GayLawNews™

June 2017

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30 June 2017

Pentagon delays acceptance of transgender recruits and officers

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 30 June 2017, the Pentagon reportedly announced that it will delay until at least 01 January 2018 rolling out its policy for acceptance of transgender troops into the ranks.
Top Texas court sides against same-sex couple marriage benefits

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 30 June 2017, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are not necessarily entitled to government-dispensed spousal benefits, finding that the US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges did not resolve issues such as payments of municipal employees' spousal benefits. The case was remanded to the trial court.
• Opinion: Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks v. Mayor Sylvester Turner and City of Houston No. 15-0688 PDF 158.17kb 30 JUN 17
German MPs approve gay marriage in snap vote

GERMANY: On 30 June 2017, German MPs have voted (393-226 with 4 abstentions) to legalise same-sex marriage, giving gay men and lesbians full marital rights, and allowing them to adopt children. The German legal code will now read: ''Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex''.

29 June 2017

Transgender student bill passes, heads to Christie's desk

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 29 June 2017, the legislature passed Bill A4652 that expressly provides that public schools are not allowed to force transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that conflict with their gender identity. Instead, schools would be mandated to provide ''reasonable alternative arrangements''. School are also required to ensure that transgender students are addressed at school by the name and pronoun they prefer, regardless of whether a legal name change has occurred. The Bill has been sent to Governor Chris Christie.
• Bill: Assembly, No. 4652 PDF 137.90kb 30 JUN 17
Lesbian spouses to be recognized as parents from birth

ISRAEL: On 27 June 2017, the Central District Court, in a case involving Sarah Efrati Peltz and Dr. Lilach Efrati Peltz and seven other lesbian couples, reportedly ruled that the wife of the biological mother will also be considered the child's parent from the moment of birth. The precedent-setting ruling does not include gay men raising children.
Wellington Enacts Conversion Therapy Ban

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 27 June 2017, the Wellington Village Council voted 3-2 putting into effect immedately Ordinance 2017-10 prohibiting doctors, osteopaths, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage or family therapists and licensed counselors throughout Wellington from practicing conversion/reparative therapy on minors however, the ban does not apply to members of the clergy unlicensed by the state.
• Ordinance 2018-10: Prohibiting Conversion Therapy on Monirs PDF 185.51kb (Accessed 01 JUL 17)
New Jersey judge grants transgender 17-year-old's name change

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 28 June 2017, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Marcia Silva granted the motion to change a F2M transgender teen's name from Veronica Betts to Trevor Adam Betts, saying the move is in his ''best interest'' because it matches his gender identity.
• Opinion: Janet Sacklow v. Richard Betts No. FM-12-1502-07C PDF 147.49kb 28 JUN 17

28 June 2017

China: Landmark Ruling on HIV Employment Discrimination

CHINA: On19 June 2017, the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court reportedly issued a landmark ruling in holding that it is illegal for an employer to require an employee to leave his post in the office to stay at home for ''rest'' based on the individual's HIV-positive status.
4th Circuit tosses challenge to North Carolina anti-gay marriage law

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 28 June 2017, in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III, writing for the Court, determined plaintiffs in the lawsuit Kay Ansley v. Marion Warren (three couples who assert the law allowing state magistrates to opt out of performing same-sex marriages for religious reasons amounts to spending public funds in the aid of religion) have no standing to press a claim against Senate Bill 2.
• Opinion: Kay Diane Ansley & Ors v. Marion Warren No. 16-2082 PDF 83.04kb 28 JUN 17

27 June 2017

Madras High Court allows plea by transgender for gender change in school records

INDIA, Tamil Nadu: On 01 June 2017, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana in the Madras High Court, Tamil Nadu ruled that F2M man Gowtham Subramaniam who transitioned after graduating from from Anna University in 2012 should be allowed to update his school records to reflect his true gender and directing the updating be completed within eight weeks.
• Order: K.Gowtham Subramaniyam v. The Controller of Examination Anna University, et al. No. 7536 of 2017 PDF 58.39kb 01 JUN 17

26 June 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Anti-LGBT Bakery Case

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 26 June 2017, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari (a review) in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission ­ the Colorado case involving a Denver bakery that cited religious beliefs and refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple contrary to Colorado's civil rights law.
• Supreme Court: Order List: 582 U.S. PDF 237.11kb 26 JUN 17
Supreme Court rules for lesbian parents in Arkansas birth certificate case

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 26 June 2017, the US Supreme Court reversed 6-3 an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling allowing the state to refuse to place a lesbian parent's name on the birth certificate of their child if the parent isn't the birth mother, on the basis it contravened the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges extending marriage equality nationwide.
• Opinion: Pavan v. Smith No. 16-992 PDF 76.21kb 26 JUN

25 June 2017

Surgery still mandated for transgenders to exercise fundamental rights

INDIA: On 25 June 2017, it was reported that whilst almost three years have elapsed after a Supreme Court judgment (on 15 April 2014 in National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) v Union of India) recognised the fundamental rights of transgenders, they are unable to exercise their rights, without undergoing a gender reassignment surgery first. The law, however, does not require it.
For richer, for poorer: splitting the assets and the couple

NEW ZEALAND: On 25 June 2017, the Sunday Star Times provided a brief summary of considerations in determining what is relationship property and what is separate property that can be a source of tension when couples split.

24 June 2017

Gay couples denied access to IVF after refusing to claim infertility, NT advocacy group says

AUSTRALIA, Northern Territory: On 24 June 2017, it was reported that LGBTI community members trying to access in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment have been refused because of their sexuality under Northern Territory law. Repromed, the only IVF clinic in the NT, said there was no legislation for assisted reproductive technology and as a result Repromed was legislated by South Australian law.
Istanbul Governor's Office bans LGBTI pride parade

TURKEY: On 24 June 2017, it was reported that the Istanbul Governor's Office had banned an LGBTI pride parade scheduled to take place in Taksim on 25 June, citing security and public order concerns.
(In French) Homosexuality: Four months of prison for a 16-year-old

TUNISIA: On 24 June 2017, it was reported that the juvenile court judge in Sousse convicted a 16-year-old teenager of violating Article 230 of the Criminal Code sentencing hime, in absentia, to four months of imprisonment, for homosexuality. As a minor, the sentence will be served at the reform school in Sidi El-Hani.
First passport issued with gender-neutral 'X' option

PAKISTAN: On 24 June 2017, in an historic first, Farzana Jan Riaz became the first citizen of Pakistan to carry a passport issued 14 June that allows its bearer to select a gender other than male or female.

23 June 2017

Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

INTERNATIONAL: On 23 June 2017, The Human Rights Watch published excerpts from the Human Rights Watch 2017 World Report that relates to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. The report, released in January 2017, documented events of 2016. In some cases, updates from the first half of 2017 have been added.
Fired transgender teacher loses appeal to have human rights complaint heard

CANADA, Alberta: On 23 June 2017, the Court of Appeal of Alberta upheld earlier decisions by the Alberta Human Rights Commission Tribunal and the Court of Queen's Bench that a tribunal can't hear F2M transgender man Jan Buterman's dismissal discrimination complaint because he agreed to a settlement with the Greater St. Albert Roman Catholic Separate School Board District No. 734.
• Memorandum of Judgment: Jan Buterman v. The Board of Trustees of the Greater St. Albert Roman Catholic Separate School Board District No. 734 and Anor. 1603-0104-AC PDF 918.40kb 23 JUN 17
Judge: Paternity not equal in same sex marriage

UNITED STATES, Arizona: On 22 June 2017, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Liza Michelle Oakley same-sex spouse of Heather Lynn Turner who gave birth to the child C.T. is not entitled to a presumption she is a parent, because Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-814, is gender-specific and cannot be applied to - or rewritten by the courts to apply to - women.
• Opinion: Turner v. Hon. Steiner/Oakley No. 1 CA-SA 17-0028 PDF 362.03kb 22 JUN 17

22 June 2017

Germany to quash convictions of 50,000 gay men under Nazi-era law

GERMANY: On 22 June 2017, it was reported that the Parliament voted to quash the convictions of 50,000 gay men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law that remained in force after the second world war. An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty under the statute are still alive. It also offers gay men convicted under the law a lump sum of €3,000 (£2,600) as well as an additional €1,500 for each year they spent in prison.
5th Circuit rules for Mississippi anti-LGBT 'religious freedom' law

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 22 June 2017, the US Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit in a 3-0 ruling lifted a court order against a ''religious freedom'' law in Mississippi that would enable sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination, citing a lack of standing for plaintiffs in litigation against the statute. The ruling will allow enforcement of HB 1523, which had been blocked as a result of a lower court order.
• Opinion: Rims Barber, et al. v. Governor Phil Bryant & Anor. No. 16-60477 PDF 156.13kb 22 JUN 17
Single parents win benefits cap High Court challenge

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 22 June 2017, Mr Justice Collins ruled that the cap limiting benefits for single parents with a child under two at £23,000 for those in London and £20,000 a year for those outside London was discriminatory.
• Judgment: The Queen on the application of DA and others v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2017] EWHC 1446 (Admin) HTML 22 JUN 17

21 June 2017

Non-Binary Gender License Option Will Start Next Week

UNITED STATES, Washington DC: On 21 June 2017, it was reported that next week the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles will begin offering a third choice for gender on licenses and identification cards: ''X'', designating a neutral or non-binary gender identity.

20 June 2017

European court angers Russia with 'gay propaganda' ruling

RUSSIA: On 20 June 2017, the European Courts of Human Rights ruled that a Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors breached European treaty rules finding the law violated people's right to freedom of expression and discriminated against gay people.
• Judgment: Case of Bayev and Others v. Russia No. 67667/09 20 JUN 17
Gay refugee wins right to stay after Dutch court overturns justice minister

NETHERLANDS: On 20 June 2017, it was reported that a 26-year-old gay Iraqi refugee had been given temporary leave to stay in the Netherlands after judges in The Hague said officials were wrong to say he was 'not gay enough'. The process of self-acceptance of being gay plays a key role of asylum claims based on homosexuality however, the court said that photographs and a statement by the man's live-in partner, should be taken into account. In addition, the fact he could be in danger if sent back to Iraq is also relevant to the application. The precedent setting ruling that being gay is more than a process of self-realisation may enable other gay refugees to refer to it.

19 June 2017

Opinion analysis: Court invalidates ban on social media for sex offenders

UNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 19 June 2017, the US Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina law making it a felony for a convicted sex offender to use social-networking websites violates the Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.
• Opinion: Packingham v. North Carolina No. 15-1194 PDF 146.75kb 19 JUN 17
Straight dude ''in tears'' after winning $17.4 million in homophobic discrimination lawsuit

UNITED STATES, California: On 19 June 2017, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury ruled in favor of James Pearl, ordering the city to fork over $17.4 million in damages and compensation for bullying, homophobic abuse, harassment and discrimination. James Pearl is heterosexual.
Same-sex marriage in Faroe Islands approved by Denmark

FAROE ISLANDS: On 19 June 2017, it was reported that the Danish Parliament had given final approval 108-0 to Marriage Act amendments enabling sames-sex couples to marry in the Faroe Islands. The amendments exclude religious ceremonies.

18 June 2017

Courts and ‘tri-parenting’: A state-by-state look

UNITED STATES. National: On 18 June 2017, ''The Republic'' published some examples of three-parent cases across 12 US states.

16 June 2017

Court order allows same-sex parents' names on birth certificate

GUAM: On 16 June 2017, the Superior Court was reported to have ordered that the Department of Public Health and Social Services apply all rules and policies regarding birth certificates to same-sex spouses as it does to heterosexual spouses. The order was made in the application by Kimberley and Devidene Chargualaf to have both women's name shown on their baby's birth certificate.
Lithuania tries, but fails to recognize same-sex couples

LITHUANIA: On 15 June 2017, the Parliament reportedly voted 59-29 with 20 abstentions against a proposal to amend Lithuania's Civil Code to give legal status to all couple regardless of gender.
Same-sex marriage delayed in Switzerland

SWITZERLAND: On 16 June 2017, it was reported that the Parliament had given a parliamentary legal affairs committee until summer 2019 to draw up a bill on implementing the ''Marriage for everyone'' parliamentary initiative, which calls for gay couples to be allowed to marry. The decision to delay was attributed to the need to clarify certain legal issues with the federal administration.

15 June 2017

Oregon becomes first state to allow nonbinary on drivers license

UNITED STATES, Oregon: On 15 June 2017, the Oregon Transportation Commission decided that, beginning 01 July, Oregonians will be able to choose ''X'' for sex Instead of ''F'' or ''M'' on their licenses and identification cards. Applicants will have to pay replacement or renewal fees.

14 June 2017

Yukon passes trans-rights bill

CANADA, Yukon Territory: On 13 June 2017, Yukon became the final part of Canada to enact explicit anti-discrimination protections for trans people into its Human Rights Code, when Bill 5 passed the third reading 15-3 and received royal assent. Bill 5 also amends the territory's Vital Statistics Act to allow trans people to change their legal gender without undergoing gender-confirming surgery. In a first for Canada, the bill also allows a gender-neutral option on birth certificates, whose marker will be determined later.
Recent sodomy charges won't be expunged under new reforms

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 14 June 2017, it was reported that people who were charged with historical gay sex offences will not have their charges expunged if they were aged 16 or 17, despite the age of consent since being lowered to 16 and Queensland teens charged with anal sex between 1991 (when homosexuality was decriminalised) and 2016 will also not be able to apply under the proposed expungement scheme.
The case that could change everything for couples divorcing after a short marriage

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 13 June 2017, the Court of Appeal made a distinction between a 'short' and 'long marriage'. During the course of their relationship Mrs Sharp earned a series of substantial bonus payments and asserted that of the £5.5 million generated over the course of the marriage, the vast majority of this was earned by her as a result of her sole endeavour at work. Departing from the usual UK starting point of an equal division of a couple’s assets, the Court ruled that Mr Sharp should receive just £2 million out of total assets amounting to nearly £7 million, calculated on the basis of half of the value of their properties, an additional sum to reflect their standard of living during the marriage, his need for a modest capital fund from which to live and also ''some share'' in Mrs Sharp's assets.
• Judgment: Sharp v. Sharp [2017] EWCA Civ 408 HTML 13 JUN 17

13 June 2017

Colombia: For the first time a marriage of three people was recognized

COLOMBIA: On 13 June 2017, it was reported that the ''marriage'' of three men had been formally reconized for the first time. GayLawNet(R)(TM) doubts the lawfulness of the reported recognition of a polygamous marriage as under Colombian law a person cannot marry if they are already married to another person.

12 June 2017

Supreme Court invalidates gender inequality in citizenship law

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 12 June 2017, the US Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that the federal law requiring unwed fathers who are American citizens to spend at least five years living in the United States before they can confer citizenship to a child born abroad, out of wedlock and to a partner who is not a U.S. citizen is unconstitutional. For unwed U.S. mothers in the same situation, the requirement was only one year. In the ruling, the Supreme Court said that until Congress revises the law, both women and men will be covered by the five-year requirement.
• Opinion: Sessions v. Morales-Santana No. 15-1191 PDF 189.15kb 12 JUN 17

09 June 2017

Female same-sex couples get IVF access

GIBRALTAR: On 09 June 2017, the Gibraltar Health Authority was reported to have approved an amendment to its In Vitro Fertilisation Policy at a board meeting, giving same-sex female couples access to in vitro fertilisation where the IVF treatment is recommended by a consultant gynaecologist with expertise in managing cases of infertility and after referral from a GP. The procedure also has to be endorsed by a second clinician specialised in the field and the recipient partner must be aged between 23 and 42 and the other partner must not be older than 55.

08 June 2017

Scottish Episcopal Church approves gay marriage

UNITED KINGDOM, Scotland: On 08 June 2017, the Episcopal Church Synod in Edinburgh was reported to have voted to allow gay couples to marry in church, meaning that gay Christians from any Anglican Church can now ask to be married in a Scottish Episcopal Church. Clergy who wish to officiate at gay marriages will have to ''opt-in''.
More counties recognize same-sex registrations

TAIWAN: On 07 June 2017, the Cabinet reportedly said the city of Hsinchu, as well as Miaoli, Nantou, Pingtung, Kinmen and Lienchiang counties have agreed to recognize household registrations by same-sex couples. The service is still not available in the city of Keelung, as well as Hualien, Taitung, Yunlin and Penghu counties, but residents in those areas can register a same-sex partnership in other cities and counties.
Idaho high court: Unmarried gay partner has no custody right

UNITED STATES, Idaho: On 07June 2017, the State Supreme Court denied custody and visitation rights to a gay woman known only as Jane Doe who raised a child with her former partner, the child's natural mother. The ruling reflects state laws that have not been updated since same-sex marriage became legal in 2014.
• Opinion: Jane Doe v. Jane Doe I No. 4449 PDF 46.30kb 07 JUN 17
Court dismisses appeal in case finding downstate Bed & Breakfast discriminated against gay couple in civil union ceremony

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 30 May 2017, the Fourth District of the Illinois Appellate Court was reported to have entered an order to dismiss the appeal filed last December on behalf of TimberCreek Bed-and-Breakfast co-owner Jim Walder, appealing the Illinois Human Rights Commission ruling that the owners of Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast had violated Illinois law and discriminated against Mark and Todd Wathen in denying the Wathen's use of the facility in 2011 for their civil union ceremony.

07 June 2017

Ontario Passes Law to Take Children From Parents Who Oppose''Gender Expression''

CANADA, Ontario: On 01June 2017, the ''Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act of 2017'' (Bill 89), was passed 63-23 (and received Royal Assent). The Act requires courts, social workers, and adoption services to consider ''race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression'' when making decisions concerning a child's welfare. That would include removing children from homes where parents oppose a child's embrace of homosexuality or ''gender'' choice.
• Act: Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017 Bill No. 89 PDF 1.39MB 01 JUN 17

06 June 2017

Nigerian court releases 2 charged with homosexuality

NIGERIA: On 06 June 2017, it was reported that police had dropped charges against Paul Frank, 31, and Christian Ejimofor, 22, were both arrested in December 2016 and charged with conspiracy, unlawful carnal knowledge and stealing. On 30 May, both men were released having spent 50 days in prison.
New York City curb on sex shops is constitutional: NY top court

UNITED STATES, New York: On 06 June 2017, the New York Court of Appeals reversed 6-0 a lower court ruling and handed the city a major victory in its two decades-long effort to stop the proliferation of ''adult'' establishments. ''It is evident as a matter of law that the city met its burden of showing that the adult establishments continued to have a predominant focus on sexually explicit materials and activities'', making the law ''facially constitutional'', Judge Eugene Fahey wrote.
• Opinion: For the People Theatres of N.Y. Inc et al. v. City of New York, et al. No. 59 PDF 89.50kb 05 JUN 17

02 June 2017

Health club wins key ruling in lawsuit over transgender

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 01 June 2017, the Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 in favor of PF Fitness-Midland club in a lawsuit filed by Yvette Cormier who claimed her rights were violated when she encountered a fully clothed M2F transgender person in the locker room, finding no evidence of sexual harassment. The fitness club terminated her membership a week after the incident after Cormier returned to the gym and warned other women.
• Opinion: Yvette N Cormier v. PF Fitness et al. No. 331286 PDF 117.00kb 01 JUN 17

01 June 2017

Bill Passes to Make It Easier for Transgender Individuals to Modify Birth Certificates

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 31 May 2017, the Senate passed HB1785 (the Birth Cert-Sex Designation Bill) 32-22, allowing transgender citizens to change their gender designation with authorization from a medical professional confirming they have undergone medically appropriate treatment. The Bill awaits executive approval.
''Gay Panic'' Is No Longer a Legitimate Reason to Murder Someone in Illinois

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 31 May 2017, the House of Representatives reportedly unanimously passed bill SB1761 prohibiting the ''gay panic'' or ''trans panic'' defense, which allows alleged murderers to defend their actions in court by arguing that their victim's sexual orientation ''triggered'' their crime''. Having already unanimously passed the Senate, the Bill now goes to Governor Bruce Rauner, who is expected to sign it into law.

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