February 2016

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29 February 2016

Bermuda plans referendum on same-sex marriage

BERMUDA: On 29 February 2016, Premier Michael Dunkley, accompanied by Community and Culture Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin, told a media conference that a same-sex marriage referendum bill will be tabled in the House of Assembly ''this legislative session''.
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Appeal Was Too Late

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 24 February 2016, Chief United States District Judge Thomas O Rice in the US District Court, Eastern District of Washington, dismissed the claim of Mark C Wilhelm that challenged his court-martial conviction for having consensual gay sex after being unsuccessfully blackmailed by ''Russian intelligence officers'' as, inter alia it was barred by the statute of limitations. However, the Court allowed him 30 days to amend his second cause of action seeking to expunge his conviction under the Administrative Procedures Act.
• Order: Mark C Wilhelm v. US Department of the Navy Board for Correction of Naval Records, et al. No. 2:15-CV-0276-TOR PDF 292.95kb 24 FEB 16

26 February 2016

Indonesia psychiatrists classify gay as mental disorder

INDONESIA: On 12 February 2016, it was reported that the Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (IPA) classified homosexuality and gender dysphoria as mental disorders, saying they can be cured be ''proper treatment''.
Top court says same-sex partners can also register in unofficial setting

SLOVENIA: On 26 February 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples need to be allowed to also register their partnership outside of administrative units just like heterosexual couples can marry outside of official premises, giving parliament six months to remedy the situation.
Judge slashes the amount CBC has to pay for defaming anti-gay crusader to 1/30th the original sum

CANADA, Saskatchewan: On 10 February 2016, in ''Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. William Gary Whatcott'' the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal upheld the finding of Queen's Bench Justice Richard Elson that the CBC had defamed Bill Whatcott however, it reduced the award of compensatory general damages to the nominal amount of $1,000.
• Judgment: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. William Gary Whatcott 2016 SKCA 17 (CanLII) PDF 269.63kb 10 FEB 16

25 February 2016

Italian Senate approves diluted civil union bill

ITALY: On 25 February 2016, after removing provisions giving unmarried couples some adoption rights, the Senate approved 173-71 a civil unions bill. If passed by the lower house later this year, the Bill will give homosexual and heterosexual couples the right to receive a deceased partner's pension, the right to take a partner’s name, inheritance rights and next-of-kin rights in medical emergencies.

24 February 2016

Italy's constitutional court won't hear gay adoption case

ITALY — On 24 February 2016, the Constitutional Court refused to hear a same-sex adoption case involving two American mothers, Nora Beck, whose mother was Italian and whose 11-year-old biological son had Italian citizenship, and her wife Liz Joffe, who gave birth to their 12-year-old daughter. Each had adopted the other's biological child in the US. In ruling the petition inadmissable, the constitutional court said the case concerned Italian recognition of a foreign court's ruling involving foreigners: the adoptions that were approved years ago by Oregon court.
Changes to law to allow donor conceived people to find their donors

AUSTRALIA, Victoria: On 24 February 2016, the Legislative Council passed the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act Amendment Bill 2015 [amending the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008] that will allow for all donor-conceived Victorians to be able to access available identifying information about their donors and heritage without donor consent from 01 March 2017. Previously, only people born from sperm or eggs donated after 1998 could automatically find out available identifying information about their donors when they reach adulthood. The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority will manage access to information.
• Bill: Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act Amendment Bill 2015

23 February 2016

North Carolina Lawmakers Vow to Overturn Charlotte Transgender Law

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 22 February 2016, the Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 to add sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status as attributes protected from discrimination when it comes to public accommodations including restaurants, retail stores and other businesses, effective 01 April, however the State legislature may overrule the city.
Puerto Rico appoints first openly gay chief justice

PUERTO RICO: On 22 February 2016, the Puerto Rican Senate approved the nomination of Maite Oronoz Rodríguez as the Supreme Court Chief Justice, making her the first openly gay chief justice in US history.

Croatia not justified in excluding same-sex couples from family reunification process

CROATIA: On 23 February 2016, the European Court of Human Rights held in ''Paji v. Croatia'' that the provisions of the domestic Aliens Act excluding same-sex couples from obtaining residence permits for family reunification purposes purely because of their sexual orientation is discriminatory and in violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
• Judgment: Case of PAJIC v. CROATIA No. 68453/13 PDF 473.39kb 23 FEB 16

19 February 2016

Georgia Senate Passes Discriminatory Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' Bill By Huge Margin

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 19 February 2016, the Senate passed 38-14 House Bill 757 (the First Amendment Defense Act or FADA), an anti-gay ''religious freedom'' law allowing any individual or 'faith-based' business, non-profit entity, or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage.
Lesbian locked in custody battle with her ex-partner and birth mother of their child wins right to challenge adoption plans of woman's new husband

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 18 February 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal's order and reinstated the Kenton County Family Court's order granting non-biological parent Amy's motion to intervene in the step-parent adoption action by Wesley - whom the biological mother of the child Laura and Amy's her former partner Melissa, married after Amy and she separated - allowing Amy's custody and visitation action to proceed.
• Opinion: AH v. WRL and ML 2015-SC-000247-DGE PDF 54.11kb 18 FEB 16

18 February 2016

Gay student wins discrimination ruling against Christian garden center

NETHERLANDS: On 18 February 2016, the Board for the Protection of Human Rights was reported to have ruled that agricultural supply center A.Th. De Boer & Zonen B.V. unlawfully discriminated against 25-year-old Bas van der Meer by rejecting his internship application on the ground his sexual orientation.
• Ruling (in Dutch): A.Th. de Boer & Zonen B.V. v. B. van der Meer 2016-10 PDF 16 FEB 16

17 February 2016

Parliament approves same-sex marriage legislation

FINLAND: On 17 February 2016, the Parliament approved 106-42 legislation that will allow same-sex couples in registered partnerships to convert their legal status to 'married' by notifying the authorities. Registered partnerships will be abolished on 01 March 2017, when the law to allow same-sex marriage enters into force.

16 February 2016

South Dakota Senate passes 'unprecedented and extreme' anti-trans bill

UNITED STATES, South Dakota: On 16 February 2016, the Senate passed 20-15 House Bill 1008. If signed into law Governor Dennis Daugaard it would ban transgender students from using restrooms and single-sex facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
New gender non-specific birth certificates for the ACT

AUSTRALIA, Australian Capital Territory: On 16 February 2016, the Legislative Assembly passed the 'Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2015' amending several Acts giving parents the birth certificate option of choosing ''mother''and ''father'', and also allowing ''parent 1'' and ''parent 2'', or ''mother'' and ''mother'', or ''father'' and ''father''. Additionally, the Bill created a new identity document - for gender diverse people not born in Canberra and unable to change the gender on their birth certificates - recognising the name and the sex they live by, provided their application is accompanied by a statutory declaration from a doctor or psychologist, confirming appropriate clinical treatment for alteration of their sex or their intersex status.
• Bill: Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 PDF 122.88kb 18 NOV 15

15 February 2016

Sixth Circuit to Employers: Failure to Timely and Thoroughly Investigate Sexual Harassment Claims May Cost You

UNITED STATES, Tennessee: On 10 February 2016, the Sixth Circuit decision in Smith v. Rock-Tenn Services, Inc. upheld a Tennessee District Court's award of $300,000 to an employee against his former employer after the employee alleged sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, determining that the employer failed to take thorough, timely action after a male employee complained of improper, unwanted, and offensive physical contact by a male co-worker.
• Opinion: Jeffrey L Smith v. Rock-Tenn Services, Inc. 15-5534 PDF 111.96kb 10 FEB 16

14 February 2016

Georgia Changes Prison Policy after Former Transgender Inmate Filed Lawsuit

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 12 February 2016, it was reported that Georgia is now giving hormone treatment to all of its transgender inmates after being assessed by a medical health professional. The State changed its treatment towards transgender inmates as a consequence of the settlement in the Ashley A Diamond v. Brian Owens et al., case. Diamond alleged the Department of Corrections failed to provide her with medical treatment and to protect her from sexual assault in various prisons.

13 February 2016

Canada gets its first transgender judge

CANADA, Manitoba: On 11 February 2016, Kael McKenzie, the first Canadian transgender judge, was officially sworn in to the Manitoba provinicial court. Attorney General Gord Mackintosh announced the appointment of Judge McKenzie 17 December 2015.
Lesbian Couple Sentenced to 20 Years in Kuwaiti Prison

KUWAIT: On 13 February 2016, it was reported that American women Monique Coverson and her partner Larissa Joseph have been convicted and jailed for 20 years, allegedly on trumped-up drug charges because they're lesbians. A German lab test, revealed that the two women were using K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, which is legal in Kuwait.

12 February 2016

Indonesia Bans Gay Emojis

INDONESIA: On 12 February 2016, it was reported that government has censored gay-themed emojis featuring same-gender couples, rainbow flags, and other gay-themed icons from the LINE messaging app and is sending a message to other social media platforms operating in the country.

11 February 2016

Ecuadorean Lawmakers Approve New Gender Identity Law

ECUADOR: On 11 February 2016, Ecuadorean lawmakers by a majority of 77 votes approved a bill that will allow citizens to change their birth name and gender identity on legal documents and national ID cards. The Bill was sent to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa for final approval.
Female same-sex parents win right for both to be on child's birth certificate as SA Parliament backs rule change

AUSTRALIA, South Australia: On 10 February 2016, the Assembly passed 29-12 the 'Family Relationships (Parentage Presumptions) Amendment Bill' (aka Tadgh's Law) that will enable females in a same-sex relationship to be recognised on their children's birth certificates, circumventing the present 3-year cohabitation rule (Family Relationships Act 1975, Section 11A). The Bill passed the Upper House on 03 June and returns to that House to confirm minor amendments before going to the Governor for signature.

10 February 2016

Malawi court rejects moratorium on gays: Police can arrest homosexuals

MALAWI: On 09 February 2016, Judge Dingiswayo Madise in the High Court in Mzuzu in case number 17 of 2016 granted an ex-parte application by Christopher Kammasamba, Reverend Patrick Banda and Pastor Tusalifye Mbeye for an injunction ordering the Malawi Police Service, the Director of Public Prosecutions to continue arresting and prosecuting gays and lesbians who commit homosexual offences in Malawi.
Portugal parliament overturns veto on adoption by gay couples

PORTUGAL: On 10 February 2016, the Portugese parliament overturned the President's veto by 137 votes in the 230-seat parliament. Under the constitution, the President has eight days to sign the bill legalising adoption by same-sex couples into law.
Widow payments: Citizens Advice say ruling is 'groundbreaking'

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 09 February 2016, Mr Justice Treacy in the Northern Ireland High Court of Justice ruled that mother-of-four Siobhan McLaughlin, who was never married, was entitled to the widowed parent's allowance saying, denying a benefit aimed at easing financial pressure on bereaved families was discrimination. However, the Court rejected her claim for the bereavement benefit as being inapplicable to mere cohabitees. The ruling could have UK-wide legal implications.
Judgment: McLaughlin's (Siobhan) Application 2016 NIQB 11 HTML 09 FEB 16

09 February 2016

Squirt adverts removed from Cardiff bus shelters

UNITED KINGDOM, Wales: On 09 February 2016, it was reported that gay hook-up app posters - promoting 'Non-stop hookups' - were removed after Twitter users branded them 'inappropriate' and 'disgusting' and complained to Cardiff Bus and Cardiff City Council.
Bill allows Idaho same-sex couples to file taxes jointly

UNITED STATES, Idaho: On 08 February 2016, Senate approved legislation, already passed by the House, to bring the state's tax code in line with federal rules -- and also allow same-sex couples to file joint returns, saying all marriages recognized by the federal government will be recognized by Idaho's tax code. The Bill awaits the governor's signature.

08 February 2016

Drag star Aaron Manhattan wins out in court

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 08 February 2016, it was reported that NSW Magistrate J Wahlquist dismissed charges of 'using a carriage service to menace, harass and offend' against Aaron Manahan (stage name Aaron Manhattan) finding the police failed to comply with Section 23V of the Commonwealth Crimes Act concerning the tape-recording of confessions requiring an independently verified admission from the accused. Police allegedly harassed and threatened Manahan over several days because he wouldn't sign a statement.
Without Anyone Noticing, D.C. Passed a Remarkable LGBT Bill

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 02 February 2016, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed B21-168, the LGBTQ Cultural Competency Continuing Education Amendment Act, mandating that certain health care providers learn how to treat gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender patients. The Act goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser for signature.

06 February 2016

New York State Bans Medical Coverage for Gay Conversion Therapy

UNITED STATES, New York: On 06 February 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo was reported to have announced executive actions banning medical coverage for Conversion Therapy and the State Department of Financial services is issuing regulations that prevent New York insurers from providing coverage for conversion therapy given to an individual under 18.

05 February 2016

Court Takes On Same-Sex Couple's 'Tri-Parenting' Model

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 05 February 2016, it was reported that Ocean County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Wauters ordered 24 August 2015 that the child O.S.H. the offspring of a man D.G., in a same-sex marriage to S.H., and a woman K.S. who had long been friends with both spouses, have joint residential custody, finding that arrangement to be in the child's best interests. The Court also ruled that though [S.H's] surname is on the child's birth certificate as the child's own, this is not dispositive of the legal parentage he had sought.
• Opinion: D.G. and S.H. v. K.S. FD-15-1386-14-S PDF 236.48kb 24 AUG 15
Judge: Nebraska same-sex marriage case is closed

UNITED STATES, Nebraska: On 04 February 2016, US District Court Judge Joseph F Bataillon in the Waters et al. v. Ricketts case ruled that Section 29 of the Nebraska Constitution is unconstitutional and ordered ''all relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different-sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage''.
• Memorandum and Order: Waters v. Ricketts PDF 154.53kb, 04 FEB 16

04 February 2016

Groundbreaking Tax Guide Launched to Help LGBTQ Taxpayers

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 04 February 2016,the National LGBTQ Task Force launched a groundbreaking income tax preparation guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.
• Report: Queer Our Taxes Taxpayer Guide 10 487.23kb 13 JAN 16
State now offers hormone therapy to transgender inmates

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 04 January 2016, it was reported that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice updated its policy to enable transgender inmates in prisons to begin hormone therapy while incarcerated. Previously only inmates who came into the system already taking hormones could continue doing so.
HIV-positive man awarded damages for unfair dismissal

AUSTRIA: On 04 January 2016, it was reported that Innsbruck's regional court ordered that the state of Tyrol pay a gay man €35,000 in damages after it ruled that he was dismissed from a new job during a trial period because he is HIV-positive and homosexual.

03 February 2016

Two more men jailed for being gay in Morocco

MOROCCO: On 01 February 2016, a court in Tiznit sentenced Hamza M and Osman A to one and a half years in jail and fined them 2,000 dirhams (£375) each on charges of homosexuality. Hamza M denied the charges however Osman A confessed. The men tried to escape by threatening the policemen with knives, however they soon apprehended.
Supreme Court: child of same sex couple habitually resident in the UK

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 03 February 2016, in what is believed to be the first case of a child being taken abroad by a parent previously in a same sex relationship, the Supreme Court has ruled 3-2 that the daughter B of the same sex couple was ''habitually resident'' in the UK when her biological mother took her abroad to Pakistan and the Court had jurisdiction to make rulings on B's welfare (including whether B should return to England occasionally or permanently to spend time with the mother's former partner) and should now do so.
• Judgment: In the Matter of B (A child) [2016] UKSC 4 PDF 307.35kb 03 FEB 16
Man jailed for same-sex molestation

CHINA, Zhejiang Province: On 02 February 2016, 40-year old Deng reportedly pleaded guilty to having molested Ma, a 20-something man, whilst he was sleeping a cafe in the Zhejiang city of Wenling. Deng was sentenced to eight months in prison. On 01 November 2015, the Criminal Law against molestation was amended, stipulating that ''women'' be revised to ''others'', making same-sex molestation of men unlawful.

01 February 2016

HIV-positive man mistakenly denied tourist visa to Australia

AUSTRALIA: On 01 February 2016, it was reported that a 60-year old HIV-positive Scandanvian man who has been visiting Australia every year for 22 years was denied a tourist visa because he is living with HIV and ''would be likely to require health care or community services''. Upon writing to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) contesting the assessment, he was eventually granted a tourist visa on 04 January, having been incorrectly assessed for a permanent stay.

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