December 2017

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31 December 2017

Australian Telegraph Linked Same-Sex Attraction to Bad Health, Press Council Rules Against

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 20 December 2017, the Australian Press Council ruled that an article in the Australian Daily Telegraph suggesting that there was a link between same sex attraction in young people and bad health was significantly misleading and caused substantial offence, distress, prejudice and risk to public health and safety, and there was no public interest justifying this.
Decision: The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association of Australasia v. The Daily Telegraph No. 1727 HTML 20 DEC 17

29 December 2017

DOJ gives up on appealing court rulings against Trump’s trans ban

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 29 December 2017, it was reported that the Department of Justice is not pursuing litigation challenging multiple court rulings in federal appeals courts ensuring the Pentagon must admit qualified openly transgender people into the US military starting 01 January 2018 and will not seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. The DOJ will still argue on behalf of Trump's policy at the district court level.
Judge slams male couple who 'abdicated their responsibilities' to surrogate child after marriage split

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 28 December 2017, it was reported that Mrs Justice Theis in the High Court refused to declare that the London based ex husband of the biological father in New York, was the other parent of a girl (3) born to a surrogate in Missouri and who lives with her biological father in New York, despite the ex-husband's wish to remain part of her life. The judge said the man had not proved that he had a permanent home in the legal jurisdiction of England or Wales.

28 December 2017

Court upholds $135,000 fine in same-sex wedding cake case

UNITED STATES, Oregon: On 28 December 2017, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a ruling against Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery who denied service to a same-sex couple. The business closed in 2013 though the Kleins continued to run the business out of their home until 2016.
• Opinion: Melissa E Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries No. 289 OR App 507 PDF 347.70kb 28 DEC 17
Court rejects gay man’s bid to adopt biological son born through surrogacy

SINGAPORE: On 26 December 2017, District Judge Shobha Nair reportedly ruled that a gay Singaporean doctor's bid to adopt his biological son, born in the United States through a surrogate mother, had been rejected by the State Courts. The child is now about four years old and an American citizen. He was born with the man's sperm and an egg from an anonymous donor, then carried to term by the surrogate mother.

27 December 2017

Court rejects lesbian marriage appeal

TAIWAN: On 27 December 2017, the Taipei High Administrative Court reportedly rejected an appeal by two women, Liang Tzung-huei and Chu Pei-shuan, against the Taipei City government's refusal to approve their marriage after their request to register as a married couple was rejected by the Household Registration Office in Taipei's Zhongzheng District in 2014 on the grounds that it does not have the authority to pressure household registration offices into recognizing such marriages.

26 December 2017

California federal judge issues fourth injunction against Trump transgender ban

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 22 December 2017, US District Judge Jesus G Bernal granted a preliminary injunction preventing the Trump administration from implementing its plans to ban all transgender individuals from serving in the US military ''in any capacity''.
• Order: Aiden Stockman et al. v. Donal J Trump et al No. EDCV 17-1799 JGB (KKx) PDF 172.33kb 22 DEC 17
Gay Minnesota couple loses appeal based on 1971 marriage license

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 26 December 2017, the Court of Appeals upheld the District Court's refusal to order Blue Earth County to officially record the 1971 marriage license of James Michael McConnell and Pay Lyn McConnell (also known at Richard John Baker), pointing to the incorrect statements made on the marriage license application. The Court also found that the McConnell's had not proven they have suffered a ''particular harm'' from not having their 1971 marriage recorded.
• Opinion: James Michael McConnell, et al. v. Blue Earth County, et al. A17-0668 PDF 302.05kn 26 DEC 17
Minnesota Court of Appeals rules a transgender man's discrimination lawsuit against Starbucks can proceed

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 26 December 2017, the Court of Appeals reinstated transgender man Paul Bray's discrimination lawsuit alleging that employees at Starbucks coffee shops in Eden Prairie and Edina refused to serve him based on his transgender status.
• Opinion: Paul Allen Bray v. Starbucks Corporation, Starbucks Coffee Company No. A17-0823 PDF 284.86kb 26 DEC 17

23 December 2017

Judge rules against fire chief who distributed homophobic book likening homosexuality to beastiality

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 20 December 2017, Judge Leigh Martin May in the US District Court ruled that the City of Atlanta's requirement that city employee obtain prior permission before publishing books was unconstitutional however as the content potentially opened the city to liability for hostile work environment claims, the city was justified in terminating the employment of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochrane and the respective motions for summary judgment were granted in part and denied in part, the parties being given 30 days to file a Pre-Trial Order clearly presenting the issues the parties contend remain.
• Order: Kevin J Cochrane v. City of Atlanta and Anor No. 1:15-CV-0477-LMM PDF 188.60kb 20 DEC 17
A heterosexual same-sex marriage in Dublin

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 23 December 2017, it was reported that friends Matt Murphy (83) and long-term carer Michael O'Sullivan (58) took advantage of an Irish law permitting same-sex marriages and married in Dublin so that O'Sullivan wouldn't have to pay 50,000 euros inheritance tax on Murphy's house after his death.

22 December 2017

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Trump Administration Request to Delay January 1 Transgender Enlistment Date

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 22 December 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered that the emergency motion filed on behalf of President Trump for an administrative stay and partial stay pending appeal be denied.
• Order: Jane Doe 1 et al. v. Donald J Trump et al No. 17-5267 PDF 70.46kb 22 DEC 17
U.S. court rejects Trump bid to stop transgender military recruits on Jan. 1

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 21 December 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied the motion filed on behalf of Donald J Trump and James N Mattis seeking an administrative stay and partial stay pending appeal against the order of a federal judge in Baltimore for the armed forces to begin accepting transgender recruits on 01 January.
• Order: Brock Stone et al. v. Donald J Trump, et al. No. 17-2398 PDF 22.62kb 21 DEC 17

21 December 2017

Plastic Surgeon Violated Disabilities Laws in Denying HIV-Positive Patients Surgery, Court Finds

UNITED STATES, New York: On 20 December 2017, Judge Analisa Torres in the US District Court ruled that the refusal of Emmanuel Asare and Springfield Medical Center to perform surgeries on HIV-positive patients and Mark Milano was a violation of the US Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York City Human Rights Law.
Opinion and Order: United States and Mark Milano v. Emmanuel O Asare and Springfield Medical Aesthetic No. 1:15-cv-03556-AT-AJP PDF 212.51kb 20 DEC 17
Transgender Jewish woman wins review of child contact case

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 20 December 2017, the Court of Appeal held that J, an ultra-Orthodox Jew who left her Haredi community in Manchester to start a new life as a woman, has the right to have her case reviewed after an earlier ruling that she should have no direct contact with her five children. The case was returned to the High Court for a further hearing.
• Judgment: In the Matter of M (Children) [2017] EWFC 4 PDF 598.22kb 20 DEC 17

20 December 2017

In defiance of Trump ban, Pentagon releases detailed policy for recruiting transgender troops

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 08 December 2017, the military distributed its guidance throughout the force despite President Donald Trump's proposed ban announced on Twitter in July and his 25 August Presidential Memorandum.
• Department of Defense: Policy Memorandum 205, Transgender Applicant Processing PDF 398.61KB 08 DEC 17
Arkansas Department of Health Ordered to List Same-Sex Parents on Birth Certificates

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 20 December 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson was reported to have directed state officials to allow for same-sex parents to receive birth certificates with both of their names listed.
This tiny island just passed same-sex marriage

SAINT HELENA: On 20 December 2017, the parliament of the island of Saint Helena reportedly passed 9-2 same-sex marriage legislation. The Bill goes to Governor Lisa Phillips for approval and signing into law. The territory includes the islands of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
Marriage Act amendments permit same sex divorce in Australia

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 20 December, family lawyer Cassandra Pullos was reported to have observed that the passage of marriage equality legislation has also now resolved a ''legal grey area'' for those same-sex couples who were married overseas but are now seeking to divorce (necessary should an Australian resident wish to remarry).

19 December 2017

Australian woman forced to pay back welfare after same-sex marriage legalized

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 19 December 2017, it was reported that a Tasmanian woman whose non-Australian wife lives abroad, was married overseas in 2016. Following the passing of marriage equality law, the woman informed benefits agency Centerlink who have now issued a demand for repayment of AU$6,000, having retrospectively recognised the marriage disentitling her to family payments.
Reading City Council bans conversion therapy

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 18 December 2017, the Reading City Council enacted an ordinance (No. 118/2017) on a 6-0 vote making conversion, reparative or affirmative therapy aimed at eliminating or suppressing homosexuality unlawful.

15 December 2017

Indonesia sentences gay men raided in sex club to up to 3 years in jail

INDONESIA: On 15 December 2017, it was reported that at least ten gay men were sentenced to up to three years jail following a sex club raid in May. The men were charged under anti-pornography laws.

14 December 2017

Rights Court Sides With Italian Couples in Gay Marriage Debate

ITALY: On 14 December, the European Court of Human Rights held 5-2 that Italy's refusal to legally recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married abroad violates the rights to respect for private and family life of the six gay and lesbian couples applicants who sought to have their marriages registered in Italy and were refused. The Court awarded them damages.
• Judgment: Case of Orlandi and Others v. Italy Nos. nos. 26431/12; 26742/12; 44057/12 and 60088/12 HTML 657.89kb 14 DEC 17
Indonesia's Constitutional Court rejects petition to criminalise gay sex in victory for besieged LGBT minority

INDONESIA: On 14 December 2017, it was reported that the Constitutional Court ruled 5-4 against petitioners of the Family Love Alliance seeking to make gay sex and sex outside marriage illegal, saying it's not the Constitutional Court's role to criminalize private behaviour or to usurp parliament by imposing laws on it.

13 December 2017

Bermuda Senate votes to end same-sex marriage in territory

BERMUDA: On 13 December, the Senate passed 8-3 the Domestic Partnership Act 2017. The Bill provides same-sex couples with a raft of legal rights but prevents any further same-sex marriages and reverses the Supreme Court ruling in May that permitted same-sex marriages. It must now be signed by the governor before it becomes law in the Atlantic ocean territory.
Botswana court orders govt to recognise transgender woman as female

BOTSWANA: On 12 December 2017, Justice Leatile Dambe in the High Court ordered the director of the National Registration to issue Tshepo Ricki Kgositau with a new Identity Card identifying her as a female within seven days.

12 December 2017

HIV positive man denied certificate to become a pilot in Scotland

UNITED KINGDOM: On 12 December 2017, it was reported that the Civil Aviation Authority denied a medical certificate to a man applying to become an EasyJet commercial airline pilot because of his HIV positive status. According to European regulations, certain medical conditions, such as being HIV positive or having type 1 diabetes, prevent the CAA from granting medical certificates.
Court Rules Detective Violated Teen Boy's Rights in Sexting Case

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 05 December 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that Manassas City Police Department Detective David E Abbott (now deceased), in investigating allegations that 17-year-old Trey Sims used his cellular telephone to send sexually explicit photographs and video recordings of himself to his 15-year-old girlfriend, allegedly demanded that Sims manipulate his penis to achieve an erection, thereby violating Sim’s right of privacy under the Fourth Amendment.
Opinion: Trey Sims v. Kenneth E Labowitz No. 16-2174 PDF 88.93kb 05 DEC 17
Puerto Rico Senate approves religious freedom bill

PUERTO RICO: On 10 December 2017, the Senate reportedly passed the ''Law for the Protection of Religious Liberty in Puerto Rico'' that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the US commonwealth. The House of Representatives approved the Bill in May
• Legislation (in Spanish): Ley para la Protección de la Libertad Religiosa de Puerto Rico PDF 241.85kb 08 MAY 17
U.S. high court turns away dispute over gay worker protections

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 11 December 2017, the US Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari (a review) in the Jameka K Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital case, meaning the 10 March ruling of the 11th Circuit that workplace discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation does not violate Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 stands.
• Order List: 583 U.S.: Certiorari Denied No. 17-370 PDF (at page 5) 11 DEC 17
US military must accept transgender recruits by Jan. 1, judge rules

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 11 December 2017, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in the District of Columbia denied a motion for a stay of a preliminary injunction requiring the President Trump and the Secretary of Defence to comply by 01 January 2018, allowing transgender individuals to enter the military.
• Order: Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Donald J Trump, et al. No. 1:17-cv-01597-CKK PDF 51.29kb 11 DEC 17

11 December 2017

Third court rules against Trump’s transgender military ban

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 11 December 2017, US District Judge Marsha J Pechman in Seattle ruled President Trump's ban on transgender people in the armed forces is unconstitutional finding that the plaintiffs had established a likelihood of success on the merits of their equal protection, substantive due process, and First Amendment claims and granted a preliminary injunction to protect the status quo.
• Order: Ryan Karnoski, et al. v. Donald J Trump, et al. No. C17-1297-MJP PDF 203.99kb 11 DEC 17

09 December 2017

House: MPs approve domestic partnerships

BERMUDA: On 08 December, the House of Assembly passed 24-10 the Domestic Partnership Act 2017. The Bill will provide same-sex couples with a raft of legal rights but prevent any further same-sex marriages. The legislation would not have retroactive affect on same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court ruling in the Godwin and DeRoche case against the Registrar-General.

08 December 2017

Gay couple thrown out of cab in Philly win discrimination case almost a decade later

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 08 December 2017, it was reported that the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations had ruled that PHL Taxi violated the city's non-discrimination law and ordered the company to pay Mark Seaman $500 after their driver threw Seaman and his partner Daniel out of the cab for kissing when they were leaving Philadelphia International Airport in December 2009.
Arkansas resumes issuing birth certificates after judge halted program

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 08 December 2017, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ordered injunctive relief in the Nathaniel Smith, et al. v. Marisa N Pavan and Terrah D Pavan, et al. case ordering the Department of Health to cease issuing all birth certificates unless and until such time as the the Department are able to issue birth certificates to all same sex spouses and opposite sex spouses in accordance with the mandate from the United States Supreme Court and the Arkansas Supreme Court. Within hours, the governor's office ordered the Health Department to comply with a US Supreme Court ruling and list the spouse of the woman who gives birth as a parent, regardless of gender.
• Injunction: Nathaniel Smith, et al. v. Marisa N Pavan and Terrah D Pavan, et al. No. 60CV-15-3153 PDF 32.73kb. 08 DEC 17
Supreme Court Of Canada Rules Text Messages Are Private

CANADA, Federal: On 08 December 2017, in a potentially significant 5-2 ruling, the Supreme Court set aside the convictions of a man whose messages were found by police on the mobile phone of an alleged accomplice. The ruling suggests that Canadians can expect the texts they send to remain private ­ at least in some cases ­ even after the messages reach their destination.
Judgment: R. v. Marakah 2017 SCC 59 PDF 565.60kb 08 DEC 17
Same-sex marriage is now legal in Australia

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 08 December 2017, the Governor-General assented to the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017. The government has set Saturday, December 9 as the date the new laws will take effect and the Attorney-General’s office has confirmed this means weddings can take place from January 9. This is because couples need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage one month before their ceremonies.

07 December 2017

Australian Parliament finally passes equal marriage legislation

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 07 December 2017, the lower House of Representatives finally passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017. The upper house Senate has already passed the Bill that will come into force the day the Act receives Royal Assent. The definition of ''marriage'' will be amended to read ''2 people'', replacing the 2004 Howard Government amendment that inserted the definition: ''marriage'' means the union of one man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

05 December 2017

UK's refusal of transgender pension unlawful: EU Court

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 05 December 2017, Advocate General Bobek in the European Court of Justice issued a preliminary ruling holding that the UK requirement for a transgender person (MB) to be unmarried in order to qualify for a state retirement pension is unlawful being contrary to EU Directive 79/7/EEC in preventing MB from accessing her retirement pension at age 60 years.
• Opinion: MB v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions C-451/16 HTML 05 DEC 17
Austrian Supreme Court rules in favour of same-sex marriage

AUSTRIA: On 04 December 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that the current marriage law violated non-discrimination rules. The ruling also allows heterosexual couples to enter a civil partnership. The repeal will come into force at the end on 31 December 2018. As a result, same-sex couples in Austria will be able to legally marry from 2019.
• Decision (in German): Constitutionality of the General Civil Code and the Federal Law on Registered Partnership (Registered Partnership Act PDF 372.33kb 04 DEC 17

04 December 2017

U.S. Supreme Court declines to consider Houston fight over same-sex marriage benefits

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 04 December 2017, the US Supreme Court declined to review the Texas Supreme Court decision that in dismissing a lower court ruling that said spouses of gay and lesbian public employees are entitled to government-subsidized marriage benefits, ruled that the legalization of same-sex marriage does not fully address the right to marriage benefits.
• Order List: 583 U.S.: Certiorari Denied: Turner, Mayor, et al.v. Pidgeon, Jack, et al. No. 17-424 PDF 132.55kb 04 DEC 19

01 December 2017

UNITED STATES, Vermont: On 01 December 2017, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that an individual who is not biologically related to a child, has not legally adopted the child, and is not married to the child's legal parent may be the child's legal parent.
• Opinion: Sarah Sinnott v. Jennifer Peck 2015-426 PDF 222.91kb 01 DEC 17

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