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since June 19, 2001


Australia sets world precedent for gay asylum? Not at all!

From: Wendy McElroy [mailto:admin@zetetics.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 7:56 AM
To: insiderupdate1@ifeminists.net
Subject: World precedent on gay asylum

News Items:
   o World precedent on gay asylum....

==> News Reports <==

World precedent on gay asylum
[The Australian]
Homosexuals who would have to live "discreetly" to avoid persecution in their home country might be entitled to refugee status in Australia, the High Court found in a landmark judgment yesterday. (12/10/03)


Hello Wendy,

[Preamble omitted]

Australia sets world precedent on gay asylum? Not at all!

Australia is not the first country in the world in which homosexuals can find asylum, not by a long shot!

As of now, Australia has not set a world precedent for granting asylum to homosexual refugees and never will or can.  Australia is merely the last country to cross the line in regard to granting asylum to homosexual "refugees" or those that claim to be.  Other countries got to that state long before Australia did, Canada (1993), USA (1994), UK (2000 or earlier), Israel (2000 or earlier), and most likely a few other countries. However, it is quite possible that more countries will follow Australia across the line. The aim of the game is to get them all across that line. But then, oh-me-gosh, there will no longer be any "refugees" that can claim asylum on account of sexual orientation. Don't be so sure of that. There are a lot more sexual orientations that have not yet received much attention. The obvious one for which some people already clamor is polygamy. We will be made to cross that line when we are ordered to cross it. [The preceding comment in italics was not contained in the letter sent to Wendy McElroy. —WHS]

For example, right here at home, in Canada, the Supreme Court granted already in 1993 refugee status to asylum seekers that sought asylum on account of their sexual orientation. (see footnote in item #7

Furthermore, "In 1990, the US Congress quietly removed homosexuality as a disqualification for admission to the United States," and Janet Reno "clarified" that in 1994 by declaring that sexual orientation can be considered grounds for asylum (See item # 5).

But that is not all.  Similar provisions have been in place for quite some time in the U.K. and in Israel.  I made only a cursory search.  There are most likely other countries that already beat Australia to the finish. 

Why did Misha Schubert, the author of the Dec.10, 2003 article in The Australian, not check out her claim by doing what anyone can easily do? Just as many other people will, I recall many discussions regarding the issue of homosexuals seeking refugee status on account of their sexual orientation. Therefore I looked for reports that corroborated what I remembered.

Misha Schubert could easily have done the same instead of alleging something that could not possibly be true. It only took me a few seconds to find what I knew had to exist. Misha Schubert should have done that even if she had not known anything about the issue at all. It would have taken just as little of her effort as it did for me, but then her article would have been just a run-of-the-mill article and not such a feather in her cap. All it would have taken to do the trick would have been to enter three words into an Internet search engine: homosexuality "refugee status"

Did she commit her sin of omission on purpose? Only Misha Schubert knows for sure, and her editors obviously didn't care one way or the other.  Maybe they will bother to offer an apology to their readers.  They should!

Why would anyone create an inflated claim of being "the world's first" instead of saying no more than that Australia caught up to other "progressive" countries that got to the finish long before Australia did?  Hyperbole sells newspapers.  Nevertheless, in this case, whether it is intentional or not, it is sloppy journalism, false, and an insult to the readers of The Australian.


  1. http://www.unrefugees.org/usaforunhcr/dynamic.cfm?ID=73

22. A person who fears persecution because of sexual orientation cannot be eligible for refugee status.


International refugee law and UNHCR refugee policy have declared that homosexuals may receive refugee status on the basis of persecution because of their membership in a particular social group. Persons facing attack, inhumane treatment, or serious discrimination because of their homosexuality, and whose governments are unable or unwilling to protect them, should be recognized as refugees.

The UN policy on that is available on the Net.

The original UN declaration on refugee status is as follows:

A refugee is a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country..."

— The 1951 Convention relating to
the Status of Refugees

I have no idea how or when sexual orientation got weaseled into that, but that was done many years ago, and UN policies have the nasty habit of sneaking in through the backdoors of our courts, without legislative review and approval by our elected representatives.

More at http://www.siecus.org/pubs/fact/fact0014.html

For the official policy of the Canadian government on that and the history of the evolution of the relevant legislation, refer to

  1. http://www.gaylawnet.com/news/2000/im00.htm#israel_allows

Israel Allows Partner Immigration

ISRAEL, Tel Aviv - Israel has quietly begun allowing gay citizens' foreign lovers to immigrate.

At a recent meeting of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, the Interior Ministry's Batya Carmon said immigration officials now treat same-sex couples the same as common-law spouses.

A foreign partner must present a request at the district office of the Interior Ministry along with proof of the relationship. The individual will receive a one-year tourist permit that allows employment.

After four years (during which the tourist permit is renewed annually), the individual can request temporary resident status. Several years later, he or she can seek permanent residency and, eventually apply for citizenship.

More at http://www.gaylawnet.com/news/2000/im00.htm

  1. http://www.gaylawnet.com/news/2000/im00.htm#court_gives

UK Eases Asylum for Lesbians

UNITED KINGDOM - Issues specific to women escaping persecution, including lesbianism, are highlighted in new immigration guidelines, while other gay concerns are not on the Queen's radar screen.
....The asylum guidelines note that sexual orientation can be a basis for persecution, and call for gay and lesbian couples in "stable relationships" to be given special consideration. They note that forced heterosexual marriage represents for gays and lesbians a violation of their right to a private sexual life. ....The president of Britain's Immigration Appeals Tribunal endorsed the guidelines and said they had support from the United Nations. According to immigration lawyers, Australia, Canada and the U.S. have already been employing similar guidelines.

More at http://www.gaylawnet.com/news/2000/im00.htm

  1. http://www.gaylawnet.com/news/2000/im00.htm#canada_haven

Canada Haven for Siberian Refugee

106-day journey

CANADA, Ontario, Toronto - A gay, Jewish Siberian man robbed and jailed during a 106-day journey to flee beatings and persecution at home breathed a sigh of relief on Canadian soil this week. ....Several gay-rights and Jewish groups pooled $1,500 US for Dementiev's bail and flew him up to Buffalo.

Dementiev has 18 days to ask Ottawa for permission to apply for refugee status. If he's given that preliminary green light, he must then hire a lawyer and request refugee status.

(Toronto Sun 26 February 2000 - Alan Findlay)

More at http://www.gaylawnet.com/news/2000/im00.htm

  1. http://www.hambastegi.org/internationalnews/decnews.htm

International Refugee News

November 28 – December 11, 2000

....In 1990, the US Congress quietly removed homosexuality as a disqualification for admission to the United States. In 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno clarified persecution based on sexual orientation can be considered grounds for asylum.  But immigration lawyers said deserving asylum applicants who are lesbian or gay still face significant hurdles to filing, documenting and winning their case.  In August, a California-based federal appellate court strengthened the hand of gay asylum-seekers by making it clear they may be considered part of a distinct social group. (The Fort-Lauderdale Sun-sentinel, December 10, 2000)....

  1. http://www.hambastegi.org/internationalnews/decnews.htm

Montreal immigration advocates are denouncing a recommendation by Health Canada to screen would-be immigrants for the human immunodeficiency virus, believed to cause AIDS.  Under the proposal, would-be immigrants testing positive for HIV would be barred from settling in Canada. (The Gazette (Montreal), December 3, 2000)

  1. http://www.aidslaw.ca/Maincontent/issues/gaylesbian/12p2gE.html

Gay and Lesbian Issues and HIV/AIDS

A Discussion Paper
by Anne Vassal, John Fisher, Ralf Jürgens, Robert Hughes

This chapter first reminds us of how, until 1976, gays and lesbians were not allowed to immigrate to Canada. It then discusses the current situation, pointing out that, while same-sex partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents can apply to be allowed to immigrate to Canada on "humanitarian and compassionate grounds," the Immigration Regulations still do not allow gay and lesbian Canadians to sponsor their same-sex partners under the family class. [That is no longer the case.  Gay and lesbian partner may now be granted immigration status, to wit: NDP MP Svend Robinson's partner whom he brought to Canada, apparently at taxpayer's expense.  --WHS]

....In a 1993 case[18] the Supreme Court of Canada defined the term "social group." According to the Court, there are three possible categories of social groups. One of them is "groups defined by an innate or unchangeable characteristic," which according to the Court "would embrace individuals fearing persecution on such a basis as gender, linguistic background and sexual orientation." [My emphasis, --WHS]

...a claimant does not have to have been out as a gay or lesbian in their own country or to have previously experienced persecution....

[18] Ward v Canada (Attorney General) (1990), 10 Imm L R(2d) 189, 67 DLR (4th) 1, 108 NR 60, [1990] 2 FC 667 (CA); [1992] 2 SCR 689, 20 Imm LR (2d) 85.

  1. http://www.realwomenca.com/newsletter/1998_Mar_April/article_2.html

Excerpt from:

Bureaucratic Decisions Give Recognition To Homosexual Relationships

Liberal Government Sympathetic to Homosexual Cause


Homosexual MP Svend Robinson

MP Svend Robinson, 45 years of age, while visiting in Cuba three years ago, met a young 25-year-old homosexual, Max Riveron, who has been variously described in newspaper reports as working as a waiter or a translator there. Upon meeting him, Mr. Robinson, according to these same newspaper reports, immediately invited Mr. Riverton up to his hotel room to spend the night with him. Mr. Riveron delicately declined that first night -- but not the second night or thereafter.

Mr. Robinson subsequently brought his sexual partner into Canada under the "compassionate and humanitarian" provisions of the Immigration Department.

Mr. Robinson stated in the homosexual newspaper, Capital Xtra, Dec. 12, 1997:

At the beginning of the New Year, with the love of my life, my partner Max who moved here from Cuba, I reflect on how privileged we are to be able to share our lives together. My wish for 1998 is that all gay and lesbian people in Canada who fall in love with a foreigner should be able to sponsor their partners for landed immigrant status in exactly the same manner as heterosexual people can. Justice and humanity demands (sic) no less.....

Travel Allowances for Homosexual Partners

The House of Commons Board of Internal Economy headed by Speaker, Gilbert Parent (Niagara Centre, Ontario), whose committee operates in secret, quietly substituted in November 28, 1997 the word "spouse" for "travel partner" in the policy that allows spouses of MPs to travel free to and from Ottawa. MPs may use or allocate their designated travellers up to 64 free return airline tickets each year. Kingston Liberal MP, Peter Milliken, Deputy Commons Speaker who chaired the Board of Internal Economy Sub-committee that came up with this change, admitted in the Ottawa Citizen (December 6, 1997), that the new definition was specifically to accommodate same-sex partners, but that it could also apply to others. The opening was quickly taken advantage of by Speaker, Gilbert Parent, who has a new partner, after leaving his wife of 39 years, and NDP leader, Alexa McDonough who has registered her new live-in partner, former PC MP, David McDonald, for the free travel perk. Of course, Svend Robinson has registered his partner, Riveron, with the Board of Internal Economy under the amended policy and he now travels across Canada at tax payers expense, too.

Much more information proving that Australia is a late-comer in offering asylum to people claiming refugee status on the basis of their homosexuality can be found by doing a search for <homosexuality "refugee status"> (don't include the leading and trailing chevrons when you copy and paste the search string).

Incidentally, Svend Robinson also gained public attention for other endeavours.


Church-State Separation Comes to Canada

The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 15, Number 3.

...The preamble of Canada's 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that "Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law." About 1,000 residents of Member of Parliament Svend Robinson's district in Vancouver signed a petition that called for the substitution of the phrase "intellectual freedom" for "supremacy of God" to reflect "the deeply held views of people of many different religious faiths as well as those who have no religious beliefs." ....

All the best,


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Posted 2003 12 17