GayLawNews™

September 2017

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30 September 2017

Court upholds ruling for Mississippi anti-LGBT law ­ but there’s stinging dissent

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 29 September 2017, the US Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit denied 12-2 petitions for a rehearing by the full court of the Barber v. Bryant case attempting to block anti-LGBTIQ state House Bill 1523, allowing the bill to take effect 06 October 2017.
• On Petition for Rehearing En Banc: Barber v. Bryant No. 16-60477 PDF 183.74kb 29 SEP 17

29 September 2017

A&E Tire Sued By EEOC for Sex-Based Discrimination Against Transgender Applicant

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 29 September 2017, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a complaint against A&E Tire, Inc., alledging the company violated federal law by retracting a job offer and refusing to hire F2M male applicant Egan Joseph Woodward once it was discovered that he was transgender.
Groundbreaking transgender judgment in Botswana

BOTSWANA: On 29 September 2017, Justice Nthomiwa in the Lobatse High Court reportedly ruled that a transgender man's gender marker on his identity document be changed from female to male finding that the refusal to change the applicant's gender marker was unreasonable and violated his rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment.

28 September 2017

SSM survey challenges 'demonstrably without substance', High Court finds

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 28 September 2017, the High Court of Australia published its reasons for rejecting the challenges to the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
• Judgment: Wilkie v. The Commonwealth: Australian Marriage Equality Ltd v. Cormann [2017] HCA 40 PDF 374.56kb 28 SEP 17

27 September 2017

Belgian federal committee rules against ritual circumcision

BELGIUM: On 27 September 2017, it was reported that the Committee for Bio-Ethics ruled against the circumcision of infant boys for reasons other than medical necessity, saying bodily integrity was more important than religious faith. The decision will not be binding in law, but it adds to the growing weight of medical opinion against unnecessary male circumcision.
Transgenders will now be given identity cards

PAKISTAN: On 27 September 2017, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh in the Lahore High Court reportedly ruled on the petition of Mian Asiya that transgender persons be allowed to use their guardian's name instead of their father's on forms to get their identity cards made and the right to vote.
German Court Rules Transgender Man Can't Be His Biological Child's Father

GERMANY: On 06 September 2017, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) denied a request by F2M transgender man Oscar Müller to be registered as the father of a child he conceived in 2013, ruling that whomever gives birth is considered a child's mother, claiming ''the roles of father and mother are not interchangeable''.
• Decision (in German): Matter of Oscar Muller No. XII ZB 660/14 PDF 173.69kb 06 SEP 17

26 September 2017

Egypt arrests seven people for waving a rainbow flag at Cairo rock concert

EGYPT: On 22 September 2017, Egyptian authorities reported arrested and charged seven people with ''inciting immorality'' for allegedly raising a rainbow flag at a concert by popular Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou' Leila held in Cairo. The band's lead singer is openly gay. The band was subsequently banned from performing in Egypt by the country's official musicians union.
Judge Analyzes Tax Deduction for Gay Parenthood in His First Opinion

UNITED STATES, Florida:On 25 September 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held ''(1) that (Section 213 of) the Internal Revenue Code does not permit Mr. (Joseph F) Morrissey to deduct the expenses attributable to the identification, retention, compensation, and care of the women who served as the egg donor and the gestational surrogate in his IVF process, and (2) that the IRS's disallowance of Mr. Morrissey's claimed deduction neither violates any fundamental right nor discriminates on the basis of any suspect (or quasi-suspect) characteristic. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's order granting summary judgment and dismissing Mr. Morrissey's claims''.
• Opinion: Joseph F Morrissey v. United States 0f America No. 17-10685 PDF 150.25kb 25 SEP 17
Birmingham City Council Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance

UNITED STATES, Alabama: On 26 September 2017, the Birmingham City Council became the first city in the State to pass 7-0 city-wide non-discrimination protections that include sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations and employment. Violators of the ordinance could incur a fine of $100 for a first office, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense.

25 September 2017

Hong Kong gay rights: British lesbian wins spousal visa case

HONG KONG: On 25 September 2017, Hong Kong's court of appeal ruled that QT, a British lesbian who moved to the territory with her partner should be granted a dependent visa.
• Judgment: QT v. Director of Immigration CACV 117/2016 HTML 25 SEP 17

24 September 2017

Entry ban on gays tenuous, say lawyers

MALAYSIA: On 21 September 2017, it was reported that the Immigration Department announced a ban on the organisers and anyone planning to participate in a ''gay party'' planned for 30 September in a club at the heart of the capital city Kuala Lumpur.

23 September 2017

Former College Wrestler Sentenced to 10 Years for Spreading HIV

UNITED STATES, Missouri: On 21 September 2017, former Missouri college wrestler Michael Johnson, 25, was reportedly sentenced to 10 years in prison for infecting another man with HIV and endangering four other sexual partners. Currently, 24 states require HIV-positive people reveal their status to sexual partners, and 14 of those 24 states require HIV-positive people reveal their status to any needle-sharing partners.

22 September 2017

Mass Arrests and Abuse of LGBT People in Azerbaijan

AZERBAIJAN: On 22 September 2017, it was reported that over the last several days, police in Baku, Azerbaijan carried out mass arrests of at least 100 members of the LGBT community. In official statements, local authorities and government-friendly NGOs described the arrests as a crackdown on prostitution, but lawyers and local activists describe indiscriminate arrests of gay men and transgender women in organised raids on apartments and bars, as well as seemingly random arrests on the street.
Tunisia bans forced anal exams for homosexuality

TUNISIA: On 24 September 2017, it was reported that the Minister of Human Rights, Mehdi Ben Gharbia announced that citizens accused of homosexuality in Tunisia will no longer be forced to undergo any anal test however, the test may be requested by a judge but those involved will have the right to refuse it. The date when this goes into effect has not been announced.

21 September 2017

Judge upholds ouster of library trustee in wake of reported remarks on homosexuality

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 21 September 2017, Judge Paul Fullerton in the 18th Judicial Circuit Court dismissed a motion filed by former library board trustee Arthur Jaros, who asked the court to stop the village from enforcing his removal. The Downers Grove Village Council acted within its legal authority earlier this month when it removed Jaros over remarks about homosexuality he reportedly made at a public meeting.

20 September 2017

A gay couple had twins but only one of the babies is a US citizen

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 20 September 2017, it was reported that dual Canadian-American citizen Andrew and his Israeli-born partner Elad Dvash-Banks are embroiled in a legal battle to get US passports for both of their one-year-olds, Aidan and Ethan. The couple used an anonymous egg donor, a gestational surrogate and both of their sperm to create their twin boys. Canadian authorities recognised both dads as legal parents, naming both of them on the twins' birth certificates however, the US immigration code requires a DNA match to a US citizen in order to gain citizenship and one son was genetically related to Andrew, while the other was related to Elad. Andrew can either sponsor his son as his ''step-son'' for a green card, or attempt to adopt him, despite already being on his birth certificate as the boy's father.
Two Muskogee women get 20 years in severe beating of 5-year-old boy

UNITED STATES, Oklahoma: On 21 September 2017, a Muskogee County judge sentenced Rachel Jean Stevens, 29, and her girlfriend Kayla Ann Jones, 26, to 20 years in prison in the case of a 5-year-old who was beaten so severely by them that he suffered two strokes while hospitalized.
Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by Minnesota wedding videographers who sued to refuse same-sex customers

UNITED STATES, Minnesota: On 20 September 2017, Chief US District Judge John Tunheim wrote that a provision of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibiting discrimination by businesses was not unconstitutional. The Judge dismissed the motion of Carl and Angel Larsen as a pre-emptive effort to avoid penalties for turning away same-sex wedding videography customers. The proposed website language stating that they will not create wedding videos for same-sex couples was akin to a ''White Applicants Only'' sign.
• Opinion: Telescope Media Group and Carl and Angel Larsen v. Kevin Lindsey and Lori Swanson No. 16-cv-04094-JRT-LIB PDF 335.07kb 20 SEP 17
Tasmanian Parliament agrees to wipe clean records of historic homosexual offences

AUSTRALIA, Tasmania: On 21 September 2017, the upper house Legislative Council passed with amendments the ''Expungement of Historical Offences Bill 2017'' that will clear the records of people convicted of homosexual acts when it was outlawed in Tasmania. The amended Bill was returned to the House of Assembly.
Brazil legalises ‘gay cure’ therapy as court rules homosexuality is a disease

BRAZIL: On 20 September 2017, it was reported that Federal Judge Waldemar Claudio de Carvalho in Brasilia overruled a 1999 resolution by the Federal Council of Psychology which prohibited the treatment of homosexuality by psychologists, ruling in favour of psychologist Rozangela Justino whose license was revoked for practising ''conversion therapy''. The Judge deemed homosexuality to be a ''disease''.

19 September 2017

The Montana Supreme Court Rules in Favor of the ACLU of Montana's Legal Sufficiency Challenge to Anti-LGBTQ Initiative

UNITED STATES, Montana: On 19 September 2017, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the ballot statement and fiscal note of Initiative 183 (the ''Montana Locker Room Privacy Act'') must be revised. Initiative 183 would force Montanans to prove their gender before accessing facilities in public spaces.
• Opinion: ACLU of Montana Foundation, Inc. v. The State of Montana and Ors OP-17-0449 PDF 292.47kb 19 SEP 17
Arizona court: Same-sex spouse has parental rights over ex-wife's biological child

UNITED STATES, Arizona: On 19 September 2017, the majority in the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Suzan McLaughlin, the spouse of a gay Tucson woman Kimberly McLaughlin, who gave birth to baby boy E, is entitled to the same parental rights as if she had been a man, even when though not ''biologically related'' to the child.
• Opinion: Kimberly McLaughlin v. The Honorable Lori B Jones, et al. No. CV-16-0266-PR PDF 212.60kb 19 SEP 17

18 September 2017

Houston looks to Supreme Court to resolve same-sex marriage benefits fight

UNITED STATES, Texas: On 15 September 2017, the City of Houston reportedly filed a petition in the US Supreme Court seeking a review of the 30 June decision by the Texas Supreme Court in which it ruled that there's still room for state courts to explore ''the reach and ramifications'' of marriage-related issues (benefits) that resulted from the legalization of same-sex marriage.

14 September 2017

State Supreme Court Ruling Means Washington Teens Who Sext Could End Up Felons

UNITED STATES, Washington: On 14 September 2017, the State Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Eric D Gray, a 17-year-old who sent an unsolicited photo of his erect penis to T.R., a 22-year-old woman who previously worked for his mother. The court found that state law allows him to be convicted for distributing child porn, even when the photo he sent was of himself. The case may have implications for the LGBTIQ community.
• Opinion: State of Washington v. Eric D Gray No. 93609-9 PDF 1.26MB 14 SEP
Man who said homosexuality and abortion are evil loses discrimination case

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 31 August 2017, Adjudication Officer Ian Barrett in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) dismissed the discrimination case taken by Mark Savage against employment advisors, Seetec Employment And Skills Ireland. Savage had listed a key achievement as standing up for his religious beliefs which include that ''homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder inclined towards evil''. The Tribunal found that the Complainant was not discriminated against by the Respondent on grounds of religion and was not treated unlawfully by being discriminated against in the provision of goods/services under Section 21 of the Equal Status Act, 2000.
• Decision: Mark Savage v. Seetec Employment And Skills Ireland Designated Activity Company ADJ-00005992 HTML 31 AUG 17
Cisgender Students Lose Round in Bathroom Dispute

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 25 August 2017, Judge Edward G Smith, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania court denied efforts by cisgender school students and their parents for a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against the Boyertown Area School District for its unwritten policy of allowing transgender students to use bathroom and locker room facilities consistent with their gender identity.
• Memorandum Opinion: Joel Doe v. Boyertown Area School District et al. No. 17-1249 PDF 556.27kb 25 AUG 17

13 September 2017

Same-sex marriage campaign laws banning vilification pass the Senate

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 13 September 2017, the Senate (upper house) was reported to have passed special laws to regulate the conduct of the same-sex marriage debate by banning vilification and intimidation and include offences against bribery and threats with potential fines as high as $12,600. The bill will now heads to the House of Representatives before it is passed into law.
High Court: Ad can promote Arab and LGBT rights, but not gay marriageISRAEL: On 13 September 2017, Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Hanan Melcer and Anat Baron in the High Court of Justice were reported to have upheld the Second Authority for Television and Radio's disqualification of the word ''marriage'' in a public service announcement celebrating Arab and LGBT equality which refers to same-sex marriage, saying that same-sex marriage is Israel is still very much in dispute.

11 September 2017

Same-sex marriage law apology

JERSEY: On 08 September 2017, Chief Minister Ian Gorst apologised for the 'unforeseen delay' in introducing same-sex marriage legislation that would not now be introduced before the end of the year, contrary to previous plans.

08 September 2017

Malta introduces 'X' gender marker in official documents

MALTA: On 05 September 2017, it was reported that the government had introduced the option for its citizens to choose an ''X'' gender marker on official documents - including passports, identity cards and residence permits as from 06 September.

07 September 2017

Major victory for transgender marriage in Cape High Court

SOUTH AFRICA: On 06 September 2017, Western Cape High Court Judge Ashley Binns-Ward ruled that individuals have the right to amend their gender description even if they were married as heterosexuals, finding the conduct by the Department of Home Affairs infringed on the applicants' rights to administrative justice, equality and human dignity and was inconsistent with the department's constitutional obligations. The court also found the department's request to two of the applicants to divorce in order to alter the sex description of one of them was unlawful and the director general was ordered to reinstate the marriage within 30 days of the order.
• Judgment: KOS, MMC, et al. v. Minister of Home Affairs, et al. [2017] ZAWCHC 90 PDF 453.32kb 06 SEP 17
SSM: High Court rules Government can run same-sex marriage postal survey

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 07 September 2017, the High Court of Australia dismissed the challenges to the postal survey on same-sex marriage and awarded costs against the challengers. The postal survey will now proceed with survey forms being mailed to eligible voters on the electoral roll between the 12th and 25th September. Recipients are urged to return their survey forms by 27 October and no later than 07 November. The result is expected to be declared at 11:30 a.m. on 15 November 2017.

05 September 2017

Ex-Hasidic mom who lost kids for being gay wins them back

UNITED STATES, New York: On 16 August 2017, the New York Supreme Court Appelate Division modified the 29 May 2015 order of Eric I Prus, J. granting Naftali Weisberger sole custody and religiosu upbring of the three children of the marriage and limiting visitation by the mother, Chava Weisberger, contrary to stipulation of settlement terms, giving Chava full custody again. The couple divorced on 2009 after Chava told Naftali she was attracted to women.
• Opinion and Order: Chava Weisberger v Naftali Weisberger D53005 PDF 89.52kb 16 AUG 17
European Court Says Companies Should Inform Employees of Email Checks

ROMANIA: On 05 September 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that companies need to make sure that employees are aware in advance of management monitoring of their work email accounts. The judges found that Romanian courts failed to protect Bogdan Barbulescu's private correspondence because his company had not given prior notice that it was monitoring his communications. The company had presented him with printouts of his private messages to his brother and fiance on Yahoo Messenger as evidence of his breach of a company ban on such personal use.
Judgment: Barbulescu v. Romania No. 61496/08 HTML 05 SEP 17

04 September 2017

Draft bill criminalizes incitement to discrimination violence

CHILE: On 04 September 2017, President Michelle Bachelet reportedly signed a bill that adds a new article to the Penal Code, in order to ''punish whoever publicly, or by any means suitable for its public dissemination directly incites physical violence against a person or group of people, whether on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or beliefs''.

03 September 2017

Romania to hold same-sex marriage referendum this autumn: ruling party leader

ROMANIA: On 03 September 2017, ruling Social Democrats party leader Liviu Dragnea reportedly said the party hoped to organize an autumn referendum to restrict the constitutional definition of family, which would effectively rule out the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage.

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