GayLawNews™

August 2016

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30 August 2016

New York high court broadens definition of parent in landmark ruling

UNITED STATES, New York: On 30 August 2016, the New York Court of Appeals held that a person need not have a biological or adoptive relationship with a child to be considered a parent, giving such individuals legal standing to seek custody or visitation rights. The Court said a person can claim parenthood by presenting ''clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together''.
• Opinion: In the Matter of Brook SB v. Elizabeth A and In the Matter of Estrellita A v. Jennifer LD Nos. 92, 92 PDF 30 AUG 16

28 August 2016

New Hampshire Supreme Court says divorce courts should consider premarital cohabitation

UNITED STATES, New Hampshire: On 19 August 2016, the Supreme Court in the ''In the Matter of Deborah Munson and Coralee Beal'' divorce case held that the court may consider premarital cohabitation applies to all divorce proceedings finding that there was no reason why (state law) RSA 458:16-a, II(o), which broadly permits the trial court to consider 'any other factor that (it) deems relevant', would not permit the court to consider premarital cohabitation. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings.
• Opinion: In the Matter of Deborah Munson and Coralee Beal No. 2015-0253 PDF 106.67kb 19 AUG 16

27 August 2016

Separate ID cards to be issued for transgenders

INDIA, Jaipur: On 26 August 2016, the first meeting in Jaipur of a newly constituted board for transgender welfare, headed by minister for social justice and empowerment Arun Chaturvedu, decided that separate identity cards would be issued to members of transgender community in the state. For the purpose, a committee will be constituted in each district headed by the collector.

26 August 2016

Gay Caribbean man granted refugee status after three year fight

CANADA, Federal: On 27 July 2016, after a 3-year fight and six proceedings including two in the Federal Court, Immigration and Refugee Board Member Michele Pettinella granted Rolston Ryan from St Kitts and Nevis refugee status, stating unequivocally that St Kitts and Nevis is unwilling to safeguard its LGBT citizens, saying ''The state criminalizes homosexual activity. This is reflective of a state that is homophobic''.
HB2 blocked in part by US judge before trial

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 26 August 2016, US District Judge Thomas D Schroeder granted in part an application for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of Part 1 of HB2 (Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, 2016) against the plaintiffs until further order. HB2 requires people in schools, universities and other government facilities to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates.
• Memorandum, Order and Preliminary Injunction: Joaquin Carcano, et. at. v. Patrick McCrory and Phil Berger No. 1:16cv236 PDF 288.46kb 26 AUG 16

23 August 2016

High Court ruling marks an important victory for the trans community in Malaysia

MALAYSIA: On 18 July 2016, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered that the National Registration Department (NRD) update a trans man's information on his identity card to better reflect his gender identity and chosen name.
• Grounds for Judgment: Tan v. Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara 24NCVC-1306-08/2015 PDF 2.10MB 18 JUL 16
Sterilization in exchange for a passport: transgender proved the illegality of the procedure in the court of Ukraine

UKRAINE: On 09 August 2016, a Court in Ukraine was reported to have obliged the Commission on legal gender recognition to allow two trans persons to see their passports and all other documents changed without undergoing full sterilization.
Source (in Russian): Sterilization in exchange for a passport: transgender proved the illegality of the procedure in the court of Ukraine 09 AUG 16

22 August 2016

Judge won't toss same-sex suit against Paramus Catholic

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 22 August 2016, Judge Lisa Perez Friscia in the Superior Court denied the motion of the defendants Paramas Catholic High School and others seeking summary judgment in the claim alleging wrongful termination of employment filed by Kathryn Drumgoole on the grounds of violating the code of ethics by entering a same-sex marriage.
• Amended Order: Kathryn Drumgoole v. Paramus Catholic High School, et. al. BER-L-3394-16 PDF 976.91kb 22 AUG 16
Assembly passes equal rights ordinance

UNITED STATES, Alaska: On 22 August 2016, the City and Borough Assembly of Juneau passed Ordinance 2016-23(d) making discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and other attributes unlawful. The ordinance is effective 30 days after its adoption.
US judge blocks transgender bathroom ruling

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 21 August 2016, US District Judge Reed O'Connor granted an application for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the Federal Government's guidelines instructing public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and other private facilities of their choice and from initiating, continuing, or concluding any investigation based on the interpretation that the definition of sex includes gender identity in Title IX’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex.
• Preliminary Injunction Order: State of Texas et al., v. United States of America No. 7:16-cv-0054-O PDF 531.90 21 AUG 16

21 August 2016

Quebec Superior Court rules complaint from black, lesbian woman should be reviewed

CANADA, Quebec: On 08 August 2016, Judge Chantal Masse in the Superior Court ordered the Council of Administrative Justice to take a second look at the discrimination complaint of black, lesbian and anglophone woman Tomee Sojourner on the grounds that Régie du logement commissioner Luce De Palma at the Rental Board repreatedly referred to her as ''Mister'' and addressed the Opposing Party, Mr. Paliotti, in French with no translation provided.
• Judgment (in French): Tomee Sojourner v. Conseil de la Justice Administrative et al 2016 QCCS 3743 HTML Judgment (Google translate English) 08 AUG 16

18 August 2016

Unmarried gay woman has no right to ex’s biz, court rules

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 18 August 2016, Illinois Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that Chicago woman Eileen M. Brewer has no right to a part of the medical practice owned by Jane E Blumenthal her domestic partner of 26 years. The parties split in 2008. The Court found that the couple never had a legal marriage and that common-law marriages are not recognized in Illinois.
• Opinion: Jane E Blumenthal v. Eileen M Brewer No. 118781 PDF 257.01 18 AUG 16
Federal Management Regulation; Nondiscrimination Clarification in the Federal Workplace

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 18 August 2016, the US General Services Administration issued a bulletin to clarify that the nondiscrimination requirement under various Federal civil rights laws and regulations includes gender identity as a prohibited basis of discrimination under the existing prohibition of sex discrimination for any facility under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of GSA.
• GSA Bulletin 2016-B1 Federal Management Regulation; Nondiscrimination Clarification in the Federal Workplace 08 AUG 16 PDF 195.74kb 18 AUG 16
US court denies asylum for bisexual Jamaican felon

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 17 August 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied 2-1 the petition of convicted Jamaican felon Ray Fuller seeking a review of the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals that found the testimony of Fuller - asserting he was bisexual and would face persecution if forced to return to his home country - wasn't credible.
• Opinion: Ray Fuller v. Loretta E Lynch No. 15-3487 PDF 175.24kb 17 AUG 16
US judge says funeral home had religious right to fire transgender worker

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 18 August 2016, US District Judge Sean Cox dismissed a 2014 lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that said RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes Inc unlawfully fired funeral director Aimee Stephens when she told her bosses she would transition from male to female. Notwithstanding that the funeral home was not religiously affiliated, served all denominations and is open to anyone in the public, the court ruling means that owner Thomas Rost's professed individual religious beliefs enable him to both violate civil rights laws and such civil rights laws cannot be enforced.
• Opinion and Order: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes Inc No. 14-13710 PDF 164.80kb 18 AUG 16

16 August 2016

Singapore passes contempt of court law amid much controversy

SINGAPORE: On 15 July 2016, the Parliament passed the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill, Section 3 of which details what constitutes contempt of court. Publishing material deemed to interfere with ongoing court proceedings could be considered contempt. This could include posting comments publicly on social media.
• Bill: Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill No. 23/2016 PDF 231.87kb 11 JUL 16

15 August 2016

Gibraltar Bill to allow same sex marriage

GIBRALTER: On 15 August 2016, the Government published the Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 to amend the principal act to allow for civil marriage of same sex couples. It is expected that the Bill itself will be debated and voted on in six weeks time.
• Bill: Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 No. 2016B20 PDF 41.36kb 15 AUG 16

14 August 2016

''All Five Fingers Are Not the Same''

SRI LANKA: On 14 August 2016, the Human Rights Watch published a report on the abuse of LGBTI human rights in Sri Lanka focussing primarily on abuses experienced by transgender people - including arbitrary detention, mistreatment, and discrimination accessing health care, employment and housing - and also includes examples of discrimination and abuse experienced by individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, many of which are related to a lack of acceptance of gender non-conformity.
• Report: All Five Fingers Are Not the Same: Discrimination on Grounds of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Sri Lanka PDF 2.75MB 08 AUG 16

12 August 2016

Mississippi Gay Marriage Law Remains Blocked During Appeal

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 12 August 2016, the US Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit denied the motion of Governor Phil Bryant seeking a stay of the injunction against HB 1523, the ''Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act'' that would allow clerks to cite religious objections to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Court also denied the motion seeking an expedited appeal however it granted a consolidation of cases.
• Order: Rims Barber, et al. v. Phil Bryant No. 16-60477 PDF 133.46 12 AUG 16

11 August 2016

Cuthbert & Lienemann secures $3.5M Victory

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 29 July 2016, Steele County District Court Judge Joseph A Bueltel issued what may be the largest discrimination judgment to any single plaintiff in Minnesota history. The Court ordered the Defendants to pay Habberstad back pay, future pay and emotional anguish damages totalling more than $3,500,000, along with attorney fees to be determined, and ordered civil penalties to be paid to the State of Minnesota.
Nigerian man loses High Court appeal on persecution grounds

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 11 August 2016, it was reported that Ms Justice Carmel Stewart in the High Court refused the application for judicial review of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal decision denying a Nigerian man in his 30s asylum. The Court found the man not to be credible as to his claims of persecution by Islamist extremists in his home country because he is a homosexual and the allegation that his house was set on fire in which his partner died.

10 August 2016

Commission creates domestic partner registry

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 08 August 2016, the Osceola County commissioners approved the creation of a Domestic Partnership Registry enabling two unmarried unrelated adult registrants aged at least 18 to verify they are in a relationship residing in the same household, giving them the same rights to make emergency life decisions at places like the hospital, jail or funeral home. Any unmarried couples will be able to sign up for it in about 90 days, once the Clerk's Office sets fees if they're required. Nothing in the ordinance recognizes a domestic partnership as a marriage.
Siberian court orders company to compensate gay woman for job rejection

RUSSIA, Novosibirskaya: On 10 August 2016, it was reported that the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Novosibirsk had ruled that the refusal of private wood trading company Sib-Alliance to hire gay woman Anna Balash as a sales manager was unlawful and ordered that 1,000 rubles (US$15) compensation be paid in moral damages.
Stumped by transgender pension case, British top court seeks EU help

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 10 August 2016, the Supreme Court was divided as to whether M2F transgender MB was entitled to a pension as a woman at age 60. MB was denied the penion because she did not have a full gender recognition certificate, an official document she could not obtain because she remained married to a woman, same-sex marriage not being lawful at the time. The Court has referred the question to the European Court of Justice as to whether the acquired gender of a married transsexual person not being recognised for the purpose of determining the qualifying age for a state pension was compatible with Directive 79/7/EEC.
• Judgment: MB v. Department for Work and Pensions [2016] UKSC 53 PDF 184.78kb 10 AUG 16
Belize's top court strikes down sodomy law

BELIZE: On 10 August 2016, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin issued his decision in the case against Section 53 of Belize's Criminal Code, ruling that the country's colonial-era sodomy law is unconstitutional.
• Judgment: Caleb Orozco v. The Attorney General of Belize No. 668 of 2010 PDF 2.27MB 10 AUG 16

09 August 2016

Texas Court Disallows Official Gender Change

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 02 August 2016, 14th Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the petition of F2M transgender Alex Winston Hunter, formerly known as Aidyn Rocher requesting a gender designation change. The 308th District Court had granted him a change of name but denied the gender designation change.
• Memorandum Opinion: In Re: Aidyn Rocher No. 14-15-00462-CV PDF 116.19kb 02 AUG 16
Court: Gay adoption of child born through surrogacy possible without paternity test

ISRAEL: On 07 August 2016, the Tel Aviv Family Court reportedly ruled that children born through surrogacy abroad can be adopted by homosexual couples without a paternity test, about which the High Court has been vague.
Australian Family Court allows 15-year-old girl to have breasts removed as part of gender reassignment journey

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 29 July 2016, Judge Judith Rees found that 15-year-old F2M transgender Quinn was competent and understood the procedural risks and irreversability of a double mastectomy to precede the taking testosterone hormones to initiate her journey to becoming a boy. The teen was born female, but since age four, felt like a boy.
• Judgment: Re: Quinn [2016] FamCA 617 PDF 847.33kb 29 JUL 16

08 August 2016

Transgenders face inheritance issues after SRS

SAUDI ARABIA: On 08 July 2016, it was reported that Judge Abdulaziz Al-Shberma in the General Court in Makkah said that in determining the eligibility of transgender people to legally inherit depended upon whether male or female characteristics concealing the other, in which case the inheritance is according to the newly assigned sex but if the features are outwardly (the same) it does not result in any change in the legal inheritance entitlement, irrespective of whether the transformation process happened before the death of the testator or afterward.

05 August 2016

9th Circuit Court upholds dismissal of Marriage Equality Act challenge

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 04 August 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court's judgment dismissing C. Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam's claim because his moral and cultural objections to same-sex marriages are generalized grievances and are insufficient to confer Article III standing.
• Memorandum: C Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam v. Neil Abercrombie No. 14-15377 PDF 58.38kb 04 AUG 16
Judge dismisses Cicero discrimination suit

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 01 August 2016, following the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the Kimberly Hively (Indiana) case, Judge Milton I Shadur in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed the claim of Lubomir Matavka alleging he was subjected to repeated incidents of harassment at J Sterling Morton High School because he was perceived by co-workers as gay. Employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is still not a recognized protected category in the eyes of the federal government.
Despite court ruling, EEOC to continue taking anti-gay bias claims

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 05 August 2016, Justine Lisser, a spokesperson for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said the agency will ''continue to investigate cases despite the adverse decision'' of the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision on 28 July in the Kimberley Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana) case, ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers gender non-conformity but not sexual orientation.

04 August 2016

Constitutional Court upholds military's ban on sodomy

REPUBLIC OF (SOUTH) KOREA: On 28 July 2016, the Constitutional Court reportedly affirmed 5-4 the constitutionality of Article 92-5 of the old Military Criminal Act (now 92-6) punishing homosexual acts between soldiers. The law prescribes up to two years in prison for soldiers, civilian military employees, and military cadets who ''commits sodomy or other disgraceful conduct''.
German high court rejects 'intersex' as third gender category

GERMANY: On 22 June 2016, the German High Court (Der Bundesgerichtshof) ruled that Personal Status Law does not allow registration of ''inter'' or ''divers'' as an indication of the gender of intersex in the birth register, and saw no reason to refer the matter to the Federal Constitutional Court.
• Decision (in German): In the Civil Status Proceedings No. XII ZB 52/15 PDF 126.23kb 22 JUN 16

03 August 2016

Iran hangs teenage student in first child offender execution of the year

IRAN: On 03 August 2016, it was reported that Hassan Afshar was hanged in Arak's Prison in Markazi Province on 18 July, after being convicted of ''lavat-e be onf'' (forced male-to-male anal intercourse) in early 2015. Hassan Afshar was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested and he maintained that the sexual acts were consensual.
Top Michigan court rejects appeals in same-sex custody cases

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 02 August 2016, the State Supreme Court denied the applications for leave to appeal in two cases where Deanna Mabry and Rola Kolailat sought parental rights, arguing that as gay marriage is now legal, they should get the associated benefits retroactively - even if relationships with their partners are over. The Court ruled 5-2 that they have no rights under state law because they're not the biological mothers and the children weren't born during a marriage.
• Order: Deanna D Mabry v. Johanna Suzanne-Graine Mabry No. 153082 PDF 65.00kb 02 AUG 15
• Order: Rola Kolailat v. Lindsey McKennett No. 153075 PDF 45.53kb 02 AUG 15
US Supreme Court blocks transgender toilet ruling

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 03 August 2016, the US Supreme Court voted 5-3 to temporarily stay the order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia permitting the plaintiff, G.G., to use the boys' restroom at Gloucester High School.
• Order: Gloucester County School Board v. GG No. 16A52 PDF 41.45kb 03 AUG 16

02 August 2016

City Council passes ban on gay conversion therapy in Seattle

UNITED STATES, Washington: On 02 August 2016, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved bill CB 118746 that will make unlawful the provision of widely discredited sexual orientation and gender identity reparative or conversion therapy to a minor. A first offence will carry a fine of $500 and $1,000 for every subsequent offences. The Ordinance comes into effect on 02 October 2016
• Council Bill No. CB118746: Ordinance 125100 No. 16A52 PDF 1.29MB 03 AUG 16
Gay man wins first round in common-law marriage dispute

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 07 July 2016, the DC Court of Appeals reversed the Superior Court judgment dismissing the petition of James Spellman seeking a common-law marriage declaration between him and Michael Kelly (deceased), his partner of 17 years, on grounds that the Superior Court didn't have personal jurisdiction over Kelly’s estate and relatives in Delaware. The Superior Court, must now make a determination on the merits of whether a common-law marriage existed between Spellman and Kelly. A finding in favour of Spellmen may entitle him to some if not all of Kelly's assets as Kelly's legal spouse.
• Judgment: James David Spellamn v. Joseph Boland, Personal Representative of the Estate of Michael Joseph Kelly No. 15-FM-429 PDF 321.01kb 07 JUL 16
South Australia set to remove discrimination against LGBTI people

AUSTRALIA, South Australia: On 26 July 2016, the Parliament passed the Statutes Amendment (Gender Identity and Equity) Bill 2016. When assented to the Bill changes the language used in South Australian law to ensure that gender identities, including transgender and intersex, are captured in state legislation and also to remove language in legislation that has the potential to discriminate against people based on their relationship status.

01 August 2016

Transsexuals in the Seine may wear the uniform they want (in Spanish)

COLOMBIA: On 01 August 2016, it was reported that the Constitutional Court ordered the Seine in Barranquilla to respect the sexual identity of their students, allowing F2M transgender student Erika Gómez Comas to wear the uniform he wants to use.
Denmark gives lesbian refugee last-minute reprieve

DENMARK: On 01 August 2016, the Danish Refugee Appeals Board (Flygtningenævnet) gave a last-minute reprieve to a Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker saying it would review her case, a process her lawyer Jytte Lindgaard said would take at least three months. Meanwhile, there are still two rejected people in Ellebæk jail awaiting deportation.

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