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January 2017

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31 January 2017

Venezuela Legally Recognizes First Child with Two Mothers

VENEZUELA" On 31 January 2017, it was reported that the National Electoral Council (CNE) issued the first Venezuelan birth certificate recognizing two lesbian mothers as legal parents following a landmark Supreme Court (TSJ) case won by LGBTQ rights organization Venezuelan Equality Association involving two Venezuelan women, Migdely Miranda and Giniveth Soto and their son.
Norway's Lutheran Church embraces same-sex marriage

NORWAY: On 31 January 2017, the Lutheran Church was reported to have voted in favour of new ceremonial language to come into effect 01 February 2017 that will allow its pastors to conduct same-sex marriages, bringing it into line with several other mainstream Protestant denominations abroad.

30 January 2017

Gay couple win right to be married in Estonia

ESTONIA: On 30 January 2017, it was reported that the District Court in Tallinn ruled that there was 'nothing in the way' of registering as married two men who wed in Sweden and now reside in Estonia.

29 January 2017

Lebanon is getting closer to decriminalising homosexuality

LEBANON: On 29 January 2017, it was reported that Judge Rabih Maalouf declared that ''homosexuality is a personal choice, and not a punishable offence'' in a ruling which referenced Article 183 that states ''An act undertaken in exercise of a right without abuse shall not be regarded as an offence''. The ruling contradicts Article 534 under which homosexuality is unlawful prohibiting sexual relations that ''contradict the laws of nature''.
Sweden to stop calling transgender people 'mentally ill'

SWEDEN: On 27 January 2017, the National Board of Health and Welfare, or Socialstyrelsen, reportedly announced that it would no longer automatically apply the diagnosis ''gender dysphoria'' to transgender patients.

27 January 2017

In Alaska, Divorce Courts Must Now Consider Pet Wellbeing

UNITED STATES, Alaska: On 17 January 2017, the Animals: Protection/Release/Custody Act (HB147) came into effect. Amongst other things, the Act relates to the ownership and custody of animals upon divorce or dissolution of marriage and requires judges to consider animal welfare in cases where divorcing couples have a pet.
• Act: Animals: Protection/Release/Custody Act HB0147Z PDF 53.73kb 11 MAY 16

26 January 2017

On his final day, Obama made it easier for transgender immigrants to get documents in order

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 19 January 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service issued a policy memoranda that requires that USCIS change the gender marker on an official document if the person applying for the document presents: (1) a court order granting change of sex or gender; (2) a government-issued document (amended birth certificate, driver's license, etc.) reflecting the requested gender designation; (3) a letter from a licensed health professional affirming the applicant's gender identity.
• Policy Memorandum: Revision of Adjudicator’s Field Manual Subchapter 10.22 - Change of Gender Designation on Documents Issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services PM-602-0141 PDF 84.53kb 19 JAN 17

24 January 2017

Indonesian police ban LGBTI event after complaints

INDONESIA: On 19 January 2017, the Indonesian Police reportedly forced the shutdown of Porseni - an annual sports and cultural event for Waria (transgender) and bissu (a gender neutral identity) people in South Sulawesi following a protest from the Islam Congregation Forum claiming the event was not in line with its religious views.

20 January 2017

Philippines army: LGBTs can join us, but please 'behave properly'

PHILIPPINES: On 20 January 2017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Public Affairs, Colonel Edgard Arevalo reportedly said the AFP is welcoming LGBT Filipinos to sign up, subject to their acting and behaving with dignity and respect for the uniform.
Appeals Court Tells Judge to Allow Transgender Name Changes

UNITED STATES, Georgia: On 20 January 2017, JJ John J Ellington, Elizabeth L Branch and Amanda H Mercier in the Fourth Division Court of Appeals reversed Columbia County Superior Court Judge J David Roper's ruling denying the name change petitions of transgenders Rowan Elizabeth Feldhaus, whose birth name was Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus, and Andrew Norman Baumert, whose given name was Delphine Renee Baumert. The Court ruled the men may legally change their names and remanded the case with directions.
• Opinion: In Re Feldhaus, In Re Baumert A16A1770, A17A0041 PDF 74.40kb 20 JAN 17
Adultery is not grounds for divorce in gay & lesbian relationships, according to UK law

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 17 January 2017, it was reported that if your same-sex spouse has had sex with someone else, it is NOT a ground for divorce. Gov.uk states: ''It doesn't count as adultery if they had sex with someone of the same sex. This includes if you're in a same-sex marriage''.
• Gov.uk: Get a Divorce HTML 14 DEC 16

19 January 2017

Update from Strasbourg - M.B. v Spain asylum case struck out

EUROPE, SPAIN: On 19 January 2017, the European Court of Human Rights struck out the case of Cameroon woman M.B. seeking asylum in Spain based on her sexual orientation. The decision means that no judgment from the Court that has ever found that deporting someone to a country of origin outside the Council of Europe that criminalises same-sex relations violates the European Convention on Human Rights. However, following the application of Rule 39, the applicant's deportation was suspended and her asylum application will now undergo a thorough examination by the Spanish Asylum Office.
• Decision (in French): M.B. v. Spain No. 15109/15 HTML
Obama pardons US Army captain who spent year in prison for being gay

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 19 December 2016, President Barack Obama was reported to have pardoned Peter Heidgerd, now 56. convicted 17 July 1989 of conduct unbecoming an officer while at Fort Gordon near Augusta. He spent a year behind bars in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth.
Trans Employee Can Sue If Surgery Benefits Refused

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 13 January 2017, US District Judge Judge Fitzwater in Texas gave Charlize Marie Baker the go-ahead to pursue a discrimination claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act against her employer, L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, for denying her coverage for her breast augmentation surgery and her after-surgery recovery. However, Judge Fitzwater rejected her discrimination claims under the Affordable Care Act against Aetna Life Insurance Company, the insurance company that provides the coverage and administers the plans on L-3’s behalf.
• Memorandum Opinion and Order: Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al. No. 3:15-CV-3679-D PDF 40.59kb 13 JAN 17

17 January 2017

Court upholds sexual abuse finding against Ontario doctor, loss of licence

CANADA, Ontario: On 17 January 2016, the Divisional Court upheld the disciplinary committee's stripping Dr. Mary McIntyre of her medical licence for sexually abusing mentally ill female Patient Y was appropriate and in the public interest and also ordered McIntyre to pay $10,000 to cover the legal costs of the appeal. The committee had previously ordered her to reimburse the $16,060 the college had paid to her patients and another $13,380 for legal costs.

16 January 2017

Nyeri court reduces jail term for man convicted of sodomy

KENYA: On 16 January 2016, Justice Hatari Waweru in the High Court in Nyeri was reported to have reduced the 21-year jail term handed to Joseph Kariuki Gachanja to 14 years. Gachanja was found guilty of sodomising a mentally ill boy on 03 September 2012.
Ireland lifts lifetime ban on gay men giving blood

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 16 January 2017, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service lifted the permanent ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood. Under the new rules, a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man in the past 12 months will still not be eligible to donate, even if he used a condom or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

15 January 2017

Polish gay couple wins right to marry in Portugal thanks to their haters

PORTUGAL: On 14 January 2017, it was reported that Portugese authorities had granted Polish couple Jakub Kwiecinski and David Mycek permission to marry in Portugal despite their not being able to provide necessary documentation, same-sex marriage being unlawful in Poland. Portugal usually requires all foreigners (except UK nationals) seeking to marry in Portugal provide documentation affirming there is no obstacle to their marriage in their home country.

13 January 2017

Mexico Finally Recognises Same Sex Marriage

MEXICO: On 10 January 2017, the Parliament reportedly finally approved 68-11 the right for civil unions between couples in the LGBT community. (On 03 June 2015, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that state laws restricting marriage only to heterosexual couples were discriminatory).

12 January 2017

Man convicted of rape for taking off condom during sex

SWITZERLAND: On 09 January 2016, the Criminal Court in Lausanne, Switzerland, determined that having sex without a condom constituted rape if the use of one was expected. The Court convicted a 47-year-old French man and imposed a 12-month suspended sentence on him for the rape of a Swiss woman after he took a condom off during sex without the victim knowing. (The ruling may apply to a same-sex male couple in a similar fact situation).
SC sets precedent on same-sex rape

NEPAL: On 12 January 2016, it was reported that the division bench of justices Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha and Sapana Pradhan Malla in the Supreme Court set a precedent in ruling that if a woman deceives another woman and uses any object or sex toys forcefully for her sexual gratification, the act should be considered as a rape, noting also that in the context of the presence of heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals in the society, a rape should be understood as intentional penetration into the vagina or anus of another person with a part of his body or anything else without the consent of the person and stated that the perpetrator could be a man, woman or a third-gender.

11 January 2017

Mother loses custody of teen son because he is 'too effeminate'

ITALY: On 11 January 2017, it was reported that a Juvenile Court in Padua, in the Veneto region of northern Italy, ordered that boy must be transferred to a community away from home reportedly basing its ruling on the fact that the unnamend boy's parents had 'fallen from parental responsibility', apparently by allowing him to go school wearing eye shadow, painted nails and glitter on his face. The social services argued that his effeminate attitudes and behaviour are chargeable to his mother and sisters, as his role models are women and claimed the child has a 'personality disorder'.

10 January 2017

Settlement reached in birth certificates dispute

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 05 January 2017, lawyers for lead plaintiffs Kari and Deborah Chin and others and the state filed a document notifying notifying US Disctrict Court Judge Robert Hinkle they had reach a settlement under which the state agreed to issue corrected birth certificates free of charge to the plaintiffs and to all same-sex couples who received incorrect documents. The state also pledged to apply the statute regarding birth certificates ''and any forms promulgated based on that statute to same-sex spouses in the same manner as they are applied to opposite-sex spouses''. The state also agreed to pay $55,000 to in legal fees and costs to the plaintiffs.
• Complaint: Kari and Deborah Chin et al. v. John H Armstrong and Anor No. 4:15-cv-0039-RH-CAS PDF 211.80kb 13 AUG 15
Sick Leave to Include Stepchildren and Domestic Partners

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 10 January 2017, it was reported that the General Assembly voted to expand sick leave rights. Under the amendments to the Eligible Leave for Employee Caregiving Time (ELECT) law, commonly known as the Sick Leave Act,, people would be entitled to paid time off to care for stepchildren and domestic partners. The Bill now goes to the Governor.
Somali Islamists kill man and teenager for gay sex, another man for spying

SOMALIA: On 10 January 2016, the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab reportedly shot two men and a teenager in the town of Buale in southern Somalia, saying one of the men and the 15-year-old had been seen having gay sex, while the other man was found guilty of spying.
Court orders Peru to recognize its first same-sex marriage

PERU: On 21 December 2016, the seventh Constitutional Court in Lima ordered the government to enter the marriage of professor Oscar Ugarteche Galarza and his Mexican husband Fidel Aroche Reyes on the register. The couple were married in Mexico.
• Sentencia (in Spanish): Resolution Number 13 22863-2012-0-1801-JR-CL-08 PDF 238.02kb 21 DEC 16
Separate lives but gay ‘hubby’ looking good for share of the assets

AUSTRALIA, Tasmania: On 07 December 2016, Justice R J C Benjamin in the Family Court of Australia at Hobart declared that a de facto relationship existed between Mr Martens and Mr Bocca (both pseudonyms) from November 2000 until 23 October 2013 and as such Martens is entitled to seek adjustment of property pursuant to the Act. Whilst the parties maintained separate homes throughout the relationship, Bocca referred to Martens as his 'partner', 'husband', and 'better half'. The parties conducted and shared many aspects of their lives together and spent most weekends together. The Court referred the proceedings for a Conciliation Conference.
• Judgment: Martens v. Bocca [2016] FamCA 1044 HTML 07 DEC 16
High Court Hints That It Won't Legalize Gay Marriage in Israel

ISRAEL: On 09 January 2017, a panel of High Court justices considering a petition filed by the Aguda national LGBT task force, that seeks to legalize gay marriage in Israel, reportedly expressed empathy about same-sex couples' situation, but suggested that the matter was probably one for the Knesset.

09 January 2017

Cuban LGBT activist prevented from leaving country

CUBA: On 09 January 2017, Nelson Gandulla Díaz, president of the Cuban Foundation for LGBTI Rights was reportedly prevented from boarding his Copa Airlines flight to Panama City's Tocumen International Airport. Gandulla was to have then flown from Panama City to the Colombian city of Cartagena in order to attend a workshop organized by Caribe Afirmativo, an LGBT advocacy group. Security agents told him he unable to leave the country.
Air Force upgrades 91-year-old gay veteran's discharge

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 14 December 2016, the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records determined that the military records of 91-year old Hubert Edward Squires be corrected and effective immediately be corrected to show that on 17 March 1948, he was furnished an ''Honorable'' discharge.
• Record of Proceedings: Hubert E Spires BC-2016--1301 PDF 563.72kb 14 DEC 16
On court's order, Pakistan to count its transgenders

PAKISTAN: On 09 January 2017, the Lahore High Court reportedly instructed the federal government, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the Interior Ministry to include the transgender community in the census while hearing a petition filed by a transgender person, Waqar Ali, seeking enforcement of the community's fundamental rights, including enrolment in the upcoming census and issuance of national identity cards specifying their gender.

08 January 2017

These two baby boys are twins, but an Italian court says they aren't brothers

ITALY: On 08 January 2017, it was reported that the Court of Appeal in Milan ordered the Registrar to transcribe in full in the register the birth certificates of twin boys born in the United States using in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. Each of the two children is the biological child of two married Italian fathers. Importantly, the Court for the first time recognized that a child's best interest comes before the legality of how the child was born.

06 January 2017

California pays for inmate's gender reassignment surgery

UNITED STATES, California: On 05 January 2017, m2f transgender Shiloh Quine underwent gender-reassignment surgery paid for by the state in what is believed to be the first such case in the United States, following a 07 August 2015 agreement to settle her Federal lawsuit. Quine, is serving a term of life without the possibility of parole after convictions in 1981 for murder, kidnapping and robbery. Under guidelines adopted in 2015 after the state's settlement with Quine, prisoners seeking to change their biological sex would need to be evaluated by medical and mental health professionals, and present their cases to a six-member committee of doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Gay man who was mocked by juror on radio has charges stayed

CANADA, Ontario: On 06 January 2016, a Crown attorney told a Toronto court that the prosecution was not going to pursue a new trial against Joshua Dowholis, who was on parole after having already served more than five years in prison (including pretrial custody). Dowholis was convicted on 27 September 2013 of sexually assaulting three men he met in a downtown Toronto bathhouse. Derek Welsman was jury foreman in the Dowholis trial and made homophobic jokes about the trial on the Dean Blundell radio show and disclosed details of jury deliberations, as a consequence of which Ontario's Court of Appeal quashed the convictions against Dowholis and ordered a new trial after it found the juror's conduct undermined the perceived fairness of the justice system. The staying of charges means Dowholis will not have a criminal record in connection to the initial charges of sexually assaulting the three men he met in the bathhouse.

05 January 2017

Boynton Beach Bans Conversion Therapy On Minors

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 03 January 2017, City of Boynton Beach reportedly voted unanimously to ban the practice of conversion therapy on minors. Also known as reparative therapy, conversion therapy involves changing one's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression through aversion treatment.
Lambda Legal Files Federal Lawsuit Against NJ Catholic Hospital that Denied Care to Transgender Man

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 05 January 2017, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit against St. Joseph's Healthcare in Paterson, New Jersey, after the hospital refused to allow Jionni Conforti’s surgeon to perform a routine hysterectomy because Jionni is transgender, contrary to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which clearly prohibits discrimination because of sex and gender identity, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
• Complaint: Jionni Conforti v. St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center PDF 80.71kb 05 JAN 17
Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order to Combat Discrimination in Virginia

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 05 January 2017, Governor Terence McAuliffe signed into effect Executive Order 61 (2017) requiring all future state contractors with the Executive Branch to agree to a non-discrimination policy that includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Executive Order 61: Executive Action to Ensure Equal Oportunint and Access for all Virginiancs in State Contracting and Public Services PDF 149.23kb 05 JAN 17
Court of appeal overturns ruling on sex change case

MALAYSIA: On 05 January 2017, the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal chaired by Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam with justices Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi and Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim, allowed the appeal by the Director-General of the National Registration Department and set aside the 18 July 2016 High Court order which allowed a 30-year-old woman who underwent gender replacement surgery to be declared a man and to change the last digit of her identity card to reflect the male gender.

04 January 2017

District of Columbia Council approves LGBT-related bills

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 20 December 2016, the District of Columbia Council passed the ''Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016'' (B21-0444) to establish a process for designating the gender identity and expression on the death certificate of a person who dies. The legislation also allows individuals to pre-designate their gender identity with the city's Registrar of Vital Records prior to their death.

03 January 2017

Reverse Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim Gets Trial

UNITED STATES, California: On 15 December 2016, the California Court of Appeal reversed summary judgment for Watts Healthcare Corporation, who Sharon Hardy sued alleging sexual orientation discrimination and gender discrimination in violation of state law. Hardy alleged that Wendell Carmichael, the Corporation's vice president of human resources, treated gay men, men in general and lesbians more favorably than heterosexual women, including her. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings.
• Opinion: Hardy v. Watts Healthcare Corp. Cal. Ct. App., B267161 PDF 164.54kb 15 DEC 16
China: Limited victory for man in transgender dismissal case

CHINA: On 03 January 2017, it was reported that a court held that F2M transgender Mr C was illegally dismissed from his position at the Ciming Health Check-up Centre in Guiyang, but said there was not enough evidence to rule he had been fired due to discrimination against transgender people. Mr C alleged he was told to leave after one week because he wore men's clothing. The court awarded him a month's wages.

02 January 2017

Conversion therapy to be prohibited by regulation

TAIWAN: On 30 December 2016, Ministry of Health and Welfare was reported to have published a draft regulation that listed conversion therapy as a prohibited treatment and would punish any physician who used the therapy to treat a patient. Members of the public will have the opportunity to offer their opinions of the draft regulation for 60 days, after which the ministry will issue a regulation based on the draft. Under the Physicians Act, doctors who engage in prohibited treatments are subject to fines of between NT$100,000 (US$3,095) to NT$500,000 and may be suspended for one month to one year.
Same-sex marriage 'could be in Guernsey by summer'

UNITED KINGDOM, Guernsey: On 14 December 2016, the ''Same-Sex Marriage (Guernsey) Law, 2016'' received royal assent in the Privy Council, and awaits registration in the record of the island and commencement. The first marriages are expected to happen sometime in 2017.
• Orders in Council: Order approving Same-Sex Marriage (Guernsey) Law, 2016 PDF 1.40MB (at page 3) 14 DEC 16

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