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Open thread and news round-up 4/9

Community/Meta Transgender Rights

– California is set to apologize for anti-LGBT discrimination.

Think Progress reports on new research showing that people who are transgender benefit from being able to transition.

– Plaintiffs in one of the challenges to the ban on transgender military servicemembers are seeking to compel the production of documents from the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation after reports that those organizations were involved in writing the new policy document supporting a ban.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

28 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. VIRick  |  April 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Tasmania: Historical Gay Sex Convictions Can Now Be Expunged

    From today, 9 April 2018, gay men in Tasmania can apply to have historical convictions for homosexual acts erased from their criminal records.

    The move comes one week after New Zealand’s Parliament unanimously passed a law to expunge convictions under laws that had criminalized gay sex.

    Lee Carnie, of the Human Rights Law Centre, pointed out that people in Western Australia and Northern Territory still don’t have the right to have their gay sex offenses expunged.
    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/04/09/gay-men-in-….

  • 2. VIRick  |  April 9, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    23 More Upcoming Same-Sex Marriages in Veracruz State

    Hay 15 trámites para matrimonios igualitarios en puerto de Veracruz. Añadió que en Boca del Río, Xalapa, y Orizaba hay dos tramites con el mismo objetivo en cada ciudad, por su parte, en La Antigua y Córdoba hay una solicitud respectivamente.
    http://www.e-veracruz.mx/nota/2018-04-08/estado/1

    There are 15 equal marriages in process in the port city of Veracruz. Additionally, in Boca del Río, Xalapa, and Orizaba there are two requests in process with the same objective in each city, while in La Antigua and Córdoba there is one request each.

  • 3. VIRick  |  April 10, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Puerto Rico: Post-Hurricane Up-Date

    Per "Washington Blade:"

    On 31 March 2018, more than 6 months later, electrical power was finally restored to those homes which were still surviving in Humacao, the city on Puerto Rico's southeastern coast where Hurricane Maria first made landfall on 20 September 2017 with 155 mph winds. However, island-wide, to date, close to 7 months on, more than 50,000 people are still without, mostly in the central mountains. So too is the large off-shore island of Vieques, where snapped utility poles are still dangling.

    Even so, wherever service has been restored, the electrical supply remains an on-again-off-again proposition, as does the municipally-piped water supply.

    One can read more here, including the struggles of the gay hairdresser from Humacao:
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/10/electri

    As for where I live, we have cell phone service (ATT only; no Sprint or other carrier being operational), electrical power most of the time (since 12 December 2017), and the make-do, temporary wireless internet boxes (since mid-January 2018). I have adapted to not having a landline phone, wired internet, or Cable TV. It may take another year, if ever, for any of the latter to be restored.

    And just to be clear, I am back on the mainland again, having flown to Miami about a week ago on an absolutely packed plane, the second time since the hurricanes that I became part of the never-ending mass migration out of the islands.

  • 4. davepCA  |  April 10, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    An encouraging non-discrimination ruling – from TEXAS! https://www.dallasnews.com/news/lgbt/2018/04/10/l

  • 5. VIRick  |  April 10, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Texas: Federal Judge Rules that Title VII Bars Anti-LGBT Discrimination

    A federal judge in Texas has added to the growing number of rulings asserting that existing civil rights law bars anti-LGBT discrimination. Judge Lee Rosenthal’s ruling, in "Wittmer v. Phillips 66," issued on 4 April 2018, doesn’t automatically change the law but does stand to affect how other courts interpret it.

    Rosenthal, of the Houston-based US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, ruled in a lawsuit brought by Nicole Wittmer, an engineer who claimed that energy company Phillips 66 had rejected her for a job because she’s transgender, "The Dallas Morning News" reports. Rosenthal found that Wittmer hadn’t proved the company had discriminated, but if it had, she would have had a case under Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law, in banning sex discrimination, also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to Rosenthal.

    This is the first time such a ruling has come out of Texas, which is part of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Rosenthal said recent rulings from the Second and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals (barring sexual orientation discrimination) and from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (barring gender identity discrimination) influenced her decision. “Within the last year, several circuits have expanded Title VII protection to include discrimination based on transgender status and sexual orientation,” she wrote, according to the Morning News. “Although the Fifth Circuit has not yet addressed the issue, these very recent circuit cases are persuasive. … The court assumes that Wittmer's status as a transgender woman places her under the protections of Title VII.”
    https://www.advocate.com/politics/2018/4/10/feder

    This decision can not be appealed. Technically, Phillips 66 won the suit because Nicole Wittmer could not prove her case,– but if she had… However, in the broader sense, we still won, as we now have pro-LGBT precedent covering Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

    The entire ruling in "Wittmer v. Phillips 66" is here:
    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4434520-W

  • 6. VIRick  |  April 10, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Uruguay: 5th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Mauricio Coitiño‏:

    El 10 de abril 2013, Uruguay aprueba la ley de matrimonio igualitario. Después de 5 años de igualdad y ya ni nos acordamos de todas las "debacles" que iban a ocurrir en Uruguay a partir de 2013.
    https://twitter.com/mauricio_uy

    On 10 April 2013, Uruguay approved the law on marriage equality. After 5 years of equality, we no longer remember all the "disasters" that were going to happen to Uruguay back in 2013.

  • 7. VIRick  |  April 11, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Paul Ryan, House Speaker, Will Not Seek Re-Election to House

    As announced on 11 April 2018, House Speaker Paul Ryan will not seek re-election and will retire from Congress at the end of this year. He claimed (not overly convincingly) that the 2018 mid-terms and the chance that he would no longer be speaker did not factor into his retirement.

    Still, looming in the aftermath of his retirement announcement is the reality of an impending leadership race that will now stretch for months ahead of the contentious mid-term elections. The most obvious choice would be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/paul-ryan-

    For much more detail on Ryan's record in the House, see:
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/11/speaker

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 11, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Louisiana Senate: Bestiality and Anal Sex

    The Louisiana state Senate passed a bill yesterday, 10 April 2018, to outlaw bestiality. The proposed law would separate the offense from the state’s sodomy law that was ruled unconstitutional in 2003.

    Since the current unconstitutional “crimes against nature” law includes both bestiality and sodomy, neither law is enforceable. Senator JP Morrell’s bill would separate bestiality into its own law to ensure arrest for the crime. The law would make it illegal to have sex with an animal or to facilitate the exchange of an animal for a sex act. The bill also includes the line, “Anal sexual intercourse between two human beings shall not be deemed as a crime.” Ten Republican legislators voted against the measure (presumably because they are in favor of bestiality and are against anal sex).

    The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for passage.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/04/10-louisiana-

  • 9. VIRick  |  April 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Gay Married "Dreamer" Denied Green Card and Re-Entry into USA

    Lawyers representing a gay married “Dreamer” who was denied a green card (for permanent residence) have filed a federal lawsuit that seeks his return to the US. The lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California on 10 April 2018, notes Marco Villada Garibay came to the US from Mexico when he was 6 years old.

    The lawsuit states Villada graduated from Morningside High School in Inglewood CA, and later enrolled at El Camino Community College and Harbor College in Los Angeles. “Mr. Villada Garibay has spent virtually his entire life in the United States,” reads the lawsuit.

    Villada in 2013 became a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows young undocumented immigrants to remain in the US and obtain work permits. Villada in 2014 married Israel Serrato after the US Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed an appeal of a ruling against California’s Proposition 8.

    The lawsuit states the couple subsequently filed “the necessary petition and obtained a provisional waiver” from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service that would allow Villada to obtain his green card “by virtue of his marriage to a US citizen.” On 14 January 2018, the couple traveled to Mexico in order “to take the next step in (Villada)’s process to obtain US residency,” which was his appointment at the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez.

    Villada had been able to legally work in the US and was protected from deportation under DACA until 2019, but the lawsuit notes his “status was automatically terminated” once he left the country. The lawsuit notes Villada traveled to Mexico “only because” the USCIS approved the provisional waiver that allowed him to apply for a green card through the State Department in his country of origin and promptly return to the US with Serrato.

    On 17 January 2018, the consulate denied Villada’s application and banned him from returning to the US “because it found that he was permanently inadmissible” on the grounds that he left the US more than a year after he entered the country without documents and returned to the US “without admission after more than one year of unlawful presence.”
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/04/11/gay-dre

  • 10. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    There is something that does not ring true in this story. Help me if I am wrong. There has never been a need for an enrolled DACA recipient to return to their country of origin to obtain a work permit. As I understand it, work permits were granted based on being enrolled full time in school. Also, one has to have had seven years of continuous residency in the US in order to qualify for DACA status.

  • 11. VIRick  |  April 11, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Actions of Unconstitutionality Pending before the Pleno (Full Court) of Mexico's Supreme Court:

    #16, Expediente 29/2018, Nuevo León:

    “Artículos 140 y 148 en la porción normativa ‘el hombre y la mujer’, del Código Civil para el Estado de Nuevo León, reformados mediante Decreto número 317, publicado en el Periódico Oficial del Gobierno Constitucional del Estado Libre y Soberano de Nuevo León, el día 8 de enero de 2018.”

    "Articles 140 and 148 in the normative portion 'the man and the woman,' of the Civil Code for the State of Nuevo León, reformed by Decree number 317, published in the Official Newspaper of the Constitutional Government of the Free and Sovereign State of Nuevo León, on 8 January 2018."

    #168, Expediente 22/2016, Aguascalientes:

    Determinar la constitucionalidad o inconstitucionalidad de la reforma al Artículo 145 del Código Civil de Aguascalientes, que establece la edad mínima de dieciocho años para contraer matrimonio en dicho Estado.

    To determine the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the reform to Article 145 of the Civil Code of Aguascalientes, which establishes the minimum age to marry as 18 years in that State.

    III. NORMA GENERAL CUYA INVALIDEZ SE RECLAMA Y MEDIO OFICIAL EN EL QUE SE PUBLICÓ: LA REFORMA AL ARTÍCULO 145 DEL CÓDIGO CIVIL DE AGUASCALIENTES Y EN CONSECUENCIA, LA DEROGACIÓN DE LOS ARTÍCULOS 85, 86, 87, 88, 90 FRACCIÓN II, 95 FRACCIONES II Y IV, 146, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153 FRACCIÓN II, 169, 184, 465 FRACCIÓN II, 473, 521, 647 FRACCIÓN II, 660, 665 Y 667 Y LAS REFORMAS DE LOS ARTÍCULOS 28 FRACCIÓN I, ARTÍCULO 90 FRACCIÓN V, 92, 153 FRACCIÓN I, 168, 179, 231, 287, 435, 457, 460, 464, 495, 663 Y 775 FRACCIÓN I, DEL CÓDIGO CIVIL DEL ESTADO DE AGUASCALIENTES EXPEDIDAS MEDIANTE DECRETO NÚMERO 309 EXPEDIDO POR LA LXII LEGISLATURA DEL CONGRESO DEL ESTADO DE AGUASCALIENTES, Y TAMBIÉN COMO CONSECUENCIA LA DEROGACIÓN DE LOS ARTÍCULOS 138, 260, 261, 262, 263 Y LA REFORMA DEL ARTÍCULO 137 DEL CÓDIGO CIVIL DEL ESTADO DE AGUASCALIENTES EXPEDIDAS MEDIANTE DECRETO NÚMERO 310 EXPEDIDO POR LA LXII LEGISLATURA DEL CONGRESO DEL ESTADO DE AGUASCALIENTES, AMBOS PUBLICADOS EN EL PERIÓDICO OFICIAL DEL ESTADO DE AGUASCALIENTES EL VEINTIDÓS DE FEBRERO DEL AÑO DOS MIL DIECISÉIS EN LA PRIMERA SECCIÓN.”

    #203, Expediente 36/2013, Jalisco:

    ARTÍCULOS 18 Y 22 DE LA LEY DE LIBRE CONVIVENCIA DEL ESTADO DE JALISCO, PUBLICADA EN EL PERIÓDICO OFICIAL DE LA ENTIDAD EL 1 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2013

    At the moment, there are 207 cases pending. This latter suit against La Ley de Libre Convivencia (Law of Free Co-Existence) for same-sex couples, became obsolete when Jalisco was forced to allow marriage equality. The extremely broad case against Aguascalientes, filed 2 years ago, should be ruled upon quite soon. The very recent one against Nuevo León was just accepted to be heard in February 2018, but the matter is identical to the court rulings already proclaimed against Jalisco, Chiapas, and Puebla.

  • 12. allan120102  |  April 11, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    I am not sure though if Aguascalientes will be force to legalize ssm like the other 4 states as the question in present is about marriage age and not about ssm. We will see if the court decides to strike down the gay marriage ban in Aguascalientes and not just the marriage age limit. If Aguascalientes have recently modify its civil code to prohibit child marriage then the lawsuit does not serve a purpose anymore like the one of free co-existence in Jalisco and would probably stay there without action and its taken out of court website.

    So I look in internet and Aguascalientes still havent prohibit child marriage but I am seriously in doubt if they are going to strike down the ban of ssm without being the question ask.

    Nuevo Leon without a doubt will see its ban struck down probably early next year if Puebla and Chiapas timeline tell us something. The court takes like 1 year and 3 months to decide each case. Puebla was challenge in March or May of 2016 and was decide until August of 2017. Aguascalientes was file before Puebla and still hasnt been decide.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 11, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Elihu, he already had his DACA-issued work permit. He and his husband went to Mexico (his country of origin), per instructions, to obtain his green card (his permanent residency) at the US Consulate, based on his spouse being a US citizen. Apparently, the "problem" is this:

    The lawsuit notes Villada in 2000 returned to Mexico for a few weeks after his grandfather died. Villada, who was 17-years-old at the time, was allowed back into the US after he showed his high school ID card to an immigration officer at the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego.

    The lawsuit states Villada disclosed during his green card interview that he had traveled to Mexico in 2000. The consulate earlier this month affirmed its decision to deny Villada’s application.

    Villada is now 35. He was brought to the States 29 years ago, at age 6. He went to Mexico for a brief visit in 2000, when his grandfather died, 18 years ago when he was 17 (11 years after he was brought to the States). At that time, he was let back in on the strength of his California high school photo ID. Retrospectively, the US Consulate is now saying that that re-entry was illegal, although at the time, he successfully re-entered, and never gave it a second thought. The immigration officer at the time had no problem with the high school photo ID (remembering that back then, US citizens did not need to have passports for re-entry).

    I see the "problem" in reverse:

    " … and returned to the US 'without admission after more than one year of unlawful presence.'”

    No, at the time, in 2000, he was re-admitted by the immigration officer right there on the ground at the border. Period. Case closed. Second-guessing the situation 18 years later from second-hand information is not good enough. I am reasonably certain that he was waved on through. And thus, since he was not stopped or questioned, further specifics can not be documented by the INS.

  • 14. VIRick  |  April 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    The case against Aguascalientes is very broad. One would need a complete copy of their current civil code to know to what all those different article numbers refer. However, the case was properly filed within the allotted time-frame by the CEDHA (the State Human Rights Commission of Aguascalientes), so presumably, they know what they are doing. Plus, it was accepted by the Supreme Court.

    As I understand it, the state Congress changed the minimum age for marriage while simultaneously ignoring the requirement to legalize marriage equality. Ignoring the latter, while making any other change whatsoever to the marriage code, is justification for filing an Action of Unconstitutionality. And that's what the CEDHA has done. Granted, it is slightly different grounds than the previous cases, but it still appears to be valid.

    In due course, it is a "given" that Nuevo León's ban will be struck down, as it follows the previously-established pattern.

    El Bronco (Jaime Heliodoro Rodríguez Calderón), the previous governor of Nuevo León, angrily signed the decree doubling-down on the marriage definition as being "one man, one woman," then abruptly resigned, making him the first Trumpista casualty in the war of words with El Norte. But don't tell that to Trump, as El Bronco is his Mexican equivalent, in all the most negative ways possible. In fact, El Bronco, having made a homophobic mess of the governorship, thinks he can out-trump Trump, as he's now running as an independent for the Mexican presidency.

  • 15. allan120102  |  April 12, 2018 at 9:01 am

    We won in TRrinidad and Tobago 😍😍😍 good day for lgbt rights especially in the Caribbean. Lets start the domino effect.

  • 16. scream4ever  |  April 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    This will definitely start a domino effect!!!

  • 17. VIRick  |  April 12, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Trinidad/Tobago: Sexual Offences Act Ruled Unconstitutional

    Today, 12 April 2018, The High Court ruled that certain sections of the Sexual Offences Act are unconstitutional and null and void. The judgment was delivered this morning to a packed courtroom at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain. High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad ruled that the law goes against the basic rights of any citizen to enjoy the freedom of privacy and family life.

    The law has not been struck down, but the matter will be further ventilated in July after attorneys for the State and for gay rights activist Jason Jones make submissions to the court. A final judgment will then be rendered.

    The judge said it was unfortunate when society, in any way, values a person or gives a person their identity based on their race, color, gender, age, or sexual orientation. He said to now deny a perceived minority their right to humanity and human dignity would be to continue the type of thinking experienced in apartheid South Africa and during the holocaust in Germany.
    http://newsday.co.tt/2018/04/12/buggery-law-deeme

    The final ruling will come in July, and will have a profound effect, as legal precedent, in overturning the anti-sodomy laws of the 9 remaining jurisdictions within the English-speaking Caribbean. The following ex-British states all share the same court system with Trinidad/Tobago and still have anti-sodomy laws in effect (even if some claim such laws are not enforced): Antigua/Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent/Grenadines.

    These British/ex-British territories do not have anti-sodomy laws on the books: Anguilla, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks/Caicos Islands.

    As immediate precedent for Trinidad/Tobago, the anti-sodomy law in Belize was struck down in 2016 by the High Court there as being unconstitutional. The last appeal against the Belize ruling was finally dropped in early March 2018.

    Trinidad/Tobago Government to Appeal High Court Ruling

    Trinidad/Tobago Attorney-General Faris Al Rawi has given instructions to appeal the High Court ruling that the Sexual Offences Act is unconstitutional. Minister in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Stuart Young, who presented at the post-Cabinet media briefing this afternoon, 12 April 2018, made the announcement.

    He said he did not want to comment further on the ruling since he had not seen it. He also declined to comment more on Constitutional Reform. The law, part of the Sexual Offences Act, has been on the books as part of the country’s colonial history. In 1976, when the Republic Constitution was enacted as the law of the land, these older laws were saved because of the Savings Provision, or section six of the Constitution.

    This means that even though the judge had ruled it unconstitutional under section four, which enumerates the country’s protections of human rights, (the official view is that) the law still technically remains official.
    http://newsday.co.tt/2018/04/12/government-to-app

    If the Government of Trinidad/Tobago does indeed appeal today's ruling, such a maneuver could well hasten a blanket ruling from a higher court, such as the Caribbean Court of Justice, directed against all 10 jurisdictions.

  • 18. Zack12  |  April 12, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Yes.
    May this trend continue!

  • 19. VIRick  |  April 12, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Trinidad/Tobago Has Just Legalized Gay Sex

    Trinidad/Tobago has just struck down a colonial-era law that had criminalized gay sex in the islands. On Thursday, 12 April 2018, a high court judge ruled that the historic laws banning “buggery” were unconstitutional and were to be struck down. 

    Judge Devindra Rampersad said in the momentous ruling that the laws banning “serious indecency” infringed on the constitutional rights of about 100,000 LGBT people on the islands. “The court declares that sections 13 and 16 of the [Sexual Offences Act] are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalize any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults,” Judge Rampersad said.

    Under the law, men convicted of penetrative sex with another man could be imprisoned for 25 years, while any other gay or lesbian sexual acts can result in a five-year prison term. Trinidad/Tobago’s law against gay sex was originally introduced by British colonialists, but has been maintained and encouraged ever since. The parliament of the islands, well after the 1962 independence date, increased the maximum penalties for gay sex between consenting adults twice in the last thirty-two years, once in 1986 to 10 years imprisonment, and again in 2000, to 25 years. (These latter two increases in penalty defeat the government's argument about the Savings Provision of the 1976 Republic Constitution, as both increases in penalty occurred well after that date).

    The ruling comes after Jason Jones, an LGBT rights activist, sued the government of Trinidad/Tobago in an effort to repeal the colonial-era law. Jones began his campaign in February 2017, starting the lawsuit to remove the so-called “buggery law” from the constitution of these two Caribbean islands.
    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/04/12/trinidad-an

    Please note: Trinidad/Tobago became an independent Commonwealth within the British Commonwealth system in 1962. It then re-wrote its constitution and became an independent Republic in 1976. That's when the Savings Provision was added to the constitution. I just encountered another news report with incorrect information, but this precise time sequence (above) is important in properly rebutting the false statements being perpetrated by the current government regarding the Savings Provision and what they claim was "saved," versus the court's view of the same matter. We can not be blindly quoting the government's point of view in the LGBT press as being the correct legal point of view, particularly if addressing the matter from a human rights perspective.

    One can read another account of the Trinidad/Tobago court decision, in Spanish, here:
    http://blogdelimagay.blogspot.pe/

  • 20. VIRick  |  April 12, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Transgender Woman Wins Immigration Asylum Case

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Last Friday, 6 April 2018, after 536 days behind bars, TLC (Transgender Law Center) client Marianna had her day in Court – and won.

    Marianna fought through tears and testified brilliantly during her three-hour hearing at Cibola Detention Center in Milan NM, which ended with a grant of asylum by Immigration Judge O’Hare. The immigration judge found that Marianna had a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of her status as a transgender woman from Mexico, and granted Marianna asylum.

    She has been residing with her family (her nieces) in the USA (in Texas) for the past 30 years.
    https://transgenderlawcenter.org/archives/14240?u

  • 21. VIRick  |  April 13, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Portugal: Parliament Approves New Legal Gender-Change Law

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 13 April 2018, Portugal's parliament approved a new law making it easier for people to change their legal gender. Citizens from the age of 16 will now be able to change their gender and name on documents without the need of a medical report. For those aged between 16-18, the change of gender will need to be approved by their parents or legal representatives.

    The new Portuguese legislation also outlaws unnecessary surgery on intersex children. It now needs to be signed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to come into effect. Under the old law, those wanting to change their gender on official documents had to present a medical report and be at least 18 years old.

    Now, in addition to Portugal (once the new law comes into effect), only five other European countries have a model based on self-determination: Malta, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, and Belgium.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43740417

  • 22. JayJonson  |  April 14, 2018 at 6:14 am

    A federal judge in Seatle has continued the injunction against enforcement of Trump's ban on transgender troops, and has also designated transgender citizens as a protected class. The decision may be found here: http://www.washingtonblade.com/content/files/2018….

    From Lambda Legal: "The court found that the implementation plan the Administration issued in late March was not a new policy but rather threatens the very same constitutional violations and that the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN can proceed to trial.

    Furthermore, the court also found that the effort to ban transgender people from military service must meet the most demanding level of scrutiny because it so clearly targets transgender people. Meanwhile, the preliminary injunction the court previously granted remains in place, preventing the implementation of the ban pending trial.

    “The court wants to expose this bigoted ban for all of its ugliness at trial, and we are happy to oblige. If it’s a full record the judge wants, then it’s a full record we will give her,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Natalie Nardecchia said.

    “We look forward to putting the capriciousness and cruelty of this discriminatory ban against transgender people on trial, where it can be relegated for good to the trash heap of history, alongside other vile military policies that discriminated based on race, sex, and sexual orientation.”

  • 23. VIRick  |  April 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Oklahoma: Up-Date on Transgender Professor's Federal Employment Discrimination Suit

    On 13 April 2018, in "Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University," the transgender professor’s federal employment discrimination suit, Rachel Tudor's motion for reinstatement is denied. However, instead, compensation for lost pay for the period of 14 months after she left the University is awarded in the amount of $60,040.77. Note that this award for pay is separate from and in addition to the jury's earlier damages award of $1.165 million.

    Memorandum Opinion and Order is here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/515-cv-00324-286/

    In a separate order, the judge gave the parties until 3 May 2018 to file any objections to the amount of either the damages or the pay award:
    http://bit.ly/2H0cQse

  • 24. VIRick  |  April 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Barbados: Implications of Trinidad's Gay Rights Ruling

    Per "Barbados Today:"

    A landmark ruling handed down in the Trinidad/Tobago High Court on Thursday, 12 April 2018, which decriminalizes sex between two consenting people of the same sex, has been immediately welcomed by the LBGT community region wide, including right here in Barbados.

    “This landmark case signifies a necessary step in the decolonization of our independent Caribbean territories,” Ro-Ann Mohammed the co-director of Barbados Gays, Lesbians, and All-Sexuals against Discrimination (B-GLAD) said in reaction, while suggesting that laws criminalizing consensual acts of love between autonomous adults were out of touch and sorry reminders of a British colonial era to which the colonial master himself no longer subscribes.

    The ruling by Justice Devindra Rampersad, if allowed to stand, takes away the power of the state, which has been historically influenced by religious considerations, to control the sexual behavior of any individual and would effectively revoke the authority given to it under Trinidad and Tobago’s buggery laws.

    It should also be noted that Jones' Trinidad lawsuit is but one of several filed by Caribbean LGBT activists challenging regional homophobic laws. In 2016, Jamaican lawyer Maurice Tomlinson challenged the immigration laws in Trinidad/Tobago and Belize which allow for refusal of entry to regional homosexual visitors. While the Caribbean Court of Justice, which is Barbados’ highest court, eventually dismissed Tomlinson’s case, Belize’s Supreme Court recently struck down that country’s sodomy laws after a case similar to Jones’ was filed by a local activist.

    However, unlike Trinidad/Tobago and Barbados which have "Savings Clauses," Belize did not have a saving clause protecting its legislation from review. (Again, this "Savings Clause" matter and its interpretation is merely the governmental point of view, put forth in an attempt to justify and preserve its own historically homophobic agenda. It is not necessarily the same point of view as held by the courts nor by LGBT advocates).

    The New York-based Human Rights Watch, in a report entitled, "I Have to Leave to Be Me: Discriminatory Laws Against LGBT People in the Eastern Caribbean," called on Barbados to “repeal section 9, Chapter 154 of the Sexual Offences Act of 1992, which criminalizes consensual same-sex conduct." The international human rights organization also suggested that the time had come for the island to recognize same-sex marriage.
    http://barbadostoday.bb/2018/04/13/bteditorial-th

    Note: Barbados became independent of Britain in 1966. Thus, a law passed and/or modified in 1992 is post-colonial. The "Savings Clause" supposedly preserves and retains basic pre-existing colonial law on into the post-colonial era. It should not be invoked in an attempt to preserve and retain post-colonial law which continues to violate human rights.

    Barbados is also the sole non-Latin ex-British territory to sign the binding CIDH accord. Any attempt to invoke the "Savings Clause" to preserve homophobic law in Barbados is incompatible with the recent blanket CIDH ruling on non-discrimination.

  • 25. VIRick  |  April 15, 2018 at 11:00 am

    "Karnoski v. Trump:" Up-Date on Trans Military Ban; Judge Rules Trans People are "Protected Class"

    On 13 April 2018, a federal judge ruled that the trans military ban cannot be implemented and that transgender people are a “protected class.” US District Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington in "Karnoski v. Trump" refused to lift the injunction against implementing the trans military ban, which means that while the court examines it, the Trump Administration cannot implement it.

    In coming to that conclusion, Perchman wrote that there is a “long and well-recognized” history of discrimination against transgender people, and, as such, any attempt by the government to discriminate against transgender people must serve a “compelling government interest” and be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal. “Transgender people have long been forced to live in silence, or to come out and face the threat of overwhelming discrimination,” Pechman wrote.

    While the Trump Administration attempted to argue that its March 2018 memo “revoked” the 2017 trans military ban, Perchman wrote that it was just a set of more detailed guidelines about how to implement the same ban that Trump tweeted about last year. This is important because the Trump Administration had to prove that there was a real government interest in banning transgender people from the military, something that there obviously wasn’t because Trump didn’t even hold any hearings or read any research about trans people in the military before he tweeted the ban.

    So his lawyers were trying to pass off the March 2018 memo – purportedly written by the Department of Defense – as something completely new since it came with a report and at least looked like the Trump Administration had tried to do some research into the matter.

    She then noted that while Trump claimed to have consulted “generals and military experts” about the trans military ban last year, his lawyers couldn’t name a single general that he actually talked to. She also wrote that many of the people who should have been consulted about the ban were surprised by it when it was announced. So Perchman wrote that the trans military ban was “devised by the President, and the President alone.”

    She did not rule as to whether the trans military ban can survive strict scrutiny, since that’s a question of fact. But strict scrutiny is often called “strict in name, but fatal in practice” because it sets the bar so high.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/04/judge-rejecte….

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs’ and Washington State’s Motions for Summary Judgment; Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/217-cv-01297-233/

  • 26. VIRick  |  April 15, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Hong Kong: Law Firms Join Goldman in Fight for Gay Spouse Visas

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    More than a dozen large banks and law firms from the US, Europe, and Asia are joining forces on behalf of a British lesbian in a landmark case for LGBT rights in Hong Kong. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. are among 15 financial institutions that have filed an application to intervene in the case of a woman, named in court documents as QT, who sued after the government rejected her application to reside in Hong Kong as a dependent of her same-sex partner.

    Hong Kong’s highest court is now considering an appeal filed by the government after a court ruled in favor of QT in September 2017. The banks and law firms believe “the appeal has no merit, or is based on an unequal treatment that discriminates against same-sex partners,” said B. Chen Zhu, a Hong Kong-based counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, acting pro bono on their behalf. “They all want to express their support for equal treatment for LGBT immigrants.”

    The intervention comes as foreign chambers of commerce have lobbied Hong Kong’s government to accommodate the spouses of expatriate gay staff in order to maintain its position as Asia’s top financial bub. Hong Kong, which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, in 2016 started allowing same-sex spouses or civil partners of consular officials to stay in the city.

    If the court were to accept their applications, the financial institutions and law firms would become parties in the case and would be able to present their views to the judges, Zhu said. A dozen institutions filed a similar application with a lower court last year, including ABN Amro Group NV, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. The same 12 have filed again, joined by three more: Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG Hong Kong Branch, and Macquarie Group.

    In a separate application, 16 law firms also applied to intervene, including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Clifford Chance LLP, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
    https://biglawbusiness.com/law-firms-join-goldman

  • 27. VIRick  |  April 15, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Hong Kong: The "Leung" Case, Companion Case to "QT"

    Per LGBT Marriage News and K & L Gates LLP:

    On 28 April 2017, in "Leung Chun Kwong v Secretary for the Civil Service and Another" (HCAL 258/2015), the Hong Kong Court of First Instance (HKCFI) decided that the same-sex spouse of a civil servant working at the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) was entitled to spousal benefits. Shortly after, on 25 September 2017, in "QT v Director of Immigration" (CACV 117/2016), the Hong Kong Court of Appeal (HKCA) held that dependant visas could be granted to the same-sex spouse of an employment visa holder.

    The Leung Case
    On 18 April 2014, the applicant, Mr. Leung Chun (Mr. Leung) and his spouse were legally married in New Zealand. Being a full-time employee of the government, under the Civil Service Regulations (CSR), Mr. Leung was entitled to certain medical and dental benefits. These benefits also covered an employee’s spouse. Under CSR 513, every officer is required to inform his department immediately of any change in their marital status.

    On 27 March 2014, prior to entering into the marriage, Mr. Leung wrote to the CSB asking whether he was required to update his marital status pursuant to CSR 513. The CSB responded that the same-sex marriage in New Zealand would fall outside the definition of marriage under the CSR and, accordingly, there was no change in marital status for the purposes of the reporting requirement. This meant that Mr. Leung’s spouse was not entitled to the relevant benefits.

    Mr. Leung argued that the CSB’s decision to deprive his spouse of the benefits was discriminatory and contravened Article 25 of the Basic Law as well as Article 1(1) and Article 22 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Bill of Rights). Article 25 of the Basic Law states that all Hong Kong residents shall be equal before the law; Article 1(1) of the Bill of Rights states that the rights recognized in the Bill of Rights shall be enjoyed without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion; and Article 22 states that all persons are equal before the law, and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.

    The CSB argued that its decision did not amount to discrimination and, even if it did, it was justifiable as the decision was no more than reasonably necessary to prevent the institution of marriage from being undermined and to protect the public interest of ensuring that matrimonial laws were consistent. The HKCFI rejected the CSB’s position and found that the CSB’s decision unlawfully discriminated against Mr. Leung on the basis of his sexual orientation. The HKCFI’s decision is currently under appeal by the CSB to the HKCA.
    https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/back-to-back-vi

  • 28. VIRick  |  April 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    (Hong Kong continued)

    The QT Case
    QT is a British national whose same-sex partner, SS, is a dual national of South Africa and Great Britain. In May 2011, the couple entered into a civil partnership in England. The same year, SS was offered employment by a company in Hong Kong. SS applied for an employment visa with the Immigration Department and included QT as her accompanying dependant. Later, QT’s application for a dependant visa was withdrawn and SS was issued with an employment visa on 26 August 2011. QT entered Hong Kong under a visitor status.

    On 25 April 2013, QT applied for an employment visa but was refused. On 29 January 2014, QT made a fresh application for a dependant visa with SS as her sponsor. This too was denied on 18 June 2014, when the Director of Immigration rejected QT’s application on the grounds that she was not a “spouse” within the meaning of the Immigration Department’s immigration policy.

    QT complained that the grounds, as applied by the Director of Immigration, constituted discrimination against her on account of her sexual orientation and commenced legal proceedings for judicial review of the decision. The Department of Immigration's policy states that the spouses of sponsors who have been admitted in Hong Kong to take up employment may apply to join him/her for residence.

    QT challenged the decision on the following grounds:
    1. The decision was discriminatory and unjustified and, accordingly, was 'Wednesbury' unreasonable
    2. The Director of Immigration misapplied the policy and the definition of spouse
    3. The decision was unconstitutional because it was inconsistent with Articles 25, 39 and 41 of the Basic Law and Articles 1, 14 and 22 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights.

    On 11 March 2016, the HKCFI rejected all three grounds of review and dismissed QT’s application for judicial review. The judge held that marriage confers a special legal status with new legal rights and obligations which could be different from civil partnership and that under the common law a “spouse” means husband and wife of a heterosexual marriage and excludes same-sex couples. The judge also said that in the immigration context the Director of Immigration was entitled to draw a line for immigration control.

    QT filed an appeal against the HKCFI’s decision. While QT conceded that Hong Kong does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnership, she contended that differential treatment based on marital status may still constitute discrimination on account of sexual orientation.

    The HKCA held that the policy, as applied by the Director of Immigration, amounted to indirect discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and failed to demonstrate that the eligibility requirement was rationally connected to the avowed aim of striking the balance between administrative workability and convenience. In particular, given that the dependant visa merely allows an applicant to stay in Hong Kong, it does not have the legal effect of the Director of Immigration recognizing the validity of the union or relationship under Hong Kong law. The HKCFI’s decision was set aside.
    https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/back-to-back-vi

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