[JURIST] The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] stating that same-sex relationships are still illegal in 72 countries around the world. The report identifies these 72 nations as "criminalising States" or countries where gay individuals can face legal ramifications if their relationships are disclosed. Out of these 72 countries, anti-gay legislation is applied equally to men and women in 45 nations. The report also states that four nations apply the death penalty to identified homosexuals while eight other states "allow" the death penalty but do not apply it in every instance. Southern Asia, eastern and southern Africa, and the Middle East were found to be the most violent and hostile regions while western Europe and the whole of the Western hemisphere was found to be significantly more tolerant of gay relationships.
LGBT protections are still disputed and many rights groups have raised concerns about the future of LGBT rights within the US since the November elections. The Supreme Court of Texas held [JURIST report] earlier this month that the Houston's benefits policy need not extend to same-sex couples In June the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit lifted an injunction [JURIST report] on a Mississippi law that critics say allows individuals, including government employees, to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for religious reasons. Also in June the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld [JURIST report] North Carolina's Senate Bill 2, which allows magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. In May the US Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] an appeal challenging California's 2012 ban on "gay conversion" therapy. In April the US Department of Justice dropped [JURIST report] a federal lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over a bill requiring transgender people to use the public bathroom associated with their birth gender. In February the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that a Fayetteville city ordinance broadening non-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation or gender identity was invalid under a state statute that prohibited cities from adopting or enforcing ordinances prohibiting discrimination beyond what is barred by state law.