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June 2016

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30 June 2016

United Nations votes to create first ever LGBT rights watchdog

UNITED NATIONS: On 30 June 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted 23-18 (with 6 abstentions) to create the institution's first LGBT rights watchdog. The person appointed to this new role will be responsible for monitoring ''violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity''.
Anti-trans discrimination banned in New Hampshire

UNITED STATES, New Hampshire: On 30 June 2016, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan signed an executive order effective immediately prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression by any state agency in employment or the administration of any state program and requiring all executive branch contract and grants contain anti-discrimination provisions.
• Executive Order: An Order Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Gender Expression No. 2016-04 PDF 147.62kb 30 JUN 16
Refusal to grant residence permit to gay couple on family grounds was unjustified discrimination

ITALY: On 30 June 2016, the European Court of Human Rights held 6-1 that a refusal by the Italian authorities to grant a residence permit to a gay couple on family grounds was an unjustified discrimination in violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
• Judgment (in French): Affaire Taddeucci et McCall c. Italie No. 51362/09 PDF 583.33kb 30 JUN
Judge orders Indiana to list both same-sex parents on birth certificate

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 30 June 2016, US District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt concluded that ''Given Indiana's long-articulated interest in doing what is in the best interest of the child and given that the Indiana legislature has stated the purpose of Title 31 is to protect, promote, and preserve Indiana families, there is no conceivable important governmental interest that would justify the different treatment of female spouses of artificially-inseminated birth mothers from the male spouses of artificially-inseminated birth mothers''.
• Entry on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgement: Ashlee and Ruby Henderson v. Dr Jerome M Adams et al. No. 1:15-cv-00220-TWP-MJD PDF 164.35kb, 30 JUN 16
Supreme Court refers Section 377 petition to Chief Justice

INDIA: On 29 June 2016, a two-judge bench led by justice S.A. Bobde heard a fresh petition filed by Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Navtej Singh Johar, 57, and others seeking to decriminalise consensual same-sex intercourse between adults and referred the matter to chief justice T.S. Thakur to decide whether it and the pending curative petitions challenging Section 377 can be tagged together and heard by the constitution bench.

29 June 2016

Transgender hairdresser wins employment case

NEW ZEALAND: On 29 June 2016, it was reported that transgender hairdresser Dakota Hemmingson had been awarded &3,248 in lost wages and &11,000 compensation for the hurt and humiliation after the Employment Relations Authority ruled she was forced out of her job when she revealed to her boss she would transition to living as a woman. The case was determined on 21 April 2016, with the question of costs then reserved.
• Determination: Hemmingson v Matthew Russell Andrew Swan t/a Barkers Groom Room & Anor [2016] NZERA Auckland 120 PDF 167.62kb 21 APR 16

28 June 2016

Japan to define workplace LGBT discrimination as sexual harassment

JAPAN: On 28 June 2016, the labor ministry was reported to have decided to name discrimination against sexual minorities as a form of harassment in guidelines for employers following a ministry Labor Policy Council committee agreeing that the revision should be made to the guidelines, which are to be implemented in January.
High Court dismisses claims that gay marriage violates Danish constitutional rights

DENMARK: On 28 June 2016, Danish High Court was reported to have dismissed a suit brought by the organisation Med Grundlov Skal Land Bygges that alleges the right of homosexuals to marry in church violates both the Danish constitution and the religious freedom of Danish citizens.
Montgomery County Council repeals domestic partnership benefits law

UNITED STATES, Maryland: On 28 June 2016, Montgomery County Council voted 6-3 to repeal a law that says domestic partners can receive benefits if their partner is a county employee, the majority in favor of the repeal saying that same sex couples are allowed to legally marry, there's no need for the law, the minority argued that marriage isn't for everyone.
Czech court clears way for those in same-sex unions to adopt children

CZECHOSLOVAKIA: On 28 June 2016, the Constitutional Court reportedly ruled that individuals in same-sex partnerships may be allowed to adopt a child, overturning a ban that it called discriminatory.
• Judgment: ÚS 7/15 HTML 28 JUN 16
Pakistan clerics issue religious order making transgender marriages legal

PAKISTAN: On 28 June 2016, it was reported that Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat clerics had issued a new non-legally binding fatwa under which a trans woman with 'visible signs of being a female' may marry a male and a trans woman 'with visible signs of being a male' may marry a woman but a trans person carrying 'visible signs of both genders', as in an intersex person, may not marry anyone.

27 June 2016

Judge: Mississippi law creates inequality for gay marriage

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 27 June 2016, US District Court Judge Carlton W Reeves ruled that the state can't enforce Section 3(8)(a) of HB1523, the ''Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act'' purporting to allow clerks to cite their own religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and ordered that the Campaign for Southern Equality, Rebecca Bickett, et al., v. Phil Bryant same-sex marriage case be ''reopened for the parties to confer about how to provide clerks with actual notice of the Permanent Injunction. The parties shall also confer on appropriate language to include in an Amended Permanent Injunction''.
• Order: Campaign for Southern Equality, Rebecca Bickett, et al., v. Phil Bryant No. 3:14-CV-818-CWR-LRA PDF62.11kb 27 JUN 16

25 June 2016

Same Sex Couples Take a Step Forward in Costa Rica

COSTA RICA: On 25 June 2016, the Ministry of Labor was reported to have announed the extending of the survivor's pension to same-sex couple in all pension plans under the National Budget, including the Ministry of Finance, the National Register, Incofer and MOPT. It does not apply to teachers, who are under a separate budget.

24 June 2016

EEOC Settles One of Its First Sexual Orientation Lawsuits

UNITED STATES, Maryland: On 24 May 2016, it was reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a Maryland employer have settled for about $200,000 one of the agency's first lawsuits against a private employer alleging that sexual orientation bias violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Pallet Companies unlawfully discriminated against Yolanda Boone on the basis of her sex by subjecting her to harassment." alt="News item summary" /> US (MD) 24 JUN
• Consent Decree: US Equal Opportunity Commission v. Pallet Companies No. 1:16-cv-00595-CCB PDF 100.95kb, 23 JUN 16
Transgender Military Ban To Be Lifted July 1st

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 24 June 2016, it was reported that on 01 July the Department of Defense will finally announce an end to the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.
Parenting rights in same-sex divorces headed to a Tennessee appellate court

UNITED STATES, Tennessee: On 24 June 2016, Fourth Circuit Court Judge Greg McMillan ruled that Erica Witt, who in April 2014 married Sabrina Witt in DC, has no biological relationship with the child born to Sabrina via artificial insemination from an anonymous donor in January 2015 and has no contractual relationship with the child. Erica Witt's name was not placed on the baby's birth certificate at the time as the State did not then recognize the marriage. Sabrina filed for divorce in February.
Voters roundly reject same-sex marriage

BERMUDA: On 23 June 2016, Bermudians overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriages and civil unions. The final count, at around 4am 24 June, showed that 69 per cent of those who voted, or 14,192 people, opposed same-sex marriage, with 6,514 voting in favour. That means out of 44,367 registered voters, 31.99 per cent were against, with 14.68 per cent in favour. Meanwhile, 63 per cent voted against civil unions in the second question. That equates to 29.31 per cent of registered voters, with 17.19 per cent voting in favour.
US federal court rules that trans student can use gender-appropriate bathroom

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 23 June 2016, Judge Robert G Doumar on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ordered that Gloucester County School Board permit the plaintiff, G.G., to use the boys' restroom at Gloucester High School until further order of this Court.
• Order: G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board No. 4:15cv54 PDF 412.76kb 23 JUN 16

23 June 2016

Chicago Ordinance Gives Transgender People Bathroom Rights

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 22 June 2016, Chicago Aldermen approved a change in Chicago's human rights ordinance that will enable transgender people in Chicago to use a public bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. The ordinance previously exempted bathrooms.

22 June 2016

Italian High Court Makes Gay Adoption Easier, Not Automatic

ITALY: On 22 June 2016, the Court of Cassation confirmed a lower-court decision permitting the so-called ''step-child'' adoption in cases where the family bond is well-established. The ruling will make it easier for gays to adopt a partner's biological child but does not give automatic recognition to the families of same-sex couples.

21 June 2016

Groundbreaking Court Decision in Poland on Gender Recognition Abroad

POLAND: On 01 June 2016, a court in Warsaw reportedly issued a decision that allows a Polish citizen, who transitioned legally in Germany, to change her personal data (gender marker and first as well as last name) without obtaining a transsexual diagnosis and going through a civil court case in Poland.

20 June 2016

Blood donation waiting period for men who have sex with men reduced to one year

CANADA: On 20 June 2016, Canadian Blood Services announced the approval of a request to reduce the blood donation waiting period for men who have sex with men from five years to one year with effect nationally on 15 August.
ECHR: not discriminatory to deny same-sex partner a survivor's pension

SPAIN: On 14 June 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Spanish national, Antonio Aldeguer Tomás was not discriminated against under Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on the ground of his sexual orientation in that he had been denied a survivor's pension following the death of his partner, with whom he had lived in a de facto marital relationship for twelve years.
• Judgment: Case of Aldeguer Tomas v. Spain No. 35214/09 PDF 487.26kb, 14 JUN 16

17June 2016

Turkey Bans Gay Pride Parade in Istanbul, Citing Security

TURKEY: On 17 June 2016, it was reported that the governor of the Turkish city of Istanbul had banned gay, lesbian and transgender individuals from holding pride parades at their usual venue, citing security concerns, disallowing marches departing from Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square ''for the safety of our citizens and the participants''.
Sweden transgender ruling risks topless swimming precedent

SWEDEN: On 17 June 2016, it was reported that the anti-discrimination watchdog ''Diskrimineringsombudsman'' found in favour of a transgender person who was banned from swimming topless at the Stockholm Liljeholmsbadet swimming pool, ruling the pool's decision was unlawful and that anyone identifying as transgender should be permitted to swim in public pools without having to cover their breasts.

16June 2016

Legislation expands stalking laws, adds rules for social media

UNITED STATES, Vermont: On 02 June 2016, the Governor signed Bill S.154 into law strengthening legal protections for victims of stalking with effect from 01 July 2016. The new law makes illegal any course of conduct (including online activity) that would make a reasonable person fear for their safety, even if the individual acts involved aren’t criminal.
Bill: Bill as introduced and passed by Senate and House PDF 113.62kb 17 MAY 16
Queensland to standardise sex consent laws and finally end gay discrimination

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 17 June 2016, the Government introduced the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill that if passed will amend the Criminal Code and standardise the age of consent for all sexual activity at 16 years and replace the discriminatory references to sodomy with anal intercourse.
• Explanatory Notes: Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill PDF 100.98kb 15 JUN 16

Mombasa court declares anal tests for homosexuals legal

KENYA: On 16 June 2016, it was reported that Justice Anyara Emukule in the High Court at Mombasa dismissed the petition of Caleb Omar Idris and George Maina Njeri on grounds that it had no merit since the petitioners had consented to the medical examination. The men challenged the constitutionality of undergoing an anal examination as proof of being gay.
• Judgment: C O L & another v Resident Magistrate - Kwale Court & 4 others [2016] eKLR PDF 51.31kb 16 JUN 16

15June 2016

Court Grants Review in Gay Man’s Deportation Case

UNITED STATES, California: On 14 June 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed to decide en banc (before the full court) whether gay man Carlos Bringas-Rodriguez, who claims to have been physically abused in Mexico as a child because of his sexual orientation, but did not seek the protection of authorities there, is entitled to asylum. On 19 November 2015, the Court denied 2-1 a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' denial of asylum.
• Order: Carlos Bringas-Rodrigues v. Loretta E Lynch No. 13-72682 PDF 43.29kb 14 JUN 16
Same Sex Common Law Marriage Benefits Victory in Pennsylvania

UNITED STATES, Vermont: On 24 May 2016, Judge Lois E Murphy in Montgomery County Orphan's Court declared Kathryn V Ward and her now deceased partner Elaine M Brim entered into a valid and enforceable marriage under the common law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on 03 October 1990 and remain married until Brim's death, entitling Ward to all spousal rights and benefits that are afforded to legally married individuals in Pennsylvania.
• Order: In Re: Estate of Elaine Marie Brim, Deceased No. 2014-X4458 PDF 41.9kbs 24 MAY 16

14June 2016

Same-Sex Spouse Loses 3rd Cir. Appeal Over Health Benefits

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 13 June 2016, the Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit rejected John Sacchi's attempt to receive health insurance coverage through his husband's employer-sponsored plan on the grounds that he had no standing to bring a lawsuit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because he wasn't a beneficiary or participant in his husband Stephen J Simoni's health plan.
• Opinion: Sacchi v. Luciani No. 15-1453 PDF 79.64kb 13 JUN 16

11June 2016

Quebec Transgender Teens Will Be Legally Allowed to Change Their Name and Gender

CANADA, Quebec: On 10 June 2016, Quebec Bill No. 598 became law, allowing transgender minors to change the name and gender on their birth certificates without the need to undergo surgery. The request must come from one of the parents of a child 13 and under years of age. If one of the parents of a child 14 and above objects to the name change, the request will not be immediately granted and the case will go to a tribunal. The Civil Code will be changed to accommodate transgender minors, while the province's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms will be modified to explicitly prohibit all discrimination related to gender identity.

10June 2016

Fourth Japanese city recognises same-sex partnerships

JAPAN: On 10 June 2016, it was reported that the City of Takarazuka in Hyogo Prefecture, had enacted legislation enabling same-sex couples aged 20 or older to obtain official partnership certificates signed by the Mayor that allow them access to the same public services as married couples.
Oregon Judge Grants Legal Sex Change to Person who Identifies as Non-Binary

UNITED STATES, Oregon: On 10 June 2016, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehns granted Jamie Shupe's petition to change the legal sex/gender marker from Female to Nonbinary. The Army veteran was assigned the gender of male at birth, but started transitioning to a female in 2013, more than a decade after retiring from the military as a sergeant first class. At the time, transitioning to a female was the only option available.
• General Judgment of Sex Change: In the Matter of the Sex Change of Jamie Shupe No. 16CV13991 PDF 547.71kb, 10 JUN 16
CCJ dismisses Maurice Tomlinson immigration case

BELIZE, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:On 12 May 2016, it was reported that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had dismissed an application in its original jurisdiction by Jamaican Maurice Tomlinson against the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago. Tomlinson alleged that the existence of laws purporting to deny homosexuals and prostitutes entry discriminated against him under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas; however the court found that he had no valid reason to assume his rights would not be respected under either state's law, since he had provided no evidence of same.
• Judgment: Maurice Tomlinson v. The State of Belize and Trinidad & Tobago [2014] CCJ1 (OJ) PDF 484.31kb 10JUN 16
Scottish Episcopal Church takes gay marriage step

UNITED KINGDOM, Scotland: On 10 June 2016, it was reported that the Scottish Episcopal Church's General Synod voted (five of seven bishops, 69% of the clergy and 80% of the laity) that a change to its Canon law governing marriage should be sent for discussion to the church's seven dioceses. A further vote will happen at next year's synod.

09June 2016

Georgia judge rejects transgender man's name change

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 22 March 2016, Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper rejected a name change petition from the transgender man seeking to legally change his name from Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus to Rowan Elijah Feldhaus, saying that name changes which allow someone to ''assume the role of a person of the opposite sex'' are effectively ''a type of fraud on the general public'' and ''offend the sensibilities and mores of a substantial portion of the citizens of this state''. An Initial Brief of Appellant has been filed in the Court of Appeals Case No. A16A1770.
• Final Order: In Re: Petition of Rebecca Elizabeth Feldhaus for Change of Name No. 2015D0607 PDF 3.60MB 22 MAR 16
• Transcript of Proceedings: Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus No. 2015D0607 PDF 666.12kb 17 FEB 16
Chapin and Charpentier v. France

FRANCE: On 09 June 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the annulling of the same-sex marriage between Stéphane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier by the Bordeaux tribunal de grande instance upheld by the Bordeaux Court of Appeal, was not discriminatory. The Court unanimously found that Article 12 (right to marry), taken together with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination), and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), taken together with Article 14, were not violated. This means that the French State, preventing two men from marrying (at a moment where the law did not provide this possibility), did not violate the European Convention for Human Rights.
• Judgment (in French): Affaire Chapin et Chaprentier c. France No. 40183/07 PDF 362.15kb 09 JUN 16
Delaware Bill Strikes Homosexuality as Marital Misconduct

UNITED STATES, Delaware: On 09 June 2016, the Senate gave unanimous final legislative approval to HB 320, a bill removing homosexuality and lesbianism from the definition of misconduct serving as grounds for divorce. The measure now goes to Democratic Gov. Jack Markell.

08June 2016

Federal judge bars Alabama from blocking gay marriage

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 07 June 2016, US District Judge Callie Granade issued an order granting a motion for permanent injunction and final judgment in the James N Strawser v. Luther Strange same-sex marriage case.
• Order: James N Strawser, et al., v. Luther Strange, et al. No. 14-0424--CG-C PDF 116.31kb 07 JUN 16

07June 2016

United States Government says Los Angeles Gay Couples 1975 Marriage is Valid

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 07 June 2016, it was reported that the US Department of Homeland Security had issued a Notice of Approval of Relative Immigrant Petition to Anthony Corbett Sullivan, the surviving partner of Richard Frank Adams with whom he entered into a marriage in 1975 and so allowing the Australian Sullivan to proceed with his ''green card'' application to remain in the US.

06June 2016

District of Columbia Releases Guide To Prevent Discrimination Against Transgender Employees

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 03 June 2016, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights and the National LGBTQ Task Force published a guide of best-practices for businesses in both hiring and retaining transgender and gender non-conforming employees that includes a concise commentary on Federal and State laws.
• Guide: Valuing Transgender Applicants & Employees PDF 999.28kb 03 JUN 16
Norway becomes fourth country in the world to allow trans people to determine their own gender

NORWAY: On 06 June 2016, politicians voted 79-13 to allow people to determine their own gender. Under the new healthcare law, trans people aged 16 and older can have their gender recognized without any compulsory requirements. Children aged 6-15 can apply with parental permission. Norway is the fourth European country to do this after Denmark, Malta and Ireland.

03June 2016

Japanese court issues first-ever injunction against hate-speech rally

JAPAN: On 02 June 2016, Judge Hidechika Hashimoto in the Kawasaki branch of the Yokohama District Court in Kanagawa Prefecture issued a first-ever provisional injunction preventing an anti-Korean activist from holding a rally near the premises of the Seikyusha, a group that supports ethnic Korean people.
Two men kissing? No problem, says watchdog

SOUTH AFRICA: On 03 June 2016, it was reported that the Advertising Standards Authority dismissed complaints about a We The Brave campaign advert encouraging gay men to practise safe sex. The complaint was made by two women and three men who ''expressed their discontent at the fact that same-sex relationships are being promoted on television without the possibility of shielding their children''.
• Ruling: We The Brave v. K Thompson & Others 2016 - 3151F HTML 26 MAY 16

02June 2016

Young gay couple in Morocco jailed after having sex in their car

MOROCCO: On 02 June 2016, it was reported that a young gay couple, who had gone to a deserted area in the outskirts of Guelmim, a southern city of the north African country on 26 May, were caught by police having sex in their car and arrested under article 489 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes 'lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex'. The couple were found guilty in the Court of First Instance and sentenced to six months imprisonment.
Northern Ireland to Lift Lifetime Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 02 June 2016, Health Minister Michelle O'Neill said that she would lift the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood in favor of a ''one-year deferral system'', as is the case with the rest of the UK. The new policy will come into effect on 01 September.

01June 2016

Massachusetts House approves transgender rights bill

UNITED STATES, Massachusetts: On 01 June 2016, the State House of Representatives approved 116-36 House Bill 735 that would ban discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations, expanding the 2011 law that prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in employment and housing. The Senate approved an identical bill in May and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.
Trans people face jail for rape if they have sex without sharing their gender history

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 01 June 2016, it was reported that a review of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 by lawyers and academics suggests that even kissing may be considered sexual assault and penetrative sex - with a willing partner - can be counted as rape if the partner claims they didn't know about a trans person's gender. This because when deceived about the nature of the sex act you are about to engage in, you are incapable of informed consent.
Appeals court denies hearing in VA transgender bathroom case

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 31 May 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied a request by the Gloucester County School Board for a full court rehearing of a controversial transgender bathroom case, Circuit Judge Niemeyer dissenting.
• Order: G.G. by his next friend and mother, Deidre Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board No. 15-2056 PDF 204.87kb 19 APR 15

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