High court opens door to marriage equality in Taiwan
- The Council of Grand Justices ruled that the section of the Taiwanese Civil Code banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
- The decision compels the government to revise the Code in accordance with the ruling, though it leaves open the question as to how that will be done.
- Once legally enshrined, the ruling will make Taiwan the first Asian country to secure marriage equality for its LGBT citizens.
“Same-sex Marriage: Marriage restrictions ‘unconstitutional’” (The Taipei Times | May 2017)
“Taiwan Is Set To Become The First Asian Country To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage” (BuzzFeed News | May 2017)
“Court Ruling Could Make Taiwan First Place in Asia to Legalize Gay Marriage” (The New York Times | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Tyrone Siu/Reuters, via The New York Times)
Same-sex marriages commence in Slovenia
- The first lesbian wedding was scheduled in the country’s second-largest city, Maribor.
- The law establishing marriage equality in the country was passed in December 2015 after a contentious debate over same-sex adoption, although it was subsequently repealed by referendum.
- While able to marry, same-sex couples cannot jointly adopt a child or, for lesbian couples, undergo artificial insemination.
“Slovenia allows same-sex marriage, but not adoption” (Reuters | February 2017)
“Slovenia allows same-sex marriage” (POLITICO | February 2017)
“Slovenia will expand civil partnership rights after gay marriage defeated in referendum” (Gay Star News | March 2016)
(Image Credit: Jure Makovec/AFP, via POLITICO)
Putin signs law reducing punishment for domestic violence in Russia
- Perpetrators who physically assault family members but do not cause broken bones will now only be subject to 15 days in prison or a fine if the violence only occurs once a year.
- Previously, the crime had carried a maximum jail sentence of two years, but conservative politicians and advocates argued the state was intruding in private affairs.
- A spike in reports of domestic violence in Russia’s fourth-largest city following the passage of the law has sparked concerns that the law has increased women’s vulnerability to violence in a country that sees 12-14,000 women die a year as a result of domestic violence.
“Putin approves legal change that decriminalises some domestic violence” (The Guardian | February 2017)
“Domestic violence reports soar in Russian city following partial decriminalisation” (The Independent | February 2017)
“Majority in Russia See Domestic Violence as Serious Problem” (Gallup | February 2017)
South Australia approves bill to recognize same-sex partnerships
- The South Australia Legislative Council approved a bill to establish a relationship registry for same-sex couples in the state and recognize overseas same-sex marriages, including of Australian nationals who travel to New Zealand to be married.
- The new law will allow same-sex couples to enjoy some of the partnership rights of opposite-sex couples, including recognition of next-of-kin status, and introduces protections for intersex people.
- The bill followed the death of British national David Bulmer-Rizzi on honeymoon in South Australia, which prompted international outcry after his marriage to his husband Marco went unrecognized for end-of-life decisions and on the death certificate issued.
“South Australia Has Passed A Law Recognising Same-Sex Relationships After Honeymoon Death” (BuzzFeed News)
“Marco Bulmer-Rizzi welcomes relationships register bill passing SA parliament” (ABC News)
“Premier Jay Weatherill makes apology in Parliament for past LGBTIQ discrimination” (news.com.au)
“This British Man’s Husband Died On Honeymoon But Australia Refuses To Recognise Their Marriage” (BuzzFeed News)
(Image Credit: Facebook, via BuzzFeed News)
Hungarian city council adopts mayor’s proposal to ban Islamic and pro-LGBT expression
- The ban encompasses the construction of mosques or other places of worship in the town of Ásotthalom that “undermine” the Catholic Church as well as forms of devotional expression including face- and hair-coverings and the call to prayer.
- The ordinance also bans “public propaganda” depicting marriage as anything but the union of a man and a woman across all media forms.
- The mayor of the town, site of a fence along the Hungarian-Serbian border, defended the ordinance as protection against the two “pagans” of migration and liberalism, but the Hungarian Islamic Community (MIK) was quick to denounce it as xenophobic.
“Burqas, mosques, ‘gay propaganda’ all banned in Hungarian village” (RT)
“Hungarian Muslim group criticises town’s ‘xenophobic’ decree” (The Guardian)
“Hungarian City Bans Mosques, Burqas And Gay Marriage” (NewNowNext)
“In Hungary’s migrant vote, only the turnout is in doubt” (Reuters, September 2016)
(Image Credit: Facebook, via NewNowNext)
Taiwan inches closer to becoming first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage
- Three separate bills have begun moving through the Taiwanese legislative process to extend family and partnership rights to same-sex couples in the country, with advocates cautiously optimistic for passage in the spring 2017 legislative session.
- At the municipal level, multiple cities—including Taipei—have recognized same-sex couples and families through “partnership cards,” a sign of growing acceptance in the island nation.
- Marriage equality and adoption rights are currently favored by both the ruling and major opposition party along with a growing share of the Taiwanese population, although public opposition by religious and conservative groups remains strong.
“Taiwan May Be First in Asia to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage” (The New York Times)
“Taiwan is on the verge of becoming the first Asian country with marriage equality” (The Washington Post)
“10,000 rally at Legislature against gay marriage” (The China Post)
(Image Credit: Ritchie B. Tongo/European Pressphoto Agency, via The New York Times)
The Enduring Civil Inequality of Lebanese Women
Lebanon’s complex civil status laws have given broad leeway for religious courts to adjudicate civil matters according to theological law, leaving a tangled relationship between church (or mosque) and state in disputes like divorce and child custody. Fatima Ali Hamzeh’s fight to retain custody of her three-year-old son after her husband married another woman while refusing to divorce her has revealed how the intertwined legal systems intersect to create significant disadvantages for women in what is considered to be one of the Middle East’s most progressive states. Global Voices highlights Hamzeh’s story and the women’s rights movement that has rallied around her to combat gender-based legal inequality in Lebanon.
“A Mother’s Fight for Her Son Exposes Lebanon’s Institutionalized Sexism” (Global Voices)
“Hamzeh custody case draws Berri’s attention” (The Daily Star)
(Image Credit: via The Daily Star)