Israeli’s Education Minister removes state support for controversial play about Palestinian prisoner and convicted murderer
  • The play, A Parallel Time, has been produced by Arab theater Al-Midan in Haifa and features a story centered on the prison experience of Walid Daka, an Arab Israeli convicted of abducting and murdering an Israeli soldier in 1984.
  • A ministerial committee twice approved the play as part of the Ministry’s initiative to bring the arts and culture to Israeli schoolchildren, but Naftali Bennett, the Education Minister, accused the play of promoting tolerance of terrorists.
  • The theater has indicated that it will appeal the decision to the High Court of Justice, citing violation of free expression.

More on this story at The Times of Israel.

(Image Credit: The Times of Israel)

Uneven law enforcement in Japan regarding same-sex union recognition for immigrants and Japanese nationals causes concern for some
  • Although same-sex unions are not legally recognized in Japan, some immigrant couples have reported both partners being able to enter the country, with one listed as the dependent of the other, opening up a host of benefits.
  • Legal professionals have clarified that while a “designated activities” dependent visa is an option for a same-sex spouse, spousal visas are not currently an option for same-sex couples.
  • Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward announced in March that it would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but these are not federally recognized and businesses are not required to recognize them.

“We have been together over 15 years and became civil partners in 2012. We are considering changing this to a marriage, an option that only became possible in December 2014. I have heard of same-sex couples applying for a visa to stay in Japan with both being non-Japanese and getting visas to support this application, but they are being quiet about it for political reasons, it seems. But if it is the case of Japanese and non-Japanese, (the government) won’t do this.”

More on this story at The Japan Times.

(Image Credit: Mustapha Mokrane, via The Japan Times)

Osaka delays decision on establishment of ordinance banning hate speech, which would be the first of its kind in Japan
  • The municipal council of Japan’s third-largest city has been considering an ordinance that would criminalize hate speech motivated by race or national origin.
  • It has delayed its final decision as some assembly members have expressed concerns over free speech infringement, choosing instead to join the more than 100 other local governments who have issued legally nonbinding statements.
  • If approved, the ordinance would likely establish a five-member council to review hate speech allegations; if found guilty, perpetrators would be named on the city website and victims could receive financial assistance for legal aid.

“In recent years, hate speech directed at foreigners in Japan with a specific nationality has taken place, creating concern about human rights problems involving foreigners. In the streets of Osaka as well, demonstrations involving hate speech have frequently occurred.”

More on this story at The Japan Times.

Federal appeals court upholds Texas restrictions on abortion providers, worrying reproductive rights advocates
  • The U.S. 5th Court of Appeals has ruled that the requirement that clinics meet ambulatory surgical center standards (including infrastructural requirements) does not impose undue burden on such clinics.
  • With only a handful of clinics meeting those standards, many clinics face closure unless they are able to make the costly upgrades.
  • In its lawsuit against the state, the Center for Reproductive Rights asked for exemptions for two clinics from the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles from the clinic, which was granted to one of the two.

“The 5th Circuit has once again put their political ideology above the law and failed to recognize that HB 2 is an undue burden on Texans’ access to safe, legal and timely abortion. … Your zip code should not determine your health care.”

More on this story at the Texas Tribune.

(Image Credit: Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune)

Arkansas judge rules marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples must be recognized by state administration after suit filed by couples denied recognition
  • The Department of Finance and Administration (under Director Larry Walther) had refused to recognize two gay couples’ marriage in tax and medical insurance processing, prompting the suit.
  • The State defense relied on a belief that Judge Chris Piazza did not have the authority to apply the clarifying order he released on May 15, 2014, opening up marriage licenses to same-sex couples retroactively to his original ruling on May 9.
  • The state ended its issuance of licenses to same-sex couples once Pizza’s ruling was appealed on May 16 and is now waiting on the pending Supreme Court decision.

“With shameless disrespect for fundamental fairness and equality, Director Walther insists on treating the marriages of same-sex couples who received marriage licenses … as ‘void from inception as a matter of law.’”

More on this story at Arkansas Online.

(Image Credit: Arkansas Online)