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Saudi Man Sentenced To Three Years And 450 Lashes For 'The Practice Of Homosexuality'

Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to three years in prison and 450 lashes for “the practise of homosexuality,” after attempting to arrange to meet another man using Twitter, reports LGBTQ Nation.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transexual Rights UAEArabic newspaper Al-Watan said that “the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice...tracked down the owner of the account” of the man who was trying to arrange sex with another man.

The man’s phone, which contained pornographic images, was also confiscated.

Abdulla, the chair of the United Arab Emirates LGBT group said:

“It is infuriating and disheartening when a country that was elected not too long ago to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council arrogantly and nonchalantly violates its core principles and harms its own citizens. Not only is the fundamental human right for privacy breached but the entrapment and sentence also breaches several human rights charters."

Abdulla continued that “if the man survives this ordeal he will find himself an outcast and will be in danger for life after he completes this harsh sentence.”

Saudi Arabia is known for its harsh anti-hay laws. In 2011, Ali Ahmed Asseri, a gay former Saudi diplomat living in Los Angeles in fear for his life, was denied asylum. Asseri's appeal earlier this year was successful.


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.”


The Most Dangerous Line in the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling

AlitoBY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

The most dangerous line in the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby doesn’t come until page 46. It reads as follows:

The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.

That doesn’t sound too bad; indeed, it is probably one of the few statements in Justice Alito’s opinion that many of us would endorse.

Its danger, particularly to the LGBT community, rests in what is not said.

As we have discussed at length, Hobby Lobby allowed a family-run, for-profit arts and crafts company to deny its female employees access to certain contraception simply because that contraception violates the religious beliefs of the company owners.

GinsburgJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent cautioned that the Court was opening a door to allow anyone to use the pretext of religion to opt out of antidiscrimination or public accommodations laws. Justice Alito’s response was to deny the charge, arguing that where the government has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination, as it does in preventing discrimination on the basis of race, the Hobby Lobby exemption would not succeed.

But what happens when the government does not have that “compelling interest”?

Justice Alito chose a convenient example to respond to Justice Ginsburg’s concern. Most people agree that discrimination on the basis of race is not just bad, but absolutely anathematic to our constitutional tradition. But no one in the Court’s five-justice conservative majority has ever said that the state has a compelling interest to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Even Justice Kennedy, the author of the Supreme Court’s three gay rights decisions, has carefully declined to declare that antigay discrimination merits heightened scrutiny or that the government has a compelling interest to permit gays to marry. We might believe that the same compelling interest that gives the state the power to prevent discrimination on the basis of race gives the state the same power to prevent discrimination on another status that has nothing to do with an individual’s ability to contribute to society—namely, sexual orientation or gender identity. But there are many judges out there who are not yet there. Congress isn’t even there yet.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Moves To Dismiss Challenge To Same-Sex Marriage

Sam olens georgia

Georgia attorney general Sam Olens has asked a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, reports ABC News.

Olens said in a July 21st filing that Lambda Legal’s lawsuit takes away Georgia residents’ right to define marriage.

In 2004, Georgia voters supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Despite a later challenge, the state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the vote was valid.

While acknowledging moves in other states to legalize same-sex marriage, Olen’s brief states that “judicially imposing such a result now would merely wrest a potentially unifying popular victory from the hands of supporters and replace it instead with the stale conformity of compulsion.”

Olens also argued that recent decisions striking down constitutional bans in other states should not apply to Georgia because the state's marriage laws do not imply a right to marry someone of the same sex.

According to Beth Littrell, a senior attorney for Lambda Legal and co-counsel on the case, "this is a strong indication the attorney general plans on defending the marriage ban regardless of the precedent lining up against him that the federal Constitution provides to all citizens the right to marry the person they love.”

In April, Art Gardner, one of seven Republicans running for retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss's U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, announced his support for Lambda Legal's suit and asked Olens to not fight the suit.


Motion To Lift Stay On Florida Same-Sex Marriage Ban Denied: VIDEO

Aaron huntsman

A motion asking Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia to lift a stay in his ruling that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional has been denied, reports CBS Miami.

The motion was filed by Key West bartenders Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones.

Last week, Garcia ruled that the 2008 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is discriminatory and violates gay people’s right to equal treatment under the law.

However, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who in May asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit seeking recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages, filed a notice of appeal, staying the ruling.

Agreeing with Bondi, Garcia wrote:

“Based on decisions of the United States Supreme Court and other courts to stay proceedings in similar challenges, this court DENIES the Emergency Motion. The automatic stay, currently in place, shall remain in place until completion of appellate proceedings or until further order of the Court.”

Speaking to CBS Miami regarding his concerns about same-sex marriage, Auxiliary Bishop of Miami Peter Baldacchino said "our fear is that the implications of tampering with the language of marriage will have far-reaching implications that can hurt especially the vulnerable."

However, remaining positive, Huntsman said "whether is happens to tomorrow or if it doesn't, it's going to happen."

Watch the CBS Miami report on Garcia's ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

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Montana Attorney General Asks Court To Uphold State's Gay Marriage Ban

Tim fox montana

On July 17th, Montana attorney general Tim Fox asked a federal court to uphold the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in response to an attempt to overturn the 2004 law, reports Great Falls Trubine

In May, four couples filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the ban denies same-sex couples the protections and benefits of marriage afforded to other residents of the state.

According to Los Angeles TimesFox said that Montanans made their decision in 2004 when they voted for a constitutional provision that “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." 

Democratic Governor Steve Bullock has expressed his support for the plaintiffs.

Speaking to Great Falls Tribune, Jim Taylor, legal director of Montana’s American Civil Liberties Union, said that the case could take up to a year to resolve.

Same-sex marriage is legal in nineteen states and the District of Columbia. Bans that have been overturned in other states continue to make their way through the courts.

In June, Bozeman, the fourth-largest city in Montana, voted 4-0 to pass an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance, becoming the fourth city in the state to do so.


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