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Australian Federal Police
Extend Benefits

Swedes Throw Rocks
at Artist's Jesus Depiction

French Senate
Dumps Partner's Bill

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

Australian Federal Police Extend Benefits

rodneycroome.jpg - 8.92 K Australian gay activist Rodney Croome
Photo: Rex Wockner
Australia's Federal Police extended workplace benefits to employees' same-sex partners last week.

The decision followed a request from the partner of the force's Rome-based liaison officer, Alan Scott.

The Australian Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights greeted the news with a demand that the military immediately follow suit.

"While the military takes into account the relationships of heterosexual service personnel who are periodically re-located great distances from their former posting, it doesn't give a damn about homosexual service personnel in similar circumstances," said ACLGR's Rodney Croome.

"This is unfair on the soldiers involved because they may have to choose between their relationship and their career. It is also bad for the military because it has an adverse effect on both morale and the retention of highly trained personnel."
Swedes Throw Rocks at Artist's Jesus Depiction

Several hundred protesters threw rocks and tomatoes at Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson March 14 when she stepped outside the city museum in Norrkoeping, 75 miles southwest of Stockholm.

The museum is showing her "Ecce Homo" exhibit which depicts Jesus and the apostles in drag and as leathermen, and shows a nude, largely endowed Jesus being baptized.

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"I went out to document [with my camera] what was going on," Ohlson said. "It was when they discovered it was me that the tumult began. I didn't think they would recognize me."

Ohlson fled back inside. Local reports did not mention any injuries.

Most of the protesters reportedly were from a Syrian Orthodox church.

The exhibit has provoked protests in several cities where it has been displayed.

qxmag.gif - 22.79 K Jon Voss, editor of the Stockholm gay newspaper QX, explained: "Two pictures have caused most protests from the religious right: The Last Supper scene, where [Jesus] is sitting in high heels with 12 drag queens and transvestites.

"And one scene where he is baptized nude, showing his dick. This has caused uproar and a lot of laughs because the model in the picture has a big dick. The bishop of Uppsala ... said the dick was erect, which the model, who works here at QX, denies."
French Senate Dumps Partner's Bill

The French Senate March 18 rejected a measure passed by the National Assembly in December that granted unmarried couples -- gay and straight, romantic or not -- many of the rights and benefits of matrimony.

The vote was 216 to 99.

The Senators approved an alternate proposal by a vote of 192 to 117 that recognizes only male-female cohabiting couples.

The measure that passed the Assembly 316-249 on Dec. 9 would have granted gay couples rights in such areas as inheritance, housing, taxation, workplace benefits, social security and social-welfare programs.

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