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Tag Archives: constitutional
The word in Arabic, dostour, means constitution
From a recent article on Arab West Report, to which I contributed a section reporting from a conference held by Egyptian liberals on the ideal constitution. Somewhat surprisingly, there was a good deal of sentiment against the military council:
Essam al-Din Hassan next spoke about the principle of freedom and the encroachments against it in negotiations over the new constitution. One feature of these negotiations is the efforts of the Ministry of Defense and al-Azhar to entrench their independence from the rest of the state. In terms of the military, standing apart from the rest of the executive authority essentially two heads of state would be terrible for the civil state and allow Egypt to again become a military, police state.
It is not unreasonable to think, he stated, that the military might trade this status with religious forces that are also looking for gains in the constitution, especially the Salafs. They are arguing to keep Article 219 somewhere in the text, providing a conservative, Sunni-specific interpretation to the clause in Article 2 saying sharia is the primary source of legislation. But even Article 2, he argued, designating a religion for the state, has no place in a civil state. Article 3, similarly, guaranteeing special religious rights for the Copts, only reinforces the idea of a religious state. To curb such sectarian advances, firm consensus must be gathered in the committee of fifty which is rewriting the Constitution, so that civil state principles are protected, even from the tools of democracy which might undo them.
Ahmad Raghib spoke less about the necessary constitutional provisions for human dignity than the danger of their constant undermining. He noted that previous Egyptian constitutions, such as the 1971 version which governed up until the January 25 Revolution, provided guarantees for human dignity. This did not, however, stop the state from ignoring them, or even trampling upon them as was visible in the police torture cases against Khalid Saeed and Ahmad Bilal.
Raghib expanded Hassans warning about the military saying most institutions of state are seeking to enshrine their independence in the Constitution. This is expressly against the will of the people, however, who should have their elected officials administratively responsible for all these institutions. Unfortunately, in the previous Constitution, the Muslim Brotherhood collaborated with these institutions to preserve Mubaraks state and keep it and the military council immune from their crimes. He closed with the expectation that a third wave of the Revolution might be necessary to put things right and secure a true modern civil constitution.
Please click here to read the full article at Arab West Report, which contains further reporting from the conference as well as observations from an interview with Rev. Safwat al-Baiady, president of the Protestant churches of Egypt and a member in the constitutional committee.
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THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILDs LEGAL OBSERVER TRAINING MANUAL The Legal Observer program is part of a comprehensive system of legal support coordinated by the National Lawyers Guild designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible, without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the government and with the least possible consequences from the criminal justice system.
The New Jersey Supreme Court said Friday thatsame-sex couples in the state could wed, starting Monday, while an appeal to same-sex marriage is pending. The court’s sharp tone indicates that the justices are likely, in the end, to affirm gay marriage rights for good.
The New Jersey Supreme Court on Friday opened the way for the first time for gay and lesbian couples in the state to get married starting next Monday, Oct. 21.
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With a stroke of the judicial pen, New Jersey joined 13 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The 7-to-0 ruling is only preliminary, with the court set to hear arguments on the merits of the case in early January.But the sharp tone of Fridays 20-page opinion leaves little doubt that the justices are likely to uphold an earlier judges ruling that the New Jersey constitution requires that the state permit same-sex couples to marry.
We find that the compelling public interest in this case is to avoid violations of the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment for same-sex couples, the court said.The state argues that we should give the democratic process a chance to play out rather than act now. When courts face questions that have far-reaching social implications, there is a benefit to letting the political process and public discussion proceed first, the court noted.
But the justices added: When a party presents a clear case of ongoing unequal treatment, and asks the court to vindicate constitutionally-protected rights, a court may not sidestep its obligations to rule for an indefinite amount of time.
Under those circumstances, courts do not have the option to defer, they said.
The issue was not whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. That will be decided after Januarys argument session. The issue on Friday was simply whether same-sex couples could begin getting married before the court hears the appeal.
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A challenge to Michigans same-sex marriage ban will go to trial Feb. 25 in a lawsuit brought by a lesbian couple seeking to adopt each others children, a federal judge said.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman declined to rule today on whether the ban violated the constitutional rights of gay couples. Friedman in July had called the challengers claims plausible in the wake of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
I am in the middle of this issue, Friedman said at a hearing in federal court in Detroit today. The judge, who will conduct the nonjury trial, said he wants to determine if there is a legitimate state interest in maintaining the same-sex marriage ban.
The Michigan lawsuit was filed by nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who initially sued last year asking the court to throw out a state law barring unmarried couples from adopting children. They subsequently added the challenge to the gay marriage ban.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder, defending the laws, argued the state has a legitimate interest in promoting natural procreation, optimal parenting and family stability.
Less than three weeks ago, a New Jersey state judge ruled that gay marriage must be allowed to afford same-sex couples equal protection under that states constitution. State Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobsons decision made New Jersey the 14th U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.
Governor Chris Christies administration has appealed that ruling. Similar lawsuits are pending in Illinois, Pennsylvania and at least a dozen other states.
In Michigan, Friedman denied Snyders bid for dismissal in July, after saying in March that he would await the Supreme Courts decision in a suit seeking to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act before ruling.
That decision, which struck down DoMAs definition of marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes, came in June.
Construing the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs and in view of the Supreme Courts current statement of the law, this court cannot say plaintiffs claims for relief are without plausibility, Friedman said in July.
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Oct. 11, 2013, 7:45 a.m.
Advocates of same-sex marriage laws in NSW remain confident of success despite an announcement by the federal government that it would challenge in the High Court similar laws in the ACT.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis described the laws – which are expected to pass the ACT assembly – as ”a threat” to the ”well-established position” that marriage laws are a Commonwealth matter. He called on the ACT government not to proceed with the laws until their constitutional validity was determined.
The federal government believes the state-based law would be inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
”It would be very distressing to individuals who may enter into a ceremony of marriage under the new ACT law, and to their families, to find that their marriages were invalid,” Senator Brandis said.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has voiced his personal support for same-sex marriage but his preference is for it to be legislated by the Federal Parliament.
In July a NSW upper house inquiry found that NSW has the power to introduce its own law, although this was likely to be challenged in the High Court by opponents of gay marriage. A group of Liberal, National, Labor and independent MPs has drafted a same-sex marriage bill for introduction to the NSW Parliament.
One of the group, Labor MP Penny Sharpe, said on Thursday it remains confident its law can withstand any High Court challenge by the federal government.
”The constitutional issues are different between the Commonwealth and territories and the Commonwealth and the states,” she said. ”We believe our bill is constitutionally valid and will withstand any challenge. We’re going to continue to push forward.”
Independent MP Alex Greenwich said the reform was ”really important to families, couples and communities in NSW. We will be progressing this reform confidently”. Mr O’Farrell and Labor leader John Robertson have both promised their MPs a conscience vote on the matter.
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To the joy of the LGBT community in Australia, it was announced this week that the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is set to become the first jurisdiction to allow gay marriage
The government of the territory that houses Australias capital, Canberra, said it would introduce legislation to legalise gay marriage in the next sitting of parliament.
However, the Australian Christian Lobby has now indicated it will exert pressure on Tony Abbott’s new government to use its powers to override the laws.
Speaking to The Australian, the group’s managing director Lyle Shelton said Mr Abbott’s government should override the laws.
“It’s in the parliament’s interest to protect the constitution, the constitutional power for marriage,” Shelton said.
“It is a constitutional nonsense for a territory to be seeking to legislate in this area. So I think the parliament would have to take action on this.”
Shelton then described the latest gay marriage bill to be put forward as “a bit of a nonsense.”
He conceded the ACT government had won an election promising to deliver this reform.
Abbot, who in the past described same-sex marriage as the “fashion of the moment”, has consistently emphasised his view that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“My idea is to build on the strength of our society and I support, by and large, evolutionary change,” he said.
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The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013
SEOUL – The first gay marriage in Korea on Saturday sharply divided the country, putting to the test its legal system and public tolerance of sexual minorities.
Film director Kim-Jho Gwang-soo and film distributor Kim Seung-hwan held a symbolic wedding in central Seoul. They have been partners for nine years.
The two men made their vows in front of guests reported to number about 1,000, including Kim-Jho’s mother, movie director Byun Young-joo and civil activist Paik Ki-wan.
Their marriage, however, will not be formally recognised here, as Korea has not legalized same-sex marriage.
But Kim-Jho, 48, an openly gay activist, and his 29-year-old partner announced that they are now a married couple regardless of the law.
“It is important whether or not we become a legally bound couple. But more importantly, we want to let people know that gays can marry too in our society,” Kim-Jho told reporters before the ceremony.
The newlyweds will seek legal approval for their marriage. They said they would consider filing a petition with the Constitutional Court if the government refuses to legally recognise their marriage.
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Couple celebrates wedding
Rob Thomas, left, and Joe Strong join guests in a line dance following their wedding ceremony Aug. 1 at the Nicollet County Courthouse in St. Peter, Minn. Photo by Associated Press
ST. PAUL Same-sex couples received nearly 1 in 3 marriage licenses issued in Minnesota since they were allowed to wed, The Associated Press found in a statewide survey of the first months impact of the new gay marriage law.
Since Minnesota became the 12th U.S. state to legalize gay marriage, at least 1,640 same-sex couples applied to be married. Counties arent required to report such data to the state, so the AP built a database through calls to all 87 counties.
The rush by same-sex couples to take advantage of the new law likely reflects a pent-up demand by couples together for many years.
This is the product of people who were living in the legal wilderness for so long suddenly no longer being told their relationships are substandard, said Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, a sponsor of the bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton in May.
The AP obtained information from 83 of 87 counties. Among the findings:
– Demand was heaviest in the Twin Cities metro area, with three of every four licenses for gay marriages issued in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
– At least 1,433 licenses were issued to gay couples in the 12 counties where most voters opposed a 2012 attempt to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesotas constitution.
– In 29 of the responding counties, no gay couples sought licenses. All are counties where voters favored the constitutional ban.
BEIRUT: Last month, England and Wales approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. In June, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, granting same-sex spouses full federal rights. Earlier this year, Frances National Assembly also voted to recognize same-sex marriage, a decision that was upheld by the Constitutional Court. As more countries recognize gay marriage, same-sex couples are finally able to avail themselves of the legal rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, including the right to apply for residency or citizenship for foreign spouses.
This is welcome news for Laith and Pascal (not their real names), who met in Beirut four-and-a-half years ago through mutual friends and have been together ever since. Laith was born in the U.S. to Arab parents and also holds French citizenship. Pascal is Lebanese.
The couple is currently based in Lebanon, but like many Lebanese, they are considering moving abroad for both professional and personal reasons. Until this year, their options were few, as Pascals Lebanese passport limits the places he can live and work. But with the recent decisions by France and the U.S., they can plan for a future together as a married couple in either country.
Both Laith and Pascal denied that the rulings on gay marriage had changed their views on the institution, but they welcomed the legal rights that would make it easier for them to stay together and eventually start a family.
We had always talked about it as a legal contract, Laith said of their stance on marriage.
Its for paperwork, taxes and visas and such, so that we can live and work in the same cities, he said.
Since the ruling, [marriage] has been a recurring theme in our conversations, but in terms of getting sucked into something we dont believe in, like this giant wedding industry … he trailed off, before adding with a smile, But I wouldnt be opposed to a ritual of some kind.
About five weeks after the Supreme Court decision, the U.S. State Department sent out instructions to every embassy and consulate around the world, making clear that same-sex couples and their minor children were now eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses and should be processed accordingly.
A week later, the State Department hosted a Google+ Hangout session to answer questions and address transitional issues relating to the visa procedures for same-sex couples.
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