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March 5, 2015

Human rights group says the trial seems unfair

A Moroccan court has jailed two men for gay sex in what a human rights group says seems like an unfair trial.

An elected local official in his 50s and a student in his 20s were arrested in al Hoceima province on 13 December.

Only five days after their arrest, a court convicted the men of sexual deviancy and public indecency based on confessions they made to police then repudiated in court. No witnesses were called to testify.

December 1, 2014

India’s LGBTI community have shown they are not prepared to just disappear quietly since the country’s colonial era sodomy law was reinstated by the Supreme Court, with hundreds marching yesterday in the capital, New Delhi

Hundreds of LGBTI Indians and their allies took to the streets of New Delhi on Sunday – the first time the capital city has seen a gay pride march since the 1861 colonial era Section 377 anti-sodomy law was reinstated.

Reports estimate that between 400 and 700 marched in the city of 22 million people, waving garlands of multi-colored balloons and rainbow flags, chanting ‘freedom!’ and ‘I’m gay, that’s OK!’

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 29, 2014

Court of Appeal rejects two constitutional challenges to the country's sodomy law

Singapore's highest court today ruled the country's sodomy law which criminalizes gay sex is constitutional.

The Court of Appeal found that section 377A of the penal code did not infringe on the rights of 51-year-old artistic therapist and social volunteer Tan Eng Hong.

Tan was arrested for having in oral sex with man in a public toilet in 2010. He contested the law but the High Court dismissed his application in 2013.

October 20, 2014

About 1.7 million people called in to protest the country's anti-gay law

Indian actor Aamir Khan's hit talk show Satyamev Jayate last night tackled the taboo subject of 'alternative sexualities,' with many viewers saying the program changed their perception of LGBTI people.

Guests included transgender woman Gazal Dhaliwal and her parents, popular psychologist Deepak Kashyap and LGBTI activists.

Khan listened sympathetically as his LGBTI guests told their coming out stories. Several stressed the importance of parental relationships in shaping their lives and fighting depression and suicidial thoughts.

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 18, 2014

New South Wales approved the bill a day after Victoria introduced similar legislation

New South Wales today became the second Australian state to introduce a bill that will clear historical gay sex convictions, a day after Victoria introduced similar legislation.

The Parliament of New South Wales approved the bill which will be debated later this year.

Bruce Notley-Smith, the gay Liberal MP for Coogee district, introduced the legislation a week after he announced his intention to do so.

September 18, 2014

A former attorney-general says consenting adults should not be jailed for gay sex 

Two top Singaporean lawyers disagreed over whether the country's anti-gay law should be scrapped at a human rights forum on Tuesday night.

About 250 students attended the event at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Professor Walter Woon, law don at NUS and former attorney-general, said he was in favor of repealing the law because of what he sees as a 'constitutional problem.'

The government has said the law would not be proactively enforced but Woon cited the constitution which gave the power of prosecution to the attorney-general.

August 3, 2014

The UNDP, which is known to be a supporter of LGBT rights worldwide, had provided funding for the original two committees that drafted the codes but did not monitor their outcome, Sunil Pant, Nepal's first openly gay politician, tells Gay Star News

It’s a dramatic reversal for a country whose Supreme Court ruled in 2007 to ensure broad protections for LGBTI people and whose government was looking into legalizing same-sex marriage after a Supreme Court decision in 2008.

Today, the LGBTI community faces fresh opposition as the law ministry under law and justice minister Narahari Acharya of the ruling Nepali Congress is seeking to enact punitive laws to recriminalize gay sex, Sunil Pant, the country's first openly gay politician and former member of parliament, told Gay Star News in an email.

July 15, 2014

Singapore’s Court of Appeal will decide the fate of the country’s 76-year-old Section 377A anti-sodomy law this week, opening a two day hearing on Monday

This week Singapore’s Court of Appeal is hearing a challenge to the country’s ban on anal and oral sex which punishes sex between men with up to two years in prison.

The challenge has been brought by Kenneth Chee and Gary Lim, a gay couple in a 17 year relationship and the case has also been joined by Tan Eng Hong, a man who was charged under the law in 2010.

Section 377A of Singapore’s Criminal Code was introduced by the British in 1938 but the law has been rarely enforced in recent years.

June 16, 2014

The US state of Alabama has hung onto its ban on same-sex couples having sex despite it being ruled unconstitutional in the US Supreme Court in 2003 but a state appeals court has now struck it down

Alabama’s ban on consensual oral and anal sex has been struck down as unconstitutional by a state Court of Criminal Appeals.

Alabama state laws defines ‘deviate sexual intercourse’ as ‘any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another,’ and can attract punishments of up to a year in prison or hard labor and fines of up to $2,000.

April 3, 2014

In what is being called the last chance to legalize the lives of over 40 million people, Supreme Court will hear activists' plea after they recriminalized homosexuality last year

India’s Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider the law criminalizing homosexuality today (3 April).

The Naz Foundation, a HIV and LGBTI rights charity, filed a curative petition calling on the Supreme Court to ‘correct’ its verdict from last year.

In December 2013, the Supreme Court recriminalized homosexuality – overturning the landmark 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that said the colonial era law banning homosexuality was discriminatory and should not be a crime.

April 2, 2014

European Parliament President Martin Schulz has given African countries the strongest warning yet – calling laws that criminalize homosexuality a ‘disgrace’ and warning they will lead to cuts to development aid

The President of the European Parliament has given African leaders the strongest warning to date over their criminalization of homosexuality – suggesting Europe is not prepared to back down when it comes to the rights of LGBTI people in Africa.

European Parliament President Martin Shulz told a told a joint summit with MPs from the Pan-African Parliament on Monday that such laws were a ‘disgrace’ in response to Ethiopia making homosexuality an unpardonable offense.

Shulz called such laws ‘an unacceptable violation of the basic rights of individuals.’

February 11, 2014

UK's National Crime Agency has told gay men to err on the side of caution when they are considering receiving pictures or having sex with someone they have met on Grindr or other hookup apps

Gay men who are using hook up apps like Grindr are being warned to ensure their sex partners are over 18.

The UK’s National Crime Agency has said, after an increase of teens reporting abuse on these apps, the responsibility is always on the adult.

If an adult receives a picture of someone under the age of 18, under the law it means they have indecent images of children.

And if an adult has sex with someone under the age of consent of 16, then they are breaking the law.

December 11, 2013

The Supreme Court of India has set aside a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that legalized homosexuality, passing the issue back to lawmakers to deal with in a major setback for LGBTI rights in India

India’s Supreme Court has found the country’s colonial era Section 377 anti-sodomy law legal – potentially seeing a return to the criminalization of India’s LGBTI community.

The Supreme Court justices said that Indian society was not yet ready for the law to be repealed and handed the issue back to lawmakers to deal with.

'It is for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377,' Supreme Court justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya ruled.

October 5, 2013

Judge dismisses challenge to anti-gay law, saying prohibition based on moral issue

Singapore’s court has struck another blow to gay rights, refusing for the second time in this year to strike down a colonial law that criminalizes sex between men.

The first Singaporean who had contested the law nearly three years ago, Tan Eng Hong, had his challenge to the constitutionality of Section 377A of the Penal Code dismissed by the high court, with the judge saying the law was based on “morality and social values”.

October 3, 2013

With a court due to rule whether the gay sex ban is unconstitutional, experts say the Belize government is paving the way for consensual anal sex to become legal

Belize is preparing for their law against sodomy to be struck down by the courts.

Gay anal sex, considered ‘against the order of nature’, is illegal in Belize and can get you 10 years jail – but a court case is trying to change that.

Recent government moves indicate they accept the court may rule the gay sex ban is unconstitutional and has to be altered or scrapped.

In the latest development, they are amending other areas of the law so male rape would be criminalized properly if the gay part of the penal code is axed.

August 24, 2013

In letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Senator Barbara Boxer notes the country's new 'homosexual propaganda' laws is contrary to the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

US Senator Barbara Boxer sent a public letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting a repeal of the country's 'homosexual propaganda' laws.

While acknowledging the 'bilateral relationship' between the two superpowers, the senator from California is concerned about the impact of the new rulings.

'I have been shocked by images of Russian LGBT individuals—including young men and women—being harassed, threatened and severely beaten,' Boxer wrote. '

August 17, 2013

Tan Eng Hong, fined three years ago for oral sex in a shopping arcade toilet, seeks to intervene as an ‘interested party’ in gay couple’s suit against homophobic law

In 2010, Singaporean Tan Eng Hong was charged with performing oral sex on another man in a shopping center toilet, an act of “gross decency”, according to the city state’s law, and fined after he pleaded guilty.

The trauma made Tan challenge the colonial Section 377A that outlaws sex between men, becoming the first Singaporean to do so.

May 23, 2013

Should a lesbian 18-year-old be criminalized for having sex with her girlfriend, 14, when even the Virgin Mary was a teen mom at that age?

I did a double take when I first saw it. A teen girl was expelled and arrested for having a relationship with another girl. I hunkered down in full fury mode reading the case.

Then, my racing mind came to a screeching halt as it read the magic number… 18. A legal adult had been with a legal minor. Things just got complicated.

May 9, 2013

LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell supports an age of consent of 14 for sex but not of 13, as suggested by senior British lawyer Barbara Hewson today

Veteran gay activist Peter Tatchell has criticized a British lawyer who called for the age of consent for all sex – gay and straight – in the UK to be lowered to 13.

Barbara Hewson was commenting on a child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the UK with some of the country’s ageing TV stars being arrested or questioned on suspicion of abuse of young boys and girls or women.

Now barrister – or senior lawyer – Hewson has said those rounding up suspected abusers are ‘zealots’ who are ‘manipulating’ the law.

April 18, 2013

Campaign aims to raise $50,000 to challenge judge's ruling that anti-gay law should remain

A group of LGBT rights activists in Singapore has launched a fundraising campaign to mount an appeal against a recent court decision to kept anti-gay law Section 377A which criminalizes sex between men.

Gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee launched a constitutional challenge against Section 377A. Their lawyer argued that the law challenges Singapore's constitution which says all citizens must be treated equally before the law.

April 11, 2013

Anti-sodomy law had not been enforced since 1997 but remained on the books

The Montana House of Representatives on Wednesday (10 April) passed a bill that officially decriminalizes gay sex under state law.

Even though the law had been struck down by the Montana Supreme Court in 1997 and was not being enforced, it remained on the books.

Senate Bill 107 passed the House with a vote of 65-34, according to Rep. Bryce Bennett, the only openly gay member of The House.

April 9, 2013

The case against Section 377A in Singapore’s High Court fails as Justice Quentin Loh says the anti-gay sex law is a ‘social norm’

Singapore’s High Court has dismissed a case by gay partners Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee designed to scrap the law which bans gay male sex.

LGBT people in Singapore have already said they will appeal the case to the Court of Appeal.