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February 2013

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28 February 2013

LGBT-inclusive domestic violence bill passes Congress

UNITED STATES, Federal: n 28 February 2013, Congress passed 286-138 the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, an LGBT-inclusive expanded version of a bill aimed at preventing domestic violence and aiding its victims. The now goes to the President to be signed into law.

North Carolina Senate passes military funeral protest bill

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 27 February 2013, the Senate passed House Bill 19 expanding disorderly conduct provisions in response to groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church, which has often created disturbances at military funerals to promote an anti-gay message. The Governor was presented with legislation 01 March.
• H.B. 19: An Act to Honour Fallen Heroes by Strengthening the Law that Prohibits Disorderly Conduct at a Funeral, Memorial Service, or Processional Route 30 JAN 13

27 February 2013

Transgender woman to sue Irish state over birth certificate delay

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 27 February 2013, Dr Lydia Foy reportedly had issued proceedings against the Irish state as she remains unable to get a birth certificate indicating she is a woman despite having in 2007 won a previous high court ruling in her favor.

Gay marriage bill unveiled in Minnesota

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 28 February 2013, co-author Senator Scott Dibble introduced the “Marriage between two persons authorization” Bill SF925, that was read a first time and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Phoenix, Nation's Sixth-Largest City, Bans LGBT Discrimination

On 26 February 2013, Phoenix city council passed 5–3 an ordinance that extended citywide protections in housing, employment, and public accomodations to cover sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities.

Supreme Court ruling upholds limits on free speech in case involving anti-gay proselytizer

CANADA: On 27 February 2013, the Supreme Court in Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. William Whatcott 2013 SCC 11, ruled 6-0 that some flyers distributed by Bill Whatcott, a resident of Weyburn, Sask., promoted hatred against gays and lesbians, reaffirming existing case law defining hate as "strong and deep-felt emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification" but striking "calumny" as unnecessary. Other flyers were ruled "offensive".
• Judgment: Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. William Whatcott & Ors 2013 SCC 11, 27 FEB 13

NZ Parliament committee backs marriage equality

NEW ZEALAND: The Parliamentary Select Committee examining the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill says: “The majority of the committee believes marriage is a human right and it's unacceptable for the state to deny it to same-sex couples”. The second reading in Parliament is scheduled for Wednesday March 13.
• Government Administration Committee Report: Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill PDF 259.12kb, 26 FEB 13

Illinois gay marriage bill narrowly passes House committee by 6-5 vote

UNITED STATES, Illinois: The House Executive Committee, voted 6–5 to advance the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. It will next go to the full House floor for a vote.

26 February 2013

Unbridled Secrecy

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 26 February 2013, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 disallowing a lawsuit challenging the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that permits broad, secret surveillance and interception of international communications involving Americans, on the ground that the complainants did not have standing, being unable to show having been harmed by the law.

First clause of equal marriage bill passes Committee stage in UK Parliament

UNITED KINGDOM: On 26 February 2013, the Public Bills Committee passed Clause 1 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 13–4. Clause 1 extends marriage to same-sex couples. Each clause must be pased indivdually.

25 February 2013

Same-sex couples get tax consolation prize

UNITED STATES, Federal: Same-sex couples married in nine states, the District of Columbia and on two Native American tribal reservations are currently denied federal tax benefits extended to opposite-sex married couples under the Defense of Marriage Act. However, members of a same-sex couple can claim a $12,650 credit per child for adopting their partner's child, so long as DOMA remains.

24 February 2013

Court denies right to air homophobia after lesbian protest

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 15 February 2013, the High Court dismissed Ronald Owen's application for special leave to appeal with costs, upholding Queensland Court of Appeal orders that he pay three complainants damages for (inter alia) displaying a bumper stick reading “Gay rights? Under God's law the only rights gays have is the right to die”.
• Decision: Ronald Owen v. Richelle Menzies & Ors No B43 of 2012 [2013] HCATrans18 RTF 2.35MB, 15 FEB 13

22 February 2013

Pension rule changed for same-sex couples

SPAIN: On 14 February 2013, the Tribunal Constitucional de España ruled that same-sex couples are now eligible for widow's or widower's pensions.
• Judgment: On the question of unconstitutionality no. 8970 - 2008 41/2013 PDF 215.45kb, 14 FEB 13

New Mexico Scraps Same-Sex Marriage Bill

UNITED STATES, New Mexico: On 21 February 2013, the House Voters & Elections Committee set aside the HJR 3 (Marriage Certificates & Ceremonies) Bill in a 7–4 vote." alt="News item summary" /> US (NM) 22 FEB

Court rules in same-sex child custody case

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 22 February 2013, Justice Lee Johnson (for the Court) in the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the right of a same-sex partner in a co-parenting relationship to petition courts on matters of child visitation or joint custody.
• Opinion: Marcie Frazier v. Kelly Goudschaal No. 103,487 PDF 156.02kb, 19 FEB 13

Gay marriage ban is not sex discrimination, Australian judge rules

AUSTRALIA: On 21 February 2013, Justice Jayne Jagot ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in Australia does not constitute sex discrimination within the meaning of Section 5 of the Sex Discrimination Act, “because in all cases the treatment of the person of the opposite sex is the same”.
• Judgment: Margan v President, Australian Human Rights Commission [2013] FCA 109, 22 FEB 13

Vietnamese government halts reversal of gender recognition

VIETNAM: On 22 February 2013, the Ministry of Justice reportedly ordered the local government in Binh Phuoc province to halt their decision to reverse their recognition of intersex teacher Pham Le Quynh Tram's gender, to await Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's decision on the matter.

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20 February 2013

StarAngeles in the Philippines bans discrimination against LGBT people

PHILIPPINES, Angeles: On 19 February 2013, Angeles passed the Anti Discrimination Ordinance (Prohibiting Any Acts of Discrimination within the City of Angeles on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity).

Puerto Rico Denies Gays Right to Adopt Children

PUERTO RICO: On 20 February 2013, the Supreme Court held 5–4 against an unidentified woman seeking to adopt a 12-year-old girl who her partner of more than 20 years had through in vitro fertilization, upholding the constitutionality of a law that states a person cannot adopt a single-parent child if the would-be adopter is of the same sex as the child's mother or father without that parent losing their legal rights.

19 February 2013

Council backs gay civil rights ordinance

UNITED STATES, Arizona: On 19 February 2013, Flagstaff City Council unanimously approved the city's first civil rights Ordinance (No. 2013-08: An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Flagstaff, Arizona, amending Flagstaff City Code Title 14, Human Relations, by adding Chapter 2, Civil Rights), creating legal protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and military veterans in the areas of employment and public accommodations. A second and final read of the proposed ordinance is expected in two weeks.

D.C. Council Introduces Bill Protecting Transgender Identities

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 19 February 2013, The DC Council introduced a bill that would revise the requirements for transgender people who have their names legally changed and ask for new birth certificates with the proper gender marker, bringing city regulations into line with 23 states and the State Department in protecting the identities of individuals who undergo gender transitions.

Custody battle involving Rep. Bishop's daughter spotlights NY gay marriage laws

UNITED STATES, New York: On 19 February 2013, Supreme Court Justice John C. Bivona ruled that that Mercedes Counihan had no parental rights with regard to her former partner Molly Bishop's biological child, Counihan never having adopted the child before the gay marriage laws took effect.

Gay adoption laws strengthened for civil partners

GERMANY: On 19 February 2013, Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that one member of a civil partnership should be able to adopt their partner's stepchild or adopted child, ordering Berlin to draft new legislation by next June. Until now, same-sex couples could only adopt their partnerís biological child.
• Decision: In the matter of the adoption of a previously adopted child of a spouse 1 BvL1/11, BvR 3247/09 (in German), 19 FEB 13

Turkish court rules gay sex is natural

TURKEY: On 18 February 2013, Judge Mahmut Erdeml in an Istanbul court of the first instance, delivered a landmark ruling saying that gay sex is natural, contradicting a previous ruling by Turkey's supreme court in 2012. The case concerned a trader prosecuted for violating article 262/2 of the Turkish penal code that prohibits owning, trafficking, distributing and publishing 'unnatural sex' videos. However, the Court did find DM guilty of 'unauthorized' selling of porn with a punishment of 8 months imprisonment.

European Court of Human Rights: ban on same-sex second-parent adoption is discriminatory

AUSTRIA: On 19 February 2013, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of X and Others v. Austria (application 19010/07) ruling that Austria's Civil Code discriminates against a partner in a same-sex relationship by making it legally impossible to adopt the biological child of the other partner while permitting second parent adoptions for unmarried heterosexual couples.
• Judgment: Case of X and Others v. Austria 19010/07, 19 FEB 13

Mexican Supreme Court finds gay marriage ban unconstitutional

MEXICO: On 18 February 2013, the Supreme Court formally released a 56-page ruling that an Oaxacan law that bans same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
• Determination: Amparo in Review No. 581/2012 (In Spanish)

18 February 2013

Singapore law minister: we wonít repeal anti-gay sex law

SINGAPORE: On 18 February 2013, Singapore's law minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam affirmed to an influential Christian group that while Singapore will not repeal the anti-sodomy law that criminalizes gay sex, it would not enforce it.

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14 February 2013

VA grants burial rights for same-sex couple

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 14 February 2013, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki granted a waiver of department policy to allow the ashes of Nancy Lynchild – the same-sex spouse of retired Lt. Col. Linda Campbell – to be buried in a U.S. national military cemetery. The waiver is specific to Lt. Col. Campbell and does not necessarily signal a formal change of policy.

Sexual discrimination bill fails in ND Senate

UNITED STATES, North Dakota: Senators voted 26–21 against anti-discrimination Bill SB2252.

Israeli girl wins court pay-out after mum's lesbian partner dies in fire

ISRAEL: A court appeals committee headed by Judge Shlomit Jakubowicz instructed the defense ministry to compensate Julie Algavassi, a 3 year-old girl who lost her lesbian mother's partner Faviola Bohadana in a fire incident, ruling the step-child was a dependent at the time of her step-mother's death.

llinois Senate Approves Marriage Equality

UNITED STATES, Illinois: The Senate voted 34–21 in favor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act which now heads to the House, where passage is not assured.

NSW draft bill on equal marriage released

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: The NSW cross party working group for marriage equality presented the consultation draft State Marriage Equality Bill 2013 to the Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Same sex marriage law. The Bill does not compel religious ministers to perform same-sex ceremonies and states that dissolution of marriages and property disputes will be governed by existing law.
• Consultation Draft: State Marriage Equality Bill 2013 PDF 370.64kb, 13 FEB 13

Singapore couple goes to court to abolish anti-gay sex law

SINGAPORE: On 14 February 2013, Justice Quentin Loh in chambers heard the case of Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee v. The Attorney General OS 1135/2012 – seeking an order that Section 377A of the Penal Code is void by virtue of Article 4 of the Constitution. Judgment was reserved.

13 February 2013

Gay student challenges Jamaica's anti-sodomy law

JAMAICA: On 07 February 2013, AIDS-Free World filed a claim in the Supreme Court on behalf of Javed Jaghai, seeking a declaration that the anti-sodomy law no longer applies to private acts of intimacy between consenting adult males. The first hearing of the case will take place on 25 June 2013.

12 February 2013

Oakland County ends challenge to lesbian couple's fight against same-sex marriage ban

UNITED STATES, Michigan: The Oakland County Clerk's Office ended its challenge to a lawsuit filed by a lesbian couple fighting to overturn Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage and joint adoption. Listed for hearing 07 March.

Bill Introduced in Texas Legislature to Permit Same-Sex Civil Unions

UNITED STATES, Texas: Sen. Juan Hinojosa introduced Senate Bill 480 (Relating to the formation of a civil union between persons of the same sex; providing penalties). To become law (1) it has to pass the House, (2) the Texas constitution has to be amended, (3) the Governor must sign it and (4) voters must approve it.
• SB480: Relating to the formation of a civil union between persons of the same sex; providing penalties

11 February 2013

France's lower house approves bill allowing gay marriages, adoptions

FRANCE: The bill that will allow same-sex couple to marry and adopt children passed the lower house in a 329-to-229 vote and now goes to the Senate.

Dutch couple sues for recognition of their same-sex marriage in Austria

AUSTRIA: Chretien van der Leest and Edwin Veldt were reported to have taken their case for recognition of their marriage in the Netherlands to the Austrian Constitutional Court and to the Administrative Supreme Court, asking these courts to refer their case to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary judgment.

Colorado Senate approves civil unions bill with final vote

UNITED STATES, Colorado: The Civil Union Act Senate Bill SB 11 passed a formal vote 21–14. The House is expected to pass the Bill, with Gov. John Hickenlooper signing it into law in March, effective in May.

Sec. Panetta Announces Benefits For Same-Sex Military Spouses and Partners

UNITED STATES, Washington: Secretary Leon Panetta announced same-sex domestic partner benefits policy changes to the extent allowable under the law (presently constrained by DOMA).

10 February 2013

Afghanistan: Donít Prosecute Sexually Assaulted Children

AFGHANISTAN: In October 2012, a court in Herat Province convicted a 13-year-old boy on moral crimes charges, and sentenced him to one year in juvenile detention after he was accused of having sex with two adult men in a public park. The men were also arrested and charged with moral crimes, but the outcome of their case is unknown.

08 February 2013

Colorado civil unions bill passes crucial vote before full State Senate

UNITED STATES, Colorado: The Civil Union Act Senate Bill SB 11 passed its first vote 21–14. If it is passed in a formal vote on Monday it is goes on to the House where it is also expected to pass.

Giant legal leap for gay dads

AUSTRALIA, Western Australia: Justice Jane Chrisford ruled that a co-father could adopt his twin children, who were born via a commercial surrogacy agreement in India, dispensing with the requirement to obtain the birth mother's consent.
• Judgment: Blake & Anor [2013] FCWA 1, 10 JAN 13

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07 February 2013

North Dakota bill would ban gay, lesbian discrimination

USA: North Dakota: Senate Bill SB2252 Relating to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, was introduced and would if passed into law, prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation (which includes “gender identity”) in housing, government, public services and the workplace. The bill exempts religious organisations.
• SB2252: Relating to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Registration)

06 February 2013

Miami judge OKís plan for gay man, lesbian couple to be legal parents of young daughter

UNITED STATES: Florida: 11th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Antonio Marin approved a private adoption allowing three people – a gay man and a married lesbian couple – to be the legal parents of their 23-month-old daughter, with the man granted visitation rights.
Quare: Massimiliano Gerina v. Maria Italiano and Cher Filippazzo

05 February 2013

House of Commons votes for same-sex marriage

UNITED KINGDOM: The House of Commons passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill after the second reading in a 400–175 vote and the Bill now goes to the committee stage.

04 February 2013

Guatemalan trans woman granted asylum in Denmark

DENMARK: On 04 February 2013, the refugee appeals board (Flygtningenævnet) was reported to have granted asylum to Fernanda Milan, a Guatemalan transgender person, due to risk of persecution in her home country.

Court tells Israeli state: ease gay couples' surrogacy process

ISRAEL: The High Court of Justice recommended the state clarifies legal procedures for gay couples seeking surrogacy, as a legal framework does not exist and this amounts to discrimination.

Asylum seekers making sex videos to prove they are gay

UNITED KINGDOM: Leading barrister S Chelvan, reportedly said in the 11th Stonewall lecture that refugees are put under increasing pressure to 'prove' their sexual orientation to government officials by resorting to film themselves having sex.

02 February 2013

Advancing Virginia Bill Will Allow College Groups to Discriminate

UNITED STATES, Virginia: The House of Delegates passed 80–19 Bill HB 1617 that prohibits “discriminating against a student organization or group on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical or other content of the organization or group's speech” and to determine who will not be allowed in their membership.

01 February 2013

France's parliament approve gay marriage article

FRANCE: The National Assembly approved 249–97 Article 1 of a draft bill to legalise same-sex marriage redefining marriage as being an agreement between two people – not just between a man and a woman. A final vote on the Bill is scheduled for 12 February.
Housing association refuse to relocate trans woman away from phobic neighbours and say it is 'lifestyle choice'

UNITED KINGDOM: Erimus Housing reportedly told Stephanie Elliott Lowther, 46, that they could not help with her request to move away from neighbours who subjected her to transphobic abuse as her gender identity was a “lifestyle choice” that she could opt out of. After registering a formal complaint, Erimus Housing apologised and committed to carrying out diversity training for their staff ."
High Court rules in favour of gay male couple in parental dispute with lesbian couples

UNITED KINGDOM: Mr Justice Baker ruled in a dispute involving two lesbian couples who were friends with two gay men, that men who donate sperm can apply to seek a role in the lives of their biological children under s.8 of the Children Act 1989."
• Judgment: S v. D & E [2013] EWHC 134 (Fam), 31 JAN 13

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