GayLawNews™

September 2016

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30 September 2016

Gay asylum seeker granted last-minute reprieve from deportation to Uganda

CANADA: On 30 September 2016, Border agency officials have suspended Saturday's deportation of Ugandan asylum seeker Yvonne Niwahereza Jele for a year and agreed to hear her new evidence following Ugandan news reports that she was facing charges of committing ''unnatural offences'' and ''indecent practices'' and police in Kampala were looking for her. The federal court also agreed to set aside the refugee board's decision to refuse Jele's asylum claim, and to hear the application for judicial review on 19 December. However, the court is authorized only to review whether the refugee board made any legal errors and cannot accept new evidence.
Virginia Man Convicted in Vermont Same-Sex Kidnap Case

UNITED STATES, New York: On 28 September 2016, Virginian businessman Philip Zodhiates was convicted by a federal jury in the US District Court, Buffalo of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy for helping Lisa Miller take her daughter out of the country to avoid losing custody to her former civil union partner Janet Jenkins. Zodhiates had driven Lisa Miller and 7-year-old Isabella Miller-Jenkins from Virginia to the Canadian border in 2009 so they could fly from Toronto to Nicaragua, and had helped with their living arrangements in the Central American nation. His sentencing is scheduled for 30 January 2017.
East African Court of Justice dismisses homosexuality case

UGANDA: On 27 September 2016, the panel of three judges of the Arusha-based East African Court of Justice held that the regional court could not pronounce itself on the matter where there were no disputes since the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 had been annulled by the Constitutional Court in Uganda. The Human Rights Awareness & Promotion Forum had challenged the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 as being contrary to the rule of law and good governance.
• Judgment: Human Rights Awareness & Promotion Forum (HRAPF) v. The Attorney General for Uganda No. 6 of 2014 PDF 1011.76kb 27 SEP 16

29 September 2016

Haiti's first LGBT film festival cancelled after death threats and police ban

HAITI: On 29 September 2016, it was reported that Port-au-Prince police ordered organisers to ban Haiti's first LGBT film festival after senators said the festival posed ''great danger'' to Haitian families. Organisers cancelled the event following threats to burn down the venue and receipt of death and arson threats via social media and telephone calls.
California Adopts Groundbreaking All-Gender Restroom Access Law

UNITED STATES, California: On 29 September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1732 into law beginning 01 March. California is the first state in the nation to adopt legislation requiring that all single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and other places of public accommodation be open to all genders.
• Bill: Assembly Bill No. 1732
Transgender Broward teen wins right to change birth record from F to M

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 28 September 2016, Leon Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ordered the Florida Department of Health to change the birth certificate of a 15-year-old Broward teenager from ''female'' to ''male''.
• Final Order: Florida Department of Health etc. v. Certain Parents and Child No. 2016-CA-1529 PDF 2MB 28 SEP 16

28 September 2016

Sexual assault law is gender-neutral, applicable to female offenders: Chief Justice

SINGAPORE: On 28 September 2016, the Court of Appeal ruled that both men and women can be found guilty of the offence of sexual penetration of minors. Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said on behalf of the three-judge panel that Section 376A of the Penal Code is ''gender-neutral and capable of applying to a female offender''. The Court overturned Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu's decision to acquit F2M transgender Zunika Ahmad, reinstating his conviction.
Judge dismisses part of gay District of Columbia cop's bias lawsuit

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 26 September 2016, US District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed the three of eleven counts in response to a motion filed in January by DC Attorney General Karl Racine asserting that former Metropolitan Police Department Officer Christopher Lilly failed to state a valid claim that the alleged discrimination violated his First and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights. The Court ordered the MPD to respond to the remaining counts alleged to violate the DC Human Rights Act and Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 by 10 October.

26 September 2016

Californian Becomes Second US Citizen Granted 'Non-Binary' Gender Status

UNITED STATES, California: On 26 September 2016, Superior Court Judge Robert B Atack granted the application of intersex Sara M Keenan to lawfully change her designated gender from female to ''non-binary'', becoming the second US citizen to do so after Oregonian Jamie Shupe on 10 June. The Court ordered the name of Sara M Keenan be changed to Kelly S Keenan.
• Decree Changing Name and Gender: Sara M Keenan No. 16 CV 02024 PDF 386.42kb 26 SEP 16
Two transgender women refused entry at HK airport

HONG KONG: On 26 September 2016, it was reported that two transgender women were told by immigration officers that they did not believe they were there to shop and sight see and that they did not satisfy them as to the purpose of their trip. The pair were then asked but refused to sign documents concerning their gender and were reportedly asked by officers if they were ''cut already'', referring to their gender re-assignment surgery.
Judge to Ohio school: 'Treat Jane Doe as the girl she is'

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 26 September 2016, US District Judge Algenon L Marbley ruled in favor of transgender elementary school student Jane Doe seeking to use the Highland Elementary School restroom consistent with her gender identity, ordering the school to ''treat Jane Doe as the girl she is'', which includes referring to her by female pronouns.
• Opinion & Order: Board of Education of the Highland Local School v. United States Department of Education, et al. No. 2:16-CV-524 PDF 150.63kb 26 SEP 16

23 September 2016

If Pain, Yes Gain – Part XXII: Morristown No. 13 in New Jersey to Pass Paid Sick Leave Law

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 13 September 2016, the Morristown, NJ, Town Council passed a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance (O-35-2016: the ''Morristown Ordinance''). Employees may use accrued paid sick time for their or their family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, or need for preventive care and in other circumstances. Family member includes an employee's child, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner and other immediate family members. The ordinance becomes effective on 04 October 2016.
• Ordinance: An Ordinance of the Town of Morrisdtown in the County of Morris, New Jersey, to Implement Paid Sick Leave O-35-2016 PDF 111.21kb

21 September 2016

Running A Community Group Could Cost Organisers Their House

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 21 September 2016, it was suggested that in the event of physical injury occurring at an organised community gathering, Medicare may not provide cover, referring the injured to the organisers public liability insurance. Where there is no such insurance, all the people that organised the event (even if there is a committee or not) may become personally liable, even if they weren’t there. In taking out a public liability insurance policy, take care to ensure your activities are covered.
Judge dismisses challenge to state's gay-marriage law

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 20 September 2016, US District Judge Max O Cogburn dismissed the complaint of Kay Diane Ansley, her partner and two other couples, challenging Senate Bill 2 that allows government officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if they cite religious objections, ruling they lacked legal standing to sue and lacked evidence showing they were harmed directly by the law that took effect in June 2015
• Order: Kay Diane Ansley, et al. v. Marion Warren No. 1:16-cv-00054-MOC-DLH PDF 340.63kb 20 SEP 16
Guernsey officially approves same-sex marriage

GUERNSEY: On 21 September 2016, Members of the States voted 33 to 5 to officially legalize same-sex marriage. The legislation now goes to the Privy Council for approval.
Judge grants transgender Kenosha student access to bathroom

UNITED STATES, Wisconsin: On 22 September 2016, US District Judge Pamela Pepper signed an order granting a temprorary injunction, ruling that the Kenosha Unified School District must allow F2M transgender student Ashton Whitaker to use bathrooms consistent with his gender identity while his lawsuit progresses through the courts.
• Decision and Order: Ashton Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 Board of Educaton & Anor N0. 2:16-cv-00943 PDF 131.49kb 22 SEP 16

20 September 2016

North Carolina court rejects magistrates' gay marriage lawsuit

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 20 September 2016, Judge George B Collins Jr in the General Court of Justice Superior Court Division ruled that former magistrates Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland lacked standing for their lawsuit because local judges have power to appoint, suspend or fire them - not state officials who sent the state guidance memo that they could lose their jobs if they refused to perform gay marriages.
• Order: Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland v. Marion R Warren No. 15 CV 004434 PDF 101.23kb 19 SEP 16
Christian Calligraphers Lose First Court Battle Over Same-Sex Invitations

UNITED STATES, Arizona: On 19 September 2016, Judge Karen A Mullins in the Superior Court of Arizona filed an Under Advisement Ruling denying the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction of the plaintiffs Brush & Nib Studio L C, et al. The plaintiffs challenged the Phoenix ordinance making it illegal for people to discriminate based on sexual orientation in public places, the work place and housing, seeking to exempt them from being forced to create products (wedding invitations) that are used in a same-sex wedding. The Court also denied the Motion to Dismiss of the defendant City of Phoenix.
• Opinion: Brush & Nib Studio LC, et al. v. City of Phoenix CV 2016-052251 PDF 391.32kb 19 SEP 16
Romania Postpones Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage of US Citizen

ROMANIA: On 20 September 2016, the Consitutional Court was reported to have again postponed ruling on a petition to recognize the same-sex marriage of US citizen Claibourn Robert Hamilton and Romanian national Adrian Coman. The couple were lawfully married six years ago in Belgium, live in the United States and planned to relocate for work and ultimately retire to Romania. The case is rescheduled for 27 October.

19 September 2016

Arizona court passes ruling equating changing a nappy with paedophilia

UNITED STATES, Arizona: On 13 September 2016, in a 3-2 decision, the State Supreme Court defined ''sexual contact'' under the child molestation statute, A.R.S. § 13-1410(A), and the sexual abuse statute, A.R.S. § 13-1404(A), as ''any direct or indirect touching, fondling or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus or female breast by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact''. Chief Justice Bales and Justice Brutinel dissented in part writing: ''Parents and other caregivers who have changed an infant's soiled diaper or bathed a toddler will be surprised to learn that they have committed a class 2 or 3 felony'' by ''intentionally or knowingly'' touching the genitals or anus of a child or the breast of a female younger than fifteen.
• Opinion: Chelsea Torres and Jessamy Torres v. Linda Seemeyer PDF 141.63kb 14 SEP 16
Pentagon to cover sex-reassignment surgery for transgender active-duty troops

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 19 September 2016, Defense Department spokesman Air Force Major Ben Sakrisson reportedly said that active-duty personnel may qualify for sex-reassignment surgery if their doctors recommend it and senior military health officials approve it. Gender reassignment surgeries for active-duty personnel will be conducted at either a military hospital or, if qualified care is unavailable at a military facility, at a private hospital paid by Tricare. The benefit does not apply to non-active duty Tricare beneficiaries. Starting 03 October, the military health program will cover therapy and hormone treatments for Tricare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria but not surgery.

16 September 2016

Hundreds Of Millions Of People May Soon Be Blocked From Using Grindr

INDONESIA: On 15 September 2016, it was reported that Aidil Chendramata, director of information security for the Ministry of Communications, said that a meeting of representatives from the Ministry of Human Development, the National Police, and the Ministry of Religious Affairs had agreed to block websites promoting LGBT.
Wilkes-Barre council OKs anti-discrimination ordinance

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 15 September 2016, the Wilkes-Barre City Council unanimously passed an amendment to the current anti-discrimination law to include provisions protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing, public accommodations and postsecondary educational institutions. The ordinance comes into effect in 10 days.
Queensland Government lowers age of consent for anal sex to 16

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 15 September 2016, the Parliament voted lower the age for consensual anal sex to 16 years, into line with all other lawful sexual acts and ending ''archaic'' legislation against homosexuals. The word sodomy will also be replaced with anal intercourse in the Criminal Code to help reduce stigma.

15 September 2016

Same-sex couple in Wisconsin will get both names on child’s birth certificate after legal battle

UNITED STATES, Wisconsin: On 14 September 2016, District Judge Barbara B Crabb ruled that same-sex couples who conceived a child through artificial insemination, and gave birth from the time gay marriage became legal in Wisconsin through 02 May 2016 should get a two-parent birth certificate.
• Opinion: Chelsea Torres and Jessamy Torres v. Linda Seemeyer PDF 141.63kb 14 SEP 16
EU Court of Justice rules open Wi-Fi hotspots may need a password, ending anonymity PDF

EUROPEAN UNION: On 15 September 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the operator of a shop who offers a Wi-Fi network free of charge to the public is not liable for copyright infringements committed by users of that network. However, such an operator may be required to password-protect its network in order to bring an end to, or prevent, such infringements.
Judgment: Tobias McFadden v. Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH HTML

14 September 2016

Michigan schools set new inclusive policy for transgender students

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 14 September 2016, the State Board of Education voted 6-2 in favor of voluntary guidelines aimed at creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQ students.
• Department of Education Memorandum: Discussion and Consideration of Action on Statement and Guidance on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students PDF 233.03kb, 30 AUG 16

10 September 2016

Relief for three clerics in gay row as court orders ACK to reinstate them

KENYA: On 09 September 2016, Justice Byram Ongaya in the Employment and Labour Relations Court at Nyeri ordered the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) to reinstate Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, the Rev James Maina Maigua and the Rev Paul Mwangi Warui, three clergy kicked out of the church on allegations of homosexuality, finding the dismissal from the church was unfair.
Government to appeal sections of High Court ruling on sodomy law

BELIZE: On 10 September 2016, Prime Minister Barrow was reported to have signalled that the Government would appeal the Chief Justice's decision regarding the constitutionality of Section 53 of the Criminal Code, in so far as it extends or expands the definition of sex in the Constitution to include sexual orientation.
Aruba Parliament approves civil unions for same-sex couples

ARUBA: On 08 September 2016, the Parliament reportedly voted 11-5 with four abstentions to amend civil code regulations related to marriage to cover same-sex unions. Those articles include such things as the right to a spouse's pension in case of death or to make emergency medical decisions.

08 September 2016

British Columbia finally passes province-wide LGBT school policy

CANADA, British Columbia: On 08 September 2016, provincial education minister Mike Bernier announced that every school district in British Columbia must add explicit protections for LGBT students to their anti-bullying policies by the end of 2016.
Sex reassignment surgery is now legal in the United Arab Emirates

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: On 08 September 2016, it was reported that the government had passed Federal Decree No 4, a series of changes to reduce doctors' criminal liability. Under the new law, doctors can perform sex reassignment surgery as long as the patient shows they are suffering from gender dysphoria. The law also requires the patient undergoing surgery to receive mental health care to 'psychologically prepare' patients for the transition.

06 September 2016

Regina court upholds right to reject offensive, anti-gay advertising

CANADA, Saskatchewan: On 06 September 2016, it was reported that Justice Darryl Brown in Regina Court of Queen's Bench dismissed Hugh Owens' claim of discrimination arising from the rejection of his anti-gay newspaper advertisement by the Leader-Post. Justice Brown said Postmedia's freedom of expression in the context of freedom of the press is more significantly impacted than Mr. (Hugh) Owens' freedom of religion in the circumstances here.

05 September 2016

Finland: Church won't allow pastors to officiate gay weddings

FINLAND: On 12 July 2016, it was reported that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which has around four million members, has issued guidelines to church leaders that says the new law permitting same-sex weddings that comes into force of 01 March 2017, will ''have no effect on the rights of pastors to officiate church weddings''.

02 September 2016

Nebraska agrees to treat transgender prisoner who filed lawsuit

UNITED STATES, Nebraska: On 02 September 2016, it was reported that in settlement of a Federal lawsuit, the Department of Correctional Services would provide treatment for transgender prison inmate Riley Nicole Shadle and acknowledged that Shadle has gender dysphoria.
Transgender Inmate Denied Access to the Courts

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 26 August 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of 24-year-old M2F transgender Aileta Jane Ilana (born Christopher James Swicegood) an inmate at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg, stating she had failed to timely file the petition for appeal. On January 19, 2016, without hearing anything from her (she being imprisoned), Judge Nathan C. Lee denied her petition, reasoning that being transgender is not ''good cause'' for a name change. Swicegood has received treatment for her gender dysphoria and has started the transition from a male to a female presentation but has been denied any assistance in the law.
Texas Supreme Court Justice: States Can Deny Same-Sex Spousal Benefits to ''Encourage Procreation''

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 02 September 2016, the State Supreme Court refused to review a lower court ruling holding that cities may not deprive married same-sex couples the benefits it provides to opposite-sex couples. Judge John P Devine dissented, finding a distinction between marriage as a fundamental right and spousal benefits that are not.
• Dissenting Opinion: Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks v. Mayor Sylvester Turner & Ors No. 15-0688 PDF 89.83kb 02 SEP 16

01 September 2016

UNHRC President Announces Vitit Muntarbhorn as Proposed Candidate for SOGI Independent Expert Position

UNITED NATIONS: On 30 August 2016, the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) announced Vitit Muntarbhorn, from Thailand, as his chosen candidate for the Independent Expert on the ''protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI)''. The position was mandated by the passing of resolution A/HRC/RES/32/2. The Independent Expert will serve a three year term with the possibility of holding the position for a maximum of six years.
Same-Sex Couple Marriage Registration Rejected, Tsai's Commitment Questioned

TAIWAN: On 15 August 2016, the Taipei City Zhongzhang District Household Registration Office refused the application of Lu to register her same-sex marriage on the grounds that it ''violated public order and morality to the extent that jeopardizes domestic private law and stability of daily life''. Lu lawfully married her partner in South Africa and had her marriage certificate authenticated by the Taipei Liaison Office in Pretoria.
Adoption equality in Victoria starts today

AUSTRALIA, Victoria: On 01 October 2016, the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015 came into force, giving same-sex couples the same rights in adoption law as heterosexual couples, and gay and lesbian individuals.
Manhattan mom can’t move to England with adopted son till ex-partner makes case for parental rights, judge rules

UNITED STATES, New York: On 01 September 2016, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper ruled that Greenwich Village mom and British citizen Circe Hamilton cancel her plans to move to England with her 6-year-old adopted son until her former partner Kelly Gunn gets a chance to prove she also has parental rights over the boy following the 30 August state Court of Appeals ruling.
• Case (sealed): Kelly Gunn v. Circe Hamilton No. 309154-2016 01 SEP 16

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