August 2015

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31 August 2015

Singapore lifts ban on HIV-positive visitors

SINGAPORE: On 31 August 2015, the Ministry of Health was reported to have said that the two-decade-long ban on HIV-infected people entering the country was lifted on 01 April. Foreigners with HIV may now visit for up to three months but will still be prevented from staying long term or working in the city-state.

Port Hedland is latest council to recognize gay couples

AUSTRALIA, Western Australia: On 26 August 2015, the Port Hedland Councillors voted 6-2 to establish a relationship declaration register for all couples, irrespective of gender. Inclusion in the register does not confer legal rights like marriage, but 'may be used in legal proceedings that involve interpretation or application of legislative provisions ... particularly around wills, medical treatment and burials'.

Kentucky clerk loses on same-sex marriage plea

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 31 August 2015, without any apparnt dissent, the US Supreme Court refused Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' plea for protection from having to issue marriage licenses, including licenses for same-sex partners, to which she objects as a matter of faith. Davis has an appeal pending in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit arguing that her constitutional right to freedom of conscience should give her an exemption from having any part in the licensing process that would lead to same-sex marriages and may appeal an adverse decision to the US Supreme Court.
• Order in Pending Case: Davis, Kim v. Miller, April, et al. No. 15A250 PDF 22.66kb, 31 AUG 15

29 August 2015

President signs same-sex marriage into Constitution

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 29 August 2015, President Michael D Higgins signed the Thirty-Fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015, amending the Constitution so that: 'Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex'. The Government will now bring forward the Marriage Bill 2015, which will make the necessary changes in existing statute law. Meanwhile, Gerry Walshe and Maurice J Lyons have filed applications in the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal dismissal of their application for leave to bring petitions challenging the result of the referendum.

28 August 2015

Gender-neutral prefix "Mx." is now in the Oxford English Dictionary

UNITED KINGDOM: On 27 August 2015, The Oxford English Dictionary officially announced that the title “Mx.,” a gender-neutral prefix intended for people who don't identify as Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Miss, has been added into the lexicon, with the definition: “Mx (noun): a title used before a person's surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female.”.

Motion to dismiss gay common law marriage case denied

UNITES STATES, Washington DC: On 25 August 2015, DC Superior Court Judge Kimberley Knowles denied the motion of Jennifer Lynn McKelvey calling for the dismissal of the petition of Enrique Mendez seeking to have the relationship of more than four years with his late partner Miles Eric Lease declared a common law marriage, thereby entitling him to the assets of the estate. Eric Lease died without leaving a Will. An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for 10 November.

Landmark settlement sets new standard for treating transgender patients

UNITED STATES, New York: On 14 July 2015, the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights and The Brooklyn Hospital Center jointly announced today that they have entered into a voluntary resolution agreement to ensure that transgender TBHC patients receive appropriate and equitable care and treatment, marking the first time the federal agency actively enforced a part of the Affordable Care Act that prohibits discrimination and calling for the hospital to make various changes to its policies, procedures and training.
Voluntary Resolution Agreement: US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and The Brooklyn Hospital Center No. 12-147291 PDF 271.66kb, 02 JUL 15

27 August 2015

NSW Education Minister bans schools from screening gay film

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 26 August 2015, New South Wales Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, was reported to have banned every public school in the state from screening 'Gayby Baby', a documentary about children with gay parents, during school hours. Up to 50 schools across Australia, including 20 in NSW had organised a simultaneous broadcast of the film as part of a nationwide Wear it Purple day campaign of sexual inclusion in schools.

26 August 2015

Appeals court denies stay for Kentucky clerk on marriage order

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 26 August 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the application of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for a stay of the US District Court preliminary injunction enjoining her, in her official capacity, from applying her 'no marriage licenses' policy to future marriage license requests, pending the hearing of her appeal.
• Order: April Miller, et al. v. Kim Davis No. 15-5880 PDF 205.10kb 26 AUG 15

Nepal's top court orders suspension of surrogacy services

NEPAL: On 26 August 2015, it was reported that the Supreme Court has ordered a halt to commercial surrogacy services in the Himalayan nation until it rules on the legality of the practice.

25 August 2015

Military transgender ban set to end next May

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 25 August 2015, it was reported that the Pentagon's ban on transgender troops would end 27 May under a draft timeline on repeal of the policy that affects about 12,000 troops. The memo, circulated last week among top personnel and medical officials, lays out the road map for ending the policy and highlights some of the potential issues, including a pilot program that would provide leaves of absences for transgender troops being treated with hormones or having surgery.

Wisconsin issues birth certificate recognizing same-sex parents, Madison couple continues legal battle to receive theirs

UNITED STATES, Wisconsin: On 25 August 2015, the Office of Vital Records was reported to have issued a birth certificate, along with others, that recognizes both Kami Young and Karina Willes as legal guardians of their one-year-old daughter Olivia. Young and Willes married in Minnesota in 2013. Meanwhile, Madison mother Chelsea Torres and her wife Jessamy Torres await theirs for six-month-old son Asher, which is the subject of a federal lawsuit due to be heard February 2016.

22 August 2015

Senegal jails seven men for 'being gay'

SENEGAL: On 22 August 2015, BBCnews reported that a court in Dakar jailed seven men for six months after they were found guilty of homosexuality, police having caught the men having sex during a raid.

21 August 2015

Couple jailed over Grindr blackmail

UNITED KINGDOM: On 21 August 2015, it was reported that Recorder Maria Lamb in the Swindon Crown Court sentenced Daniel Edwards and Kristofer Wagner to two years and ten months and one year and eight months respectively after they admitted blackmailing a man they met and exchanged pictures with on Grindr then threatened to forward the pictures to the man's wife. The victim handed over £1,500 to the men.

20 August 2015

Illinois Governor Signs 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Ban Into Law

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 20 August 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB0217 (the Youth Mental Health Protection Act) into law with effect from 01 January 2016, that bars licensed therapists from subjecting young people to counseling that is designed to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. The legistation includes a unique provision (Section 25) affording survivors access to a consumer fraud action against the perpetrators of this abuse.
HB0217: Youth Mental Health Protection Act PDF 37.92kb 20 AUG 15

SSA Tells Court It Will Apply Obergefell Retroactively To Grant Spousal Benefits In Lambda Legal Case

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 20 August 2015, at a status conference in the federal court in Chicago, the Department of Justice announced that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will apply the US Supreme Court's recent landmark marriage ruling retroactively and process pending spousal benefits claims for same-sex couples who lived in states that did not previously recognize their marriages, commencing on a date yet to be announced.

Judge grants Tarrant County's first gay divorce

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 20 August 2015, after a five-minute hearing, state District Judge William Harris granted Brooke Powell and Cori Jo Long a divorce following the 13 August ruling of the Second District of Texas Court of Appeals that reversed and remanded his 19 September 2014 trial court decision dismissising their application for want of jurisdiction.
• Second District of Texas Court of Appeals Memorandum Opinion and Order: Brooke Powell v. Cori Jo Long No. 02-14-00397-CV PDF 35.12kb, 13 AUG 15

19 August 2015

Nigerien bags 6 months imprisonment for homosexual act

NIGER: On 19 August 2015, it was reported that presiding magistrate Hon Abdulrahaman Idris in the Minna Court sentenced Malam Kabir of Tawa State in Niger Republic and Shehu of Texaco Road, Maitumbi, Minna to six months jail after they pleaded guilty of attempting an unnatural act of gross indecency contrary to section 95 and 285 of the penal code.

18 August 2015

Missouri Court of Appeals allows lesbian mother to seek custody

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 18 August 2015, the Western District Court of Appeals held that Melissa McGaw, a woman who planned for and raised non-biological twin children with her long-term same-sex partner Angela McGaw, can seek custody of the children, ruling she has the right to assert her claims for child custody and visitation in an independent proceeding under the third party custody statute § 452.375.5(5);.
Opinion: Melissa McGaw v. Angela McGaw WD 77799 PDF 397.01kb, 18 AUG 15

17 August 2015

Cayman Islands reaffirms ban on gay marriage in wake of European court verdict

CAYMAN ISLANDS: On 13 August 2015, the Legislative Assembly passed a private member's motion (No 3 of 2015/2016) 'THAT this Honourable House do affirm to maintain the definition of marriage to be as expressly provided for by the Constitution and Law as being between persons of the opposite sex'.
• Private Member's Motion: Preservation of Traditional Marriages No 3 of 2015/2016 PDF 199.58kb 13 AUG 15

16 August 2015

Gay Activists In Odesa Cancel Gay-Pride Festival After Court Ruling

UKRAINE, Odessa: On 13 August 2015, an Odessa local court reportedly banned a planned gay-pride festival planned for 13-16 August, arguing it could lead to violence.

14 August 2015

Morocco jails two for anti-gay beating

MOROCCO: On 13 August 2015, whilst homosexual activity remains unlawful, a court in the central city of Fez sentenced two men to four months in jail and ordered them to pay a fine of 500 dirhams (around 50 euros/$55) for beating up a presumed homosexual man because of his appearance.

13 August 2015

Same-sex couples can commit adultery too, attorney general says

UNITED STATES, Maryland: On 24 July 2015, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh provided a legal opinion to the House of Delegates that says the definition of adultery includes a spouse's extramarital sexual conduct with someone of the same sex and can be considered adultery for the purposes of the Family Law Article.
• Opinion: Divorce - Whether same-sex marital Infidelity can qualify as adultery for purposes of Family Law Provisions governing divorce 100OAG105 PDF 88.64kb 24 JUL 15

Court rules against Colorado cake shop in same-sex marriage case

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 13 August 2015, Judge Taubman for the Court of Appeal affirmed the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's earlier decision that Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood and its owner, Jack Phillips, violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act when he declined to make a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins' wedding reception in 2012 and that the order requiring Masterpiece not to discriminate against potential customers because of their sexual orientation does not force it to engage in compelled expressive conduct in violation of the First Amendment.
Order Affirmed: Charlie Craig and David Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop Inc., and Jack C Phillips No. 2015COA115 PDF 180.49kb, 13 AUG 15

12 August 2015

Judge orders Rowan County clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 12 August 2015, US District Judge David L Bunning granted a preliminary injunction against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs and adopted a policy of not issuing marriage licenses to any couples. The Court essentially held that personal religious beliefs do not exempt government officials from performing the duties of public office.
• Memorandum Opinion and Order: April Meller, et al v. Kim Davis, et al. No. 15-44-DLB PDF 123.58kb, 12 AUG 15

Guam lawmakers pass LGBT bills

GUAM: On 12 August 2015, the Guam Senate by a 13-2 vote margin approved a bill that amends the island’s legal code to create “equality in civil marriage”. Lawmakers also unanimously passed an LGBT anti-discrimination measure.

Equal Rights Trust Launches First Comprehensive Report on Inequality in Ukraine

UKRAINE: On 12 August 2015 (quaere), the Equal Rights Trust released a 440+ page report into discrimination and inequality in the Ukraine, noting the country is caught in the crosscurrents created by powerful forces fighting for Ukraines political identity.
Report: In the Crosscurrents: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Ukraine PDF 5.28MB 12 AUG 15

Judge Gives Texas Deadline on Same-Sex Marriage Policies

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 11 August 2016, US District Court Judge Orlando L. Garcia ordered the Governor, Attorney General and the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services to submit an advisory no later than 24 August 2015 (1) notifying the Court they have created, issued, and implemented policy guidelines recognizing same-sex marriage in death and birth certificates issued in the State of Texas, and (2) assuring the Court that the Department of State Health Services has granted all pending applications for death and birth certificates involving same-sex couples, assuming the applications are otherwise complete and qualify for approval.
• Order: Cleopatra De Leon et al. v. Greg Abbott et al. No. SA-13-CA-00982-OLG PDF 34.04kb 11 AUG 15

Mexico Supreme Court Strikes Down Same-Sex Adoption Ban

MEXICO, Campeche: On 11 August 2015, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled 9-1 that a 2013 law in the southeastern state of Campeche that forbids same-sex couples from adopting children is unconstitutional and struck it down.

11 August 2015

Puerto Rico governor bans anti-transgender discrimination

PUERTO RICO: On 10 August 2015. Governor Alejandro García Padilla issued two executive orders, one specifically prohibits hospitals from discriminating against potential patients based on their gender identity when they seek treatment in an emergency room. The second mandate allows trans Puerto Ricans to change the gender on their driver's license.

Appeals court affirms striking of Nebraska gay marriage ban

UNITED STATES, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota: On 11 August 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit formally affirmed lower court rulings striking down as unconstitutional the now-negated ban on gay marriage and civil unions in Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
• Arkansas Opinion: Rita Jernigan v. Dustin McDaniel No. 15-1022 PDF 28.26kb, 11 AUG 15
• Nebraska Opinion: Susan Waters, et al v. Pete Ricketts No. 15-1452 PDF 74.33kb, 11 AUG 15
• South Dakota Opinion: Jennie Rosenbrahn v. Dennis Daugaard No. 15-1186 PDF 73.32kb, 11 AUG 15

10 August 2015

Judge voids Kansas same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 10 August 2015, US District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree summarily ruled that the provision in the Kansas constitution that prohibits issuing marriage licenses same-sex couples or recognizing such marriages violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the US. Constitution. That ruling also applies to any Kansas statute, law, policy or practice that bars or fails to recognize such unions.
•Memorandum and Order: Marie et al v. Moser et al No. 14-cv-02518-DDC-TJJ PDF 447.15kb 10 AUG 15

Appeals court upholds clause in D.C. hate crimes law

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 06 August 2015, Associate Judge Judge Stephen H Glickman for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals found that the city's Bias-Related Crime Act of 1990 applies to any criminal act, including hate-related threats, even though the statute doesn't explicitly mention threats in its definition of a hate crime.
• Opinion: Girma Aboye v. United States No. 13-CM-1219 PDF 60.83kb, 06 AUG 15

In a first, California agrees to pay for transgender inmate's sex reassignment

UNITED STATES, California: On 07 August 2015, the State of California conceded that Shiloh Quine, who entered the California prison system in 1980 as Rodney, suffers severe gender dysphoria that can be treated only by physically conforming her body to her psychological gender and agreed to pay for a transgender inmate's sex reassignment operation in settlement of her Federal lawsuit (Quine v. Beard).
Joint Notice of Settlement Agreement: Shiloh Heavenly Quine No. C 14-02726 JST PDF 106.58kb, 04 MAY 15

South Carolina Attorney General ordered to pay same sex couple $135,000

UNITED STATES, South Carolina: On 10 August 2015, US District Court Judge Richard Gergel ordered the South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson pay $130,600 for 390 hours legal work and $4,700 for court costs and fees in the Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley case challenging the state ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Gergel noted that South Carolina was the only state in the Fourth Circuit to still enforce its gay marriage ban after the court found a similar ban in Virginia unconstitutional.

Ohio judges cannot refuse to perform gay weddings based on personal views, state board advises

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 07 August 2015, The Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Professional Conduct issued an opinion concluding that a judge who performs civil marriages may not refuse to perform same-sex marriages while continuing to perform opposite-sex marriages or discontinue performing all marriages, in order to avoid marrying same-sex couples, based upon his or her personal, moral, and religious beliefs, acts contrary to the judicial oath of office and may raise reasonable questions about his or her impartiality in legal proceedings where sexual orientation is at issue.
• Opinion: Judicial Performance of Civil Marriages of Same-Sex Couples PDF 511.75kb, 07 AUG 15

ASSAf report assesses criminalisation of sexual diversity

SOUTH AFRICA: On 10 August 2015, the Academy of Science of South Africa released a report after examining a wide variety of evidence, concluding that contemporary science increasingly recognises the wide range of natural variation in human sexuality, sexual orientations and gender identities and suggesting that new laws to prohibit same-sex relationships or what is termed 'promotion of homosexuality' are counter-productive.
• Report: Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa PDF 3.63MB 08 JUN 15

08 August 2015

Judge tosses lawsuit on Social Security benefits for gay couples

UNITED STATES, California: On 03 August 2015, US District Judge Percy Anderson dismissed the application of Hugh Held and others seeking to prevent the Social Security Administration from recouping overpayments resulting from the SSA's delay in recognizing same-sex marriages and amending entitlements to the lower rates for married benefit recipients, holding that the plaintiffs had not exhausted their administrative remedies.
• Order: Hugh Held et al. v. Carolyn Colvin No. CV 15-1732 PA (JCx) PDF 50.46kb, 03 AUG 15

07 August 2015

Polish Senate votes on first-ever Gender Accordance Act

POLAND: On 07 August 2015. the Senate was reported to have voted to pass the Gender Accordance Act with significant last-minute amendments that could add another layer of procedural difficulty to the gender recognition process. The lower House parliamentary committee is expected to analyse the amended Act in September.

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples After Obergefell

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 07 August 2015, Terri Stallard wrote of the need post the Obergefell Supreme Court decision for married couples to review their estate plans, including a Power of Attorney for both financial and health care purposes and a health care directive, also known as a “living will”.

05 August 2015

Judge orders Texas to recognize spouse on same-sex death certificate

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 05 August 2015, US District Court Judge Orlando L Garcia ordered the interim Commissioner of the Department of State Health Services to “immediately issue an amended death certificate for James H Stone-Hoskins to state that John Allen Stone-Hoskins is the surviving spouse of James and in doing so, fully recognize their out-of-state marriage”.
• Order: Celopatra De Leon, Nicole Dimetman, Victor Holems and Mark Phariss v. Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton and Kirk Cole SA-13-CA-00982-OLG PDF 572.87kb 05 AUG 15

Historic ACLU Victory: State of Nebraska Barred From Discriminating Against LBGT Foster Parents

UNITED STATES, Nebraska: On 05 August 2015, District Judge John A Colborn ruled that Nebraska's discriminatory treatment, policy and practice, toward gay and lesbian foster parents is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause finding in favour of three same-sex couples who wanted to be foster parents for children in Nebraska.
Order: : Greg Stewart and Stillman Stewart; Lisa Blakey and Janet Rodrigyez; and Todd Vesely and Joel Busch v. Dave Heineman, Kerry Winterer and Thomas Pristow No. CI 13-3157 PDF 572.87kb 05 AUG 15

Appeals court rules Roane County same-sex couple can divorce

UNITED STATES, Tennessee: On 04 August 2015, Judge D Michael Swiney in the Court of Appeals reversed the Trial Court's judgment in August 2014 that Frederick M. Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman couldn't divorce because the state of Tennessee only recognized marriages between males and females and remanded the case for further proceedings and collection of costs against the State.
• Judgment: Frederick Michael Borman v. Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman E2014-01794-COA-R3-CV PDF 89.35kb 04 AUG 15

02 August 2015

How to leave money to who YOU want with a cast-iron Will after landmark court ruling

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 27July 2015, the Court of Appeal found that the Will of Melita Jackson should have made reasonable financial provision for her only (estranged) daughter Iliot instead of the whole Estate valued at £486,000 essentially going to three nominated charities and set aside the award of lower courts substituting an award of £143,000, the sum required for the appellant to purchase the property where she and her husband currently live, plus reasonable expenses of acquisition together with up to £20,000 in cash to provide her with a small immediate amount of additional income. Legal experts fear the ruling will now make it easier for family members to challenge wills.
Judgment: Iliot and Mitson et al. [2015] EWCA Civ 797 PDF 106.75kb, 27 JUL 15

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