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Lots of major updates in LGBT legal cases

Transgender Rights

– The Seventh Circuit ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination for the purposes of Title VII. It was the first time an appeals court has ruled this way. The defendants chose not to take the case to the Supreme Court.

– A federal judge in Colorado ruled in a Fair Housing Act case that a same-sex couple suffered discrimination.

– A Sixth Circuit case involving a district court judge’s ruling in favor of a transgender student and against a school board will now be briefed, as the stay on briefing has been lifted (after the Supreme Court remanded the GG case.)

– The Second Circuit will take up a case involving employment discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and sex stereotyping, on the briefs without argument, on April 27.

– In Nebraska, the state supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex foster parents.

– In Gavin Grimm’s challenge to school board policy barring him from using the correct bathroom, the Fourth Circuit denied his request to fast-track the case, and asked for a proposed briefing schedule. They also vacated their earlier decision granting the preliminary injunction, as ordered by the Supreme Court. The order vacating the injunction came with a very moving concurrence from two judges. The parties proposed, and the appeals court adopted a briefing schedule. Briefing will be completed June 2.

– In one challenge to North Carolina’s HB2, the Fourth Circuit has asked for briefing on the effect of the new law that purports to (but doesn’t really) repeal HB2. In the United States’ case against HB2, the US DOJ has withdrawn its challenge, citing the new law that is said to repeal HB2.

– A transgender man is appealing the dismissal of his case to the Seventh Circuit. It challenges an Indiana law barring name changes for non-citizens.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

Apologies for the long delay, I was out sick.

42 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  April 14, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Chechnyans being ordered to murder their gay relatives after their release from 'concentration camps' where gays get daily electrical shocks, beatings, torture & humiliation

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/the

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4411232/C

  • 2. JayJonson  |  April 14, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Very sad. Thanks for calling attention to this atrocity in Putin's Russia.

  • 3. VIRick  |  April 14, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Washington State Reinstates North Carolina Travel Ban after HB2 Deal

    Washington State has reinstated its ban on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina, first enacted over anti-LGBT HB2, in the aftermath of the imposition of a new replacement law that civil rights groups say remains discriminatory. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued the memo on Thursday, 13 April 2017, putting in place a new ban on state-funded travel to North Carolina, after his previous ban expired when North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, signed the bogus measure.

    In the memo, Inslee says, like HB2, the new law, labeled HB142, “contains similar troubling, discriminatory provisions and Washingtonians traveling to North Carolina on work-related matters may still experience discrimination. And though North Carolina formally replaced HB2, the continued allowance of discrimination is inherent in the spirit of HB142,” Inslee continues. “Consequently, I again order that no executive or small-cabinet agency shall allow publicly-funded non-essential travel to North Carolina.”

    Washington is the third state to declare its travel ban enacted over HB2 will remain in place in the aftermath of Cooper signing the replacement law. Other states that have similarly reaffirmed their bans are California and Minnesota.

    The city of Chicago has also recently announced that its travel ban to North Carolina remains in place.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/04/13/washing

  • 4. VIRick  |  April 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    DOJ Withdraws Lawsuit against North Carolina Anti-Trans "Bathroom" Law

    Although North Carolina replaced anti-LGBT HB2 with a law that critics say still enables anti-LGBT discrimination, the US Justice Department withdrew its lawsuit, "United States v. North Carolina," filed against the state in 2016 under the Obama administration. In a five-page notice, the Justice Department, now under A-G Sessions, announced on 14 April 2017 that it has voluntarily withdrawn the lawsuit filed last year by former Attorney-General Loretta Lynch.

    “In light of the passage of North Carolina HB142, and pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41, the Parties in the above-captioned action hereby stipulate that all claims or causes of action against Defendants and all counterclaims against Plaintiff which were the subject matter of this lawsuit are hereby dismissed with prejudice,” the notice says.

    HB 142 prohibits state agencies, municipalities and the University of North Carolina from the “regulation of access” to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers unless they have the legislature’s permission. It also bans municipalities until 2020 from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures that would apply to private businesses or public accommodations.

    The withdrawal of the DOJ’s lawsuit in the aftermath of the switch is consistent with Sessions’ actions against transgender rights since his confirmation as US A-G. In fact, the Justice Department last month nixed its request for a preliminary injunction against HB2 in favor of an existing injunction against the law that was significantly more limited and applied only to plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit.

    Although the Justice Department may be reviewing its position now that HB2 has been replaced, that isn’t stopping LGBT legal groups, who also filed a lawsuit against HB2, from continuing with their challenge. The trio of groups — the ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal — have declared their lawsuit, "Carcaño v. McCrory," which includes claims for the damages inflicted by HB2, will continue, and they’ll seek to amend the lawsuit to challenge HB142 as well. James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project, said in a statement that LGBT legal groups will press on in North Carolina even though the Justice Department has abandoned the fight.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/04/14/breakin

    The Joint Stipulated Notice of Dismissal is here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/116-cv-00425-245/

  • 5. VIRick  |  April 14, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Perú‏: Bill Introduced Banning Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

    El congresista Kenji Fujimori felicitó la iniciativa legislativa presentada por los colegas de su bancada Fuerza Popular, Leila Chihuán y Miguel Castro, que plantea penalizar la discriminación por motivos de orientación sexual e identidad de género. A través de su cuenta de Twitter, Kenji Fujimori escribió que había leído el proyecto contra los crímenes de odio y lo felicitaba. Anunció que se unirá con su firma.

    Hoy, 12 de abril 2017, los legisladores de Fuerza Popular, Leyla Chihuán y Miguel Castro, presentaron el Proyecto de Ley 1209 que modifica el Artículo 323 del Código Penal, incluyendo la orientación sexual e identidad de género como causales de discriminación pasible de sanción penal. El proyecto lleva las firmas de otros legisladores como Marco Miyashiro y Freddy Sarmiento.
    http://blogdelimagay.blogspot.pe/

    Congressman Kenji Fujimori congratulated the legislative initiative presented by his colleagues from Fuerza Popular, Leila Chihuán and Miguel Castro, who propose to penalize discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Through his Twitter account, Kenji Fujimori wrote that he had read the bill against hate crimes and congratulated them. He announced that he will join with his signature.

    Today, 12 April 2017, lawmakers of Fuerza Popular, Leyla Chihuán and Miguel Castro, presented Bill 1209, which modifies Article 323 of the Penal Code to include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for discrimination punishable by criminal sanctions. The bill already bears the signatures of other lawmakers such as Marco Miyashiro and Freddy Sarmiento.

  • 6. allan120102  |  April 14, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Amazing analysis about workplace discrimination suffered by lgbt civilians in Guerrero,But great advancement in some municipalities. I am quite surprise that even some conservatives municipalities protect more their lgbt community than Acapulco. Being a tourism place and being the major city in the state I thought it would have more liberal policies for lgbt people and its quite the contrary. The mayor and the people in the municipal government are really homophobic, Acapulco its still one of the municipalities in Guerrero cant still marry thank to there homophobic major. In this article also explained that 10% of the population is lgbt in the state, and that transgender as usual are the most affected in the state. Having little time in the computer and this article being too long to translate you should still check it out. http://www.20minutos.com.mx/noticia/208597/0/comu

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  April 15, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Trump Plan Ends Church-State Separation: Churches 2B Taxpayer Subsidized & Politically Active

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-pl

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4413642/T

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 15, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Panamá: Vice-President Issues Strong Statement in Favor of Marriage Equality

    Per Rafael Romero‏:

    La Vicepresidenta de Panamá, Isabel Cecilia de Saint Malo García de Alvarado, está a favor de la igualdad de matrimonio igualitario.
    https://twitter.com/hashtag/matrimonioigualitario

    The Vice-President of Panamá, Isabel Cecilia de Saint Malo García de Alvarado, is in favor of the equality of same-sex marriage.

    Per Isabel Saint Malo:

    Comparto opinión: Todos debemos tener opción de unir nuestra vida a uno ser querido. La orientación sexual no se escoge, se nace con ella.
    https://twitter.com/IsabelStMalo/status/852939189

    I share this opinion: We must all have the option of joining our life to a loved one. Sexual orientation is not chosen, one is born with it.

    So, in addition to the president's wife, Lorena Castillo de Varela, as the special guest headlining the upcoming Gay Pride March in La Ciudad de Panamá, we now have this very strong statement from the Vice-President of the Republic, Isabel Saint Malo, in favor of marriage equality.

  • 9. VIRick  |  April 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Veracruz: Fugitive Ex-Governor Finally Detained in Guatemala

    or, Real #1 Reason Why Marriage Equality/Everything Else Sidetracked in Veracruz

    The fugitive former governor of Mexico's Veracruz state, suspected of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars, has been detained in Guatemala after six months on the run, officials said on Saturday, 15 April 2017. Javier Duarte de Ochoa "was located and detained for the purpose of extradition in the municipality of Panajachel," in Guatemala's Solola department, Mexico's Attorney-General said in a statement.

    Duarte, who became governor in 2010, resigned in 2016 before the end of his term and then went on the run. Interpol issued an international arrest warrant against him. A reward of 15 million pesos ($730,000) had been offered for his capture.

    In January 2017, authorities got two companies to return $19.3m obtained illegally from the Duarte government. A month later, authorities seized a warehouse full of Duarte's artworks, antiques, and personal journals. They also found luxurious saddles, silverware sets, ostentatious furniture, school supplies, and even wheelchairs presumably owned by the government. Investigators were said to have found a set of documents linking the ex-governor's wife, Karime Macías de Duarte, directly to the preparation and execution of actions to divert public resources for the personal benefit of some accomplices.

    During Duarte's tenure, Veracruz became one of the most violent states in Mexico, with hundreds of bloody murders by drug cartels, at least 3 cases of enforced disappearance of journalists, and the known murder of 17 other journalists.

    In English, one can read many more sordid details here:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/javier-duar

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/16/fugiti

    And in Spanish, much more information is provided here:
    http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/201

    http://www.univision.com/noticias/arrestos/javier

    As the shit was about to truly hit the fan, I can vividly visualize the governor, with wife in tow, and with as much loot as the two could carry, frantically escaping from Xalapa and zooming down the Trans-Isthmus Highway in the middle of the night, and en route, scurrying past the very residence/business directly fronting said highway where I once lived, in his wild, mad rush to reach Guatemala before being discovered.

  • 10. VIRick  |  April 17, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Joe Biden Condemns Gay ‘Concentration Camps’ in Chechnya

    On Friday, 14 April 2017, former Vice-President Joe Biden condemned reports about gay men being arrested and held in detention sites in Chechnya. Biden said that he was “disgusted and appalled by reports from both the Russian media and non-governmental organizations that authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up, tortured, and even murdered individuals who are believed to be gay.”

    Saying that “Every man or woman on this earth is entitled to be treated with dignity,” Biden also had a few words for Trump: “I hope that the current administration lives up to the promises it has made to advance human rights for everyone by raising this issue directly with Russia‘s leaders.”

    The Russian newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reported earlier this month on the detention sites using testimony from gay people. Many of the people sent to the sites were arrested in sweeps where a law enforcement official would pose as a gay person looking for sex online.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/04/joe-biden-con

  • 11. VIRick  |  April 17, 2017 at 9:34 am

    India to Hold First State-Sponsored Trans Sports Competition

    An Indian state is set to hold the country’s first-ever meet-up for trans sports people, with competitors taking part in a variety of track and field races and events. Organized by the Kerala State Sports Council, it will be the first event for trans sports people at a state level in the country.

    Speaking to "The Times of India," event organiser Anil Arjunan said the government initiative was hoping to attract about 20 participants from each district. Events will include 100m and 220m sprints, shot put, long jump, and relay. The event will be held at the Palayam Central Stadium in South India on 28 April 2017.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/04/17/india-holds-

  • 12. VIRick  |  April 17, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Panamá: TVN Noticias On-Line Survey on Marriage Equality

    As of 17 April 2017, the national TV news network in Panamá has begun an on-line opinion survey on marriage equality:

    ¿Está de acuerdo con que se apruebe en Panamá el matrimonio igualitario?

    Are you in agreement that marriage equality be approved in Panamá? http://www.tvn-2.com/multimedia/encuestas/Esta-de

    Take the survey, and of course, vote "Yes" (Sí). At the moment, "Sí" is at 31%, while "No" is at 68%.

    Later, "Sí" has moved up to 38%, while "No" has dropped to 61%.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Mexico: Supreme Court Up-Date, with Focus on Aguascalientes

    Per "La Jornada de Aguascalientes:"

    Resulta urgente abordar el matrimonio igualitario, antes de que la Suprema Corte de Justicia obligue al Congreso de Aguascalientes a hacerlo.
    https://twitter.com/jornadags/status/854077007960

    It is urgent to address marriage equality, before the Supreme Court of Justice forces the Congress of Aguascalientes to do so.

    As of 17 April 2017, in looking through the list of 134 "Actions of Unconstitutionality" currently pending before the Supreme Court, I found the following:

    #101, case 114/2015, Michoacán

    #75, case 22/2016, Aguascalientes

    #72, case 29/2016, Puebla

    The higher the number, the closer it is to being decided. The oldest pending matter is from Michoacán and is a carry-over from the period of time involving their earlier obfuscation. Then, the cases from Aguascalientes and Puebla will be heard almost back-to-back,– and quite soon, too. Notice that originally there were 6 cases accepted in between, but only 2 of them remain pending. However, regarding the Chiapas case, 32/2015, which once followed right behind that of Puebla, that case number has vanished from the list, and can not be found under any category whatsoever.

  • 14. allan120102  |  April 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I am not sure if the number matter much. Cases file after Puebla have been resolved like The Mexican use of force case. Michoacan case will probably be tossed out as it already has marriage equality no further action should be taken. In the case of Chiapas that means that the case was thrown out or the lawsuit was dropped.

  • 15. VIRick  |  April 17, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    " In the case of Chiapas, that means that the case was thrown out or the lawsuit was dropped."

    Unfortunately, that's the same conclusion which I presume has happened. Also, its correct case number was 32/2016.

  • 16. Fortguy  |  April 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    The fugitive former governor of the adjacent state of Tamaulipas, Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba, was also arrested recently in Italy where he had been hiding for about five years. Both the U.S. and Mexico are seeking his extradition.

    Jason Buch and Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News: Questions swirl after arrest of Mexican gov wanted in S.A. money laundering

    Not surprisingly, both fugitive governors were PRI.

  • 17. Fortguy  |  April 17, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    In the Texas House, the State Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on HB 2899 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton). The bill is serving for now as the House response to SB 6, the anti-transgender potty bill championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and still languishing in House oblivion without a first reading or committee assignment since Senate passage a month ago.

    Alexa Ura, The Texas Tribune: Texas House to wade into debate over bathroom regulations
    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: Bathroom bill 2.0

    While the House bill doesn't force people to use inappropriate restrooms in public buildings as the Senate bill would do, it would instead wipe out two decades of municipal non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community regarding restroom use, prohibit school districts from implementing policies protecting transgender students in restrooms and changing rooms, and allow private businesses to refuse transgender people to use appropriate facilities. No word yet on how the bill is received by the major sports leagues, but the lobbyist for the Dallas Cowboys says it is acceptable to him, unfortunately.

    The House State Affairs Committee has 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

  • 18. VIRick  |  April 17, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    PRI, once the idealistic party of the Revolution in Mexico, given the history of its 70-some years of essentially one-party rule, has developed an attitude of ever-increasing complacency, which coupled with a deep sense of entitlement, has caused it to lose its way and become totally mired in one insanely ridiculous bribery/corruption/embezzlement/money laundering scandal after the next, with fugitive governors and assorted accomplices escaping in every direction, hauling as much ill-gotten loot as they could possibly purloin.

    Still, it gave me a jolt that Duarte, given where he began his escape and where he ended up, and drawing a straight line between the two, as well as considering the limited number of alternate routes, had to have run directly past my former residence, as we were located right on that main Inter-American highway, about mid-way between his starting point and the main border crossing into Guatemala.

  • 19. Fortguy  |  April 17, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    And now we have this new report:

    Alexa Ura, The Texas Tribune: New study renews fears about Texas bathroom bill's financial impacts

    In a nutshell, it's an economic report stating that Texas could lose $3.3 billion in annual tourism and 35,600 travel-related jobs if the state passes a potty law. If Dan Patrick loses his job, however, my empathy goes out the window.

  • 20. scream4ever  |  April 17, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    If the ACA debate is any indication, it'll crash and burn due to infighting.

  • 21. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Here's an update on HB 2899.

    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: More on the House bathroom bill

  • 22. VIRick  |  April 18, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    West Virginia Couple File Federal Suit Against Bigoted Clerks

    A married couple in West Virginia have filed a lawsuit with the help of a religious freedom watchdog group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, against two anti-gay county clerks who called them “an abomination” to God, and vowed that “God would deal with them.” Now Gilmer County clerk Jean Butcher and her deputy, Debbie Allen, are going to have to deal with a federal judge.

    Brookover and her wife, Amanda Abramovich, claim Allen harangued them for several minutes when they appeared at her office to obtain a marriage license on 3 February 2016, seven months after the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. The couple were turned away the first time they tried, in 2014, prior to "Obergefell v. Hodges" but after West Virginia had enacted marriage equality, according to The New Civil Rights Movement.

    Although the couple did receive a valid marriage license on their second attempt in 2016, and were wed soon after, the memories of their awful experience of being verbally harassed and demeaned did not dissipate in the months that followed, according to the complaint they filed in federal court.

    The lawsuit claims the clerks violated the mandate set forth by the Supreme Court, as well as the Establishment Clause — which prevents anyone acting as an agent of the government from enforcing their religious convictions onto constituents — and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/04/west-virginia

  • 23. VIRick  |  April 18, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Idaho: Lambda Legal Sues State Over Anti-Trans Birth Certificate Policy

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 18 April 2017, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit, "F.V. v. Armstrong," on behalf of a transgender woman identified only as F.V., now 28 yeas old and living in Hawai'i, challenging the State of Idaho’s refusal to allow transgender people to correct the gender on their birth certificates.

    “Unlike nearly every other state in America, Idaho currently enforces a categorical ban against transgender people changing the gender on their birth certificates, which is an archaic policy that defies logic,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said. “In fact, government officials in Idaho know this, given that they allow transgender people to change the gender on their drivers’ licenses.”

    The lawsuit argues that denying transgender Idahoans the ability to obtain accurate birth certificates discriminates against them and invades their liberty under the US Constitution. In addition, the lawsuit argues that forcing transgender Idahoans through their birth certificates to identify with a gender that is not who they are violates their right to free speech under the First Amendment.

    The complaint is here:
    http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/fv

    This suit against Idaho is identical to the one recently filed against Puerto Rico, and for the very same reasons, including the point that the state allows gender change on drivers' licenses but not on birth certificates. That still leaves us with Kansas, Ohio, and Tennessee which also refuse to amend the gender on birth certificates, plus Texas, where the issue is still questioned.

    The comments entered below Lambda Legal's press release are also worth noting:

    Kellie DeChant:
    Ohio still does not allow amended gender on birth certificates either. Please help Lambda Legal!!!

    Kimmberly Kate Ensley:
    Tennessee has no provision for changing the Birth Certificate either. I got my Driver's License changed, but they will not change the BC. LL help.

    Aiden Crawford ShortCloud:
    Even with a corrected gender mark (on driver's licenses), Idaho still puts the original name and new name of the applicant with a line through the old name and the new name above the old…. totally still visible…. so they need to correct both (documents) in order for privacy. Local Idaho law requires you to publically "out" yourself for 4 consecutive weeks in the local paper to change your name. Most states allow a private name change with doctor's paperwork, etc., as it is (otherwise) a violation of medical privacy…. so sad Idaho.

  • 24. FredDorner  |  April 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    The complaint is here: http://au.org/files/2017-04-17%20Complaint.pdf

    It represents the same kind of petty and superstition-based discrimination by government officials which blacks and mixed-race couples used to experience in WV and other Jim Crow states. It doesn't seem like they've learned much in the past 50 years at all.

  • 25. VIRick  |  April 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Pennsylvania: Common-Law Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Must Be Recognized

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Years after one of the partners died, a Pennsylvania state appeals court on Monday, 17 April 2017, ruled in "In Re: Estate of Stephen Carter" that a same-sex couple had a legitimate common-law marriage decades before same-sex marriage became legal in Pennsylvania. The ruling was handed down by a 3-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, on an appeal from the Beaver County Orphans' Court.

    The courts wouldn't have had to intervene in the case had Carter not been killed in a motorcycle accident in April 2013. Pennsylvania officially recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry in May 2014.

    The Superior Court ruling means that as the surviving partner, Michael Hunter has the same legal rights, including shared property rights, that any other widow or widower would have following their spouse's death. It also opens the door to the recognition of other same-sex common-law marriages that were entered into before the state abolished common-law marriage in January 2005. The state court made its decision in an opinion by Judge Geoffrey Moulton, who found that denying common-law marriage status to Hunter and his late partner, Stephen Carter, would violate their constitutional rights.
    http://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/04/common-law_m

    The Opinion in "In Re: Estate of Stephen Carter" is here:
    http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/o

  • 26. VIRick  |  April 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I love the lengthy title of this federal case, filed on 17 April 2017, indicating that the two plaintiffs are suing the two clerks, both in their official capacities, as well as individually:

    "Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich, Plaintiffs, v. Gilmer County, Debbie Allen, both individually and in her official capacity as Gilmer County Deputy Clerk, and Jean Butcher, both individually and in her official capacity as Gilmer County Clerk, Defendants."

  • 27. VIRick  |  April 18, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    5th Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Award for Fees/Costs in Texas Marriage Case

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 18 April 2017, in "DeLeon v. Abbott," the Texas marriage case in which the state obstinately appealed the award for the plaintiffs' attorneys fees/costs to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 3-judge panel of the Court, consisting of Davis, Elrod, and Higginson, has affirmed the district court order awarding the plaintiffs' attorneys fees and costs of more than $600K. The state had appealed the November 2015 award, claiming the monetary amount was excessive.

    In a sharply worded opinion, with comments about the state's "nickel and diming," and the assertion that "we can hardly think of a sphere of judicial decision-making in which appellate micro-management has less to recommend it," the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals obviously thought otherwise in regard to the state's claim, noting in addition that the state must now also pay for the appeal, and included a stern warning about possible sanctions which may be imposed for filing a non-meritorious petition for rehearing en banc. For these latter two points, see the attached notice, following the Opinion, from the Fifth Circuit, Office of the Clerk, in its Memorandum to Counsel.

    The original award amount for $605,673.20, just affirmed, does not include the additional costs to the plaintiffs' inherent in the appeal, which according to today's decision, the state must now also pay.

    The Opinion is here, with the Memorandum to Counsel following it:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/15-51241-13957694/

  • 28. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Georgia CD-6 special election: Georgia's 6th Congressional District, which includes portions of Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties, is having a nail-biter of a close race to replace Tom Price who stepped down to become Trump's HHS secretary. At this writing, Democrat Jon Ossoff has a very tentative lead of 50.32% with 113 of 210 precincts reporting. Returns are complete from Cobb and DeKalb. There are 11 Republican candidates, 4 other Democrats, and 2 independents on the ballot. Republican Karen Handel is at a distant second place with 18.13%.

    If Ossoff fails to win a majority, there will be a runoff. Should that happen, let's hope the combined Dem vote exceeds 50%.

    Returns from the Georgia Secretary of State website: http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/GA/67317/

    The district has been in GOP hands since Newt Gingrich was first elected there in 1978. Price never got less than 60% of the vote, and the district supported McCain and Romney both by more than 60%. Trump, however, is exceedingly unpopular there and just barely beat Hillary. The race is also seen as a test of the GOP's and Trump's eroding support from college-educated white voters who are disproportionately strong among the district's suburban Atlanta electorate.

  • 29. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Sigh. CNN is reporting that, due to a technical problem, Fulton County is forced to hand-count ballots. Apparently, even though Georgia is one of the 13 original colonies that founded the U.S., the process of conducting elections is all new to them.

  • 30. 1grod  |  April 18, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Chechya's gay men might be offered a home in Canada – maybe, perhaps. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

  • 31. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    With 177 of 210 precincts reporting, Ossoff has fallen below a majority with 48.61% of the vote. The rest of the Democrats combined have less than 1%. The two independents combined have less than 0.1%. We're waiting on 33 precincts at this point.

  • 32. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    CNN has called the race as requiring a runoff. At this writing with 185 of 210 precincts reporting, Ossoff has 48.27% while his likely runoff opponent is Handel with 19.65%. Ossoff outpolled Handel and the next four runners up, all of whom were GOP, combined while no other candidate has yet crossed the 1% threshold. All other Dems combined received less than 1% while the independents combined received less than 0.1 %.

    Dems combined received 49.07% while independents polled at 0.09% for a total of 49.16% GOP rejection. Let's see which side is more motivated for the June 20th runoff. If I were the GOP, I'd be deeply concerned while the Dems need to raise money like crazy for this race. This is doable.

  • 33. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Returns are now complete. Ossoff has 48.10%, Handel has 19.78%. Dems combined have 48.89%. Dems and independents combined have 48.98%. GOP has the remainder, 51.02%. Total turnout was 43.47% of registered voters–quite high for a special election and more resembling a midterm. If the Dems keep their turnout high or if Trump does things to outrage more voters, we can win this.

  • 34. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    The problem with the "Rainbow Railroad" is that it is vastly more difficult than the 19th Century Underground Railroad. In a nation as huge as Russia, gays could only wish that the Ohio River or Canada were so close. In order to seek help from Western countries, they would have to travel thousands of miles while outing themselves to complete strangers, well meaning or not, along the way. Lucky is he who even gets to a safe place to petition Canada or some other Western nation for asylum in the first place.

  • 35. Fortguy  |  April 18, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    That's no big deal. Texas will surely find a way of paying for that by taking the money from schools, foster care, or the health care of indigent children. It's what our state government always does.

  • 36. VIRick  |  April 19, 2017 at 12:23 am

    2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in "Zarda"

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 18 April 2017, in "Zarda v. Altitude Express," an employee's appeal of an adverse decision on his employment discrimination claim under Title VII based on sexual orientation, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision, wherein which, relying on an earlier 2nd Circuit decision in "Simonton v. Runyon," the panel hearing this appeal, consisting of Jacob, Sack, and Lynch, declined to hold that discrimination based on sexual orientation constitutes discrimination based on sex for purposes of Title VII, noting that "a (3-judge) panel of this Court could not overturn another (3-judge) panel’s decision."

    However, the most telling comment of the entire decision is found on pages 7-8 where the current panel points out that the plaintiff in the recently-decided "Christiansen" case has a plausible claim of gender stereotyping, whereas that route is not available in "Zarda." In effect, if any case were to seek an En Banc re-hearing to overturn the 2nd Circuit precedent, this panel makes the point that "Christiansen" has a stronger claim.

    As a personal note, I found it distasteful to realize that "Zarda" is actually an estate suit, filed by the co-executors of the Estate of Donald Zarda, meaning, of course, that Donald Zarda is no longer alive and that the co-executors are looking for more money in a settlement with the former employer. In contrast, the plaintiff in "Christiansen" is very much alive.

    The Opinion, Per Curiam, is here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/15-3775-244/

  • 37. VIRick  |  April 19, 2017 at 1:06 am

    The closest, most likely location directly abutting Russia is Finland.

    Since Chechnya is technically a part of Russia, one ought to be able to travel internally within Russia all the way to the other side. However, right near the end of the journey, one ought to make a slight detour, and enter Estonia. Then take the Tallinn-Helsinki ferry into Finland, avoiding the Russo-Finnish land border, as it is heavily guarded, and loaded with land-mines (on the Russian side) to deter unofficial crossings.

    Of course, once in Estonia, there's a second ferry service, Tallinn-Stockholm, direct to Sweden. It is entirely possible, too, that Estonia would offer asylum.

  • 38. Randolph_Finder  |  April 19, 2017 at 2:04 am

    Looking at the International borders of the world, I don't think the Russian/Finish border is the one with the most significant difference in LGBT rights (paper or real), I *think* that would be the South Africa/Zimbabwe border.

    Other possibilities are
    Mexico/Belize
    Brazil/Guyana
    Germany/Poland
    South Africa with any of its other neighbors
    Spain/Morocco
    Israel with any of its neighbors

  • 39. JayJonson  |  April 19, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Yes. We can win this. In the Louisiana's governor's race, where the combined Republican vote was far more than 51.02%, it was assumed that all of that would go to Vitter in the run-off. It didn't. John Bel Edwards won easily. So can Ossoff. There are many divisions among the Republicans.

  • 40. JayJonson  |  April 19, 2017 at 6:48 am

    I don't find anything distasteful about estate suits as opposed to suits filed by living plaintiffs, but I find it a little perplexing that Zarda's executors appealed in federal court rather than to a state appellate court, since most of the errors they allege were made by the state district court. Am I missing something?

  • 41. scream4ever  |  April 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Belize not as much anymore since they recently decriminalized homosexuality.

  • 42. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 26, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore will announce his future plans on the steps of the State Capitol on Wednesday.

    At a press conference three days ago, Moore said he would reveal whether he would run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Luther Strange, who was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley to replace Jeff Sessions.

    Moore interviewed with Bentley for the Senate vacancy before Bentley appointed Strange. http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2017/

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