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This is an open thread for discussion while I get caught up on everything – I just came home the other day from a very long hospital stay.

65 Comments

  • 1. allan120102  |  March 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I hope you have a fast recovery Scottie. Wishing you all the best, and thanks for the blog.

  • 2. allan120102  |  March 23, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Hidalgo. lgbt organizations are expecting the first amparo to be grant in June. This will create a precedent in the state. http://www.elindependientedehidalgo.com.mx/2016/0

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Kentucky: Compromise Reached on Single Marriage License Form for All Couples

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Frankfort KY — Kentucky would have a single marriage license for hetero and same-sex couples under a compromise plan backed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee, which has unanimously passed the measure today, 23 March 2016.

    "The proposed form would allow applicants to identify themselves as bride, groom, or spouse, and would not require the county clerk’s signature. That could be done by a deputy clerk."

    The Kentucky County Clerks Association endorses a single form. http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/

  • 4. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    North Carolina Lawmakers Call Special Session to Undo Charlotte LGBT Ordinance

    North Carolina lawmakers have announced they’ll hold a special session of the legislature on Wednesday, 23 March 2016, with the intent to undo a recently passed pro-LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte. In a joint statement, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who oversees the Senate, said they’d hold the session starting at 10 am to reverse the ordinance, which is set to take effect on 1 April. “We aim to repeal this ordinance before it goes into effect to provide for the privacy and protection of the women and children of our state,” the lawmakers said.

    A special session of the North Carolina legislature costs the state an estimated $42,000 a day. According to the "Charlotte Observer," lawmakers invoked rarely-used authority under the state constitution to call a special session. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory refused to do so, reportedly on the basis lawmakers seek to pass a measure that would do more than undo the Charlotte ordinance.

    Approved by the Charlotte City Council last month by a 7-4 vote, the Charlotte Non-Discrimination Ordinance prohibits businesses in the city from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination. At the time, McCrory warned Charlotte the legislature would respond to undo the measure if the city council approved it. The most contentious part of the ordinance is the non-discrimination protections for transgender people in public accommodations, which critics charge would enable men to enter women’s restrooms for nefarious purposes. LGBT advocates have rejected that idea, saying unseemly behavior in the restrooms would remain illegal with or without the ordinance.

    – See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/03/22/n-c-law….

    This afternoon, 23 March 2016, this measure, HB 2, just passed the North Carolina House with a vote of 83-24. It now goes to the North Carolina Senate, meeting in special session. The bill in question contains very broad language and would rescind all local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies throughout the state.

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Wife of Woman Who Sued Wal-Mart in Same-Sex Bias Case Dies

    New Bedford MA — The wife of a Massachusetts woman who filed a federal class-action lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of wrongly denying employee benefits for same-sex spouses has died. GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders says New Bedford resident Dee Smithson died Friday, 18 March 2016, of ovarian cancer.

    In July 2015, Smithson’s wife, Jacqueline Cote, sued in District Court in Boston seeking damages for the couple and any other Wal-Mart employees whose same-sex spouses were denied medical insurance. Cote says Wal-Mart repeatedly denied insurance for Smithson before 2014, when it finally started offering benefits for same-sex spouses.

    The couple married in Massachusetts in 2004, ten years earlier. They incurred at least $150,000 in medical costs after Smithson was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Smithson's death should not affect the case. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/03/wife-of-woman

  • 6. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Botswana’s Highest Court Tells Government Gays Have Human Rights Too

    On 21 March 2016, the Botswana Court of Appeal has voted to bolster a ruling in favor of LGBT rights organizations in the country. The Court of Appeal unanimously voted to dismiss an appeal by Botswana’s Government against a Gaborone High Court ruling which allowed LGBT rights organizations to officially register.

    The Court of Appeal said the decision by the government to block the organization, specifically, LEGABIBO, from registering was unlawful. In its ruling, the Court said the organization’s aims are to “further human rights and the well-being of LGBTI persons in Botswana, and that advocating for the laws to be changed in and of itself is not illegal."

    “It is the democratic right of every citizen to express their opinions about a law. It does not follow that when an organization advocates for changes in the law on abortion, the death penalty, or same-sex sexual acts, that the organization or its members is engaging in abortion, or murder, or same-sex sexual acts."

    The court noted that human rights, as defined by the country’s Constitution, actually does include everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

    Same-sex activities are illegal in Botswana, and are punishable with up to 7 years imprisonment.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/03/23/botswanas-hi

  • 7. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    North Carolina Legislature Passes Bill To Allow LGBT Discrimination

    Per Equality Case files:

    •House Bill 2 would override local LGBT non-discrimination ordinances in the state and ban transgender people from certain restrooms.
    •It was designed to negate an ordinance in Charlotte to protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations.
    •Lawmakers in the House voted 83-25 on Wednesday afternoon, 23 March 2016, to pass the bill.
    •At 7:00 PM the same day, the Senate approved the bill in a 32-0 vote after all of the Democrats walked out.
    •The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory, whose position on the bill is unclear. http://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/north-carol

  • 8. theperched  |  March 23, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Isle of Man's marriage and anti-discrimination in services bills got a reading yesterday in the Legislative Council (Upper House), but now the chamber is on break until April 26…

    Looks like Faroe Islands might have moved to the front of the line :)

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    North Carolina Gov. McCrory Signs Bill Legalizing Statewide Anti-LGBT Discrimination

    Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law shortly before 10 PM Wednesday, 23 March 2016, overturning Charlotte’s controversial transgender ordinance. McCrory’s office released an extended statement Wednesday night, blathering on about “the basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte.”

    McCrory’s statement tonight only mentions aspects of the so-called “bathroom issue." But in actual fact, the bill excludes LGBT citizens from protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The bill also not only overturns the LGBT rights bill in Charlotte, but also repeals similar laws in eight other North Carolina municipalities. http://www.joemygod.com/2016/03/23/breaking-north

  • 10. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    North Carolina: Potentially Positive Legal Angle on Overturning HB2

    Per Equality Case Files:

    What this hurridly-passed law, HB2, DOES do is ban trans students from using the appropriate bathroom in schools. This is the same issue being litigated in the Virginia case, "G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board," currently on appeal at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. North Carolina is also in the 4th Circuit, so any decision in "G.G." will be binding on federal district courts in North Carolina.

    Thus, a positive ruling in favor of the plaintiff in "G.G." will quickly up-end any attempt to enforce HB2 in North Carolina.

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 23, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    And this, also per Equality Case Files. The real legal shitstorm has just begun:

    Pro-Equality Groups Considering Legal Challenge to North Carolina’s Sweeping Anti-LGBT Law

    Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and Equality NC are reviewing all options, including litigation.

    Raleigh – Today, 23 March 2016, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Equality North Carolina condemned North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's signing into law a sweeping anti-LGBT measure, HB 2, and announced that the organizations are exploring legal challenges to the discriminatory law.

    “We expect the ACLU’s and Lambda Legal’s Legal Help Desks will light up with calls from those who suffer discrimination imposed by this law, and we stand ready to help,” said Tara Borelli, Senior Attorney with Lambda Legal. ”This law is in direct conflict with protections provided to students under Title IX and could cause the state to lose millions in federal funds. Instead of solving any real problems, the law would create new ones and could lead to intolerable and unfair conditions for transgender students who are entitled, by federal law, to a safe and equitable education.”

    “Today was a devastating day for LGBT North Carolinians, and particularly our transgender community members, who have been subjected to months of distorted rhetoric culminating in today’s display of bias and ignorance by North Carolina lawmakers. We are disappointed that Governor McCrory did not do right by North Carolina’s families, communities, and businesses by vetoing this horribly discriminatory bill, but this will not be the last word,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality NC are reviewing all options, including litigation.”

    “HB 2 is an undisguised attack on LGBT people and the efforts of one city to protect gay and transgender North Carolinians against discrimination,” said Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC. “This cruel and insulting bill is about more than bathroom access, it’s about fairness in employment, education, and local governance. It aims to override local school board policies, local public accommodations laws, and more. This law also violates many other federal statutes and the United States Constitution by attempting to mandate discrimination in government buildings”

    To reach Lambda Legal’s Help Desk visit: <a href="http://www.lambdalegal.org/help” target=”_blank”>www.lambdalegal.org/help or call toll-free: 1-866-542-8336

    To reach the ACLU of North Carolina for legal help, visit http://acluofnc.org/Ask-for-Help/get-legal-help.h… email intake@acluofnc.org. The National ACLU help line is 212-549-2627
    <a href="http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/pro-equality-groups-considering-legal-challenge-to-north-carolina-s-sweeping-anti-lgbt-law.html” target=”_blank”>http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/pro-equal

  • 12. F_Young  |  March 24, 2016 at 6:28 am

    I expect the learned folk on this blog know this already, so my comment here is just a place to start the discussion on the existing US Supreme Court precedents on this issue.

    In Romer v. Evans, SCOTUS has already overturned a state constitutional amendment, no less, that aimed to prevent gays from enjoying the same civil rights protections as other citizens at the municipal level in Colorado. How does this North Carolina law attempt to get around that? Am I missing something?

  • 13. JayJonson  |  March 24, 2016 at 8:28 am

    This law may provide a vehicle through which to obtain a far-reaching SCOTUS ruling that essentially "reads in" sexual orientation to all anti-discrimination ordinances. The question is how to establish standing by which to challenge it.

    I suspect that cities such as Charlotte, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, etc. that have had their anti-discrimination ordinances repealed by the legislature may have standing to challenge the new law via "home rule" questions in state court. How to get it into federal court may be more difficult.

  • 14. scream4ever  |  March 24, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Well supposedly the NC law didn't specifically target LGBT people, but simply denied their ability to pass such ordinances. However, given the timing and language used by those pushing for it, it's clear what their intent was all along.

  • 15. iocbyux  |  March 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Courts aren't going to be fooled by that. The "bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group" language from Romer will fully apply here. It's comparable to "piercing the corporate veil" – the courts will not elevate form over substance.

  • 16. sfbob  |  March 24, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Alternatively it will come down to "a tax on yarmulkes is a tax on Jews." "Facial neutrality" is a concept whose time has come and gone. The fact is that law will–both by its nature and by its intention–have a significant impact on identifiable groups of people.

  • 17. allan120102  |  March 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Marriage equality may arrived in Aguascalintes before November but not before June. As they are elections previous that month and many deputies are scared to be boot out because of this topic. Base on a deputy things are half and half. http://metropolitanoags.blogspot.mx/2016/03/afirmhttp://metropolitanoags.blogspot.mx/2016/03/diput

  • 18. VIRick  |  March 24, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Nebraska Legislature Kills LGBTQ Civil Rights Bill

    Nebraska may have the nation’s only unicameral legislature, but the split between progressives and conservatives has been starkly illustrated in a 26-18 vote today, 24 March 2016, to shelve a proposed bill that would have prevented employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This is the third time in as many years that this bill has been pushed aside.

    Senator Adam Morfeld of Lincoln introduced the bill and vowed to bring it back again every year for as long as he is in office. “When it comes to attitudes about LGBT Nebraskans, the Legislature’s clearly out of touch with the opinions of regular Nebraskans,” Morfeld said.

    The bill had the backing of religious leaders and both the Lincoln and Omaha Chambers of Commerce. Recent opinion polling showed statewide support for the measure. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/03/nebraska-legis

  • 19. VIRick  |  March 24, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    "Sordid Lives," Alabama-style, as Alabama Governor Bentley Caught Having "Phone-Sex Affair" with Aide

    Despite having recently divorced his wife of 50 years, Alabama‘s governor Robert Bentley is a staunch supporter of “traditional marriage,” and has called gay marriage a “social experiment” that “destroys the rights of children to be connected to their biological parents.” Now, he’s been caught red-handed having phone-sex with an aide.

    Allegedly, Bentley was having an affair with Rebekah Caldwell Mason while still married to his wife; a tryst that ultimately led to the divorce. Spencer Collier, the former secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, says he saw text messages and heard recordings of highly explicit conversations between the two. Part of that recording was then published after Bentley denied the accusations.

    In the recording, Bentley says he longs to fondle Ms. Mason’s breasts. Then he professes his love for her, evidently getting the order of this strategy confused. Governor Bentley has apologized for it all, yet he continues to claim he has had no sexual relations with that woman.

    Nevertheless, it’s desperately hypocritical behavior from a man who claims he’s “always believed in the Biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman,” a tradition that has “been deeply-rooted in our society for thousands of years.”

    As per Rachel Maddow:

    “Governor Bentley ran for this office that he holds on the grounds that he was a family values candidate… a God-fearing family man whose campaign ads featured him talking about the Bible, while posing with his wife and all of his grandkids. He ran as a man who so believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage that he would fight same-sex marriage with every fiber of his being.” http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/03/this-is-alabam

  • 20. VIRick  |  March 24, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Businesses Denounce North Carolina's Antigay Law

    Businesses are speaking out against North Carolina's passage of a law Wednesday, 23 March 2016, rescinding anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, denouncing the measure as both unjust and bad for business.

    House Bill 2 overturns city non-discrimination ordinances in the state, such as one recently adopted in Charlotte that, among other things, would allow transgender people to use the public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Businesses such as Dow Chemical, PayPal, and American Airlines joined in condemning the passage of HB 2.

    “We believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation,” said a statement from American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody. “Laws that allow such discrimination go against our fundamental belief of equality and are bad for the economies of the states in which they are enacted.” As the "Charlotte Observer" reports, the company operates its “second-biggest hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where it just reached a new 10-year lease agreement.”

    On Twitter, PayPal likewise criticized the legislation. “Inclusion is one of our core values and we are proud to champion LGBTQ equality in N. Carolina and around the world,” the company stated in a tweet. Businesses including Microsoft, Wells Fargo, and Apple previously signed a joint statement to argue that anti-LGBT bills are bad for local economies — and for everyone, the "Observer" notes. North Carolina's legislation could thus prove costly. http://www.advocate.com/business/2016/3/24/busine

    On a personal note, I have two up-coming trips, already booked on American Airlines, which have me passing through their hub-point in Charlotte to connect with my continuing flight. And I'm not happy. On my last two trips up from the Virgin Islands, due to airline screw-ups, I got stuck overnighting at the hub-point, and both times, had to be accommodated at near-by hotels until I could be re-scheduled to fly out the following day. Given the passage of this legislation, I do not wish to run the risk of having to overnight in Charlotte.

    Plus, my problem is compounded by the fact that I am already boycotting Delta Airlines and their major hub-point in Atlanta.

  • 21. VIRick  |  March 24, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Gibraltar: El Proyecto de Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario, Cada Vez Más Cerca

    El Gobierno de Gibraltar ha recibido la cifra de 3.490 respuestas al proceso consultivo que inició en diciembre para dar forma al proyecto legislativo que equiparará los derechos matrimoniales de las parejas hetero y homosexuales, y que pretenden presentar el próximo mes de junio a su Consejo de Ministros.

    A pesar de que las parejas homosexuales pueden establecerse en unión civil y solicitar la adopción de menores desde 2013 y 2014, respectivamente, en Gibraltar todavía carecen de una regulación que equipare los derechos matrimoniales de las parejas hetero y homosexuales.

    Por esta razón, su gobierno inició el pasado mes de diciembre un periodo consultivo para articular su propia ley de matrimonio igualitario, un proceso del que resultará el texto legal que presentará en junio a su Consejo de Ministros.

    Inherente a este proceso tiene lugar el análisis de las 3.490 respuestas de entidades y particulares que el Gobierno ha recibido en torno a su Command Paper, que comenzará a ser analizada por un grupo interministerial para la delimitación del proyecto legislativo que regulará el derecho. http://www.chueca.com/articulo/gibraltar-el-proye

    Gibraltar: The Draft Law on Equal Marriage, Growing Closer

    The Government of Gibraltar has received 3,490 responses during the consultation process that began in December 2015 in order to shape the bill that will equalize the matrimonial rights of heterosexual and homosexual couples, and which it intends to present to its Council of Ministers in June.

    In Gibraltar, although same-sex couples can establish civil unions and request the adoption of minors, from 2013 and 2014 respectively, they still lack a regulation that equates marriage rights for hetero and for same-sex couples.

    For this reason, in December, the government began an advisory period to articulate their own equal marriage law, a process that will become the legal text to be presented in June to the Council of Ministers.

    Inherent in this process is the analysis of the 3,490 responses from organizations and individuals that the Government has received concerning its Command Paper, which will begin to be analyzed by an inter-ministerial group to define the legislative scheme to regulate said right.

  • 22. VIRick  |  March 24, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Tweet-of-the-Day, by Montana Governor Steve Bullock

    Dear North Carolina: We're open for business…for everyone. Sincerely, Montana http://www.joemygod.com/2016/03/24/tweeted-today-

  • 23. theperched  |  March 25, 2016 at 12:23 am

    The opposition (center-right) also claims to be in favor, but even if they all voted no the bill would still pass. GPLS (aka Alliance) is the center-left government.

    All seems dandy and as if things could move swiftly, but the local LGBT rights leader is afraid they're not moving fast enough to beat elections in June:

    “However, what is extraordinary,” Mr Alvarez went on to say, “is Government’s indecisive and fidgety behaviour, which runs the risk of creating the impression in both the LGBT and wider community that they, as a Government which initially both pledged its commitment to progress and established an Equality Ministry for the first time in our history, are more keen on properly satisfying outdated bigotry than on making a clear determination in favour of social progress.

    “The Chief Minister is, of course, aware that this issue is controversial among some sectors of the Community and, as a responsible head of Government, rightfully wishes his Cabinet to give careful and respectful consideration to all sides of the questions involved. And that is precisely why deadlines have been extended and almost 3,500 written consultations elicited, with over 63% of those consultations supporting Equal Marriage, according to our statistics. Gibraltar’s views could not be clearer, and this Community is right to be baffled by Government's handling of this matter.

    “Government, we are certain, is similarly aware of a number of other issues which have also raised much controversy in this community. Respectful of the community’s views, will the Chief Minister also be holding open and protracted consultation on those matters, or will only issues related to the LGBT community be the subject to democratic concern? If so, why?

    “Based on the Alliance’s manifesto commitments, it is questionable whether the mandate it obtained on this point at the last elections stretched the public’s credulity this far. It is even more questionable whether, after so much public debate and dialogue, any stone remains unturned for a Ministerial Committee to now sit and ponder over. What Government really must consider is the truly extraordinary development of Gibraltar as a society represented by the fact that the GSD in Parliament, so long antagonistic to advancement of LGBT rights, is now already publicly pledged to Equal Marriage, whilst an Alliance Government which promised change for a new society may be falling short of expectations for social advancement and is, as ERG regrettably predicted, turning a ‘consultation process’ into a full-blown Referendum by any other name. Indeed, in view of various about-turns along the way, the question is more than begged: is a formal Referendum precisely where Mr Picardo is still leading?

    “ERG has worked and cooperated with the GSLP/Liberals and the Chief Minister positively and fruitfully over many years so as to deliver progress on various fronts. A positive relationship which it is committed to continue building. It is unfortunate, however, to see the early credit accumulated by this Government reach the point where it risks souring into disillusionment and disappointment among sectors of the Community which had deposited their trust and faith in its promise of a better day for all.”
    http://www.yourgibraltartv.com/politics/11312-mar

    Let's hope the rights group has nothing to worry about and everything gets done as soon as possible.

  • 24. allan120102  |  March 25, 2016 at 1:03 am

    praying that we win Austria. This might very well be the first Central European country with marriage equality after the fiasco in Slovenia. I hope the court side with us. I am amazed that the lgbt austrians continue to challenge the law after being hand down negative rulings in the past. http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2016/03/24/campaign

  • 25. theperched  |  March 25, 2016 at 1:27 am

    The judge was more sympathetic than the last, he might send it to the Constitutional Court who should strike down the ban.

    Partnerships have every parental right of heterosexual couples from adoption to in-vitro, plus the old CC argument was that marriage was for family blah blah. Now that the family laws are equal, the argument is dead. I hope for something similar to adoption: a Yes with a deadline for the government to act.

    In the end the Government might let the Court ruling stand on its own, like what happened in the US. This is what happened with joint adoption in Austria so tick tock, the Government knows the ban's days are numbered :)

  • 26. theperched  |  March 25, 2016 at 2:00 am

    This is my prediction:

    Spring: Faroes/Isle of Man

    Late Spring/Summer: Gibraltar

    Before year's end: Guernsey/Jersey and hopefully Austria.

  • 27. F_Young  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:10 am

    "…and hopefully Austria."

    …and Australia.

  • 28. montezuma58  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

    The NBA is considering moving the 2017 all star game out of Charlotte.

  • 29. montezuma58  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Yet another politician's disingenuous concern for the "sanctity of marriage" is being exposed. AL governor Robert Bentley's affair is being detailed. Of course he's denying it. Even if he didn't bump nasties with the women there's plenty of salacious stuff out there.
    http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/03/hear_rec

  • 30. VIRick  |  March 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Next Tweet-of-the-Day by Transgender Man Exposing Insanity of North Carolina’s New Law

    James Parker Sheffield, a 36-year-old transgender man in Georgia, has poked holes in the insanely wobbly logic of the bill with one highly succinct Tweet:

    @PatMcCroryNC It's now the law for me to share a restroom with your wife. #HB2 #trans #NorthCarolina #shameonNC

    Sheffield tells "The Huffington Post:"

    "Just like cisgender people, trans folks fall all over a spectrum of masculinity and femininity, regardless of how we personally identify…

    “Besides the obvious misconception that trans people are in a public restroom to do anything other than use the restroom, I think most people neglect to see the personal safety issues connected to these poorly-conceived legislative moves.

    “Imagine me following the law and walking into a women’s room at a gas station or fast food place. Will someone in that restroom feel threatened by a grown man with a beard walking in?” http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/03/transgender-ma

    Viewing his face-pic at lgbtqnation will help clarify what he's saying.

  • 31. VIRick  |  March 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Argentina Joins Global LGBT Rights Initiative

    Argentina has become the third Latin American country, following behind Chile and Uruguay, to join a US initiative that seeks to promote LGBT rights around the world. On Wednesday, 23 March 2016, the White House said that Argentina agreed to join the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the State Department manages with the US Agency for International Development.

    The announcement coincided with President Obama’s visit to the South American country. “The United States and Argentina are committed to supporting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals,” reads the White House announcement.

    Then-Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed a same-sex marriage bill into law in 2010 amid strong opposition from Pope Francis, who was the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires. Argentina has one of the world’s most comprehensive transgender rights laws under which people can legally change their gender without surgery. The South American country also allows gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

    – See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/03/24/argenti

  • 32. VIRick  |  March 25, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    CDMX Logra Nuevo Récord en Bodas Colectivas

    El consejero jurídico de la Ciudad de México, Manuel Granados Covarrubias, destacó que en el evento de las Bodas Colectivas 2016, la capital del país estableció un nuevo récord con dos mil 16 matrimonios registrados la víspera, 21 de marzo 2016, de cual estuvieron 99 del mismo sexo (04.9%).

    El Jefe de Gobierno de la Ciudad de México, Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, encabezó la ceremonia de Bodas Colectivas CDMX 2016, en el Zócalo capitalino, donde se casaron más de dos mil parejas. De esta manera se superó la convocatoria del año anterior, cuando se oficiaron mil 690 bodas. http://gaynewsmx.com/cdmx-nuevo-record-bodas-cole

    CDMX Achieves New Record in Collective Weddings

    The legal adviser of Mexico City, Manuel Granados Covarrubias, said that with the event, Collective Weddings 2016, the capital set a new record with 2016 marriages registered the previous day, 21 March 2016, of which 99 were of the same sex (04.9%).

    The Head of Government of Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, led the ceremony for Collective Weddings CDMX 2016, in the Zócalo (Mexico City's main central plaza), where more than two thousand couples were married. Thus the call exceeded the previous year, when 1690 weddings were held.

  • 33. theperched  |  March 25, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Them too, but please not a plebiscite first…such a waste of money and time.

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  March 25, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    How The Human Rights Campaign Is Helping the GOP to Retain the Senate
    by Michelangelo Signorile

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signor

  • 35. VIRick  |  March 25, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Mississippi Anti-LGBT Discrimination Bill Moves to Senate Floor

    Per Equality Case Files:

    "On Wednesday, 23 March 2016, a Mississippi Senate Committee approved HB 1523, the misleadingly-named 'Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.' The state House has already passed the bill and the Senate will likely vote on it very soon." The goal of the bill is to allow discrimination against LGBT couples, but its reach goes much further. More on the bill at the linked post from Protect Thy Neighbor: https://www.facebook.com/protectthyneighbor/

    Here is the text of the bill as it passed the House: http://bit.ly/1VKaMaY

  • 36. VIRick  |  March 25, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Next Tweet-of-the-Day comes from "super delegator:"

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Close-up pics of Governor McCrory's face are being displayed above urinals all over North Carolina, along with the message, "I am pleased to see that your genitals comply with the law of the land."

    To which "super delegator's" Tweet adds:

    These urinals are now McCrory Approved #HB2 #WeAreNotThis #ncpol #ncgov #ncga

  • 37. Sagesse  |  March 26, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Somewhat related.

    Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. There's debate over who actually said this, but that's beside the point. Check out the members of Ted Cruz's Religious Liberty Advisory Council and their recommendations. Truly chilling.

    Radical Recommendations?: ‘Religious Liberty’ Issues Continue To Roil Presidential Race [Americans United]

    "But Cruz’s chosen religious liberty advisors and recommended policies fail to reflect a true regard for the full range of American who rely on the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections. Rather, they promote an exclusionary interpretation of that amendment that applies to socially conservative Christians and nobody else."
    https://au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/radical-r

  • 38. allan120102  |  March 26, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Guerrero Mexico. A judge have issue an amparo in ordering the state to recognize the marriages that are being perform in some of the municipalities of the state. They are other 5 amparos waiting not sure if to order other municipalities to start issuing licenses or to recognize marriages. The lgbt community is asking the legislature to legalize marriage equality and to investigate assasinations against members of our community. http://bajopalabra.com.mx/promueve-iglesia-catoli

  • 39. VIRick  |  March 26, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    En 17 de marzo 2016, durante una conferencia de prensa, el abogado de la Asociación de Homosexuales y Lesbianas del Estado de Guerrero, José Alberto García Pineda, mencionó que están en proceso de que se aplique y se apruebe la reforma al Código Civil que legalice los matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo.

    Dijo que ya obtuvieron el primer amparo del juez octavo de distrito, para que se respeten las bodas entre homosexuales que ya se han realizado, y afirmó que sólo faltan cinco amparos en espera de que un juez los apruebe. http://bajopalabra.com.mx/promueve-iglesia-catoli

    On 17 March 2016, during a press conference, the lawyer for the Asociación de Homosexuales y Lesbianas del Estado de Guerrero, José Alberto García Pineda, mentioned that they are in the process by which the reform of the Guerrero Civil Code to legalize marriages between same-sex couples is being applied and approved.

    He said they had now obtained the first amparo from the Eighth District Judge which respects the same-sex marriages which have already been realized, and said that they are only awaiting with the five (additional) amparos to be approved by a judge.

  • 40. allan120102  |  March 26, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Guerrero is such a pain in the a**. They should just pass the law legalizing ssm. Meanwhile neighboring states like Jalisco and Nayarit ssm is now legal and by seeing the pressure that is being put on Colima I will say they will soon cave and legalize marriage equality. Going state by state is really tiresome.

  • 41. VIRick  |  March 26, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Remember, as I believe I have pointed out before, Guerrero is the "wild" state in Mexico where they never seem to do anything whatsoever "by the book," the way almost everyone else in Mexico prefers to operate.

    So, Guerrero is in the unique position within Mexico whereby the governor of the state jumped ahead by legalizing same-sex marriage by executive decree, and did so despite the fact that there had been no court orders granting any amparos within the state up to that date. Plus, even now, the state legislature has not changed the wording in the state code to reflect this executive order. And the courts are only now beginning to catch up. But at least we now know that the previous same-sex marriages performed in Guerrero are safe, and that they have filed all 5 of the necessary amparos, and are simply awaiting judicial rulings which must be granted.

    And yes, counting the amparos, and keeping tabs on them, is exceedingly tiresome, particularly because, given the current process, we have to do it state-by-state, and count 5 times for each. Plus, it's equally tiresome to hunt down reliable news articles with definitive information, understand the Spanish (sometimes even re-arranging the wording and/or correcting the grammar, as I did with the above article), translate it to literal English, and then re-arrange that wording into a form of proper English which still conveys the original sense of the Spanish.

    I also attempt to avoid articles which are speculative and merely hopeful of change, as I much prefer definitive facts as a means of keeping as precise a record as we can.

  • 42. VIRick  |  March 26, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Delaware Prohibits Limits on Transgender Health Coverage

    Dover DE — Insurance companies in Delaware will be prohibited from limiting health care coverage for transgender individuals. The "News Journal" of Wilmington reports that Delaware has become the 15th state in the country to prohibit private insurers from denying, canceling, terminating, or refusing to issue plans based on a person’s gender identity.

    Additionally, companies will not be allowed to impose different premiums or rates based on a person’s identity. The policy also applies if a person is undergoing a gender transition.

    Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart issued a bulletin Wednesday, 23 March 2016, stating that a denial or cancellation will now be considered a violation under Delaware’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. The move comes three years after the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act was signed into law. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/03/delaware-prohi

  • 43. allan120102  |  March 26, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    yeah looking for info its becoming harder as not many news are not covering the amparo grant like before jurisprudence was issue. Now you need to look in individual state newspapers to see if an amparo was granted and that is really tired so sometimes I dont have the time to do it The good thing is states like Michoacan, Colima, Morelos, SLP and Aguascalientes might legalise ssm this year if all goes ok.The more of them that change their civil code the easier will be for the others yo do it. This week we might need to pay attention in Colombia and Faroes islands.

  • 44. F_Young  |  March 26, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Rick, I really appreciate all the effort you invest into ensuring that your posts on same-sex marriage, particularly in Mexico, are clear, accurate and up-to-date. It makes your posts all the more valuable.

    I appreciate the translation challenges you mention since I have done unofficial translations of LGBT rights news (usually asylum news) in the past between French and English. People who haven't done translation have no idea how difficult it is, how disastrously erroneous it can be, and often is.

    To translate gay rights news across languages and legal systems requires understanding the different legal systems, governmental institutions and local politics, as well as the unique vernacular used by gays, which is rarely found in translation dictionaries and databases.

    It's scary to think that most people assume that sentences in quotation marks that they find in news articles (and scripture) were actually spoken verbatim by the speaker to whom they are attributed, who actually does not even speak that language, and not actually written by a translator working on deadline, who may not actually understand what the speaker really meant.

  • 45. VIRick  |  March 26, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    F_Young, and yes to all-of-the-above, but to which I would also add the unique challenges of certain Spanish-language words in Mexican legalese, like "amparo" and "dictamen," for which there is no single-word translation into English. Instead, I have resorted to incorporating those words into translations as if they were already English-language words because they convey concepts which do not exist in English, let alone in the broader Common Law tradition.

    However, once in a while it is easy. Vicente Fox, Mexico's ex-President, did actually emphatically say, in reference to Trump's border-wall plans, "Mexico is NOT paying for any fucking wall!!!"

  • 46. F_Young  |  March 27, 2016 at 2:24 am

    I would love to hear how professional language teachers teach the meaning of "fuck" and "fucking," to Syrian refugees in Canada for example. A lot of what guys say orally doesn't make sense if you don't understand those words. If you're a young guy trying to fit in with other guys, it's important to be able to use them, and even more important to not use them improperly!

  • 47. Sagesse  |  March 27, 2016 at 7:19 am

    Sorry if this has been posted and I missed it. I'll post the link, but this is a pay site, and it may be blocked. The punch line is in the quote.

    $2M in Fees, Costs Awarded in Tennessee Gay Marriage Case [National Law Journal]

    "A federal district judge in Tennessee on Friday awarded more than $2 million in legal fees and costs to Ropes & Gray and other firms that successfully fought the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

    "The order from U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger is the largest single fee award in a federal gay marriage case. It pushes the total amount of money in fees that states have agreed or been ordered to pay in federal same-sex marriage cases to more than $15.5 million.

    “The results obtained in this case were superb and far-reaching. As the prevailing party, the plaintiffs will, therefore, be rewarded a significant portion of their requested reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses,” Trauger wrote.

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs had asked for $2.3 million, but Trauger imposed a 15 percent cut."
    http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=120275326281

  • 48. VIRick  |  March 27, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Fees/Costs Settlement in Tennessee Marriage Case

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 25 March 2016, in "Tanco v. Haslam," the Tennessee marriage case that went before the US Supreme Court, the Court has awarded over $2M to the plaintiffs' attorneys in fees and costs, that is, precisely $1,983,131.29 in fees and $52,916.04 in costs, for a grand total pay-out of $2,036,047.33.

    • Order is here: http://bit.ly/1WSqdfH
    • Memorandum is here: http://files.eqcf.org/cases/313-cv-01159-132/

  • 49. theperched  |  March 27, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Biggest challenge for me is the fact that the Mexican media, or even Latin American media in general, can call anything same-sex a marriage even though it's just a partnership bill. I usually try to track down at least two different sources just to make sure that what they're talking about is actually 'matrimonio' and not something inferior.

  • 50. VIRick  |  March 27, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    ACLU Prepares Lawsuit Against North Carolina

    From NPR’s Asheville affiliate:

    The ACLU of North Carolina is preparing litigation against the state over a recent bill blocking towns and cities from passing anti-discrimination measures. At last report, the suit is to be filed tomorrow, 28 March 2016, at 10 AM, in federal court in Raleigh.

    Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 late Wednesday night, 23 March 2016, just several hours after the legislature gave final approval during a one-day special session lawmakers called to address the issue.

    Response to the bill was swift. Some major corporations, including Red Hat, American Airlines, IBM, and Paypal, have spoken out against it. The NCAA also said it would be monitoring North Carolina’s next steps closely. Protests in Raleigh and Asheville drew hundreds.

    Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of NC says the group is preparing a legal challenge. She says the bill was born out of animus towards the LGBT community and could put the state at risk of losing Title IX funding. http://www.joemygod.com/2016/03/27/aclu-prepares-

  • 51. FredDorner  |  March 27, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Beautiful. Nice to see a substantial fee order.

  • 52. VIRick  |  March 27, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    The Tennessee settlement's monetary figure ranks right up there alongside that of Michigan, another case which went before the US Supreme Court. In Michigan's instance, the total cost to the state is as follows:

    $2,144,000 (a total which includes $1,900,000 to the winning plaintiffs' attorneys, $96,000 for the outside defense attorney hired by the State for the appeal, and $148,000 for the discredited conservative economists and social science "experts" who were also hired by the State for the state's defense during the trial).

  • 53. VIRick  |  March 27, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    México no está pagando por ninguna chingada muralla!!!

    No translation necessary, verdad??

  • 54. theperched  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Danish Kingdom will be busy this week:

    First Faroe Islands committee meeting tomorrow since the mess of having to amend a part of the marriage bill. Two outcomes: it moves out of the there and is sent to the plenary as soon as possible or it stays there a bit longer, but everyone expects a vote in April.

    Greenland prepping for same-sex ceremonies. The marriage law goes into effect on Friday. The local Church is supportive and the Bishop there is itching to marry couples :)

  • 55. JayJonson  |  March 28, 2016 at 6:10 am

    The North Carolina suit has been filed:

    "Three individuals and two LGBT advocacy groups early Monday morning filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the recently passed North Carolina law that nullified local LGBT rights ordinances and restricted transgender people’s access to restrooms.

    “By singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution,” the lawsuit argues.

    The complaint argues the law violates people’s equal protection, privacy, and liberty rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and their civil rights under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.

    The lawsuit is asking for a declaratory judgment that the law violates the Constitution and Title IX and an injunction against enforcement of the law."

    Read more at Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/nc-anti-lgb

  • 56. Elihu_Bystander  |  March 28, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Here it is Carcaño v. McCrory http://www.scribd.com/doc/306149876/Dkt-1-Carcano

  • 57. klubkar  |  March 28, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Georgia Gov has vetoed their "religious freedom" bill just on CNN.

  • 58. guitaristbl  |  March 28, 2016 at 9:02 am

    What about Romer ? They should mention Romer as relevant precedence.

  • 59. JayJonson  |  March 28, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Read the complaint, which is linked to above. Yes, they cite Romer.

  • 60. Elihu_Bystander  |  March 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I searched the complaint for "Romer" and "Colorado." Those words do not occur in the document. The complaint focus on what is accepted therapy for persons with gender dysphoria. It makes the point that trans persons should use single sex spaces according to their gender orientation not their biological sex.

    It will be during the briefing phase that we will see a "Table of Authorities" where the case law will be cited in detail.

  • 61. JayJonson  |  March 28, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    guitaristbl and Elihu_Bystander. You are correct: the complaint does not cite Romer. But Lambda and the ACLU press releases do. Sorry for the confusion. Certainly, Romer is relevant her.

  • 62. Fortguy  |  March 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Actually, I've seen Fox's interview using the word. They've been repeatedly shown on cable TV and late-night comedy shows including on premium cable where that doesn't have to bleep the word. He was clearly speaking in English for a U.S. audience.

    As an aside, the translation does demonstrate to a small degree the contortions that translators face. Literally, chingado/-a doesn't really mean "fucking", but rather "fucked".

  • 63. VIRick  |  March 28, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Fortguy, I know he was speaking in English. I had to translate it back into Spanish,– or at least back into the Mexican vernacular. And yes, "chingado/a" is the past passive, rather than the present active, but that's the way it's always expressed, especially when directed at people's mothers.

  • 64. Steve27516  |  March 31, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Rick –
    Those of us in North Carolina have suffered a lot since the legislature and governor's mansion were both consumed in 2012 by the Republican parade of stupidity and evil. Making them pay for their actions is appropriate, but if it offers any consolation, remember that Charlotte's proper action to protect LGBT rights is what the idiots/monsters in the state capital of Raleigh have used as their pretext for this recent attack on humanity. Charlotte is not a very progressive place, I don't think, but give 'em credit where it's due. I hope your flights are on time!

  • 65. Steve27516  |  March 31, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Yes, Scottie – I'm so happy to see you here. Thank you for all you do for us. Speedy recovery!

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