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  • 1. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Singapore: Fresh Challenge Filed Against Section 377A

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 12 September 2018, a Singaporean disc jockey has lodged a court challenge against the law banning sex between men in the city-state of Singapore, his lawyers said, inspired by last week's landmark ruling in India.

    Debate has intensified in Singapore since the Indian Supreme Court last week decriminalized gay sex, overturning a statute dating back to British colonial rule. Sex between men remains illegal in Singapore due to the same law inherited from the same colonial-era statute, although it is rarely enforced.

    Lawyers for Johnson Ong — a former ambassador for Singapore's leading gay rights group, Pink Dot, and known as DJ Big Kid — said they will introduce evidence to show the ban runs counter to the constitution's guarantee of personal liberty. "We will argue that dignity is a foundational concept which forms the bedrock of the fundamental liberties provisions of the Singapore Constitution," they said in a summary of their arguments sent to AFP, adding that they will show this law violates human dignity.

    In 2014, Singapore's appeals court dismissed a constitutional challenge by a gay couple against the law — known as Section 377A of the penal code — saying it was up to parliament to repeal it.

    But lawyers Eugene Thuraisingam and Suang Wijaya, who are representing Ong without payment, said they will cite a 2015 US report which says that sexual orientation "is unchangeable or suppressible at an unacceptable personal cost." If this is so, "criminalizing the manifestation of sexual orientation — that is, consensual intimate activity — must be in violation of human dignity," they said.

    The lawyers will also argue that since the first challenge in Singapore was dismissed four years ago, there have been court decisions worldwide legalizing same-sex marriage or gay sex, including the Indian court's ruling.

  • 2. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Kenya: LGBTs Hope for Court Win After India Scraps "Gay Sex" Ban

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A battle in Kenya’s courts to throw out a British colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex has been reinvigorated after India scrapped similar legislation in a landmark ruling last week, LGBT rights campaigners said on Wednesday, 12 September 2018.

    Homosexuality is taboo in the East African nation and the persecution of sexual minorities is rife. Under sections of Kenya’s penal code, gay sex – or “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

    Campaigners are petitioning Kenya’s high court to repeal the sections, saying they violate constitutional rights to equality, dignity, and privacy. A three-judge bench is expected to give a date for the verdict on 20 September.

    “We are very encouraged by what we are seeing from India. It is the very same fight that we are fighting here in Kenya,” said Kari Mugo, operations manager at the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, one of the lead petitioners.

  • 3. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Canada: Multiple Bills in Nova Scotia Legislature to Ban "Conversion Therapy"

    Per Rob Salerno:

    Within the past week, all three political parties in Nova Scotia's legislature have introduced competing bills to ban anti-LGBT "conversion therapy" within the province.

    The "Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act" was introduced by the PC on 7 September 2018. The "Respect for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act" was introduced by the NDP on the same date. The Government's "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act" was introduced by the Liberals on 11 September 2018.

    One can read each here:

  • 4. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    China: Activists Renew Push for Same-Sex Marriage

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Chinese activists are rallying in their thousands to renew a push for same-sex marriage, making use of a rare window of opportunity to suggest revisions to a draft piece of legislation to include legal protections for the gay community.

    After decades of Communist prudery about sex of all kinds, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Chinese have in recent years been openly tackling bureaucracy, legal uncertainty, and entrenched social norms to assert their place in society. But unlike neighboring, democratic Taiwan, whose decision last year to give same-sex couples the right to marry gave a fillip to the gay rights movement across Asia, China has not budged.

    Two years after a Chinese court rejected his application to be legally married, Sun Wenlin is trying to galvanise the LGBT community by asking people to propose amendments to a draft civil code en masse. The code, a piece of landmark legislation expected to be passed in 2020, was released last week by China’s parliament for two months of public comment.

  • 5. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Chile: Chamber of Deputies Passes Gender Identity Bill

    Per Fundación Iguales:

    ¡Lo celebamos! Hoy dia, 12 de septiembre 2018, la Cámara de Diputados votó y despachó el proyecto de ley de identidad de género, que patrocinamos hace más de cinco años. ¡Una gran victoria para las personas trans!

    We celebrate it! Today, 12 September 2018, the Chamber of Deputies voted upon and favorably dispatched the gender identity bill, which we sponsored more than five years ago. A great victory for trans individuals!

    Per Asociación OTD Chile, the transgender association in Chile‏:

    ¡Por fin! Con 95 votos (y 46 en contra), aprobado el proyecto de ley de Identidad de género. Hoy, Chile da un paso histórico en la inclusión de identidades trans.

    At last! With 95 votes (and 46 against), the Gender Identity bill was approved. Today, Chile takes an historic step for the inclusion of trans identities.

    Per Karen Atala Riffo:

    Hace 5 años atrás estábamos por un sueño. Hoy, se aprobó la Ley de Identidad de Género. Un avance en el reconocimiento de los DDHH de la comunidad trans en Chile.

    Five years ago we were just in a dream. Today, the Gender Identity Law was passed. An advance in the recognition of human rights for the trans community in Chile.

    Per "Washington Blade:"

    A bill that would allow transgender people over 14 years of age in Chile to legally change their name and gender without surgery received final approval on Wednesday, 12 September 2018. The bill passed in the Chilean House of Deputies by a 95-46 vote margin. It now goes to President Sebastián Piñera for his signature.

    The President of Chile then has 30 days within which to sign the legislation into law.

  • 6. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Nigeria: Activist Set to File Suit to Take Down Anti-Gay Law

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Nigerian LGBT rights activist Edafe Okporo is set to push for the repeal of the country’s anti-gay law. Okporo, who now resides in the USA after fleeing from Nigeria due to persecution based on his sexual orientation, has just announced on Twitter that he will be filing a lawsuit in the Nigerian Federal High Court against the Nigerian government to answer for the ceaseless violation of the rights of LGBT Nigerians.

    The lawsuit aims to decriminalize homosexuality in the country by overturning the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act [SSMPA] and all similar laws prohibiting sex acts between consenting same-gender loving adults. Since the SSMPA anti-gay law was enacted in 2014, a series of vicious attacks have been carried out by state and non-state actors against people based on their real or perceived sexual orientation. Okporo aims to put an end to those human rights violations if he wins the lawsuit.

    Also, sections in the lawsuit will seek to ban law enforcement agencies from harassing pro-LGBT NGOs, especially those providing health care services to LGBTI persons in Nigeria.

  • 7. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Jamaica: Aftermath of Supreme Court of India's Ruling Striking Down Section 377

    By Maurice Tomlinson, Lead Plaintiff in Suit to Strike Down Jamaica's Gay-Sex Ban

    On 6 September 2018, in a comprehensive 495-page judgment, the Indian Supreme Court (ISC) took the unusual step of overruling itself and re-de-criminalized consensual same-gender intimacy. Just five years prior, the same court had upheld the British colonially-imposed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which made gay sex a crime. In a deeply problematic ruling, the first panel of ISC justices found that, among other things, the law violated the rights of only a small minority of LGBT citizens and so it was not an affront to India’s constitutional democracy. This profoundly flawed logic could be exploded by any first-year law student as it reflected a fundamental misunderstanding of how constitutions work in a democracy.

    By referencing cases from other former British colonies such as Belize and Trinidad, the new ISC bench wisely declared that rights such as human dignity must always triumph over the dictates of the majority. Otherwise, any majority group could claim that they had the democratic right to simply annihilate their opponents. Indeed, history is replete with examples of oppressive, powerful groups trampling on the rights and lives of defenseless individuals in pursuit of some misguided and deadly ideology. That is why many former British colonies that were born out of anti-oppression and anti-colonial struggles entrenched human rights in their independence constitution. Britain’s brutal Indian Raj sought to eliminate much of India’s culture that the colonizers found problematic. This included a long history of harmless same-gender intimacy that had been culturally and religiously celebrated.

    Thanks to the unequivocal affirmation of constitutional rights in the recent Indian judgment, fully 75% of the world’s population now live in jurisdictions where LGBT people are not criminalized for whom or how they love.

    Meanwhile, my own 2015 constitutional challenge to Jamaica’s version of the archaic law (which was inaugurated in India and exported around the British Empire) has been languishing while the Court of Appeal decides whether the Public Defender has a right to join the case. There is no timeline for when the matter will resume, and I am held hostage to the court’s timetable. This is clearly a case of “justice delayed is justice denied.”

    Maurice Tomlinson of Jamaica and Canada has been involved in LGBTI rights activism in the Caribbean for over 15 years. An attorney-at-law, he leads and supports legal challenges seeking the repeal of anti-sodomy and homophobic laws around the Caribbean.

  • 8. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    The Full Impact of India's Section 377 and the Ruling Striking It Down

    India's population is so large that when the Supreme Court of India de-criminalized same-sex sexual relations, the number of people still living in a country where such remains illegal was cut in half. In other words, India's population alone accounted for just over half of the world's population living in one of the 70-some countries where same-sex sexual relations is still deemed to be illegal.

    Of those 70-some countries, roughly half, or 36, inherited their criminalizing law through British colonialism, a law which was first promulgated in India under the British Raj, and which was then spread from there by British overlords to much of the rest of the British colonial empire, either directly through the imposition of the same Section 377, or through a Section 377 look-alike.

    Those 36 nations are: Jamaica and Barbados, along with Antigua/Barbuda, St. Kitts/Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent/Grenadines, Guyana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, Mauritius, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Papua/New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Samoa, all of which still have colonial-era sodomy laws that are either identical to, or quite similar to India’s Section 377.

    To that list, one should also add Jammu and Kashmir, the one remaining state in India to which the Supreme Court of India's ruling apparently does not apply.

  • 9. FredDorner  |  September 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    It will be interesting to see if the courts in any of these former British colonies consider the reasoning used by India's supreme court, much less adopt it.

    Note that Mexico's supreme court cited both Loving v Virginia and Brown v Board when it unanimously ruled for marriage equality in Dec 2012, well before SCOTUS did……and they don't even use the same judicial system as the US much less derive their laws from the same colonial body of law.

  • 10. VIRick  |  September 14, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Fred, the uniformity within British colonial law is extra-ordinary. Once Section 377 was instituted and promulgated within the British Raj, which at the time included all of modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar (then known as Burma), it was then quickly duplicated in copy-cat fashion, and exported to near-by British colonial possessions like Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Kenya, and eventually, to most of the rest of the British colonial empire in Africa, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific.

    In the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of India, they specifically cited as direct precedent, the striking down of a number of those same copy-cat Section 377s in Fiji, Belize, and Trinidad. Although I was definitely quite aware of the latter two recent rulings, I had been unaware of an even earlier ruling against Fiji's copy-cat Section 377. But the Supreme Court of India knew, citing it as a watershed event.

    A careful examination of the "Washington Blade" listing of ex-British nations still with sodomy bans in place shows that Fiji, Belize, and Trinidad/Tobago are not named.

    However, I still have an open question. The same "Washington Blade" list does not name the assorted Gulf States which for a time were directly ruled by the British Raj from India. They are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Aden (now South Yemen), and British Somaliland (no longer internationally-recognized as a separate entity). As part of the British Raj, one would think that they, too, fell under the control of Section 377. By comparison, neither Egypt nor Iraq did, and technically, in both countries, same-sex sexual activity is not deemed to be illegal.

    Here's yet another factor which is very difficult to measure, but which is definitely at play, in addition to any legal argument: The cultural influence of "Mother India," and how that works out in the many ex-British possessions which have a large population of people whose ancestry derives from India itself. As an ex-resident of Trinidad, I can taste it and feel it, but can not adequately describe it, especially among that portion who are of Hindu descent (and who, in Trinidad's case, like Fiji, comprise about 40% of the total population, not counting the East Bengali or Bangladeshi Muslims nor those of mixed ethnic descent, who together probably account for another 20-25%).

    The influence of "Mother India" was definitely at work in both Fiji and Trinidad, and can be sensed in places like Singapore, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mauritius, Guyana, and even in Malaysia, with spill-over into places directly abutting South Africa or in the Caribbean within proximity to Trinidad.

  • 11. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    More on South Dakota Death Penalty Case at 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 12 September 2018, in "Rhines v. Young," Charles Rhines is asking for a panel rehearing, arguing that Judge Kelly’s vote in favor of granting the certificate of appealability should have been sufficient to authorize its issuance.

    The petition is here:

  • 12. VIRick  |  September 12, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    New York: NYC Government to Pay Victim in Anti-Gay Attack $280,000

    Per Lambda Legal and Equality Case Files:

    Lambda Legal client Thomas Hamm, brutally attacked while he visited his incarcerated partner at a men’s facility on Rikers Island, today, 12 September 2018, was awarded $280,000 in the resolution of a federal lawsuit against the City of New York and New York City Department of Corrections, its officers, and supervisors.

    "In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit settlement includes a non-discrimination statement on the record and instructions to Rikers Island officers on the policy for visitors.

    The full Lambda Legal statement on this case is here:

  • 13. JayJonson  |  September 13, 2018 at 5:54 am

    What a case! Why haven't we heard of it before? I am very happy that Thomas Hamm has received a portion of justice, but what happened to the corrections officers who assaulted him? Apparently nothing. These bastards need to have been fired and prosecuted for assault.

  • 14. VIRick  |  September 13, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    In Durango, PRD Will Promote Approval of Equal Civil Marriage

    Per LBGT Marriage News:

    Impulsará PRD en Durango Aprobación de Matrimonio Civil Igualitario

    David Ramos, diputado del PRD en el Congreso de Durango, retomará los trabajos presentados por este partido político en anteriores legislaturas para impulsar una iniciativa de ley que busca reconocer el matrimonio civil igualitario.

    De acuerdo con la conformación actual del Congreso de Durango, en el que más de la mitad de las 25 curules están ocupadas por Morena, la iniciativa del PRD respaldada por el PAN tendría que ser aprobada en el entendido de que, discursivamente, los morenistas han asumido ser de izquierda y respetuosos de los derechos de todas las personas. Incluso tendría altas probabilidades de avanzar independientemente del apoyo panista.

    David Ramos, PRD deputy in the Durango Congress, will resume the work presented by this political party in previous legislatures to promote a bill that seeks to recognize equal civil marriage.

    According to the current membership of the Durango Congress, in which more than half of the 25 seats are occupied by Morena, the PRD initiative backed by the PAN would have to be approved with the understanding that, discursively, the Morenistas have assumed the left-wing position, respectful of the rights of all people. Thus, the bill would even have a high probability of advancing, independent of PAN support.

    Note: Given a similar configuration of membership in the new Tlaxcala state Congress, there is a high probability that Morena will pass a marriage equality bill there, too.

    Both are important in completing the state-by-state process of implementing nationwide marriage equality in Mexico because Durango and Tlaxcala are two of the four states still currently without statewide jurisprudence on the matter.

    Following the July 2018 elections, the 10 states in Mexico without marriage equality, but now with a Morena majority in their state congresses are: Durango, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Edomex, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz.

    Even without a Morena majority, there appears to be some very recent movement toward legalizing marriage equality within the Yucatán state congress, while both Oaxaca and Querétaro already have their inventive marriage equality "work arounds" firmly in place. Ultimately, Nuevo León's intransigence is doomed by a pending "Action of Unconstitutionality," while Tamaulipas has been doomed since September 2018, when the Supreme Court issued its fifth resolution against Tamaulipas, ordering the state to legalize same-sex marriage within 90 days, or the Supreme Court will do it for them.

    Projecting a bit into the future, that brings us down to just 4 states, Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas.

  • 15. allan120102  |  September 13, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    people from Mexico and Many activist are celebrating that Mexico have a left majority in federal congress but that does not mean same sex marriage will be the law of the land. Rex Wockner and Geraldina Vega have explain why this is not possible even if its pass at federal level. Geraldina have an amazing explanation for these. In other words The only way for Mexico to get same sex marriage is state by state.

  • 16. VIRick  |  September 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Background Notes on Geraldina González de la Vega

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Geraldina González de la Vega is a constitucionalista, a lawyer specializing in constitutional matters and a former law clerk at Mexico's Supreme Court, who currently teaches law in Mexico City at the Universidad Iberoamericana.

    I have always listened to Geraldina, as has Rex. In Mexico, marriage is a state matter, and continues to be a state matter, not a federal one. Federal law already recognizes any/all marriages legally-performed anywhere in Mexico as being legally valid nationwide, and thus eligible for whatever spousal benefits are derived from Federal law, like health insurance, social security, and survivor's benefits. Marriage recognition in Mexico is no longer an issue. But the performance of same-sex marriages within the remaining 19 states is.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  September 14, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Dua Lipa CRIES on stage as she sees fans dragged out of her concert in China 'because they were waving rainbow flags'

    British singer Dua Lipa ended up in tears during her Shanghai concert last night after a large number of fans were said to be forcefully removed by Chinese security guards – apparently for waving rainbow flags. … Faced with the calamity, the pop singer was upset and appeared to cry as she consoled her fans from the stage.

    In an Instagram post today, the star wrote: 'Last night I did it for my fans. A promised show. I stood by them, sang with them and danced with them. I will stand by you all for your love and beliefs and I am proud and grateful that you felt safe enough to show your pride at my show. What you did takes a lot of bravery. I always want my music to bring strength, hope and unity. I was horrified by what happened and I send love to all my fans involved. I would love to come back for my fans when the time is right and hopefully see a room full of rainbows. I love you Shanghai xx'

    Security guards stormed into the arena holding laser pointers and flash torches shortly after the concert began and when thousands of excited young fans were singing along with Dua Lipa, according to one fan who was at the scene. The fan, who only wished to be known as Elsa, told MailOnline before the security guards appeared, the atmosphere of the concert had been great and orderly. The 18-year-old Dua Lipa fan, a university student, said many fans were standing up as they enjoyed the music, but all of sudden the security guards demanded they sit down. She said she also saw one man being removed after allegedly waving a rainbow flag while many more flags were confiscated by the staff.

    'Many fans at the front rows were holding the rainbow flags high, and I heard they were ordered to take down the flags, especially the fans in the first three rows,' said Elsa who paid 980 yuan (£109) for a most expensive ticket to the concert. She said she liked Dua Lipa because the singer championed equality between men and women and spread many positive messages to her fans. 'As a lover of western pop music and culture, this incident has broken my heart,' she said, adding that she hoped the event wouldn't bring negative impact on Dua Lipa's music future in China.

    Another concert-goer, who wished to stay anonymous in fear of repercussions, told MailOnline that she saw one fan, a female, being kicked out by several security guards. … The girl, who also bought a highest-priced ticket, claimed that fans were being kicked out 'non-stop' throughout the concert. However, she said it was unclear why the security guards had forbidden the crowds from carrying rainbow flags.

    Videos of fans being kicked out of the concert have become widely shared on social media, with most web users criticizing the security guards' brutal behaviour. …

    The singer has openly supported the LGBT community in her music video 'Blow Your Mind', but to the Chinese authority gay rights remain a taboo topic. Many mainstream Chinese media make an effort to remove any LGBT symbols in their coverage. A Chinese TV station cut out a gay-themed dance and blurred the rainbow flags in the audience while broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year.

  • 18. VIRick  |  September 14, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Cayman Islands: Same-Sex Marriage Case Proceeds

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Chantelle Day, who is from the Cayman Islands, and her British fiancée, Vickie Bodden, will be pursuing a human rights challenge in the courts, in addition to a judicial review of the registrar’s refusal to grant the same-sex couple the opportunity to marry. Day and Bodden, who are now living in Cayman, are pursuing their goal to legally marry here and settle with their adopted daughter. Although the former governor and the deputy governor have both acknowledged that the Cayman Islands will have to adopt some form of civil unions for same-sex couples, the government is choosing to fight Day and Bodden in the courts.

    The case, which is being heard by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, is still in the early stages, but in a short hearing yesterday, 13 September 2018, they were given leave to add a constitutional challenge under the Bill of Rights to their existing judicial review application. The chief justice also indicated that Bodden should be allowed to remain in the Cayman Islands until the case is heard, as is the norm when people are involved in legal challenges that can take considerable time to dealt with.

    When the couple arrived back in Cayman with their daughter last month, the immigration department gave Bodden the right to remain here for six months. She cannot be a dependent of Day because they are not allowed to marry, and so she is at risk of being separated from her family. During this recent hearing, a representative for the Attorney-General’s Office attended but did not wish to reveal the grounds for either the government’s opposition to the judicial review or to the human rights challenge.

    Day, who is an attorney with a local offshore firm, moved back to her native Cayman in August with her family. She chose not to marry in the UK because that union, while legal in Britain, would not be recognized here because she is a Caymanian. The women have both expressed their wish to marry in the country where they intend to live and bring up their child, and ensure that the union is legal and recognized in the same way marriages are for heterosexual couples.

    Consequently, the women opted to test their belief that the law and the Cayman Islands Constitution does provide a route for them to marry, opening the door for equality under the law for all couples. The case is expected to be back before the courts early next month to confirm the process and timeline for the trial.

  • 19. VIRick  |  September 14, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Venezuela: New Draft Constitution Excludes Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    I have been having difficulty connecting with this site in Venezuela to find the precise wording in this draft pertaining to marriage, as the site seems to be quite slow to respond, if at all. So far, what I have found is this:

    Además, no está contemplado la propuesta de las comunidades LGBTI de matrimonio igualitario.

    In addition, the proposal from the LGBTI communities for marriage equality is not contemplated.

    However, most of the other changes contemplated in the draft proposal range from hideous to non-sensical, like replacing the municipalities with "communes," replacing education with some other jargon, having a 7-year presidency, and placing the currency under the direct authority of the president.

    In the meantime, the site is frozen on a different headline indicating that a 64-year-old man died after standing in line for hours to collect his pension. And now, I am stuck with a "website restore error."

  • 20. allan120102  |  September 15, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Majority in Venezuela senate looks to be in favor of ssm. They might legalize it but it will need to be approve by popular vote like in Cuba and I am not sure if there is enough support to pass it

  • 21. josejoram  |  September 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    There is not a Senate in Venezuela. The organ discussing the new Constitution is the National Constituent Assembly (ANC: Asamblea Nacional Constituyente).

  • 22. josejoram  |  September 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Well, this press release was published in the early morning, but after that was published another with Hermann Escarrà (former opposition now pro-government constituent) stating more or less "despite I do not agree with it I recognize a majority for same sex unions in the Constituent Assembly".

  • 23. VIRick  |  September 14, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Michigan: Motion to Dismiss Challenge to State Practice of Using Religious-Based Adoption Agencies Denied

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 14 September 2018, in "Dumont v. Lyon," the federal case challenging Michigan's practice allowing state-funded agencies to use religion to turn away foster/adoptive parents based on sexual orientation, Judge Borman has denied motions to dismiss the claims of the same-sex couples challenging the state's use of religious-based child placement agencies that discriminate against LGBTQ couples. In his Opinion and Order, linked below, he dismissed only the claim of one plaintiff for lack of standing.

    Excerpt from the section on the couples' standing to sue:
    "Defendants assert … that Plaintiffs have no fundamental right to be foster or adoptive parents and therefore fail to allege a cognizable injury. Plaintiffs do not contest this fact and respond that they are not claiming 'a liberty interest protected by substantive due process,' .. They argue instead that their Equal Protection and Establishment Claims are premised on injuries they suffered as a result of the State Defendants’ practice of entering into contracts for the provision of state child welfare services with child placing agencies that use religious criteria to turn away prospective parents, causing Plaintiffs stigmatic harm and denying Plaintiffs the same opportunities to work with a child placing agency that is available to every other family in Michigan seeking to adopt."

    Also see, in particular, the discussion of Plaintiffs' Establishment Clause claims, beginning on page 42.

    ACLU Statement on today's ruling is here:

    Opinion and Order Denying in Large Part Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss is here:

  • 24. allan120102  |  September 15, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Breaking the supreme court of Mexico strikes down cohabitation law in Jalisco. I have read mix issues if this affects there previous ruling of ssm as many municiplaities still not abide by the 2016 ruling.

  • 25. VIRick  |  September 15, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Chile: President of Supreme Court Speaks in Favor of Marriage Equality, Adoption, and Equal Age of Consent for LGBT People

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    El Presidente de la Corte Suprema, Haroldo Brito, indicó que “las personas no pueden ser descalificadas a partir de sus opciones sexuales.” En esa línea se manifestó como partidario de legislar el matrimonio igualitario y avanzar en la adopción homoparental.

    Así también, dijo que le parece discriminatorio que solo se castiguen las relaciones consentidas de un adulto con un menor entre 14 y 18 años cuando ambos son hombres, y no así cuando la relación es entre un hombre y una mujer.

    Sobre el proyecto de Ley de Identidad de Género aprobado el miércoles, 12 de septiembre 2018, por la Cámara Baja, sostuvo que “es una buena noticia,” ya que “las cosas tienen que enfrentarse y ser discutidas. Está bien que se haya avanzado.”

    The President of the Supreme Court, Haroldo Brito, indicated that "people can not be disqualified based on their sexual options." Along this line, he expressed himself as a supporter of legislating marriage equality and of advancing homoparental adoption.

    Likewise, he said that it seems discriminatory to him that only consensual relationships between an adult and a minor between 14 and 18 years old are punished when both are men, and not when the relationship is between a man and a woman.

    On the draft of the Gender Identity Law approved on Wednesday, 12 September 2018, by the Lower House, he said that "it is good news," since "matters have to be faced and be discussed. It is good that progress has been made."

  • 26. VIRick  |  September 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Romania: Legal Challenge Filed Against Homophobic Referendum

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Several NGOs have mounted a legal challenge against what they say is a homophobic gay marriage referendum in Romania. They are intervening at the country’s constitutional court, as it considers whether the 7 October 2018 referendum can go ahead.

    Senators this week overwhelmingly backed calls for the referendum, which could make it more difficult for same-sex marriage to be legalized. Same-sex marriage and civil unions are already illegal in Romania and the referendum is an attempt to ensure that it becomes harder to undo this existing legislation.

    “Instead of recognizing that everyone is entitled to the same human rights and equal protection under the law, this referendum panders to homophobia and might well result in constitutional changes that would violate European and international law,” said Arpi Avetisyan, lawyer for ILGA Europe, one of the NGOs making legal submissions on Friday, 14 September 2018.

    Barbora Cernusaková, a researcher from Amnesty International, another of those taking action, said: “If approved, these changes would be a clear backward step for Romania and would have a severe impact on the lives of families not based on marriage.”

  • 27. VIRick  |  September 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    More on Singapore, Section 377A, and the Supreme Court of India's Ruling

    That the reverberations of a judicial ruling thousands of miles away could be keenly felt here in Singapore comes down to the fact that the criminal laws of Singapore and India — both former British colonies — share the same historical roots. While worded differently, both India’s Section 377 and Singapore’s Section 377A – which was introduced here in its current form in 1938 – share the same historical roots, legal academics said. After all, Singapore’s Penal Code was adapted from the Indian Penal Code back in the 19th century when Singapore was part of the Straits Settlements, one of the then-extant states of Malaya, and was directly governed by the British (rather than through one of the pre-existing ruling Rajahs or Sultans who governed the other Malay States for the British, much like the princely states of India).

    A key argument made by lawyers in India was that Section 377 was legally inconsistent with the constitutional right to privacy, which was guaranteed through a Supreme Court of India ruling in 2017. In Singapore, there have been three past challenges against Section 377A – in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The last case was built on the argument that Article 12 of the Singapore Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law. However, the Court of Appeal upheld the law criminalizing gay sex. It noted that Article 12 touched only on the issues of religion, race, place of birth, and descent, and not gender, sex, and sexual orientation.

    Singapore Management University (SMU) law academic Eugene Tan noted that privacy as a fundamental right played a huge role in the Indian court ruling. Singapore currently does not recognize privacy as a fundamental right. “One way of challenging the constitutionality of Section 377A is to persuade the court that privacy should be recognized in Singapore as a fundamental liberty,” he added.

  • 28. VIRick  |  September 15, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Trinidad/Tobago: Government Challenging Decriminalization of Gay Sex

    In April 2018, a High Court judge in Trinidad/Tobago made an historic ruling, as he said that colonial-era laws that criminalized homosexuality were unconstitutional and ordered them be removed. However, the government of Trinidad/Tobago is challenging the ruling, aiming to keep the laws in place. The case is due to be heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, beginning on Thursday, 20 September 2018. The panel of judges (typically five in number) hearing a particular case is known as "the Board." The "report" of the Board is always accepted by the Queen-in-Council as judgment.

    Speaking to Gay Star News, Jason Jones, the activist who launched the initial challenge to decriminalize gay sex and who is fighting this case, said: “The importance of my legal challenge for LGBT equality cannot be stressed enough. My final victory at the Privy Council in the United Kingdom will lead to decriminalization in at least ten other countries and impact positively on hundreds of thousands of LGBT people across the globe.”

    The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council holds jurisdiction in appeals from the following 31 jurisdictions (including 12 independent nations):

    Appeals to "Her Majesty in Council" from 8 independent nations, and 19 other jurisdictions:
    The Commonwealth realms of Antigua/Barbuda, Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts/Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent/Grenadines, and Tuvalu.
    The New Zealand associated states of Cook Islands and Niue.
    The Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, including Guernsey's own dependencies of Alderney and Sark, and appeals from the Staff of Government Division, Isle of Man.
    The British overseas territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena/Ascension/Tristan da Cunha, Turks/Caicos Islands, Pitcairn Islands, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, and South Georgia/South Sandwich Islands.
    The United Kingdom's Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus.

    Appeals directly to the Judicial Committee from 3 independent Commonwealth republics:
    Mauritius, Trinidad/Tobago, and if the case involves constitutional rights, Kiribati.

    Appeals to the head of state:
    Brunei, an independent monarchy of the Commonwealth of Nations that is not a Commonwealth realm, has an agreement with the United Kingdom that the Judicial Committee hear cases in which an appeal to the Sultan has been made, and then reports back to him.

    When comparing the above list to the earlier one compiled by the "Washington Blade," the 10 nations to which Jason refers seem to be: Trinidad/Tobago, Antigua/Barbuda, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent/Grenadines, Mauritius, Kiribati, and Tuvalu (plus Cook Islands, if legislation there is not completed prior to the Privy Council ruling,– and Brunei??).

  • 29. ianbirmingham  |  September 16, 2018 at 1:21 am

    Land Of Lady Boys? Thailand Is Not The LGBTI Paradise It Appears: Sexual minorities in the Land of Smiles face discrimination in education, work and their love lives, though attitudes – and the law – are beginning to change

    While Thailand is one of the most progressive countries in Asia regarding LGBTI rights, and its capital Bangkok often tops lists of gay-friendly tourist destinations, activists in the country say the gay community suffers not only from a lack of recognition, but from laws and a society that actively discriminate against them. …

    Thai law does little to protect the LGBTI community from discrimination. Same-sex marriages are not recognised and transgender people cannot change their gender on ID cards and other official documents. Meanwhile, prejudice against the community means its members struggle to be accepted as lawyers, doctors or social workers and are instead confined to the entertainment industry, Kath says. …

    A World Bank report released in March found “discrimination [in Thailand] is prevalent when LGBTI people look for a job, access education and health care services, buy or rent properties, or seek legal protection”. … Kath says the “problem of Thai culture is that this is not a multicultural country. We don’t have people from other ethnic groups. This is why people lack understanding of diversity.” Families often refuse to accept the lifestyle choices of their sons and daughters, Kath says, while LGBTI students often face problems at school or university, where teachers are not trained in protecting them from discrimination. …

    A 2015 poll found that almost 89 per cent of Thais would accept colleagues who were gay or lesbian; 80 per cent would not mind if a family member was LGBTI; and 60 per cent were in favour of legalising same-sex marriages. In the same year as that poll, Thailand approved the Gender Equality Act, a milestone for the country as it outlaws gender-based discrimination. … However, the implementation of the law is progressing slowly … Meanwhile, the government is discussing a same-sex civil partnership law, which is expected to be passed before the end of the year. It is as yet unclear whether the law will include such basic rights as succession or adoption, though some activists have been critical, saying it will still not put such unions on par with heterosexual marriages.

  • 30. arturo547  |  September 17, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Cuban president in favour of same sex marriage

  • 31. arturo547  |  September 17, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Peruvian president threatens to dissolve majority-Fujimorista (homophobic) congress.

    The president has presented a legal procedure that will be voted on Wednesday. If rejected, he will have the possibility to dissolve the congress.

    This might not be at all LGBT news, but it has important implicatons for us. Let's take into account this Peruvian congress voted to exclude LGBT people from hate crimes and discrimination law after the government approved a decree protecting them. It has also eliminated the word "gender" from most decrees approved by the Government. Besides, they will elect the new members of the Constitutional Court in mid-2019.

  • 32. arturo547  |  September 17, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Devastating: Romania's Constitutional Court approves homophobic referendum.


    This is horrible news.

  • 33. ianbirmingham  |  September 18, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Are Bert & Ernie a couple? We finally have an answer…

    The Queerty Interview: Sesame Street Writer Mark Saltzman

    I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. …

    I was Ernie. I look more Bert-ish. And Arnie as a film editor—if you thought of Bert with a job in the world, wouldn’t that be perfect? Bert with his paper clips and organization? And I was the jokester. So it was the Bert & Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to Sesame Street. So I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple. I wrote sketches…Arnie’s OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that’s the Bert & Ernie dynamic.

    So you’re saying that Bert & Ernie became analogs for your relationship in a lot of ways?

    Yeah. Because how else? That’s what I had in my life, a Bert & Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert. How could it not? I will say that I would never have said to the head writer, “oh, I’m writing this, this is my partner and me.” But those two, Snuffalupagus, because he’s the sort of clinically depressed Muppet…you had characters that appealed to a gay audience. And Snuffy, this depressed person nobody can see, that’s sort of Kafka! It’s sort of gay closeted too. …

    Here’s a story about pushing the gay envelope of Sesame Street…

    Are you going to say the “Sublime Miss M?”

    Yes. I created her based on Bette Midler. I mean, what could be gayer? That’s the gayest Sesame Street ever got. I think that was Fran Brill [performing her]. The only way it would have been gayer is if it had been Richard Hunt.

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  September 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Hong Kong to recognise same-sex partnerships in visa applications

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