International News: July/August 2015
Court strikes down Guam’s same-sex marriage ban
A federal judge ended Guam’s law banning marriage equality, making it the first U.S. territory to legalize same-sex marriage. In her ruling, Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood said the laws denying marriage rights to same-sex couples were unconstitutional, citing a previous decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Guam. The decision went into effect June 9.
Ireland to pass law allowing legal gender change without doctor sign-off
Ireland is in the process of drafting one of the world’s most progressive laws allowing legal gender recognition for transgender people. According to BuzzFeed News, Ireland’s cabinet announced that it had agreed to revise a proposed a gender identity bill to remove a provision that would require a doctor to sign off before someone can change their legal gender. If the law passes with these proposed amendments, Ireland will go from being one of the last countries in Europe to give trans people a way to change their legal gender to one of just four countries in the world where someone can make their change simply by filing a declaration.
Mexico Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality
The Mexican Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation decided earlier this month that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to wed. The justices weren’t deciding whether to overturn bans in individual states but offering a “jurisprudential thesis” to Mexico’s states, the Associated Press reported. In other words, while this thesis won’t change the law, judges and courts in individual states can now consider the thesis if a marriage case is tried in their jurisdiction. A handful of Mexico’s 31 states have already legalized marriage equality, as well as the nation’s capital and largest metropolis, Mexico City.
Canadian province bans LGBT conversion therapy
Conversion therapy for LGBT youth is now illegal in Ontario, Canada, and public funds can no longer be used to fund the purported treatment for adults. The bill was passed on the final day of the legislature’s spring sitting, and was immediately given Royal Assent by the lieutenant governor. Ontario is the second province after Manitoba to ban the so-called treatment outright.
Italy approves same-sex civil union motion
The Lower House of Italy’s parliament has, for the first time, passed a motion on gay civil unions. According to GayStarNews, the motion, proposed by the ruling Democratic Party, commits the government “to promote the adoption of a law on civil unions, particularly with regard to the condition of the people of same sex.” Italy is presently the only country in Western Europe that does not recognize either gay marriage or civil unions.
Greece introduces bill to allow same-sex civil unions
Legislation has been introduced that would extend civil unions to gay and lesbian couples in Greece. If it passes, which it is expected to do later this month, the bill will extend insurance, taxation, and inheritance rights to gay couples. It will not, however, grant gay and lesbian couples adoption rights.
The smallest country in the world legalizes marriage equality
Pitcairn Island, a tiny island Pacific that’s home to just 48 people, has passed a law allowing same-sex marriage — but has no gay couples wanting to wed. According to the Huffington Post, the island was first settled in 1790, and is a British Overseas Territory that has some legal autonomy and is often considered the world’s smallest country by population. Islanders are descended from the mutineers of the British navy vessel Bounty and their Tahitian companions.
2 men charged with homosexuality, sentenced to jail in Morocco
Two gay men in Morocco charged with “violating public modesty” have been convicted and sentenced to four months in jail and a fine of up to around $135, according to a statement posted to the Facebook page of the Moroccan LGBT group Aswat Collective. The men were arrested on June 3 while taking a photograph in front of landmark in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. On June 16, Moroccan newspaper the Al Massae reported that 20 gay and trans people have been arrested in recent months.
By Rachel Roth