The legal case against the Turkish GLBT group Lambda Istanbul returned to local court April 30 and the organization was granted permission to continue operating.

In May 2008 the same court ordered the group shut down, saying its objectives violate moral and family values.

But in November 2008 the Supreme Court of Appeal overruled the decision and returned the case to the 3rd Civil Court of First Instance for a new ruling.

Activists remain concerned, however, about one sentence in the Supreme Court decision, which says, “Dissolution of the defendant association could still be demanded if it should act counter to its constitution, in the ways of encouraging or provoking gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transvestite behavior or acting with the aim of spreading such sexual orientations.”

The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (aka ILGA-Europe) said it hopes courts won’t use the sentence to again try to ban Lambda.

“This statement imposes clear limitations to the activities of the organization and to the rights of LGBT people in Turkey to free expression, assembly and life with dignity (as guaranteed by) European Court of Human Rights case law,” the association said.

For its part, Lambda says it will only feel truly safe when the Turkish constitution is amended to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a long-standing goal of activists.

“(The) constitutional safeguard is a must to hinder any homophobic interpretations of those vague concepts in law such as ‘general morals’ or ‘social values’ by barristers, who suffer from the very same social prejudices as many others in society,” the group said.

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