How does one prove lesbianism?

The Daily Mail reports on probably one of the most bizarre deportation hearings I’ve ever read about.

An anonymous woman referred to in court only as “A” has been threatened with extradition because of a dispute over her sexual identity. In essence, the Home Office (a UK government agency which oversees immigration, the rough equivalent of the US ICE) does not believe the woman is really a lesbian.

The complicating issues are that A appears to have become a lesbian while imprisoned on drug charges, and she faces persecution in Jamaica as a lesbian if deported.

A quote from the article:

Overturning that ruling today, Lord Justice Goldring said: ‘A has now been in a series of exclusively lesbian sexual relationships over some four years. That is, on its face, cogent evidence that she is a lesbian, or predominantly a lesbian, by sexual identity.

‘What might have begun as sexual experimentation with lesbianism could have ended with it being her sole or predominant sexual orientation. That does not appear to have been adequately considered or, at least, explained by the tribunal’.

Goldring goes on to order a fresh consideration of A’s case by another tribunal.

My take on the whole thing:

First, I think it’s ridiculously invasive and rather silly to expect someone to attempt to prove, in court, a matter as sensitive and private as sexual preference. I further consider the fact that A’s deportation to Jamaica carries the consequences it does rather tragic.

Second, how can four years of exclusively lesbian relationships not be enough to establish that maybe, just maybe, A is now exclusively batting for the other team? If not, what does the Home Office expect? I would certainly hope that the Home Office comes to their senses about this.

Third, whatever happened in prison happened, and once one has completed the sentence assessed by the courts, one is still a human being. If the responsibility of the rest of society to someone like A to treat her like a human being ended upon her conviction of whatever crime, then there really is no sense in handing out anything but life sentences without possibility of parole (“throw away the key”) or the death penalty. The fact that A has been released says she has been sanctioned enough for her crimes.

Even if A wasn’t a lesbian before, she should probably be considered one now, and to just ship her back to Jamaica is at best negligent and at worst downright reckless and a flagrant violation of the standards by which decent people live. I’m not saying necessarily that she should be allowed to stay in the UK; maybe another country will let her live there.

The comments, not surprisingly, blast the Home Office and mostly say “ship her back already.” To which I respond: I’m so glad I don’t live in the UK.

Squashing Shakespeare: silly entertainment permit rules

According to this story in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, a zoning-related entertainment permit rule intended to limit disorderly drunken conduct has had the odd and unintended consequence of squashing a monthly Shakespeare reading that has been going on for years at a bar in the Old Port section of Portland. From the article:

The bar does not have an entertainment license and cannot get one because a bar next door already has one. A city ordinance prohibits any bar from having an entertainment license if another bar within 100 feet has one.

It appears to me that the city has done a rather unfair job enforcing this incredibly quirky zoning ordinance. One of the owners of the bar appears to agree:

“It’s interesting that they grapple with this versus grappling with a
place that wants to have more dancing girls in short-shorts and cowboy boots dancing on the bar,” he said.

Another quote from the story says the odd rule is “working as intended – for the most part.” While that may be true, I think it’s a terribly written and terribly enforced rule which sweeps too broadly. I’m certain Maine has laws regulating alcohol service in bars and the standard criminal mischief and public intoxication laws. I don’t see why those laws can be enforced, and let those who want their Shakespeare have it, even if the venue is next door to, say, a rock/heavy metal bar.

(Story originally found from a Laughing Stalk post.)