February 2017

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28 February 2017

Two men jailed in Morocco after friend leaked their 'sex tape'

MOROCCO: On 24 February 2017, the Primary Court in Tangier reportedly sentenced two men, a university student and a real estate agent, to six months in prison for 'engaging in homosexual acts'. They were also fined 1,000 dirham ($99, €94) each. They had been found out after a 90 second video of them started circulating on WhatsApp.
Italian court recognises gay parents

ITALY: On 2 February 2017, the Court of Appeal in the northern city of Trento decided that the two gay partners should jointly be legally recognised as the fathers of two surrogate children, now aged seven - not just the parent who is biologically related.
• Ordinanza (in Italian): In the proceedings for recognition of a foreign judgment … PDF 563.68kb 23 FEB 17
Judge issues injunction against Pennsylvania district in transgender case

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 27 February 2017, US District Court Judge Mark Hornak ordered the Pine-Richland School District to stop enforcing a rule adopted in September for students to use facilities corresponding to their biological sex or unisex facilities, whilst their federal case against their school district proceeds in court.
• Opinion: Juliet Evancho, et al. v. Pine-Richland School District, et a. No. 2:16-01537 PDF 4.32MB 27 FEB 17
Cross-dressing case likely heading to the CCJ

GUYANA: On 28 February 2017, the Court of Appeal in an oral decision delivered by the acting Chancellor, the Honourable Carl Singh, confirmed the ruling of the then acting Chief Justice Ian Chang in the High Court that the expression of one's gender identity as a trans person is not in and of itself a crime. However, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal, rejecting the appellants' arguments that the law in question - making it an offence for a 'man' or a 'woman' to cross-dress in public 'for any improper purpose' - discriminates based on gender and violates multiple equality provisions in the Constitution.

27 February 2017

What you NEED to know about money if you're not married to your partner - and why it makes financial sense to get hitched

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 27 February 2017, an article in ThisIsMoney by Rachel Rickard Straus canvasses issues surrounding property and money matters affecting unmarried partners and strategies for minimising future difficulties.

23 February 2017

South Dakota Senate passes bill to legalise anti-LGBT discrimination in adoption

UNITED STATES, South Dakota: On 22 February 2017, the full Senate passed 22-12 Bill SB149 which would legalise discrimination against LGBTI persons by faith-based or religious child-placement based on religious grounds. On 02 March 2017 the House of Representatives voted 43-20 to pass an amended Bill expected now to return to the Senate.
Arkansas Supreme Court strikes city's LGBT protections

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 23 February 2017, the Supreme Court of Arkansas struck down Fayetteville's ordinance banning discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, but stopped short of saying whether a state law aimed at prohibiting such local LGBT protections is constitutional. The Court found that Fayetteville's ordinance violates the plain wording of Act 137 by extending discrimination laws in the city of Fayetteville to include two classifications not previously included under state law.
• Opinion: Protect Fayetteville v. City of Fayetteville No. CV-16-586 PDF 350.70kb 23 FEB 17
Trump administration withdraws federal protections for transgender students

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 22 February 2017, The Trump administration withdrew Obama-era protections for transgender students in public schools that let them use bathrooms and facilities corresponding with their gender identity, the US Department of Justice and Department of Education issuing a joint ''Dear Colleague'' letter rescinding the guidance without offering a replacement.
• Department of Justice: Dear Colleague Letter PDF 397.53kb 22 FEB 17

22 February 2017

Illinois law banning reparative therapy for gay minors not applicable to pastors, judge rules

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 15 February 2017, US District Judge Ronald A Guzman ruled that the ''Youth Mental Health Protection Act'' which generally prohibits mental health providers who practice in ''trade or commerce'' from engaging conversion therapy with minors does not apply to pastors, saying that while the work of the pastors involves religious counseling of youths with a same-sex attraction, it cannot be considered as a ''trade or commerce'' within the meaning of the Act .
• Memorandum Opinion and Order: Pastors Protecting Youth, et al. v. Lisa Madigan No. 16-cv-6034 PDF 50.48kb 15 FEB 17
Income rules for foreign spouses upheld

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 22 February 2017, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by five families that the 2012 rules - stipulating that Britons must earn more than £18,600 ($23,140) before a husband or wife from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can settle in the UK - breached their human right to a family life, finding the minimum income requirement was ''acceptable in principle''.
• Judgment: R (on the application of MM (Lebanon)) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) et al [2017] UKSC 10 PDF 353.46kb 22 FEB 17

17 February 2017

South Australian same-sex couples can adopt children from Friday

AUSTRALIA, South Australia: On 17 February 2017, parts of the Adoption (Review) Amendment Act 2016 were proclaimed and came into effect. The Act was assented to on 15 December 2016, enabling same-sex couples to adopt children.
Conversion therapy ban advances in New Mexico

UNITED STATES, New Mexico: On 17 February 2017, it was reported that the Senate passed 32-6 SB 121 to ban gay conversion therapy. The Bill now moves to the House of Representatives.
Federal judge orders South Carolina to list both same-sex parents on birth certificate

UNITED STATES, South Carolina: On 15 February 2017, Judge Mary Geiger Lewis in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina determined that in preventing the placement of both Casy and Jacqueline Carson's names as parents on their children's birth certificates the state went against the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court found that the state's actions violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights as well as their ''fundamental right to marriage and other protected liberties''
• Opinion: Casy Carson and Jacqueline Carson v. Catherine E Heigel No. 3:16-0045-MGL PDF 63.35kb 15 FEB 17
Finnish parliament confirms same-sex marriage law

FINLAND: On 17 February 2017, the legislature upheld the 2014 same-sex marriage law by 120 votes to 48, defeating the initiative of conservative opponents to the law who gathered more than the 50,000 signatures required for parliament to debate an issue. So, the law goes into effect 01 March 2017 as before.

16 February 2017

The sky didn't fall: same-sex couple celebrate new ACT marriage amendment

AUSTRALIA, Australian Capital Territory: On 14 February 2017, the ACT government passed the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 3) adding an amendment to the local civil union act automatically recognising same-sex marriage and unions from overseas jurisdictions with effect from 01 March 2017.
Washington court rules against florist who denied service to gay couple

UNITED STATES, Washington: On 16 February 2017, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Barronelle Stutzman and Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, who refused to provide services for the same-sex wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed broke the state's anti-discrimination law, even though she claimed doing so would violate her religious beliefs.
• Opinion: Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed v. Arlene's Flowers et al. No. 91615-2 PDF 2.03MB 16 FEB 17

13 February 2017

'Hypocrite' Trump axed transgender protections just days after claiming to support LGBT rights

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 13 February 2017, it was reported that newly-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had pulled the federal government's legal support for Obama administration anti-discrimination protections for transgender students despite President Trump saying last week he would not repeal Obama'’s executive protections for LGBT people.

11 February 2017

New procedure for joint divorces and separations

CANADA, Quebec: On 21 February 2017, a provision of the new Code of Civil Procedure reportedly takes effect and it will affect those seeking a divorce, separation or the dissolution of a civil union by agreement. Couples who have reached a consent in any of these matters and wish to file joint proceedings will be governed by the rules of procedure for non-contentious proceedings.
IRS Defines 'Spouse', 'Husband', 'Wife', and 'Marriage' for Tax Purposes

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 02 September 2016, the IRS published final regulations, effective as of 02 September 2016, under the new final regulation section 301.7701-18(c), the terms ''spouse'', ''husband'', and ''wife'' mean an individual who is lawfully married to another individual and a marriage (same-sex or opposite-sex) will be recognized for federal tax purposes if it is recognized by the state in which the individuals are married, regardless of where the couple is domiciled.
• IRS: Internal Revenue Bulletin 2016-38 HTML 19 SEP 16

10 February 2017

Judge sides with Orlando bakery owners who refused to put anti-gay slogan on cake

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 09 February 2017, Administrative Law Judge J. Bruce Culpepper ruled that Cut the Cake proprietors, Sharon Haller and her daughter, Cyndol Knarr did not discriminate against Robert Mannarino on the grounds of religion in refusing to make him a cake with the words ''Homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord'' and the bakery was not a place of ''public accommodation''.
• Recommended Order: Robert Mannarino v. Cut the Cake Bakery No. 16-3465 PDF 133.06kb, 09 FEB 17

03 February 2017

Commissioners approve ordinance which prohibits nepotism in hiring

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 27 January 2017, the Union County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that amends the Code of Ordinances by Section Article 6 of Chapter 11 and bans nepotism in county hiring, declaring that the County Board has determined that employment actions it takes, ''including hiring, promotion, discipline and dismissal should not be based on favoritism granted to family members of elected officials, department heads and other supervisory personnel''. Family members include amongst others, a husband, wife, party to a civil union.

01 February 2017

J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 30 January 2017, Mr Justice Peter Jackson in the Family Court sitting in Manchester refused the application of the M2F transgender father for visitation to his five children who are living within the Charedi community in Manchester, reaching 'the unwelcome conclusion that the likelihood of the children and their mother being marginalised or excluded by the ultra-Orthodox community is so real, and the consequences so great, that this one factor, despite its many disadvantages, must prevail over the many advantages of contact.' There would be indirect contact four times a year for each child, perhaps coinciding with their birthdays, and with Pesach, Sukkot and Hanukkah.
• Judgment: J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4 PDF 766.74kb 30 JAN 17

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