News You Should Know August 11, 2014

By BTL Staff

HOUSTON - New protections for gay and transgender residents have been suspended until Aug. 15 due to a conservative court challenge. The group has sued the city after failing to collect enough votes for a referendum appeal. City Mayor Annise Parker has said she will not enforce the ordinance until the challenges are resolved. The conservative group wants to repeal the ordinance at the November polls, but City Attorney David Feldman believes the group lacks enough signatures on their petition to put it on the ballot.

DENVER - Popular Denver Bar, the "Denver Wrangler," discriminated against a local gay man denying him entry last year because he was dressed in drag. Vito Marzano, 27, was wearing a dress, makeup and a wig when he went into the bar last August. The bouncer removed him because his presence didn't match his driver's license and claimed he was following a policy designed to thwart underage drinking. State regulators determined the bar illegally discriminates against effeminate men because its dress code bars high heels, wigs, "appearance-altering makeup" and perfume, according to the decision issued last month that was obtained on Aug. 5. In other words, masculine-presenting women would be permitted to enter whereas feminine presenting men would not. The Wrangler "wrongly favors bisexual and gay men who embrace hypermasculine image and shun interaction gay men who 'exhibit effeminacy," civil rights division Director Steven Chavez wrote.

MISSOURI - 8th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the lawsuit challenging Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage after Attorney General Chris Koster intervened in the case and moved it to the Appellate Court. The case was filed earlier this summer by the American Civil Liberties Union in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses.

IRAN - Iranian news agency FARS reports that Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani made comments stating that what Western criticism over Iranian treatment of the LGBT community is a lie. "That they say we execute homosexuals is not more than a lie," Larijani said. "We do not provide these people with opportunity, but what they say that we hang them is a lie that they have fabricated for the Islamic Republic." He says that the country accepts Human Rights based off of the Quaranic religious teachings. However, four men were sentenced to death in 2012 for sodomy and two teenagers were hung in 2005 for "homosexual acts," though the country claims they were guilty of rape. Iranian legal code does not differentiate between rape and consensual gay sex, both punishable by death. It is also said that some lesbians in the country are forced into genital reassignment surgery in order to "fix" their orientation. Over 1,000 of those surgeries were carried out between 2016 and 2010.

CALIFORNIA - A gay couple that filed for divorce in 2012 have seen a multitude of court costs as well as an unprepared legal system. Jason Dottley and his husband ended their marriage last year but agreed not to hire a lawyer. Dottley consulted an attorney's advice after growing frustration only to find them also at a loss. Whereas a typical heterosexual divorce can cost around $10,000, the divorce of a New York same-sex couple cost more than $120,000, reports. It's not just difficult because the courts are unprepared, Dottley says, but also because of federal income tax laws that complicate matters as well as property or assets that may get zapped with federal gift tax that doesn't apply to heterosexual divorced couples.

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