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European Court Of Human Rights Rules Transgender Woman Must Divorce Before Her Gender Is Recognized

European court of human rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that married transgender people living in countries where same-sex marriage is illegal must divorce if they want their true gender to be recognized, reports Gay Star News.

The decision comes after Heli Hämäläinen, a Finnish transgender woman, was told on July 16th that she can only have her gender recognized if she divorces her wife.

The ECHR ruled that there is no obligation on states without same-sex marriage laws to marry two people of the same gender if one of the partners is transgender.

The couple, married for 18 years with one child, say that getting divorced would go against their religious convictions.

Although the ECHR recognized the difficulties of daily situations for transgender people without legal gender recognition, it said that forcing the couple to end their marriage and instead enter into a registered partnership should not be a problem.

Arja Voipio, Transgender Europe’s Co-Chair from Finland, said:

“Our thoughts are today with Heli Hämäläinen and her family. The Court decided that their rights as a family are inferior to a narrow minded opinion about what a family and marriage should look like. The verdict shows that transgender issues at stake are still not properly understood.”


Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Ashers bakery norhern ireland refuses order for cake

A bakery in Northern Ireland could face legal action from The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for refusing to take an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage.”

Based in Newtownabbey, Ashers was named after a verse from the Bible, which refers to "Bread from Asher,” reports RTE.

LGBT activist Gareth Lee asked for the cake, ordered to help mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Speaking to RTE, Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur said:

"I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that."

The Christian Institute, which is supporting Ashers because “the case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs,” said:

“When the order came through to the head office, the manager and directors decided to decline the request on conscience grounds, and offered a full refund.”

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland says that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and has written to Ashers asking that it remedies the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. where same-sex marriage remains illegal.

Last May, The Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected a Denver-area bakery’s appeal of an earlier ruling that bakery owner Jack Phillips “unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."

Watch a video released by Ashers in which they comment on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


The Fight For Marriage Equality In Italy: VIDEO

Pope francis receptive to civil partnerships

The close proximity of Vatican City to the Italian parliament may help to explain why Italy is the only country in Western Europe that provides no legal recognition of same-sex couples, reports Buzzfeed.

However, that situation may be about to change.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis suggested that a time might come when the church would drop its opposition to some form of civil partnership.

In the interview with Corriere della Sera, the pope said that although “marriage is between a man and a woman...we have to look at the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.” 6a00d8341c730253ef019aff7cea6f970b-300wi

Speaking to Buzzfeed last week, Monsignor Marcel Sánchez Sorondo said while the Catholic Church is against marriage equality, legislation that differentiates between marriage and civil partnerships might be acceptable.

According to a 2013 Pew survey, 74% of Italians said they believed “homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society.” A 2013 Ipsos poll found that 48% of Italians supported full same-sex marriage rights while 31% opposed marriage rights but supported an alternative form of partnership recognition.

Naples recently became the first large city in Italy to start recognizing overseas same-sex marriages after a lower court ordered officials in Grosseto to record an overseas marriage, reports Buzzfeed. However, some LGBT activists worry that the ruling may be no more than symbolic because a Supreme Court order issued last month ordered the annulment of a same-sex marriage. The Constitutional Court later ruled the forced annulment violated the rights of the couple in question. The court also ruled that the marriage remains invalid until the Italian government passes a law recognizing same-sex unions.

However, according to Dina Nerozzi, a psychologist and lay adviser to the Pontifical Council for the Family, marriage equality cannot happen:

“People will fight for that. I mean fight — [we] will take weapons out.”

Watch a report on Corriere della Sera's interview with Pope Francis, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Bisexual Asylum Seeker Avoids Deportation To Jamaica - VIDEO

Oraisha edwards

Orashia Edwards, a bisexual Jamaican man who says he faces danger in his native country because of his sexuality, learned on Tuesday that he will not be deported from the U.K.

Homophobia remains a major issue in Jamaican society.

The case for a judicial review of Home Secretary Theresa May's decision was thrown out by a judge in Leeds.

In his written judgement, Judge Clive Heaton QC said that Edwards was being dishonest about his sexuality.

According to Pink News, Edwards has been living in the U.K. for four years along with the rest of his family. He has a one-year-old daughter. Mr Edwards has not been in Jamaica for 14 years.

Speaking to the BBC after the verdict, Edwards said:

"This is my home, I feel safe here, my family and friends are here. I can't go back to Jamaica."

In a press release, activist organization Leeds For Change, which has claimed Home Office decisions behind asylum are prejudiced against LGBT applicants, said it “won’t stop fighting for Orashia to stay here in Leeds with us, his family and the LGBT community. An application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Orashia will be issued shortly.”

All claims of bias in asylum applications have been denied by the government.

Edwards learned Tuesday that he will now not be deported from the U.K. A spokesperson from the Home Office refused to comment on the change in its decision.

Edwards is today in court submitting new evidence.

Watch State Of Limbo, a short documentary about the Edwards case, and a follow-up interview prior to the hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Irish Government To End Discrimination Against LGBT Teachers - VIDEO

Irish Minister For Education Ruairi Quinn

The Irish government announced on June 28th that under an employment law amendment to be passed shortly, schools will no longer be allowed to fire teachers based on family status or sexual orientation.

The news came on the same day as Dublin’s biggest ever Pride Parade, with an estimated attendance of 40,000.

The amendment, jointly submitted by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, will repeal section 37 of the Employment Equality Act of 1998, which currently allows religious institutions to discriminate “where it is reasonable to do so in order to maintain the religious ethos of the institution”.

Speaking to The Journal, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said that there were delays in the repeal of section 37 of the Employment Equality Act in order to ensure that the legislation was “robust enough":

“The Department of Education have been keen to progress it as it affects teachers in their everyday work. Teachers unions have been campaigning for this for a long time. While it has never been used to dismiss someone, it has still been present for teachers. It struck fear in teachers who were fearful of sharing personal details about their personal lives with colleagues and that really is unsatisfactory.”

According to the Irish Times, the proposal to repeal Section 37 will come before government ministers today.  Following approval, the proposals will be passed on to the lower and upper houses of the Irish legislature.

The change in legislation has had cross-party support within the Irish legislature.

Wath Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst perform at Dublin Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Irish Government To End Discrimination Against LGBT Teachers - VIDEO" »


Bulgarian MEP Calls Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst ‘Genetically Modified Organism’ - VIDEO

Lifeball_wurst

In an interview before his May election, Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Angel Dzhambazki described Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst as a “bearded creature.”

DzhambazkiIn the same interview, Dzhambazki said that recognition of the intersexed as a third gender is “absolutely an unacceptable targeting of humanity against nature.”

Speaking to One Europe, Dzhambazki said:

“A beard lady became a symbol of the Old continent a few days ago. This bearded creature, called with the European name Conchita Wurst is like genetically modified organism and won the Eurovision. And I wonder, if the vice of our time is that we tolerate the perversity. I don’t want such a song contest for my children.”

Yesterday, Dzhambazki was accepted into the Eurosceptic centre-right Conservative Party’s ECR group in the European Parliament, along with Irish MEP Brian Crowley.

Speaking to Pink News, English Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said:

“The public deserves an explanation as to why Conservative MEPs have agreed to share a platform with this divisive and hateful figure who is so out of touch with British values of tolerance and compassion. By associating themselves with such an openly racist and homophobic politician the Tories are dancing with the devil.”

Dzhambazki, a member of the Bulgaria Without Censorship party which is aligned with the Bulgarian National Movement, has also been accused of inciting hatred against immigrants, calling on the citizens of Sofia to "clean up" Bulgaria's capital city and take “self-defence actions” by establishing “volunteer patrols and units”.

Check out Conchita Wurst's winning Eurovision performance, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bulgarian MEP Calls Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst ‘Genetically Modified Organism’ - VIDEO" »


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