GayLawNews™

July 2015

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31 July 2015

Senegal court sentences journalist to 6 months in jail for acts of homosexuality

SENEGAL: On 31 July 2015, Tamsir Jupiter Ndiaye a well-known Senegalese journalist was sentenced Friday to six months in prison for acts of homosexuality. Ndiaye was sentenced in 2012 to 4 years in prison for acts of homosexuality, illegal possession of arms and battery. The sentence was later reduced to 2 years and he was paroled in 2013.

30 July 2015

Texas refuses to issue same-sex couples death certificates

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 31 July 2015, it was reported that more than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage, Texas is not fully recognizing the landmark ruling and refuses to issue death certificates that recognize same-sex marriages. In August 2014, James Stone and John Stone-Hoskins exchanged vows in New Mexico. James took his own life mid-January after a diagnosis with a genetic autoimmune disease called Sjögren's syndrome. The death certificate lists James as single and refers to John as “significant other,” meaning he is not entitled to his spouse's estate.

30 July 2015

Appeal court clears last legal obstacle to same-sex marriage

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 30 July 2015, the Court of Appeal dismissing the two separate applications of Gerry Walshe and Maurice J Lyons for leave to bring petitions challenging the result of this year's same-sex marriage referendum, awarding costs against both men. The decision means the referendum returning officer can issue the certificate confirming the result of the 22 May poll. A stay on the issuing of the certificate had applied pending the appeal court's ruling. It has now been lifted.

Common Law Marriage Retroactively Applied to Same-Sex Couple

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 29 July 2015, Bucks County Court of Common Pleas Judge C Theodore Fritsch Jr. granted Sabrina Maurer's request to have her 02 September 2001 commitment ceremony in Pennsylvania to Kimberly Underwood and subsequent 12 years of cohabitation declared a common law marriage from that date and entitling her to various benefits and also avoiding having to pay inheritance taxes on Underwood's estate.

29 July 2015

Evil Mother-In-Law Loses, Court Orders Big Payout To Gay Widower

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 29 July 2015,Chief US District Judge W Keith Watkins ordered that $552,956.69 plus accrued interest, the proceeds of the wrongful death claim of Paul Hard, whose partner Charles David Fancher died in a car accident in 2011, be paid to Paul Hard. The couple were married in Massachusetts in May 2011 and an amended death certificate recognizing Hard as his husband's surviving spouse was issued 09 February, the day the US Supreme Court denied the State's request for a same-sex marriage stay.
Order: Paul Hard v. Luther Johnson Strange 2:13-cv-00922-WKW PDF 95.91kb 29 JUL 15

Another ward in Tokyo to recognize same-sex couples

JAPAN, Tokyo: On 29 July 2015, Tokyo's Setagaya Ward announced that it will start issuing certificates as early as November recognising same-sex couples aged 20 or older who pledge to be in a partnership, one of whom must be a Setagaya resident or have a plan to move to the ward.

27 July 2015

Boy Scouts of America Amends Adult Leadership Policy

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 27 July 2015, the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board ratified a resolution (79% in favour) that removes the national restriction on openly gay adult leaders and employees, effective immediately.

24 July 2015

Adoption finalized for Mobile couple at the heart of Alabama's gay marriage debate

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 24 July 2015, retired Baldwin County Circuit Court Judge James Reid in the Mobile County Probate Court granted the adoption of Khaya Ray Searcy by Cari Searcy, whose partner Kim McKeand is Khaya's natural mother. Chief Justice Moore appointed Judge Reid to oversee the case which has been before the courts for nine years.

Texas Supreme Court Rules Houston LGBT Rights Ordinance Must Be Put to a Vote­or Repealed

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 24 July 2015, the Texas Supreme Court in a somewhat curious ruling held that Houston's LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance must be repealed by 24 August or ordered to be put to a popular vote in the November 2015 election.
Opinion: In Re Jared Woodfill et al., Relators No. 14-0667 PDF 94.54kb 24 JUL 15

23 July 2015

Troy moves to protect transgender rights

UNITED STATES, New York: On 23 July 2015, the Troy City Council voted unanimously to protect transgender rights and to expand anti-discrimination protections by inserting gender identity or expression, ancestry, military status, sexual orientation, LGB and transgender in its city code governing anti-discrimination, fair housing, human rights, hiring, personnel policies and its public employment relations board. A final vote on the eight measures will take place at its August meeting.

Italy becomes fifth country in the world to allow trans people to change gender without a doctor

ITALY: On 20 July 2015, the Supreme Court of Cassation overturned rulings by lower courts and made it clear the official record of gender may be amended without surgery or sterilization.
La Corte Suprema Di Cassazione (in Italian): Sentenza No. 15138-2015 PDF 20 JUL 15

22 July 2015

New law seeks to bar anti-discrimination ordinances, but interpretations vary

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 22 July 2015, Act 137 of this year came into effect prohibiting a city or county from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that creates a protected class or prohibits discrimination on any basis not already in state law. Arkansas' civil-rights law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes. Opinions vary as to whether there are conflicts between Act 137 and local ant-discrimination ordinances.

21 July 2015

European court tells Rome: Introduce civil union for gay couples

ITALY: On 21 July 2015, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Italy for failing to provide legal recognition to same-sex couples and said the country should introduce some form of civil union for homosexual couples, ordering Italy to pay each of three same-sex couples €5,000 (£3,500) in damages and up to €10,000 jointly to cover their costs and legal expenses.
• Judgment: Case of Oliari and Others v. Italy Nos. 18766/11, 36030/11 PDF 590.42kb, 21 JUL 15

19 July 2015

After months of back and forth, state allows same-sex couples to be listed on birth certificates

UNITED STATES, Alaska: On 06 July 2015, the Bureau of Vital Statistics enacted a change to allow both same-sex parents to be named on birth certificates and contacted Anchorage parents Kim and Dana Ward-Massey and other families on 07 July.

18 July 2015

Landmark $25,000 penalty for torrent of anti-gay abuse

AUSTRALIA, Tasmania: On 11 February 2015, Anti-Discrimination Tribunal Member S P Bishop ordered that Nick Bouvy pay Peter Power $25,000 as compensation for the loss and injury suffered by Power and caused by Bouvy's discrimination, prohibited conduct and sexual harassment.
• Decision: Power v Bouvy [2015] TASADT 2 PDF 730.00kb 11 FEB 15

16 July 2015

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law, Federal Commission Rules

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 15 July 2015, the US Equal Opportunity Commission ruled 3-2 that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination ­ a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers.
Decision: (Name Redacted) Complainant v. Anthony Foxx Appeal No. 0120133080 PDF 866.43kb, 15 JUL 15

Ireland Passes Historic Transgender Rights Bill

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 16 July 2015, it was reported that the Oireachtas (Parliament) passed the gender recognition bill set to be signed into law by the end of July permitting transgender people in Ireland to change their legal gender based on self-identification alone, without medical or state intervention, Ireland becoming the fifth country to do so after Denmark, Malta, Argentina and Colombia.

15 July 2015

Judge says Utah must recognize lesbian moms as legal parents

UNITED STATES, Utah: On 15 July 2015, US District Judge Dee Benson ruled that Utah must recognize the rights of married lesbian couple Angela and Kami Roe by issuing a birth certificate for their infant daughter that lists both of the women as legal parents.

14 July 2015

Hawaii Eases Process to Switch Gender on Birth Certificates

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 13 July 2015, Governor David Ige signed bill HB631that will allow transgender men and women in Hawaii to more easily change the gender on their birth certificate, eliminating the requirement that someone must first undergo gender reassignment surgery, with effect from 01 July 2015.
Bill: HB 631

13 July 2015

Texas judge asks same sex-couples to sign form acknowledging he disapproves of same-sex marriage

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 13 July 2015, it was reported that Denton County Judge James DePiazza now requires couples seeking his services in marriage to sign a form acknowledging he does not support same-sex marriage. Katherine Franke, director of private rights at Colombia University's law school, has expressed the opinion that the document may be found to be discriminatory.

11 July 2015

Judge allows same-sex burial

UNITED STATES, Idaho: On 09 July 2015, US Magistrate Ron Bush concluded that seventy-four-year-old Navy veteran Madelynn Lee Taylor has the right to be buried with her wife at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery when she dies saying she “is entitled to have the assurance that there is a court order in place requiring that what she has a right to have happen if she were to pass away today, will happen when she does pass away”.

10 July 2015

Tennessee attorney general drops same-sex Roane divorce case

UNITED STATES, Tennessee: On 10 July 2015, it was reported that following the US Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, the Tennessee attorney general's office is no longer contesting the divorce of Frederick Michael Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman who wed in Iowa in 2010.

09 July 2015

New Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro bans books about homosexuality from city schools

ITALY: On 09 July 2015, it was reported that Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro had banned a total of 49 books covering homosexuality and discrimination from schools, including a French book titled 'Jean Has Two Mums', a story of a wolf family where the cub has two mothers.

08 July 2015

Marriage Equality Victory in Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO: On 08 July 2015, Judges Juan Torruella, Ojetta Rogerlee Thompson, and William Kayatta, Jr. in the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Same-sex marriages are expected to begin in Puerto Rico on 15 July.

Missouri Governor Orders State Agencies to Embrace Marriage Equality

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 07 July 2015, Governor Jay Nixon issued Executive Order 15-04, requiring all of the state's agencies to comply with last month's U.S. Supreme Court decision ensuring marriage equality in all 50 states

07 July 2015

Governor Sam Brownback: Kansas Can't Penalize Religious Groups Opposed to Marriage Equality

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 07 July 2015, Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive order that shields clergy members and religious organizations from being penalized by the state, thereby enabling service providers such as adoption agencies and homeless shelters to discriminate against same-sex couples and still receive state contracts.

Judge grants first same-sex divorce in El Paso

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 29 June 2015, US District Judge Mike Herrera in the 383rd District Court granted Jennifer Gasca and Stephanie Michelle Clifford (formerly Gasca) a divorce following the US Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision. The parties who were married in New Hampshire, filed for divorce 31 October 2012 and met the six-month residency requirement to petition for a divorce.

02 July 2015

Louisiana same-sex marriage ban is overturned: Read the court judgement

UNITED STATES, Louisiana: On 02 July 2015, US District Judge Martin Feldman, who initially upheld the state same-sex marriage ban in Robicheaux v. Caldwell on 03 September 2014, was forced to recall and rescind that decision following the 26 June Obergefell, et al v. Hodges et al US Supreme Court case, ordering that officials be restrained from enforcing the state constitutional ban and recognise the marriages of the Plaintiff parties.
• Judgment: Jonathan P Robicheaux, et al. v. James D Caldwell Nos. 13-5090 C/W, 14-97, 14-327 PDF 56.05kb, 02 JUL 15

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