13 Sep 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on on LGBTI rights


‘Pink Dollar’ to Boost India's Economy After Gay Sex Legalized
Bloomberg, 12 Sep 2018

India’s private sector is set to enter a new era of inclusiveness, after a landmark Supreme Court ruling decriminalized homosexuality in a move that’s expected to provide a significant boost to the South Asian nation’s $2.6 trillion economy. Many multinational businesses in India and elsewhere already recognize the links between inclusion of gay employees and better business outcomes and have taken steps to end discrimination in staff benefits in order to maintain a competitive workforce. The court’s decision to overthrow the country’s notorious anti-gay law is expected to encourage others to do the same.

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Sri Lanka Should Take Up the Challenge on LGBT Rights
Human Rights Watch, 12 Sep 2018

The Indian Supreme Court’s landmark ruling sweeping a colonial-era law that criminalised same-sex sexual behavior into the dustbin of Indian history has made worldwide headlines. The Supreme Court of India has righted a terrible wrong. We hope it will set a precedent for courts in the Commonwealth and beyond that have similar laws facilitating prejudice, discrimination, and abuse against their LGBT communities. Not so in Sri Lanka. In 2016, Human Rights Watch released a report on the abuses the LGBT community faces in Sri Lanka, based on extensive interviews with LGBT people as well as with members of medical and other professional groups. Sri Lanka has near identical provisions to India’s in the criminal code, Sections 365 and 365A, which also criminalize same-sex conduct.

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LGBT Kenyans hope for court win after India scraps 'gay sex' ban
Reuters, 12 Sep 2018

A battle in Kenya’s courts to throw out a British colonial-era law criminalising gay sex has been reinvigorated after India scrapped similar legislation in a landmark ruling last week, LGBT rights campaigners said on Wednesday. Homosexuality is taboo in the east African nation and the persecution of sexual minorities is rife. Under sections of Kenya’s penal code, gay sex - or “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” - is punishable by up to 14 years in jail. Campaigners are petitioning Kenya’s high court to repeal the sections, saying they violate constitutional rights to equality, dignity and privacy. A three-judge bench is expected to give a date for the verdict on Sept 20.

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Romania moves closer to ruling out same-sex marriage
Reuters, 11 Sep 2018

Romania’s senate overwhelmingly backed a citizens’ initiative on Tuesday to change the definition of family in the constitution in a nationwide referendum, a move that could make it impossible to legalize same-sex unions in the future. The Coalition for Family civil groups, gathered 3 million signatures in 2016, seeking to hold a referendum to amend the constitutional wording to an union strictly between “a man and a woman”, from the existing, gender neutral, “spouses”.

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U.S. Military Defends Policy That Could Kick Out Soldiers With HIV
Bloomberg, 10 Sep 2018

The Trump administration defended a new military policy that will allegedly result in HIV-positive service members being fired in violation of their constitutional rights when it takes effect Oct. 1. The “Deploy or Get Out!” directive is intended to improve military readiness by weeding out soldiers who can’t deploy overseas for more than 12 consecutive months “for any reason.” An earlier directive from the height of the AIDS crisis prevents soldiers with HIV from deploying overseas, meaning the new policy may make it impossible for them to serve.

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Singapore diplomat urges gay sex ban challenge after India ruling
Reuters, 07 Sep 2018

A veteran Singapore diplomat has called on the gay community to challenge a law that bans gay sex in the conservative city-state, following India’s scrapping of similar British colonial-era legislation. Tommy Koh, a diplomat and lawyer, made the comments on Facebook on Thursday in response to a post by a senior Singapore-based academic on India’s landmark ruling. “I would encourage our gay community to bring a class action to challenge the constitutionality of Section 377A,” Koh wrote.

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