GayLawNews™

October 2017

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31 October 2017

US court blocks Trump's transgender military ban

UNITED STATES, District of Columbia: On 30 October 2017, US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted transgender service members an injunction halting enforcement of the 25 August 2017 Presidential Memorandum banning transgender people from serving in the US military. The Court found that the Presidential directives likely violate the fundamental guarantees of due process afforded by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court's order maintains the status quo, i.e. the retention and accession policies established in a June 30, 2016 Directive-type Memorandum and later modified by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 30, 2017.
• Memorandum Opinion: Jane Doe 1, et al v. Donald Trump, et al. No. 17-1597 (CKK) PDF 280.45kb 30 OCT 17

30 October 2017

Supreme Court refuses to hear from man who wants to marry his laptop

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 30 October 2017, the US Supreme Court ordered ''The motion of Chris Sevier, who wants to be able to legally marry his laptop, et al. for leave to intervene (in the Masterpiece Cakeshop, et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al. case.) is denied. The motion of John Gunter, Jr., et al. for leave to intervene is denied''.
• Order List: 583 U.S.: Orders in Pending Cases No. 16-111 PDF 80.92kb 30 OCT 17 at page 1

27 October 2017

Judge backs University of Sheffield in homosexuality comments row

UNITED KINGDOM, England & Wales: On 22 October 2017, it was reported that Deputy High Court Judge Rowena Collins Rice dismissed an application by Masters student Feliz Ngole for a judicial review ruling it was lawful for the University of Sheffield to expel Ngole for posting a comment online saying homosexuality was a sin.

26 October 2017

Court: Ohio Can Require People with HIV to Tell Sex Partners

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 26 October 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a law requiring HIV-infected individuals to tell partners about their status before having sex. Attorneys challenged the law on behalf of Ohio man Orlando Batista convicted of failing to tell his girlfriend he had HIV.
• Opinion: State v. Batista No. 2018-Ohio-8304 PDF 50.22kb 26 OCT 17
Court: Phoenix wedding invitation designers must serve LGBT customers

UNITED STATES, Arizona: On 24 October 2017, the Honourable Karen A Mullins in the Superior Court of Arizona quashed the attempt by evangelical Christians Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio's, to override a Phoenix ordinance that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination. The owners alleged the city's ordinance would compel them to create invitations or artwork for same-sex couples, which would conflict with their religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman and violate their freedoms of speech and religion.
• Under Advisement Ruling: Brush & Nib Studio L C, et al. v. City of Phoenix No. CV 2016-052251 PDF 697.40kb 24 OCT 17
European Court of Human Rights rules heterosexual couple stuck with marriage, not civil partnership

AUSTRIA: On 26 October 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled 5-2 that Austrian couple Helga Ratzenböck and Martin Seydl cannot opt for a ''lighter'' civil partnership instead of marriage, saying that the registration of partnerships under the Austrian Registered Partnership Act had only been introduced to avoid discrimination against same-sex couples.
• Judgment: Case of Ratzenbock and Seydl v. Austria No. 28475/12 PDF 314.73kb 26 OCT 17

25 October 2017

Court orders Ak-Chin tribe to recognize marriages of same-sex couples

UNITED STATES, Arizona: On 25 October 2017, it was reported that the Ak-Chin tribal court had ruled that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry under the constitution of the Ak-Chin community and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Judge says Kentucky still must pay fees in gay marriage case

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 23 October 2017, US District Judge David L Bunning denied the request of Governor Matt Bevin to reconsider his 21 July ruling in ''April Miller, et al v. Kim Davis'' and affirmed that Kentucky taxpayers still owe nearly $225,000 in legal fees and court costs to the couples for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of the opposition of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to same-sex marriage.
• Memorandum Opinion and Order: April Miller, et al. v. Kim Davis 15-44-DLB-EBA PDF
Court extends some protections to Missouri LGBT workers

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 24 October 2017, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal Western District held that people who believe they have been discriminated against at work because they do not conform to stereotypes of how men and women should act can file sexual discrimination lawsuits if they are harassed about it.
• Opinion: Harold Lampley and Rene Frost v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights and Anor WD80288 PDF 287.52kb 24 OCT 17

23 October 2017

Dubai ruler orders British tourist who touched a man's hip in a bar to be freed from jail

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: On 23 October 2017, Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum reportedly stepped in to personally intervene, and exonerated Jamie Harron, a 27-year-old electrician from Scotland who was sentenced to three months in prison on 22 October 2017 for accidentally touching a man's hip in Dubai.
Panama judge rules against same-sex marriage

PANAMA: On 23 October 2017, Supreme Court Justice Luis Ramón Fábrega was reported to have ruled that the country's family code that prevents same-sex couples from marrying is not unconstitutional though writing that 'Equality must be constitutionally guaranteed via the law ... It is incumbent upon the Assembly to pass the necessary laws to comply with the purposes and the exercise of the state's duties as outlined under the constitution'. Article 26 of the Family Code currently defines marriage as a 'voluntary union between man and woman, who come together to make and share a life'.
South Africans still detained in Tanzania for 'promoting homosexuality'

TANZANIA: On 22 October 2017, South Africa's High Commissioner to Tanzania, Thami Mseleku, reported that two South Africans are being detained without trial in Tanzania following their ''unlawful arrest'' for what that country's government has termed ''promoting homosexuality''.
Briton 'jailed for touching man's hip at Dubai bar'

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: On 22 October 2017, a Dubai court reportedly sentenced 27-year-old Jamie Harron from Scotland to three months in goal for allegedly touching the behind of a German expatriate, who reported him to police.

21 October 2017

Tanzania suspends NGO for 'promotion' of gay marriage

TANZANIA: On 18 October 2017, the government reportedly announced that it had suspended an NGO it had accused of promoting gay marriage in contravention of local ''customs, traditions and laws''. The move followed a police raid on a Community Health Education Services and Advocacy (CHESA) centre, which is accused of being involved in ''the promotion of marriage between people of the same sex''.

20 October 2017

Paraguay passes Russia-style ban on 'gay propaganda' in schools

PARAGUAY: On 20 October 2017, it was reported that a Russian style 'gay propaganda' ban in schools was passed and the Ministry of Education has stopped public schools from using or spreading materials on 'gender ideology', in an effort to promote 'traditional values' and the 'traditional family'.

19 October 2017

Arkansas High Court: State Must Change Birth Certificate Law

UNITED STATES, Arkansas: On 19 October 2017,Justice Robin F Wynne writing for the majority in the Supreme Court, ruled the state must change a law keeping same-sex couples from listing both of their names on their children's birth certificates, but disagreed on whether a judge or legislators should do it.
• Opinion: Nathaniel Smith v. Marisa N Pavan and Terrah D Pavan, et al. No. CV-15-988 PDF 180.04kb 19 OCT 17
Alderney politicians back same-sex marriage law

UNITED KINGDOM, Guernsey: On 18 October, nine of the Channel Island's ten politicians approved a law allowing same-sex couples to marry on the island for the first time.
Russian court fines gay rights activist sharing LGBT articles on social media

RUSSIA: On 18 October 2017, Judge Julia Potapova in the Samara Court reportedly fined Evdokiya Romanova, a 27-year-old LGBT rights activist living in Samara, Russia, 50,000 rubles ($870) for illegally ''propagating nontraditional sexual orientations among minors through the use of the internet'' by sharing links on social media involving the LGBT movement, including articles published by BuzzFeed and The Guardian.

18 October 2017

Tajikistan authorities draw up list of gay and lesbian citizens

TAJIKISTAN: On 18 October 2017, it was reported that authorities have drawn up a register of 367 allegedly gay citizens, suggesting they would be required to undergo testing to avoid ''the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases''.

16 October 2017

California legally recognizes third gender option

UNITED STATES, California: On 15 October 2017, Governor Jerry Brown reportedly signed Senate Bill 179 (the ''Gender Recognition Act'') into law, making it easier for people to change gender on state identification and birth certificates, while establishing a ''nonbinary'' designation and dispensing with the need for a court order or proof of clinical treatment to apply for gender changes.

14 October 2017

Egyptian court sentences 4 gay men to 3 years in prison each

EGYPT: On 14 October 2017, the Haram Misdemeanor Court reportedly sentenced four members of the gay community to three years in prison, each on charges of committing acts inside a residential apartment in Hadayeq al-Ahram that fall under Egypt's 'debauchery law', being ''inconsistent with public morality and homosexuality''.

13 October 2017

Federal court finds sex discrimination laws protect transgender people

UNITED STATES, California: On 27 September 2017, the US District Court for the Southern Disctrict of California ruled that the prohibitions on ''sex discrimination'' in the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557) apply to transgender children mistreated by health care providers or insurers because of their gender identity. The Court granted Katharine Prescott leave to file an amended Complaint on behalf of her deceased minor son Kyler Prescott.
• Order: Katharine Prescott v. Rady Children's Hospital No. 16-cv-02408 PDF 478.01kb 27 SEP 17
In Lesbian Couple's Custody Battle, Court Sides With Biological Mother

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 11 October 2017, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a Centre County trial judge's opinion ruling that C.G. the former same-sex partner of the child J.W.H.'s biological mother J.H. cannot claim she is entitled to custody of the child since she has no biological connection to him, nor has she legally adopted him.
• Opinion: C.G v. J.H. No. 1733 MDA 2016 PDF 292.98kb 11 OCT 17
• Concurring Opinion of Musmanno J.: C.G v. J.H. No. 1733 MDA 2016 PDF 123.80kb 11 OCT 17

12 October 2017

Court dismisses lesbian couple's same-sex marriage lawsuit

TAIWAN: On 12 October, the Taipei High Administrative Court dismissed the application of Fang Min and Lin Yu-li for marriage registration saying the Zhongzheng household registration office currently lacks the legal authority to register the same-sex couple as married, even after Taiwan's Constitutional Court issued the historic interpretation of the Constitution deeming the prohibition of same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.
Greece passes gender recognition law

GREECE: On 10 October 2017, the parliament reportedly voted 171-129 to pass a controversial gender recognition law that will allow transgender individuals as young as 17 to legally change their gender on government-issued documentation without undergoing mental or physical medical procedures.
British transgender woman given residency in 'safer' New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND: On 12 October 2017, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal reportedly granted a 57-year-old British transgender woman residency on exceptional humanitarian grounds, she having suffered years of discrimination and abuse in the UK. The Tribunal found that the woman was safer to remain in her adopted country where she had experienced no abuse or discrimination since arriving in 2009.
HB 1523 Becomes Law Amid Outcry, U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Appeal

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 12 October 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reportedly denied the request of plaintiffs in the Barber v. Bryant lawsuit for an injunction to block the ''Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination''Act (HB 1523) while they appeal to the US Supreme Court.

10 October 2017

Queensland Parliament: Legislation passed to expunge convictions over historical homosexual convictions

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 10 October 2017, the Parliament passed the Criminal Law (Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement) Bill. The Act commences on a day to be fixed by proclamation. Those with convictions relating to ''illegal homosexual activity'' dated before 19 January 1991, will be able to apply to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to have the historical charges removed and will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
Court finds unsent text message to be a valid will

AUSTRALIA, Queensland: On 09 October 2017, Justice Brown in the Queensland Supreme Court ordered that the unsent text (SMS) message left on the mobile phone of Mark Nichol be admitted to probate as his last Will and that Letters of Adminstration be granted to David Allan Nichol and Jack David Nicol.
• Order: Re Nichol; Nichol v Nichol [2017] QSC 220 PDF 305.04kb 09 OCT 17

09 October 2017

New California law allows jail time for using wrong gender pronoun, sponsor denies that would happen

UNITED STATES, California: On 04 October 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB219 into law. Among other things, the bill would make it unlawful, except as specified, for any long-term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, including, among others, willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident's preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns, or denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a facility or to another facility, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility.

08 October 2017

Finland's First Pregnant Man Reportedly Faces Battle for Social Benefits

FINLAND: On 08 October 2017, it was reported that a pregnant transsexual man in Finland is facing problems receiving social benefits as Finnish law says that to be eligible for parental child compensation a person must be a woman.

07 October 2017

California Governor Signs Bill Modernizing state HIV Laws

UNITED STATES, California: On 06 October 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 239 into law to reform outdated laws that unfairly criminalized and stigmatized people living with HIV by addressing exposure to HIV in the same manner as exposure to other serious communicable diseases, and eliminating extra punishment for people living with HIV who engage in consensual sexual activity.
Italian parents ordered to maintain gay 18-year-old son

ITALY: On 06 October 2017, Italian court reportedly ordered a couple in Naples to pay monthly maintenance to their homosexual son who was thrown out of the family home last month when he turned 18. The court said the youth, Francesco, described as ''openly gay'' should be maintained by his parents ''because he had not yet attained economic independence''.

05 October 2017

Sending nude selfies doesn't qualify as 'indecent exposure', says Maine high court

UNITED STATES, Maine: On 05 October 2017, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court found that whilst Andrew Legassie (then in his early 20s) had sent, to five girls aged 14 to 17, ''explicit digital images'' of himself exposing his genitals, ''There is no evidence of any in-person contact that formed the basis of the alleged crimes''. He was prosecuted, among other things, for ''indecent conduct''.
• Opinion: State of Maine v. Andrew J Legassie No. 2017 ME 202 PDF 154.90kb 05 OCT 15
Appeals Panel Recognizes "Presumption of Legitimacy" for Same-Sex Marriage Child

UNITED STATES, New York: On 28 September 2017, the New York Appeals Court recognized for the first time that New York state's family law ''presumption of legitimacy'' ­ which says that a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the child of both spouses - applies to a child born by surrogacy to a now legally separated same-sex married couple, Marco D (the genetic father) and his then spouse Han Ming T.
• Opinion: In re Maria-Irene D v. Han Ming T 2017 NY Slip Op 06716 HTML 28 SEP 17
Austin church will not marry anyone because of national body's ban on same-sex marriages

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 24 September 2017, the Austin First United Methodist Church congregation reportedly voted to end wedding ceremonies in its sanctuary and chapel until the denomination's national leadership, the United Methodist Church, lifted its ban on gay marriage.

04 October 2017

6th Circuit tosses same-sex harassment case against U.S. Steel

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 03 October 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the District Court ruling that alleged harassment of shift manager David Hylko Jr by process coordinator John Hemphill regularly asking Hylko about his sex life and grabbing his buttocks and penis did not constitute sexual harassment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Michigan Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act as US Steel transferred Hylko and disciplined Hemphill in response to Hylko's complaint.
• Opinion: David Hylko, Jr., v. John Hemphill and US Steel Corporation No. 16-2414 PDF 17.44kb 03 OCT 17
Governmental Entities Now Prohibited From Offering Benefits to Domestic Partners of Employees

UNITED STATES, Wisconsin: On 21 September 2017, Wisconsin Statute § 66.0510 was created which prohibits all municipalities, counties, and school districts from offering employee benefit plan coverage to (unmarried) domestic partners of employees as of 01 January 2018 and only permits offering such employee benefit plans to their employees, and the spouses and dependent children of such employees.
Indiana Supreme Court: Sex with 16-year-olds is legal, but sending them nude photos is not

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 02 October 2017, in a decision that may impact the LGBTIQ community, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that whilst adult male Sameer G Thakar can legally have sex with a 16- or 17-year-old in Indiana, sending a nude photo to a teen of the same age is unlawful under the Dissemination Statute.
• Opinion: State of Indiana v. Sameer Girish Thakar No. 29S02-1705-CR-284 PDF 55.55kb 02 OCT 17

03 October 2017

Missouri Court of Appeals Says Non-Biological Parent Can Seek Custody Based on Significant, Bonded Relationship

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 03 October 2017, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a lesbian woman trying to get custody or visitation with a child she helped raise with her former partner finding that the woman has a ''loving parent-child relationship'' that's strong enough to qualify her to seek custody or visitation, even though she did not give birth to the child.
• Opinion: K.M.M. v. K.E.W. No. ED105087 03 OCT 17 PDF 197.79kb 03 OCT 17

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