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Quick SCOTUS update

Discrimination Transgender Rights

The Supreme Court will again consider whether to take up LGBT employment discrimination cases at its private conference tomorrow, March 1. The cases have been relisted for several conferences at this point, meaning the Justices have discussed the cases at previous conferences but no action has been taken at this point.

Lawrence Hurley from Reuters tweeted that two other cases, on wedding cakes for same-sex couples and bathroom use for people who are transgender, were supposed to be considered at the same conference but have been rescheduled. The Court has not yet said when those cases will be scheduled for their private conference.

19 Comments

  • 1. VIRick  |  February 28, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Zacatecas: Morena Introduces Marriage Equality Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 28 February 2019, Mónica Borrego Estrada (Morena), a deputy in the Zacatecas state legislature, introduced a bill to legalize marriage equality.

    Previously, in the prior legislature, a PRD deputy, María Elena Ortega Cortés, had done the same thing.
    https://www.imagenzac.com.mx/nota/160977-Retomar%

    So, while Morena introduced a marriage equality bill in Zacatecas, in Edomex, Morena is boycotting and blocking a PRD-introduced bill concerning the same subject. Morena has also been accused of holding up pending marriage equality legislation in both the Guerrero and Hidalgo state congresses.

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 28, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Montenegro: Parliamentary Committee Approves Draft LGBT Partnership Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 28 February 2019, a draft law on same-sex communities was endorsed by the Montenegro Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights. Of the committee’s six members, four were in favor, while two abstained.

    If passed by the full Parliament, it will be a year before same-sex couples will be equal to hetero couples who live in marriage or partnership.

    Croatia and Slovenia, two out of six former Yugoslav republics, legalized same-sex partnership in 2014 and 2017 respectively, but not the adoption of children.

    Montenegro is just a step away from approving the same law, while Serbia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Albania remain the regional countries in which such communities are not legal.

    In Serbia, the Commission for the Civil Code is working on a draft of a law, which could either be a new law or just changes made to the existing Family Law, Miodrag Orlic, a member to the Commission said in 2018. The draft is supposed to go before the Parliament this year.
    http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a464093/Montene

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 1, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Zacatecas: Second Municipality to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

    Per Luis Guzman:

    El Presidente del municipio de Ciudad Cuauhtémoc en el Estado de Zacatecas, Juan José Álvarez (PRI), se muestra a favor de implementar el matrimonio igualitario en su municipio. Así que parejas del mismo sexo, vayan y soliciten casarse en el lugar donde viven.
    https://twitter.com/luisigg

    The President of the municipality of Ciudad Cuauhtémoc in the State of Zacatecas, Juan José Álvarez (PRI), is in favor of implementing marriage equality in his municipality. So same-sex couples, go and ask to be married in the place where you live.

    Although no same-sex couples have yet married in Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, nor have there been any such requests, the mayor insists that his registry office is ready and in accord. He is also the representative PRI spokesperson for PRI mayors within Zacatecas state, so it also sounds as if he is stating the mayoral PRI policy within the state. There are 57 municipalities within Zacatecas. Two now have marriage equality.
    https://www.imagenzac.com.mx/nota/161022-En San P…

    Note, Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Zacatecas, should not be confused with Cuauhtémoc, Colima, the home base of the travelling judge from Colima who issued so many hundreds of amparos, thus allowing a flood of same-sex couples to marry within her jurisdiction. On the other hand, the municipality of Cuauhtémoc referenced in this article, population 11,000, is in the eastern prong of Zacatecas state, directly abutting Aguascalientes state. Its main town is San Pedro Piedra Gorda.

    A political aside: It strikes me that PRI, whose official national position on same-sex marriage has been neutral, has spotted an opportunity to move left and out-maneuver Morena, whose official national position on same-sex marriage has been pro-LGBT, but who, at the state level, in several states, has been caught obfuscating, boycotting, and blocking marriage equality. On the other hand, just yesterday, in Zacatecas, Morena introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. So, if this is to be a "contest," I am quite content to watch PRI and Morena fight it out as to which one is more "progressive." In the meantime, I already know that the only true progressives are PRD and PT. However, we need Morena/PRI support in order to pass these bills.

  • 4. VIRick  |  March 1, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Coahuila: Gender Identity Advances Another Step

    Per Dania Ravel:

    Uno de los DDHH básicos que el estado debe garantizar es el respeto a la identidad de género. Ayer, 28 de febrero 2019, su reconocimiento en Coahuila rindió frutos; se tramitaron las primeras credenciales para votar de las personas trans que concluyeron sus trámites de rectificación de identidad.
    https://twitter.com/DaniaRavel/status/11014801627

    One of the basic human rights that the state must guarantee is respect for gender identity. Yesterday, 28 February 2019, in Coahuila, its recognition paid off; the first voting credentials for trans people who had completed their identity rectification procedures were processed.

    Very recently (late 2018), Coahuila amended the state law to allow transgender individuals to change their name/gender marker on their official documents through the simple process of self-declaration. This is the first evidence noted indicating that the new procedure is now being implemented there. Even more recently (early 2019), Colima did the same. We are still waiting for verification of its implementation from Colima.

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 1, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    British Columbia: Transgender Teen Scores Legal Win in BC Supreme Court

    In an important ruling for trans rights, a 14-year-old transgender boy has won his court case and can proceed with hormone replacement therapy without delay, in spite of his father’s objections. The boy, identified as “A.B.” in court records, has been embroiled in a battle in British Columbia between rights over his own body and those of his parents. The boy, with the support of his mother, was planning to begin hormone injections last summer, but his father objected, saying he needed more time to explore the consequences of testosterone.

    A.B. has identified as a male since age 11 and presents as male. Caregivers have determined previously that A.B. was a good candidate for treatment, referring him to the B.C. Children’s Hospital in 2018. The court determined that A.B. was well-informed about the benefits and risks of the treatment and that withholding treatment could be more detrimental to his continued well-being.

    “The totality of the evidence regarding A.B.’s medical needs… leads me to conclude that his hormone treatment should not be delayed further,” wrote B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden in his decision. Bowden added, “While A.B.’s father does not consent to the treatment, I am satisfied that A.B.’s consent is sufficient for the treatment to proceed.”

    A.B.’s father disagrees with the decision, and plans to appeal. The father had sought to block any treatment, arguing that A.B. lacked enough information, a move that the judge questioned in his written decision.

    “Some evidence suggests that he has been delaying proceedings as a way of preventing his son from obtaining the gender transition treatment that he seeks,” Bowden said of the father. As well as allowing A.B. to begin treatment, the court ruling requires any future proceedings to refer to the boy as male and to use his chosen name. He can also change his legal name without parental consent. The ruling further states that any attempts from here on out to persuade A.B. to halt treatment, or for using the wrong name or pronouns for A.B. “shall be considered to be family violence” under the Family Law Act.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/03/canadian-cour

  • 6. VIRick  |  March 1, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Luxembourg: Gay PM Calls Out Arab League Members Criminalizing Homosexuality

    The gay prime minister of Luxembourg called out leaders of a host of Middle Eastern countries that criminalize homosexuality at the world’s first Arab League-European Union summit. Earlier this week at a conference room in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel denounced anti-LGBTQ laws and violence.

    According to a member of Bettel’s cabinet who was present at the meeting, "He said that he was gay and that the fact that he is married to a man could get him the death penalty in any number of countries represented at the table.”

    Writing for "Der Spiegel," Stefan Leifert said that Bettel’s speech elicited “icy silence” from some people who were present and “silent joy” from others. Bettel responded: “Saying nothing was not an option.”

    The summit was attended by quite a few delegations from countries where homosexuality is criminalized, including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Comoros. In five additional countries whose leaders were present – Saudi Arabia, Mauretania, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen – gay people can be sentenced to death.

    While Egypt, where the conference was held, does not formally criminalize homosexuality, LGBTQ people have been arrested under indecency laws. Human Rights Watch has said that Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, supports “persecution of gays and trans people as a political strategy.”

    Bettel is the first modern world leader married to someone of the same sex and the first gay prime minister in the world to win a second term. He married his husband Gauthier Destenay in 2015, shortly after marriage equality was legally recognized in Luxembourg.

    Luxembourg also has a gay deputy prime minister, Etienne Schneider.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/02/gay-world-lea

    Note: The Arab League being the ARAB League, for various geo-political reasons, not all Muslim-majority nations are members. Albania, Kosovo, Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Eritrea, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, any black African nation with a large Muslim element, and all ex-Soviet "stans," including Azerbaijan, are not members.

    Besides Egypt, homosexuality is not criminalized in these Arab League member states: Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Bahrain, Iraq, and Djibouti.

    These Muslim-majority non-members also do not criminalize homosexuality: Albania, Kosovo, Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Mali, Niger, and Indonesia.
    https://www.indiatoday.in/fyi/story/homosexuality

  • 7. Fortguy  |  March 1, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Let's have an update on the shenanigans in the Texas Legislature.

    SB 15 was not originally filed as an anti-LGBT bill when first filed despite being a very bad bill nonetheless. The bill would prohibit local governments from passing ordinances requiring businesses to offer employee benefits beyond those required by federal and state laws such as paid sick leave, paid holidays, or family leave. The bill originally had an exemption for non-discrimination ordinances, but that provision was stripped by the Senate State Affairs Committee led by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston). By a 5-1 vote on the nine-member committee, the bill became the first bill to pass out of any Senate committee that is not part of Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency agenda. As the low bill number indicates, the bill is a priority of Lite Guv Potty Patrick. SB 15 was authored by senators Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), and Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels).

    Equality Texas: For Immediate Release: Equality Texas responds to last-minute changes in SB 15
    Alex Samuels, The Texas Tribune: Texas Senate panel advances bill banning cities from adopting sick leave ordinances

    There are two additional bills filed in the Senate:

    SB 1009 is authored by Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and would allow government officials to recuse themselves from performing marriage ceremonies due to religious beliefs. This bill has been referred to State Affairs.

    SB 1107 allows a health care provider or facility to refuse service due to faith-based considerations. The bill was filed by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and has not yet been assigned to committee.

    The status of previous Senate bills that I reported on here are as follows:

    SB 85, allowing religious exemptions for counselors and other mental health professionals, is sitting in State Affairs with no action so far.

    SB 444, allowing religious exemptions for any state-licensed professional, sits with no action in the Business and Commerce Committee.

    The only House bill, which I first reported on here, is HB 1035, an overarchingly omnibus religious exemption bill with a mini-potty provision thrown in, has been assigned to the House State Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), where it is hoped that it will be neglected and become stale and rancid until it is thrown out with the rest of the refuse after final adjournment.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  March 1, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    VIRick, are you sure about Lebanon? There is indeed a Lebanese law against homosexuality. Its constitutionality is disputed, but still unsettled. Gays are still persecuted. And Lebanese society overwhelmingly rejects the idea that homosexuality is acceptable.

    Gay sex is punishable by up to a year in prison under Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code. A holdover from French occupation, the colonial-era law claims that same-sex relationships “contradict the laws of nature.” Although defenders claim it is rarely enforced, nine people challenged the law in court after being targeted under the law.

    In last week’s ruling, the Penal Appeal Court in Mount Lebanon claimed authorities “had not intended to criminalize homosexuality but rather offense to public morals.”

    The appeals court decision served to uphold a lower court ruling dismissing charges against the petitioners. Last January, Metn Judge Rabih Maalouf claimed that queer and trans people are guaranteed “a practice of their fundamental rights” under Article 183, which states that actions “undertaken in exercise of a right without abuse shall not be regarded as an offense.”

    Three other Lebanon courts have ruled in favor of LGBTQ rights in recent years.

    Back in 2011, Judge Mounir Soliman paved the way for the appeals court’s decision by ruling that gay sex should not be considered “unnatural” under the vaguely worded penal code. Five years later, Jdeide Court Judge Naji El Dahdah tossed out charges against a transgender woman prosecuted for having sex with a man.

    While advocates are calling for Article 534 to be formally stricken from the penal code, Legal Agenda attorney Karim Nammour told PinkNews the ruling “could have repercussions on the way that lower court judges rule.”

    “The appeals court has a certain authority,” Nammour said. “It’s higher in the hierarchy.”

    A legal shift in how the Lebanon court system regards LGBTQ rights could have a huge impact on the country’s queer and trans population, who have long been persecuted via Article 534. Police frequently use the law as a pretext to search the phones of gay men, looking for incriminating texts and photos or the presence of hookup apps.

    The penal code has led to a series of raids against bathhouses and movie theaters, resulting in dozens of arrests and human rights abuses.

    After authorities rounded up 36 people at Beirut’s once-popular porn theater Plaza Cinema in 2014, the detainees were subjected to forced anal exams to “determine” their homosexuality. These tests have been condemned by leading organizations from the United Nations to Amnesty International, who have likened the practice to “torture” and called to ban its use.

    Following an onslaught of arrests at various checkpoints around Lebanon in 2016, a transgender woman was beaten, spat on, and tied to a chair by police officers who allegedly attempted to force her to have sex with them. …

    Eighty-percent of Lebanese citizens say homosexuality should not be accepted by society, while the government cracks down on Pride events. After Lebanon became the first Arab country to hold a pro-LGBTQ parade in 2017, authorities shut down Beirut Pride Week earlier this year.

    https://www.intomore.com/impact/lebanon-court-say

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 2, 2019 at 12:04 am

    The source I used stated that the courts overturned Lebanon's criminality of homosexuality in 2014 (although this appears to be a work-in-progress). Later, a district court of appeal in Lebanon issued a groundbreaking ruling on 12 July 2018, that consensual sex between people of the same sex is not unlawful, Human Rights Watch said.

    The ruling follows similar judgments from lower courts that have declined to convict gay and transgender people of “sexual intercourse contrary to nature” in four separate rulings between 2007 and 2017. It is the first such ruling from an appeals court and moves Lebanon further toward decriminalizing homosexual conduct.
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/19/lebanon-same-

    Actually, if we were to turn the clock back,– way back,– homosexuality was decriminalized in the Ottoman Empire in 1858, at a time when the Ottomans ruled most of the Arab world (a law which still remains on the books in Turkey).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Turk

    As for the handful of others, homosexuality was (again) legalized in Jordan (and Palestine) upon independence from Britain in 1951, and in Bahrain after independence from Britain in 1976. Iraq claims to have (again) decriminalized homosexuality in 2003.

    And Northern Cyprus, although not internationally recognized by most of the world, decriminalized homosexuality in 2014, finally dumping the British-imposed colonial law on that portion of the island.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  March 2, 2019 at 7:23 am

    But "moves Lebanon further toward decriminalizing homosexual conduct" is not what you claimed. You listed Lebanon as a country that had completed the process of decriminalizing homosexuality.

    You don't get to claim an Obergefell until after the Supreme Court issues that ruling. A ruling from a lower-level appellate court doesn't affect the whole country. The law against homosexuality in Lebanon is still in effect.

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 2, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I am glad we only have a slight disagreement on Lebanon. My first source, India Today from India stated the point rather positively, while HRW from the USA stated the same point in more nuanced terms, as did the entry in Wikipedia.

    However, there are many additional nuances that make any sort of definitive listing for that part of the world quite difficult, given that the law and the actual practice do not necessarily align. For example, even though Iraq may happen to have a law decriminalizing homosexuality (one that works in Kurdistan), there are serious warnings for much of the country regarding ISIS, assorted militia, and vigilante groups, none of whom have any regard for details concerning Iraqi law. Similar warnings have been expressed about Egypt.

    Still, I am elated that PM Bettel from Luxembourg stated what he stated in a speech in front of the assembled leadership of the entire Arab League. That was the entire reason I posted the original post on this subject. However, that source, LGBTQ Nation, did not name all of the offending member nations, but only cited a selection. As a result, I chose to dig around and then attempted to prepare several more-comprehensive listings.

    The single most important new piece of information I learned from this exercise was the fact that the Ottoman Empire decriminalized homosexuality in 1858 with the adoption of the Ottoman Penal Code. At that point in time, the empire included all of modern-day Turkey, plus, Albania, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Thessaly, Romania, Bulgaria, East Rumelia, Thrace, Crete, Cyprus, Batum (Georgia), Kars (Armenian Kurdistan), Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Fezzan, Tripoli, Tunisia, Kurdistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Hejaz, Western Arabia, Eritrea, Somaliland, and Yemen.
    https://www.britannica.com/place/Ottoman-Empire/T

    Of this entire list of places, it is very difficult to determine how far and wide the Ottoman Penal Code of 1858 actually reached, as many areas had their own autonomous local rulers who may or may not have implemented the reforms. For example, the latter three in that list were only thinly-ruled by the Ottomans along the immediate edge of the Red Sea. Bahrain and Qatar were under contention with Persia, Oman, the British, the Wahhabis of Najd, and local sheikhs. On the other hand, Hejaz and Western Arabia, plus the three which form modern-day Libya, were under Ottoman rule for 400 years.

    However, since then, much of the retrogression in that part of the world began with the British occupation of various and sundry portions, and was then followed, immediately post-independence, by Arab nationalist hardliners. And now, we seem to have a rise of Arab conservatives and radical Islamists.

  • 12. VIRick  |  March 3, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Nuevo León: Marriage Equality Is Now a Reality

    Nuevo León: El Matrimonio Igualitario Ya Es una Realidad

    A partir de este martes, 26 de febrero 2019, el matrimonio civil igualitario ya es una realidad en Nuevo León, luego de que el Congreso local fue notificado sobre la resolución que emitió la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) para invalidar los Artículos 140, 147, y 148 que impedían el enlace de dos personas del mismo sexo.
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com.mx/2019/02/26/el-m

    As of this Tuesday, 26 February 2019, equal civil marriage is now a reality in Nuevo León, after the state Congress was notified of the ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) invalidating Articles 140 , 147, and 148 that prevented the joining of two people of the same sex.

  • 13. VIRick  |  March 3, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Baja California Now Allowing Persons to Change Gender Marker Administratively

    Per Sonora Pride:

    Hasta ahora, en el municipio de Ensenada solo se han logrado hacer dos trámites de cambio de identidad (de género), uno fue por la vía judicial y otro por la vía administrativa.
    http://sintesistv.com.mx/solo-dos-personas-trans-

    Until now, in the municipality of Ensenada, only two people have taken all the steps to change their (gender) identity, one was through the courts and the other through administrative means.

    However, the civil registrar of Ensenada, Christian Vázquez, is now looking to assist other transgender individuals who are seeking to administratively change their name and the gender marker on their birth certificates. And already, almost overnight, there are 30 persons who have begun the administrative process in Ensenada alone.

    Until now, transgender individuals could only change the gender markers on their official documents if they did so by travelling to CDMX, Michoacán, Nayarit, Coahuila, or Colima,– or by going through a long, arduous court procedure. And, according to this article, in CDMX, the administrative process can take up to 6 weeks. So now, to this very short list, we can also add Baja California, a long-distance journey from any of those five.

    This article, first published on 27 February 2019, has been up-dated and re-published today, 3 March 2019. The next article below explains why the sudden change in Baja California, namely, that the federal courts there have consistently ruled that the previously-enforced Baja state restrictions are unconstitutional:

  • 14. VIRick  |  March 3, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Supreme Court: Gender Identity, Baja California Court Decisions v. Guanajuato Decisions

    Per Sonora Pride:

    Hoy (20 de febrero 2019) es un día clave para los derechos de la comunidad trans en México: la Suprema Corte decidirá si para obtener una nueva acta de nacimiento basta un breve trámite… o hay que enfrentar un juicio largo, con los gastos que esto implica. Se prevé que la Primera Sala de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) discuta una contradicción de tesis que puede hacer historia. El proyecto, a cargo del ministro Luis María Aguilar, analiza los criterios de magistrados de Guanajuato en contraste con los de Baja California.

    En Guanajuato es necesario iniciar un juicio que dura al menos 3 meses para poder obtener la rectificación del acta de nacimiento, cuando como trámite administrativo tardaría alrededor de 12 días. En contraste, magistrados de Baja California señalan que una norma es inconstitucional si no contempla la rectificación de nombre y sexo entre los procedimientos de cambios de datos en actas de nacimiento, es decir, reduce la modificación a un trámite administrativo.

    Ya se han modificado códigos civiles para que las personas transgénero puedan hacer los cambios legales de su identidad, pero solo en Ciudad de México y cuatro estados: Michoacán (2017), Nayarit (2017), Coahuila (2018), y Colima (2019).
    https://www.mexico.com/nuestras-causas/derechos-c

    Today (20 February 2019) is a key day for the rights of the trans community in Mexico: the Supreme Court will decide whether a brief procedure is enough to obtain a new birth certificate … or whether a long trial is required, with all the expenses that this implies. It is expected that the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) will discuss a contradiction of thesis that can make history. The project, by Justice Luis María Aguilar, analyzes the criteria of judges in Guanajuato in contrast to those of Baja California.

    In Guanajuato, to obtain the rectification of one's birth certificate, it is necessary to start a trial that lasts at least 3 months, whereas an administrative procedure would take around 12 days. In contrast, judges from Baja California point out that a policy is unconstitutional if it does not contemplate the rectification of name and sex within the procedure of data changes on birth certificates; thus, it reduces the modification to a simple administrative procedure.

    Civil codes have already been modified so that transgender people can make legal changes to their identity, but only so in Mexico City and four states: Michoacán (2017), Nayarit (2017), Coahuila (2018), and Colima (2019). Plus, administratively, in Baja California (2019), but after this article was written and published on 20 February 2019.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  March 4, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Civil marriage resurfaces as a hot topic in Lebanon’s politics

    BEIRUT — Lebanon’s debate over the legalization of civil marriage was once again brought to the forefront after newly appointed Interior Minister Raya El Hassan vocalized her support to instate nonreligious unions, a practice strictly prohibited by religious leaders of all sects.

    In a televised interview with Euronews Feb. 15, Hassan said that she would “try to make room for a serious and deep discussion” on a “framework for civil marriage.” The minister’s words quickly drew fire from religious authorities and political figures.

    Dar al-Fatwa, Lebanon’s Muslim Sunni authority, issued a statement Feb. 18 after Hassan’s remarks declaring its “absolute rejection” of civil marriage due to its “contradiction to Sharia.” It said that a draft law could not be approved in parliament “without taking into consideration the stance of Dar al-Fatwa and the other religious authorities in Lebanon.”

    On Feb. 22, Sheikh Ali-al Khatib, vice-president of the Higher Shiite Council, reaffirmed during a sermon that the body was against the option. …

    In Lebanon, issues related to personal status, including marriage, divorce and child custody, are under the purview of the country’s recognized religious authorities. Without a civil code in place, a marriage between different sects is not officially legal, forcing interreligious couples to marry abroad.

    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/0

  • 16. VIRick  |  March 4, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    "Without a civil code in place, a marriage (in Lebanon) between different sects is not officially legal, forcing inter-religious couples to marry abroad."

    I am suspecting that this peculiarity in Lebanese law is a default "hold-over" from the era of the Ottoman Empire, as the same "hold-over" is currently negatively affecting Israel in the same way (and possibly other ex-Ottoman holdings like Syria and Egypt, both with significant non-Muslim religious minorities), wherein which each officially-recognized religious sect fervently guards its long-standing exclusive turf within the country in question, and refuses to allow any changes. However, during the Ottoman era, in the multi-religious areas, this method was what was employed to placate each group and to prevent the various religious sects from killing each other. It was employed in the Balkans and in the Armenian areas, as well.

    Like Lebanon, Israeli inter-religious (hetero) couples must travel abroad in order to legally marry. And by extension, in Israel, so must same-sex couples. Upon returning to Israel, both inter-religious and same-sex marriages, duly performed abroad, are then legally recognized as civil marriages within Israel. Lebanon's civil government (and any other which has inherited this Ottoman-era marriage law) should do the same. Since Lebanon's civil government already recognizes inter-religious marriages duly performed abroad (whether or not they ever approve of civil marriage taking place within Lebanon), they could simply extend this civil recognition to also cover same-sex marriages performed abroad.

    For inter-religious heteros wishing to marry, the closest locale which will accommodate is Cyprus. For same-sex couples, Cyprus will also perform civil unions. For marriage, same-sex couples would need to travel further, to either Belgium, Spain, or Portugal.

    It is also interesting to note that that article regarding Lebanon only quoted objections from the Sunni Muslim authority and the Shia Muslim council, but not from the Maronites, the Armenians, nor the Druze (or whatever other religious sect is officially recognized). In total, Lebanon has 15 different religious courts governing 18 different officially-recognized religious sects.

    And, by the way, in Israel, only the Sunni Muslim authority is duly recognized, thus making it the sole Muslim authority.

    It seems as if much of the same rules regarding religious marriages and separate religious authorities apply in Syria, too. Civil marriage only seems to be available in al-Hasakah province in the far northeast (the Kurdish region with its mixed Assyrian Christian population). Otherwise, it even mentions the necessity of travelling to Cyprus if one wants a (hetero) civil marriage.
    https://english.enabbaladi.net/archives/2018/06/c

    No civil marriages are permitted in Jordan, only religious ones.
    https://jo.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/loc

    However, according to the Iraqi Social Status Law, civil marriages are permitted in Iraq, as are (hetero) inter-religious marriages.
    https://iq.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/mar

    On the other hand, as a complete reversal, in Egypt, only civil marriage at the local marriage court is legal. A religious marriage, if wanted, would come later.
    https://www.thespruce.com/egypt-marriage-license-

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  March 4, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    This 2015 report by Human Rights Watch illuminates the history of marriage in Lebanon, the horrific way women are treated under current Lebanese law, and the true basis for the religious opposition to civil marriage in Lebanon:

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/01/19/unequal-and

  • 18. VIRick  |  March 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Poland: Warsaw Mayor Signs LGBT Rights Declaration

    On 18 February 2019, Rafał Trzaskowski, the mayor of Poland’s capital city, Warsaw, signed a declaration to protect LGBT rights, the first ever to be signed in eastern Europe, and the first to officially recognize LGBT rights in Poland.
    
    The declaration signed by Trzaskowski is said to guarantee the basic needs of Warsaw’s LGBT community, and to enable local administrations to provide what the Polish government has refused to put into practice. The declaration includes the promise of an LGBT hostel and community center, plus a local crisis intervention system, and aims to provide access to anti-discrimination and sex education at city schools.
    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/03/04/rafal-trzas

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  March 5, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    That is an awesome development. Poland and Eastern Europe are very difficult areas. Looking forward to more great news here, VIRick, thanks!

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