Bermuda Court rules in favour of same-sex marriage

Gay couples won the right to marry yesterday for the second time in little more than a year in Bermuda, but the Government said it would appeal the Supreme Court decision to reverse the ban on same-sex marriage.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley upheld a constitutional challenge against the Domestic Partnership Act, delivering a judgment that declared invalid the parts of the legislation which revoked marriage equality.marital trust

His ruling was greeted with a round of applause from a packed public gallery and joyful celebrations outside the courtroom.

Several hours later, Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, announced the judgment would be appealed “subject to any legal advice that we receive”.

Mr Justice Kawaley’s ruling does not take immediate effect because he agreed to an application by Solicitor-General Melvin Douglas, representing the Attorney-General, for a six-week stay to allow the Government to decide whether to appeal.

During that period, gay couples will only be able to apply to enter into domestic partnerships.

Mr Brown said: “We are pleased that the Chief Justice has stayed the decision until an appeal can be submitted.”

by Sam Strangeways Owain Johnston-Barnes – The royal Gazette – June 7, 2018

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Gay family recognised by state in Ecuador in historic decision

A seven-year-old girl will be registered with both surnames of her two mothers in Ecuador, in a move hailed by campaigners as step forward for the recognition of LGBT families in the country.

The Constitutional Court in Ecuador ordered the Civil Registry office to register Satya Amani Bicknell Rothon, the daughter of couple Helen Bicknell and Nicola Rothon.

The case had been ongoing since September 2012.Ecuador

At a press conference after the decision, Bicknell said: “We knew we were going to win but we did not know when.

“This is the result of a collective effort,” she added.

 

One of the lawyer’s involved in the case, Jose Luis Guerra, said failing to register the child’s name was in violation of her rights, TeleSUR English reported.

Guerra added the move was significant in recognising the diversity of families in Ecuador.

Ecuador’s Constitutional Tribunal repealed the law that criminalised same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults in 1997.

In 2015, Ecuador passed an amendment to its Civil Code which legalised same-sex civil unions.

Yolanda Herrera, an Ecuadorian lawyer with a focus on LGBT rights, told TeleSUR English that there are still issues around adoption and surrogacy despite the recognition of civil unions.

by Lydia Smith, PinkNew.co.uk, May 31, 2018

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First Czech same-sex couple recognized as parents

The Supreme Court accepted in early May the Californian judiciary’s decision and recognized a Czech gay couple as the parents of a recently born baby, which is the first case of a same-sex Czech couple to be given this legal right, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Saturday.

A surrogate mother gave birth to the baby of the Czech gay couple in California a few months ago.

The donor’s egg was fertilised in vitro with the sperm of one of the future fathers. The Californian authorities then recognised both Czech men as the rightful parents of the newborn baby.Czech Republic

As the child has a U.S. birth certificate and passport, the gay couple turned to defence lawyer Katerina Menclova to help them gain Czech documents.

“I was told that if we want to arrange Czech documents for Karolina (the baby girl), we must turn to the Supreme Court that would recognise the verdict by the State of California, which declared both gay partners the child’s parents,” Menclova told MfD.

The Supreme Court issued the respective decision on May 2, recognising both men as the child’s parents.

Menclova then turned to the Czech authorities that were to issue the baby’s birth certificate.

Defence lawyer Petr Kalla, who is dealing with similar cases, told Mlada fronta Dnes, that the court’s decision is of an immense symbolic importance as for the first time a Czech same-sex couple was recognised as rightful parents, Kalla said.

Prague Daily Monitor – May 19, 2018

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Pope Francis tells gay man: ‘God made you like this’

Juan Carlos Cruz, who was sexually abused, says Pope Francis told him God did not mind that he was gay

A survivor of clerical sexual abuse has said Pope Francis told him that God had made him gay and loved him, in arguably the most strikingly accepting comments about homosexuality to be uttered by the leader of the Roman Catholic church.Pope Francis

Juan Carlos Cruz, who spoke privately with the pope two weeks ago about the abuse he suffered at the hands of one of Chile’s most notorious paedophiles, said the issue of his sexuality had arisen because some of the Latin American country’s bishops had sought to depict him as a pervert as they accused him of lying about the abuse.

“He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are,’” Cruz told Spanish newspaper El País.

Now 87, Fernando Karadima, the man who abused Cruz, was found guilty of abuse by the Vatican in 2011.

Greg Burke, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, did not respond to questions about whether Cruz’s statement accurately reflected his conversation with the pope.

It is not the first time it has been suggested Francis has an open and tolerant attitude toward homosexuality, despite the Catholic church’s teaching that gay sex – and all sex outside of heterosexual marriage – is a sin. In July 2013, in response to a reporter’s question about the existence of an alleged “gay lobby” within the Vatican, Francis said: “Who am I to judge?”

The new remarks appear to go much further in embracing homosexuality as a sexual orientation that is designed and bestowed by God. It suggests that Francis does not believe that individuals choose to be gay or lesbian, as some religious conservatives argue.

The Guardian – May 20, 2018

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Lesbian mum in Italy told baby won’t be legally registered because she is gay

A woman claims she has been told her newborn baby will not be legally registered because she is gay.

Chiara Foglietta, a councillor in the Italian city of Turin, says authorities won’t recognise her baby, because he was conceived through artificial insemination.

Due to Italian laws, fertility treatments are only available to heterosexual couples.

When she and her partner, Micaela Ghisleni, tried to register their son Niccolo Pietro after his birth on Friday last week, she was told to say she had had sex with a man.

In a Facebook post, Ms Foglietta said she was told by authorities: ‘You must declare you had union (sexual relations) with a man to register your son.

‘There is no form to say you had artificial insemination.’

She said the legal black hole is due to a 2002 ministerial decree that does not foresee that a woman, rather than a heterosexual couple, would seek artificial insemination.

Ms Foglietta used artificial insemination in Denmark to get pregnant, with sperm donated by an anonymous man.

She was told she could lie about the child’s origins but she refused, writing on Facebook: ‘Every child has a right to know his own story.’

She argued that her son came into this world because she and Micaela had wanted a child, and that ‘he is our son’.

Further in her post, Ms Foglietta urged people to do more to tackle the issue.

‘You have an important role and you can do so much more. We can do more together,’ she said.

‘Not for me, but for Niccolo, for all rainbow children, for families who do not have the same strength to face these battles, for the children of single women and those with partners who have chosen medically assisted procreation with external donor and want to tell the truth.’

Metro.co.uk buy , April 22, 2018

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Chinese Social Media Site Reverses Gay Content Ban After Uproar

Bowing to intense pressure from millions of internet users, a Chinese social media site, Sina Weibo, said on Monday that it would scrap plans to censor cartoons and video games with gay themes.

The site, Sina Weibo, had announced on Friday that it would target gay content as part of a campaign to remove pornographic and violent material from its site.sina weibo

But its efforts were almost immediately criticized as discriminatory and repressive, spawning an outpouring of #Iamgay hashtags and slogans like “gays aren’t scary.”

On Monday, Sina Weibo said in a post that it would scale back its “cleanup” effort and focus on “pornographic, violent and bloody content” instead of gay material. In a nod to the intense backlash, it thanked internet users for their “discussion and suggestions.”

The company did not say whether it would continue to delete texts, photos and videos with gay themes, which were also listed as targets in the original announcement. Weibo did not respond to a request for comment.

Internet users welcomed the change on Monday. Still, some said the company owed gay people an apology.

“It is totally insincere,” Bai Fei, a feminist activist in Shanghai, said of the announcement. “They have already harmed us. I want them to stand up and make a public apology.”

Others called on the company to restore content that it had already deleted in the campaign, including a popular Weibo account called the Gay Voice, which published cultural news and podcasts for its more than 230,000 followers.

Weibo’s vow to cut gay material prompted an unusually fierce backlash from internet users, who said the campaign would worsen discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in China. Still, some said they saw signs of progress in the company’s decision to change course.

Ma Baoli, the founder of Blued, a popular gay dating app, called the uproar a “historic event” in China. He said Weibo’s response showed a gradual change in attitudes toward gay people.

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Same-sex adoption is now legal everywhere in Australia

Same-sex couples can now adopt children anywhere in Australia.

The Northern Territory was the last region of the country holding out against the tide of progress – until this week.same-sex adoption

 In a historic move, lawmakers added amendments to the NT Adoption of Children Act which mean that same-sex couples – as well as de facto couples – can now legally adopt.

Before now, only straight couples were allowed this right.

The decision comes after the federal Parliament’s followed the country’s wishes – expressed in the overwhelming 62 to 38 percent result of the postal vote – by legalising equal marriage.

by Josh Jackman, PinkNews.co.uk, March 15, 2018

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Bermuda Outlaws Gay Marriage, Less Than a Year After It Became Legal

Bermuda has forbidden same-sex marriage, only nine months after legalizing it, in what advocates for gay and lesbian rights called a disappointing setback.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Bermuda, a British overseas territory, in May as a result of a ruling by the island’s Supreme Court.

But the unions are unpopular with some voters.Bermuda

In 2016, Bermudians voted against same-sex marriage in a referendum, and after the court ruling in May, the territory’s legislature drafted a bill banning same-sex marriage but giving all couples legal recognition as domestic partners. Parliament adopted the Domestic Partnership Act in December, and on Wednesday the territory’s governor, John Rankin, signed it into law.

The British prime minister, Theresa May, said Britain was “seriously disappointed,” but the Foreign Office said on Thursday it would be inappropriate to block the measure.

Same-sex marriage became legal in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014, but it is not permitted in Northern Ireland. The issue has been divisive in Britain’s overseas territories, which control their own internal affairs but rely on Britain for defense and for representation in the international community.

by Mafen Specia, New York Times – February 8, 2018

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Lesbian couple sues for son’s US citizenship

A same-sex couple is suing the US government alleging discrimination because one of their children was not granted American citizenship.

US citizen Allison Blixt and her Italian wife Stefania Zaccari had two babies in London, England.

The spouses each carried one child to term using their own eggs and an unknown sperm donor.citizenship

American citizenship was granted to Ms Blixt’s son, Massimiliano, but not to Ms Zaccari’s boy, says the lawsuit.

The US Department of State has not commented on the allegations.

According to the agency’s website, “at least one biological parent must have been a US citizen when the child was born” for a child to qualify for birthright citizenship.

Ms Blixt and Ms Zaccari are listed on both children’s birth certificates, and English law recognises them as the boys’ parents, according to their lawsuit filed in Washington DC.

The court filing says the US consulate denied citizenship to Ms Zaccari’s child, Lucas, now two years old, on the grounds that he was not a blood relation and that he was born “out of wedlock”.

However, lawyers for Ms Zaccari and Illinois-born Ms Blixt say they were legally married in their adopted home of England before their sons’ births.

The lawsuit says that at the US consulate “Stefania and Allison were asked a series of invasive and legally irrelevant questions about how their children were conceived and born”.

The decision violates the Immigration and Nationality Act establishing that “babies born abroad are US citizens at birth when one of the child’s parents is a married United States citizen”, says the court filing.

After a law against same-sex marriage was overturned in the US in 2013, same-sex couples were allowed – like heterosexual couples – to bring their foreign spouses into America.

But the same ruling did not cover the children of same-sex couples, and legal advocates say this is discriminatory.

Ms Blixt told the Washington Post that she declined the offer to become her son’s legal stepmother and bring him to the US as an immigrant.

BBC.com January 22,2018

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State Dept. sued for denying citizenship to same-sex couples’ children

Two binational same-sex couples on Monday filed federal lawsuits against the State Department after their children were denied U.S. citizenship.

Andrew Dvash-Banks, who was born in Santa Monica, Calif., and his husband, Elad Dvash-Banks, who was born in Israel, were married in Toronto in 2010. The two men decided to live in Canada because the Defense of Marriage Act that President Clinton signed in 1996 prevented Andrew Dvash-Banks from sponsoring Elad Dvash-Banks for immigration purposes.citizenship

A surrogate gave birth to the men’s twin boys — Aiden Dvash-Banks and Ethan Dvash-Banks — in Mississauga, Ontario, on Sept. 16, 2016.

Aiden Dvash-Banks was conceived with Andrew Dvash-Banks’ sperm, while Ethan Dvash-Banks was conceived with Elad Dvash-Banks’ sperm. Canada recognizes both men as their children’s parents.

The 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Windsor case that struck down a portion of DOMA prompted the U.S. to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the country. The U.S. Consulate in Toronto nevertheless denied the men’s request for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad — which certifies that a child who was born overseas was an American citizen at the time of their birth — and a U.S. passport for Ethan Dvash-Banks under Section 309 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that specifically addresses “children born out of wedlock.”

“Focusing improperly on the biological relationship between each child and the parent who conceived him, the State Department then recognized Aiden’s citizenship and denied Ethan’s,” reads the lawsuit that Andrew Dvash-Banks filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The Dvash-Banks family moved to Los Angeles on June 24, 2017.

Andrew Dvash-Banks and Aiden Dvash-Banks are U.S. citizens, while Elad Dvash-Banks is a permanent resident. Ethan Dvash-Banks, who is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, was able to enter the U.S. on a tourist visa that expired on Dec. 23, 2017.

“All of Andrew and Elad’s professional, personal and familial commitments are in constant jeopardy of being undone if the Department of Homeland Security deports Ethan,” reads the lawsuit.

Andrew Dvash-Banks and Elan Dvash-Banks have applied for a green card for Ethan Dvash-Banks in order “to minimize the risk of deportation proceedings and having to face the choice of staying together as a family or staying in this country.”

Washington Blade, by Michael Lavers, January 22, 2018

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