March 2019

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30 March 2019

Top military prosecutor rules homosexuality not a crime in landmark decision

LEBANON: On 30 March 2019, top military prosecutor Judge Peter Germanos reportedly decided not to charge four military personnel with or issue arrest warrants for violating Penal Code Article 534, which states that ''any sexual act contrary to nature is punishable by imprisonment of one year''. Germanos ruled ''sodomy is not punishable by law'', as Article 534 is not explicit in terms of what kind of relationship can be considered ''contrary to nature'' and does not distinguish between male and female.

29 March 2019

Chief Justice rules same-sex marriage is legal

CAYMAN ISLANDS: On 22 March 2019, it was reported that Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in the Grand Court ruled that the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional and violated multiple rights, ordering that the local law be changed to reflect that same-sex couples are allowed equal access to marriage as heterosexual couples.
• Summary of Judgment: Chantelle Day & Vickie Bodden Bush v. The Governor of the Cayman Islands The Deputy Registrar of the C.I. The Attorney General of the C.I. No. G111/18 & 184/18 PDF 621.49kb 30 MAR 19

28 March 2019

Estate and inheritance tax guide: The best and worst states to die in

UNITED STATES: On 28 February 2019, it was reported that the ability to pass on your wealth to your heirs depends on where you live ... and die.
Young Zambian Denied Refuse in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: On 28 March 2019, it was reported that young gay man Anold Mulaisho, who left a well-paid government job and fled from Zambia because of his sexual orientation, has been denied refugee status by the South African Department of Home Affairs, his application for asylum allegedly being rejected on various spurious grounds (see report).

27 March 2019

British Columbia transgender woman wins discrimination suit

CANADA, British Columbia: On 27 March 2019, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal decided that contrary to the Human Rights Code, Christian activist William Whatcott had discriminated against Morgane Oger, the NDP candidate for the False Creek riding in Vancouver, by creating and distributing a flyer entitled ''Transgenderism vs. Truth in Vancouver False Creek''. The tribunal awarded Oger $55,000.
• Decision: Oger v. Whatcott (No. 7) 2019 BCHRT 58 PDF 3.39MB 27 MAR 19

26 March 2019

The Last Legal Barrier Against Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Has Been Removed

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 26 March 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dissolved the sole remaining preliminary injunction against the Trump administration's transgender troop ban ­ set to go into effect 12 April.
Order: Jane Doe 2, et al., v. Patrick M Shanahan No. 18-5257 PDF 39.43kb 26 MAR 19
Brunei laws punishing LGBT people with whipping, stoning 'to be implemented next week'

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM: On 03 April 2019, the Sultanate is expected to introduce new (Sharia) laws that could see LGBT muslim people found guilty of same-sex relations, adultery, sodomy and rape whipped or stoned to death.

23 March 2019

Victory for Kenya's LGBT+ community as charity wins right to be recognized

KENYA: On 22 March 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled 3-2 (Justices Philip Waki, Asike Makhandia and Martha Koome affirmed, Justices Daniel Musinga and Roselyn Nambuye dissented) that the government could not use colonial-era laws criminaliszing gay sex to block the National Gay Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) from being registered as a non-profit organization, upholding the April 2015 High Court judgment. The government could still appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.
• Judgment: Non-Government Organisations Co-Ordination Board v. Eric Gitari, Attorney General and Others Civil Appeal No. 145 of 2015 PDF 230.17kb 22 MAR 19

22 March 2019

First UN resolution on the rights of intersex persons: UN calls to end discrimination of women and girls in sports, including women born with variations of sex characteristics

UNITED NATIONS: On 20 March 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution expressing concern over regulations forcing women and girls to undergo unnecessary medical procedures or hormone therapy to participate in competitive sport.
• UN HRC Resolution: Elimination of discrimination against women and girls in sport A/HRC/40/L.10/Rev.1 PDF 155.86kb 21 MAR 19
Michigan requires state-contracted child welfare agencies to accept all qualified families

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 22 March 2019, Attorney General Dana Nessel settled the Kristy and Dana Dumont of Lansing and Erin and Rebecca Busk-Sutton of Detroit lawsuit. The Plaintiffs have agreed to dismiss their claims and pay their own attorney fees and costs, meaning same-sex couples in Michigan can now adopt from state agencies without facing discrimination.
• Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice: Kristy Dumont, Dana Dumont and Erin Busk-Sutton, Rebecca Busk-Sutton v. Robert Gordon and Ors No. 2-17-cv-13080-PDB-EAS PDF 400.43kb 22 MAR 19

21 March 2019

Surrogacy, assisted reproductive technology laws outdated after 25 years, WA review finds

AUSTRALIA, Western Australia: On 21 March 2019, it was reported that the ''The Review of the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 and the Surrogacy Act 2008'' authored by Associate Professor Dr Sonia Allan was tabled in the Parliament and makes 122 recommendations, including calling on the Government to urgently repeal outdated ''discriminatory'' provisions which currently prevent single men or male same-sex couples from accessing surrogacy.
• The Review of the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 and the Surrogacy Act 2008: Report Part 1 PDF 2.70MB JAN 19
• The Review of the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 and the Surrogacy Act 2008: Report Part 2 PDF 2.60MB JAN 19

19 March 2019

Russian Authorities Cancel Theatre Festival Under ''Gay Propaganda'' Law

RUSSIA, Khabarovskiy kray: On 19 March 2019, it was reported that youth theatre festival organizer Yulia Tsvetkova had been interrogated by police in the far eastern region of Komsomolsk-on-Amur over the play ''Blue and Pink'', which explores gender stereotypes, and Russian media reported that the theatre festival was banned by authorities for promoting ''hatred against men and non-traditional family relations'' after being accused of staging the play and ''attempting to illegally hold an LGBT event''.
Canada's military issues new policies to welcome transgender troops as Trump insists on ban

CANADA, Federal: On 19 March 2019, it was reported that the Canadian Armed Forces had issued new directives giving guidelines on medical and surgical supports for transgender troops, uniform and naming protocols, and accommodations for bathrooms, showers and other private areas, ordering commanding officers to end discrimination, foster respect and inclusion.
U.S. judge rebuts Trump on transgender troop limits

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 19 March 2019, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a three-page notice saying an injunction that she issued against the policy in 2017 remains in place. A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set aside the injunction on 04 January however, the Court ordered the Clerk of the Court ''to withhold issuance of the mandate herein until seven days after resolution of any timely petition for rehearing or petition for rehearing en banc'' and extended the time for filing any petition for rehearing or petition for rehearing en banc be extended to 21 days after the issuance of the court’s forthcoming separate opinions (filed 08 March). Accordingly, Plaintiffs have until 29 March 2019 to file for rehearing or rehearing en banc and the injunction remains in place.
Notice: Jane Doe 2 et al., v. Donald J Trump, et al. No. 17-cv-1597 (CKK) PDF 83.73kb 19 MAR 19

18 March 2019

U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal from Hawaii B&B owner who turned away lesbian couple

UNITED STATES, Hawaii: On 18 March 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected (petition for a write of certiorari denied) an appeal from Phyllis Young, the owner of the Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, who refused to rent a room lesbian couple Taeko ''Ty'' Bufford and Diane Cervelli because of her religious beliefs opposing homosexuality. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruling upheld lower court rulings that Young discriminated against the couple and therefore stands.
• Order List: 586 U.S.: Aloha Bed & Breakfast v. Cerelli, Diane, et al. No. 18-451 PDF 172.69kb 18 MAR 19 at page 13

16 March 2019

New parental leave policy starts Sunday

CANADA, Federal: On 16 March 2019, it was reported that the federal government's new parental sharing program goes into effect Sunday. The program is available to opposite-sex, same-sex and adoptive parents whose children were born or placed for adoption after March 17. The only stipulation is that couples must agree to share their Employment Insurance parental benefits.

15 March 2019

Alimony awarded to lesbian

ITALY, Pordenone: On 15 March 2019, it was reported that a Pordenone court awarded a regular 'divorce cheque' to ''the weaker'' one of two women whose relationship began in 2013 and who got a civil union two years ago under Italy's new law. The better-off woman will pay 350 euros a month to to the worse-off one.
Austrian Evangelical Church votes to publicly ‘bless’ homosexual unions

AUSTRIA: On 09 March 2019, the General Synod of the Austrian Evangelical Church (Lutheran) voted 45-18 to allow homosexual couples to receive a church blessing during a public ceremony of worship.

13 March 2019

Massachusetts House approves gay conversion therapy ban

UNITED STATES, Massachusetts: On 13 March 2019, the House was reported to have approved 147-8 legislation (H140) that would ban so-called gay conversion therapy for minors. The Bill now heads to the Senate.
Germany extends compensation for investigations of gay men

GERMANY: On 13 March 2019, it was reported that Justice Ministry issued a directive effective Wednesday under which people who were put under investigation or taken into investigative custody, but not convicted, can claim compensation payments of 500 euros per investigation opened, and 1,500 euros for each year of time in pre-trial custody started.

12 March 2019

St. Joseph approves LGBT non-discrimination ordinance

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 11 March 2019, the St. Joseph Commissioners reportedly vote 4-0 to enact an ordinance protecting LGBT residents from discrimination. The ordinance takes effect in 10 days.
Discrimination law widened to include intersex and transgender people

NETHERLANDS: On 12 March 2019, it was reported that the Senate voted in favour of amending current anti-discrimination laws to outlaw gender identity discrimination alongside sex, religion, political beliefs, race, nationality, sexual orientation and marital status. The lower house of parliament voted in favour of the measure in July 2018.
DOD unveils plan to initiate Trump transgender policy on April 12

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 12 March 2019, David L Norquist, performing the duties of deputy secretary of defense, issued a memorandum that spells out the timeline, procedures and potential exemptions for implementing the plan ordered by Trump and created by former Defense Secretary James Mattis, with ewffect from 12 April. The memo asserts the policy is not a ban because it allows transgender people to enlist, provided they have no diagnosis of gender dysphoria and are willing to serve in their biological sex.
Memorandum: Military Service by Transgender Persons and Persons with Gender Dysphoria PDF 3.11MB 12 MAR 19

11 March 2019

Judge dismisses doctor's appeal over lying to authorities about partner's HIV-positive status

SINGAPORE: On 11 March 2019, High Court Justice Chua Lee Ming dismissed the appeal of Ler Teck Siang, a doctor at the heart of the data leak of 14,200 HIV-positive people in Singapore (report). Ler Teck Siang had appealed against his conviction and two-year jail sentence for abetting his partner Mikhy Farrera Brochez to cheat the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) about Brochez's HIV-positive status, and for giving false information to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the police.

08 March 2019

Pentagon tells currently serving transgender troops they can stay

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 08 March 2019, in the wake of the latest federal court ruling allowing the implementation of the Trump administration's ban on transgender troops, the Pentagon reportedly says currently serving transgender troops can stay while the legal battles continue.
Landmark Win for Transgender Iowans Today

UNITED STATES, Iowa: On 08 March 2019, the Supreme Court of Iowa ruled Iowa Medicaid denying gender-affirming, medically necessary surgery to someone simply because they are transgender is discriminatory and in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
Opinion: Eerieanna Good and Carol Beal v. Iowa Department of Human Services No. 18-1158 PDF 140.67kb 08 MAR 19
Dutch Reformed Church's decision not to recognise same-sex unions overturned

SOUTH AFRICA: On 06 March 2019, the full bench of the North Gauteng High Court, lead by Judge Joseph Raulinga, reportedly set aside the Dutch Reformed Church's decision not to recognise gay marriages. The practical effect of the order is that the Dutch Reformed Church will be able to conduct same-sex marriages once they have obtained a licence from Home Affairs in this regard. The judgment also enables gay or lesbian members who are in a same-sex relationship to become ministers of the church.
• Judgment: Guam and Others v. Van Rensburg NO and Others [2019] ZAGPPHC 52 PDF 575.65kb 08 MAR 19

07 March 2019

Utah Legislature Passes Bill to Legalize Sex Outside of Marriage

UNITED STATES, Utah: On 06 March 2019, the State legislature passed Senate Bill 43 (41-32 vote in the House). The Bill in part decriminalizes fornication outside of marriage and now goes to the Governor.
ACLU Comment on Federal Court Decision in Trans Military Ban Case

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 07 March 2019, US District Judge George L Russell, III ruled in ''Stone v. Trump'' that the Trump administration's ban on transgender service members could move forward while courts review the issue.
Order: Brock Stone, et al., v. Donald J Trump, et al No. GLR-17-2459 PDF 89.55kb 07 MAR 19

05 March 2019

Ohio appeals court rules in favor of transgender teen trying to legally change name

UNITED STATES, Ohio: On 04 March 2019, Court of Appeals Judge M Powell reversed a Warren County Judge Joseph Kirby's decision in the case of a transgender teen who wanted to change his name finding he abused his discretion when he denied the request, saying the original decision discounts the parents' wishes and medical evidence.
Opinion: In re H.C.W. No. CA2018-07-069 PDF 80.12kb 04 MAR 19
Colorado drops transgender cake case against Christian baker Jack Phillips

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 05 March 2019, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission reportedly dropped its latest case against Christian cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. Phillips agreed in exchange to drop his lawsuit against the state, which he filed last year after the commission took action against him for declining to make a blue-and-pink cake to celebrate a transgender transition.

04 March 2019

Will fewer college students report sexual assault after this California court ruling?

UNITED STATES, California: On 04 January 2019, Judge Thomas L. Willhite in the 2nd Appellate District Court of Appeal held that when a student accused of sexual misconduct (alleged nonconsensual sex with another USC student) is facing severe disciplinary sanctions, like expulsion or suspension ­ and the credibility of witnesses is central ­ a fair process must include a live hearing where parties may cross-examine each other.
• Opinion: John Doe v. Kegan Allee, et al No. B283486 PDF 260.91 kb 04 JAN 19
Judge: Idaho can’t delay transgender inmate’s surgery

UNITED STATES, Idaho: On 04 March 2019, US District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled that Idaho Department of Correction officials cannot delay gender confirmation surgery for transgender inmate Adree Edmo while they appeal the court ruling requiring them to provide the surgery by 13 June.

03 March 2019

Britain's first transgender hate crime trial is halted after one day as judge says 'there is no case and never was a case'

UNITED KINGDOM, England and Wales: On 01 March 2019, Britain's first transgender hate crime prosecution was reportedly halted by District Judge John Woollard in the Basildon Magistrates' Court in Essex. Judge Woollard dismissed the case declaring 'There is no case and never was a case'. Miranda Yardley, 51, was accused of harassing transgender activist Helen Islan.

01 March 2019

South Korea rights body claims it does not 'deny' same-sex marriage

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: On 27 February 2019, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea reportedly claimed it did not 'deny' the rights of a same-sex couple to marry however it rejected a petition filed by a British and South Korean gay couple who got married overseas and asked for their marriage to be recognized.

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