Law - Gay, LGBT Hub




West Virginia Town With Five Residents Votes For LGBT Anti-Discrimination Order

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Thurmond, West Virginia has become the smallest town in the United States to pass an order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, reports WVPV.

In a unanimous vote on Monday night, Thurmond’s five residents approved employment, housing and public accommodation protections to a new town-wide Human Rights Act.

Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of statewide advocacy group Fairness WV, said the Thurmond ordinance is stronger than current protections in West Virginia’s Human Rights Act.

Although attempts to extend protections have failed in the West Virginia Legislature for years, towns including Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Athens, and Harpers Ferry have adopted similar ordinances banning discrimination against LGBT people.

Despite progress, politicians around the United States continue attempts to repeal non-discrimination orders.


New Greek Justice Minister Promises Legal Recognition For Same-Sex Couples

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 4.37.56 PMGreece’s new left-wing government is promising to grant same-sex couples legal status reports ABC News. Greece’s Justice Minister Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, who just took office on Jan. 27, addressed parliament on Monday saying that civil partnerships, which were first legislated in 2008, would extend to gay couples but did not provide a timeframe for when the changes would occur.

The pledge comes two weeks after Greece’s left-wing Syriza party ousted conservatives in a general election and formed a coalition government with a right-wing, anti-bailout party, one which in the past has opposed awarding gay partners legal status. In 2013, the Council of Europe’s Court of Human Rights awarded plaintiffs damages after they successfully challenged the Greek state over civil partnerships law.


Malaysian Opposition Leader Loses Final Appeal Against Sodomy Conviction: VIDEO

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Despite some uplifting advances within the trans rights space, Malaysia still remains pretty solidly on the "Countries Hostile to LGBT Citizens" list. This is highlighted by the legal trials and tribulations former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, an outspoken opposition leader in Malaysia, has endured over allegations that he is gay and had sex with a male aide.

This story goes way back. In 1998 Ibrahim was jailed on corruption and sodomy charges and served six years in jail, at which point the conviction was overturned. A defamation case was launched in 2006 when former premier Mahathir Mohamad said that Ibrahim could not have been allowed to become prime minister because he was gay. The case was eventually thrown out on a technicality. In 2008 authorities accused Ibrahim of having sex with an aide in his opposition party, an accusation he was acquitted of in 2012 but was subsequently charged again two weeks after the acquittal. Last March the acquittal was overturned and Ibrahim was sentenced to five years in prison.

All of which brings us to today, when Malaysia's highest court has decided to uphold the overturn of the acquittal. Ibrahim maintains his innocence, claiming,

This to me is a fabrication coming from a political conspiracy to stop my political career.

Given the vast amount of attention the courts have paid to an individual's private sex life, it's a plausible assertion. Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, also lodged criticism at the Malaysian courts:

The decision to prosecute Mr. Anwar and the conduct of his trial have raised a number of serious concerns about rule of law and the fairness of the judicial system in Malaysia.

Concerns about rule of law and fairness of the judicial system really should have been brought to light when the Malaysian government decided to officially state that muscular boys in sleeveless shirts and girls having sleepovers were signs of "the gay".

Watch a news report from Reuters on Ibrahim's conviction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Malaysian Opposition Leader Loses Final Appeal Against Sodomy Conviction: VIDEO" »


REPORT: 'Gay' Man Thrown From Building By ISIS Survives, Is Stoned To Death By Syrian Villagers

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Reports are emerging that a man in Syria thrown from a building by ISIS militants for being gay was stoned to death by villagers when he survived the fall.

A series of images show two masked men throwing the victim - charged with having a “homosexual affair” - from a seven-story building.

After surviving the fall, the man was stoned to death by locals in ISIS stronghold Raqqa.

Photos posted on LiveLeak show the man being checked after the fall and finally being circled by a waiting crowd.

While ISIS has labeled the individual as a homosexual, it is important to bear in mind that this is a charge frequently leveled by the Islamic State against individuals who are perceived as dissidents. A statement released by The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission following a similar reportedly anti-gay attack in Iraq best sums up the caution that should be taken when viewing ISIS' crimes that put sexual orientation front and center:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07e11f45970d-250wiIGLHRC and MADRE caution concerned members of the media, representatives of foreign governments and people of conscience generally in the strongest possible terms against assuming that the men identified as ‘gay’ and against assuming the men engaged in homosexual acts. [...]

At this time, to publicly call Iraqi men “gay” can only do harm. If the men did not identify as gay, the allegation is inaccurate and obscures the Islamic State’s motivation for publicly labeling them as such. If the men indeed identified as gay, extreme caution should be exercised and consultation held with those they loved as widespread publicity potentially exposes their families, loved ones and intimate partners to harm. Honor killings are pervasive in Iraq, so the safety of those most affected must be a paramount concern.

Furthermore, one cannot assume that the executions were for sodomy solely on the basis of information from the Islamic State. Without evidentiary basis or independent confirmation, this sweeping allegation could be applied to anyone the Islamic State seeks to discredit—including human rights activists and anyone opposed to the Islamic State. Accusing opponents of homosexuality is a tried and true tool used to discredit political adversaries throughout the world.

Video footage has also emerged today of a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive by ISIS. From The New York Times:

141226114904-moaz-al-kassasbeh-jordanian-pilot-story-topThe lengthy footage shows clips of Jordan’s involvement in the United States-led airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

At the end, the pilot, First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, stands inside of a cage and is burned alive when an unidentified militant uses a torch to ignite flammable liquid that has drenched the pilot’s clothing.

The Islamic State’s previous video executions of captives were all beheadings. The latest video, which was reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors jihadist activity on the Internet, was the group's first known execution by fire.

Additional images of ISIS' most recent attack against an individual they have labeled as gay can be seen AFTER THE JUMP... (warning: graphic content)

Continue reading "REPORT: 'Gay' Man Thrown From Building By ISIS Survives, Is Stoned To Death By Syrian Villagers" »


Marriage At the Supreme Court 2.0: The Cases

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BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

This article is one in a multipart series leading up to a future Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. The Court has granted review of four marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit and a decision may be handed down at the end of June. Between now and then, Towleroad will break down the cases step by step. Today's topic: The Cases.

Last time, we spoke about the importance of framing the case through the Questions Presented. I argued that despite some concern, the two questions posed in the Supreme Court's order do not indicate that the justices are looking for a way out. They are ready to rule. Before we discuss the substance on which the justices will rule, let's review the four cases that will decide the marriage equality question.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Marriage At the Supreme Court 2.0: The Cases" »


Ethics Complaint Filed Against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Over Pledge to Defy Gay Marriage Ruling

Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore really, really dislikes gay marriage. We reported this week on how he's calling for the governor of Alabama to resist "judicial tyranny" and refuse to comply with a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. Well, that call for resistance has inspired the Southern Poverty Law Center to file an ethics complaint against Moore, with SPLC President Richard Cohen saying,

Moore is once again wrapping himself in the Bible and thumbing his nose at the federal courts and federal law. As a private citizen, Moore is entitled to his views. But as the chief justice of Alabama, he has a responsibility to recognize the supremacy of federal law and to conform his conduct to the canons of judicial ethics.

The SPLC article also points out that Moore is not a good student of history, not even his own, as ethics violations a decade ago stemming from his refusal to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building resulted in a lawsuit from the SPLC that culminated in Moore being removed from the bench. He was re-elected to his position in 2012 - because evidently Alabamans would rather have someone who panders to petty beliefs than is dedicated to doing the entirety of his job - but if Moore continues down this path he may once again find himself on the losing end of a lawsuit and once again removed from his job in even more disgrace.

He'd better hope he's not cheating on his wife while he's at it.

In related news, AL.com is reporting that certain campaign ads for Moore's 2012 campaign were created by video production company All Good Creatives - owned by none other than Cari Searcy, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that overturned the state's gay marriage ban. 


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