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Content about LGBT rights in Australia

November 4, 2014

Australian Capital Territory's marriage equality law was overturned last year

The Australian government's successful challenge to the Australian Capital Territory's (ACT) gay marriage law cost the state $800,000 (US$697,800) in legal fees.

Solicitor-General Peter Garrisson told a Legislative Assembly hearing yesterday that the ACT paid $500,000 (US$436,130) in legal fees to the federal government after the country's first marriage equality law was overturned in December last year.

Bills for two external lawyers totaled $112,000 (US$97,690) and the cost of work completed by government lawyers was about $200,000 (US$17,445).

October 31, 2014

A 26 year veteran of the fight for LGBTI equality in Australia, Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome has been honored as the 2015 Australian of the Year for his home state of Tasmania

Veteran spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group and national convener of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome has been named the 2015 Australian of the year for his home state of Tasmania.

Croome was honored for his 26 year involvement in the fight for LGBTI equality which has culminated in his role as national spokesperson for the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia.

October 16, 2014

New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have introduced bills to repeal laws forcing married transgender people to divorce before their new gender is recognized

Three Australian states today introduced bills to scrap laws that require married transgender people to divorce before their new gender is recognized.

Legislation was introduced in New South Wales by Greens legislative council member Mehreen Faruqi and Independent legislative assembly member Alex Greenwich, in South Australia by Greens legislative council member Tammy Franks, and by Greens house of assembly member Nick McKim in Tasmania.

October 7, 2014

Poll finds 68% of Jamaicans feel LGBTI people should not have the same rights as others

Nine in ten Jamaicans said the country's sodomy law that criminalizes gay sex between men should not be repealed, according to a new poll.

Only 5% said the law should be abolished and 4% said they did not know.

The poll interviewed people and was conducted on 6-7 September and 13-14 September. It was commissioned by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

The poll also found that 82% of Jamaicans said they believed gay men were not treated fairly by the legal system or the police.

September 25, 2014

A bill to recognize the hundreds of Australian gay couples who wed abroad was introduced in March

The Australian Senate has recommended parliament does not pass a bill to recognize gay couples who married in places where same-sex unions are legal.

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee released a report on the bill today.

Some submitters expressed concern that the bill was 'a surreptitious attempt to introduce marriage equality.'

The Law Council of Australia was concerned that the bill would create a discriminatory situation where only couples with the financial resources to travel overseas would have access to gay marriage.

September 23, 2014

Female same-sex couples will now be allowed to adopt babies born of IVF and other medically assisted procedures

France's highest civil court has given married lesbians more adoption rights.

The Court of Cassation has said even though gay couples are still banned from using IVF and other medical ways to assist with reproduction, that is not enough to prevent gay women their legal right to adopt their married partner's child.

As these female same-sex couples are stopped from accessing fertility treatment in France, it has sent many of them to Belgium or Spain.

September 17, 2014

Legislation in the self-governing Australian territory of Norfolk Island has been put forward to allow same-sex couples to marry and the bill has been crafted with a view to surviving any constitutional challenge

At 10.30 today, Sydney time, a bill to create legal same-sex marriages was tabled in the parliamentary Assembly of the autonomous Australian territory of Norfolk Island – putting it on a course to become the first part of Australia where same-sex couples will be able to legally marry.

The bill was put forward by Norfolk Island Assembly member Hayden Evans and aims to allow Australian same-sex couples to marry on their home soil rather than having to travel overseas.

September 15, 2014

A lesbian couple in Dane County have been granted permission to adopt each other’s children – while a final decision is still pending from the US Supreme Court on same-sex marriage in the state

Although same-sex marriage in Wisconsin remains barred for the time being, two judges in the state have granted adoptions that recognize the marriage of same-sex couples. Adoptions by same-sex couples have previously been illegal in the State.

A ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin was overruled in June when federal Judge Barbara Crabb said that the ban was unconstitutional. Over 500 same-sex couples rushed to take advantage of their legal ability to marry.

August 9, 2014

Proposed legislative change is the latest move in the country’s clampdown on LGBTI rights

Indian’s Union Government has moved to stop same-sex couples from adopting children. The decision was taken while the federal cabinet reviewed amendments on Wednesday (6 Aug) to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

Although LGBT single people are not currently banned from adopting, campaigners in the country now fear that the ban on same-sex couples could be extended to single LGBT people too.

August 8, 2014

One Californian mom explains why she regards surrogacy, and helping gay men to become dads, as her own form of ‘Uterine Activism’

Kelly Enders-Tharp clearly enjoys being pregnant. More significantly, she loves helping to create families. After giving birth to three of her own children (Ruby in 2001, Preston in 2003 and son Sawyer in 2006), she made the decision to help others become parents.

July 23, 2014

Two lesbian couples are challenging the country's laws on joint child support benefits

Austria’s High Court has been asked to decide whether two parents in a same-sex relationship should both receive childcare benefits.

The case has been raised by two separate lesbian couples: one based in Upper Austria and the other in Tyrol. In the latter case, the couple’s claim was rejected by the Tyrolean Regional Health Insurance, who stated that the right to shared childcare was limited to heterosexual partners, "connected together by the bond of biological parenthood, foster care, or adoptive parenting."

July 20, 2014

South Australia is one of the few regions of Australia where gay couples cannot adopt, but that could change following a planned public consultation on its adoption laws

The State Government of South Australia is planning a long-awaited review of its adoption laws, which will include looking at whether same-sex couples and singles will be able to adopt.

Currently, South Australia does not allow either same-sex couples or single people to adopt.

This is in contrast to most other parts of Australia: New South Wales, ACT, Western Australia and Tasmania all allow adoption by gay couples and LGBT individuals, as well as same-sex step-parent adoption.

May 15, 2014

The Australian Senate will hold investigative hearings on whether to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed overseas after a Greens party senator put forward a bill on the issue

The Australian Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Committee will hold an inquiry on legally recognizing same-sex marriages performed overseas after Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a bill that would recognize them if passed.

Australia already recognizes heterosexual marriages which are legally conducted overseas and the Greens bill seeks to also recognize same-sex marriages performed overseas where they are legal.

May 3, 2014

Judge says the lesbian couple 'defrauded' French law by going to Belgium to conceive their now 4-year-old son via IVF

A Versailles Court has ruled that a married French woman cannot adopt the child she and her partner had conceived by IVF treatment carried out abroad.

The judge says the couple, who has not been named in the media, 'defrauded' French law by going to neighboring Belgium for the procedure, according to The Guardian.

March 28, 2014

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will introduce a bill to recognize overseas same-sex marriages in Australia as gay couples in the UK start to wed

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has announced she will introduce a bill to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in overseas jurisdictions in reaction to same-sex couples in England and Wales being able to marry from tomorrow.

Hanson-Young has also proposed an inquiry to examine the affect that the legalization of same-sex marriage has had in those jurisdictions where it is legal which would then draft a report for the parliament.

Hanson-Young made the announcement at a press conference earlier today in Melbourne.

March 10, 2014

A far-right Catholic group is sending pamphlets to voters in the Australian state of Tasmania ahead of its state election – but the group sending them isn’t even from that state

A far-right Catholic group appears to be trying to influence the results of the Tasmanian state election – sending hand signed pamphlets to voters across that state - though the group is from a different state altogether.

The group behind the pamphlets is the Australian Traditional Families Property Bureau and has previously published publications including the anti-abortion ‘The Womb becomes a tomb: are we sacrificing to Moloch?’ and ‘Our Lady at Fátima: Prophecies of Tragedy or Hope?’

February 20, 2014

Members of parliament will discuss same-sex marriage in its initial stages today after 166,000 people called for marriage equality laws

Finland’s parliament will begin debating a bill to allow same-sex marriage today (20 February).

Despite same-sex marriage legislation being defeated before, gay rights activists are hoping politicians will do the right thing on their second chance.

But unlike last time, politicians are discussing the bill on the will of the people.

Under Finnish law, petitions can be started to force parliament to discuss bills that matter – called a ‘citizen’s initiative’.

February 8, 2014

Under new directive, federal lawyers will assume same-sex couples have the same rights like opposite-sex couples, including the right not to testify against a spouse

Early next week, the US Justice Department will announce plans to extend more federal protections to same-sex married couples, even those living in states where gay marriage is not recognized.

In a speech that will be given tonight (8 February) at a Human Rights Campaign gala in New York City, Attorney General Eric Holder will report government lawyers will, in federal courts, treat same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples the same.

January 23, 2014

From 1 July Australian couples, regardless of sexuality, will be able to receive $200 worth of free relationship counseling in an Australian Government scheme designed to combat relationship breakups

Same-sex and opposite-sex Australian couples will be able to access $200 worth of free relationship counseling from 1 July this year under a new Australian Government scheme but the Australian campaign for marriage equality says if the government is serious about keeping same-sex couples together it should just let them marry.

January 13, 2014

Calls have been made for convictions for gay sex before it was decriminalized to be wiped from people’s criminal records in the Australian states of Tasmania and New South Wales after the state of Victoria announced it would quash such convictions

Activists in the Australian states of Tasmania and New South Wales (NSW) have called on their state governments to wipe historical convictions for adult gay sex from people’s criminal records after it was announced the Victorian state government would become the first to do so.

January 3, 2014

A new study published by Hong Kong’s Center for Comparative and Public Law has found that 74% of residents in the Chinese autonomous territory support some level of legal recognition for same-sex relationships – though support for same-sex marriage remains low

A new report published by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law has shown that a majority of the Hong Kong public supports granting some legal recognition to same-sex couples.

Researchers Kelley Loper from the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, Holning Lau from the University of North Carolina School of Law and Charles Lau from RTI International found that 74% of Hong Kongers thought same-sex couples should have some of the rights of opposite sex couples.

December 27, 2013

2013 saw many gains and set backs in the fight for LGBTI rights in Australia - GSN looks back on a year of struggle in the Great Southern Land

2013 was a tumultuous year for LGBTI rights in Australia, with significant victories on the road to reform but also significant short term obstacles put in its way.

The LGBTI community started 2013 on a bit of a high with the 2012 national conference of the then ruling Australian Labor Party adopting same-sex marriage as part of its party platform in December of 2012 – though the party stopped short of binding MPs to vote for the reform.

December 19, 2013

Nathan Gale from the Scottish Transgender Alliance celebrates after the Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee have unanimously passed an amendment that will make a huge different to the trans community

The Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee unanimously passed an amendment to the same sex marriage Bill today (19 December) proposed by the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance.

The amendment, which will allow couples to have gender neutral marriage ceremonies regardless of whether they are legally mixed sex or same sex, is a significant win for transgender and intersex people.

Without our amendment all mixed sex couples having religious marriage ceremonies would have had to declare themselves to be husband and wife.

December 12, 2013

Zoran Milanovic is determined to bring in more rights for gay couples after 65% of Croatian voters said they were against equal marriage

While Croatia may have voted at the ballot box to ban gay marriage, the liberal Prime Minister is determined to bring in rights for same-sex couples.

The government has presented ‘life partnership’ legislation today (12 December), allowing same-sex couples to officially register their relationship, inherit property from one another, and represent each other as next of kin.

They will be banned from marrying or adopting children.

With the government’s legislative majority, it means the bill is likely to pass.