GayLawNews™

October 2015

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31 October 2015

Fake woman convicted of sodomy

ZAMBIA: On 31 October 2015, it was reported that Magistrate Derrick Mate Chingumbe in the Mongu District court convicted Hatch Bril (27) of alledgedly permitting a 19-year-old taxi driver to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature. Bril was dressed and appeared like a woman on the material day, meeting the teenager in a bar on 24 September. The teenager filed a complaint against Bril who has been committed to the High Court for sentencing and faces up to 15 years imprisonment.

Gay couple celebrating anniversary asked to leave Dublin restaurant for holding hands

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 31 October 2015, it was reported that a gay male couple celebrating their second anniversary together were asked to leave a Dublin city centre restaurant as other diners had complained of their showing each other physical affection but not kissing. As they were leaving a female diner said 'disgusting'.

Polyamory wedding: Brazilian female trio get hitched

BRAZIL, Rio de Janeiro: On 31 October 2015, SBSnews reported that early in October, Rio de Janeiro notary Fernanda de Freitas Leitao witnessed the civil union oaths of three women - a businesswoman and a dentist who are both 32 and a 34-year-old office manager - who have been together for three years.

30 October 2015

Transgender woman locked in men’s prison loses legal appeal

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 30 October 2015, the three-judge Bristol Crown Court rejected m2F transgender Tara Hudson's appeal against her sentence to 12 weeks in the HMP Bristol men's prison for head-butting a bar manager, but judges urged the prison service to consider moving her from to a womens facility. Hudson has lived as a woman all her adult life and is believed to have now been moved to an all-women prison.

Norway bishops back gay church weddings

NORWAY: On 30 October 2015, Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien, praeses of the Norwegian Bishops’ Conference, announced that the country's twelve bishops voted to back the creation of a special liturgy for the marriage of same-sex couples, opening the way for the first gay church marriages within the next two years.

Judge Declines to Apply Marital Property Rules to Dissolved Union

UNITED STATES, New York: On 23 October 2015, Judge Richard A Dollinger in the New York Supreme Court dissolved the 2003 Vermont civil union between Deborah O'Reilly-Morshead and Christine O'Reilly-Morshead but declined to apply New York Domestic Relations “marital” property law to distribution of civil union property acquired prior to their 2006 marriage in Canada.
Opinion: O'Reilly-Morshead v O'Reilly-Morshead 2015 NY Slip Op 25354, 27 OCT 15

US Department of State Takes Small but Important Step to Protect Spouses of Same-Sex Asylum Seekers

UNITED STATES, National: On 30 October 2015, it was reported that the Department of State had recently changed the interpretation of the term spouse under the Process Priorities, or P-3, family reunification program in order to allow same-sex partners of qualified refugees and asylees in the United States to file an affidavit of relationship in order to join their partners in the United States ­ even if they are not legally married. The P-3 program only recognizes a small pool of 24 countries and leaves out some of the countries that are the most blatantly hostile to LGBT people.

Calling someone a homosexual is defamation in Hungary

HUNGARY: On 30 October 2015, it was reported that Budapest court justice, Péter Fintha-Nagy, determined that Klára Ungár had defamed Fidesz mayor and national communications director Máté Kocsis by claiming on Facebook that he was gay, ordering Ms. Ungár to: (1) Delete the defamatory Facebook comment, in which she outed Mr. Kocsis; (2) Pay 2 million forints in compensation to Mr. Kocsis (roughly $9,300 CDN); and (3) Issue a public apology on Facebook to the plaintiff.

29 October 2015

Hawaiian Vacation From Hell: Couple Claims Cop Cuffed Them For Kissing

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 03 March 2015, Police Officer Bobby Harrison is alleged to have harassed and discriminated against Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero in a Foodland store after observing their consensual romantic contact on two occasions and became physical at the checkout Harrison then arrested them for assaulting police and jailed the women for three days. A Federal lawsuit was filed 27 October 2015 against officer Harrison and others.
• Complaint: Courtney Wilson; Taylor Guerro v. Bobby Harrison; City and County of Honolulu, et al. No. 1:15-cv-00452-KSC PDF 226.03kb, 27 OCT 15

Southend gay man wins damages over homophobic gestures

UNITED KINGDOM, Essex: On 29 October 2015, BBCnews reported that 'Tim' was awarded £7,500 damages in the Southend County Court for 'non-verbal' discrimination under the Equality Act. Peter Edwards of Taylor Edwards in Shoeburyness blew a sarcastic kiss at Tim when he left the shop and later made mocking gestures when Tim was passing the shop and Mr Edwards was on a cigarette break.

New York Judge Finds False Claim Someone is HIV-Positive Defamatory

UNITED STATES, New York: On 18 June 2015, Judge Thomas Scuccimarra in the New York Court of Claims ruled that the State Division of Human Rights defamed Avril Nolan, a model whose photograph the Division purchased from Getty Images to use in advertisements informing the public that discrimination against people with HIV is unlawful in New York. the photograph carried the caption “I AM POSITIVE (+)” and “I HAVE RIGHTS”. Ms. Nolan is not HIV positive. On 06 March 2014, Nolan won a ruling before Justice Anil C. Singh in the State Supreme Court against Getty Images who refused to dismiss her complaint against Getty for selling her photograph without her permission."
• Decision: Avril Nolan v. The State of New York No. 123283 18 JUN 15

Homosexual acts can soon be scrapped from criminal records in the ACT

AUSTRALIA, Australian Capital Territory: On 29 October 2015, the Legislative Assembly passed the 'Spent Convictions (Historical Homosexual Convictions Extinguishment) Amendment Bill 2015' enabling people “found guilty” of a “historical consensual homosexual act” in the ACT to apply to have their conviction withdrawn. Information on making an application will be available at justice.act.gov.au.

28 October 2015

Elderly trans woman blocked from claiming pension because the law sees her as a man

UNITED KINGDOM: On 28 October 2015, it was reported that m2f transgender Sandra MacDougall transitioned in 2000, before the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. She started receiving her pension last November, after passing the current female pension age of 63 however, in the absence of evidence in the form of a Gender Recognition Certificate, the Department of Work and Pensions has deemed her a man, denying the pension until she is 65 years old. A Gender Recognition Certificate requires a £140 fee, opinions from two medical professionals, 'proof' of living in their gender for two years and convincing a Gender Recognition Panel that their change is permanent.

Ban lifted on gay male blood donations; Advocates critical of new restrictions

NETHERLANDS: On 28 October 2015, Minister of Health Edith Schippers reportedly announced that the permanent ban on blood donations from homosexual men was lifted in place of new restrictions that state gay men may only donate blood if they have not had sex with another man over the last 12 months.

27 October 2015

There has just been an actual gay rights victory in Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE: On 26 October 2015, Labour Court president Justice Evangelista Kabasa ruled no person should be fired from work on the basis of their sexual orientation. Raymond Sibanda, from Bulawayo, was fired as a youth officer by the Ministry of Youth and Economic Empowerment for allegedly 'engaging in homosexual activities'.

Missouri Court of Appeals holds its nose while upholding dismissal of case filed by gay man called 'cocksucker' by his boss

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 27 October 2015, Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the Missouri Human Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and affirmed the circuit court judgment dismissing James Pittman's petition claiming sex discrimination in that he alleged that he was harassed and terminated from his employment because of his sexual orientation. The president of the company, Joe T. Jurden, told Pittman that “he was a 'cocksucker' and made other comments of a sexual nature, discriminatory to a male homosexual, including asking him if he had AIDS”.
• Opinion: James Pittman v. Cook Paper Recycling Corp. No. WD77973 PDF 350.18kb, 27 OCT 15

Italian High Court Rules That Registries of Foreign Same-Sex Marriages Must Be Destroyed

ITALY: On 27 October 2015, Towelroad reported that the Council of State Administrative Court overturned an earlier verdict by the Lazio regional administrative tribunal (TAR) that transcriptions in civil registers of gay marriages contracted abroad could only be annulled by court order, ruling that all cities in Italy must destroy any registries of same-sex couples married abroad.

26 October 2015

Lambda Legal Sues US State Department on Behalf of Intersex Citizen Denied Passport

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 25 October 2015, Lambda Legal filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. State Department on behalf of an intersex client, Dana Zzyym, denied a U.S. passport because Dana could not accurately choose either male or female on the passport application form, and the form does not provide any other gender marker designation.
Complaint: Dana Zzyym v. John F Kerry and Sherman D Portell No. 1:15-cv-02362 PDF 25 OCT 15

3 Tips to Guide Employers on Same-Sex Benefits

UNITED STATES, National: On 23 October 2015, writer Brooke Paschall suggests three tips for guiding employers on providing same-sex benefits post-Obergefell concerning legal obligations, all employee benefits and reviewing policies.

Court sides with transgender widow in fight over estate

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 23 October 2015, the Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District of Texas affirmed its 13 February 2014 order that reversed the lower Court's summary judgment that the transgender marriage of Nikki Araguz was void, remanding the Estate of Thomas Trevino Araguz III case to the 329th District Court of Wharton County for further proceeds consistent with its opinion.
Mandate: In the Estate of Thomas Trevino Araguz III, Deceased No. 13-11-00490-CV PDF 59.37kb, 23 OCT 15

25 October 2015

Vatican Declares There Are 'No Grounds' For Same-Sex Marriage

VATICAN CITY STATE: On 24 October 2015, Catholic synod voted on a summary document which decided against overhauling the church's teaching on gay Catholics. The document said there were 'absolutely no grounds' for gay marriage, describing same-sex marriage as 'not even remotely analogous' to heterosexual marriage.

Tax Strategy

UNITED STATES, National: On 25 October 2015, George G Jones and Mark A Luscombe writing in accountingTODAY canvassed issues arising from the US Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision concerning retroactivity, estate planning, Civil unions and domestic partnerships, employer benefits and religious freedom.

A Look at State Laws Addressing LGBT Nondiscrimination

UNITED STATES, National: On 25 October 2015, in the absence of national anti-discrimination laws, the NewYorkTimes published a consise summary of laws enacted by some states to protect LGBTIQ persons.

23 October 2015

Wellington approves 'another layer' of discrimination protection

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 13 October 2015, the Wellington Village Council voted unanimously to enact Ordinance No. 2015-11 (Civil Rights), an anti-discrimination ordinance to extend state and county protections to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or other identifying factors. It prohibits discrimination of any kind, including employment and housing, effective immediately upon adoption.
Ordinance: Ordinance No. 2015-11 PDF 129.97kb

Tokyo Ward to Start Issuing Same-Sex Partnership Certificates

JAPAN, Tokyo: On 23 October 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that beginning next week, Shibua Ward would start accepting applications for largely symbolic same-sex partnership certificates. Same-sex couples must both reside in Shibuya, be at least 20 years old, unrelated, have no spouses or other same-sex partners and provide notarized documents proving their relationship. Issuance will begin 05 November. Certificates must be surrendered upon either partner leaving the ward or on dissolution of the partnership.

From today, gays caught having sex in Indonesia's Aceh province will be punished by 100 lashes

INDONESIA, Aceh: On 23 October 2015, the new Sharia law passed in 2014 making anal sex between men and 'the rubbing of body parts between women for stimulation' unlawful and punishable with up to 100 lashes of the cane came into effect in Aceh Province. Consensual sex between adult same-sex couples is not unlawful elsewhere in Indonesia.

22 October 2015

IRS Redefines 'Husband' And 'Wife' In Response to Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 23 October 2015, the Department of Treasury issued a notice of proposed rule making in response to the 'Windsor' and 'Obergefell' US Supreme Courts decisions, that redefine the way the Code dictates the marital status of taxpayers for purposes of the income, estate, gift, excise and payroll taxes. Specifically, the regulations add Proposed Regulation Section 301.7701-18, which provides that: For federal tax purposes, the terms spouse, husband, and wife mean an individual lawfully married to another individual. The term husband and wife means two individuals lawfully married to each other. A marriage of two individuals is recognized for federal tax purposes if the marriage would be recognized by any state, possession, or territory of the United States.
• Federal Register Volume 80, Number 205: Definition of Terms Relating to Marital Status 23 OCT 15

New York Governor Acts to Ban Anti-Transgender Discrimination

UNITED STATES, New York: On 22 October 2015, TheAdvocate reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo would issue new regulations to make discrimination on the basis of gender identity, transgender status, and gender dysphoria in the areas of public and private housing, employment, credit, education and public accommodations unlawful under the state's Human Rights Law. The regulations will go into effect after a 45-day comment period.

Slovenian court allows referendum on same-sex marriages

SLOVENIA: On 22 October 2015, Reuters reported that the Constitutional Court gave the go-ahead for a referendum that could overturn a law allowing same-sex marriages. The law passed in March however a group appealed demanding a referendum. A date has not yet been fixed.

20 October 2015

Orange County repeals benefits for unmarried gay couples

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 20 October 2015, Orange County Commissioners repealed the domestic partner benefits program for Orange County employees who are in unmarried gay relationships, with effect from 01 January 2016. Eleven county employees use the program, and they will continue to have medical coverage until the end of next year.
• Memorandum: BCC Consent Agenda - October 20, 2015, Domestic Partner Benefits Program PNG 191kb 07 OCT 15

18 October 2015

Utah agrees to end same-sex parent birth certificate lawsuit

UNITED STATES, Utah: On 16 October 2015, the state of Utah agreed to end a lawsuit filed by married lesbian couple Angie Roe and Kami Row, who sued to get Angie Roe's name on the birth certificate for their child L.R. The state agreed to pay their legal fees and costs in the sum of $24,302. The 22 July 2015 preliminary injunction was made permanent.
• Stipulation and Joint Motion to Enter Permanent Injunction: Angie Roe and Kamie Roe v. W David Patton and Richard Oborn No. 2:15-cv-00253-DB PDF 156.33kb, 16 OCT 15

16 October 2015

One Alabama Marriage Case Dismissed as Moot

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 13 October 2015, on the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Defendants, Judge R. David Proctor in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division dismissed without prejudice the same-sex marriage case of 'April Aaron-Brush v. Robert Bentley'.
• Order of Dismissal: April Aaron-Brush v. Robert Bentley, et al. No. 2:14-cv-01091-RDP PDF 113.73kb, 13 OCT 15

Germany grants gay couples more rights, still refuses equal marriage

GERMANY: On 15 May 2015, the Bundestag passed the so-called law for the adjustment of rights of life partners granting same-sex couples equal rights in regards to more than 20 other laws, including rental law and the code of civil procedure aiming to prevent discrimination in legislative texts. It does not grant same-sex couples full adoption rights or address the marriage equality issue.

15 October 2015

Brown signs LGBT, AIDS drug pricing bills

UNITED STATES, California: On 01 October 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 329 (Pupil instruction: Sexual health education) into law requiring sex education for students in grades seven to 12 to provide medically accurate and age-appropriate instruction on LGBT youth and families, and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and pregnancy.

On 07 October 2015, the Governor signed AB 959 (the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Disparities Reduction Act) into law, requiring collection of demographic data on gender identity and sexual orientation starting 01 July 2018.

Also, signed into law Bill AB 960 (Parentage: assisted reproduction) effective 01 January 2016, under which sperm donors will not be legally considered a parent and unmarried people using assisted reproduction would have the same parental rights as married parents.

AB 827 (Safe schools: Safe Place to Learn Act) calls for the creation of a training program to help teachers combat bullying and support LGBT youth who are coming out of the closet or being targeted by other students.

On 08 October 2015, the Governor signed AB 374 (Health care coverage: prescription drugs) into law capping the amount an individual pays out-of-pocket at $250 for a single 30-day prescription with effect from 01 January 2017.

Also, AB 865 (State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission: contracts, grants, and loans: diversity), requires recipients of California Energy Commission grants or loans to increase procurement from minority-owned business enterprises, including those run by LGBT individuals, effective 01 January 2016.

Court Denies Parental Rights In Same Sex Marriage Case

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 14 October 2015, Chief Judge Villanti (with whom Casanueva and Morris, JJ concurred) in the Florida Second District Court of Appeal overturned a Manatee County circuit judge's ruling that Elizabeth Pasik could legally pursue time-sharing with children her same sex partner Susan Russell had by artificial insemination in 2006 and 2008, Pasik herself carried two children to term, both of whom are the biological half-siblings of the children at issue. The children were raised by both women until the relationship ended in 2011. Pasik continued to play an active parenting role until 2013 when Russell refused to allow visitation with her two children.
• Opinion: Susan Russell v. Elizabeth A Pasik No. 2D14-5540 PDF 75.81kb, 14 OCT 15

Cobb approves same-sex pension benefits

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 13 October 2015, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to allow same-sex spouses of Cobb employees to receive pension benefits. Same-sex County employees whose pension benefit began before the US Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision on 26 June remain ineligible.

Girl must stay in touch with two 'fathers' after 'extraordinary' High Court case

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 14 October 2015, Mr Justice Cobb in the Family Division of the High Court ordered that it is in the best interests of a 14-year-old girl who was born as a result of donor fertilisation to have a “limited form of relationship” with her biological father and his civil partner.
• Judgment: Re A and C (Contact) (No 4) [2015] EWHC 2839 (Fam) 231kb 14 OCT 15

14 October 2015

Broward Updates and Reaffirms Its Domestic Partnership Ordinance

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 13 October 2015, the Broward County Commission updated its domestic partnership ordinance, adding new protections and ensuring that partnerships registered elsewhere will be recognized in Broward County.

French court sets EU precedent by recognising 'gender neutral' person

FRANCE: On 14 October 2015, TheTelegraph reported that a court in Tours had granted Monsieur X, a 64-year-old born with both male and female genital attributes, the right to write 'gender neutral' on official forms. The state prosecution appealed the ruling.

13 October 2015

Dutch reformed church to recognise same-sex marriages

SOUTH AFRICA: On 13 October 2015, the SouthAfrican reported that the Dutch Reformed Church recently voted by a 64% majority to recognise same-sex marriages, with individual churches choosing whether to do so.

12 October 2015

Puerto Rico relaxes school uniform rules for gay students

PUERTO RICO: On 12 May 2015, Secretary of Education Rafael Roman said new regulations mean public school students can for the first time choose to wear pants or skirts as part of their uniform regardless of their gender without being punished.

Same-Sex Parents Without Court Order

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 12 October 2015, Towelroad reported that the State of Kansas announced that it will not wait for a court order to begin processing birth certificate requests for children conceived by same-sex couples using artificial insemination. This followed a federal lawsuit filing that challenges whether Kansas is complying with the Obergefell v. Hodges US Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriages.
• Plaintiff's Index of Exhibits: Kail Marie, et al ., v. Susan Mosier, et al. No. 14-cv-2518 PDF 663.18kb, 05 OCT 15

Protections for transgender foster youth signed into law

UNITED STATES, California: On 10 October 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 731 into law with effect from 01 January 2016. SB731 ensures that all foster youth, including those who identify as transgender, are placed in appropriate homes where they feel safe and accepted. It requires caregivers tasked with placing foster youth in homes to take a young person's gender identity into consideration when making this critical decision.

Central Java, surprise gay marriage not legal

INDONESIA: On 12 October 2015, male same-sex couple Ratu Airin Karla and Dumani were reported to have openly celebrated their “marriage” at a ceremony in the village of Cluntang, province of Boyolali (Central Java), held according to local rules, with both spouses dressed in traditional Javanese wedding costume, a large number of guests and a banquet. The union was not recognized by the government, because it lacks the necessary blessing of religious authority and was not between a man and a women.

10 October 2015

Administrative judge rules against Hobby Lobby in transgender discrimination case

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 15 May 2015, Administrative Law Judge William J Borak in the Human Rights Commission issued a Recommended Liability Determination finding that Hobby Lobby Stores gender related identity discrimination against its m2f transsexual employee Meggan Sommerville in refusing to let her use the store's designated women's restroom. The state Human Rights Commission has not yet affirmed the recommendation.
Recommended Liability Determination: Meggan Sommerville v. Hobby Lobby Stores No. 13-0060C PDF 436.31kb 15 MAY 15

09 October 2015

Adoption gave gay Fox Chapel couple legal stature; now it disallows them marriage

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 08 June 2015, it was reported that Allegheny County Judge Lawrence O'Toole denied a petition to dissolve the 2012 adoption of Roland Bosee Jr. (68) by Nino Esposito (78). The men took the step to give their relationship a legal status before same-sex marriage became legal and now they cannot marry without annulling the adoption. The case is being appealed to the Superior Court.

Polish government dumps gender recognition law

POLAND: On 09 October 2015, the committees responsible for carrying out the Sejm lower house vote on the Gender Accordance Act granting more rights to trans citizens failed to produce the necessary reports and name reporting secretaries in advance, leaving the 02 October veto by President Andrzej Duda unchallenged.

08 October 2015

State to issue birth certificates to 2 same-sex couples

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 08 October 2015, Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Sara Belfry was reported to have told The Lawrence Journal-World that the department decided to issue birth certificates to two same-sex couples (Casey and Jessica Smith and Christa Gonser and Carrie Hunt) after reviewing applicable law and existing court orders and will continue to review similar applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysian Court Reverses Transgender Legal Victory

MALAYASIA: On 08 October 2015, the 5-judge Federal Court overturned a ruling by the Court of Appeals that found a provision of the Sharia code of the state of Negeri Sembilan used to arrest transgender women was unconstitutional. The decision was based on procedural grounds, the Court ruling that the case should have been brought in the Federal Court as it concerned the constitution.

Georgia: In Formality, Ban on Gay Marriage Is Struck

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 07 October 2015, Judge William S Duffey in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled that the US Supreme Court opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges prohibits the enforcement of the Georgia Constitution excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage, ordering judgment in favour of the Plaintiff same-sex couples in the Christopher Inniss, et al., v. Deborah Aderhold case.
• Order: Inniss et al v. Aderhold et al No. 1:14-cv-01180 PDF 596.60kb 07 OCT 15

07 October 2015

What the Bible Really Teaches About Marriage Equality

UNITED STATES: On 08 October 2015, The Huffington Post published an article by Obery M Hendricks revisiting the oft quoted passages of the Bible alleged to condemn homosexuality, concluding that there can be no biblical basis for condemning marriage equality as sinful.

What you need to know about estate planning opportunities for same-sex couples (in Ohio)

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 07 October 2015, lawyer Marilyn Maag outlined the opportunity same-sex couples have to provide for each other financially, in ways that were not available to them previously.

California Governor Signs Bill Ensuring Equal Benefits for Transgender Employees

UNITED STATES, California: On 07 October 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 703, that prohibits state agencies from entering into a contract in the amount of $100,000 or more with companies that fail to offer transgender employees the same health care coverage and benefits they provide all other workers. SB 703 takes effect on 01 January 2016.

06 October 2015

Judge recognizes 1st common-law same-sex marriage in Texas

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 05 October 2015, in what is believed to be the first judicially recognized common-law same-sex marriage, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman signed a judgment acknowledging the eight-year relationship between Sonemaly Phrasavath and her deceased partner Stella Powell in a probate dispute over Powell's estate.

Transgender name change service comes to Detroit

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 06 October 2015, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced a legal name change service in Detroit for transgender people allowing those who lack funds and fear discrimination to get pro bono help from a lawyer with many or all of the filing fees waived.

Benefits for Children of Same-Sex Domestic Partners

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 05 October 2015, the US Office of Personnel Management issued a Benefits Administration Letter notifying that agencies and/or retirement systems should no longer add children of same-sex domestic partners to FEHB enrollments as no new children are eligible. Stepchildren that are already covered under an enrollment for plan year 2015, based on a domestic partner certification, remain eligible family members only until the end of the plan year.
Benefits Administration Letter: Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) Benefits for Children of Same-Sex Domestic Partners After Obergefell v. Hodges No. 15-207 PDF 176.23kb 05 OCT 15

Carmel, Indiana narrowly passes LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 05 October 2015, the Carmel City Council narrowly passed 4-3 Ordinance D-2224-15 banning discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations, education, employment, contracting or entry into a place of business. There are religious and other exemptions.

Gay couple lose court fight for equal pension rights

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 06 October 2015, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of John Walker, who retired from Innospec on 31 March 2003, lived with his partner and now husband from September 2003 and registered their civil partnership on 23 January 2006. The Court ruled that his pension accrued before civil partnerships were recognised in law on 05 December 2005 and therefore, were Mr Walker to die, the Innospec pension fund was not obliged to pay his surviving partner the full opposite-sex entitlement of about £41,000 a year and would only pay about 1% of that amount, as the legislation was not retroactive.
• Judgment: Dermond O'Brien and Ministry of Justice v. Mr John P D Walker and Innospec & Ors [2015] EWCA Civ 1000 RTF 175kb 06 OCT 15

Same-sex couples will be able to adopt under new law introduced in Victorian Parliament

AUSTRALIA, Victoria: On 06 October 215, the Andrews Labor Government introduced the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015 to the lower house Legislative Assembly. If passed into law, the Bill would substitute “2 persons” for the current 'a man and a woman' and so enable same-sex couples in a registered domestic relationship for not less than two years to apply for an adoption order. Adoption providers won't be able to use religious exemptions to discriminate against same-sex couples.
• Bill: Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015 PDF 147.25kb, 07 OCT 15

05 October 2015

Appeal Over Transgender Inmate's Surgery Ends

UNITED STATES, California: On 05 October 2015, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed as moot an appeal of a federal judge's order requiring California prison officials to provide sex reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, since she was recently released.
Opinion: Michelle-Lael B Norsworthy v. Jeffrey Beard, et al. No. 15-15712 PDF 72.46kb 05 OCT 15

04 October 2015

Fijian-Indian lesbian wins deportation fight

NEW ZEALAND: On 21 April 2015, Immigration and Protection Tribunal Member V J Shaw granted appellant Sangeeta Devi a work visa finding that the appellant's relationship with her New Zealand-resident partner (who she married 23 April 2014) the difficulties the couple would experience living openly as a gay couple in Fiji and the partner's commitment to caring for her teenage daughter amount to exceptional humanitarian circumstances and her deportation would be unjust and unduly harsh.
• Deportation (Non-Resident) Decision: DEVI, Sangeeta No. 501973 PDF 21 APR 15

03 October 2015

Alabama judges use segregation-era law to avoid gay marriage

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 03 October 2015, Alabama judges were reported to be avoiding issuing marriage licenses by relying upon a 1961 mixed-marriage, racial segregation law (Alabama Code Section 30-1-9) stipulating that “Marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties”. The discretionary word 'may' being relied upon/

Polish President vetoes Gender Accordance laws

POLAND: On 02 October 2015, President Andrzej Duda on Friday vetoed the Gender Accordance Act which was approved by the Polish Parliament (Sejm) 252-158 (11 abstentions) on 23 July. The act will now returns to the parliament where the veto can only be rejected with 3/5 of votes.

Shibuya Ward to begin accepting applications for 'same-sex partnership certificates

JAPAN, Tokyo: On 02 October 2015, details of Shibuya ward's 'partnership certificates' were presented to the assembly's general affairs committee. To be eligible, couples must be aged 20 or older, living in the ward and present two types of notarial deeds to show they are each other's guardians and in a trusting relationship. It will take around a week to issue a certificate, for a nominal fee of ¥300 ($2.50). Notorial deeds could cost about ¥80,000 ($665.00) so, gay couples who cannot be each other's guardian for the time being will be allowed to submit only one type of notarial deed. If a relationship ends, the certificate must be returned to the ward.

02 October 2015

Jersey City expands transgender coverage

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 22 September 2015, Mayor Steve Fulop announced that Jersey City is expanding the health care it offers city workers to include coverage for transgender medical care and related procedures, including gender reassignment surgery.

Obergefell Uncertainty re: Same Sex Spousal Benefits

UNITED STATES: On 02 October 2015, writers Jeremy T Coffey and William B Diff, drew attention to the question of retroactive application of the law post the US Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges decision and its application to other areas of the law other than marriage, for example employee health benefits.

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