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November 2013

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29 November 2013

ACT welcomes historic changes on trans and intersex documentation

AUSTRALIA, Australian Capital Territory: On 28 November 2013, the Government introduced the “Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2013” which if passed will remove a requirement that transgender people undergo surgery before they can change their birth certificates to reflect the gender they identify as and recognize intersex people and those of indeterminate gender with a new category on documentation.
• Bill: Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2013 PDF 78.57kb, 28 NOV 13

Court Orders Review in Gay Russianís Asylum Case

UNITED STATES, California: On 27 November 2013, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered immigration officials to review their decision not to grant asylum to a gay man only identified as “John Doe”, who said he was attacked for his sexual orientation in 2002 and 2003 in his native Russia and feared he would be persecuted if forced to return there, ruling the US Department of Justice's Board of Immigration Appeals was wrong when it concluded that the man had failed to show that government officials in Russia were either unwilling or unable to control his attackers.
• Opinion: John Doe v. Eric Holder No. 09-72161 PDF 105.23kb, 25 NOV 13

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27 November 2013

Texas National Guard Amends Policy For Same-Sex Couples

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 26 November 2013, the Texas Military Forces announced that Texas National Guard and the state's other military forces will begin issuing benefits to the same-gender spouses of guard members after the Department of Defense approved a procedure to do so. Federal personnel will now handle the paperwork, which removes the conflict with state law banning recognition of same-sex marriages.
• Media Advisory: Update to Benefit Processes for Service Members and Retirees 92.23kb, 26 NOV 13

Christian guesthouse owners lose appeal over right to bar gay couples

UNITED KINGDOM: On 27 November 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed an appeal by Peter and Hazelmary Bull that their right to express their religious beliefs had been breached when they refused gay couple Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy a double-bedded room booking at their B&B in September 2008, saying that although the Bulls' rights under the European convention on human rights to manifest their religion were at issue it was justifiable and proportionate to limit them in order to protect the rights of others.
• Judgment: Bull & Anor v Hall & Anor [2013] UKSC 73 PDF 110.57kb, 27 NOV 13

25 November 2013

Gay Couple to Get Illinois Marriage License Early

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 25 November 2013, US District Judge Thomas Durkin ordered Cook County clerk David Orr to issue an expedited marriage license to Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert. Gray is terminally ill with cancer in her brain and bones. Orr noted expedited licenses are granted to heterosexual couples in similar situations.

25 November 2013

Committee Awards Gay Law Clerk Back Pay

UNITED STATES, Oregon: On 25 November 2013, the executive committee of the 9th Circuit's Judicial Council ordered Margaret "Gosia" Fonberg who was denied health benefits for her domestic partner receive back pay, the Executive Committee finding that the District of Oregon had discriminated against Fonberg based on her sexual orientation by denying benefits that are available to married opposite-sex couples and “same-sex couples in other states in the circuit, who may marry and thus gain benefits under Windsor”.
• Order: In the Matter of Margaret Fonberg EDR No. 13-002 PDF 69.55kb, 25 NOV 13

24 November 2013

18-year-old Nigerian man granted asylum in Malta following anti-gay persecution

MALTA: On 24 November 2013, the Refugee Appeals Board was reported to have granted an 18-year-old Nigerian man asylum following anti-gay persecution in his country, protecting him from imprisonment and possible death by stoning or flogging. The first time asylum has been granted on such grounds. His initial request wasa turned down by Commissioner for Refugees in April.

Major Court Victory for Zimbabwe Human Rights Defender

ZIMBABWE, Harare: On 22 November 2013, Magistrate Elijah Makomo discharged the case against Abel Chikomo, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, who had been on trial for allegedly running an “unregistered” organization in contravention of the Private Voluntary Organization (PVO) Act (Chapter 17:15) finding that State prosecutors had failed to establish a prima facie case against the human rights campaigner.

23 November 2013

Gay couples ask judge to immediately block Texas from enforcing marriage ban

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 22 November 2013, gay couple Mark Pharris and Vic Holmes of Plano, and lesbian couple Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas asking a federal judge in San Antonio to immediately block Texas from enforcing its bans on gay marriage.
• Motion: Cleopatra de Leon et. al. v. Rick Perry, et. al. No. 5:13-cv-982-OLG PDF 202.44kb, 22 NOV 13

22 November 2013

Judge schedules June 9 trial on federal challenge to Pa.'s gay marriage ban

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 22 November 2013, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III set 09 June as the trial date for the Whitewood v. Wolf lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's gay-marriage ban after rejecting a request to delay the proceeding. Judge Jones also set a timetable for pre-trial motions and other paperwork to be filed before the trial.

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21 November 2013

Obama signs bill for HIV organ donation

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 21 November 2013, President Obama signed the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, or HOPE Act, into law that lifts the ban on the donation of organs from HIV-positive people to others with HIV.

Arkansas Supreme Court Overrules Child Visitation Ban for Cohabitating Gay Parents

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 21 November 2013, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling in John Moix v. Libby Mois, declaring that judges may not restrict a parent's visitation rights based solely on that parent's cohabitation with a partner to whom they are not married.
• Opinion: John Moix v. Libby Mois 2013 Ark. 478 PDF 758.90kb, 21 NOV 13

20 November 2013

Scotland says yes in crucial vote on gay marriage

UNITED KINGDOM, Scotland: On 20 November 2013, Members of Scottish Parliament voted 98-15 in favor of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. A final 1st stage vote and two further stages must be passed before the Bill goes to the Queen for signature.

Parker extends same-sex spousal benefits to city workers, but it doesn't apply to her

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 20 November 2013, Mayor Annise Parker announced that same-sex couples who have legally wed in a state that recognizes such marriages and work for the city of Houston will be eligible for the same health care and life insurance benefits as straight couples.

Tennessee Couples in Gay Marriage Suit Seek Injunction

UNITED STATES, Tennessee: On 20 November 2013, four same-sex couples filed a motion in the US District Court seeking a preliminary injunction that would force Tennessee to recognize their marriages.
• Motion for Preliminary Injunction: Valeria Tanco & Sophy Jesty et al v. William Edward "Bill" Haslam et al. No. 3:13-cv-01159 PDF 192.15kb, 19 NOV 13

With Cheers and Tears, Illinois Celebrates Marriage Equality Signing

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 20 November 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act into law, with effect from 01 June 2014.

19 November 2013

Felony Charge Nixed in HIV Exposure Case

UNITED STATES, New York: On 15 November 2013, the Fourth Department of the (Supreme Court of the State of) New York Appellate Division affirmed a ruling by Onondaga County Supreme Court Justice John J Brunetti that reduced a felony charge against Terrance Williams - carrying a mandatory minimum prison term, for exposing another person to the virus by failing to disclose his serostatus before having unprotected sex - to a misdemeanor.
• Memorandum and Order: State of New York v. Terrence Williams 1196 KA 13-00320 PDF 11.72kb, 15 NOV 13

18 November 2013

Soldier's Dismissal Linked to Sexual Orientation

INDONESIA, Jakarta: On 18 November 2013, the High Military Court II in Jakarta reportedly upheld a lower court's decision dismissing Second Sergeant S.N.F. from his squad and punishing him with a five-month prison sentence for his alleged homosexuality.

Same-sex couple make legal history with first civil partnership dissolution

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 18 November 2013, it was reported that a same-sex couple have had their (UK) civil partnership dissolved in what is believed to be the first such case to come before an Irish court. The Civil Partnership Act, allows couples to begin dissolution proceedings if they have lived apart for two out of the previous three years.

17 November 2013

Court rules Jamaican TV channels can refuse to screen gay rights PSA

JAMAICA: On 14 November 2013, Justices Paulette Williams, Bryan Sykes and Leighton Pusey in the Constitutional Court dismissed a law suit against three television stations that refused to screen a paid for public service announcement promoting tolerance of gays and lesbians.

16 November 2013

South Korea court overturns adults-only rating for gay kiss film

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: On 16 November 2013, the Supreme Court was reported to have deemed a gay romance film fit for people 15-and-over, downgrading it from an adults-only rating and overturning a Korea Media Rating Board decision that it was not fit for teenagers of any age to watch.

8th US Native American tribe allows same-sex couples to wed

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 15 November 2013, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe became the 8th federally recognized Native American tribal grouping to allow same-sex couples to marry, wedding Arnold and Matthew Dahl-Wooley on their reservation.

15 November 2013

Federal lawsuit against Pennsylvania gay marriage ban survives first legal challenge

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 15 November 2013, U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III denied motions to dismiss the so-called Whitewood vs Wolf suit that were lodged by Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans Court Donald Petrille, state Health Secretary Michael Wolf, and state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser. The Court will hold a case management conference scheduled for 22 November 2013.
• Memorandum and Order: Deb Whitewood, et. al. v. Michael Wolf 13-cv-01861-JEJ PDF 41.34kb, 15 NOV 13

Legal advice behind Edwin Poots' gay blood donor ban stays a secret

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 13 November 2013, the Information Rights Tribunal found that Mr Larkin and Mr Poots were entitled to keep the information behind maintaining the gay blood donor ban secret saying “It seems unfair that a public authority engaged in litigation should have a unilateral duty to disclose its legal advice”.
• Decision Notice: Department of Health and Social Security and Public Safety v. The Information Commissioner EA/2013/0081 PDF 38.33kb, 11 OCT 13

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14 November 2013

Missouri Will Recognize Same-Sex Marriages For Tax Purposes

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 14 November 2013, Governor Jay Nixon (D) announced that he will issue an executive order directing the Missouri Department of Revenue to accept joint tax returns from all married couples, including same-sex couples married in other states.

Texas county adopts sweeping policy to protect LGBT inmates

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 13 November 2103, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia announced that a sweeping policy designed to protect and guarantee equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender inmates took effect and includes allowing transgender individuals to be housed based on the gender they identify with instead of their biological sex. The policy states “discrimination or harassment of any kind based on sexual orientation or gender identity is strictly prohibited”.

Hawaii judge refuses to block law permitting same-sex marriage

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 14 November 2013, Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto rejected Hawaii Rep. Bob McDermott's request for a temporary restraining order to delay any marriages, ruling that the legislature had the right to pass the new same-sex marriage law.

Vote on gay marriage fails in first Australian state

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 14 November 2013, Members of the Upper House state Legislative Council (MLCs) voted 21-19 against the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2013.

13 November 2013

Bill lifting ban on HIV organ donation heads to President for signature

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 12 November 2013, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Bill S.330, the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE Act), which permits HIV positive-to-positive transplantation and the Bill now goes to the President for signature.

Vietnam legalizes gay weddings

VIETNAM: On 13 November 2013, it was reported that the government has given same-sex couples the right to live together and hold blessing ceremonies although the unions won't be legally recognized as marriages.

Hawaii Gov. Signs Marriage Equality Bill

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 13 November 2013, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the state's marriage equality bill into law, meaning same-sex couples can begin marrying December 2.

12 November 2013

Hawaii OK's Marriage Equality

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 12 November 2013, the Senate approved (19-4 with two lawmakers excused) a new version of the marriage equality legislation that contains amendments added by the state House last week. Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign it tomorrow, with the law coming into effect 02 December.

Bangladesh: Third gender hijra to be recognised in official documents

BANGLADESH: On 11 November 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced that under the new Government policy, the rights of all hijras will be secured, enabling them to identify their gender in documents such as passports.

11 November 2013

Anti-LGBT groups acquire enough signatures to repeal California law protecting transgender students

UNITED STATES, California: On 10 November 2013, a group calling itself “Privacy for All Students” appears to have acquired 620,000 signatures, more than the 500,000 signatures required to have AB1266, the law that protects the rights of transgender students, placed on the ballot in November 2014.

Ecuadorian Judge Cites Biblical Scriptures in Ruling Against Transsexual Man Seeking to Change Gender Preference

ECUADOR: On 11 November 2013, First Civil Judge of the Guayas, Ricardo Rivadeneira was reported to have quoted Biblical scriptures as the basis for his decision to not allow Diane Rodriguez (born Luis Benedicto) to change his gender preference on his government issued identification card.

Commonwealth 'ignoring' glbti rights abuses

COMMONWEALTH: On 11 November 2013, The Kaleidoscope Trust released a report which shows that in the 41 of the 53 member states where homosexuality remains illegal, the Commonwealth is letting down hundreds of thousands of its citizens whose lives are blighted by homophobia, criminalisation and discrimination.
• Report: Speaking Out PDF 4.87MB, 08 NOV 13

09 November 2013

Hawaii House Approves Gay Marriage Bill

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 09 November 2013, the House of Representatives approved a same-sex marriage bill 30-19. Provided the Senate passes a House amendment to the Bill, Governor Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign the bill into law, effective 02 December.

Court upholds the ban on anti-gay conversion therapy

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 08 November 2013, Judge Freda Wolfson in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled that the New Jersey law prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of a patient under 18 years old was lawful and did not restrict speech nor religious expression.

Croatia to hold referendum on gay marriage; rights groups call vote unconstitutional

CROATIA, Zagreb: On 08 November 2013, Parliament voted to hold a referendum on 01 December as to whether to allow gay marriages. The ballot will ask: “Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?”.

08 November 2013

Scottish Equal Opportunities Committee approves equal marriage bill

UNITED KINGDOM, Scotland: On 08 November 2013, the Equal Opportinties Committee released the Stage 1 report on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill backing the introduction of the legislation. The Scottish Parliament Stage One vote on the principle of the bill is expected in the week starting 18 November with a Stage 3 vote likely in January or February.
• Report: Equal Opportunities Committee Stage 1 report on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill 2.81MB, 08 NOV 13

Four same-sex couples file lawsuit challenging Idaho's gay marriage ban

UNITED STATES, Idaho: On 08 November 2013, a lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Idaho on behalf of four same-sex couples challenging Idaho's gay marriage ban and its refusal to recognize the marriages of gay couples who wed in other states.
• Complaint: Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers et. al v. C.L. "Butch" Otter & Anor 13-cv-00482 CWD PDF 231.44kb, 08 NOV 13

ECHR: Austria violated human rights in refusing to delete convictions under discriminatory age of consent laws from criminal records

AUSTRIA: On 07 November 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Austria discriminated against four gay men when it refused to delete from their criminal record convictions under its discriminatory age of consent law, setting 18 as the age of consent for sexual relations between men, compared to 14 for heterosexual relations, repealed 2002.
• Judgment: Case of E.B. and Others v. Austria Applications nos. 31913/07, 38357/07, 48098/07, 48777/07 and 48779/07 PDF 331.87kb, 07 NOV 13

Arkansas Man Appeals Ruling Barring Partner From Home

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 07 November 2013, John Moix asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reverse a Pulaski County judge's decision barring his gay partner from staying overnight when his 12-year-old son visits and imposing a blanket restriction on unmarried couples living together, alleging it is in violation of his constitutional rights.

Judge rejects same-sex marriage temporary restraining order

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 07 November 2013, Judge Karl Sakamoto rejected a request filed by Representative Bob McDermott for a temporary restraining order to stop lawmakers from moving forward on same-sex marriage legislation.

Judge issues stay of Illinois same-sex marriage lawsuit

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 07 November 2013, Judge Sophia Hall in Cook County issued a temporary stay of a lawsuit that challenged Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage as a consequence of the passing of the marriage equality Bill. The parties will appear Nov. 14 to discuss how to proceed.

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07 November 2013

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2013

UNITED KINGDOM: On 30 October 2013, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2013 brought into force on 31 October 2013 certain provisions of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (c. 30) (“the Act”) for the purpose of making subordinate legislation.
• Order: The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2013 2013 No. 2789 (C110) PDF 19.87kb, 30 OCT 13

Illinois governor Pat Quinn sets date for gay marriage law signing: 20 November

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 07 November 2013, Governor Pat Quinn announced he would sign the gay marriage into law on 20 November. The law does not go into effect in Illinois until 01June 2014.

EU Court: Homosexuality Can Be Grounds for Asylum

EUROPE, Netherlands: On 07 November 2013, the European Court of Justice, ruling on three cases of nationals from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal seeking asylum in the Netherlands, found that refugees facing imprisonment in their home country because they are gay may have sufficient grounds to be granted asylum in the European Union.
• Opinion: Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel v. X, Y and Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel v. Z No. C-201/12 07 NOV 13

Florida Supreme Court Settles Lesbian Custody Battle

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 07 November 2013, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner has parental rights to the child, ordering a lower court to determine custody and visitation rights.
• Opinion: D.M.T. v. T.M.H No. SC12-261 PDF 254.32kb, 06 NOV 13

ECHR: Greek civil unions law only for heterosexual couples violates European human rights law

EUROPE, Greece: On 07 November 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Vallianatos and Mylonas v. Greece and C.S. and others v. Greece that Greece had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by excluding same-sex couples from a “civil union”, restricted in Greece to heterosexual couples.
• Judgment: Vallianatos and Mylonas v. Greece and C.S. and others v. Greece Application 29381/09 and 32684/09, 07 NOV 13

Senate Approves ENDA

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 07 November 2013, the US Senate approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, by a bipartisan vote of 64-32, sending the legislation to the House of Representatives.

06 November 2013

Illinois Governor to sign equal marriage into law this month

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 06 November 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said he will sign legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state later this month - with the first weddings due to take place in June.

Russian region repeals gay propaganda law

RUSSIA, Askhangelsk: On 06 November 2013, the Arkhangelsk regional government reportedly repealed a ban on 'gay propaganda' however, the federal law will still stand.

Insurance Equality Ordered for Gay Marriage in NM

UNITED STATES, New Mexico: On 01 November 2013, Insurance Superintendent John Franchini issued a bulletin directing insurers to provide same-sex married couples with the same benefits and discounts offered to opposite-sex married couples without discrimination." alt="News item summary" /> US (NM) 06 NOV
• Insurance Bulletin: Marital Discounts No. 2013-007 PDF 40.12kb, 01 NOV 13

House committees pass Same-Sex Marriage bill, advances to floor for vote

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 05 November 2013, the same-sex marriage bill has passed a joint House committee and will advance to the House floor for a second reading and vote Wednesday morning. SB 1, the “Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013” passed 18 - 12 Tuesday afternoon.

05 November 2013

Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinois

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 05 November 2013, the General Assembly approved the gay marriage Bill (SB0010) 61-54. The Senate, quickly signed off (32-21) and the Bill now awaits signature by the Governor upon which Illinois will become the 15th state to make same-sex marriages lawful.

Referendum on same-sex marriage to be held in 2015

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 05 November 2013, the Irish Government Cabinet agreed to hold a referendum to amend the constitution on same sex marriage (and reducing the voting age to 17) in May 2015.

02 November 2013

Gay Iranian man can challenge his asylum application rejection

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 20 September 2013, Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh in the High Court granted A.P., a gay Iranian man, leave to seek judicial review and an order quashing the Refugee Appeals Tribunal decision and remitting the matter to be re-heard by the Tribunal. In the view of the court the Tribunal's finding was rendered unlawful by reason of the manner in which the credibility of the applicant was assessed - casting doubt as to his homosexuality and his being perceived to be such in Iran."
• Judgment: A.P. v. The Refugee Appeals Tribunal and The Minister for Justice and Law Reform [2013] IEHC 448, 20 SEP 13

01 November 2013

NSW Same-Sex Marriage Bill adjourned

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 31 October 2013, the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2013 was introduced to the Upper House Legislative Council. Debate was interrupted and adjourned to November. A vote is expected on 14 November.
• Bill: Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2013 PDF 134.19kb, 30 OCT 13

Indiana Court Says Law Unclear on Same-Sex Custody

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 31 October 2013, the Court of Appeal wants the Legislature to update state laws to address custody issues regarding children of same-sex and other non-traditional families. The court sent the case back to the Elkhart County judge with instructions to consider the non-biological mother's visitation request under standards involving a former stepparent or grandparent.
• Opinion: A.C. v. N.J. 20A04-1301-DR-37 PDF 283,83kb, 31 OCT 13

Lesbian Couple Sues for Marriage Equality in Colorado

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 30 October 2013, Rebecca Brinkman & Margaret Burd filed suit in the Adams County District Court seeking an order that they have the right to marry.
• Complaint: Rebecca Brinkman & Margaret Burd v. Karen Long 2013CV032572 PDF 30.84kb, 30 OCT 13

Legislative leaders consider not writing gay marriage into N.J. law, for now at least

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 01 November 2013, it was reported that gay couples have more rights under the Superior Court ruling in Garden State Equality et al v. Paula Dow et al (on 10 October 2013) than they would under the bill (S1) that Democrats passed in 2012. Were the legislature to override the Governor's veto, certain rights that currently exist under the ruling would be taken away. Doing nothing is an attractive option being considered by some.

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