May 2016

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31 May 2016

Province to change law to legally recognize gay parents: Wynne

CANADA, Ontario: On 31 May 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne says by the end of this year, the Ontario government will pass legislation to change the definition of parents so same-sex couples don't have to adopt their own children.

30 May 2016

Green light for gays to adopt stepchildren

SWITZERLAND: On 30 May 2016, the House of Representatives passed 127-60 a law making it possible for all couples, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation to adopt the children of a partner. Extending adoption rights to couples living outside of marriage or a registered partnership passed more narrowly, 95 to 92, with two abstentions. The change will not permit same-sex couples to adopt other people's children. However, current law allows individuals to take in children given up for adoption.

29 May 2016

Teacher awarded $60k settlement in lawsuit over gender-neutral pronouns

UNITED STATES, Oregon: On 29 May 2016, F2M transgender teacher Leo Soell was reported to have settled a claim with the Gresham-Barlow School District for $60,000. The claim arose when staff members allegedly refused to use appropriate pronouns. Soell prefers the pronoun ''they''.
Egyptian court slashes prison sentence in homosexuality case

EGYPT: On 29 May 2016, a Giza court reduced the April prison sentences imposed on 11 men accused of homosexuality from 12 years to one year while one defendant was acquitted. The men were charged with ''inciting debauchery'' after they were arrested at a rented apartment in Giza for allegedly committing homosexual acts.

28 May 2016

UK will offer next-of-kin letters for same-sex couples travelling overseas

UNITED KINGDOM: On 28 May 2016, the UK Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire was reported to have confirmed: ''We have now made available to staff new guidance to enable them to issue an official information note that confirms that the UK authorities, including British consulates, will normally view a spouse or civil partner as next-of-kin where the relationship is a same-sex one as much as for opposite-sex couples''. The letter could be used to identify the couple's status as next-of-kin to police and airport officials, or hospital staff and even funeral directors in worst-case scenarios.
Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage request will be considered

LATVIA: On 27 May 2106, the Latvian Supreme Court was reported to have overturned an administrative court decision to refuse an application to register a same-sex marriage on a technicality, saying that whilst current regulations do not allow registering same-sex marriages in Latvia, the application should have been considered in a context not of marriage, but of registering familial partnership.

27 May 2016

Gender Identity Law is now a reality

BOLIVIA: On 18 May 2016, Gender Identity Law 807 was approved and enacted two days later by the Executive branch. The law permits the transsexual and transgender population of the country to exercise their right to personal identity, change their name and sex designation in all their identity documents according to their self-defined identity and to exercise their fundamental rights like to vote, to education, health, work and housing, among others
Alabama Supreme Court now recognizes lesbian adoption after SCOTUS opinion

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 27 May 2016, in accordance with the US Supreme Court ruling in V.L. v. E.L., (2016), the Alabama Supreme Court vacated its 18 September 2016 ruling that refused to recognize a same-sex adoption from Georgia and denied visitation rights to one of the lesbian mothers.
• Opinion: Ex parte E.L. No. 1140595 PDF 45.21kb 27 MAY 16
Judge rules placing three children with two men not 'realistic option'

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 27 May 2016, Mr Justice Keenan in the High Court of Justice (Family Division), ruled that two men in their mid-20s (one the brother of the mother) would not be able to care for three children taken from the care of their mother ''sufficiently well to promote and enhance their welfare and development'' and that the children should instead be placed for adoption.
• Judgment: Birmingham City Council v. LC (1), X (2), A, T, W and H (3-6) (By their children's guardian), EH (7), G (8), K (9) [2016] EWHC 1278 (Fam) HTML 27 MAY 16
Nauru Government updates Criminal Code

NAURU: On 27 May 2016, the Government of Nauru announced the passing of the Crimes Act 2016, amending the Criminal Code 1899 to decriminalise homosexuality.

25 May 2016

Governor Shumlin Signs Law to Ban Conversion Therapy in Vermont

UNITED STATES, Vermont: On 25 May 2016, Governor Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 132 into law banning ''gay conversion'' therapy on anyone under 18 years of age, a therapy intended to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. The law comes into effect on 01 July 2016.
South Korean court rejects film director’s same-sex marriage case

SOUTH KOREA: On 25 May 2106, a South Korean district court rejected a lawsuit filed by a prominent film director Kim Jho Gwang-Soo and his long-time partner, Kim Seung-Hwan seeking legal status for their same-sex marriage. An appeal is expected.

24 May 2016

Diet passes Japan's first law to curb hate speech

JAPAN: On 22 May 2016, the Diet passed an anti-hate speech law that condemns unjustly discriminatory language as ''unforgivable'', but doesn't legally ban hate speech and sets no penalty. The law is only intended to cover people of overseas origin and their descendants ''who live legally in Japan''.

23 May 2016

Surrogacy legislation discriminates against single people, judge rules

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 20 May 2016, Judge Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division of the High Court, made a ''declaration of incompatibility'' in a ruling in favour of the father of Z, his biological son who was carried to birth by a surrogate mother. The ruling found that section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 is incompatible with Article 14 European Convention on Human Rights taken in conjunction with Article 8 insofar as it prevents the father from obtaining a parental order on the sole ground of his status as a single person as opposed to being part of a couple.
• Judgment: In the Matter of Z (A Child) (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1191 (Fam) HTML 20 MAY 16

21 May 2016

Church of Scotland votes to allow ministers to be in same-sex marriages

UNITED KINGDOM, Scotland: On 21 May 2016, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland voted 339-215 to allow its ministers to be in same-sex marriage, extending a law passed last May that permits ministers to be in same-sex civil partnerships. The church maintains the traditional view marriage as between a man and woman, but allows individual congregations to ''opt out'' if they wish to appoint a minister or deacon in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership.

20 May 2016

Honolulu settles with same-sex couple jailed after kissing for $80,000

UNITED STATES, Honolulu: On 20 May 2016, it was reported that the City and County of Honolulu agreed to pay same-sex couple Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero $80,000 to settle their discrimination lawsuit accusing Honolulu police officer Bobby Harrison of discrimination, assault and battery, and violation of their Fourth Amendment rights following his observing their holding hands and kissing while shopping at a grocery store in Pupukea.

18 May 2016

Seychelles parliament passes bill to decriminalize sodomy

SEYCHELLES: On 18 May 2016, it was reported that the National Assembly had passed (14 out of 28 members present voted in favour, the remainder abstained) the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2016, amending Section 151 of the penal code to decriminalize the act of sodomy. The amendment will come into force on the day it is gazetted as an act by the Attorney General’s Office. For this to happen the bill needs to be assented by the president and sent back to the National Assembly.

17 May 2016

Florida Department of Health Now Issuing Birth Certificates That List Married Same-Sex Spouses

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 05 May 2016, the Department of Health instructed all hospitals and birthing centers in Florida to begin issuing birth certificates to married same-sex couples who have given birth to a child that list them as ''mother'' and ''father'' and the order is retroactive. In order to waive the $20 amendment fee listed, couples should contact Betty Shannon at the Office of Vital Statistics at: (904-359-6990),
Same-Sex Partner Not Spouse for New Jersey Estate Tax Break

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 11 May 2106, Judge Patrick DeAlmeida in the New Jersey Tax Court ruled ruled that Rucksapol Jiwungkul Maurice R. Connolly, Jr., being registered as a same-sex domestic partners under New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act (DPA), doesn't qualify the surviving partner Jiwungkul to be treated as a spouse for estate tax purposes, and the couple failed to take advantage of other options that would have afforded tax relief.
• Opinion: Rucksapol Jiwungkul, as Executor of the Estate of Maurice R. Connolly, Jr. v. Director, Division of Taxation No. 009346-2015 PDF 111.37kb 11 MAY 16

16 May 2016

This Little-Noticed Supreme Court Action Is Great News for Transgender Restroom Access

UNITED STATES: On 16 May 2016, the US Supreme Court declined to review the court's 1997 ruling in Auer v. Robbins, in which the court held that federal agencies should be free to interpret their own regulations, unless the interpretation is ''plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation''. The decision has supportive implications in the Obama administration's directive to public schools that Title IX's ban on sex discrimination requires allowing transgender students to use facilities that match their gender identities.
• Opinion: United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Bible No. 15-861 PDF 54.34kb 16 MAY 16

15 May 2016

Denmark to Become First in World to Drop Classification of Transgender as Mental Illness

DENMARK: On 15 May 2016, it was reported that by 01 January 2017, Denmark will be the first country that does not categorize being transgender as having a mental disorder.

13 May 2016

Morocco: same-sex marriage in Spanish enclaves sparks uproar

MOROCCO: On 13 May 2106, it was reported that a same-sex marriage between a Moroccan man and an Algerian one in the Spanish enclave of Melilla has sparked controversy in Morocco. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Spain since 2005.
New Hampshire Senate Passes Bill Prohibiting Gay Conversion Therapy For Minors

UNITED STATES, New Hampshire: On 12 May 2016, Senate reached agreement on a bill (HB1661) to ban gay conversion therapy on minors. On 19 May, the House Non-Concurs with Senate Amendment 1974s. Bill to House Conference Committee on 24 May.
Portuguese Lawmakers Extend Pregnancy Rights to Gay Women

PORTUGAL: On 13 May 2016, the parliament voted to change the law to allow gay women access to artificial insemination, which previously was restricted to heterosexuals who were married or living together for more than two years.
Judge: Law doesn't cover gay hate crimes in ex-player's case

UNITED STATES, West Virginia: On 13 May 2016, Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Paul Farrell ruled that West Virginia law doesn't consider violence or threats of violence based solely on a victim's sexual orientation to be a hate crime. On 12 February 2016, the State Supreme Court declined to docket the Circuit Court certified question (3-2) ''Whether the provisions of West Virginia Code § 61-6-21 embodies a protection of an individual’s civil rights if the violative act is based solely upon said individual’s sexual orientation''.
• Order: State of West Virginia v. Steward Butler No. 15-F-242 PDF 233.62kb 13 MAY 16

12 May 2016

Court Of Appeal Dismisses Married Lesbian Couple's Appeal Challenging Removal To India On Human Rights Grounds

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 12 May 2016, the Court of Appeal delivered judgment in the context of immigration and human rights law and same-sex migrant couples, who have entered into a civil partnership, or marriage, and are challenging removal on the basis that the country of origin provides no legal recognition or protection of their relationship. The Court held that the Appellants cannot resist removal to India as this would not be a flagrant denial or violation of their right to a family life and/or would be proportionate on the basis of the United Kingdom's right to immigration control and a lack of evidence that the couple will suffer violence on returm.
• Judgment: SB and CB v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 451 HTML 12 MAY 16
Same-sex marriages now legal in Campeche

MEXICO, Campeche: On 12 May 2106, the Campeche congress endorsed same-sex marriage with 34 votes in favor and only one against. The amendments to the Campeche state Civil and Criminal Codes make Campeche one of the first Mexican states to allow union between persons of the same sex without any hindrance.
Campaigners prepare for same-sex referendum

BERMUDA: On 11 May 2106, a formal notice was published in the Official Gazette confirming that the referendum on same-sex marriage and civil unions will be held on 23 June.

11 May 2016

Factbox: Italy's new civil unions law

ITALY: Italy's new civil unions law extends to gays some of the same rights and protections that married heterosexual couples currently enjoy. The main elements of the law are set out in this article.
Italian parliament gives gay unions the green light

ITALY: On 11 May 2016, the lower house of parliament voted 369-193 in favour of a vote of confidence in the government over the civil unions issue, making approval of the contentious bill allowing civil unions between homosexuals automatic. The Bill extends some the rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, such as the right to receive a deceased partners' pension, to inherit each others' assets and to take each others' surnames. but does not allow gay couples the right to adopt the biological children of their partners.

10 May 2016

China transgender case: 'Mr C' vows fight on for equality

CHINA: On 10 May 2016, it was reported that a tribunal in Guizhou province rejected the complaint of F2M transgender Mr C that he was fired unfairly from a city of Guiyang health centre reportedly for wearing men's clothes. The tribunal awarded him unpaid wages but has ruled that his dismissal was legal.

09 May 2016

Court overturns decision to deport gay Caribbean asylum seeker

CANADA: On 09 May 2016, Judge Anne Marie McDonald in the Federal Court was reported to have overturned a decision from the Refugee Appeal Division that found Rolstan Ryan, a gay asylum seeker from St Kitts and Nevis, was not refugee. The Judge found that the RAD had no basis upon which to make the assumption that the law making homosexuality unlawful isn't enforced. Ryan's case will go back to the RAD.

08 May 2016

Government to recognize gay, lesbian partners of fallen soldiers

ISRAEL: On 08 May 2016, it was reported that Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) had announced that the government will recognize gay and lesbian partners of fallen soldiers as bereaved families, saying ''We view single-sex bereaved families and heterosexual bereaved families the same''.

05 May 2016

Feds: North Carolina LGBT bathroom law violates civil rights protections

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 04 May 2016, in a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, the US Justice Department said federal officials view the state HB2 law as violating federal Civil Rights Act protections barring workplace discrimination based on sex. Provisions of the state law directed at transgender state employees violate their anti-discrimination protections and can't be enforced.
• US Justice Department: Letter to Governor Pat McCrory PDF 547.51kb 04 MAY 16

02 May 2016

Virginia Supreme Court recognizes unmarried same-sex couples are legal too

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 28 April 2016, the State Supreme Court reversed a Fairfax County judge and the Virginia Court of Appeals ruling that Michael Luttrell was obliged to pay spousal support to his divorced wife Samantha Cucco even though she had subsequently cohabited in a same-sex partnership. The Court ruled that a gay couple can be legally considered to have ''a relationship analogous to marriage'', reversing and remanding the case to the Court of Appeals and Circuit Court.
• Opinion: Michael Allen Littrell v. Samantha Mary Jo Cucco No. 160770 PDF 56.90kb 28 APR 16

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