News Archives

Kerala High Court Allows Woman to Live with Same-Sex Partner

Indian Express - Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 9/25/2018

Weeks after the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and legitimised same-sex relationships, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on September 25, 2018, allowed a 40-year-old woman to live with her 24-year-old female partner. A Division Bench of C K Abdul Rahim and Narayana Pisharadi acted upon a habeas corpus petition moved by S Sreeja, 40, of West Kallada in Kollam. In her petition, Sreeja told the court that she wanted to live with her partner, Aruna, 24, of Neyyattinkara, who, she claimed, was in the illegal custody of her parents. Hinging upon the historic Section 377 judgement, the petitioner argued her case, which ultimately led to a positive verdict from the court.

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Uganda Court Throws Out Petition against Polygamy

The East African, Uganda, 9/24/2018

Uganda’s Constitutional Court has dismissed a petition seeking to declare polygamy illegal. Mifumi, a women’s rights advocacy non-governmental organisation, had petitioned the court to rule the practice that allows men to marry more than one wife as unconstitutional, since it often leaves these women disenfranchised and prone to domestic violence. Mifumi also argued that polygamy denied women rights to equality in marriage and was in violation of Article 21 (1) of the Constitution, which states that all people are equal before the law. But the five-judge bench court lead by Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo on September 24, 2018, unanimously dismissed the petition, first filed eight years ago. The court cited the many ‘unnecessary delay’s as the reason for dismissing the petition.

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Suhakam Does Not Support Gay Marriage

Malay Mail - Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, 9/22/2018

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said on September 22, 2018, that it was not in favour of same-sex unions, but also noted that everyone had the same ‘basic rights’ under the Federal Constitution. Suhakam also said ratifying international human rights treaties would not likely oblige the Government to legalise same-sex marriages. Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said that same-sex marriages were a conflict of ‘values’ in the Muslim-majority country, but reassured that the Commission continues to believe in LGBT rights and anti-discrimination, and recognises the need for the same in light of the recent cases of violence against transgender people and others from the queer community. Earlier in the week, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that LGBT rights and same-sex marriages were unacceptable in Malaysia.

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Tanzania’s Decision to Suspend Family Planning Deplorable: Amnesty International

New Vision, Tanzania, 9/22/2018

The Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children in Tanzania recently banned the airing of all family planning advertisements on radio and television pending further notice. In a communiqué responding to this news, Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, criticised the move as being ‘deplorable’, and said the Tanzanian authorities must immediately stop obstructing access to sexual and reproductive health services and end the intimidation of anyone providing information about such services – be they health workers, journalists or activists. Consequently, Magango called on the Government to repeal any laws, policies or other barriers to the services and information women and girls need for a healthy life.

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Paving Way for Oscar Bid, Kenyan Court Overturns Ban on Film Featuring Lesbian Love

The Washington Post - Nairobi, Kenya, 9/21/2018

A judge in Kenya has temporarily lifted a ban on a film that features a lesbian love story, allowing its producers to fulfil the criteria necessary to submit it to next year’s Oscars as a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. The film, called ‘Rafiki’, which means friend in Swahili, depicts two young women from opposing political backgrounds who nevertheless fall in love. Kenya’s Film Classification Board had banned it back in April 2018, saying it violated the country’s ‘family values’. Homosexuality is criminalised in Kenya, as it is in many former British colonies, and can carry up to a 14-year prison sentence. But this ruling on ‘Rafiki’ may be a precursor to overturning those laws.

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