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Headlines this month
Valencia Allows Self-Determination of Gender IdentitySPAIN, Valencia: On 30 March 2017, the parliament of Valencia passed the ''Ley Integral de Identidad de Genero'' which guarantees the self-determination of gender identity for those who identify with a gender different to the one assigned at birth, Among other things, there are no medical or psychological requirements for legal gender recognition, conversion therapy and discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression are prohibited, and the law regulates the rights of trans children in the fields of healthcare and education.
Law (in Spanish): : Ley Integral de Identidad de Genero 256.13kb 07 JUL 16 North Carolina governor signs bill replacing transgender bathroom lawUNITED STATES, North Carolina: On 30 March 2017, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law bill HB142, a compromise replacement bill for HB2 transgender bathroom law. Under the new law, transgender people are free to use the bathroom of their choice, but they also lack any recourse should any person, business or state entity eject them. Revised Anti-Bullying Policy in Japan to Protect LGBT studentsJAPAN: On 14 March 2017, the Basic Policy for the Prevention of Bullying was revised. The updated national policy aims to protect sexual and gender minority students saying schools should prevent bullying of students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity by ''promot[ing] proper understanding of teachers on sexual orientation/gender identity as well as mak[ing] sure to inform on the schoolís necessary measures regarding this matter''.
Court finds anti-gay workforce bias legal, still rules for gay plaintiffUNITED STATES, New York: On 27 March 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled anti-gay bias in the workplace is legal under Title VII of the Civil Rights of Act barring discrimination based on sex, but nonetheless handed a victory to openly gay and HIV positive Matthew Christiansen on the basis that the discrimination he faced amounted to illegal sex-stereotyping which the US Supreme Court determined is unlawful in the 1989 decision of Price Waterhouse v. Coopers, reversing and remanding the District Court decision.
Opinion: Christiansen v. Omnicom Group Inc No. 16-748 225.83kb 27 MAR 17 Adoption by same-sex couple opposed because of birth parents' Catholic faithAUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 21 November 2016, Justice John Sackar in the Supreme Court allowed a four-year-old girl CJD to be adopted by a same-sex couple, who have cared for her since she was six months old, despite her birth parents' opposition on the basis of their Catholic faith. Justice found both the mother and father, who has significant mental health issues and learning difficulties, were incapable of caring for the girl, who has some behavioural challenges, likely caused by her mother's drug use in pregnancy.
Judgment: Secretary, New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services by his delegate, Principal Officer, Barnados Australia v HR & CD  NSWSC 1926
Judge grants person the right to be genderless in landmark rulingUNITED STATES, Oregon: On 10 March 2017, Judge Amy Holmes Hehn in the Multnomah County Court reportedly granted a 'General Judgment of Name and Sex Change' to ''Patch'', the first person to be granted the legal request to become genderless in the US and allowing ''Patch'' to change names and become mononymous, meaning they are known by a singular name instead of a traditional first and surname. MPs unanimously pass bill to repeal one of the UKís last anti-gay lawsUNITED KINGDOM: On 24 March 2017, the House of Commons unanimously passed the ''Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill''. The Bill removes a reference in maritime shipping law that includes ''homosexual acts'' as grounds for dismissal from the crew of merchant ships, though the provisions are already rendered unenforceable by existing equality law - making the repeal a largely symbolic measure. The Bill now proceeds to the House of Lords. LGBT community in Denmark rejoices: homosexual marriages in church are not against constitutionDENMARK: On 23 March 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages in church are not against the Danish constitution, upholding a previous ruling of the Østre Landsrets High Court, which last June dismissed a suit brought by the organisation Med Grundlov Skal Land Bygges that claimed homosexual weddings in church violate not only the constitution but also the religious freedom of Danish citizens.
Judgment (in Danish): John Hejlesen, Inger Kristensen, edvind Kristensen, Mogens Skibsted, Gert Grube and Arne Heilsen v. Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs and Child and Social Affairs No. 159/2016 40.45kb 23 MAR 17
Victory! Federal Court Orders Florida to Issue Accurate Death Certificates to Surviving Same-Sex Spouses in Lambda Legal Class ActionUNITED STATES, Florida: On 23 March 2017, US District Judge Robert L Hinkle ruled that the state must issue accurate death certificates to all surviving same-sex spouses.
Order: Hal B Birchfield and Paul G Mocko v. John H Armstrong and Kenneth Jones No. 4:15-cv-00615 272.69kb 23 MAR 17 Germany to annul post-Second World War homosexuality convictions for thousandsGERMANY: On 22 March 2017, Germany's Cabinet reportedly approved a bill that would annul the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing homosexuality that was applied zealously in post-Second World War West Germany. The decision also clears the way for compensation for those still alive who were convicted under the so-called Paragraph 175 outlawing sexual relations between men. Osage Nation voters approve same-sex marriageUNITED STATES, Oklahoma: On 20 March 2017, it was reported that the Osage Nation voted to change the definition of marriage as between ''two persons'' rather than the former ''a man and a woman''. The proposal passed with 53 percent of the vote.
'Gay panic' defence scrapped from Criminal CodeAUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 21 March 2017, the Queensland Parliament reportedly voted to pass the Criminal Law Amendment Bill scraping the ''gay panic'' defence. Transgender refuses to grant divorce, claims he is a womanISRAEL: On 20 March 2017, it was reported that the Haifa Rabbinical court forced a M3F transgender person to grant the estranged wife a ''get'', [divorce document] despite his claiming he could not now give it as he is a woman and a woman is unable to grant a ''get''. Two men in Tunisia sent to prison for owning women's clothing and make-upTUNISIA: On 13 March 2017, the Court of Appeal in the city of Sousse reportedly sentenced two men from the City of Hammam to two months in prison for allegedly having make-up, women's clothing and underwear in their apartment, found when police searched the home without a warrant. The two appeals judges sentenced the men under Article 226, for 'attacking the decency of others by an obscene attitude'.
After 2 years, Florida court defines sexual intercourseUNITED STATES, Florida: On 24 February 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that in the context of section 384.24(2), ''sexual intercourse'' unambiguously denotes sexual conduct that includes acts of oral and anal intercourse. Gary G. Debaun was charged with violating the Florida Statute making it unlawful for any HIV-positive person to have sexual intercourse with any other person, unless that person has been informed of the presence of the sexually transmissible disease and has consented to the sexual intercourse.
Opinion: Gary G DeBaun v. State of Florida No. SC13-2336 170.05kb 16 MAR 17 IRS Grants Same-Sex Married Couples Partial Gift and Estate Tax ReliefUNITED STATES, Federal: On 17 January 2017, the IRS issued Notice 2017-15 giving same-sex married couples some retroactive relief from the application of the gift, estate and generation-skipping taxes to transfers between the spouses. The Notice provides that if a donor used gift tax exemption on a gift to his or her same-sex spouse, that donor can now file a Federal gift tax return and reclaim that exemption amount, regardless of the domicile of the parties.
IRS: Guidance on the application of the decision in United States v. Windsor No. 2017-15 38.73kb 17 JAN 17
Taiwan lesbian ordered to pay back groomTAIWAN: On 15 March 2017, the district court in northern Hsinchu was reported to have ordered a gay woman who married a man because of pressure from her family, to return around TW$500,000 ($16,130) to her husband after she left him for her girlfriend. Nunavut passes trans-rights lawCANADA, Nunavut: On 13 March 2017, the Legislative Assembly voted unanimously passing the comprehensive Bill 31 amending the ''Human Rights Act'' to include gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination. District court tosses transgender manís name-change suitUNITED STATES, Indiana: On 13 March 2017, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in the US District Court dismissed the name change suit filed on behalf of transgender man John Doe (legal name ''Jane Doe'') from Mexico. Doe was granted asylum in the US and asserted his constitutional rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments were violated through a state statute prohibiting non-citizens from legally changing their names. The Judge dismissed his case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction - as Doe never actually filled out the application to change his name, he cannot establish an actual injury.
Order: John Doe v. Michael Pence, et al. No. 1:16-cv-02431-JMS-DML 234.41kb 13 MAR 17
Representing the Nonbiological 'Parent'UNITED STATES: On 13 March 2017, The National Law Journal (registration) published an article by Barbara Handschu canvassing the law and issues arising when a non-biological partner, stepparent or grandparent seeks custodial rights with respect to the children of a same-sex relationship after separation.
School principal violated the rights of transgender learner, says Equality CourtSOUTH AFRICA: On 13 March 2017, Seshego Equality Court in Limpopo reportedly ruled that a high school principal had made hurtful and harmful speech remarks towards a transgender learner in contravention of Section 10 of the Equality Act. The court will make a decision on the relief sought on Friday. Historic ruling grants 'tri-custody' to trio who had threesomeUNITED STATES, New York: On 10 March 2017, in a ruling that may have significance for same-sex couples, Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge H Patrick Leis III found that Michael Marano fathered a boy with downstairs neighbor Audria Garcia who now shares custody of the boy JM with Marano and his wife Dawn Marano. The ruling is the first time a judge in the state has granted tri-custody to three parents for one child.
Orders: Dawn M. v. Michael M. No. 00109/2011 08 MAR 17
South Dakota governor signs first anti-LGBT law of 2017UNITED STATES, South Dakota: On 10 March 2017, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 149 (An Act to provide certain protections to faith-based or religious child-placement agencies). The new law prohibits the state from taking adverse action against child placement agencies that discriminate against LGBT families, including the elimination of tax-exemptions, the imposition of fines, the cancelation of contracts or discrimination against the agency in a state benefit program.
Italy court recognizes non-biological overseas gay adoptionITALY, Florence: On 08 March 2017, the Tribunal for Minors in Florence was reported to have recognized two British and US adoptions of non-biological children by gay parents as legal in Italy, allowing for the first time the Italian citizenship of the parents to be passed onto the children.
Court rules anti-gay workplace bias allowed under existing lawUNITED STATES, Georgia: On 10 March 2017, in a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel on the US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex, affords no protections to Jameka Evans, a security guard targeted for harassment and effectively terminated from her job at Georgia Regional Hospital for being a lesbian.
Opinion: Jameka K Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital et al. No. 15-15234 272.13kb 10 MAR 17 Ninth Circuit, Sitting En Banc, Overturns Gay Manís Deportation to MexicoUNITED STATES, California: On 08 March 2017, the full court of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 9-2 that Carlos Bringas-Rodriguez was entitled to a presumption that he would be persecuted in the future if he was returned to Mexico, and remanded the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals for a ruling as to whether the government rebutted the presumption and directed the Board to reconsider its denials of Bringas-Rodriguez's requests for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture.
Opinion: Carlos Alberto Bringas-Rodriguez v. Jeffersen B Sessions III No. 13-72682 339.41kb. 08 MAR 17 Bill Repealing Utah's 'Don't Say Gay' Law Heads to GovernorUNITED STATES, Utah: On 08 March 2017, the Senate passed 27-1 Bill SB196 (Health Education Amendments) replacing a ban on ''advocacy of homosexuality'' in schools with a prohibition against the ''advocacy of premarital or extramarital sexual activity'', sending it to Republican governor Gary Herbert for his signature or veto. On 07 March 2017, the House of Representatives reportedly passed the Bill 68-1.
ADF had right to sack Gaynor: courtAUSTRALIA, Federal: On 08 March 2017, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia overturned the primary judge's ruling that the termination of the commission and dismissal of Bernard Gaynor from the Australian Defence Force be set aside, finding that the termination and dismissal of Gaynor - for his having used social media and press releases to express strong views against the overt tolerance or support of homosexuality or transgender behaviour in the ADF, contrary to the Regulations - was not unlawful .
Judgment: Chief of the Defence Force v. Gaynor  FCAFC 41 08 MAR 17 Supreme Court Vacates Fourth Circuit Transgender RulingUNITED STATES, Virginia: On 06 March 2017, the US Supreme Court vacated the US Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit judgment in the so-called ''transgender bathroom'' case and remanding it to the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice on February 22, 2017.
Order List: 580 U.S.:Monday, March 6, 2017 221.44kb 06 MAR 17
US Department of Justice: Dear Colleague Letter 397.53kb 22 FEB 17 Philippine City Passes Anti-discrimination OrdinancePHILIPPINES: On 03 March 2017, it was reported that Baguio City Council passed legislation to punish discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability and age, with penalties ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 or imprisonment of one to 30 days. The ordinance describes discrimination as ''a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference made on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and religion which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing of the human rights and fundamental freedoms in the civil, political, economic, social, cultural, or any other field of public life of a person''.
New Jersey Boy Scouts to pay $18K to transgender boyUNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 02 March 2017, the Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts reportedly made the agreement after Joe Maldonado's mother, Kristie, filed a complaint with the state Division on Civil Rights for refusing Joe membership to a Cub Scout pack in Secaucus because he was born a girl. The council also agreed to change its policies in accordance with state laws prohibiting discrimination. Joe has been accepted by a Maplewood Cub Scout pack.
Amnesty slams Denmark for transgender discriminationDENMARK: On 03 March 2017, it was reported that transgender persons must undergo psychological evaluations that can take up to a year to convince the Sexologisk Klinik (national mental health services focused on sexology) that they're transgender, before being permitted to change their gender through surgery. Madrid judge backs ban on Catholic group's anti-transgender busSPAIN: On 02 March 2017, Judge Jose Juan Escalonilla was reported to have upheld the decision of the City of Madrid to impound a bright orange bus belonging to Catholic group, Hazte Oira that was emblazoned with a anti-transgender messages, technically for breaching municipal rules on outdoor advertising. The Judge did not find that the messages on the bus went as far as being a hate crime. Saudi Police Allegedly Torture Transgender Duo To DeathSAUDI ARABIA: On 28 February 2017, two transgender Pakistanis, Meeno, 26, and Amna, 35, were reportedly arrested at a rest house in Riyadh for cross-dressing, allegedly being put into sacks by police at the jail and beaten with sticks until they died.
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