January 2018

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30 January 2018

Lesbian couple whose marriage was terminated after gender confirmation surgery wins right to appeal

SINGAPORE: On 30 January 2018, it was reported that a Singaporean lesbian couple known as FK and BS - who were officially married as a heterosexual couple in 2015 - have appealed to the High Court after their marriage was voided because one of the women underwent gender confirmation surgery.

29 January 2018

Draft proposals in Indonesian parliament aim to ban extramarital sex

INDONESIA: On 29 January 2018, it was reported that the parliamentary commission is drafting proposed revisions to the national criminal code that would criminalize extramarital sex, same-sex relations and co-habitation, sparking alarm among activists who say it would breach basic rights and could be misused to target the LGBT community. Adultery is already deemed a crime.
Court dismisses lawsuit from anti-gay hate group that doesn’t like being called an anti-gay hate group

UNITED STATES, Virginia: On 23 January 2018, US District Judge Raymond A Jackson granted a motion to dismiss the claims of anti-LGBT hate group Liberty Counsel that alleged (inter alia) that GuideStar defamed it by representing Liberty Counsel as a ''hate group''.
• Memorandum Opinion and Order: Liberty Counsel Inc v. Guidestar USA Inc No. 4:17-cv-00071-RAJ-DEM PDF 929.27kb 23 JAN 18

27 January 2018

Russia brings charges against same-sex couple who received landmark recognition of marriage

RUSSIA: On 27 January 2018, it was reported that the Moscow Department of the Interior had announced that Eugene Wojciechowski and Paul Stotzko, the two men who had their marriage in Denmark recognised after finding an apparent legal loophole and submitting their documents for stamping and approval, have been charged with ''intentional damage to passports or negligence'' and the pair have gone into hiding.

26 January 2018

Court recognizes lesbian firefighter's sex discrimination claim

UNITED STATES, Rhode Island: On 25 January 2018, The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld a $700,000 jury award for Lori Franchina, a lesbian firefighter who experienced extensive unchecked harassment from her co-workers at the Providence Fire Department.. The ruling clarifies in the First Circuit that the existence of sexual orientation discrimination does not negate a sex discrimination claim under Title VII.
• Opinion: Franchina v. City of Providence No. 16-2401 PDF 144.45kb 25 JAN 18
Illinois judge denies transgender student unrestricted locker room access

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 25 January 2018, Cook County Judge Thomas Allen reportedly rejected Palatine High School student Nova Maday's request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed unrestricted use of the girls' locker room at high school without being restricted to a private changing area inside the locker room. The case is ongoing.

25 January 2018

Transgender inmate allowed to transfer to women's prison

UNITED STATES, Oregon: On 22 January 2018, the Oregon Department of Corrections reportedly transferred transgender inmate Michalle Wright from the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem to the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution in Wilsonville. The 27-year-old's transfer request was granted after her 2016 lawsuit against the state forced policy changes.
Landmark Ruling Shuts Down Sperm Donor’s Paternity Suit

UNITED STATES, New York: On 25 January 2018, Justice Robert Mulvey for the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division dismissed the paternity petition of sperm donor Christopher YY and bestowed ''the presumption of legitimacy'' on a child born to married lesbian couple Jessica ZZ and Michole ZZ. The Courts said ''Testing in these circumstances exposes children born into same-gender marriages to instability for no justifiable reason other than to provide a father-figure for children who already have two parents''.
Opinion and Order: In the Matter of Christopher YY v. Jessica ZZ and Nicole ZZ No. 522068 PDF 120.04kb 25 JAN 18
Russia 'recognises gay marriage for the first time' after couple marry overseas

RUSSIA: On 25 January 2018, Eugene Wojciechowski and Paul Stotzko married in Copenhagen on 04 January and submitted their passports on their return to Russia with an updated marital status, saying they had been formalised 'without superfluous questions'. (On 27 January, the press office of the Moscow Department of the Interior reportedly announced the two men now face charges of ''intentional damage to passports or negligence'' and the pair have gone into hiding).
Russia’s Supreme Court Overrules Deportation of Gay Journalist

RUSSIA: On 22 January 2018, the Supreme Court reportedly overturned a Moscow City Court decision to forcibly deport gay journalist Khudoberdi Nurmatov to Uzbekistan, where he holds citizenship, for violating migration law. The Court urged the Moscow City Court to review a letter sent from the German Embassy confirming that Nurbatov has permission to reside in Germany. His Russian asylum application was turned down by a court in October. The journalist's supporters say that he risks persecution and torture in Uzbekistan.
Decision (in Russian): Nurmatov Khudoberdi Turgunalievich and the petition Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation 825.25kb 22 JAN 18
Cuban woman with same-sex partner granted custody of daughter’s children

CUBA: On 22 January 2018, a three-judge panel in Havans granted Eumnice Violeta Cardoso Pérez custody of her late daughter's three children who she is raising with her same-sex partner. Cardoso's partner is the children’s godmother.
• Sentenzia (in Spanish): Mrs Eumice Violeta Cardosa Perez v. Mr Guillermo Gomas Vera No. 541 PDF 827.07kb 19 OCT 17
Russia has just made it easier for trans people get their gender identity recognized

RUSSIA: On 22 January 2018, the Ministry of Health signed an order effective 02 February 2018 which will create a procedure to give trans people a medical certificate without having to go through gender affirming surgery. The certificate will indicate a trans person's gender identity. Until now, trans people could only officially change their gender identity by submitting a ‘medical certificate on gender/sex change’ to a civil registry office.
EU court: Asylum seekers must not be forced to take 'gay tests'

HUNGARY: On 15 January 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that asylum seekers must not be subjected to psychological tests to determine whether they are homosexual saying the ''determining authority cannot base its decision solely on the conclusions of an expert's report'' though ''certain forms of expert reports may prove useful for the assessment of the facts and circumstances and may be prepared [but] without prejudicing the fundamental rights of that applicant''. A court in Szeged, Hungary, must now reconsider the case in light of the ECJ ruling.
• Judgment: F v. Bevándorlási és Állampolgársági Hivatal C-373/16 HTML 25 JAN 18

24 January 2018

Court overturns ruling keeping same-sex couple from adopting child

ESTONIA: On 22 January 2018, the Tartu circuit court reportedly overturned a first-tier court ruling that rejected the application of a homosexual couple to adopt a child. The two women live in a registered partnership and have raised the child as a family. They applied with the Tartu county court to adopt the child, but their application was rejected.
Court rules for Iowa student group seeking to ban gay leaders

UNITED STATES, Iowa: On 23 January 2018, US District Judge Stephanie M Rose granted a Motion for Preliminary Injunction and ordered the University to restore the Business Leaders in Christ to registered student organization status for ninety days. The University determined had BLinC violated the University's Policy on Human Rights by refusing to accept gay students in leadership roles in the BLinC.
• Order: Business Leaders in Christ v. The University of Iowa et al. No. 3:17-cv-00080-SMR-SBJ PDF 180.19kb 23 JAN 18

22 January 2018

Blood donation rules for gay men in Taiwan to be relaxed in May

TAIWAN: On 22 January 2018, it was reported that a Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) official said during an interview on Monday that under new rules set to be implemented in May, gay men in Taiwan will be permitted to donate blood. The new policy barring donations from men who have had homosexual intercourse within five years, is planned to be gradually reduced from five years to one year. At present, there is a lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men.

20 January 2018

Costa Rica's first gay marriage suffers bureaucratic hitch

COSTA RICA: On 20 January 2018, it was reported that Costa Rica's first same-sex wedding had been blocked by notaries who are refusing to recognize it until laws forbidding gay marriage are changed, setting them at odds with the president, who directed government agencies to apply the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 09 January ruling until lawmakers or the constitutional court formally adopt new laws.

19 January 2018

Rule change allows HIV positive man to become an airline pilot

UNITED KINGDOM: On 18 January 2018, it was reported that Transport secretary Chris Grayling confirmed in the House of Commons that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had changed the regulations to enable people with HIV to now become commercial airline pilots in the UK. The CAA statement said in part ''the CAA will issue initial Class 1 Medical certificates with a restriction to multi-pilot operations (to applicant pilots living with HIV) wishing to become commercial pilots, subject to the applicants passing their Class 1 Medical assessment''.

18 January 2018

Insurer Settles Lawsuit For $17 Million For Accidentally Outing HIV Patients

UNITED STATES, National: On 17 January 2018, Aetna reportedly announced that the insurer had agreed to pay $17 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit after the health insurance company mailed out envelopes that accidentally revealed the HIV status of thousands of patients.
US government announces religious freedom division for healthcare, targeting LGBTI people's access

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 18 January 2018, the US Department of Health and Human Services reportedly announced that a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division had been established to restore federal enforcement of the nation's laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom. Essentially, healthcare workers can now refuse to treat patients or perform certain tasks based on their beliefs, affecting LGBTI persons and operations like abortions or treating transgender individuals.
News Release: HHS Announces New Conscience and Religious Freedom Division HTML 18 JAN 18
European court rules lesbian woman has no right to paternity leave

FRANCE, EUROPEAN UNION: On 18 January 2018, the European Court of Human Rights dismissed a case brought by a French woman in a same-sex partnership who was denied paternity leave. The court said the woman was not discriminated against as the leave was only intended for biological fathers.
• ECHR Press Release: Refusal of a request for paternity leave made by a lesbian following the birth of her partner's child: application declared inadmissible PDF 119.29kb 18 JAN 18

17 January 2018

Transgender considerations in your Will

UNITED KINGDOM: On 17 January 2018, lawyer Helen Clarke wrote that ''If your Will contains any gender-specific legacies, (or) if you have treated your beneficiaries unequally by reference to their gender or, if you hear that a beneficiary is looking to change gender, you may wish to review and update your Will accordingly so that their gift is not affected by a change in gender''. This issue may be relevant in other common-law jurisdictions.

16 January 2018

Court orders return of gay immigrant to U.S. after Christmas nightmare deportation

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 09 January 2018, the 9th Circuit reversed the order for deportation of 27-year old HIV positive asylum seeker Carlos Alberto Bringas-Rodriguez and ordered Bringas to be permitted back into the country no later than 16 January, on which day he flew back to Kansas to reunite with his husband and daughter. On 20 December 2017, despite an en banc order in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granting a petition for review and the rehearing of his pending asylum case, Bringas was taken into custody, a deportation order issued and deported 22 December to Reynosa, Mexico. His next hearing is scheduled for 26 September 26, with the same Judge DeVitto who ordered him deported previously.
Order: Carlos Alberto Bringas-Rodriguez v. Jefferson B Session III et al No. 18-70049 PDF 280.94kb 12 JAN 18
Incredibly Bad Decision of AAT Concerning Proof of Homosexuality Overturned by Full Court

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 15January 2018, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia set aside orders made by a Federal Circuit Court that dismissed an application for judicial review of a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal affirming a decision by the Minister's delegate not to grant the homosexual appellant a Protection (Class XA) visa. The appellant claimed to fear significant harm if returned to his country of nationality by reason of his homosexuality.
• Orders: DA016 v. Minister for Immigration and Border Protection NSD 584 of 2017 HTML 15 JAN 18

11 January 2018

Namibia lets gay man into the country to be with his husband and son

NAMIBIA: On 11 January 2018, in what could be a test case for same-sex marriage in the African country, it was reported that the government had granted Johann Potgie­ter's application to allow his South African husband Daniel Digashu to enter Namibia to be with him and son. In August 2016, the couple wer married in South Africa and are seeking recognition of the marriage in the Windhoek High Court. When Digashu's temporary work permit expired in early January, he faced having to leave Namibia.
European Court of Justice rules Romania must give residency to gay man's partner

ROMANIA: On 11 January 2018, the Eiropean Court of Justice Advocate General Melchior Wathelet found that under the EU’s freedom of movement directive, the term ''spouse'' includes same-sex partners and that Romania must give residency to the same-sex partner of one of its citizens, despite Romania not recognizing same-sex marriage.
• Opinion of Advocate General: Relu Adrian Coman, Robert Clabourn Hamilton & Anor v. The General Inspectorate for Immigration, Ministry of Interior, National Council for Combating Discrimination Case C-673/16 HTML 11 JAN 18

10 January 2018

Transgender Student’s Discrimination Suit Is Settled for $800,000

UNITED STATES, Wisconsin: On 10 January 2018, the school board for the Kenosha Unified School District was reported to have voted 5-2 to pay $800,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a transgender student Ashton Whitaker who said he was forbidden from using boys bathrooms at George Nelson Tremper High School in Kenosha and felt degraded by administrators.
City adopts anti-discrimination law protecting LGBT rights

UNITED STATES, Kentucky: On 09 January 2018, the Paducah City Commission voted 4-1 to repeal and replace the Human Rights Commission ordinance (chapter 58 in the Paducah Code of Ordinances) to include an anti-discrimination ordinance that protects the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender residents.
Now That Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal, States Must Abolish Transgender ''Forced Divorce'' Laws

AUSTRALIA, National: On 10 January 2018, BuzzFeed reported on a hangover issue from before marriage equality where, for example, NSW law requires transgender people to meet four criteria to change their legal sex: be over 18; have their birth registered in the state; have undergone gender affirmation surgery; and be unmarried. The ''unmarried'' element (and perhaps surgery) is now inappropriate and all Australian states and territories (except SA and the ACT) must, within twelve months, abolish the ''forced divorce'' laws barring married transgender people like G from changing their legal sex.
Unlawful homosexual vilification complaint partially upheld

AUSTRALIA, New South Wales: On 10 January, the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that a complaint alleging unlawful homosexual vilification in a YouTube posted by John Sunol stating that Garry Burns was a ''child molesting faggot'' was substantiated in part and listed the matter for a directions hearing on 16 January.
• Reasons for Decision: Burns v. Sunol [2018] NSWCATAD 10 HTML 10 JAN 18

09 January 2018

Broward Bans Conversion Therapy

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 09 December 2018, the Broward County Commission unanimously passed (8-0, 1 absentee) an ordinance prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy on minors. A violation of the Ordinance is a civil penalty of $250 for the first violation and $500 for each repeat violation. The Ordinance will become effective as provided by law.
Inter-American Court endorses same-sex marriage

COSTA RICA: On 09 January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that same-sex marriage should be recognized, delivering a verdict binding on most Latin American states -- some of which still hold traditionalist views opposing such unions. The decision in response to a motion lodged by Costa Rica in May 2016. The ruling is legally binding in Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay.
• Consultative Opinion (in Spanish): Requested by the Republic of Costa Rica OC-24/17 PDF 1.19MB 24 NOV 17
Supreme Court denies refugee status for bisexual Ugandan woman

TAIWAN: On 07 January 2018, Hon. Justice Kim Shin in the Supreme Court's first division reversed a ruling recognizing the refugee status of 29-year-old bisexual Ugandan woman ''A'' and returned the case to Seoul High Court. It marks the second time a lower-court verdict in favor of recognizing refugee status for an LGBT individual was reversed by the Supreme Court, after a case last year involving a gay Egyptian man.

08 January 2018

Supreme Court Lets Mississippi Anti-LGBT Law Stand

UNITED STATES, Mississippi: On 08 January 2018, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari (review) of the constitutiona validity of House Bill 1523, signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant on 05 April 2017.
• Order List: 583 U.S.: Certiorari Denied No. 17-547 PDF 298.72kb 08 JAN 17 at page 4
India's high court to review law that bans gay sex

INDIA: On 08 January 2018, the Supreme Court reportedly announced that a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud will review a ruling four years ago upholding the constitutional validity of a penal code that criminalizes same-sex relations between consenting adults, saying the ''case requires reconsideration''.

05 January 2018

Taipei court rejects third lesbian couple

TAIWAN: On 04 January 2018, the Taipei High Administrative Court reported handed a setback to lesbian couple Jennifer Lu ( ) and Chen Ling ( ) when it decided the court cannot order local government offices to register their same-sex marriage saying, relevant amendments legalizing same-sex marriage have not yet cleared the legislature and therefore local authorities had no legal basis to approve the plaintiffs’ marriage application.

04 January 2018

Washington State Offers Third Gender Option on Birth Certificates

UNITED STATES, Washington: On 04 January 2018, the state Department of Health announced that state residents who don't identify as male or female will be able to choose X as their gender on birth certificates starting 27 January. The rule removes an existing requirement of a doctor's letter. Minors who want to change their designation must have written consent of their parent or legal guardian and documentation from a licensed health care professional.
• Rule-Making Order: CR-103P (October 2017) (Implements RCW 34.05.360) WSR 18-02-048 PDF 162.03kb 27 DEC 17
Germany's Federal Court of Justice declares transgender woman legal father of child

GERMANY: On 04 January 2018, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) upheld a lower court ruling in a case on the legal definition of who is a child's mother or father ruling a transgender parent who donated sperm before becoming a woman cannot be the child's mother, a distinction only given to the person who gives birth.
• Decision (in German): In the Civil Status Case No. XII ZB 459/16 HTML 04 JAN 18

02 January 2018

Judge refuses to order school to suspend transgender policy

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 29 December 2017, Judge Jorge Alonso in the US District Court denied a Motion for Preliminary Injunction allowing the Palatine Township High School District 211to continue a policy that enables transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, pending a further status hearing on 08 February 2018.
• Memorandum Opinion and Order Students and Parents for Privacy v. United States Department of Education et al. No. 16-cv-4945 PDF 84.92kb 29 DEC 17

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