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News round-up and open thread UPDATE 10/5, 10/6, SCOTUS adds Masterpiece Cakeshop case to December calendar

Discrimination Transgender Rights

– Tomorrow, the Sixth Circuit hears an important anti-discrimination case in which the lower court ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) allows anti-transgender discrimination.

– The plaintiffs challenging Mississippi’s sweeping anti-LGBT law requested and were denied a stay of the “mandate”, or final judgment in the case. They will ask the Supreme Court to weigh in.

– In Equality California’s challenge to President Trump’s ban on transgender military servicemembers, the plaintiffs have requested a preliminary injunction blocking the ban.

UPDATE 10/5 The Trump administration has announced two policy reversals regarding LGBT rights. In the first, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule to protect same-sex couples in long term care has been withdrawn. In the second, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed an Obama administration policy that said Title VII protects transgender workers from discrimination.

UPDATE 10/6: In yet another attack on LGBT people, the Department of Justice has issued “religious freedom” guidance allowing for anti-LGBT discrimination across the board.

UPDATE: The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop on December 5.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

32 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. guitaristbl  |  October 4, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I am trying to do senate math here for 2018 and with Kyrsten Sinema entering the race in Arizona it seems viable the dems may be able to take Flake's seat (if he is able to overcome his party's primary) along with Heller's seat in Nevada which means they can withstand two loses e.g. in Missouri and Indiana and keep the current balances in the senate. That does not make it any easier of course..Heitkamp seems to enjoy popularity among North Dakotans but that does not make her safe and things are much more difficult for Brown in Ohio, Baldwin in Wisconsin and especially Tester in Montana.

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  October 4, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    2018 Senate Race Ratings:

    Cook https://cookpolitical.com/ratings/senate-race-rat

    Sabato http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/2018

    EV http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2017/Senate/sena

  • 3. scream4ever  |  October 4, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Keep in mind that 2018 is likely to be a comeback year for Dems.

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  October 6, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Sessions new directive essentially renders every law and ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination in any state or city unenforcable now then ? Is this it, back to point zero in terms of anti discrimination protections across the US ? This could render the baker's case moot then, conservatives got what they wanted.

  • 5. scream4ever  |  October 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    It does no such thing. It's merely "guidance" for litigation, which the courts can easily ignore. I expect the Colorado baker case to go in our way and render this moot.

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 6, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Botswana: Transgender Man Wins 10-Year Court Battle for Legal Recognition

    A Botswanan man has won a momentous victory for transgender rights in the African country. The trans man has been legally recognized as male after a 10-year-long legal battle.

    In a landmark ruling, the Botswana High Court has ordered the country’s government to change the gender marker on a trans man’s identity card from female to male. In his judgment, Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa said the government had violated the plaintiff’s rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, and equality. He added that the government had also contravened the man’s right to freedom from discrimination and inhumane and degrading treatment.

    Another case over transgender rights in the country will be heard in December, brought by Botswanan trans woman Tshepo Ricki Kgositau.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/05/transgender-

  • 7. FredDorner  |  October 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I wonder how our newly neoconfederate DOJ will reconcile item #8 of the guidance (that government cannot favor or disfavor specific religious groups) with their support for Mississippi's new law which grants special rights and privileged status to members of anti-LGBT cults like the Southern Baptists?

  • 8. VIRick  |  October 6, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Philippines: Bill Would Extend Sweeping LGBT Protections

    A landmark non-discrimination bill that passed in the Philippine House of Representatives would ensure extensive protections for LGBT people if approved by the country’s Senate. House Bill 4982, or the SOGIE Bill as it is called, passed unanimously on 20 September 2017. Its protections cover access to public services, employment, health service, education, and much more.

    The legislation is now before the Philippine Senate for a period of interpretation and amendments before it can be voted on. If the bill passes in the Senate, the next step is a bicameral process. Representatives from the lower and upper house will harmonize the legislation. After that it will be sent to the executive, and President Duterte can either veto it or allow it to lapse into law.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/10/06/philipp

  • 9. VIRick  |  October 6, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Querétaro: Marriage Equality Up-Date

    Per Mexico Igualitario of 5 October 2017:

    Hoy anunciamos que obtuvimos 13 sentencias de amparo a favor del matrimonio igualitario en Querétaro.
    https://twitter.com/MX_Igualitario/status/9160531

    Today, we are announcing that we have obtained 13 amparo judgments in favor of marriage equality in Querétaro.

    Per Rex Wockner on 7 October 2017:

    Despite the fact that 8 of 18 municipalities within the state of Querétaro no longer require an amparo judgment prior to their marrying any same-sex couple who requests it, the state congress continues to fail to act to change the state marriage law. Thus, Mexico Igualitario has obtained these latest favorable judgments in order to establish the local jurisprudence so as to be able to request the direct intervention of Mexico's Supreme Court and force the change through a ruling from the Supreme Court.
    https://www.debate.com.mx/mexico/Detienen-las-ini

  • 10. VIRick  |  October 6, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Chile: Corte Suprema Respalda Cambios Legales Necesarios para el Matrimonio Igualitario

    En informe remitido al Senado de Chile en el 5 de octubre 2017, el máximo tribunal destacó que el proyecto establece "en igualdad de condiciones" la adopción de niños o niñas por las parejas del mismo sexo.
    http://www.adnradio.cl/noticias/nacional/corte-su

    Chile: Supreme Court Backs Legal Changes Needed for Marriage Equality

    In a report sent to the Chilean Senate on 5 October 2017, the highest court stressed that the bill establishes "on an equal footing" the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

    Remember, in Chile, the Supreme Court must determine the constitutionality of any/all proposed legislation prior to its final enactment as law. In their report to the President of the Chilean Senate, Andrés Zaldívar, it would appear that the Supreme Court has now just done so.

  • 11. VIRick  |  October 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Mexico: State-by-State Legislative Progress on Marriage Equality

    Per La Jornada de Aguascalientes of 3 October 2017:

    Aguascalientes: Matrimonio igualitario será dictaminado por la legislatura actual.
    http://www.lja.mx/2017/10/matrimonio-igualitario-

    Aguascalientes: Marriage equality bill to be drafted by the current legislature.

    Per Diario de San Luis Potosí of 4 October 2017:

    Presentan a la legislatura de San Luis Potosí iniciativa para legalizar matrimonio gay.
    http://pulsoslp.com.mx/2017/10/04/presentan-inici

    Initiative to legalize same-sex marriage presented to the San Luis Potosí legislature.

    Yucatán: Legislature Adopts "Anti-freezer" Initiative

    Mérida, Yucatán, 19 de septiembre 2017
    El diputado del Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), David A. Barrera Zavala, destacó que la LIX Legislatura del Estado de Yucatán, dejará un precedente de un antes y un después, al rendir frutos la iniciativa “Anticongeladora” aprobada por unanimidad.
    http://www.informaciondelonuevo.com/2017/09/david

    The deputy of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), David A. Barrera Zavala, stressed that the LIX Legislature of the State of Yucatan has established a precedent by unanimously approving his "Anti-freezer" initiative (so that henceforth matters can now proceed on his marriage equality bill).

    Per El Sol de Hermosillo of 12 September 2017:

    Sonora: All Political Parties Agree to Analyze Marriage Equality Bill

    El hecho de que las bancadas de los diferentes partidos en el Congreso del Estado hayan aceptado el analizar la propuesta de modificación a la ley que busca la legalización del matrimonio igualitario ya es una ganancia, aseveró Juan José Lam Angulo. El diputado perredista, impulsor de esta modificación al Código de la Familia para el Estado de Sonora, expuso que a pesar de que personas como el presidente municipal de Hermosillo dijeran que es un tema pasado de moda, este es un tema vigente y digno de análisis.

    “Ahorita al menos se ha aceptado analizarlo. Aquí la fracción del PAN y del PRI y del resto de la representación parlamentaria está diciendo lo vamos a analizar y va a ser tema para fechas posteriores,” afirmó.
    https://www.elsoldehermosillo.com.mx/hermosillo/f

    In a grand coalition, all of the different parties in the State Congress have accepted the idea of analyzing the proposed amendment to the law that seeks the legalization of marriage equality, said Juan José Lam Angulo. The PRD deputy, sponsor of the amendment to the Family Code for the State of Sonora, explained that although people like the mayor of Hermosillo have said that this is an old fashioned subject, it is a valid and worthy subject for analysis .

    "At least the idea has been accepted to analyze it. Here the legislative members of PAN and PRI and the rest of the parliamentary representation are saying that we are going to analyze it and make it a subject for a later date," he said.

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Baja California: Marriage Equality Up-Date

    En Baja California las parejas gays tienen que casarse vía el amparo. Éste fue el caso de Josue Cervantes Moreno, psicólogo de 31 años de edad, y René Rivas Rivera, ingeniero de 35 años. Ellos viven en Tijuana, en la frontera norte de México.

    Finalmente el 07 de septiembre de 2017 firmaron el acta matrimonial ante el juez del Registro Civil y el sábado siguiente (9 de septiembre) llevaron a cabo una fiesta con amigos y familiares. El banquete y baile de bodas tuvo lugar en la Hacienda Santo Domingo de Tecate.

    "Somos la tercera pareja del mismo sexo que se casa en Tijuana y la quinta en todo el estado de Baja California," celebró René.
    http://japii.mx/baja-california-las-parejas-gays-

    In Baja California gay couples have to marry via amparo. This was the case of Josue Cervantes Moreno, a 31-year-old psychologist, and René Rivas Rivera, a 35-year-old engineer. They live in Tijuana, on the northern border of Mexico.

    Finally on 7 September 2017 they signed the marriage certificate before the Civil Registry judge and on the following Saturday (9 September) they held a party with friends and family. The banquet and wedding ball took place in the Hacienda Santo Domingo in Tecate.

    "We are the third same-sex couple to get married in Tijuana and the fifth in the entire state of Baja California," René celebrated.

  • 13. scream4ever  |  October 6, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks for the news Rick. We really missed your updates around here!!!

  • 14. VIRick  |  October 6, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Paraguay: Legislature to Debate Marriage Equality

    Per UCR Diversidad de Argentina of 17 September 2017:

    Paraguay debatirá el matrimonio igualitario. Fernando Lugo, ex-presidente del Paraguay (2008-12) y actual Presidente del Congreso Nacional (2013-18), con un discurso del siglo XII.
    https://twitter.com/UCRDN

    Paraguay will discuss marriage equality. Fernando Lugo, ex-president of Paraguay (2008-12) and current President of the National Congress (2013-18), with a speech from the XII century.

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 7, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Here are two more:

    San Juan, Puerto Rico:

    Suddenly and quite mysteriously, all over the city, there are now hundreds and hundreds of stenciled portraits of the Assh-ole-in-Change with the extremely appropriate word, PENDEJO, in bold type beneath it.

    St. Thomas, Virgin Islands:

    Per my latest cell phone call, Home Depot has finally received a fresh shipment of brand-new electric generators, and for $700.00, my partner was able to purchase one. Of course, we still have to deal with the gasoline situation, and with the fact that it costs $3.14 per gallon, when available.

  • 16. guitaristbl  |  October 7, 2017 at 4:11 am

    I fear Duterte is likely to veto it. And to be honest I would be ashamed if such a criminal was the president putting his signature on such legislation..

  • 17. guitaristbl  |  October 7, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Well this is going to be fun (and also lead nowhere unfortunately…). Paraguay has a very long way to go despite being surroundes by many countries with ME.

  • 18. scream4ever  |  October 7, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Even seemingly impossible goals begin with one small step.

  • 19. VIRick  |  October 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    At least the matter has been forced onto the legislative agenda and will be debated, giving the issue of marriage equality national exposure. As is typical for Paraguay, I am certain that many Paraguayans see themselves as "surrounded," given that they actually are surrounded and dominated by 3 of the most progressively liberal countries in South America (4 if one counts the dramatic improvement in transgender rights recently gained in Bolivia).

    Still, most Paraguayans have a difficult time grasping the concept that they are, without doubt, the most socially regressive and backward-thinking country in the entire region.

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    First Post-Hurricane Report from Jayuya, Puerto Rico

    Here's a just-posted video report on BuzzFeed News from Jayuya, Puerto Rico, a once-lovely coffee-growing town that I love, nestled at very high elevation in the once-verdant west-central mountains of the island, a place where only local volunteers have yet to be seen doing any sort of rescue/repair/clean-up/recovery operations.

    Unfortunately, this situation in Jayuya is typical of the complete lack of any outside assistance yet to be provided throughout the entire central mountain region of Puerto Rico,– or most anywhere else in Puerto Rico. Even the town of Comerío, just 26 miles from San Juan, in the more-accessible east central area, has received no federal assistance whatsoever. Nor has Loiza, right on the Atlantic coast, immediately east of San Juan.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/news?utm_term=.xgp9Zbq2K

    And here's another account of 8 October on the Puerto Rico death toll, a figure which is already in the hundreds, and climbing rapidly, as more areas of the island slowly come back into access and communication:
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/nidhiprakash/puerto-rico

    Note: The eye of Hurricane Maria cut a diagonal swath across the island from the SE corner (near Naguabo, a town yet to be heard from) to the NW tip (near Aguadilla), and finished slamming through that west-central region of the island on 22 September, 15 days ago. Due to a total lack of outside access since then, these are the very first on-the-ground reports coming from Jayuya or anywhere near Jayuya.

    I live at about 1100 feet elevation above sea level, and can verify that hurricane-force wind speed increases exponentially as one goes higher up the mountain, and that the barometric pressure readings drop accordingly. The town center of Jayuya is well over 3000 feet elevation, while the highest mountain within the municipality rises to 4400 feet. Factoring in the several variables, that means that the potential for damage there was about 10 times worse.

    Despite the Assh-ole-in-Charge's glib definition of "disaster," the death toll in all of the islands is still being tallied and continues to climb. As another example, the body of a missing St. John boat captain has finally been recovered and identified,– after it washed ashore a week later in Tortola. However, I am also keenly aware of another disturbing fact: In a conscious effort to downplay the official death toll for tourism purposes, kidney dialysis and oxygen-requiring patients who die, as well as heart attack victims and suicides, are not officially counted in the final tally, nor are deaths occurring at sea. As a result, this boat captain's death (and many others) will probably "disappear" from the count.

  • 21. VIRick  |  October 8, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Up-Dates from Guatemala

    Quetzalí, First Trans Indigenous Queen of Guatemala

    Quetzalí, la Primera Reina Indígena Trans de Guatemala

    Quetzalí es una joven transgénero de apenas 22 años de edad que fue coronada reina del primer certamen de belleza a nivel nacional para mujeres transgénero. Esta mujer es de raíces indígenas, y después de ser coronada, se ha comprometido a utilizar su visibilidad para defender la igualdad y los derechos de las personas transgénero en el país.
    http://desastre.mx/internacional/quetzali-la-prim

    Quetzalí is a young transgender of just 22 years of age who was crowned queen at the first national beauty contest for transgender women. She is of indigenous roots, and after being crowned, is committed to using her visibility to defend the equality and the rights of transgender people in the country.

    LGBTI Congress in Guatemala

    Guatemala City, 6 October 2017:
    The eighth National Congress of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in Guatemala that the University of San Carlos of Guatemala sponsored through its School of Political Science took place this week in Guatemala City. It provided a space for dialogue, discussion, and agreements among the LGBTI community and key social and political representatives.

    The event was organized by the National Network of Sexual Diversity and HIV of Guatemala (REDNADS) with the support of Colectivo Gay Indígena, Asociación Gente Positiva, the lesbian grupo ODISCEA, Lambda, OTRANS, and TransFormación, among other groups. The Presidential Commission of Human Rights of Guatemala, the Human Rights Office (of Guatemala), GayGuatemala.com, the National Democratic Institute, UNAIDS, the US Agency for International Development, and the US Embassy in Guatemala also supported the event.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/10/06/lgbti-c

  • 22. Phoenix_12  |  October 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Updates from Panama:

    The Supreme Court heard arguments on the two marriage cases this summer. It's still unclear when the decision will be announced. The plaintiffs are being represented by a prominent gay Panamanian lawyer, Iván Chanis Barahona, and by a lawyer from Morgan & Morgan, Panama's largest law firm. Chanis said he's optimistic about a positive decision. Evan Wolfson and LGBT groups from Argentina and Costa Rica all filed amicus briefs in support. Hopefully, we can soon add Panama to the list of countries with marriage equality.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/10/01/gay-law

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  October 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Romania ‘turns illiberal’ with moves against gay marriage
    http://www.politico.eu/article/romania-gay-marria

    All major political parties in Romania have expressed support for the constitutional change, with the exception of newcomer Union to Save Romania (USR), and the initiative is expected to be approved in parliament. …The planned vote — which could be held as early as November — is the result of a campaign by “Coalition for Family,” which brings together more than 40 groups, many of them religious or describing themselves as “pro-life.” With the backing of the influential Orthodox Church, the organization collected 3 million signatures (Romania’s population is 20 million) in just a few months in 2015, enough to take the initiative to parliament. … Romania’s Coalition received legal assistance from the international chapters of several U.S.-based conservative Christian groups, including the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Liberty Counsel. In the U.S., both have been designated as anti-LGBTQ hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. … Romania is, overwhelmingly, a conservative country. Until 2001, it was illegal in Romania for same-sex couples to hold hands or express any other sign of affection, which was considered indecent exposure in public. The law changed as part of Romania’s EU accession process. … “There’s a high risk that Romania will go the way of Hungary,” political scientist Cristian Pirvulescu, the founder of Respect, a campaign opposing efforts to outlaw gay marriage, said in an interview published on Respect’s Facebook page. “We cannot separate the referendum from the Romanian government’s judiciary reforms, which would transform judges into terrified agents of the state”

  • 24. allan120102  |  October 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Another marriage has occur in Zacatecas. I am not sure how many have happen Rick has the count on each state so he might me with it. http://ntrzacatecas.com/2017/10/08/celebran-prime

  • 25. VIRick  |  October 8, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    First Same-Sex Marriage in Fresnillo, Zacatecas

    Fresnillo, 8 de octubre 2017:
    Roberto Carlos Flores y Raúl Zaragoza Flores tuvieron una relación de noviazgo por siete años, y luego de dos años de vivir en unión libre, comenzaron una nueva etapa en sus vidas al contraer matrimonio civil. Se convierten, de esta forma, en el primer enlace entre personas del mismo género en Fresnillo. En 7 de octubre, la boda civil y la recepción se realizaron en el salón, Real de Ángeles, donde familiares y amigos llegaron para desearles lo mejor en esta nueva etapa de vida.
    http://ntrzacatecas.com/2017/10/08/celebran-prime

    Fresnillo, 8 October 2017:
    Roberto Carlos Flores and Raúl Zaragoza Flores had a seven-year courtship relationship, and after two years of living in a free union, they began a new stage in their lives when contracting civil marriage. They became, in this way, the first same-sex couple to marry in Fresnillo. On 7 October, the wedding and reception were held in the hall, Real de Ángeles, where family and friends came to wish them the best in this new stage of life.

    Although this news article does not mention anything about this couple needing to obtain an amparo prior to their marriage, it would have been necessary for them to have gained one. Thus, this action makes them the third same-sex couple, state-wide within Zacatecas state, to have received a favorable amparo judgment.

    The first injunction, filed by a male same-sex couple from the city of Zacatecas, Rodolfo Eduardo Flores Nava and Francisco Domínguez Galindo, was approved in May 2016. This couple married very quickly thereafter. As for the second injunction, on 3 April 2017, a female same-sex couple from Fresnillo gained an amparo allowing them to marry (but apparently, have yet to do so).

  • 26. VIRick  |  October 8, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Post-Hurricane Report from Tortola, British Virgin Islands

    Tortola, 6 October 2017:
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which made a direct hit on the British Virgin Islands on 6 September 2017, packing 185 mph winds, the territory’s leader, Premier Orlando Smith, said that 22.5 percent of the population had been displaced. Based on the 2017 population estimates of 37,017 from the Central Statistics Office, some 8,328 residents have had to seek alternate shelter as reports are that 4,240 structures have been damaged. (See the graphic photo accompanying this article for a better overview.)

    On a more positive note, Smith also announced the restoration of commercial flights from the Terrence B. Lettsome Airport (on Beef Island, which is connected to Tortola by a short causeway) from Monday, 9 October 2017, (after its having been closed to commercial traffic for over a month). Although a single ferry has been operating between Tortola and Virgin Gorda, and another is limping back and forth between St. Thomas and St. John, the intra-Virgin Islands ferries, which normally run between the BVI and the USVI, have yet to be restored.
    http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/breaking/bv

    Under long-standing international agreement, BVI citizens are allowed to enter the USA visa-free, but must do so by way of St. Thomas. However, until the intra-VI ferry service is restored, they are unable to do so (legally).

  • 27. guitaristbl  |  October 9, 2017 at 9:49 am

    It seems to a good portion of conservatives entering a coffee shop to distribute homophobic flyers with extreme gore in them is the same as asking for a cake :
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/09/gay-coffee-s

    I am not 100 % sure but doesn't the owner of the business have a right to sue them for disruption of public order ?

  • 28. FredDorner  |  October 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    My impression is that no bible-babbler or conservative has the first clue how public accommodation laws work, much less what protected classes are or how they're scoped. That's why they make such false equivalencies.

    Taking the video at face value and after seeing the homophobic and graphically offensive anti-abortion crap they were distributing, I can't blame the owner one bit for his reaction. I'm straight and I would have booted out the bigots too, but I find it very amusing that these Christian extremists expect a gay man to serve them while they distribute hate speech intended to harm people exactly like him.

  • 29. ianbirmingham  |  October 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    US votes against UN resolution condemning the death penalty for gay sex – joining Iraq and Saudi Arabia
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/04/us-vot

  • 30. guitaristbl  |  October 10, 2017 at 5:57 am

    On the page of the group they are all so shocked and outraged by the "fuck jesus in the butt" comments. The man was simply offering them an equivalent of what they did to him to show them how inappropriate it was but in the post truth era we live religious conservatives substitute their lack of argumentation with "false victim mode".

  • 31. davepCA  |  October 10, 2017 at 9:55 am

    "Judge" Roy Moore's family values on display again: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/354643-gop-a

  • 32. JayJonson  |  October 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Well, he's a good boy. He's only been arrested nine times that we know of. There probably were a lot more that were hushed up by a discreet phone call from the Chief Justice accompanied by an envelope of cash contributed by the good Christians who support him.

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