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March 2016

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31 March 2016

Final Ruling in Federal Challenge to Florida Ban on Same-Sex Marriages Holds State's Ban Unconstitutional

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 30 March 2016, US District Judge Robert L Hinkle issued a final judgment declaring the state of Florida's ban on marriages for same-sex couples unconstitutional and ordered an injunction against enforcement of the Florida Constitution, Article I, § 27; Florida Statutes § 741.212; and Florida Statutes § 741.04(1).
• Order Granting Summary Judgment: James Domer Brenner, et al. v. Rick Scott, Sloan Grimsley, et al. v. Rick Scott Nos. 4:14cv107-RH/CAS, 4:14cv138-RH/CAS PDF 282.59kn 30 MAR 16
Same-Sex Couples Have Right to Adopt in Mississippi

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 31 March 2016, US District Court Judge Daniel P Jordan III struck down Mississippi's ban on adoption by same-sex adoption, ruling it in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution and ordering a preliminary injunction against enforcement of Mississippi Code section 93-17-3(5).
• Order: Campaign for Southern Equality, et a. v. Mississippi Department of Human Services, et al. No. 3:15cv578-DPJ-FKB PDF 75.66kb 31 MAR 16
Transgender teenager jailed for refusing military service in Israeli Defence Forces

ISRAEL: On 31 March 2016, it was reported that Aiden Katri, a 19-year-old trans woman, was sentenced to a week in Prison Six, a men's prison, for refusing to carry out compulsory military service and faces multiple prison sentences if she continues to refuse.

30 March 2016

Hotel owner fined $80,000 for refusing to host civil union ceremony

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 22 March 2016, Administrative Law Judge Michael R Robinson in the Human Rights Commission ruled that the TimberCreek Bed $ Breakfast in refusing to hire the venue to Todd and Mark Wathen for a civil union ceremony and emailing them saying homosexuality was ''immoral and unnatural'', the hotel was in breach of the law. The Tribunal ordered the hotel to pay $30,000 to the couple, $50,000 in legal fees, and $1,218.35 in costs.
• Recommended Order and Decision: Todd Wathen and Mark Wathen v. Walder Vacuflo, Inc. ALS No. 11-0703C PDF 1.08MB 22 MAR 16
Virginia Governor Vetoes Antigay 'Religious Liberty' Bill

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 30 March 2016, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed SB41, a ''religious liberty'' bill that would have prevented the state from penalizing businesses and individuals who cite faith-based grounds for discriminating against same-sex couples, transgender people, and people who have sex outside of marriage.

28 March 2016

Georgia governor vetoes religious freedom bill criticized as anti-gay

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 28 March 2016, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a highly-controversial HB 757 ''Free Exercise Protection Act'' that would have permitted faith-based organisations to deny social, educational and charitable services based on a ''sincerely held religious belief''relating to marriage.

24 March 2016

Same sex marriage approved by Isle of Man's Legislative Council

UNITED KINGDOM, Isle of Man: On 24 March 2016, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill passed the first reading in Legislative Council 6-3. On 08 March the House of Keys passed the legislation 17-3.

23 March 2016

North Carolina Governor Signs Repeal of LGBT Protections

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 23 March 2016, the House of Representatives passed 83-24 House Bill 2 and the Senate passed the Bill 32-0 (the Democrat senators walking out of the chamber in protest).House Bill 2 rescinds all local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies throughout the state. The governor promptly signed the Bill into law that comes into effect 01 April.
• House Bill 2: Public Facilities Privacy $ Security Act PDF 243.41kb 23 MAR 16
South Carolina Supreme Court says domestic violence law discriminates toward same-sex couples, but is unsure of fix

UNITED STATES, South Carolina: On 23 March 2016, the State Supreme Court heard a case that could allow domestic violence law to include same-sex, unmarried couples, the chief justice telling Attorney General's Office lawyers that South Carolina's domestic violence statute as applied to same-sex couples is pretty clearly unconstitutional. Justices said they could issue a ruling that says the law is unconstitutionally applied to same-sex, unmarried couples and wondered if S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson could issue an opinion saying the law should be applied in those situations.
French appeals court refuses to recognise third gender

FRANCE, Loiret: On 23 March 2016, it was reported that an appeals court in Orleans overturned a lower court decision recognising use of the term ''neutral gender'' on official documentation. The plaintiff, 64, was born with a ''rudimentary vagina'' and a ''micropenis'' but no testicles."
LGBT Rights 2016: Kansas Law Allows Religious Groups To Discriminate Against Gay Students, ACLU Warns

UNITED STATES, Kansas: On 22 March 2016, Governor Sam Brownback signed Bill SB175 in to law with effect from 01 July. The Bill allows college student groups that receiving funding to restrict membership in accordance with their religious beliefs.

21 March 2016

Rome family court OKs stepchild adoption

ITALY, Rome: On 21 March 2016, it was reported that Judge Melita Cavallo in the Rome family court, authorised a fresh stepchild adoption, namely the adoption by one partner in a same-sex union of the other partner's biological child. The two fathers, who have been in a stable relationship for 12 years, married in Canada and the three-year-old child was conceived and carried by a surrogate mother in Canada.
Aceh regency restricts LGBT employment

INDONESIA, Aceh: On 21 March 2016, it was reported that Aceh Regency sharia agency had issued a letter to the owners of beauty parlors, asking them not to employ LGBT people or face revocation of their business permits.

18 March 2016

Civil unions recommence in Qld from April

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 18 March 2016, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General announced the amendment passed by the Palaszczuk government last year to restore the state's civil unions scheme would allow the ceremonies to recommence from as early as 02 April. Couples need to provide notice of intention to enter a civil partnership at least 10 full days prior to the ceremony and may do so from March 22.

17 March 2016

Faroe Islands rejects same-sex marriage

FAROE ISLANDS: On 16 March 2016, the Members of Parliament rejected a proposal to make same-sex marriage lawful 26-7.
Georgia lawmakers just passed a religious freedom bill that could allow anti-gay discrimination

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 16 March 2016, the legislature passed Bill HB 757 that permits faith-based organisations to deny social, educational and charitable services based on a ''sincerely held religious belief'' relating to marriage and in making employment decisions. The bill now goes to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal for approval.

16 March 2016

Court of Appeal Delivers Judgment on "Gay Blood Ban"

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 16 March 2016, the Court of Appeal in Belfast determined that the Northern Ireland Minister of Health is the correct person to make a decision on the appropriate deferral period from giving blood for males who have sex with other males, holding that the Minister's approach in 2011 in maintaining the status quo (permanent ban) pending further consideration and investigation of the issue was not irrational or biased.
Florida governor signs Pastor Protection Act that protects religious persons if they refuse to administer same-sex marriages

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 10 March 2016, Governor Rick Scott signed HB 43 or the Pastor Protection Act into law, effective 01 July. The Act provides that certain individuals and entities may not be required to solemnize a marriage or provide marriage-related goods, services, or accommodations if doing so would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Alabama Senate votes to abolish marriage licences

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 16 March 2016, the Senate passed, 23-3 with 9 abstentions, Senate Bill 143 that would replace state issued marriage licences with a form and certain affidavits for both gay and straight couples to record their marriage with the office of the judge of probate. The Bill is yet to be debated in the House.

15 March 2016

Botswana's top court rejects government bid to ban gay rights group

BOTSWANA: On 16 March 2016, the Court of Appeals, upheld 5-0 a 2014 lower court judgment that the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) should be allowed to register and campaign for changes in anti-gay legislation.
• Judgment: Attorney General v Thuto Rammoge, et al. CACGB-128-14 PDF 3.07MB 16 MAR 16
Kokomo Council Approves LGBT Civil Rights

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 14 March 2016, Kokomo City Council voted 5-4 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's human rights municipal code and also make discrimination based on marital status, age or veteran status unlawful, with potential fines of up to $2000. Mayor Greg Goodnight has said he will sign the law.
Kentucky Senate approves 'religious freedom' bill letting businesses reject gay customers

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 15 March 2016, Senate Bill 180 was passed 22-16 and sent to the House. The Bill provides that ''no statute, regulation, ordinance, order, judgment, or other law or action by any court, commission, or other public agency shall impair, impede, infringe upon, or otherwise restrict the exercise of protected rights by any protected activity provider'' allowing business owners to reject LGBT clients because of their religious beliefs.

11 March 2016

Seattle mayor signs order to protect transgender rights

UNITED STATES, Washington: On 10 March 2016, Mayor Edward B Murray signed Executive Order 2016-02 ''directing various city departments to develop and disseminate procedures, trainings and other resources ... to ensure that the City of Seattle remains a place where transgender and gender-diverse residents and City employees are safe and treated with dignity and respect''.
• Order: Executive Order 2016-02 PDF 733.56kn 10 MAR 16
British lesbian loses Hong Kong legal bid

HONG KONG: On 11 March 2016, Judge Thomas Au in the High Court, by way of judicial review, upheld the decision of the Director of Immigration refusing to grant British National QT a dependant visa to enter and stay in Hong Kong as a dependant of her sponsoring same-sex civil partner, who is working in Hong Kong under an employment visa, on the basis that QT was not the ''spouse'' of her same-sex civil partner as ''spouse'' refers only to one whose marriage is a heterosexual and monogamous marriage. The couple entered into a civil partnership in Britain in 2011.
• Judgment: QT v. Director of Immigration No. 124 of 2014, 11 MAR 16

10 March 2016

India bid to make gay sex legal fails once again

INDIA: On 11 March 2016, it was reported that for the second time National Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's private members bill to decriminalize homosexuality by amending Section 377 was defeated by a 58-14 vote, with 1 abstention.
Judge allows transgender teen to cut off contact from nonaccepting parents

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 26 August 2015, Justice Michael Keehan in the High Court Family Division granted 16-year-old f2m transgender teen PD's request that he be completely removed from the lives of his adoptive parents. PD alleged that parents continued to call him by his previous name which caused him 'great annoyance and distress'.
• Judgment: PD -and- SD, JD, X County Council [2015] EWHC 4103 (Fam) 26 AUG 15
Judge tosses gay bias lawsuit but raises questions about precedent

UNITED STATES, New York: On 09 March 2016, US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in dismissing a discrimination lawsuit found that precedent holding that federal law does not prohibit bias based on sexual orientation. Judge Failla said ''no coherent line can be drawn'' between sex stereotyping claims, which courts have recognized under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and sexual orientation discrimination claims.
• Opinion and Order: Matthew Christiansen v. Omnicom Group Inc., et al. 15 Civ. 3440 (KPF) PDF 559.5kb 09 MAR 16

09 March 2016

US Judge Say SCOTUS Marriage Equality Ruling Does Not Apply to Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO: On 08 March 2016, US District Judge Juan M. Pérez-Giménez of the Puerto Rico District Court found in Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla, that the 26 June 2015 US Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Constitution's 14th Amendment protects the right of same-sex couples to marry does not necessarily apply to Puerto Rico.
• Opinion and Order: Ada Conde Videl, et al. v. Alejandro Garcia-Padilla No 14-1253 (PG) PDF 102.92kb 08 MAR 16

07 March 2016

New York Mayor's Order Assures Restroom Access in City Buildings

UNITED STATES, New York: On 07 March 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order, effective immediately, assuring that in city-owned buildings, transgender and gender-nonconforming people will be able to use the sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities comforming with their gender identity.
Supreme Court makes ruling on Alabama lesbian adoption

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 07 March 2016, the US Supreme Court overturned a ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that refused to recognize an adoptive woman as a parent whose former partner bore them three children, finding the adoption invalid under Georgia law. The Court said ''the Alabama Supreme Court erred in refusing to grant that judgment full faith and credit''.
• Opinion: V.L. v. E.L., et al. No. 15-648 PDF 83.27kb 07 MAR 16

05 March 2016

Alabama Supreme Court tosses petitions opposing same-sex marriage

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 05 March 2016, the Alabama Supreme Court dismissed all pending motions and petitions filed by the Alabama Policy Institute, Alabama Citizens Action Program, and John Enslen, Probate Judge for Elmore County, seeking to maintain that the state's earlier ban on same-sex marriages could still be enforced, despite the US Supreme Court order in Obergefell v. Hodges.
• Order: Ex parte State of Alabama ex rel. Alabama Policy Institute, Alabama Citizens Action Program, and John E Elsen No. 1140460 PDF 490.07kb 04 MAR 16

04 March 2016

First same-sex marriage contracted abroad registered in Colombia

COLOMBIA: On 04 February 2016, it was reported that Colombian Julián Castro and his Spanish husband Julián Artacho, whom he married in Barcelona, were the first couple to have their marriage registered in the country.
China releases new "TV Content Production Law" bans implications of homosexuality, puppy love and more

CHINA: On 31 December 2016, China reportedly released new copy of its ''TV Content Production Law''. On the banned list is any content showing homosexual, transsexual or S&M themes, any scenes of what are called ''unhealthy views of marriage'' and even scenes and shots which are said to be ''rather stimulating for people'' are not to be shown.

03 March 2016

Tunisia cuts sentences over homosexual activity

TUNISIA: On 03 March 2016, the Appeals Court in Sousse reduced the sentence imposed on six students for homosexual activity from three years in jail to one month and ordered them to pay a fine of 400 dinars (180 euros, $195) each but lifted a previous five-year ban on entering the central city of Kairouan. Four of the defendants are expected to appeal to the Court of Cassation.

02 March 2016

South Dakota governor vetoes anti-transgender bathroom bill

UNITED STATES, South Dakota: On 01 March 2016, Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed bill HB 1008 that would have banned transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.
The Seychelles will make gay sex legal

SEYCHELLES: On 29 February 2016, the Cabinet approved legislation that will strip the ban on homosexuality from the Penal Code. The legislation is expected to become law by the end of 2016.

01 March 2016

An Arkansas judge has upheld a city's ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, ruling it doesn't conflict with a state law aimed at blocking local protections for gays and lesbians

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 01 March 2016, Washington County Circuit Court Judge Doug Martin found that the Fayetteville anti-discrimination Ordinance 5781 was not unconstitutional. The ordinance, making discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation unlawful, was ratified by voters on 08 September 2015.
• Order: Protect Fayetteville f/k/a Repeal 119, Paul Sagain, Peter Tonnesson and Paul Phaneuf & The State of Arkansas. v. The City of Fayetteville No. CV-2015-1510-1 PDF 1.14MB 01 MAR 16
Supreme Court rejects another challenge to ‘ex-gay’ therapy bans

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 29 February 2016, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari (declined to hear) 'Doe, John, et al. v. Christie, Gov of NJ, et al.' challenging the constitutionality of the New Jersey state ban on widely discredited ''ex-gay'' conversion therapy for minors.
• Supreme Court Order List: 577 U.S.: Doe, John, et al. v. Christie, Gov of NJ, et al. No. 15-195 PDF 385.88kb 29 FEB 16
Landmark gay adoption ruling fuels storm

ITALY, Rome: On 01 March 2016, it was reported that the Rome Tribunal for Minors upheld two appeals recognising a lesbian couple's adoption of each other's biological daughters under the special cases adoption law that ''confers lesser guarantees to the minor when compared to the recognition of full, legitimate parenthood'' the children of heterosexual married couples currently enjoy, though establishing a biological parent and a social parent with full and equal parenting capacities and responsibilities.

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