December 2016

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31 December 2016

Judge blocks rule against anti-trans health care discrimination

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 31 December 2016, US District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Obama administration from enforcing the regulation enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to prohibit discrimination in health care against transgender people and women who have had abortions.
• Order: Franciscan Alliance Inc. et al v. Sylvia Burwell and United States Department of Health and Human Services No. 7:16-cv-00108-O PDF 509.12kb 31 DEC 16

29 December 2016

Appeal Court rules Durham police did not breach Charter rights of Kris Gowdy, accused in child luring case

CANADA, Ontario: On 29 December 2016, JJA David Watt, GJ Epstein and M Tulloch in the Court of Appeal overturned Justice M S Block's 07 July 2014 finding that Durham police breached the Charter rights of a suspected sex offender Kris Allan Gowdy when they publicly released information about his HIV status. The Court struck down a sentence of house arrest given Kris Gowdy for his conviction on a charge of child luring and replaced it with one of a year in jail. But that sentence was stayed, as Gowdy had already completed his original sentence.
• Judgment: R. v. Gowdy 2016 ONCA 989 PDF 258.50kb 29 DEC 16
Family Court allows teen, 15, to have breasts removed 'to be a boy'

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 13 December 2016, Judge William Johnston found 15-year-old F2M transgender Lincoln was mature enough and competent to consent to having both breasts removed to make him (formerly her) look and feel more like a boy.
• Judgment: Lincoln (No 2) [2016] FamCA 1071 HTML 523.13kb 13 DEC 16
Nation's First Known Intersex Birth Certificate Issued in NYC

UNITED STATES, New York: On 27 December 2016, 55-year-old Sara Kelly Keenan was born intersex, with male genes, female genitalia and mixed internal reproductive organs, reportedlly received what is believed to be the first birth certificate ever issued in the United States that reads ''intersex'' in the gender field, instead of ''male'' or ''female''.
Shawnee County OKs $48K settlement in discrimination lawsuit; Lawrence woman among plaintiffs

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 29 December 2016, Shawnee County commissioners agreed (3-0) to pay a $48,000 settlement to two women who claimed they were wrongfully terminated from their jobs in the prosecutor's office because of racial and gender discrimination. The ''Krystal L Boxum-Debolt and Lisa Anne Moore v. Chadwick J Taylor, et al.'' case against the District Attorney will proceed in January 2017.

28 December 2016

Same-sex divorce: Pennsylvania court voids ruling blocking women from ending out-of-state civil union

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 28 December 2016, Superior Court Judges Ford Elliot, Ott and Fitzferald ruled that the Vermont civil union between Freyda Neyman and Florence Buckley was the ''functional equivalent'' of marriages sanctioned in the State, were subject the divorce law and could be dissolved. The case was remanded to Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Family Court Division for further proceedings.
• Opinion: Freyda Neyman v. Florence Buckley No. 2203 EDA 2015 PDF 149.81kb 28 DEC 16

26 December 2016

Taipei begins issuance of same-sex partnership certificates

TAIWAN: On 26 December 2016, the Taipei City Government was reported to have begun to issue newly implemented same-sex partnership certificates that allow same-sex couples to apply for family care leave and sign surgical or medical treatment consent forms for each other.
Same-sex marriage passes first hurdle in Taiwanese Legislature

TAIWAN: On 26 December 2016, a Parliamentary Committee (Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee) reportedly passed amendments to include same-sex marriage in the Civil Code and regulate their rights and duties. The passage of the amendments is the first step in legalising same-sex marriage. Article 972 will add the paragraph stating ''an agreement to marry between people of the same-sex shall be made by two parties involved''.

25 December 2016

State court rules Fifth Amendment rights don't apply to iPhone passcodes

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 07 December 2016, Judge Anthony Black in the State Second District Court of Appeal ruled that there is no Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination protecting iPhone passwords in the circumstances of the case. Aaron Stahl was charged with video voyeurism for allegedly extending his arm, holding an illuminated cellphone under a woman's skirt.
Opinion: State of Florida v. Aaron Stahl No. 2D14-4283 PDF 174.54kb 07 DEC 16

23 December 2016

Guatemala Introduces Legislation to Legalize Gay Marriage

GUATEMALA: On 23 December 2016, it was reported that congressmen of various political parties are preparing an initiative that seeks to reform the Civil Code to legalize same-sex marriage. Legislator Sandra Morán, head of the Convergence Block, acknowledged the controversial nature of the issue and conceded that it would be strongly criticized by the conservative sector of Guatemalan society.
District of Columbia Council passes bill to end 25-year ban on surrogacy agreements

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 20 December 2016, the District of Columbia Council passed 8-0 Bill B21-0016 that could end the District's 25-year ban on surrogacy agreements. The pending legislation establishes parental rights and procedures; requires surrogates to be 21 years old and already have a child. The bill now goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser for her consideration and if signed still could still face congressional review for 60 legislative days. Current law, bans and criminalizes surrogacy agreements. Violators could face up to a year in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

22 December 2016

'Gay cake' case: Supreme Court bid rejected

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 22 December 2016, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held that Attorney General John Larkin QC's legal bid to refer the Gareth Lee v. Colin McArthur, Karen McArthur and Ashers Baking Company Limited case to the Supreme Court came too late. Lawyers for the bakery were formally refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, though the McArthur family can now petition directly for a hearing in London.

21 December 2016

A Unanimous Vote Bans Conversion Therapy in Lake Worth

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 13 December 2016, the Lake Worth City Commission reportedly vote 5-0 to ban the practice of conversion therapy on children throughout the city.
Pennsylvania court ruling paves way for gay Fox Chapel couple to marry

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 21 December 2016, a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that in the 2012 adoption by Nino Esposito, 79, of his partner Roland Bosee Jr, 69, ''under the circumstances of this case, Pennsylvania law permits an unopposed annulment or revocation of an adult adoption''. The dissolving or annulling of the adoption will now enable the partners to marry.
• Opinion: In Re: Adoption of R.A.B. Jr. No. 1070 WDA 2015 PDF 121.01kb 21 DEC 16

20 December 2016

Name Change Victory for Transgender Man in New York

UNITED STATES, New York: On 20 December 2016, it was reported that a state appeals court had granted a legal name change for Ben Stanford, reversing a lower court decision that initially denied his name change petition because he declined to share ''medical evidence'' of his female to male gender transition.
Venezuelan Supreme Court Upholds Rights of Same-Sex Families in Landmark Ruling

VENEZUELA: On 15 December 2016, the Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled that ''same-sex couples can be heads of families, and as such, the state will provide protection to the family without distinction regarding its conformation, including to the children and adolescents''. The ruling enables Migdely Miranda to register her now deceased partner Giniveth Soto's child had by way of in vitro fertilization ''with the last names of both mothers in the civil registry, with Venezuelan nationality''.
• Judgment (in Spanish): Exp. 16-0357 HTML 15 DEC 16

19 December 2016

Trans teen wins payout after authorities told estranged parents of his identity

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 04 November 2016, Mr Justice Keenan upheld the award of £4,750 damages to P, a 17-year-old f2m transgender estranged from his adoptive parents. P's privacy order was breached when a local authority employee disclosed personal information about P, including his forename and transgender status, to third parties who are friends of P's adoptive parents resulting in P's mental health being very severely compromised.
Judgment: P v. A Local Authority [2016] EWHC 2779 (Fam) HTML 04 NOV 16
Judgment: PD v. SD, JD, X County Council [2014] EWHC 4013 (Fam) HTML 26 AUG 16

16 December 2016

Firing Clerk Who Refused To Process Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Did Not Violate Title VII

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 15 December 2016, US District Court Judge Richard L Young ruled that Harrison County Clerk Sally Whitis did not violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and discriminate against Linda G Summers when she fired her for refusing, on religious grounds, to process marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
• Entry on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment (Registration): Linda G Summers v. Sally Whitis and Harrison County 4:15-cv-00093-RLY-DML PDF 224.23kb 15 DEC 16
High Court reserves judgment on same-sex spouse benefits

HONG KONG: On 16 December 2016, the High Court was reported to have reserved judgment in the judicial review of the case of Leung Chun-kwong, whose NZ partner Scott Paul Adams, who he married in New Zealand, was denied medical and dental services. He also complained he can't enjoy the same tax incentives as married heterosexual couples.
Dutch MPs vote to keep ban on hate speech

NETHERLANDS: On 15 December 2016, a majority of MPs reportedly rejected a proposal to scrap the ban on group defamation, hate speech and discrimination from Article 137C (Group insult) and 137D (incitement to hatred and discrimination) of the Criminal Code.
Transgender Ohio child may continue to use girl's restroom: appeals court

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 16 December 2016, the US Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit ruled 2-1 that an 11-year-old m2f identifying transgender Ohio child must be allowed to continue to use the girls' restroom while the Highland Local School District appeals a court ruling in her favor, declining the motion for a stay of injunction.
Order: Board of Education of Highland School v. Jane Doe No. 16-4117 PDF 112.42kb 15 DEC 16

15 December 2016

Chad criminalises homosexuality by vote of 111 to 1

CHAD: On 15 December 2016, it was reported that MPs voted 111 to 1 with 4 abstentions to pass the new penal code under which homosexuality is a misdemeanor offence crime for which the maximum punishment is now a fine. Previously it was proposed to make gay sex a felony, punishable by 15 to 20 years in prison.

14 December 2016

Pittsburgh becomes first city in Pennsylvania to ban conversion therapy

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 14 December 2016, it was reported that the City of Pittsburgh passed 9-0 an ordinance that will ban conversion (reparative) therapy for anyone under the age of 18. Offenders can be fined up to $300 for each offense and can be sentenced up to 30 days in prison for failure to pay the fine. The move makes the city the first in the state of Pennsylvania to do so. Mayor Bill Peduto said he will sign the legislation.
Louisiana judge throws out executive order to protect LGBT rights

UNITED STATES, Louisiana: On 14 December 2016, Judge Todd W Hernandez, of the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rogue Parish, ruled the executive order JBE16-11 of Governor John Bel Edwards that protected state employees against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age was ultra vires (beyond one's legal power) and unlawful.
• Ruling on Plaintiff's Petition: The Louisiana Department of Justice et al v. John Bel Edward, et al No. 652,283 PDF 491.01kb 14 DEC 16

13 December 2016

Gay rights group slams judge over ‘antiquated views’ in Route 129 crash

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: In November 2016, Judge William Anklowitz in the Superior Court of New Jersey dismissed same-sex partner Valaria Benning from a civil suit claiming damages for emotional distress suffered as a result of the death of her unmarried partner I'Asia Moreland's biological child I’Maya Moreland in a road traffic accident, ruling she was not in the ''intimate, familial relationship'' required to make a claim. The decision to grant summary judgment is on appeal.

12 December 2016

Rhode Island Couple's Court Win Create Alternative Path to Family Security

UNITED STATES, Rhode Island: On 26 October 2016, Chief Judge Michael B Forte of the Rhode Island Family Court granted a motion seeking a ''declaration of parentage'' and declared that Cara Millett is a de facto and psychological parent of her partner Bryce Helie's child and also ordered that Cara Millett's name be added to the child Meyer's birth certificate. Partner Cara Millett had their first daughter Greyson in August 2010 using artificial insemination with an anonymous sperm donor and Bryce Helie formally adopted her. The same donor was used to conceive daughter Meyer, born June 2013. The declaration of parentage eliminated the need for formal adoption procedures.
• Decision: In re Adoption Petition of (redacted) No. 2015-0877-1 PDF 26 OCT 16

11 December 2016

Ugandan transgender man secures refugee status in Edmonton

CANADA, Federal: On 11 December 2016, it was reported that Adebayo Katiiti a 22-year-old Ugandan f2m transgender man qualified for refugee status in Edmonton. Katiiti arrived in August to compete at the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships but in the midst of the competition, started to receive threatening text messages from his own family. He then decided to seek asylum in Canada.
Kyrgyz Voters Back Amendments On Same-Sex Marriage, Presidential Power

KYRGYZSTAN: On 11 December 2016, the Kyrgyzstan Central Election Commission reportedly said of the 42 per cent of eligible voters who cast ballots, 80 percent of voters backed amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and shift some presidential powers to the prime minister.

10 December 2016

Amnesty for gay men convicted under outdated laws extended to Northern Ireland

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 07 December 2016, the House of Lords passed an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16 to 2016-17 that will if passed into law, posthumously pardon men over 17 years of age convicted of consensual sexual offences and allowing those still living to apply for convictions to be overturned.
Gay Eritrean granted asylum in Israel

ISRAEL: On 10 December 2016, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority (PIA) reportedly recently granted asylum to a 26-year-old gay Eritrean man on the grounds that his returning to his country would endanger his life due to his sexual orientation. He was granted a renewable temporary residence, which gives him the right to work and access to social and health benefits.

09 December 2016

Cherokee AG Opinion: Tribe Should Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

UNITED STATES, Oklahoma: On 09 December 2016, Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree issued an opinion finding that Section 1 of the Cherokee Nation Marriage and Family Act which defines marriage as ''a civil contract between one man and one woman'', is unconstitutional as is Section 3 which prohibits marriage ''between parties of the same gender''.
• Opinion: Opinion of the Cherokee Nation Attorney General No. 2016-CNAG-01 PNG 2MB 09 DEC 16
Judge rules teen 'lesbian couple' arrested in Morocco for kissing are innocent

MOROCCO: On 09 December 2016, a judge reportedly declared innocent alleged same-sex couple Sanaa and Hajar, 16 and 17, who were arrested in Morocco for kissing, saying 'they must be dealt with by their families'.

08 December 2016

Hospital chaplain loses same-sex wedding discrimination appeal

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 07 December 2016, Judge Jennifer Eady in the Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the claim of The Reverend Canon J C Pemberton alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when his licence to work was withdrawn by The Right Reverend Richard Inwood after Pemberton he married his long-term, same-sex partner, finding that it was the Claimant's lack of ''good standing'' within the Church of England as a result of his marriage that underpinned the Respondent’s decision. The Judge would consider the matter suitable for permission to be given to appeal to the Court of Appeal, should such an application be made.
• Judgment: The Reverend Canon JC Pemberton v. The Right Reverend Richard Inwood No. UKEAT/0072/16/BA Word 242kb 07 DEC 16
Israel to ease citizenship process for same-sex couples

ISRAEL: On 08 December 2016, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reported to the High Court of Justice that the naturalization process for foreign same-sex partners in Israel will be the same as that of their heterosexual counterparts. According to Mandelblit's guidelines, couples of the same sex who present foreign marriage documents will be able to undergo the same procedure to receive citizenship for the foreign partner as do heterosexual couples. For heterosexual couples, the transition period lasts four years, resulting in the foreign partner receiving full citizenship.
Another Federal Judge: Gay Plaintiff Can Claim Sex Discrimination

UNITED STATES, Connecticut: On 17 November 2016 US District Judge Warren W Eginton denied a motion for summary judgment of the claim of Lisa Boutillier that Hartford Public Schools discriminated and retaliated against her based on her sexual orientation, ruling that Title VII can be interpreted to ban sexual orientation discrimination, despite prior contrary rulings by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, under whose jurisdiction his court is.
• Memorandum of Decision: Boutillier v. Hartford Public Schools No. 3:13-cv-01303-WWE PDF 143.53kb 17 NOV 16
Arkansas Supreme Court Throws Out Ruling on Birth Certificate Law

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 08 December 2016, a four-member court majority reversed Little Rock Circuit Judge Tim Fox's finding on 10 December 2015 that the state's insistence on identifying both mother and father were infringements on the constitutional due process rights of adoptive gay and lesbian couples, ruling birth certificates issued in Arkansas must identify the biological parents even if the child is subsequently adopted by a same-sex couple.
• Opinion: Nathaniel Smith et al. v. Marisa M. Pavan and Terrah D Pavan et al. CV-15-988 PDF 751.08kb 08 DEC 16
Australian court approves intersex child's surgery

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 20 January 2016, Judge Colin J Forrest in the Family Court, on the application of the parents, ordered that proposed surgery (involving ''gonadectomy'') and subsequent treatment of their 5-year-old child Carla, who identifies as a girl, may be authorised by either of them.
• Judgment: Re: Carla (Medical procedure) [2016] FamCA 7 HTML 20 JAN 16

07 December 2016

Trans youth in New York now have Medicaid coverage for gender treatments

UNITED STATES, New York: On 07 December 2016, with immediate effect, transgender youth, including those under 18 years of age, living in New York State are now able to receive Medicaid coverage for transition-related medical care, including hormone therapy such as puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgery.
Rule Making Activites: Transgender Related Care and Services No. HLT-40-16-00030-A PDF 337.59kb pages 5-7, 07 DEC 16
Same sex couple’s marriage notice again rejected by court

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: On 06 December 2016, it was reported that 5th civil division of Seoul Seobu District Court under judge Kim Yang-seop had ''dismissed an appeal of a court’s dismissal of a case filed by Kim-Jho Kwang-soo, 51, and Kim Seung-hwan, 32, claiming a district office had acted unjustly in refusing to accept their marriage notice as a same-sex couple'' ruling that same sex marriage cannot be recognized under current South Korean law.
Malta bans 'gay cure' conversion therapy

MALTA: On 07 December 2016, it was reported that the parliament voted unanimously to ban gay conversion therapy, becoming the first European country to do so. Under the new law, anyone who tries to ''change, repress or eliminate a person's sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression'' will be fined or even jailed. Professionals will face heftier fines of up to 10,000 euros and could also be jailed for up to a year.

06 December 2016

Name Change for Transgender Person May Be Completed Without Publication

UNITED STATES, New York: On 21 November 2016, in the first published decision since a 2015 change in New York's Civil Rights Law §64 added a ''totality of the circumstances'' test to the name-change publication requirement, Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice James Hudson ordered that the publication requirement for a transgender individual JAL's name-change be waived, citing potential dangers to the safety of a transgender litigant.
• Order: In the Matter of the Application of J.A.L. Jr. No. 10138/16 PDF 312.85kb 21 NOV 16
ACLU: Appeals court ruling allows gay-straight-alliance clubs

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 06 December 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned a lower-court ruling that supported the Lake County School Board's decision to block middle-schoolers from forming a gay-straight-alliance club to combat bullying, finding that the Equal Access Act - which requires federally funded secondary schools to treat all extracurricular clubs the same - applies to middle-school students.
• Opinion: Carver Middle School Gay-Straight Alliance, et al. v. School Board of Lake County, Florida 15-14183 PDF 102.36kb 06 DEC 16
Permission to appeal (denied)

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 05 December 2016, permission for JR65 to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal was refused by the Supreme Court in a case relating to the lawfulness of the lifetime ban on males who have had sexual contact with other males donating blood in Northern Ireland and the Court of Appeal judgment will therefore stand.
South Australian Parliament Passes Relationships Register Act

AUSTRALIA, South Australia: On 06 December 2016, the Upper House Legislative Council passed the ''Relationships Register (No 1) Bill'', already passed by the Lower House on 15 November 2016. On receiving Royal Assent, the Act will provide for the legal recognition of persons in a relationship as a couple, irrespective of their sex or gender identity, by registration of the relationship and amend the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996, the Domestic Partners Property Act 1996, the Equal opportunity Act 1984, and the Wills Act 1936.
• Bill: Relationships Register (No 1) Bill HTML (Accessed 07 DEC 16)
Transgender prostitute Clayton James Palmer to leave male jail

AUSTRALIA, Western Australia: On 02 November 2016, Chief Judge Kevin Sleight in the West Australian District Court ruled transgender sex worked Clayton James Palmer aka Sienna Fox, who identifies as a woman, be released from male prison on bail with a $5000 surety and a similar personal undertaking and strict bail conditions include surrendering her passport, reporting three times a week to police, no unprotected sex or drug use, and no contact with the complainant. before her trial in February. Palmer is accused of having unprotected sex with a man who was later diagnosed with HIV.

02 December 2016

Wal-Mart Reaches $7.5 Million Settlement in Same-Sex Spouse Benefits Complaint

UNITED STATES, Massachusetts: On 02 December 2016, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reached a tentative agreement yet to be approved by the Court to settle a class-action complaint (Cote v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc 1:15-cv-12945) that accused the retailer of discriminating against gay employees and their spouses by denying them health benefits.
• Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement: Cote v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc 1:15-cv-12945-WGY PDF 490.08kb 02 DEC 16
Man avoids deportation by convincing Administrative Appeals Tribunal he is gay

AUSTRALIA: On 24 November 2016, Administrative Appeal Tribunal Deputy President Bernard J McCabe revoked the cancellation of ''LMYW'', an allegedly reformed foreign drug dealer who married an Australian woman for a visa has avoided deportation by convincing a tribunal that he is gay.
• Decision: LMYW and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection 2016/3564, [2016] AATA 936 HTML 24 NOV 16
Parliament Passes Same-Sex Couples and Equal Rights Law

GREECE: On 02 December 2016, the Greek Parliament reportedly passed a bill 201 to 21 with 73 absentees, expanding the rights of same-sex couples as well as ensuring equality in the workspace regardless of gender, religion or sexual orientation.

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