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News round-up and open thread

Transgender Rights

– A federal district court judge who struck down President Trump’s policy banning transgender military servicemembers has clarified that the order means transgender servicemembers must be accepted on January 1.

This is an open thread. We’ll post breaking news if there is any.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

66 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. VIRick  |  November 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Chile: Governmental Marriage Equality Messaging Continues

    Following yesterday's hearing on the marriage equality bill in the Chilean Senate, today, 28 November 2017, the messaging in favor of marriage equality from all of these governmental entities and parties continues:
    Gobernación de Maipo‏, SernamEG RM, Gobierno de Chile, Gobernación de Talca, SernamEG Antofagasta, Min. Justicia y DDHH, SernamEG O'Higgins, Partido Liberal, Gobernación Tamarugal, Paula Narváez, and even a favorable one from Católicas México‏.
    https://twitter.com/hashtag/matrimonioigualitario

    A Note about Senator Lily Pérez (or Why the Senate Needs to Vote Now)

    Senator Lily Pérez of Valparaíso, a 20-year vetaran senator and a member of the right-wing opposition coalition, but an extremely vocal supporter of marriage equality, was defeated in her bid for re-election in the very recent congressional elections by a left-wing Amplitud candidate. Thus, as long as the current Senate remains in session, she will still be there, representing Valparaíso, and voting in favor of marriage equality. Once the new Senate convenes, she will no longer represent that district. Her replacement will also vote favorably for marriage equality, but for years, Lily Pérez has been a gay icon.
    http://www.latercera.com/noticia/lily-perez-pierd

  • 2. VIRick  |  November 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Canada to Pay $145 Million Compensation for Homophobic Persecution

    According to the "Globe and Mail," as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement reached over this past weekend, the Canadian government has set aside $145 million to settle compensation claims from people purged from public service and persecuted for being gay. Well over $100 million will be spent directly on compensation, while a further $250,000 will go towards community LGBT rights projects to tackle homophobia.

    In addition, today, 28 November 2017, the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized for the country’s historic approach to the LGBT community, making an apology for purges that gay people endured for several decades. The apology was given to the hundreds of LGBT Canadians who were discharged from the military and/or fired from the civil service. The policy began in the 1950s, inspired in part by fears that Soviet spies would have more leverage to blackmail LGBTQ people. Because homosexual sex was illegal in the country until 1969, this program to root out gay and lesbian people was thus carried out until the late 1960s, as it was thought that such individuals continued to pose a threat to national security.

    Meanwhile, this morning, 28 November 2017, the Canadian federal government also introduced legislation that would expunge the criminal records of those convicted for consensual sex with a same-sex partner.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/11/canada-apolog

    Also see:
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/11/28/canada-to-pa

  • 3. scream4ever  |  November 28, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    How long before the US does this lol

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 28, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    The last I heard:

    "A similar crackdown occurred in the United States during the same years, and in August 2017, a federal judge, against the Justice Department‘s objections, ordered the FBI to conduct a new search for documents pertaining to the (same) anti-LGBTQ policy."
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/11/canada-apolog

    Since then, nothing has happened.

  • 5. scream4ever  |  November 28, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Right I forgot about that. I know I say it'll be a while, but I'm constantly surprised by how fast things move, so I'm gonna predict by 2030.

  • 6. JayJonson  |  November 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    This article embeds a video of Prime Minister Trudeau's speech. It is very moving and beautifully delivered. http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbad

  • 7. davepCA  |  November 28, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Wow, what a remarkable speech. Thank you for posting this.

  • 8. scream4ever  |  November 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    One down, now onto the House of Representatives!
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/n

  • 9. VIRick  |  November 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Australia: Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

    The first marriage equality bill to pass in the federal parliament after more than 20 attempts now goes to the lower house. Senators cheered as the marriage equality bill passed, 43-12.

    Two weeks after the announcement that 61.6% of those who participated in the unprecedented national postal survey voted in favor of same-sex marriage, the Senate, on 28 November 2017, passed the cross-party bill without amendment. Almost all Labor senators, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, Derryn Hinch, and members of the ruling Liberal-National Coalition voted in favor.

    The bill will now go to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily next week, fulfilling the Turnbull government’s promise to facilitate a marriage equality bill in the event of a "Yes" vote, and to legislate the historic social reform before Christmas.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/n

    See also:
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/11/28/austral

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 28, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Sanders Intros $146 Billion 'Transformation Blueprint' for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

    Per Ian Birmingham (in reference to a post in the previous thread):

    The bill—formally called The Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act—was referred to as "a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico" by Ramon Luis Nieves, former lawmaker on the island. It would give $62 billion to the territory to help it pay off its debts, $51 billion for economic development, and $27 billion for infrastructure.

    Sanders (I-VT) noted in his press conference with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and other co-sponsors, that more than two months after Maria made landfall, "half of the people there—American citizens all—still have no electricity, many are still struggling to get clean drinking water, and more than 100,000 people have left Puerto Rico."

    But despite the dire situation, Trump has requested just $29 billion for Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas combined, to help with the recovery from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as Maria. (The Assh-ole-in-Charge completely forgot to include the USVI is his miserably paltry "recovery" scheme. After all, according to him, he met with its "president," and drivelled meaningless re-assurances.)
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/28/sand

    Note: "…. more than 100,000 people have left Puerto Rico."

    That is a very conservative estimate. Remember all those non-stop flights to the US Mainland I was documenting, while being a refugee myself? There have been some 50 flights per day, with an average of 250 people per flight, giving us a daily passenger count of 12,500. The flights are continuing, and the numbers departing continue unabated. In the 7 weeks since the San Juan International Airport re-opened after Maria, that totals, so far, to around 660,000 people.

    Even if only half originated from Puerto Rico (after all, San Juan is an airline hub point), and have also chosen never to return (after all, a lot of Puerto Ricans shuttle back and forth, even under the most dire of circumstances, myself included), that still leaves us with a far greater number, more like 330,000 people, who have already migrated, with an untold additional number still waiting their turn in the next number of months.

    It should also be noted that many people (like us) actually lost power due to Irma, two weeks earlier than Maria, and are still in the dark, a time-span now pushing 3 months (not 2 months, as stated). And just half the people there are still doing without? No. The latest numbers I have seen indicate it is more like 65-70% of customers (as opposed to the use of the word, "people") are still without electricity, remembering too, that practically all of the top priority customers first to be restored are businesses, public institutions, and government agencies, not private residences. Thus, it is conceivable that 90% or more of people in their private residences are still doing without (assuming there's still enough of a dwelling left standing).

  • 11. davepCA  |  November 28, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    YES!!!!

  • 12. FredDorner  |  November 28, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    An ethical government would do exactly what Sanders suggests but there's zero chance it will happen with the GOP and Trump in charge. I'm quite sure Sanders knows that.

  • 13. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 29, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Just six days until another historic SCOTUS LGBT civil rights case—oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or comments?

  • 14. JayJonson  |  November 29, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Thanks. It truly is remarkable and needs to be seen in its entirety. The delivery as well as the substance is extraordinary. Trudeau is so elegant and intelligent and speaks with such heart. Especially moving is the fact that both sides of the aisle respond with standing ovations. I can imagine President Obama giving such a speech, but I can not imagine Republicans standing in agreement with him.

  • 15. Randolph_Finder  |  November 29, 2017 at 7:46 am

    I can't find anything that is more specific than members of the Liberal-National coalition voted for. I wonder whether anyone in the Nationals voted for given that the coalition with the Nationals was what made the Liberal Prime Minister refuse to do this without the National Vote.

    But from what I understand, only 2 or 3 Liberals from the Liberal-National Coalition would have to vote yes (which they will do if not whipped on the issue) in order for it to pass in the Lower House. (If they are whipped on the issue which will cause it to fail, that will go *directly* against what the Prime Minister said when he forced the mail vote.)

    Basically, we either get
    1) Marriage Equality *or*
    2) The Liberal – National coalition failing *or*
    3) an issue that Labor/Greens can scream about from now to the next general election.
    (and more than one is of course possible)

  • 16. scream4ever  |  November 29, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I'm not worried, as I expect Kennedy to rule in our favor. I was shocked that they granted cert at all to be honest (I guess Scalia was the 6th who denied cert to the photography case from New Mexico?).

    I'm way more excited/interested in the sexual orientation employment discrimination case from Georgia (set for conference around the same time as Masterpiece's oral arguments occur) and the public school trans bathroom case from Wisconsin.

  • 17. SethInMaryland  |  November 29, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Their are national mps that do support marriage equality. I remember some of them announcing support after Ireland voted yes

  • 18. VIRick  |  November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Somewhere, quite recently, I read that some rights group in Florida has already assisted over 60,000 adults, so far, recently arrived from Puerto Rico, in successfully obtaining Florida driver's licenses so that they have proof of Florida residency (and have checked "Yes" for simultaneous voter registration), and thus will be able to vote in that state in the 2018 elections. Needless to say, this is an on-going and continuing effort with no end in sight.

  • 19. guitaristbl  |  November 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    I expect a loss on narrow grounds that will allow discrimination in the field of wedding services, which may be in the main 5-4 opinion if Kennedy writes it (although I doubt Gorsuch Alito and Thomas will agree) or in a Kennedy concurrence most likely with the 4 liberal justices dissenting and Ginsburg especially writing a dissent similar to the one she did write in Hobby Lobby about the slippery slope of the argument.
    Possible concurrences as well from Gorsuch/Alito/Thomas in case the main opinion is narrow to make it clear they would expand the scope and strike down the whole statute protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

  • 20. VIRick  |  November 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    South Africa: Gay Couple Refused Right to Adopt, a True Closet Case

    A South African court has denied a gay couple the right to adopt a child and the judge did it for a good reason, stating that the adoption would not be in the child’s best interests. The two men have been together for ten years and wanted to have a child with a surrogate mother. Surrogacy agreements have to be approved by a court in the African country before adoption rights are granted.

    However, while they have been partners for a decade, one of the prospective fathers is not out of the closet, and the two men live separately to hide their relationship. They were only identified in court as CJD and HN. Judge Ronel Tolmay declined the agreement, saying the closeted relationship could harm the child’s psychological well-being.

    “I can see a little toddler excitedly running towards his father in public, shouting out: ‘daddy.’ Would the father pretend not to be the parent? How will this impact on the child?” she said in the decision. “No one can judge a gay person who, because of persisting public prejudice, is reluctant to reveal his sexual orientation. However, the court must always place the rights of the child first. If HN in future finds it less daunting to be open about his sexual orientation, he can still approach the court and may obtain parental rights.”

    The judge is known for progressive decisions and regularly championed LGBTQ causes as a lawyer before ascending to the bench.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/11/court-denied-

  • 21. FredDorner  |  November 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    A loss on this issue would undermine all public accommodations laws in the country, including the 1964 CRA. That's simply not going to happen.

  • 22. VIRick  |  November 29, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    US Civil Rights Commission Just Reamed Assh-Ole-in-Charge a New One

    The US Commission on Civil Rights is urging Congress to pass legislation protecting LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination. Today, 29 November 2017, it released a 154-page report titled “Working for Inclusion: Time for Congress to Enact Federal Legislation to Address Workplace Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans,” after studying the issue and the arguments for and against instituting legal protections.

    It found that LGBTQ workers have “faced a long, serious, and pervasive history of official and unofficial employment discrimination by federal, state, and local governments, and by private employers,” according to a press release issued with the report. It notes that an “inconsistent and irreconcilable patchwork of state laws against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination and federal court decisions interpreting existing law” leaves the community vulnerable. Further, it is difficult to know the true extent of the problem, as federal data points are lacking.

    Despite the fact that polls show a majority of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum support evaluating LGBTQ workers on the merits of their work alone, a whopping 28 states offer no protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Another two offer protections on the basis of sexual orientation, but not gender identity. As a result, in addition to calling on Congress to at long last pass legislation making it illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the commission has recommended including questions about LGBTQ status on the Census and in other federal surveys.

    That has been a sticking point with the current administration, which has quietly removed questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity from a number of federal surveys. It was considering keeping a question about LGBTQ identity off a marketing survey for the 2020 Census, but changed course after criticism from advisers.

    “Federal agencies should issue or, where relevant, reaffirm specific guidance for federal and private employers outlining protections for LGBT employees, including specifically enumerating protections for transgender persons,” the commission adds. The current administration has been on the other side of this issue, intervening in court cases to argue that it should be legal to fire people for being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person. AG Sessions also issued memos stating that the Department of Justice would begin giving added weight to those claiming their religious freedom gives them a license to discriminate, just so long as they cite their beliefs when doing so.

    This isn’t the first time the US Commission on Civil Rights has publicly disagreed with the Trump administration. In August 2017, it announced its opposition to Trump’s transgender military ban.

    “Living up to the American ideal of fairness and equity demands federal statutory protection for LGBT employees, actively and consistently enforced across the federal government and lived in employees’ workplace experience,” said U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Chair Catherine E. Lhamon. “We call on Congress to act now to ensure that it leaves no gap in the fabric of federal civil rights protection for LGBT employees.”
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/11/u-s-commissio

    See also:
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/11/29/u-s-age

  • 23. scream4ever  |  November 29, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    If the Supreme Court grants cert to and rules in our favor in the upcoming cases, then such action would essentially be unneeded.

  • 24. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 30, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Scream, I'm not sure that I agree with your reasoning. All will be more securely protected if the congress passes the suggested civil rights protections for LGBT workers.

  • 25. guitaristbl  |  November 30, 2017 at 9:12 am

    What indicates to you that they do not want to undermine them already – the conservatives that is ?
    Thats why I said it will be limited in scope and apply only to wedding related services. Kennedy can be lured to sign up to that. Lets not forget his first amendment reference in Obergefell that the 5th circuit also referenced in its decision afterwards.

    I am just saying we should prepare for a loss on these narrow grounds and be content with it at this point because if this was decided in a few years we could have all laws and ordinances protecting from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation shut down with more trump appointed "judges".

  • 26. VIRick  |  November 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Quick Oaxaca Up-Date

    Per Juan Carlos Nungaray:

    Sabían que en el Registro Civil del Gobierno de Oaxaca, no saben qué es el Matrimonio Igualitario y mucho menos conocen la palabra Homoparental, y que si te quieres casar aun requieres pedir permiso a las autoridades (por amparo)?
    https://twitter.com/jcnungaray1

    Did you know that in the Civil Registry of the Government of Oaxaca, they do not know what Equal Marriage is and much less know the word Homoparental, and that if you want to get married you still need to ask permission from the authorities (per amparo)?

  • 27. FredDorner  |  November 30, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Kennedy is the author of Romer v Evans. He fully understands that you can't carve out class exceptions to equal protection or to non-discrimination laws.
    However I have no doubt that Gorsuch, Alito and Thomas will vote in favor of the bigoted baker. I seriously doubt that Roberts will even though he apparently voted to grant cert to the case.

    I also think the entire court understands what would happen to the Civil Rights Act if either the "artistic expression" or the religious claims were to prevail. Of course that's exactly what the three Christian extremists on the court really want.

  • 28. FredDorner  |  November 30, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Yeah, there's a big difference between a constitutional (or a court doctrinal protection like heightened scrutiny) and a statutory protection. Statutory protections are better on a day-to-day basis particularly when it results in the EEOC or a state or local non-discrimination commission fighting on one's behalf.

  • 29. VIRick  |  November 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    South Africa: Labor Amendment Bill Gives Gay Couples Paid Parental Leave

    Yesterday, 29 November 2017, the National Assembly passed a gender-neutral Paid Parental Leave bill. The gender-neutral legislation will give same-sex couples, as well as surrogate parents, 10 paid days of parental leave. Adoptive parents will be given two months. If there are two adoptive parents, one of the two is entitled to adoption leave and the other to parental leave of 10 days. The same provision is made for parents in a surrogate motherhood agreement.

    It still has to pass one more vote and acquire President Jacob Zuma’s signature to become law.

    Sonke Gender Justice, a non-profit organisation that works towards human rights advancements across Africa, welcomed the change. “This bill is a landmark achievement for LGBTQI rights in South Africa, since it is gender-neutral and allows for adoption and surrogacy leave,” said Wessel van den Berg, the children’s rights manager at Sonke. The bill now allows for all parents to access leave. This includes fathers and adoptive parents.”
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/11/30/landmark-rul

  • 30. VIRick  |  November 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Australian Court: Transgenders Can Receive Hormone Treatment without Judge's Approval

    On 29 November 2017, in a landmark ruling by the Family Court, it was decided that if children have parental permission and their doctor’s approval, they don’t need a judge’s consent as well. The ruling  came the same week that the Senate passed LGBT politician Dean Smith’s same-sex marriage bill.

    Anna Brown, the Human Rights Law Centre’s director of legal advocacy, hailed the ruling and the impact it will have on children. “This will make a profound difference to the lives of many young trans people who will now be relieved of the burden of a costly and unnecessary court process in order to access hormone treatment that supports them to be who they are,” she said.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/11/30/life-changin

  • 31. scream4ever  |  November 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Of course, but the Supreme Court setting precedent is still huge.

  • 32. A_Jayne  |  November 30, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Both are potent, each in its own right :

    When the SCOTUS sets precedent, it stands only as long as it is not overturned or different precedent overrides.

    When laws are passed, they are in effect only until overriding laws take their place or they are repealed.

    All above can happen. Having both (repeal/replace) happen for both venues (legislature/SCOTUS) is exponentially nore unlikely, so I like having SCOTUS precedents set, with subsequent changes to law.

  • 33. FredDorner  |  November 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I totally agree and I think the court is likely to do exactly that – to treat sexual orientation as a protected aspect of sex and to warrant heightened scrutiny. The precedents and logic on this are pretty clear, the big question is whether Kennedy or Roberts can be persuaded. I think there's a good chance Kennedy at least can be.

    IANAL but I do understand some of the difference in how court protections vs statutory protections work, and I think the latter will have a far greater impact and trickle-down effect to the states in the short term. And that's actually why the Trump regime has been dismantling Obama's EOs on federal contractors.

  • 34. A_Jayne  |  November 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Since it's conservatives who have (for years!) been trying to carve out LGBT as a class available for various forms of discrimination (civil and criminal law, workplace, housing, commerce, social, etc), is it possible that one day SCOTUS will say, "Ok, enough. Yes, they are a separate class – a now-protected class"?

  • 35. A_Jayne  |  November 30, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Biggest difference I see:

    States that fail to abide by SCOTUS precedent "step in it" immediately.

    People who violate laws get away with it until/unless successfully sued, may take years.

  • 36. FredDorner  |  November 30, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I think anytime an individual has to sue for fair treatment it can take years regardless of whether the defendant is a state or a company. Usually the only real benefit (apart from a settlement to the plaintiff) is a change in future behavior. And that's even when the EEOC or a civil rights commission is the co-plaintiff and statutory protections exist.

    That's the real failure in how the US protects civil rights, the fact that there's usually no self-enforcement mechanism and it thus requires action on the part of a plaintiff who has the resources to follow the process through to the end.

  • 37. scream4ever  |  November 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    I unfortunately don't expect heightened scrutiny, as Kennedy has indicated that he doesn't believe in scrutiny levels, but a ruling saying that sexual orientation is sex discrimination as per Title VII would essentially do just that, since sex discrimination does have heightened scrutiny.

  • 38. FredDorner  |  November 30, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Kennedy seems to have the same view as Richard Posner about judicial scrutiny but if you look at any of his gay rights rulings you'll see that these are all really heightened scrutiny, particularly both marriage equality rulings.

    The Romer ruling has been described as "rational basis with bite", but in essence that's a heightened scrutiny ruling anyway since it closely inspects the motives for a law and its effect to see if animus exists.

    So the judicial outcome is the same regardless of which approach is used. The only drawback I see is that Posner's method is poor instruction for lower courts to use.

  • 39. allan120102  |  November 30, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    It will be 3 years in December 9 that the supreme court took the case of marriage equality and still havent issue a ruling. My guess is that they are against ssm and dont want to rule in our favor but as we saw Ecuador was part of Gran Colombia and like Colombia supreme court once they rule they will do it in our favor. https://mobile.twitter.com/ramirogarciaf/status/9

  • 40. scream4ever  |  November 30, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Hopefully Chile passing it will boost Ecuador's chances.

  • 41. allan120102  |  November 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Our best chance is that the supreme courts of Venezuela and Panama strike down there bans. As all 4 countries were one before so they have almost the same judicial laws.

  • 42. VIRick  |  November 30, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Conversion Therapy Banned in New York City

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Conversion therapy meant to turn gay people straight will be banned in New York City under a bill passed by the City Council on Thursday, 30 November 2017. The bill will make it illegal for anyone to charge a fee for therapy intended to change a client’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

    The legislation, which is expected to be signed by the mayor, goes further than bans that have passed in some states on conversion therapy for minors, as it will prohibit such therapy for adults, as well. However, people performing the therapy for free, such as clergy, will not be affected. Still, the City Council bill would eliminate any profit being made from conversion therapy.

    The bill passed by a vote of 43-2 with one absention. Therapists would be hit with a $1,000 fine for each violation of the ban.
    https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/gay-conversi

  • 43. VIRick  |  November 30, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Scream, the connection between Chile and Ecuador is more judicial than legislative. In Ecuador, Pamela Troya is the lead plaintiff in the first case, filed in Quito, challenging Ecuador's same-sex marriage ban (remembering, as a side-note, that both countries already allow same-sex civil unions, known as "acuerdos de uniones civiles"). As Allan pointed out, the Troya case, despite having been accepted by the court, has been sitting with Ecuador's Supreme Court now for 3 years without a hearing, or "audiencia," and without a decision yet having been made. This was followed by a second case filed in Guayaquil, as well as by another from Cuenca which has the backing of the Cuenca provincial government which is ready to recognize/perform same-sex marriages.

    Karen Atala of Chile filed an important amicus brief in the Troya suit, and based most of her argument on the strength of the positive ruling she obtained against Chile from the CIDH (Inter-American Court of Human Rights), a court to which all of these countries are a party, and thus is a ruling to which Ecuador also needs to abide (as do all the other countries who are party to the CIDH), a point emphasized in Atala's brief.

    The CIDH was once located in downtown DC in the old Pan-American Union building, but has since re-located to brand-new, purpose-built facilities in Costa Rica, after the USA refused to become a member country. In fact, independently, because Costa Rica is presently the host country, and intends to remain the host, I have great hopes that Costa Rica will eventually also agree to abide by the decision rendered in the Atala case, not only because of a similar same-sex marriage recognition case originating in Costa Rica which has threatened to take its challenge to the CIDH on these same grounds (a case in which a Costa Rican citizen married a Mexican citizen in Mexico City, and now wants legal recognition of their marriage in Costa Rica), but also so that Costa Rica can claim that it is "setting an exemplary example." Whether fully warranted or not, Costa Rica likes to think of itself as being on the leading edge of progressive social issues.

  • 44. allan120102  |  November 30, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I am sorry to inform that things in Honduras are really bad, after the president did fraud, hundreds of Honduras have taken the streets in all 18 departments, Deaths and looting has occur in every major city and so far the death toll is 8 and expect to rise, My city La Ceiba is incommunicate as all its bridges have been taken. The capital and almost every city is the same. Pray for my country.

  • 45. scream4ever  |  November 30, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Stay safe Allan.

  • 46. guitaristbl  |  November 30, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Greece – Court of Cassation (Areios Pagos) upholds annulment of civil marriages of same sex couples :
    http://www.cnn.gr/news/ellada/story/107799/akyroi… (in greek)

    Translation :

    The court of cassation (Areios Pagos) upheld he annulment of the civil wedding of a same sex couple performed at the mayoral office of the island of Tilos in 2008.

    The court ruled that this action (the annulment) on behalf of the district attorney "does not constitute an intrusion in the private life of the involved people (a.k.a the same sex couple) but a procedure ordered by the law that constitutes a measure that is necessary to protect the societal morals the government must uphold in order to ensure the proper function of family relations."

    As it is noted in the court's decision, it does not constitute an intrusion "to the family life of the involved individuals because in the case of a "marriage" between two people of the same sex the question is to what degree these people constitute a "family", the legal sense of which has inseperable elements the existence of a marriage and the establishment of a next of kin relationship so that there is a matter of its protection."

    The judges, interpreting the relevant parts of the european convention of human rights note that it does not solve the issue of a potential wedding between people of the same sex but, in the contrary, this lies to internal legal order and to national judicial precedent and laws to define the conditions so that such a marriage is valid.

    Moreover, the court of cassation notes :

    "Exactly for that reason in every european country that has installed same sex marriage in recent years this was the result of legislative action of the national legislature and not a condition imposed by article twelve of ECHR."

    In another point of the decision it is mentioned that the will of the greek legislature – at least for now – goes as far as to legislate for the cohabitation agreement for same sex couples, something that, according to the judges "independently of any opposing arguments one could present, consists the expression of the will of the internal law order, which is supposed to reflect the moral and social values and traditions of the greek people, that do not accept the legalization of marriage for same sex couples."

    The lawyer of the couple, Vasilis Cheirdaris, after the decision of the court of cassation noted that his clients will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and added :

    "The decision of the Court of Cassation rules definitively that the same sex marriage that occured on Tilos has no legal standing – but the decision ignores the social, historical and legal progress for same sex marriage and the processes occuring on global level as well as the contemporary reality and it is dependent on roman law teacher Modestus of the 3rd century A.D. that gave a definition of marriage that has been surpassed by reality many years ago.

    The Court of Cassation clings to traditional societal structures and understands the concept of family in contrast to the creative and evolutionary interpretation of the term from the Strasburg Court, the european union and the western countries."

  • 47. guitaristbl  |  November 30, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    On a personal note relating to the post above I have to say that while such a decision was expected from this very conservative court, it is more heinous that anyone would thought. It strips same sex couples of any sense of closeness, it mocks their very claim that they constitute a family and it does not stop in saying it should be an issue of the legislative sphere that for now it has given them the cohabitation agreement – it goes on to provide its own interpretation to the extend of legislative action so far to say that that the legislature did that because essentially same sex marriage contradicts greek values and morals – I would say the wording used gives a grave indication that should a greek government decide to proceed with the legalization of marriage equality this court could strike it down citing "public morals".

    The appeal to ECHR is something positive though although I do not expect much.

    EDIT : Silly me, the last part about the court ruling against possible marriage legislation is most likely wrong. That is because the Court of Cassation is the highest appeals court for criminal cases not cases challenging constitutionality of laws, which is the Council of State. Now the issue seems a bit complicated because the case that was just decided did not start from a same sex couple going to court to challenge the marriage laws after being denied access to civil marriage. The marriages were actually performed by the mayor of Tilos and the greek state brought charges against the couple and the, now deceased, mayor on grounds of violating the nations marriage laws thus the case was intiated as a criminal case for criminal justice courts ending all the way up to the Court of Cassation. Now this court rarely to ever has to make such constitutional proclamations on the validity of laws so I am not sure if a couple brought a civil case against the marriage laws that would go before the council of state, if that court would be bound by the reasoning in the decision of the court of cassation that upheld the marriage annulment. Even if not I would not expect a differrent outcome although the council of state is considerably more moderate.

  • 48. VIRick  |  November 30, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    One can read full details of the current on-going political crisis in Honduras here:
    http://beta.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-

  • 49. VIRick  |  December 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Greek Supreme Court: Gay Couple’s Marriage Declared ‘Void’

    Greece’s Supreme Court has upheld a decision to void a gay couple’s marriage, nearly ten years after Themis Katsagiannis and Dimitris Tsambrounis married on the island of Tilos in June 2008. 

    Greece does not allow same-sex marriages, but the couple was permitted to marry by the island’s pro-LGBT mayor (now deceased), who agreed to register their union. There was technically no explicit legal ban on same-sex marriage at the time, as the country’s civil marriage law stated marriage was between “two persons.”

    The Greek newspaper, "I Kathimerini," reports that the Supreme Court ruled the couple’s marriage was not legally recognizable. The court ruled that the law “is considered to reflect the moral and social values and traditions of the Greek people, who do not support the legalization of marriage for homosexual couples." According to the newspaper, the couple is expected to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

    In 2015, Greece passed a law allowing same-sex civil unions by a vote of 193 to 56, with 51 abstentions, after strong resistance to same-sex marriage. In 2016, the country passed a bill expanding the rights of same-sex couples and ensuring equal protection in workplaces regardless of gender, religion, or sexual orientation. However, same-sex adoption, marriage equality, and IVF for lesbians are all still banned.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/12/01/gay-couples-

    This article did not distinguish between the Court of Cassation, the highest appeals court for criminal matters, and the Council of State, the highest appeals court for civil and constitutional matters. Apparently, this case from Tilos was pursued by state authorities (i.e., district attorney) as a "criminal" violation," with the same-sex couple (and mayor, now deceased), being the defendants. Had the couple sued as plaintiffs, this case would have undoubtedly been treated as a civil matter, and would have eventually found itself before the Council of State. So, besides being before the wrong court, I fail to see the "criminal" violation.

  • 50. allan120102  |  December 1, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Update Honduras. Things are getting worse by the second. The country has suspend most of our constitutional rights. Curfew has been install and militaries now are rounding every city in the country.people are getting shot and so far at this hour 7 people were kill just today in my city one man was kill today plus another yesterday.sadly more deads are expect as the night progress. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/02/hon

  • 51. ianbirmingham  |  December 2, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    US Navy's Monthly Professional Journal: Should Transgender Persons Serve?
    https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2017-1

    In Proceedings, one normally finds brilliantly insightful articles on naval warfare. The entire US Navy officer corps reads it, plus everyone who is in training to become a naval officer.

    An article like this appearing in Proceedings, while a Republican trans-phobic bigot is the Commander-In-Chief, is very, very significant.

  • 52. VIRick  |  December 3, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Brasil: "Collective Equal Marriage:" 32 Same-Sex Couples Marry

    Brasil: "Casamiento Colectivo Igualitario:" 32 Parejas Homosexuales se Casan

    El 27 noviembre 2017, en São Paulo, Brasil, se ha producido el primer ''casamiento colectivo igualitario." Treinta y dos parejas ejercieron su derecho al matrimonio, siendo la primera vez que esto sucede en toda la América Latina.

    ¡Enhorabuena a los novios y a las novias! Enhorabuena por visibilizar vuestro amor.
    http://nosgustas.com/Articulos/9448-casamiento-co

    On 27 November 2017, in São Paulo, Brasil, the first "collective equal marriage" took place. Thirty-two couples exercised their right to marriage, being the first time that this has occurred in all of Latin America.

    Congratulations to the brides and grooms. Congratulations for showing your love.

  • 53. bayareajohn  |  December 3, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    That is a BIG wow!

  • 54. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 4, 2017 at 3:58 am

    It is a well written article affirming many of the truths presented in the legal briefs in the multiple transgender litigations.

    However, did you read all the negative comments? About 95% negative. What an example of anti-intellectualism!

  • 55. allan120102  |  December 4, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Breaking Us supreme court will not hear Houston benefit case. http://www.statesman.com/news/supreme-court-rejec

  • 56. guitaristbl  |  December 4, 2017 at 8:53 am

    What insanity is this ? This should be a summary reversal same as the Arkansas adoption case ! Are they feffering to the state district court to make the judgement ? Thats the only rational answer I can think of.

  • 57. allan120102  |  December 4, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I agree they could have just do a reversal like they did with the Arkansas supreme court ruling. I am surprise by this honestly.

  • 58. scream4ever  |  December 4, 2017 at 9:57 am

    That's my assumption. I wouldn't read into this too much to be honest.

  • 59. Rick55845  |  December 4, 2017 at 10:05 am

    By what means would a denial of a petition for writ of certiorari to appeal a decision of the Texas Supreme Court wind up back in the state district court?

    As I understand it, by denying the petition for writ of certiorari, SCOTUS is letting the decision of the Texas Supreme Court stand.

    That settles the matter in the state of Texas, so far as I know.

    Or am I missing something?

  • 60. scream4ever  |  December 4, 2017 at 11:09 am

    The "decision" by the Texas Supreme Court wasn't an official decision. They basically punted the question back to the state district court. No benefits are being denied as of this time, so there's no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene.

  • 61. Rick55845  |  December 4, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Ok, thank you. So now we wait for the state district court.

  • 62. VIRick  |  December 4, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Rick, you must never read anything based upon the opinion of the lawyer for the other side, Jonathan Saenz. He has made a lot of assumptions based on his personal "wish list," the motivation for which is pure animus.

    Several years ago, Saenz's wife left him for another woman. It appears he has never recovered from it. Plus, there have been long-standing rumors that Saenz himself is a closet-case and that their marriage was simply one of convenience. Eventually, though, she took off when she could no longer tolerate his endless, self-loathing, anti-gay rantings. Their divorce was a sensational mess. You can read about it here:
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/13/anti-ga

    Now, note what the "Statesman" article itself said: "The federal court's decision was issued without comment." Thus, most of the comment is Saenz blathering on about something for which the court itself gave no comment. Also, notice that he's blathering on in an historical sense, citing matters that occurred in 2013 (the same year as the finalization of his divorce), in 2014, and 2015, prior to "Obergefell."

    As Scream states, this is what the article should have said, but of course, this is also not what Saenz wishes to convey: "The 'decision' by the Texas Supreme Court wasn't an official decision. They basically punted the question back to the state district court. No benefits are being denied as of this time, so there's no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene."

  • 63. VIRick  |  December 4, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Australia: House of Representatives Begins Debate on Marriage Equality Bill

    Today, Monday, 4 December 2017, Australia's House of Representatives began debate on the marriage equality bill already passed by the Senate last week, 43-12..

    Liberal MP Tim Wilson’s speech was the highlight of today's debate. In it, he proposed to his partner, Ryan Bolger, who was sitting in the gallery. Bolger said yes.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/12/australian-me

  • 64. VIRick  |  December 4, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Guatemala: Transgender Rights Bill Introduced

    Guatemala City — On 1 December 2017, Guatemalan Congresswoman Sandra Morán introduced a bill to recognize the right to gender identity and to allow for transgender people to amend their birth certificates to coincide with their self-identification. The bill was presented with support from trans organizations, which had worked on initial drafts since 2009.

    As the Congress’ 2017 session will finish in the coming days, activists expect to mobilize support for the initiative, and expect debate on it to begin in 2018.

    In a speech outside of Congress, Morán said the mere introduction of the bill is a “recognition to the brave colleagues who live their lives just as they are, even if this means facing strong discrimination.” Activist Stacy Velásquez, who works with OTRANS, dedicated the bill to the victims of transphobia and violence.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/12/04/transge

    Note: This news article, originally published in Guatemala by "Visibles," is fully bi-lingual.

  • 65. davepCA  |  December 4, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Wonderful video! I especially like the follow up by The Speaker, "let the record show that the answer was a 'yes' ". Made my day.

  • 66. VIRick  |  December 4, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Dismissing a lot of erroneous headlines one is currently encountering from many different news outlets regarding "Turner v. Pidgeon," here's all that needs to be said:

    In "Turner v. Pidgeon," the city of Houston had appealed to the US Supreme Court, which today, 4 December 2017, rejected the case without comment, the "Austin American-Statesman" reports. This lets the Texas (State Supreme Court) ruling stand, (meaning that) the Harris County court will (now) consider the matter. The US Supreme Court does not usually comment when rejecting an appeal.
    https://www.advocate.com/marriage-equality/2017/1

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