GayLawNews™

January 2016

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31 January 2016

Gay kiss on New York Times cover censored in Pakistan

PAKISTAN: On 31January 2016, it was reported that a picture of gay Chinese couple Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang kissing on a bridge in Changsha, China and appearing in the 29 January edition of the International New York Times, was censored by blanking out in the Pakistani edition.

30 January 2016

Genital Surgery Must Be Provided To Trans Woman Through Medicare Program

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 21 January 2016, the Medicare Appeals Council issued a Notice of Decision to transgender disabled Air Force veteran Charlene Lauderdale notifying that her request for pre-authorization for vaginoplasty is covered under her United Healthcare through Medicare Advantage Plan. The decision potentially affects all Medicare enrollees and will likely influence private insurers as well.
• Notice of Decision: In the case of Charlene Lauderdale ALJ Appeal No. 1-2978123060 PDF 1.44MB 21 JAN 16

29 January 2016

A gay veteran, kicked out of Army, receives honorable discharge

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 29 January 2016, 82-year-old veteran Donald Hallman of Columbus was reported to have received an honorable discharge a half century after the Army kicked him out for being gay. Hallman requested a reversal of his 1955 ''undesirably'' discharged status after President Barack Obama repealed the military's ''Don't Ask Don't Tell'' rule in 2010. He served from 1953 to 1955 and was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany.

Colombia Permits Same-Sex Couple to Jointly Register Child

COLOMBIA: On 29 January 2016, it was reported that the Colombian Civil Registry Office had allowed same-sex couple Juliana González and her partner, the biological mother, Carla to jointly register 7-month old Luciana with the civil registry.
High Court rejects couple's challenge to civil partnership law

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 29 January 2016, Mrs Justice Andrews dismissed the Steinfeld and Keidan case seeking to extend civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, finding the definition of a civil partnership in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 as ''a relationship between two people of the same sex when they register as civil partners of each other'', was not in contravention of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
• Judgment: Rebecca Hannah Steinfeld and Charles Robin Keidan v. The Secretary of State for Education [2016] EWHC 128 (Admin) PDF 124.93kb 29 JAN 16
Supreme Court to reconsider ruling to make homosexuality illegal

INDIA: On 29 January 2016, it was reported that starting 02 February, the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur would hear a curative petition in an unprecedented open-court reconsideration of a controversial ruling by it that upheld the validity of a Victorian-era law that makes homosexuality illegal.

28 January 2016

Colombia: trans women exonerated from compulsory military service, court reaffirms

COLOMBIA: On 21 January 2016, M.P. Maria Victoria Street Correa in the Constitutional Court reaffirmed that trans women won't have the obligation to enlist for military service unless they want to: ''Under the principle of autonomy'', reads the court's press release, ''self-recognizing (as trans) is sufficient to be exempted from service''.
Press Release (in Spanish): I. Record D-10837 - Case C-006/16 (January 21) M.P. Maria Victoria Street Correa #1 PDF 438.03kb, 21 JAN 16
ABC won't air 'Carol' trailer featuring lesbian love scene

UNITED STATES: On 28 January 2016, it was reported that the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) had rejected the Weinstein Co.'s new commercial for the movie ''Carol'' allegedly because of a nude scene which shows Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in bed together'.
Lithuania refuses to recognise same-sex marriage for residence permit

LITHUANIA: On 28 January 2016, it was reported that the Migration Department refused to issue a temporary residence permit to a Belarusian man who married his Lithuanian husband in the Netherlands. The men have the option to appeal the decision within 14 days at a regional court. Foreign nationals can apply for residence permits on the basis of family reunification in Lithuania.

26 January 2016

Mexico Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage in Jalisco State

MEXICO, Jalisco: On 26 January 2016, the Supreme Court of Mexico (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación) ruled (28/2015) that Article 260 of the Jalisco Civil Code was unconstitutional for limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, so making same-sex marriage lawful in the State when the ruling is published.

25 January 2016

Portugal's President Vetoes Adoption Rights for Gay Couples

PORTUGAL: On 25 January 2016, outgoing President Anibal Cavaco Silva vetoed legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. The Socialist Party majority in Parliament will try to override the veto.

22 January 2016

Russian LGBT Activist Fined for 'Propaganda of Homosexuality' Online

RUSSIA, Murmansk: On 18 January 2016, a Murmansk magistrate court has found activist Sergey Alekseenko guilty of distributing ''propaganda of homosexuality among minors'' on the Internet. He must now pay a fine of 100,000 rubles (approximately USD $1,260). The offending sentence in the VKontakte post read: ''Being gay means being a brave and confident person who has dignity and self-esteem''.
Victory in husband’s campaign for same-sex marriage to be recognised on death certificates abroad after loss of Houghton man

UNITED KINGDOM: On 22 January 2016, it was reported that the Government has closed a loophole so when a British national in a same-sex marriage travels to Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, or South Africa, their spouse will be recognised on their death certificate. The discrepancy was highlighted when David Bulmer-Rizzi from Houghton, died in hospital in South Australia following a fall and his widow Marco was told their marriage would not be acknowledged on the certificate as the union wasn't recognised by authorities in South Australia.
Minnesota Supreme Court appoints first gay justice

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 22 January 2016, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed Judge Margaret Chutich to the state's Supreme Court, making her the first openly gay justice in Minnesota.

21 January 2016

Lake Worth Expands LGBT Rights

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 21 January 2016, Lake Worth City Commissioners unanimously voted to ensure that the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) residents and municipal employees will be protected from discrimination, updating the city's procurement policy, merit services policy and the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Transgender Woman Settles Discrimination Case for $115,000

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 20 January 2016, District Court Judge Ann D Montgomery approved the settlement in the Britney Austin v. Deluxe Financial Services, Inc. case in which Austin alleged harassment and discrimination against her as a consequence of her transitioning whilst employed at its Phoenix, Arizona call center. In addition to damages and injunctive relief, Deluxe was ordered to review its EEO policy and training.
• Consent Decree: Equal Opportunity Commission and Britney Austin v. Deluxe Financial Services No. 0:15-cv-2626 (ADM/SER) PDF 137.20kb 20 JAN 16

20 January 2016

Governor Cuomo Announces New Regulations Protecting Transgender New Yorkers from Discrimination Take Effect Today

UNITED STATES, New York: On 20 January 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the coming into effect of new state-wide regulations prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity, transgender status or gender dysphoria.
• New Regulations: Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity PDF 106.46kb 20 JAN 16

19 January 2016

Montana Governor Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT State Employees

UNITED STATES, Montana: On 18 January 2016, effective immediately, Governor Steve Bullock signed ''Executive Order Prohibiting Discrimination in State Employment and Contracts'' (No. 04-2016) that will protect state workers, contractors, and subcontractors from discrimination in employment as well as the provision of government services. It also calls for diversity programs designed to prevent harassment.
• Executive Order: Executive Order Prohibiting Discrimination in State Employment and Contracts No. 04-2016 PDF 162.00kb 18 JAN 16

18 January 2016

Bisexual Jamaican man wins right to stay in the UK after deportation battle

UNITED KINGDOM: On 18 January 2016, it was reported that after a three and a half year battle, bisexual Jamaican Orashia Edwards, 33, was granted refugee status and the right to stay in the UK on the grounds of his sexuality. Authorities had claimed he was heterosexual and had just been ''experimenting'' with men.

15 January 2016

Landmark Ruling as Transgender Woman's Employment Discrimination Case Heads to Trial

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 14 January 2016, the US Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit reversed in part the US District Court opinion in the Jennifer Chavez case, ruling there was sufficient evidence of employment discrimination for the case to be heard by a jury. Chavez, a m2F transgender auto mechanic, alleges she was fired from her job shortly after she had transitioned, experiencing a number of discriminatory incidents in the workplace.
• Opinion: Jennifer Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales LLC No. 14-14596 PDF 146.40kb 14 JAN 16
700 German churches vote to marry same-sex couples

GERMANY, Rhineland-Pfalz: On 15 January 2016, attendees of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, Germany's second-biggest territorial church controlling 719 parishes in West Germany, voted 211-7 in their synod to start marrying gay and lesbian couples.
Lebanese judge grants trans man right to change gender

LEBANON: On 15 January 2016, it was reported that Judge Jeanette Hanna for the Court of Appeal issued a narrow verdict (number 1123/2015) on 03 September granting a transgender man the right to change his sex in the civil registry on account of his own gender identification, saying there is a civil right to sex reassignment to relieve a person from psychological and social suffering. She also underlined the right to privacy. Under Lebanese law, trans persons must complete gender reassignment surgery to petition for a change in status.

14 January 2016

Switzerland comes one step closer to granting gay couples adoption rights

SWITZERLAND: On 14 January 2016, it was reported that the upper house Council of States commission of legal affairs accepted 7-4 a change of law that would allow same-sex couple to apply for the adoption of stepchildren into their family. There are several legislative hurdles yet to be cleared, including lower house National Council approval.
Victory: Wedding Venue Cannot Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

UNITED STATES, New York: On 14 January 2016, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division affirmed 5-0 the determination of the State Division of Human Rights that the Liberty Ridge Farm proprietors had discriminated against Jennifer and Melisa McCarthy by refusing to host their wedding.
• Opinion and Judgment: In the Matter of Cynthis Gifford et al., v. Melisa McCarthy et al. No. 520410 PDF 109.56kb 14 JAN 16

12 January 2016

US: First Baptist Church of Memphis approves gay marriage

UNITED STATES, Tennessee: On 10 January 2016, the First Baptist Church congregation in Memphis, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, adopted a resolution granting gays the same privilege to get married afforded to everyone else.

British Columbia court order confirms that same-sex Quebec couple are parents of child borne by surrogate mother here

CANADA, British Columbia: On 08 January 2016, Madam Justice Fitzpatrick in the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that baby E born to B.C. woman E.M. implanted with an egg from Connecticut woman M.E., the sister of D.D., that was fertilized with his partner M.L.'s sperm, were the parents of the child. The men in a marriage-like relationship since October 2000, live and will raise the child in Quebec and sought the order because there was some legal uncertainty as to their parental status in the province of Quebec.
• Reasons for Judgment: D.D. and M.L. and In the Matter of the Family Law Act No. 2016 BCSC 22, 08 JAN 16

11 January 2016

Ministry green lights civil union applications

CYPRUS: On 11 January 2016, it was reported that the Interior Ministry had called on couples interested in entering a civil union to submit applications for a non-marriage certificate as of January 18. Couples need to establish their place of residence, complete an application form, produce identity documents, provide an affidavit and a certificate of freedom to marry. Certification of civil union costs €90.
Chilean officials oppose intersex children 'normalization' surgery

CHILE: On 11 January 2016, it was reported the Chilean Ministry of Health released a document last week in which Undersecretary of Health Jaime Burrows and Undersecretary of Assistance Networks Gisela Alarcón expressed opposition to ''unnecessary 'normalization' treatments of intersex children'' that include ''irreversible genital surgeries until they are of a sufficient age to make decisions about their bodies''.
US Supreme Court rejects unmarried lesbian’s appeal for parental rights

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 11 January 2016, the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Peggy Willis against the lower court ruling, upheld by the Florida District Court of Appeals, that she had no parental right to the child conceived by her previous female partner Anne Marie Mobley. Willis asserted that her constitutional rights had been violated.
• Order List: 577 US: Willis, Peggy v. Mobley, Anne M No. 15-500 PDF 152.87kb 11 JAN 16

08 January 2016

Chinese court accepts same-sex marriage case

CHINA: On 05 January 2016, Sun Wenlin, 26, filed a lawsuit in the Changsha Court, Hunan province, after his attempt to register a marriage with his 36-year-old boyfriend was rejected by an official in the Furong district. The case was expected to heard within six months.
Despite judge’s interference, Alabama county resumes issuing same-sex marriage licenses

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 08 January 2016, despite the Administrative Order issued by Chief Justice Roy Moore on 06 January (see 06 January below), Madison and Lawrence counties and the Mobile County Probate Court were reported to have resumed issuing marriage licenses Thursday and Friday respectively.
Virginia Beach same-sex parental dispute case moves ahead

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 08 January 2016, Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge Steven Frucci ruled Lauren Renee Poole, despite not having a DNA connection to the boy born to the married couple in 2014, is as much of a parent as the estranged biological mother Karen Elizabeth Poole is to their child, and he intended to allow Lauren visitation rights with the child subject to any application by the guardian ad litem and leaving the question of custody yet to be argued.

07 January 2016

Israeli gay couple discovers surrogate baby is not their child

ISRAEL: On 06 January 2016, a gay couple discovered that the newborn baby they received after completing a surrogacy process in Nepal is not genetically their child and had to hand the baby girl over to its biological parents. All Israeli parents of overseas surrogate births routinely undergo tests to prove that the children are actually theirs. It is only then that the parents can formalize the status of their babies. The couple are now waiting for a second surrogate mother to give birth, to see whether the sperm they provided was used in the fertilization of that child.
Tunisia court bails students jailed for homosexuality

TUNISIA: On 07 January 2015, the appeal court in the coastal city of Sousse was reported to have released six students aged between 19 and 23 on bail pending a new hearing on 25 February. On 10 December 2015, the men were sentenced to three years imprisonment and banned from Kairouan for five years for homosexuality. Each man had to pay bail money of 500 dinars (€ 230, $249).

06 January 2016

Alabama Chief Justice Orders Judges To Enforce Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 06 January 2016, Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an Administrative Order: “Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect”.
• Order: Administrative Order of the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court PDF 101.32kb 06 JAN 15
Oklahoma City passes LGBT housing rights law

UNITED STATES, Oklahoma: On 05 January 2016, Oklahoma City Council voted 5-4 in favor of an ordinance that will prohibit housing discrimination against LGBT community members on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds with effect from 04 February.

05 January 2016

Law Society appeals decision in TWU v. Law Society of BC

CANADA, British Columbia: On 05 January 2016, the Law Society of British Columbia notified it had filed an appeal of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 'TWU v. Law Society of British Columbia' ruling that Trinity Western University may now open a law school and require all students to sign a 'Community Covenant' that dictates they must abstain from engaging in same-sex relationships.
Court: Spanking enough to deny foster parent application

UNITED STATES, Massachusetts: On 04 January 2016, the Superior Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the Department of Children and Families denying the application of Gregory and Melanie Magazu to become foster and pre-adoptive parents because of their use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline in their home on their biological children.
• Opinion: Magazu v. Department of Children and Families No. SJC 11864 PDF 108.16kb, 04 JAN 16

04 January 2016

Judge Rules Against FedEx in Same-Sex Benefits Fight

UNITED STATES, California: On 04 January 2015, US District Judge Phyllis J Hamilton found that the second cause of action of Stacey Schuett, the widow of longtime FedEx employee Lesly Taboada-Hall, adequately alleged that FedEx had violated Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by acting contrary to applicable federal law and failing to provide Schuett with a benefit mandated by ERISA, and that she is entitled to pursue equitable relief to remedy that violation, and denied the motion for judgment not being persuaded at this stage that there is any basis for denying retroactive application of the DOMA decision in Windsor.
• Order: Stacey Schuett v. FedEx Corporation, et al. No. 15-cv0189-PJH PDF 256.32kb 04 JAN 15

01 January 2016

California Appeals Court Rules for Gay Teacher in Morality Discharge Dispute

UNITED STATES, California: On 14 December 2015, the California 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld a determination by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin that the Los Angeles Unified School District's Commission on Professional Competence erred when it found a gay elementary school teacher who had been arrested in a park sting was “unfit to teach” and authorized termination of his employment.
• Opinion: Rodriguez v. Commission on Professional Competence N258035 PDF 214.81kb 14 DEC 15
Advertising watchdog defends gay hook-up ads at train stations

NETHERLANDS: On 02 December 2016, the Advertising Standards Board ruled that the Squirt.org advertising signs and posters campaign at major train stations across Rotterdam, Amsterdam Utrecht and The Hague could continue, finding that the ads met ''the necessary precautions … in the context of good taste and public decency'''.
• Decisions (in Dutch): 2015/01112, 2015/01112/A, 2015/01112/B, 02 DEC 15
Legal confusion as Estonian gay partnership law enters force

ESTONIA: On 01 January 2016, the Estonian Chamber of Notaries was reported to have said that there are legal uncertainties surrounding the coming into force of the Cohabitation Act related to divorce, inheritance and other practical matters, The Chamber advised same-sex couples to consider waiting until the rules become clearer.

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