Turing arrives in Northern Ireland

From today, men convicted of abolished gay sex offences in Northern Ireland can ask to be pardoned and have their record cleared, as the measure known as “Turings Law” now applies to the Province.

The new law was approved by the assembly in 2016 and brings Northern Ireland into line with England and Wales.

Convictions that are disregarded will be considered as never having happened and will be removed from criminal records. Posthumous pardons will automatically apply to anyone convicted of obsolete offences who have now died. Men who are living will have to apply to the Department of Justice requesting granting of the pardon.



Yes, you were discriminated against, Court tells straights!

ITV | r

Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, who are heterosexual but want to enter in a civil partnership, are being discriminated against. Five Supreme Court justices unanimously allowed their appeal. They are currently prevented from having a legal union through the route of civil partnership because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 says only same-sex couples are eligible.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the couple had established a potential violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to discrimination, taken with Article 8, which refers to respect for private and family life. The judges said the interference was justified by the Government’s policy of “wait and evaluate”.

The Government is currently considering the matter and a change in the law is not expected yet.


No Non-Binary UK Passports yet, then

Christie Elan-Cane lost a High Court challenge calling on the government to provide gender-neutral passports. Christie Elan-Cane wants passports to have an “X” category, which could be used by those who consider themselves neither fully male nor female, and claimed the UK’s passport process was “inherently discriminatory”.

Currently, all UK passport holders have to specify whether they are male or female.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker refused to rule the government policy as unlawful.

Speaking after the ruling, Christie Elan-Cane, who has fought on the issue since 1995, said they were “bitterly disappointed” and that non-gendered people are “socially invisible” and being “denied civil rights”.

It is tempting to try to go to Court to change the law, but usually it does not work, because the Court is there to uphold, clarify, and enforce the law. It is the job of elected members of Parliament to change laws.


Great weather for Pride

Warsaw Pride yesterday | Czarek Sokołowski/AP | r

Yesterday was the big day throughout Europe for Gay Pride Marches, and many thousands of people took part.

In Warsaw, organisers estimated 45,000 people marched in the annual “equality parade” to protest discrimination not just against LGBT people but also women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

“The situation in Poland is bad because same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children,” said Alicja Nauman, who was marching with her partner Dominika Wróblewska.

The situation is completely different in Greece.

Thousands, including members of a LGBT police association, also turned out for the 14th edition of the pride parade in Athens. Since the leftist government took office in 2015, Greece has extended civil partnerships to same-sex couples, authorised sex changes from the age of 15 and legislated for children to be adopted by same-sex partners.

Hope everyone had a fantastic day.


Scottish Pardons Bill Passed Unanimously

The Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill, which will pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of having consensual sex with other men before homosexuality was decriminalised.

Men will also be able to apply to have convictions for same-sex sexual activity that is now legal removed from central criminal conviction records. The Scottish government says it expects about 25 men to do so over the next five years.

Offences that are still illegal, such as rape or having sex with someone under the age of 16, will not be pardoned. The BBC explains:

Before the law changed, men were prosecuted for offences including consensual sexual activity in private, kissing another man in a public place, or just chatting up another man in a public place – which was known as “importuning”.

Such behaviour was legal at the time between a man and a woman, and is legal today between two men.


Europe letting gays down, says ILGA

Belgrade Pride, 2017 | Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung | r

Malta is the best place in Europe to be gay, according to its laws. Azerbaijan is the worst, but Latvia and Poland, which are EU members, do not rank much higher, while overall progress is “stagnating”,

reports EU Observer.

Malta scored 91 percent in the annual Rainbow Europe Survey, which looks at countries’ pro-LGBTI rights laws and policies.

It was followed by Belgium (79 percent), Norway (78 percent), Finland (73 percent), France (73 percent), and the UK (73 percent). Denmark, Portugal, and Spain also scored well.

Germany didn’t. Germany (59 percent) still lacks laws to protect LGBTI people from hate speech. Italy scored 27 percent and Poland (18 percent).

The survey of 49 states describes Europe as “a region where advances are not being made at the rate they once were. This lack of sustained progress on LGBTI equality issues should set off alarm bells.”


Psst! Anyone want a third class marriage? Going cheap

The future of civil partnerships is in doubt following the introduction of same-sex marriage. A Supreme Court case begins on Monday which aims to open them up to heterosexual couples. Currently only same sex couples can have a civil partnership.

The Equalities Office now plans to consult on whether there is still enough demand among same-sex couples to retain civil partnerships since gay marriage was introduced in 2014.

While an average 6,300 civil partnerships were registered each year between 2007 and 2013, the number fell to 890 in 2016, and only 861 were registered in 2015.