Queer Notes: March-April 2017

From the March-April 2017 issue of News & Letters

by Elise

William A. Norris, the former federal appellate court judge who wrote in 1990 the majority decision that overturned the mandated discharge of staff sergeant Perry J. Watkins for outing himself, died in January. That ruling is the first to assert that Gay women and men are entitled to constitutional protection under the equal protection clause.

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Proud Lebanon Facebook page

Proud Lebanon Facebook page

In Lebanon, Judge Rabin Maalouf ruled that being homosexual is not a punishable offense, saying: “The duty of the courts is to protect human rights and people’s dignity.” His ruling is the fourth against Article 534, which could imprison those who engage in sexual acts that “contradict the laws of nature” for up to a year in prison. The ruling puts Lebanon in line with the International Convention on Human Rights. LGBTQ rights groups Helem and Proud Lebanon continue to work against Article 534.

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Only one day after U.S. President Donald Trump signed his Muslim immigrant ban, Queer people and their supporters held a fundraiser for the Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Partners/CLASP. CLASP provides support to U.S. immigrants including housing, mass transit fare cards and meals. Trump’s ban included the statement that the U.S. “should not admit those…who would oppress Americans of any…sexual orientation.” He was unable to fool many LGBTQ people into thinking he is trying to protect them, or other groups, from terrorism.

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Tennessee legislators proposed a number of anti-Gay bills. Under one, when a couple uses artificial insemination to have a child, the spouse who does not give birth will not be recognized as that child’s parent or guardian unless they file for second-parent adoption, often a lengthy and costly process. Another bill defines marriage as between one man and one woman and recognizes state marriage law over the Supreme Court’s 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage all across the U.S.

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The Center for Victims of Torture Facebook page

The Center for Victims of Torture Facebook page

LGBTQI victims of torture are among those whom the Center for Victims of Torture seeks to heal. CVT provides mental and physical therapy around the world, pioneers research and trains those in rehab centers to provide mental health services for victims of torture.

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