Countries being told by courts to recognise gay marriage

The European court of justice has been advised that rights of same-sex spouses must be recognised by every member of the EU, even if a country’s government has not authorised gay marriage.

A Belgian advocate general in the Luxembourg court, Melchior Wathelet, said gay spouses had standing in countries even where governments were implacably opposed to same-sex marriage.

A final decision will be delivered in the coming months.

Wathelet’s opinion was given in the case of a Romanian national, Adrian Coman, who wanted to be able to build a life in Romania with his American husband, Claibourn Robert Hamilton, with whom he had been living for four years in the US before marrying in Brussels in 2010. Romania prohibits marriage between people of the same sex. It is one of six EU member states, along with Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia, that offer no legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

Meanwhile Reuters reports that a Latin American human rights court said on Tuesday that countries in the region should legalize same-sex unions, endorsing a growing push for marriage equality.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ decision came in response to a petition submitted two years ago by Costa Rican president Luis Guillermo Solis, who had vowed to increase rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Same-sex couples can marry in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and some parts of Mexico.


Ten years for breaking gay man’s leg


Kamil Wladyslaw Snios | Court Service | 17193

Chris Ver-Haest has spoken out following a brutal homophobic attack which left him unable to walk after his leg was broken in four places. His attacker, 29-year-old Kamil Wladyslaw Snios, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm yesterday.

Mr Ver-Haest says he has been “altered” by his experience, cancelling plans to move to Spain, undergoing months of physiotherapy, and being forced to testify against his attacker in court.

Mr Ver-Haest was approached by Snios as he and his friend, Alex, walked to nearby shops on Stamford Road, in Tottenham, to buy cigarettes on July 16.

Snios shouted at them in Polish before slapping and kicking both of them to the ground. He tried to crawl away but Snios continued to kick him, and slapped his friend.

Sheltering in Albania

Human Rights Watch have visited an emergency shelter for homeless gay people in Tirana, the capital of Albania.

…The shelter, which serves LGBT youth between 18 and roughly 25 who have been rejected by their families, was founded with donations from the US and UK Embassies. The Dutch embassy now provides some support, but the shelter is running out of funds.

That afternoon, I met with Tirana’s mayor, Erion Veliaj. I told him I was impressed by the shelter and asked if the city could support it. “Yes,” he said. “Let them send me a proposal, we must be able to find some money for this service.”

Romania pulls up the shutters

Romania is gearing up to hold a referendum to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage, a move that civil rights groups warn could put the country on an “illiberal” path alongside the likes of Hungary and Poland, writes Politico.

Romania’s civil code forbids same-sex marriage, and civil partnerships have not been introduced.

The planned vote — which could be held as early as November — is the result of a campaign by “Coalition for Family,” which brings together more than 40 groups, many of them religious or describing themselves as “pro-life.” They gathered more than 3 million signatures to force a referendum.

Pop Up Pride Centre opens in Belgrade

A gay pride information centre has opened in Belgrade to disseminate information about gay pride week and the pride parade on September 17.

The new centre will be open until September 25 and feature a photo exhibition depicting past violence toward gays. Despite improvements, discrimination and violence toward gays continues every day in the former communist country.

Kiev’s Pride

Participants take part in the equality march in Kiev

Valentyn Ogirenko for Reuters | 17111

Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching for gay pride in Kiev today, carrying banners and waving rainbow and Ukrainian flags in a parade which was flanked by a thick cordon of police.

The march was largely incident-free, but 200 people protested, variously calling it an affront to traditional values and to soldiers fighting pro-Russian separatist rebels in the eastern Donbass region.

Ukrainian authorities have increased their support for gay rights since a pro-Western government took power in 2014. In 2015, a law was passed banning workplace discrimination against the LGBT community.

Serbia strides ahead

Congratulations to Ana Brnabić, a graduate of the University of Hull, who is Serbia’s first gay Prime Minister and first female Prime Minister.

Brnabić will take up her role as Serbia navigates a crucial few years: the country is preparing for EU membership while retaining its traditionally close relationship with Russia, and nurturing a growing friendship with Beijing.

That’s quite a job description.