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Fourthdwarf

Uk petition to protect asexual people

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dash

"because I was asexual (and not in any relationships), I was different, could not relate to clients, and therefore was unfit to work in that area of law."

That's a stupid argument (as well as being wrong). Do the criminal lawyers have to be criminals? The corporate lawyers have to own companies? I'm surprised your lawyer bosses even thought of using it. Aren't lawyers meant to be skilled at assessing the strength of their argument?

Yes, it is stupid, I agree! But this is what I was told -- because I am asexual and semi-aromantic, I would not be able to relate to my clients' lives, and therefore could not be an effective family law mediator or family collaborative lawyer.

The thing is, people were not saying any such thing about me until I came out. But once I came out (and expressed an inability to relate to characters in a certain film -- characters, not real people, whom you can ask for clarification about things you don't understand) -- I was told I wouldn't be fit for this line of work.

As I said, I think my internship supervisor is a good man who just didn't understand what asexuality was all about. If he thought it meant "unable to feel the same range of emotions as other human beings are," which is a common misunderstanding, then I can see how he got to this point. A common misconception is that asexual people are missing some integral, major part of what it means to be human and form relationships with other people, but in reality, saying asexual people are unfit on the basis of being asexual makes as much sense as "if you're gay, you're not able to understand what it feels like to be sexually and romantically attracted to someone of the opposite sex, so you're not fit to counsel straight couples." /sigh/

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R_1

Wow, didn't know some aces had issues with their job just for being ace. Yes, I am looking at you, dash.

Realistically, would that involve US Immigration deciding the marriage wasn't genuine purely on the basis of lack of sex, even if it was demonstrably genuine in all other respects?

Technically, in the UK, lack of sex is grounds for divorce, as it's viewed as unreasonable conduct, but if both sides are fine with no sex, nobody external is going to annul the marriage.

Anything that is a conflict is grounds for divorce, as it should be. It just means if you're unhappy, you can legally divorce.

And interviewers for immigration have been reported to ask sex life questions to verify consummation, as it is legal grounds to deny the marriage as a fraud according to the documents. Proxy marriages (so say, you are in Aus and your spouse is in the U.S., someone could stand in as proxy for the one that can't make it due to finances or whatever, or Skype marriages for military members, etc) are also only accepted if the couple met up to have sex after the marriage, otherwise it does not count as a marriage.

From the page of an immigration lawyer:

"Before filing for any immigrant visa petition based on a marriage that has not been consummated, an immigrant should always speak to at least one competent immigration attorney about the specific facts of their case, especially since this is a complicated area that can turn on the facts."

"Whether a marriage is considered a sham(“fake”, i.e., entered into for immigration purposes only, not for love), can hinge on whether the marriage was consummated (the couple had sex). If the immigrant refuses to consummate the marriage, then it can imply that the marriage was a sham. If the US citizen resfuses to consummate the marriage, then fraud on behalf of the immigrant is NOT implicated."

Now, of course, this should mean two people who agree to not wanting sex should not be bothered. However, that would be up to your case worker and a lot of people do hold the opinion that an asexual celibate relationship is not "real".

http://www.peerallylaw.com/is-a-marriage-valid-for-immigration-purposes-even-if-not-consummated/another legal site on it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/nyregion/13fraud.html?pagewanted=all - examples of some sex life questions they might ask.

"...the man who volunteered that he had erectile dysfunction in an attempt to explain why his mate did not know the location of his nine tattoos (unsuccessful);... "[/size]

"...But then: was his wife on birth control?

“I said no,” Mr. Kahyaoglu said. “He said that could mean using condoms. I said, ‘No sir, we’re not using anything.’ ”

Separately, his wife was pressed about condom use, and said, “Once in a while.”

“How am I supposed to explain it to him?” the groom asked later. “ ‘Well, sometimes I feel like reaching into the drawer by the bed — ’?...”"

Edit: And I am sure this is just due to the fact non-sexual romantic relationships are largely still unheard of in society, rather than actively being against people who want that. In most relationships, sex is a good hint that it's a real one. But, still.

Well, this is the only problem that I heard of which affects asexuals legal-wise asides from Russia. Russia has much bigger problem and the russian ace I know of ism't supported by russia lgbt community and get the most hatred from them.

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dash

Wow, didn't know some aces had issues with their job just for being ace. Yes, I am looking at you, dash.

I'm saying it can happen. I'm not saying it's common -- I don't know -- and I suspect most aces don't come out at work regardless. I'm just saying that it can happen, so folks shouldn't be quick to dismiss "you can face discrimination at work for coming out as ace" with THAT NEVER HAPPENS, UNLESS YOU'RE MISTAKEN FOR BEING GAY/LESBIAN! There are still a lot of people out there who don't know what asexual means. And though (as I said before) my former supervisor is a good guy who really missed the boat on this one, there are also some shitty bosses out there.

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Blaiddmelyn

I'm not a lawyer but I do lecture on a particular specialist bit of professional law. It's entirely unrelated to discrimination (mostly), but I do know how the court system works.

Even with asexuality not explicitly included in the wording, I can't for a second think asexuality would get excluded in a court case, as there's plenty of expert opinion that would say it's an orentation.

And where there's ambiguity in wording, judges have to consider parliament's intentions in framing the law, and in the UK, it would be very, very clear parliament intended cases like asexuality to be covered.

And UK law is subject to the Human Rights Act, both the UK statute, and European law, and discrimination against asexuals would be illegal under that.

Petitions like this are just scaremongering.

Not sure I fully agree actually. Even with a strong case, you've got about 80% chance of success at court - so even if you were right and the wording was not ambiguous/the law is in the claimant's favour, there'd be a 20% chance a court wouldn't agree.Do you appeal it? Depends on a lot of circumstances tbh.

I've considered the wording a few times, and on a plain reading, I've not thought it covered asexuality. I've also seen discussions etc which suggest that including asexuality was considered but not followed through on, and I've read opinions of other lawyers and legal academics who note that it's, at the best, not clear. To fix the ambiguity, it would be better to explicitly cover asexuality in the definition.

In terms of discrimination generally, it's worth noting that the definition is relevant for harassment under the EqA as well - which may well be more relevant if colleagues intimidate you etc due to your being asexual. You would still be protected under normal harassment laws but the good thing about the EqA is uncapped damages in an employment environment (injury to feelings has bands, dismissal usually has caps, for example).

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Telecaster68
To fix the ambiguity, it would be better to explicitly cover asexuality in the definition.

Agreed, but in the absence of that, could you see a Supreme Court judge saying Parliament's intention was that it should be open season on asexuals, given the legalising gay marriage etc?

But as I say, I'm not a lawyer, or even involved in equality issues. My point was more that while the courts can be obtuse, especially as you go up the hierarchy of courts, they're expected to bring in a certain amount of real world context to how they interpret the wording.

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Blaiddmelyn

To fix the ambiguity, it would be better to explicitly cover asexuality in the definition.

Agreed, but in the absence of that, could you see a Supreme Court judge saying Parliament's intention was that it should be open season on asexuals, given the legalising gay marriage etc?

But as I say, I'm not a lawyer, or even involved in equality issues. My point was more that while the courts can be obtuse, especially as you go up the hierarchy of courts, they're expected to bring in a certain amount of real world context to how they interpret the wording.

Frankly yes, I could. They can and do get things wrong. Edwards v Chesterfield is a good example of a questionable SC decision that loked at Parliament imtention. They are expected to apply the law as it stands but the law is a tricky beast and there are ... interesting SC judgments out there.'

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