London, 13 December 2013 On 11 December 2013, the Indian Supreme Court issued its judgment in Suresh Kumar Koushal and another v NAZ Foundation and others, an appeal of the much celebrated decision of the Delhi High Court in 2009 to overturn a sodomy law which had criminalised same-sex sexual conduct.

London, 6 December 2013

On 27 November 2013, the UK Supreme Court issued its judgment in Bull and Another v Hall and Another, in which it ruled on whether Christian hotel owners discriminated against homosexual civil partners through a policy to only let double rooms to “heterosexual married couples”. In a decision which robustly defends the rights of same-sex couples to equal access to goods, facilities and services, the Court held that the policy directly discriminated against civil partners whose status, aside from their sexual orientation, was indistinguishable from that of married couples.  

London,30 October 2013

On 14 October 2013, the Malaysian Court of Appeal issued its judgment in Menteri Dalam Negeri v Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, in which it ruled on whether a state prohibition on the use of the word “Allah” by a Roman Catholic publication was constitutional. In a decision which exposes the pervasive institutional discrimination against non-Muslims in Malaysia, the Court held that the imposition of the prohibition did not amount to a breach of the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion. 

London, 23 October 2013

Two important judgments have recently been given in cases with significant implications for statelessness. The judgments highlight two ends of the spectrum in the battle to eradicate statelessness caused by discrimination on grounds of descent.

London, 20 September 2013

On 6 September, the High Court of Guyana issued its judgment in the case of McEwan and others v the Attorney-General (No. 21-M 2010) finding that a legal ban on cross-dressing for an “improper purpose” was not unconstitutional but that the wearing of “attire” in order to express or accentuate “personal sexual orientation in public” could never be considered “improper”. The Court did not accept that the ban on cross-dressing was a violation of the Constitutional rights to be free from discrimination (Article 149) and equal before the law (Article 149D). The applicants now plan to appeal.

London, 8 July 2013

On 25 June 2013, the US Supreme Court (the Court) in Shelby County v Holder, struck down, by a five to four majority, section 4 of the Voting Rights Act 1965. Section 4 is a tool which, taken with section 5 of the Act, has reportedly prevented thousands of racially discriminatory changes to voter registration procedures from being introduced in the past 25 years. 

London, 5 July 2013

On 26 June 2013, the US Supreme Court (the Court) in United States v Windsor, Executor of the estate of Spyer, et al., by a five to four majority, struck down as unconstitutional section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law which defines marriage as excluding same-sex couples. The Court held that this amounted to a breach of the rights of same-sex married couples to equal liberty under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The decision ensures that spouses who have lawfully entered into same-sex marriages are entitled to the same tax and other fiscal benefits as different-sex married couples.

London, 4 July 2013

On 24 June 2013, the US Supreme Court (the Court) in Fisher v University of Texas confirmed that considering an applicant’s race as part of a holistic evaluation process in a University admissions procedure does not necessarily violate the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. However, the Court reiterated that any process which uses race as a factor must be subjected to strict scrutiny. This requires that the University shows clearly that its purpose or intention in using this factor is constitutionally permissible and substantial and that the use of the classification of race is necessary to the accomplishment of its purpose.