The Williams Institute (UCLA, USA) is seeking three analysts to assist with research related to sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy

The Williams Institute (UCLA, USA) is seeking three analysts to assist with research related to sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy

The Williams Institute is seeking three analysts to join our team. The analysts will assist scholars at the Institute with research related to sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. 
Learn More and Apply

All Eyes on LGBTQI Rights (Rénata Uitz auf Verfassungsblog)

All Eyes on LGBTQI Rights (Rénata Uitz auf Verfassungsblog)

Source: https://verfassungsblog.de/all-eyes-on-lgbtqi-rights/

19 July 2021

In Fedotova v Russia, the ECtHR found that Russia overstepped the boundaries of its otherwise broad margin of appreciation because it had “no legal framework capable of protecting the applicants’ relationships as same-sex couples has been available under domestic law” (§ 53). This is a step forward from Oliari and others v. Italy, where the national legislature failed to respond to the Italian Constitutional Court’s calls — in the spirit of international trends — to recognize same sex unions. In the Russian case the Constitutional Court put no such pressure on the legislature: in fact, in line with its long-standing jurisprudence in March 2020 the Russian Constitution was amended to specify the protection of “marriage in a form of union between a man and a woman” (Article 72(1)).

Although Fedotova confirms the divide between the recognition of same sex marriage and same sex unions (in the spirit of ‘same but different’), the judgment is significant as it foreshadows a future wherein the familiar line of cases advancing the protection of same sex couples will need to be complemented by a jurisprudence that engages with the backslash against LGBTQI rights. And the European courts appear to be locked in a race to get it right, again. In June 2020, the ECtHR communicated a set of cases concerning the apparent lack of legal recognition for same sex unions and same sex marriage in Poland. The issues range from the Polish authorities’ refusal to recognize same sex marriage concluded abroad (Formela), refusal of a name change that would acknowledge a de facto same sex relationship (Starska), discrimination in inheritance tax compared to married couples (Meszkes) and damages for moral harms resulting from a temporary denial of family insurance (Grochulski). And on 15 July 2021 the European Commission launched infringement action against recent retrogressive measures in Poland and Hungary.

Fedotova and the positive obligation to recognize same-sex unions

In Fedotova, the applicants were attempting to get married in Russia, despite the heteronormative definition of marriage under the Russian Civil Code. Their attempts turned out to be futile, leading the Russian Constitutional Court to declare in 2006 that “no obligation on the State to create conditions for advocating, supporting or recognising same-sex unions flows from either the Constitution or the international obligations of the Russian Federation” (on quote at §25). The Russian Constitutional Court repeated this point in its opinion on the March 2020 law that ultimately inserted a heteronormative definition of marriage into the Constitution (Article 72(1)).

Following its established jurisprudence on positive obligations, the ECtHR turned to assessing the scope of positive obligations under Article 8, balancing the individual rights at stake with the interests of the community as a whole. On the side of individual rights, the ECtHR confirmed the capacity of same-sex couples to enter into committed relationships, and affirmed their need for formal recognition and protection to be relevantly similar to that of different sex couples (§48).

When assessing the interests of the community as a whole, the ECtHR — again — reaffirmed its existing jurisprudence that holds conditioning minorities’ exercise of Convention rights on the approval of the majority to violate the values of the Convention (§52). In response to the Russian government’s submission that the lack of formal legal recognition of same sex unions protected ‘traditional marriage’ the ECtHR stressed that same sex unions do not present a discernible risk to traditional marriage, as “it does not prevent different-sex couples from entering marriage, or enjoying the benefits which the marriage gives” (§54, also §56).

All in all, the ECtHR found that although there is no explicit requirement under Article 8 to formally recognize same sex unions (§49), the Russian government overstepped its otherwise broad margin of appreciation with providing no legal framework at all to protect the legal relationships of same sex couples (§56).

The terms of the dialogue on positive obligations

It is striking that the ECtHR placed relatively little weight on European trends or an emerging European consensus to provide legal protection to the family lives of same sex couples. Instead, it engaged extensively with the government’s contention that the lack of legal regulation aims to protect traditional families and that it reflects social sentiments. The ECtHR’s approach is best explained in light of power of the Constitutional Court to halt the execution of ECtHR judgments that violate the Russian Constitution (Article 79). This amendment was strongly criticized by the Venice Commission already when it was a simple statutory requirement.

In its recent opinion on the 2020 constitutional amendment the Venice Commission noted that the Russian authorities and scholars were concerned about the manner in which the ECtHR uses the concept of the ‘European consensus’ to define new legal obligations, without regard to the socio-cultural context of a member state (§44). Yet, as the Russian Constitutional Court’s opinion on the 2020 constitutional amendment left ample ambiguity on positive obligations to protect against infringements of fundamental rights on the basis of sexual orientation (3.1, at 17-18), the execution of the Fedotova judgment will trigger further judicial and institutional dialogue (haggling) on LGBTQI rights, a process where pragmatic solutions were seen to compromise human rights in the past.

The Venice Commission set the premises of this dialogue in the following terms: “The Russian Federation has made the political decision to join the Council of Europe and remain a member of the organisation. In ratifying the ECHR and accepting the jurisdiction of the Strasbourg Court, it has committed itself to executing the judgments of the Court” (§62).

From positive obligations to non-retrogression?

The Fedotova judgment opens the chapter where the European courts face backslash against LGBTQI rights, such as the demarcation of LGBT free zones in Poland or the recent ban on the propaganda of homosexuality in Hungary.

In May 2020 Hungary closed the door on legal gender change, a measure that is a major restriction on the rights of transgender and intersex people. In December 2020 it passed a constitutional amendment that makes it a state obligation to ensure the education of children according to their biological sex at birth, in line with the values of Hungarian constitutional identity and Christian values (Article XVI(1)). The amendment also added a clarification on the heteronormative definition of marriage to the Fundamental Law (Article L(1)). The Venice Commission found that with these amendments “there is a real and immediate danger that the amendments will further strengthen an attitude according to which non-heterosexual lifestyles are seen as inferior, and that they will further fuel a hostile and stigmatising atmosphere against LGBTQI people”(§30).

As the next step in rolling back the protection of LGBTQI rights, in June 2021 the Hungarian Parliament passed a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality, similar to the Russian laws that the ECtHR found to violate the Convention in Bayev v. Russia in 2017. The European Parliament called this law an instance of state-sponsored discrimination in a resolution on the very day when the law entered into force(§24). When international objections reached the site of the European Football Championship the Hungarian government responded with a Cabinet resolution that uses human rights language– the rights of traditional families and children — to incite animosity and hate against sexual minorities.

As states are experimenting with legal measures and policies that seek to harm LGBTQI persons, couples and their associations in mundane, everyday settings, the European courts are getting closer to confronting the question of regression (or retrogression) of protection afforded to the rights of LGBTQI persons. While the principle of non-retrogression is familiar from the area of socio-economic rights, it is far from well-developed as a general principle of human rights law. (Not to mention, it is a really contentious terrain in EU law ever since C-399/11, Melloni).

Recently, in the Maltese judges’ case (C-896/19, Reppublika v. Il-Prim Ministru), the CJEU addressed the issue of constitutional retrogression on the level of ground principles. Relying on Article 2 TEU in conjunction with Article 49 TEU it asserted that a Member State’s decision to join the Union is an instance of constitutional pre-commitment (§§ 60-61). This approach clearly resonates with the position of the Venice Commission concerning the consequences of the political decision to join the Council of Europe for compliance with membership obligations. According to the CJEU, a Member State’s free and voluntary commitment to the Union’s founding values at the time of accession entails that a Member State cannot amend its constitution after accession to the effect of reducing the existing protection its constitution provides to the Union’s founding values (para. 63). The consequences of viewing EU accession as a gesture of pre-commitment to the Union’s founding values are significant for addressing national measures that undermine the rule of law, as well as retrogression affecting human rights, equality and human dignity.

While the chilling effect of these measures is extremely important to point out, it does not capture the spirit that animates them. Adopting a law that is identical to the one that the ECtHR had already found to violate the European Convention is hardly an accident, a moment of weakness or recklessness. Rather, it is a calculated measure that reflects a bare desire to harm those who are targeted by it. The genuine way to confront such invidious measures is to expressly confirm the positive obligation of member states to refrain from wilfully harming individuals on the basis their sexual orientation and gender identity. Although — as the ECtHR said on numerous occasions — such state action is clearly incompatible with the values underscoring the Convention, recent developments in several member states call on both courts to state the obvious. The CJEU may have the chance to do so first, especially if the terms of the infringement actions request it to do so.

USA: Texas Senate advances transgender sports bills

USA: Texas Senate advances transgender sports bills

The Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved two bills on Monday that would require transgender student athletes to participate on school sports teams that align with the students’ biological sex at birth. The Senate committee advanced Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 32 in a 6-0 vote.

Both bills limit a student’s ability to compete on a sports team that aligns with their gender identity. The bills prevent schools from allowing a student to compete on a team that is “designated for the biological sex opposite to the student’s biological sex,” as stated on their birth certificate or other government record. S.B. 2 applies to public schools and higher education institutions, whereas S.B. 32 only applies to public schools.

Some students have changed their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. The bills require the original birth certificate to be applied rather than the updated birth certificate.

Republican Senator Charles Perry authored the bills. Senator Perry stated that the bills protect cisgender women from having opportunities taken away by transgender women and girls. Senator Perry explained, “It’s not okay to destroy the dreams of one for the benefit of another.”

Opponents of the bill argue that the number of transgender athletes is small. Democratic Senator John Whitmire, for example, suggested that “this is a very small community. Then if you look at the number of school-aged children it would be much smaller, and largely they are minding their own business . . . and just want to be left alone.”

Only republicans voted on S.B. 2 and S.B. 32 because dozens of Texas House Democrats went to Washington, D.C. on Monday in an effort to block the passage of voting restrictions legislation.

The post Texas Senate advances transgender sports bills appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

TGEU: Could you be our next Research Officer ?

TGEU: Could you be our next Research Officer?
We are hiring a Research Officer!
TGEU is looking for a Research Officer to develop, conduct, and supervise TGEU-led research, including the Trans Murder Monitoring, Trans Rights Map, and hate crime reporting projects. The Research Officer will ensure TGEU’s research projects are informed by and relevant to vulnerable trans communities as well as widely visible and disseminated, raising awareness about the experiences of violence, discrimination, and other human rights abuses of trans people, and supporting the development and publication of TGEU reports. This position is located in Berlin, Germany. Given the current COVID-19 situation, the position may start remotely with relocation to Berlin in late 2021. Due to COVID relocation challenges and funding restrictions, preference will be given to applicants who are already eligible to work in Germany. Applications sent by e-mail to jobs@tgeu.org by 4 August 2021, 19:00 Central European Summer Time, will be considered.
Apply on our website

ECtHR: Russia failed to justify the lack of any opportunity for same-sex couples to have their relationship formally acknowledged

ECtHR: Russia failed to justify the lack of any opportunity for same-sex couples to have their relationship formally acknowledged

Image
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13.07.2021 Judgments of 13 July 2021
The European Court of Human Rights has today notified in writing 20 judgments. (link) Russia failed to justify the lack of any opportunity for same-sex couples to have their relationship formally acknowledged
Fedotova and Others v. Russia  
The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Fedotova and Others v. Russia (applications nos. 40792/10, 30538/14 and 43439/14) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights


The case concerned the refusal to register the notice of marriage of the applicants, who are samesex couples. The Court found that Russia had an obligation to ensure respect for the applicants’ private and family life by providing a legal framework allowing them to have their relationships acknowledged and protected under domestic law. The lack of any opportunity for same-sex couples to have their relationships formally acknowledged created a conflict between the social reality of the applicants
and the law. The Court dismissed the Government’s argument that the interests of the community as a whole could justify the lack of opportunity for same-sex couples to formalise their relationships. It concluded that, in denying access to formal acknowledgment of their status for same-sex couples,the Russian authorities had gone beyond the discretion (margin of appreciation) enjoyed by them. The Court stated that the choice of the most appropriate form of registration of same-sex unions
remained at the discretion of the respondent State.

Fellowship: PhD Studentship – The Spatial and Affective Dimensions of Litigating LGBTQI Rights

Fellowship: PhD Studentship – The Spatial and Affective Dimensions of Litigating LGBTQI Rights

Manchester Metropolitan University

Qualification Type:PhD
Location:Manchester
Funding for:UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount:Not Specified
Hours:Full Time, Part Time
Placed On:9th July 2021
Closes:30th July 2021

Project contact:

Dr Kay Lalor, k.lalor@mmu.ac.uk

Funding info: 

This opportunity is open to UK, EU and overseas applicants, and includes funding for the equivalent of UK fees (£4500 for 2021/22), plus a stipend in line with UKRI rates (£15,609 for 2021/2022).

Mode of study:

Full-time (3 years) or part-time (6 years)

Eligibility: 

UK / EU / International

Key dates:        

30 July 2021 (deadline to apply)

16 August 2021 (shortlisted applicants notified)

w/c 6 September 2021 (interviews)

Advert text:

While the earliest international legal protections for LGBTQI minorities relied heavily on the protection of privacy and autonomy, recent international jurisprudence is much more diverse, encompassing protection from torture, freedom of expression and assembly, immigration rights and even the right to participate in sport. Equally, even modest international legal gains have faced fierce backlash, which is often also framed through the lens of rights protections.

Wider international LGBTQI rights politics is underpinned by affect (emotion, belonging, narratives of self and community) and space (global north/global south, the ongoing effects of colonial laws, access to specific spaces, protest and public expressions of identity). These affective and spatial dimensions also manifest within international legal decisions and judgments.

The project will draw upon legal and socio-legal methods to assess the affective and spatial dimensions of LGBTQI decisions and judgments in international courts and human rights bodies. Through analysis of case law and qualitative empirical research the project aims to reach a holistic understanding of how LGBTQI issues and debates are articulated through international law and within international human rights bodies.

This project draws on the expertise of the Law School and its members of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre. It continues the Law School’s extensive research in the field of equalities law and human rights, with a particular focus on the international dimensions of rights protections.

Aim: To develop a theoretical framework supported by empirical evidence to advance understandings of how the mobilization of affect and space within international LGBTQI rights cases affect the material conditions, community relations, identities and activist practices of LGBTQI groups in different locations.

Objectives:

  • To develop a systematic overview of the issues that have been litigated by pro or anti- LGBTQI groups in international bodies
  • To analyse the patterns of judicial production of affect and space in international bodies in LGBTQI litigation.
  • To develop novel theoretical frameworks for capturing the role(s) played by affect and space in international LGBTQI rights politics as found within international judgments and in wider LGBTQI litigation strategies.
  • To empirically explore how activists and/or decision-makers engage with the affective and spatial dimensions of LGBTQI rights in their work at or with international bodies.

Eligibility:

Applicants should have an honours degree (2:1 or above) and a relevant Master’s degree, or equivalent qualifications or experience.

Eligible disciplines: Law, human rights, LGBT rights

Funding

This opportunity is open to UK, EU and overseas applicants, and includes funding for the equivalent of UK fees (£4500 for 2021/22), plus a stipend in line with UKRI rates (£15,609 for 2021/2022).

How to apply

Further information on this opportunity is available at https://www.mmu.ac.uk/research/research-study/scholarships/detail/gsbl-kl-2021-litigating-lgbtqi-rights.php

For an informal discussion, please contact Dr Kay Lalor at k.lalor@mmu.ac.uk

Germany – Husum Labour Court: Gender star is not intersex-discrimination

Deutschland – Arbeitsgericht Husum: Gendersternchen ist keine Inter-Diskriminierung

Eine intergeschlechtliche Person fühlte sich wegen des Gendersternchens in einer Stellenausschreibung diskriminiert. Die Klage blieb erfolglos.

Read: https://www.queer.de/detail.php?article_id=39430

Judgment: https://www.gesetze-rechtsprechung.sh.juris.de/jportal/portal/t/c3b/page/bsshoprod.psml?pid=Dokumentanzeige&showdoccase=1&js_peid=Trefferliste&documentnumber=1&numberofresults=1&fromdoctodoc=yes&doc.id=JURE210010947&doc.part=L&doc.price=0.0#focuspoint

’Observatoire mondial pour les femmes, le sport, l’éducation physique et l’activité physique s’établit à Lausanne — International Law in Switzerland – Professor Andreas R Ziegler

L’Observatoire mondial pour les femmes, le sport, l’éducation physique et l’activité physique s’établit à Lausanne Le Canton de Vaud, la Ville de Lausanne et l’Université de Lausanne (UNIL) ont été désignés par le Département fédéral des affaires étrangères (DFAE) pour assurer la création de l’Observatoire mondial pour les femmes, le sport, l’éducation physique et l’activité […]

’Observatoire mondial pour les femmes, le sport, l’éducation physique et l’activité physique s’établit à Lausanne — International Law in Switzerland – Professor Andreas R Ziegler

Le Département fédéral des affaires étrangères suisse devient membre fondateur de la nouvelle Association du Centre pour le Sport et les Droits de l’Homme — International Law in Switzerland – Professor Andreas R Ziegler

The Swiss MInistry of Foreign Affairs co-founds Centre for Sport and Human Rights Association in Geneva Berne, 08.07.2021 – Créé en 2018 comme résultat d’un dialogue entre différents acteurs du sport (gouvernements, fédérations sportives, organisations internationales, sponsors, organisations de la société civile, organisations d’athlètes, radiodiffuseurs), le Centre pour le Sport et les Droits de l’Homme devient, en ce […]

Le Département fédéral des affaires étrangères suisse devient membre fondateur de la nouvelle Association du Centre pour le Sport et les Droits de l’Homme — International Law in Switzerland – Professor Andreas R Ziegler