – Australian Salvation Army Officer: Gay people should be put to death

Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

The Salvation Army’s reputation for being above the overtly homophobic behaviour of US evangelical churches suffered a knock in 2012, when in a discussion for Australia’s Joy 94.9 FM, a senior official in the Australian Salvation Army suggested that sexually active LGBT people should be put to death.

2 – Iranian President denounces gay people as ‘ugly’

Going on Piers Morgan’s chat show to equate homosexuality with stealing and telling the presenter that being gay is “ugly” was always likely to catapult Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into the headlines; his country was still executing people for being gay in 2012.

3 – Anderson Cooper confirms he’s gay

Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

America’s highest profile TV journalist publicly confirmed he happened to be gay during July. As the biggest star of CNN, Anderson Cooper said his longstanding silence on the question of his sexual orientation was motivated in part by his personal desire for privacy and for his neutrality and personal safety as a journalist.

4 – Australian Parliament votes against legalising same-sex marriage

It wasn’t all good news on the global equal marriage front. In September, lawmakers in the Australian Parliament overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would have introduced equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard remained against supporting equal marriage.

5 – France pushes ahead with equal marriage – despite mass protests

Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

Equal marriage was an issue that dominated the globe in 2012, but perhaps nowhere quite as visible as in France – the world’s most romantic nation – where enormous protests both against and in support of the measure took place towards the close of the year. Unlike his predecessor, Nicholas Zarkozy, France’s new president in 2012, Francois Hollande, came to power strongly supporting equal marriage.

The French Parliament will debate a marriage equality bill early in 2013.

6 – Uganda remains top for Africa’s gay hate

Uganda was intent on keeping its crown as Africa’s loudest gay rights critic in 2012. The speaker of the country’s parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, promised to pass the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill by Christmas – yet MPs broke up for the year without debating the measure. The bill threatens to impose draconian sentences and even the death penalty for those found convicted of breaking the proposed law.

7 – Pope: Same-sex marriage threatens humanity

Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

Pope Benedict XVI retained his position as the world’s most outspoken religious leader, attacking equal marriage and gay relationships in general at regular points throughout 2012. The Pope seemed convinced that marriage equality would cause the end of the world; he was quick off the mark with the warning in January.

8 – Russia’s support for anti-gay laws

Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

2012 was a year when Russia seemed intent on turning back the clock on LGBT rights. Its second largest city, St Petersburg, passed a draconian homophobic censorship law that banned the public discussion of LGBT issues in order to protect ‘minors’.

An unsuccessful attempt was made to prosecute Madonna, when the US singer allegedly violated the law during a concert in the city in August.

9 – US elections

Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

America’s biggest ever White House advocate of LGBT equality was comfortably re-elected to a second term in November’s US elections. Despite it being a close, drawn-out and aggressive campaign, in the end, President Obama’s margin of victory against Republican Mitt Romney was decisive.

Of wider electoral significance were the decisions of Maine, Maryland and the state of Washington to approve equal marriage after voters supported the measure in public ballots. In Minnesota, where same-sex marriage is banned by statute, a referendum to cement this ban into the state’s constitution was also defeated.

10 – Barack Obama backs same-sex marriage

Feature: The top international LGBT stories of 2012

History was made on 8 May 2012 when Barack Obama became the first US president to endorse equal marriage. In an interview with ABC News, he said that his views had “evolved” over the past few years, based on conversations with staff members, gay and lesbian service members, and people in his own family.