April 2017

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29 April 2017

Methodist court ruling a blow for openly lesbian bishop

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 28 April 2017, the United Methodist Church Judicial Council reportedly ruled 6-3 that openly lesbian bishop Karen Oliveto can stay on as leader of the Denver-area church region that is part of the Methodist Western Jurisdiction for now, but she is subject to a disciplinary review that could lead to her removal. The Methodist Western Jurisdiction region, rejected the denomination's position that ''the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching''.

28 April 2017

New Brunswick trans-rights bills pass final reading

CANADA, New Brunswick: On 26 April 2017, the legislature passed Bill 51 (An Act to Amend the Human Rights Act ) adds ''gender identity and expression'' as well as ''family status'' to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination under the province’s human-rights code, and Bill 37 (An Act Respecting the Change of Name Act and the Vital Statistics Act ) amends the Vital Statistics Act to give New Brunswick residents the right to legally change the gender marker on their government-issued ID without requiring gender-confirming surgery. The Bills came into effect upon receipt of Royal Assent on 05 May 2017.
Landmark win for gay Hong Kong civil servant over husband’s benefits

HONG KONG: On 28 April 2017, Mr Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming in the High Court concluded that the Benefits Decision amounts to unlawful discrimination against Leung Chun-kwong based on his sexual orientation and said that gay couple Leung Chun-kwong and Scott Adams, who in 2014 married in New Zealand, should have the same civil and tax benefits as their married heterosexual counterparts.
• Judgment: Leung Chun Kwong v. Secretary for the Civil Service and Anor HCAL258/2016 HTML 28 APR 17
Judge: California must allow transgender inmates' earrings

UNITED STATES, California: On 28 April 2017, US District Judge Jon Tigar issued an order in a case brought by transgender inmate Shiloh Heavenly Quine requiring prison officials provide free undergarments that flatten the chest of transgender inmates at women's prisons and give transgender inmates at men's prisons access to bracelets, earrings, hair brushes and hair clips.
Appeals court reinstates transgender man's lawsuit against Jersey City police

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 27 April 2017, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division found that the ''hostile environment'' allegations against the Jersey City Police Department officers who made demeaning, insulting and threatening comments about the F2M transgender status of Shakeem Malik Holmes contrary to the Law Against Discrimination could be sustained, reversing the dismissal order and remanding the matter for trial.
• Opinion: Shakeem Malik Holmes v. Jersey City Police Department A-1634-15T3 PDF 63.59kb 27 APR 17

26 April 2017

Yukon government introduces trans-rights bill

CANADA, Yukon Territory: On 25 April 2017, the Government introduced Bill 5 to amend the Yukon Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on ''gender identity or gender expression'' and to amend the Vital Statistics Act (2017) to allow a change of gender on a birth certificate without gender-confirming surgery. The revised act will also allow gender-neutral markers to be used on birth certificates.
Guyana to hold referendum on decriminalizing homosexuality

GUYANA: On 26 April 2017, it was reported that the government had announced in a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) it would hold a referendum on whether homosexuality should remain illegal. There was no indication as to when the referendum would be held.
Israel Gets First Same-Sex Conjugal Prison Visit

ISRAEL: On 26 April 2017, it was reported that the Israel Prison Service for the first time had granted prisoner Zaor Hankishayev a conjugal visit from his partner. In 2016, the Beersheba District Court reportedly recognized Hankishayev and his partner as having a civil union and accepted Hankishayev's accusation that his conjugal visit rejection stemmed from discrimination because he is gay.

22 April 2017

Court allows Chicago church to fire gay worker under religious exemption

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 18 April 2017, Judge Charles P Kocoras in the US District Court rejected Chicago-based music director Colin Collette's claim he was unlawfully fired from the Holy Family Parish Catholic church for being gay, finding the parish can legally terminate the employee under the religious exemptions of civil rights laws, Collette proposed marriage to his longtime partner Will Nifong and upon learning of Collette's engagement, the Defendants terminated his employment on 27 July 2014.
• Order: Colin Collette v. Holy Family Parish, Archdiocese of Chicago No. 1:16-cv-02912 PDF 41.95kb 18 APR 17

18 April 2017

Posting private nude photos is now a crime in the Navy and Marine Corps

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 18 April 2017, it was reported that the Navy and Marine Corps announced that Article 1168 of the Navy regulations went into effect to ban distributing any ''intimate image'' with the intent to ''humiliate, harass, or threaten that person ­ or a reckless disregard that they would face humiliation, threats, or harassment''.
• Regulation: US Navy Regulation, 1990 Interim Change ALNAV 021/17, 18 APR 17
South Korea Military Allegedly Outs Gay Soldiers

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: On 18 April 2017, it was reported by campaign group the Military Human Rights Center for Korea (MHRCK) that General Jang Jun-kyu, the army chief of staff, had launched a ''track-down process'' to locate and expose suspected gay personnel. It is alleged that up to 50 soldiers have been outed after being lured in by fake profiles on popular gay dating apps. It has been reported that 20 personnel are now facing serious charges.
2nd Circuit (again) finds anti-gay discrimination legal under Title VII

UNITED STATES, New York: On 18 April 2017, the Court of Appeasl for the Second Circuit unanimously ruled that anti-gay discrimination is not prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of the 1964, citing the Simonton v.Runyon, 232 F.3d 33 (2d Cir. 2000) case. Donald Zarda (now deceased) sued Altitude Express asserting he was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor because of sexual-orientation discrimination in violation of New York state law and sex under ''Title VII''.
• Opinion: Melissa Zarda and William Allen Moore Jr v. Altitude Express and Ray Maynard No. 15-3775 PDF 190.78kb 18 APR 17

17 April 2017

Common-law marriages of same-sex couples must be recognized, Pennsylvania court rules

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 17 April 2017, the Superior Court ruled that a same-sex couple had a legitimate common-law marriage decades before same-sex marriage became legal in Pennsylvania, meaning the surviving partner Michael Hunter has the same legal rights, including shared property rights, that any other widow or widower would have following their spouse's death. The ruling opens the door to the recognition of other same-sex common-law marriages that were entered into before the state abolished common-law marriage in January 2005.
• Opinion: In Re: Estate of Carter, S., Appeal of: Hunter, M. 1126 WDA 2016 PDF 178.13kb 17 APR 17

14 April 2017

India just made it illegal to discriminate against people living with HIV

INDIA: On 11 April 2017, the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill reportedly passed in the federal parliament. The bill makes it illegal to discriminate against PLHIV and requires all state governments to establish an ombudsman to investigate violations of the new law. Another clause requires the government to provide free treatment 'as far as possible', this latter being seen by some as a loophole.
Woman loses landmark same-sex custody battle

UNITED STATES, New York: On 14 April 2017, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Frank Nervo ruled that Kelly Gunn didn't have an ''unabated plan'' to adopt and raise a child with Circe Hamilton. Even though the women had discussed adopting a child together, by the time Hamilton went through with the process, she and Gunn had already split up and Gunn had stated ''on numerous occasions that she did not want to be a parent''.
Virginia Supreme Court dismisses Fairfax school district lawsuit

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 13 April 2017, the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel on behalf of Traditional Values Coalition President Andrea Lafferty and an unnamed minor and his parents, that challenged the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Fairfax County School District's nondiscrimination policy, ruling Lafferty and the other plaintiffs did not have legal standing to challenge the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in the policy.
• Opinion: Andrea Lafferty, et al. v. School Board of Fairfax County No. 160777 PDF 50.67kb 13 APR 17
Falklands passes same sex marriage bill; invites non residents to share the legislation

FALKLAND ISLANDS: On 30 March 2017, the Legislative Assembly voted strongly in favor of reform and passed the Marriage Bill, allowing same sex marriage and civil partnerships for both resident and non-resident same sex couples and heterosexual couples.

11 April 2017

Sandoval signs law for transgender ID in foster, court care

UNITED STATES, Nevada: On 11 April 2017, Governor Brian Sandoval was reported to have signed Assembly Bill 99 into law mandating foster care facilities and juvenile courts treat transgender children as their identifying gender. It also establishes training for state employees and foster parents on working with foster kids who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning their sexuality.

10 April 2017

Calling a man ''ladybug'' is discriminatory: Constitutional Court (in Spanish)

COLOMBIA: On 10 April 2017, the Constitutional Court reportedly ruled in favor of a Barranquilla man, the victim of verbal aggressions of neighbors.The Court noted the LGBT community is constitutionally protected and that such discriminatory acts go against the law and are unacceptable.
Fiji confirms ban on homosexual blood donors

FIJI: On 10 April 2017, it was reported that the health ministry in Fiji confirmed homosexuals are banned from donating blood because they are seen as high-risk donors.
Social Security update for same-sex couples

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 10 April 2017, InvestmentNews published updated guidance for same-sex couple seeking to claim benefits as a spouse, surviving spouse or ex-spouse and qualifying minimum length of marriage requirements.

07 April 2017

New Mexico Governor Signs Into Law Bill Protecting LGBTQ Youth From ''Conversion Therapy''

UNITED STATES, New Mexico: On 07 April 2017, Governor Susana Martinez signed SB-121 into law. The law bans doctors, nurses, and licensed therapists from any attempt to talk to clients about recovering from gay temptation. It also prohibits any professional from helping a boy accept that he is a male or a girl accept that she is a female.
Court upholds ruling in favor of same-sex couples seeking to adopt foster kids

UNITED STATES, Nebraska: On 07 April 2017, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the ruling of District Court for Lancaster County John A Colborn in favor of three same-sex couples who said a state policy prevented them from adopting foster kids because of their sexual orientation.
• Opinion: Greg Stewart et al. v. Dave Heineman 296Neb. 262 PDF 704.58kb 07 APR 17

06 April 2017

India's government just declared trans people can use whichever public toilet they want

INDIA: On 06 April 2017, it was reported that the Ministry of Sanitation had created new guidelines allowing trans people to use the public restroom of their choice.
Osaka men become first gay couple to foster a child in Japan

JAPAN, Osaka: On 05 April 2017, the Osaka city government announced it had recognized two men in their 40s and 30s respectively as foster parents. They had been living with a teenage boy since February and were granted official foster parent status.
European court: Forced sterilization of trans people violates human rights

EUROPE, France: On 06 April 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled 6-1 that the forced sterilization of three French transgender people who are seeking legal recognition of their gender identity violates their human rights.
• Judgment (in French): A.P., Garcon and Nicot v. France Nos.79885/12, 52471/13 et 52596/13 HTML 06 APR 17
Federal fair housing law protects LGBT couples, court rules for first time

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 05 April 2017, Judge Raymond P Moore in the US District Court for the District of Colorado ruled that the federal law barring housing discrimination protects LGBT people. The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to rent or sell housing to anyone because of “sex, familial status, or national origin.
• Order: Tonya Smith, Joseph Smith v. Deepika Avanti No. 16-cv-00091-RM-MJW PDF 388.54kb 05 APR 17

04 April 2017

Madras HC directs TN govt to build public toilets for transgenders

INDIA, Tamil Nadu: On 04 April 2017, the First Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice Teekaa Raman reportedly directed the Tamil Nadu government to build public toilets cum bathrooms for transgenders, where they live in large numbers in the city.
Federal Court Rules Employers Can't Fire People for Being Gay

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 04 April 2017, the full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-3 that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.
• Opinion: Kimberley Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College 15-1720 PDF 430.67kb 04 APR 17

03 April 2017

In a world first, Singapore’s highest court rules that parents deserve kids with their genes

SINGAPORE: On 22 March 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled in ACB v. Thomson Medical that opposite sex parents have a strong interest in ''genetic affinity'' with their children, one that can merit compensation if subverted. ''Genetic affinity'' is an entirely new legal standard and whether it would be applied in a similar same-sex case is yet to be decided.
• Judgment: ACB v Thomson Medical Pte Ltd & 3 Others [2017] SGCA 20 PDF 830.00kb 22 MAR 17

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