December 2014

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31 December 2014

Florida judge says Orlando official can issue same-sex marriage licenses

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 31 December 2014, Circuit Judge Timothy R Shea made an order granting the emergency petition for a declaratory judgment filed by the Orange County Clerk of Courts, finding the judgment in Brenner v. Scott overturning the ban on same-sex marriage unconsititutional was the law in Florida.
• Order: Honorable Tiffany Moore Russell 2014-CA-13275-0 PDF 94.21KB, 31 DEC 14

29 December 2014

Judge finds LaBarbera not guilty in Canadian free-speech case

CANADA, Sashatchewan: On 22 December 2014, Regina Provincial Court Judge MaryLynne Beaton ruled that Peter LaBarbera and Bill Whatcott were not guilty of committing “mischief by wilfully interfering with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property” after distributing flyers and displaying placards with pro-life and anti-gay messages at the University of Regina campus.
• Judgment: Her Majesty the Queen and William Gary Whatcott and Peter LaBarbera 2014 SKPC 215 PDF 16.20MB, 22 DEC 14

Student, 17, gets sex-change go-ahead despite parents’ objections

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 17 December 2014, Justice P Cronin in the Family Court of Australia ordered that f2m transgender “Isaac” was Gillick competent and should have sole parental responsibility for all medical decisions concerning himself, including future gender changing surgery.
• Judgment: Re Isaac [2014] FamCA 1134 PDF 69.81kb, 17 DEC 14

Ban on same sex marriage to be lifted next year in Vietnam

VIETNAM: On 19 June 2014, the National Assembly approved an amended Law on Marriage and Family replacing the current regulation that forbids same sex marriage. The new law comes into effect 01 January 2015 - abolishing the ban on marriage between people of the same gender promulgated by the NA in 2000 - in order to avoid discrimination against homosexual couples, but also stipulates in Article 8 that the State shall not recognize marriage between persons of the same sex, meaning that the marriage will not be protected by law in any subsequent disputes related to the marriage.

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28 December 2014

New Jersey lawmaker introduces bill to prohibit ‘gay panic’ defense in murder cases

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 26 December 2014, Assemblyman Tim Eustace was reported to have introduced Bill A4083 that would if it became law, prohibit the so called “gay panic” defense from being used to escape murder charges.

27 December 2014

Court reduces sentences in 'same-sex marriage video' defendants to 1 year

EGYPT, Cairo: On 27 December 2014, a Cairo appeal court reduced the sentence of eight defendants charged with “perversion and offending public morals”, from an initial sentence of three years. The defendants appeared in a video of an unofficial same-sex wedding showing two defendants allegedly celebrating their marriage on a boat. Forensic department medical tests found the nine defendants were “not homosexuals”.

Taiwan Removes Surgical Barriers to Trans Citizens' Legal Recognition

TAIWAN: On 26 December 2014, the Ministry of the Interior reversed a 2008 administrative order, announcing that trans citizens will no longer be required to undergo surgery and extensive mental evaluation before having their gender legally recognized. In 2013 the Ministry of Health and Welfare decided to allow people to change their legal gender without transitioning.

24 December 2014

Florida same-sex couple denied divorce

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 24 December 2014, the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld the Circuit Court sua sponte (of its own accord) order of Judge George A Sarday made 12 July 2012 dismissing the petition of Sarah Oliver and Heather Stufflebeam seeking the dissolution of their marriage in Iowa on 17 August 2009. The constitutionality of the state prohibition of same-sex marriage was not raised or considered.
• Opinion: Sarah Oliver v. Heather Ann Stufflebeam No. 3D12-2149 PDF 121.40kb, 24 DEC 14

23 December 2014

FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg's statement on FDA's blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men

UNITED STATES: On 23 December 2014, Commissioner Margaret A Hamburg announced that the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact. A draft guidance recommending this proposed change in policy will likely issue in 2015.

Same-sex marriage cases ready, scheduled

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 23 December 2014, the US Supreme Court confirmed that the same-sex marriage cases of Bourke v. Bashear (Kentucky) , DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio) and Tango v. Haslam (Tennessee) were distributed to the Justices for consideration at their 09 January Conference, when the case of Robicheaux v. George (Louisiana) will also be conferenced.

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21 December 2014

Becoming legal parents after surrogacy - it may not be too late

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 14 October 2014, a judgment of Sir James Munby, President of the High Court of Justice, Family Division described the law with regard to the birth of a child by surrogacy requiring an application for a parenting order within six month's of a child's birth as 'nonsensical' and said that in some cases commissioning parents may be able to apply to sort out their parenthood late.
• Judgment: Re X (A Child) (Surrogacy: Time limit) [2004] EWHC 3155 (Fam) PDF 241.72kn, 03 OCT 14

19 December 2014

New guide on same-sex marriage

UNITED KINGDOM, Scotland: On 19 December 2014, the release of “Marriage and Civil Partnership in Scotland”, a new guide to same-sex marriage and civil partnerships in Scotland was announced.
• EqualityNetwork: Marriage and Civil Partnership in Scotland PDF 13.16MB, 17 DEC 14

Poland rejects gay civil unions for a third time

POLAND: On 17 December 2014, for the third time, the Parliament voted 235-185 with 18 abstentions, against putting a gender-neutral civil unions bill on the agenda of this parliamentary session.

Moroccan Court Sentences Elected Official, His Friend to 3 Years for Homosexuality

MOROCCO: On 18 December 2014, a court in the northern city of El Hoceima sentenced an elected member from the municipal council of Imzouren and his lover, a student, to three years in prison on grounds of homosexual conduct while in a car of the municipal council.

No SCOTUS Stay Means Same-Sex Marriages Will Begin in Florida January 6

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 19 December 2014, US Supreme Court issued an order declining to extend stay on federal court ruling striking down the Florida state ban on marriage equality. The stay will expire at the end of the day on 05 January 2015, at which point same-sex couples can legally begin marrying in the Sunshine State.
• Order: Armstrong, John H., et al. v. Brenner, James, D, et al. No. 14A460 PDF 26.47kb, 19 DEC 14

Limited win for surrogacy, gay parenthood in Germany

GERMANY, Karlsruhe: On 19 December 2014, the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled that authorities must recognize gay and childless heterosexual German couples as the legal parents of a child born abroad using surrogacy procedures where the parents are recognised under the foreign law.
• Bundesgerichtshof: Decision No. XII ZB 463/13 (in German) PDF 201.96kb, 19 DEC 14

Chinese Court Sides With Gay Man Against Clinic That Tried to 'Convert' Him

CHINA: On 19 December 2014, the Haidian District People’s Court ruled that homosexuality is not a mental illness, ordering the Xinyupiaoxiang Counseling Center in the southwestern city of Chongqing to pay 3,400 renminbi, or $560, for costs incurred by the plaintiff, Yang Teng for giving him electric shocks intended to change his sexual orientation.

18 December 2014

Same-sex divorce vacated because marriage legally invalid

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 18 December 2014, Athens County Common Pleas Court, Judge George McCarthy vacated his 25 November decision granting a divorce decree to Brenda Mohney and Erin O'Leary because Ohio statutory law and the Ohio constitution do not recognize same-sex marriage and he did not realise at the time that the parties were of the same gender.

Indiana Court Of Appeals Grants Transgender Man Amended Birth Certificate

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 04 December 2014, Judge Freidlander for the Court of Appeals of Indiana reversed the trial court denial of a petition to change an f2m transgender man's legal gender so that he could correct the gender markers on his birth certificate, remanding the case and directing the trial court to grant Appellant's petition and issue an order directing the Indiana State Department of Health to amend his birth certificate to reflect his male gender.
• Opinion: In Re Petition for Change of Birth Certificate No. 79A03-1403-MI-91PDF 197.33kb, 04 DEC 14

Gympie women win judgment against Queensland councillor over 'sodomite' vilification

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 16 December 2014, after appeals going right up to the High Court, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Ann Fitzpatrick ruled that Ronald Owen had vilified Richelle Menzies and Rhonda Bruce and others in publishing his contempt towards homosexuals in a council report, a community newsletter and a website posting in 2005. He was ordered to to give a private apology - which must be “genuine, unqualified [and] in his own words” - to Menzies and Bruce by 9 January. The women had dropped any claim for financial damages.

US Announces Protections for Transgender Workers

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 14 December 2014, the Department of Justice announed in a memorandum that the government is now interpreting federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender individuals and will no longer argue that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of gender status.
• Memorandum: Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Unter Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 PDF 1.29MB, 15 DEC 14

17 December 2014

Gay attorney confirmed to federal judiciary in Texas

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 16 December 2014, the US Senate confirmed the appointment of Robert Pitman to the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Governor Cuomo Announces Proposed Regulations to Provide Medicaid Coverage for Transgender Care and Services

UNITED STATES, New York: On 17 December 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced proposed regulations to include transgender health care services under New York State's Medicaid program, providing treatment for hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery to individuals who are a minimum age of 18 or 21 years old. The public will have 45 days to comment on the proposed regulation.

16 December 2014

Appeals Court Overturns Sex-Change for Inmate

UNITED STATES, Massachusetts: On 16 December 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit overturned 3-2 a ruling ordering Massachusetts prison officials to provide taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery for Michelle Kosilek, an inmate convicted of murder, finding that Kosilek failed to demonstrate that prison officials violated the Eight Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment by not providing the surgery.
• Opinion En Banc: Michelle Kosilek v. Luis S Spencer No. 12-2194 PDF 194.08kb, 16 DEC 14

Ireland Plans May Vote on Legalizing Gay Marriage

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 16 December 2014, Prime Minister Enda Kenny informed the parliament that the government would subject its planned Marriage Equality Bill to a public referendum in May on a date to be selected.

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12 December 2014

Finnish Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill in Second Vote

FINLAND: On 12 December 2014, in a second vote, the Parliament voted 101-90 in favour of a legislative proposal to introduce equal marriage rights on 01 March 2017.

Austin to Offer Trans -Inclusive Health Benefits for City Employees

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 11 December 2014, the Austin City Council unanimously passed a transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits resolution for city employees. Beginning in 2015, the plan will now include hormone therapy, mental health care and surgical care. The council also approved the recommended change to city code to require gender-neutral signage for single occupancy bathrooms.

11 December 2014

Married Lesbian Denied Usual Parental Presumption

UNITED STATES, New York: On 21 October 2014, Monroe County Supreme Court Justice Joan Kohout ruled that the biological father has the right to prove he is the father of a child born to a women married to another woman at the time she gave birth and that the standard rule in family law - that the legal spouse of a woman who gives birth to a child is presumed to be the child's legal parent - does not necessarily apply to same-sex couples.
• Decision and Order: Q.M. v. B.C. and J.S. No. P-13761-13 PDF 85.83kb, 21 OCT 14

09 December 2014

Texas: Plano adds LGBT protections

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 08 December 2014, the Plano City Council voted 5-3 to pass the Equal Rights Ordinance and ban anti-LGBT discrimination in public accommodation, employment practices, housing transactions and city contracting practices (with an exception for restrooms and an exemptions for religious organizations; political organizations; nonprofit organizations, except those receiving city grant money; educational institutions; private clubs; and state and federal agencies).

Saskatchewan amends human rights code

CANADA, Saskatchewan: On 08 December 2014, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2014 - Bill No. 171 was passed and assented to. The code prohibits prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and repealed an exemption that had allowed landlords to refuse to rent a suite in their home or the other half of their duplex to someone based on the prospective renter's sexual orientation.

Judge: Missouri legislature can't stop KC from recognizing same-sex marriages

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 09 December 2014, Jackson County 16th Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs denied the state legislators' motion to challenge an earlier ruling in a Jackson County case, in an attempt to stop Kansas City from recognizing same-sex marriages from other states.
• Order: Janice Barrier, et al., v. Gail Vasterling, et al. No. 1416-CV03892 PDF 53.27kb, 09 DEC 14

New York City ends surgery requirement to change birth certificate

UNITED STATES, New York: On 08 December 2014, the New York City Council voted 39-4 (with 3 abstentions) to pass a bill that eliminates the 'antiquated' requirement for transgender people to undergo sex reassignment surgery in order to change the gender on their birth certificates, requiring only that a licensed health care provider state that an individual's true sex is not accurately recorded on their current birth certificate.

Florida judge overturns gay marriage ban for a second time

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 08 December 2014, Broward County Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen overturned Florida's ban on gay marriage for a second time after he vacated his 04 August first ruling on a legal technicality.
• Order: In Re the Marriage of Heather Brassner and Megan E Lade No. 13-012058 (37) PDF 410.02kb, 08 DEC 14

08 December 2014

Michigan House Passed Bill Allowing EMTs To Refuse Treatment To Gay People

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 04 December 2014, the House of Assembly passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (HB 5958) so broadly written as to allow, for example, an Emergency Medical Technician to refuse emergency treatment to a gay person or a pharmacist to refuse to refill HIV medication if it conflicted with their religious beliefs. The Bill has yet to pass the Senate and be signed into law by the Governor.

Russia activist awarded paltry $55 for gay pride ban

RUSSIA, Kostromo: On 03 December 2014, a district court ordered local Kostromo authorities pay 3,000 rubles ($55) in moral damages to Nikolai Alexeyev, the first time in a decade of activism he has been compensated for moral damages arising from the cancelling of a pride parade he organized and two protests against the country's anti-gay laws.

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06 December 2014

Missouri appeals marriage ruling to Eighth Circuit

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 05 December 2014, a Notice of Appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit was filed on behalf of the Attorney-General against the 07 November 2014 order finding the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional in the case of Kyle Lawson, et al., v. Robert Kelly, et al.
• Notice of Appeal: Kyle Lawson, et al., v. Robert Kelly, et al. No. 4:14-cv-00622-ODS PDF 156.67kb, 05 DEC 14

05 December 2014

District of Columbia repeals religious schools' exemption from law on homosexuality

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 02 December 2014, the Washington, DC City Council passed 13-0 the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, which repeals an exemption (the Armstrong Amendment enacted in 1988) for religious schools from legislation related to sexual orientation.

1st openly gay High Court judge sworn in

NEW ZEALAND: On 05 November 2014, Auckland lawyer Matthew Muir was sworn in as a High Court judge by Chief Justice Sian Elias.

Gay marriage delayed in Mississippi as court grants stay during appeals process

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 04 December 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered a stay of the 25 November ruling by US District Judge Carlton W Reeves who struck down the same-sex ban. From the Order, the Court will likely hear arguments in this case in conjunction with the Lousiana and Texas cases before the Court on 05 January 2015.
• Order: Campaign for Southern Equality, et al., v. Phil Bryant, et al. No. 14-60837 PDF 146.41kb, 04 DEC 14

03 December 2014

Toledo city council expands hate crimes ordinance to include gender identity

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 02 December 2014, Toledo City Council voted 12-0 to add gender identity to the city's hate crime ordinance that already includes protections on the basis of sexual orientation.

Eleventh Circuit denies stay in Florida marriage case

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 03 December 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied the motion seeking an extension of the preliminary injunctions pending appeal of the judgment of US District Court Judge Robert L Hinkle in the Brenner v. Scott same-sex marriage case that found the State same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The Court noted the preliminary injunctions expire on 05 January 2015, meaning that in the absence of an appeal to the US Supreme Court same-sex couples may then seek to get married.
• Order: James Domer Brenner v. John H Armstrong, et al., and Sloan Grimsley, et al., v. John H Armstrong, et al. No. 14-3246 PDF 26.02kb, 03 DEC 14

Miami-Dade Passes Transgender Inclusive Human Rights Ordinance

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 02 December 2014, Miami-Dade County County Commissioners passed an ordinance 8-3 (two absentees) amending the Human Rights Ordinance to protect citizens from discrimination on the basis of gender identity in housing, public accommodations and employment.

Appeals court knocks back Kansas' attempt to maintain same-sex marriage ban

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 02 December 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied the motion for a re-hearing by the full court of the State Supreme Court judgment ruling the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
• Order: Kail Marie, et al., v. Robert Moser No. 14-3246 PDF 34.64kb, 02 DEC 14

Judge alleged to have affinity with the 'homosexual religion'

UNITED STATES, Delaware: On 12 November 2014, District Judge Richard G Andrews addressed the assertions of Younes Kabbaj that he was nominated to the bench by Senators who advocate on behalf of the homosexual lobby and that accordingly the Judge should recuse himself from the case for bias against the plaintiff derived from “a religious affinity with the 'homosexual religion'” or having the appearance of lack of impartiality, denying the recusal motions.
• Memorandum Opinion and Order: Younas Kabbaj v. American School of Tangier, et al., Mark Simpson, Google Inc., et al. No. 10-431-RGA PDF 259.69kb, 12 NOV 14

02 December 2014

Federal Court: Title VII Does Not Protect the Transgendered

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 19 November 2014, US District Court Judge David A Ezra held that Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination does not extend to a transgender employee and dismissed Loretta Eure's sex-discrimination claim.
• Order: Loretta Eure v. The Sage Corporation No. 5:12-CV-1119-DAE PDF 202.51kb, 19 NOV 14

District of Columbia bans gay conversion therapy of minors

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 02 December 2014, the DC Council passed Bill B20-0501 unanimously to ban the practice of conversion therapy to change a minor's sexual orientation.
• Bill: Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2013

Europe ruling: You can no longer ask gay refugees to make home porn videos

EUROPE, Luxembourg: On 02 December 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that gay refugees should not have to undergo 'tests' or to sacrifice their dignity to prove their sexuality by acceding to demands for indecent pictures or film in evidence of homosexual acts or answering questions about their sexual practices. The ruling will apply to all EU member states.
• Judgment: A, B, C., v. Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie Nos. C 148/13 to C 150/13, 02 DEC 14

01 December 2014

Thailand votes to ban commercial surrogacy

THAILAND: On 27 November 2014, the Parliament reportedly passed the first reading of a bill 177-2 making commercial surrogacy unlawful. The Bill imposes a punishment of up to 10 years in jail and bans middlemen and agencies from 'receiving any assets or benefits'.

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