5 LGBT things you need to know about today

1. Say "I do" immediately in Illinois! A federal court ordered today the Cook County Clerk’s office to provide marriage licenses immediately to same-sex couples , according to a press release from Lambda Legal....
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Brave and beautiful: Second annual Uganda Gay Pride celebration ‘still here, still going strong’

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Editor's Note: This story and photo were submitted by Erik Friedly, a gay American living in Uganda working in health communications. You can read an interview the GA Voice conducted with him last year by clicking here.

The second annual Ugandan Gay Pride celebration kicked off on July 31 and ran through Aug. 4, featuring film screenings, HIV counseling and testing, a parade, and, of course, plenty of partying.

Most of the events took place at the expansive Botanical Gardens in Entebbe, located about 45 minutes from the capital, Kampala. Because the Botanical Gardens stretch along the shores of Lake Victoria, the celebration took the name "Beach Pride Uganda 2013" with the theme "Still Here, Going Strong."

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Death penalty portion of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays Bill’ dropped?

Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, called the "Kill the Gays Bill" by many because of a clause that includes executing gay people, is still on track to be passed in parliament by the end of the year. However, news reports state the death penalty portion of the bill has been dropped.

The UK's Guardian newspaper reported Monday, Nov. 26, that the bill is on track to be passed by the end of the year and has strong support from parliament. Violence against LGBT people already exists, including the murder of Uganda gay activist David Kato in January 2011.

The BBC reported Nov. 23 that the death penalty portion of the bill was dropped. The bill includes a clause to execute gay people for "aggravated homosexuality" — this includes for those who are HIV positive, pedophiles or "serial offenders."

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Gay American living in Uganda opens up about its gay community and the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’

Erik Friedly, 47,  is an American citizen living in Kampala, Uganda, working in health communications. He has lived there for nearly a year and will live there for at least one more year if not longer. In an email interview with the GA Voice, Friedly discusses the LGBT community in Uganda and the impact the notorious "Kill the Gays Bill" has on the gay people living there. The bill is expected to be passed by the Parliament perhaps as soon as this week.

Are you openly gay to your colleagues? Do you have to be careful about who knows you are gay?

I am open to most of my American colleagues in the same way that I am at home in the U.S.; it just becomes apparent in getting to know each other and becoming friends. So, yes, most of them know, I think. I am not, however, open with my Ugandan colleagues in the same way. Some may suspect, of course, but I am not as open with them because of attitudes here which most — not all — people hold. But, for example, I am certain that my household staff must at least suspect what my orientation is but we obviously never discuss it.

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Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays Bill’ expected to pass

Uganda Kill the Gays Bill

Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, known by opponents as the “Kill the Gays Bill,” was expected to be voted on this week in the African country’s Parliament, where leaders said they want to pass the bill before the Dec. 15 recess as a “Christmas gift” to citizens.

At press time on Monday, Nov. 19, Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor reported the bill was likely to be debated Tuesday, Nov. 20.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, wrote in a Nov. 13 letter that there is high public pressure to pass the bill. She has stated she wants the bill passed before the end of the year to give as a “Christmas gift” to the people of Uganda.

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Atlanta activists protest Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays Bill’

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Nine activists stood in the chilly temperatures on Wednesday to bring awareness to and protest Uganda's "Kill the Gays Bill" that is expected to pass before the end of the year.

J.R. Rich, 28, from Midtown, held a "Shame on Uganda" sign at the Georgia State Capitol. He said he wanted to raise awareness among lawmakers as well as citizens of what is taking place in Uganda, located in East Africa.

"We are trying to raise awareness to anyone we can, especially our Congressmen on the Hill," he said.

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[Video] Georgians to protest Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays Bill’

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Gay activists and allies plan Wednesday to protest Uganda's "Kill the Gays Bill" at the Georgia State Capitol from noon to 1 p.m.

Organized by J.R. Rich, the Facebook invite to the protest describes the Uganda bill as "genocide" and states, "It is 2012 and there is still genocide in  the world and we can not let it happen! PLEASE join the fight and let your lawmakers know you want them to speak up and end this atrocity!"

Leaders in Uganda are pushing the bill to be passed soon as a "Christmas gift to the people of Uganda" as stated in the video below that was posted to YouTube on Nov. 12.

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President Obama responds to gay Ugandan slaying

President Barack Obama issued a statement today regarding the killing of Ugandan gay activist David Kato, who was beaten to death late Wednesday night. Kato, according to the Associated Press, worked for Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay-rights advocacy group.

According to the AP, local police said that Kato's sexual orientation was not a factor in his murder, but last year, Kato appeared in the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone with a number of other allegedly gay men next to a headline that read, "Hang Them!"

Here's Obama's statement on Kato's death:

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By the numbers: Uganda’s ‘top homos’

100 Pictures of ‘Uganda’s Top Homos’ published in October in the weekly newspaper Rolling Stone (not related to the US music magazine). 1,000,000 Children that the Ugandan newspaper claimed the “homos” planned ...