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Open thread UPDATE 5/22-24

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

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Joshua Block from the ACLU is reporting that a federal district judge has declined to dismiss Gavin Grimm’s challenge to his school district’s bathroom policy requiring transgender people to use the wrong restrooms. The judge held Grimm stated a valid claim in his Equal Protection and federal law antidiscrimination claims. The order is here. We’ll have more once we read it.

UPDATE 2 5/24: The Third Circuit has upheld a school board’s policy that allows transgender students to use the correct bathroom. The policy was challenged by students. The ruling apparently came down only an hour after the oral argument.

77 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. VIRick  |  May 21, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Bermuda: Same-Sex Marriage Legal Challenge to Domestic Partnership Act Underway

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The "Roderick Ferguson, et al., v. the Attorney-General" legal matter is listed on the Court schedule to begin today, 21 May 2018, with the case set to challenge the Domestic Partnership Act, which is set to take effect on 1 June of this year. As it stands now, same-sex couples can get married in Bermuda until 31 May 2018.

    Earlier this year, lawyer Mark Pettingill — who represented Greg DeRoche and Winston Godwin in 2017 — filed a motion on behalf of a client challenging the constitutional aspects of the Domestic Partnership Act. At that time, Mr Pettingill told Bernews that Roderick Ferguson, a Bermudian man living in the United States, filed this lawsuit because “the right to have a same-sex marriage has been taken away.” The former Attorney-General maintained that as Bermuda created legislation that removes it, the Domestic Partnership Act is unconstitutional.

    The Orginating Summons filed is seeking an Order declaring the “Domestic Partnership Act 2018, in so far as its effect is to reverse the decision in the case of 'Godwin & Deroche v. The Registrar-General, the Attorney-General, et al.' [2017] SC (Bda) 36 Civ, notwithstanding provisions of the Human Rights Act 1981, is void.”

    Following that, OUTBermuda and Maryellen Jackson also filed legal action in the Bermuda Supreme Court seeking an order declaring that provisions that “have the effect of revoking same-sex marriage” are in contravention of the Bermuda Constitution, and last month they said they were preparing an “application to join their case to the 'Ferguson v. Attorney-General' case so both cases can be heard together. OUTBermuda and Ms. Jackson strongly oppose any measure to revoke the right to marry by the Bermuda Government and believe that the ruling originally handed down by the Supreme Court of Bermuda in May 2017 permitting same-sex marriage is good law,” they said.

    OUTBermuda and Maryellen Jackson are represented by Rod Attride-Stirling of ASW Law, while Mark Pettingill will be representing Roderick Ferguson. http://bernews.com/2018/05/same-sex-marriage-lega….

  • 2. VIRick  |  May 21, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Mississippi: A Gay Cop Is Running for Congress

    Michael Aycox isn’t a run-of-the-mill candidate for Congress, but rather, he’s the first openly gay candidate to run for Congress in Mississippi. Aycox’s candidacy would be news anywhere, but in a state as conservative as Mississippi, it was bound to make headlines. It might even become the whole basis of the media focus on his campaign. Perhaps that is why the Navy veteran and police officer seems to want to put the focus anywhere else.

    Aycox is running to replace Republican Gregg Harper, who announced his retirement in January, as representative of Mississippi’s third congressional district. Aycox, 30, lives in Newton MS with his husband Mario, and works as an investigator for the Newton police department.

    Only one other Democrat, state representative Michael Evans, has entered the race. Evans distinguishes himself from Aycox with his anti-LGBTQ positions. Evans opposes marriage equality and voted for a bill to allow businesses to deny services to people based on religious beliefs.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/05/gay-cop-runni….

  • 3. VIRick  |  May 21, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Mexico: Gay Candidate for Alderman in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco

    Out of the Closet and to the Voting Boxes

    Sale del Clóset Hacia las Urnas

    Per Carlos Esqueda:

    Nada que decir "Diario Pásala," solo "¡Gracias por la nota!"

    Candidato del PANAL a regidor en Tlaquepaque, Carlos Esqueda, pide que los votantes lo apoyen y aceptan su homosexualidad.
    https://twitter.com/carlitosesqueda

    Nothing more to say to "Diario Pásala," except "Thanks for the note!"

    PANAL candidate for city alderman in Tlaquepaque, Carlos Esqueda, asks voters to support him and accept his homosexuality.

    Tlaquepaque is a heavily-populated, sprawling suburban municipality directly adjacent to Guadalajara, one of the first municipalities in Jalisco state to process the marriages of same-sex couples.

  • 4. VIRick  |  May 21, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Costa Rica: Presidential Commissioner of LGBTI Affairs

    As one of his first acts after having been sworn-in as the new President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado created a new cabinet-level position, the Commissioner of LGBTI Affairs, the first of its kind anywhere in Latin America, and then appointed Luis Salazar to fill that position.

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Per Luis Salazar, Comisionado Presidencial LGBTI de Costa Rica:

    Hoy conversé con diputado Enrique Sánchez sobre avances que debemos emprender en el país para el reconocimiento de derechos a población LGBTI. Una de ellas será la homologación de trámites y documentos que expide el Gobierno, según acuerdo del TSE en materia de identidad de género.
    https://twitter.com/lsalazarmunoz/status/99867269

    Today, I spoke with deputy Enrique Sánchez on the progress we must undertake in the country to recognize the rights of the LGBTI population. One of them will be the approval of procedures and documents issued by the Government, in accordance with the agreement of the TSE on gender identity.

    Enrique Sánchez is the first out gay member of the Costa Rica National Assembly.

  • 5. VIRick  |  May 21, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Veracruz: Draft Bill that Would Exclude Marriage Equality Withdrawn from Agenda

    Veracruz: Retiran de la Orden del Día Dictamen que Excluiría Matrimonio Igualitario

    Xalapa, Veracruz – Retiraron del orden del día diputados del Congreso del Estado de Veracruz, el dictamen que excluiría el matrimonio igualitario de la Constitución.

    Ante la evidente falta de la mayoría calificada, es decir, de 34 votos a favor, el 21 de mayo 2018, el pleno del Congreso del Estado votó por retirar de la orden de día, el dictamen de la iniciativa que adiciona los párrafos cuarto, quinto, y sexto, al Artículo Cuarto de la Constitución Política local, con la cual se protege a la familia “natural” y el matrimonio heterosexual, excluyendo al matrimonio gay.
    https://www.cronicaveracruz.com/retiran-de-la-ord

    Xalapa, Veracruz – The deputies of the Congress of the State of Veracruz withdrew from the agenda the draft bill that would exclude marriage equality from the State Constitution.

    Faced with the evident lack of a qualified majority, that is, 34 votes in favor, on 21 May 2018, the plenary session of the State Congress voted to withdraw from the agenda the draft of the initiative that adds the fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraphs to Article 4 of the State Political Constitution, ones which would protect the "natural" family and heterosexual marriage, and exclude gay marriage.

  • 6. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 12:42 am

    Michigan Civil Rights Commission Bans LGBTQ Discrimination

    Starting Tuesday, 22 May 2018, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission will take complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time.

    The change comes following a 5-0-1 vote on Monday, 21 May 2018, to expand the commission's interpretation of the state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification in employment, education, housing and real estate, as well as use of public accommodations and public service.
    https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2

  • 7. scream4ever  |  May 22, 2018 at 3:06 am

    Wonderful! So this basically is similar to what happened in New York regarding gender identity correct?

  • 8. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Yes, however, in New York, Governor Cuomo issued an executive-order-type directive to that effect, whereas here in Michigan, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, a state-sponsored body, has taken the initiative to broaden its interpretation of pre-existing state Civil Rights law in light of the recent ruling of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals pertaining to a Michigan-based transgender workplace discrimination case, "EEOC v. RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes."

    Also, in Michigan, there had previously been absolutely no protection against discrimination based on either sexual orientation or gender identity in any category whatsoever (other than through drawn-out federal court litigation by affected individuals). Suddenly, there will now be across-the-board protections for both, enforced through their broader interpretation of pre-existing state law.

    As reported, "The commission’s 5-0 vote effectively expanded protections for gay and transgender residents through the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976, punctuating years of debate over changing the law. The action came after months of debate over a request for an interpretive statement filed by Equality Michigan, the state’s largest gay rights advocacy group. Advocates said the new, broader interpretation is consistent with recent federal court rulings."
    https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/mich

    One can also read more details here:

    Michigan Just Banned Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination in a Landmark Decision
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/05/michigan-just

  • 9. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    In "Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board," Federal Court Affirms that Federal Law Protects Transgender Students

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Newport News VA — On 22 May 2018, Federal District Court Judge, Arenda Wright Allen denied the Gloucester County School Board’s motion to dismiss the case brought by former student Gavin Grimm, holding that Title IX and the US Constitution's 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause protect transgender students from being excluded from the common restrooms that align with their gender identity. The court directed the parties to schedule a settlement conference within 30 days. The case was filed by the ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia.

    The Order is here:
    https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/gg-v-gloucest

    Judge Arenda Wright Allen is the same federal judge who, in 2014, first struck down Virginia's state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.

  • 10. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Oregon: Yet Another Useless, Nut-Job Federal "Place to Piss" Case

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In the case, "Parents for Privacy v. Sessions," a federal challenge to an Oregon school district policy that allows transgender students to use restrooms, showers, and locker room facilities consistent with their gender identity, the oral argument on motions to dismiss is scheduled for Wednesday, 23 May 2018, in Portland OR before Judge Marco A. Hernandez.

    The entire docket pertinent to this case is linked here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/d-or-317-cv-01813-doc

    This case was originally assigned to Judge Michael McShane, the federal judge who struck down Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, but has now been re-assigned to Judge Hernandez.

    The case is specifically directed against the Dallas School District #2, but for good measure, the plaintiffs are suing everybody and their sister-in-law, including Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Betsy DeVos, Oregon Department of Education, Jeff Sessions, United States Department of Education, and the United States Department of Justice.

    In a perverse sense, I suppose one should enjoy the fact that that these nut-jobs are so bizarre that they are even suing Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions, a point which, at least in this specific lawsuit, places us on the same side as those two.

  • 11. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Oregon: Settlement Reached with North Bend School District over LGBT Discrimination/Bible Reading

    Per Equality Case Files:

    North Bend OR – On 21 May 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon announced that settlements had been reached on behalf of current and former North Bend High School students, Liv Funk and Hailey Smith, who suffered anti-LGBTQ harassment and discrimination from both students and staff. The settlements remove Principal Bill Lucero from his job and require that the school district work with the ACLU of Oregon to develop policies and training to prevent future discrimination. The district will remain under Oregon Department of Education supervision for five years. The school district is also required to ask the North Bend Police Department to remove or provide a new police officer to function as the school police officer.

    The agreements are linked at the bottom of the article here:
    https://www.aclu-or.org/en/press-releases/aclu-or

  • 12. TheVirginian722  |  May 22, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Kentucky Primary: Elwood Caudill Wins Democratic Nomination for Rowan County Clerk

    It's bad news for County Clerk Kim Davis! Rowan County Democrats wisely nominated their strongest candidate to defeat Davis in November.

    The final tally shows Elwood Caudill with 1,923 votes (55.1%), David Ermold with 873 (25.0%), Jamey Jessee with 616 (17.7%). and Nashia Fife with 77 (2.2%).

    David Ermold had appealed to some voters because he had been victimized by Davis, when she denied him and his husband a marriage license. But after he accepted contributions from celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Amy Schumer, which became highly publicized, it was obvious that his nomination would enable Davis to label his campaign as an effort by out-of-state radicals to influence Rowan County's local election.

    Elwood Caudill, on the other hand, is a lifelong Rowan County resident with decades of experience in the county government. He lost to Kim Davis in the 2014 Democratic primary by only 23 votes. (Davis has since switched to the badly outnumbered Republican Party, which trails by a 2-1 margin in Rowan County voter registration.)

  • 13. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Bermuda: Same-Sex Marriage Legal Case Continues In Supreme Court

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The case is being brought in response to the legislation of Parliament last year that took away the right of gay couples to get married in Bermuda, and instead gave them rights through the Domestic Partnership Act [DPA], which is scheduled to go into effect on 1 June 2018. Roderick Ferguson has filed legal action, as has OUTBermuda and Maryellen Jackson, and as both actions deal with the same matter, the court has ordered that the two actions be heard together.

    “I don’t want to be separate but equal; I want to be equal!” Those are the words of Maryellen Jackson whose testimony was read in Supreme Court today, 22 May 2018, advocating that same-sex couples should be allowed to be married.

    Chief Justice Dr Ian Kawaley asked if she invites the court to look at this evidence narrowly, supporting or finding that there has been so substantial an interference with her personal beliefs the court would be justified on this evidence alone in striking down this legislation, or rather, is she asking the court to say this evidence, in the broad sense, that there are numerous people who are similar to her, in that their beliefs are being interfered with. If whether looked at broadly, does taking away same-sex marriage rights interfere in a general sense with freedom of conscience rights?

    Her lawyer Mr Attride-Stirling said that Ms Jackson “isn’t alone in having this view. The evidence is that there is a significant group who are affected by this.” He then read more from Ms Jackson’s affidavit saying she doesn’t want a domestic partnership as she already has a domestic partner and she doesn’t want a common-law wife.
    http://bernews.com/2018/05/ssm-legal-case-continu

  • 14. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Canada Joins Global LGBTI Rights Initiative

    Canada is the latest country to join a US-led initiative that seeks to promote LGBTI rights around the world. The State Department and the Canadian government, in a 17 May 2018 press release that announced that Canada had joined the Global Equality Fund, said both countries “recognize that protecting and respecting human rights is the responsibility of all governments, and that the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons are not different or separate from the human rights of anyone else.” The press release also notes Canada’s contribution to the fund will specifically provide “emergency assistance to LGBTI persons under threat of violence.”

    The fund, which is a public-private partnership, has given tens of millions of dollars to LGBTI advocacy groups since its 2011 launch. Argentina, Australia, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Uruguay are the other countries that contribute to the fund. The Arcus Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Royal Bank of Canada are among the non-governmental organizations and foundations that are among the other contributors.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/05/21/canada-

  • 15. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Moldova: LGBT "Progress" of Sorts

    In a new first, police in Moldova fired tear gas at anti-LGBT protesters to keep them away from a Pride march, rather than the other way around. LGBT activists had feared a repeat of violent scenes at the annual Moldova Pride solidarity march, which took place in the country’s capital, Chisinau, on 19 May 2018. 

    Last year’s march was marred by clashes between anti-LGBT Orthodox Christian protesters and the LGBT activists, with the country’s President Igar Dodon publicly hitting out at the LGBT event. However, this year’s event enjoyed a significant level of police protection, preventing further clashes.

    The protection for the event comes after 22 embassies signed a statement of support for the LGBT march. The missions of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States signed the statement, which was issued on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (17 May).
    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/05/22/moldova-pri

  • 16. allan120102  |  May 22, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Notary in costa rica marry same sex couple now is waiting for civil register to register that marriage. http://www.costaricanoticias.cr/detalle/2141/nota

  • 17. VIRick  |  May 22, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Costa Rica: A Notary Already Married a Same-Sex Couple in February 2018

    Costa Rica: Notario Ya Se Casó una Pareja del Mismo Sexo en Febrero 2018

    Un notario casó una pareja del mismo sexo el pasado mes de febrero pese a que la dirección nacional de notariado prohibió realizar matrimonios de parejas del mismo sexo. El nuevo matrimonio entre una pareja del mismo sexo se realizó el pasado mes de febrero y está en espera de que sea inscrito por el Registro Civil. El acto se realiza después de que la Dirección Nacional de Notariado prohibiera realizar matrimonios entre parejas homosexuales y luego se retractara, afirmando que están a la espera de que el Registro Civil realice el procedimiento idóneo para la inscripción correspondiente.

    Según indicó el notario público, Luis Roberto Zamora, él está en toda la potestad de realizar el procedimiento y la Dirección Nacional de Notariado no se lo puede negar. Por ahora, esta pareja está a la espera de la inscripción, pues hasta este día no se encuentran registrados en el sitio web del Registro Civil. Sin embargo, Zamora recalcó que el matrimonio es completamente valido y solo se podría anular por el juzgado de familia a través de un juicio.
    http://www.costaricanoticias.cr/detalle/2141/nota

    A notary married a same-sex couple in February 2018 despite the fact that the national notary office prohibited same-sex marriages. The new marriage of a same-sex couple was held last February and is awaiting registration by the Civil Registry. The act was made after which the National Directorate of Notaries prohibited marriages between homosexual couples and then retracted it, affirming that they are waiting for the Civil Registry to perform the appropriate procedure for the corresponding registration.

    As indicated by the public notary, Luis Roberto Zamora, he has full power to carry out the procedure and la Dirección Nacional de Notariado can not deny him of it. For now, this couple is awaiting registration, because to this day, they are not registered on the website of the Civil Registry. However, Zamora stressed that the marriage is completely valid and can only be annulled by the family court through a trial.

  • 18. Fortguy  |  May 23, 2018 at 12:50 am

    Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas held party primaries Tuesday, May 22. I won't speak for the states other than my own, Texas, where our election was a runoff for offices undecided by majorities in the March round.

    Texas Governor: Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez defeated Andrew White, the son of the late and former Gov. Mark White, for the Dem nomination to take on Gov. Greg Abbott in November. Valdez is a lesbian and a Hispana, but her progressive ideals leave much to be desired. Somehow, she failed to win the endorsements of some LGBT activist organizations in the state, and her tenure as sheriff managed to alienate both immigrant rights groups for her cooperation with ICE detainers and drew criticism from hard-right politicians as a "sanctuary cities" advocate at the same time. She has no support from civil rights and criminal justice reform groups, and her campaign appearances have featured her falling into Sarah Palin-style word salad due to her lack of understanding of the issues facing the state.

    Despite this, White was someone who never showed any interest in politics until this race, and has taken a position far to the right on some issues that has infuriated the party base. He even got into a tit-for-tat with Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards, the very respected daughter of the late Gov. Ann Richards, rekindling the nasty primary fight in the 80s when her mom beat his dad. Make no mistake here, both are deeply flawed candidates and neither would have a chance against Abbott and his deep war chest.

    U.S. Congress: Lesbian and Filipina-American Gina Ortiz Jones defeated Berniecrat Rick Treviño in the border's CD-23 held by Rep. Will Hurd. This is the only district in the state that swings like a pendulum from left to right nearly every election cycle. Jones is strongly supported by the Dem establishment and has outraised Hurd in the most recent reporting periods. A "blue wave" only needs some guy with a squeegie to turn this district Dem in November.

    Dem establishment backed candidate Lizzie Pannill Fletcher defeated Berniecrat Laura Moser in Houston-area CD-7. The winner faces Rep. John Culberson in a district Hillary carried. The DCCC's early endorsement of Fletcher caused a stink in the original primary, but Moser's less-than-polite writings about some groups have come back to bite her.

    Civil rights attorney and former Baylor Bears and Tennessee Titans linebacker Colin Allred has defeated Berniecrat Lillian Salerno to take on Rep. Jeff Sessions in the Dallas-area CD-32 which also supported Hillary. Allred's DCCC support was less controversial, although Salerno had Emily's list support.

    Another hopeful Dem pickup is the San Antonio-area CD-21 where Rep. Lamar Smith is retiring in a mildly Trump-leaning district. Joseph Kopser, an army vet and tech entrepreneur, defeated Mary Street Wilson, an unknown schoolteacher who somehow led the original primary balloting and who was also seen as the much more progressive candidate.

    Elsewhere, Berniecrats won nominations in three Austin-area districts, but Dem establishment candidates won everywhere else. However, all of these Bernie candidates are in deeply GOP districts.

    In the GOP primaries where incumbents are retiring, and there are a lot this time around, Teabagger candidates made a strong showing meaning the next Congress will have an even larger contingent of loud, frothy members divorced from logic or reason. Hopefully, a blue wave elsewhere will leave them shrieking from the back benches.

  • 19. Fortguy  |  May 23, 2018 at 1:21 am

    The primaries in the Texas Legislature are a bright spot. The runoffs feature only one Senate runoff on the Dem side in a meaningless contest in a heavily GOP district. The real interest is in the GOP House races including the seats held by retiring Speaker Joe Straus and his chief lieutenant Byron Cook of the State Affairs Committee where anti-LGBT legislation has usually suffered a slow, cruel death. Both seats, along with nearly every other House race contested in this runoff, have been won by moderates over Teabaggers. The one single exception is in a heavily Dem Dallas district.

    Two House incumbents were defeated in the runoffs. GOP Rep. Scott Cosper of Killeen lost to veterinarian Brad Buckley. Buckley, however, did not campaign from Cosper's right, so it doesn't appear that this will be a major change. On the Dem side, Rep. René Oliveira was defeated by Cameron County Commissioner Alex Dominguez after Oliveira was busted for DWI during the past month. What's the difference between a Hispanic Texas legislator who enthusiastically supports LGBT and other progressive causes and one who doesn't while standing with the conservative old guard? In one word, age. Dominguez promises to be a straight ally Oliveira was, at best, only begrudgingly pretending to be if at all.

  • 20. JayJonson  |  May 23, 2018 at 6:17 am

    Great ruling in the Gavin Grimm case.

    A federal judge has ruled that both the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the federal civil rights statutes protect transgender students.

    U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, and cannot be forced to use separate facilities, including restrooms and other gender-specific facilities, like locker rooms.

    In its 31-page ruling, the court, siding with the ACLU, ruled against the Gloucester County School Board's request to dismiss the case. Instead, it ordered the school board to settle with Gavin Grimm, formerly a student at the school when he brought the suit nearly three years ago. Grimm has since graduated.

    "I feel an incredible sense of relief," Grimm, 19, said via a statement. "After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law. I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through."

    Here is the ruling:
    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4481533-O

    Read more here:
    https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2018/05

  • 21. TheVirginian722  |  May 23, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Arkansas Primary: Republican Primary Voters Flush Bathroom Bill Sponsor

    Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith went down to defeat in Tuesday's Arkansas primary election. Republicans in the 19th Senate District chose challenger State Representative James Sturch (5,299 votes) over incumbent Collins-Smith (4,726 votes).

    Collins-Smith was notorious for her sponsorship last year of "The Arkansas Physical Privacy and Safety Act," which would have required all citizens to use only public facilities which correspond with the gender on their birth certificates. The legislation, opposed by GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson, was ultimately sent to a Senate Committee to be studied indefinitely.

    Senator Collins-Smith had crossed swords with the Governor on his Arkansas Works program to insure healthcare for all working Arkansans. She was a staunch advocate of "school choice" legislation which would drain funds from public schools, as well as extremist gun legislation which would permit the carrying of concealed weapons almost anywhere.

    Linda can now return to running her Days Inn in Pocahontas full-time. She'll be too busy cleaning bathrooms to worry about who's using them.

  • 22. scream4ever  |  May 23, 2018 at 11:59 am

    67% of Americans now support same-sex marriage, up three points from last year. Opposition is down to just 31%, down from 34% last year:
    http://news.gallup.com/poll/234866/two-three-amer

  • 23. allan120102  |  May 23, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Dont expect Uzbekistan to legalize homosexual activity anytime soon. It was the only human right recommendation they reject. http://www.businessinsider.com/r-anything-you-wan

  • 24. VIRick  |  May 23, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Missouri: State Can Not Withhold Medical Treatment of Trans Prisoners

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 22 May 2018, in "Hicklin v. Precynthe," the federal challenge to the Missouri Dept. of Corrections policy of barring access to hormone therapy if inmate was not receiving treatment prior to incarceration, Judge Noelle C. Collins ruled that denying transgender prisoners medically-necessary treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy, violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    A PERMANENT INJUNCTION is entered in this case, as follows:
    (1) Defendants’ failure to provide Ms. Hicklin medically necessary care related to her gender dysphoria violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution;

    (2) MDOC’s policy, practice, custom, or usage of banning the provision of hormone therapy to any transgender inmate who was not receiving such therapy before entering MDOC (“the freeze-frame policy”) violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, both on its face and as applied to Ms. Hicklin;

    (3) For as long as Ms. Hicklin remains in the custody of MDOC, Defendants shall provide Ms. Hicklin with care that her doctors deem medically-necessary treatment for her gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy, permanent hair removal, and access to gender-affirming canteen items;

    (4) Defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing the freeze-frame policy; and

    (5) Defendants shall pay Ms. Hicklin’s costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and other applicable laws.

    The Memorandum and Order and Permanent Injunction is here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/416-cv-01357-176/

  • 25. Randolph_Finder  |  May 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Caudill is basically running a campaign of "Let's get Rowan County out of the news". He supports the law allowing for Marriage Equality, but isn't interested in being anything close to an LGBTQ poster child. He's a long time resident and frankly doesn't *want* national funding.

  • 26. Randolph_Finder  |  May 23, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Still a step toward liberalism, they are just so far back that you need binoculars.

  • 27. VIRick  |  May 23, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Federal Judge: Trump Actions Unconstitutional

    On Wednesday, 23 May 2018, a federal judge ruled it is unconstitutional for Trump to block critics on his personal Twitter account, deeming tweets from @realDonaldTrump to be a "public forum" under partial governmental control and therefore people cannot be excluded based on their political beliefs.

    "This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, 'block' a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States," wrote US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York. "The answer to both questions is no."

    The case against Trump and his social media director Dan Scavino was brought in July 2017 by Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute, as well as by several Twitter users who criticized the president and were subsequently blocked.

    Trump established the @realDonaldTrump account in March 2009, long before he sought the presidency, but has since continued to use it since entering the Oval Office. He announced he was nominating Christopher Wray to be FBI director on Twitter and on Sunday he even issued an order to the Department of Justice via a tweet. The White House has also called Trump's tweets official statements.

    "The President and Scavino’s control over the @realDonaldTrump account is also governmental," wrote the judge, noting Trump's Twitter bio identifies him as the 45th president of the United States. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs' critical tweets at the president were protected as political speech under the First Amendment and that Trump's tweets have been used to appoint and fire staff and to conduct foreign policy.

    "The continued exclusion of the individual plaintiffs based on viewpoint is, therefore, impermissible under the First Amendment," the judge wrote.

    Rather than issuing an injunction forcing Trump and Scavino to unblock users, the judge simply issued a ruling that the blocking violates the Constitution and asserted that it was likely the president and Scavino would willingly follow her constitutional ruling.

    The Memorandum and Order is attached to the bottom ot this article:
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/davidmack/a-federal-cour

  • 28. bayareajohn  |  May 23, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    They might follow the ruling if they hadn't already blocked their collective ears and eyes to reality. Trump lives in his own world. We aren't welcome there.

    Trump might instead try to fire Buchwald, or order an investigation….

  • 29. JayJonson  |  May 24, 2018 at 5:01 am

    Gallup reports that 4.5% of Americans now identify as LGBT.

    The percentage of American adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) increased to 4.5% in 2017, up from 4.1% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2012 when Gallup began tracking the measure.

    This 2017 update on LGBT identification underscores two significant conclusions. First, the percentage of adults in the U.S. who identify as LGBT has been increasing and is now at its highest point across the six years of Gallup's tracking of this measure. Second, the increase has been driven almost totally by millennials, whose self-reports of being LGBT have risen from 5.2% six years ago to 8.1% today. Baby boomers and traditionalists have actually become slightly less likely to identify as LGBT since 2012, while the LGBT percentage among Gen Xers has risen only marginally.

    For more info, see:
    http://news.gallup.com/poll/234863/estimate-lgbt-

  • 30. Elihu_Bystander  |  May 24, 2018 at 8:03 am

    "Trump lives in his own world. We aren't welcome there."

    Nor would I ever want to be caught in that world.

  • 31. VIRick  |  May 24, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Bermuda Supreme Court Up-Date

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Here's Maryellen Jackson's story, a born and bred Bermudian of mixed-race ancestry, one of the lead plaintiffs in the current legal proceedings underway in Bermuda:
    http://www.royalgazette.com/same-sex-marriage/art

    Here's Adrian Hartnett-Beasley's story, another born and bred Bermudian, the deputy chair of OutBermuda, who married his husband Shane in 2015 in New York, and who is an additional lead plaintiff in the legal proceedings underway in Bermuda:
    http://www.royalgazette.com/same-sex-marriage/art

    Their case has been merged with that of Roderick Ferguson, the original complaintant.

    And here's the Bermuda Government's twisted pitch to the court, as presented:
    http://www.royalgazette.com/same-sex-marriage/art

    The hearing is expected to conclude today, 24 May 2018.

  • 32. VIRick  |  May 24, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    First Same-Sex Marriage of Costa Rica: "We Are Asserting a Right"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Primer Matrimonio Igualitario de Costa Rica: "Estamos Haciendo Valer un Derecho”

    San Pedro, Costa Rica, 23 de mayo 2018 – José Zárate, uno de los contrayentes, dijo a "El Mundo" que no lo revelaron antes por el país encontrarse en campaña política, la cual giraba alrededor de este tema. Zárate espera que la Sala Constitucional (Sala IV) resuelva la opinión consultiva de la CIDH de forma favorable.

    La pareja se encuentra a la espera de la inscripción oficial en el Registro Civil, ente que ya ha manifestado recibirá todos los documentos pero no podrá tramitarlos hasta que las instancias competentes se pronuncien.
    https://www.elmundo.cr/estamos-haciendo-valer-un-

    San Pedro, Costa Rica, 23 May 2018 – José Zárate, one of the contracting parties, told "El Mundo" that they did not reveal it before because the country was in a political campaign, which revolved around this issue. Zárate expects the Constitutional Chamber (Sala IV) to resolve the advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court (CIDH) in a favorable manner.

    The couple is waiting for the official registration in the Civil Registry, which has already said that it will receive all the documents but will not be able to process them until the competent authorities give their opinion.

    San Pedro, abutting San José on the east, is well within the San José metro area, and is home to the University of Costa Rica, as well as La Universidad Latina.

  • 33. allan120102  |  May 24, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Hopefully an injunction is issue preventing the new law from taking effect and leaving ssm legal in Bermuda.

  • 34. allan120102  |  May 24, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I am not sure why Hispanics tend to be more lgbt than other races. For example here in Honduras lgbt people is between 8-10 double of the states. Brazil has as high as 15% and almost every latin american country has a high lgbt population compare to europeans or americans. I have always ask why. Even in the gallup poll you show it shows hispanics having a 6.1% of population indetifying as lgbt 2% more than whites and 1% more than blacks.

  • 35. allan120102  |  May 24, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Judgement reserve for the bermuda ban, hopefully a decision will be issue soon. http://mobile.royalgazette.com/news/article/20180

  • 36. scream4ever  |  May 24, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Perhaps because Catholacisim is more LGBT friendly than many Protestant faiths.

  • 37. scream4ever  |  May 24, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I strongly suspect that's what will happen.

  • 38. bayareajohn  |  May 24, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    And perhaps THAT is because their clergy's ranks are so full of us.

  • 39. scream4ever  |  May 24, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    I think it's more likely due to celibacy requirements being imposed as it "removes" temptation, and thus the risk of being exposed.

  • 40. bayareajohn  |  May 24, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    My first "real" boyfriend was ex-seminary, where he had gone to find escape from his temptations. He quit when he found it was, in his words, "a rampant breeding ground" of gay men. With active breeding.

  • 41. allan120102  |  May 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    CR notary who marry ss couple to be discipline. He has been call to present himself on May 31. https://delfino.cr/2018/05/direccion-notariado-ab

  • 42. VIRick  |  May 24, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Switzerland: Government Proposal to Let Trans People Self-Identify by Name, Gender

    Switzerland has begun the process to allow transgender people to legally change their name and gender without requiring the approval of a court. On Thursday, 24 May 2018, Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga announced potential new legislation regarding the rights of transgender people. If implemented, the new policy will allow transgender people to change their legal gender and their first name without the approval of a court, thus allowing trans people to self-identify.

    The policy will also not require transgender people who are married to divorce prior to changing their legal gender and will not affect parent-child relationships. The Swiss government recently removed the requirements for sterilization and other medical procedures and checks prior to changing legal gender.

    The Swiss Federal Council, a group of politicians who collectively act as the heads of government, have now sent the policy for consultation.
    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/05/24/switzerland

  • 43. VIRick  |  May 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Slaps Down Anti-Trans Bathroom Nut-Jobs

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In an unusual step, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals issued its unanimous decision today, 24 May 2018, less than an hour after lawyers had argued their case before the three-judge panel, upholding and affirming the lower court decision, allowing transgender students to use the facility of their choice.

    Circuit Judge Theodore McKee said he and his colleagues, Judges Patty Schwartz and Richard Lowell Nygaard, recognized how important the case was to students at Boyertown Area Senior High School and wanted to resolve the issue before the students at the heart of the case, many of them seniors, graduated later this month.

    The Pennsylvania-based case on appeal was "Doe v. Boyertown," No. 17-3113, a 3rd Circuit appeal of the order denying the preliminary injunction to anti-trans high school students who were suing because they must share locker rooms with transgender students. A formal order from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals is forthcoming.

    The ACLU and cooperating counsel from the law firm Cozen O’Connor intervened in the case on behalf of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, a coalition of LGBTQ youth leaders and youth organizations, including the Boyertown Gay-Straight Alliance.

    Here's the ACLU statement:
    http://bit.ly/2kmgUtl

  • 44. Randolph_Finder  |  May 24, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Which means this *could* see full implementation in 3 or 4 years…

  • 45. VIRick  |  May 24, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Jersey: Marriage Equality Bill Granted Royal Assent

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 23 May 2018, the Jersey marriage equality bill, Marriage and Civil Status (Amendment No. 4) (Jersey) Law 2018, has been granted the Royal Assent.

    It is #4 in the list for Jersey, near the top of page 2:
    https://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/wp-conten

    Special note to Randolph Finder: Parking fines will henceforth be doubled for all coy remarks relative to God saving the Queen, re:

    "Is it just me, or at this point, does Jersey have about the same amount of Drama on marriage equality as increasing parking fines?"

  • 46. scream4ever  |  May 24, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Yah my boyfriend at one point was training to be a priest.

  • 47. VIRick  |  May 24, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    To begin, Hispanic is not a "race," but rather, is a complex ethnicity based on shared cultural and linguistic commonalities. Within Latin America, all "races" are represented, some more so in certain regions than others, with a plethora of subtle variations. Still, this does not explain why there would be a higher percentage of self-identifying LGBTs within the Hispanic population in the USA versus other populations.

    On this question, I only know my own experience. All of my early gay encounters occurred in Mexico, and varied from a 100% Yaqui Indigenous dude to a hot Portuguese cutie and another from Argentina, and on to an assortment of more generic Hispanics of varied background, from Brasil to Colombia to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I have always felt more "at home" in an Hispanic environment (and still do), as opposed to an Anglo one. I have never understood precisely why I should feel this way, but I lean heavily toward my own self-perception of there being a wider cultural acceptance of LGBTs within Latin America than in many other parts of the world. Perhaps symptomatic is this difference: unlike the Anglo world where one undergoes this peculiar, seemingly painful process of "coming out," in many parts of Latin America, one just "is."

    As far as the survey results are concerned, what does surprise me is the fact that over 6% of the Hispanic population in the USA (of whatever flavor) feel comfortable enough with themselves to self-identify as being LGBT within that country. I would be much less comfortable doing so. However, in Latin America,– no worries whatsoever. But that's just me.

    Oh, and since others have commented on this department, I am (thankfully) an innocent "virgin" when it comes to priests, ex-seminarians, altar boys, choir masters, organists, and the like.

  • 48. Elihu_Bystander  |  May 25, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Thank you for this insightful post. As an Anglo transplanted to San Francisco in 1978 and to the central San Joaquin Valley in 1983, I have encountered the same sense of the Hispanic community as you have.

  • 49. GregInTN  |  May 25, 2018 at 8:47 am

    TN: Appellate court dismisses anti same-sex marriage lawsuit against Williamson County Clerk

    The Tennessee Court of Appeals dismissed a case brought by a group of conservative Williamson County residents who sued in an effort to invalidate all Tennessee marriage laws.

    The lawsuit, filed against Williamson County Clerk Elaine Anderson and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, argued that a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nullified all state marriage laws.

    In an opinion handed down Tuesday, the appellate court sided with Williamson County Chancellor Joseph Woodruff, who first dismissed the lawsuit.

    The appellate court didn't mince words in its decision.

    "Even the dissenters in Obergefell would not claim that the decision wiped away marriage licensing laws," wrote Judge W. Neal McBrayer in the court's opinion.

    The court's decision also confirmed the plaintiffs do not have standing and failed to show how federal laws allowing same-sex marriage would cause them harm.

    "None of the citizen plaintiffs alleged that they were denied a marriage license; instead, they complain of the issuance of marriage license to others," the court's opinion says.

    https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/willi

    Note: This group filed similar suits in two different counties in TN. As far as I know, the case in Bradley County is still pending.

  • 50. VIRick  |  May 25, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Cambodia: Same-Sex Couples Hold Stunning Public Ceremony of Commitment

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    As part of Pride Week and IDAHOT, a week ago, three same-sex couples in Cambodia declared their commitment to each other in a colorful public ceremony. They wanted to help raise awareness about LGBTI rights. The couples entered into Cambodia’s version of civil partnership, known as the Declaration of Family Relationship (DoFR), which is gaining popularity across the country.

    The leading LGBTI organization, Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), created the DoFR. In 2014, RoCK became Cambodia’s first registered LGBTI non-government organization. RoCK has helped introduce the DoFR to 50 communes in 15 provinces around Cambodia.

    "The Declaration of Family Relationship is a civil contract that two persons make who are willing to be together and share responsibility of taking care of family, children, and the distribution of joint assets, just as a legal spouses do," RoCK’s Raksmey Tuy and Cheyleaphy Heng told Gay Star News. Raksmey was one of the people to sign the forms during last week’s public ceremony. "So far, in total, there have been 21 couples who signed the forms," Raksmey and Cheyleaphy said.
    https://www.gaytoday.com/index.php/2018/05/24/sam

  • 51. allan120102  |  May 25, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Thailand, Vietnam , Cambodia and Laos are really tolerant so I am not surprise Cambodia have some type of unregister partnership what surprises me is how long it tooks to learn about this partnership taking place. Looks like the wiki map will need to change.

  • 52. VIRick  |  May 25, 2018 at 9:38 am

    The move opens a public comment period through 30 September, followed by a planned parliamentary debate. Possible revisions aren’t likely to take effect before 2020, based on traditional legislative timetables for such matters.
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2018/05/24/

  • 53. FredDorner  |  May 25, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Side note – Cozen O’Connor was nominally a *defendant* in a marriage equality related lawsuit regarding spousal inheritance rights under ERISA. The ruling was delayed so that it could cite Windsor. I don't remember the details but I suspect the firm itself was on the right side of the issue. http://www.williamsmullen.com/news/post-windsor-f

  • 54. VIRick  |  May 25, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Canada: Trudeau Accepts LGBTQ Advocacy Award

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has made great strides in achieving equality for LGBTQ people but there’s still work to be done. Trudeau was greeted with a standing ovation as he took to the stage at a Toronto hotel on Thursday night, 24 May 2018, to accept an award from human rights group Egale Canada for his LGBTQ advocacy. He received the 2018 Egale Leadership Award from TD Bank's chief executive officer, Bharat Masrani, during the Egale Canada Identity Gala in Toronto.

    “I am on your side,” he told the crowd at the Egale Identity Gala. “I will fight for you, and I will fight with you.” The prime minister mingled with advocates and allies as he found his seat in the rainbow-hued ballroom at the downtown Toronto Hilton.
    https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/05/25/i-

    As a good example, here is Justin Trudeau's latest tweet on 25 May 2018:

    Canada and Chile are friends and proud partners in fighting for gender equality, the advancement of women, and LGBTQ rights. Today, I spoke with President Sebastián Piñera to discuss how we can keep working together on these vital issues.
    https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau/status/10001573

  • 55. VIRick  |  May 25, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Angola: MPs Provisionally Pass Bill on New Penal Code

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Luanda, Angola, 18 May 2018 – On Thursday, 17 May 2018, MPs of the Angola National Assembly approved, in general terms, the Draft Law on the Angolan Penal Code (O Código Penal Angolano), which will replace the current Criminal Code of 1886 (O Código Penal Português de 1886). The bill was approved with 186 votes in favor, three against, and six abstentions.

    In presenting the bill, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Francisco Queirós, said that the draft law meets the modern trends of criminal policy, in a universal context of great complexity. He pointed out that the current Criminal Code is outdated from social, political, and cultural reality, and therefore, a comprehensive reform of criminal law is required, one which responds effectively to the most recent types of criminal activities having to do with combating drugs, organized crime, computer crimes, and the need to humanize criminal justice in the light of the commitments made by the Angolan State under the governing instruments of national government policy.
    https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/447551726/mps-pas

    Note: What is "missing" from the new legislation, in the midst of undergoing this complete overhaul, and which was not even mentioned, is the fact that the new legislation no longer criminalizes sodomy and other same-sex sexual activities.

    This is a link to the website of O Parlamento de Angola e a Proposta de Lei do Código Penal, a truly extended proposal which goes on for 211 pages (in Portuguese):
    http://www.parlamento.ao/documents/91841/0/PROPOS

    A presente Lei entra em vigor noventa dias após a data da sua publicação.

    The present law enters into force 90 days after the date of its publication, once it has also been signed by O PRESIDENTE DA REPÚBLICA, JOÃO MANUEL GONÇALVES LOURENÇO.

  • 56. VIRick  |  May 25, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Hawaii: Governor Signs Bill into Law Banning Gay "Conversion Therapy," State #12

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Hawaii is officially the 12th state to outlaw gay "conversion therapy" after Governor David Ige signed the bill banning the anti-LGBTQ practice on Friday, 25 May 2018. In a brief ceremony at the Hawaii State Capitol building in Honolulu, Ige claimed that attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ youth are “neither medically nor ethically appropriate.”

    “The overwhelming scientific research has shown that conversion therapy is not effective and frequently has lasting harmful psychological impacts on minors,” Ige said. “For our LGBTQ youth, it often results in feelings of isolation, depression, and hopelessness. It has absolutely no place here on our lovely islands.”

    The Democrat was widely expected to sign into law Senate Bill 270, which prohibits conversion therapy on minors under the age of 18. He was joined in the ceremony by the bill’s sponsors, which included State Sen. Stanley Chang. https://intomore.com/impact/Hawaii-Becomes-12th-S….

    New Hampshire is expected to be next, as a gay "conversion therapy" bill sits on Governor Chris Sununu’s desk. The conservative governor has vowed to sign it.

  • 57. VIRick  |  May 26, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Mexico City LGBT Data Up-Date on Same-Sex Marriage/Gender Identity

    Per Jacqueline L'Hoist T., Director of COPRED:

    According to information obtained from the Civil Registry, from the inception in 2010 through 15 May 2018, there have been 10,085 same-sex marriages recorded in CDMX, 4638 of which have been between 2 women, and 5447 of which have been between two men.

    According to the same source, from 2014, following the reform to the civil code which permits the recognition of trans people's gender identity solely as an administrative procedure, until the same date, there have been 3163 such recognitions.
    https://twitter.com/NoticiasLGBT
    https://twitter.com/Jacquie_LHoist

    COPRED = Consejo para Prevenir y Eliminar la Discriminación de la CDMX

    Note: Although these numbers are presumed to be accurate, one must also remember that hundreds of same-sex couples from all over Mexico, from states which had not yet legalized same-sex marriage, have travelled to Mexico City in order to be married there. Ditto for administrative gender identity recognition.

  • 58. VIRick  |  May 26, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Worldwide Marriage Equality Watch List

    By Rex Wockner:

    Rex Wockner has recently posted a new, separate, expanded article tracking the nations most likely to see marriage equality next. Now, on his newly-expanded Watch List, the following 16 jurisdictions are listed, with detailed information on each: Austria, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Northern Ireland, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Venezuela.
    https://wockner.blogspot.com/2018/04/worldwide-ma

    Nine of the 16 listed jurisdictions are in Latin America, most of which have had marriage equality cases filed before their respective nation's highest court, cases which are still pending resolution. As a result, many, like Costa Rica, Panamá, Ecuador, and Venezuela (and Bermuda), could have nationwide rulings rendered at any time. Others, like the cases in Perú, Paraguay, and Honduras, will take longer. (In addition, in El Salvador, two separate lawsuits seeking marriage equality were filed before that nation's Supreme Court in 2016. Although the first of these was dismissed, the second one appears to still be pending.)

    Also, as a reminder, the case before the Philippines Supreme Court will be heard in three weeks' time, on 19 June 2018.

  • 59. ianbirmingham  |  May 26, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    China is the main socially conservative influence in Asia, and Cambodia is especially close to China (politically). Laos is less so, Thailand less than Laos, and Vietnam only talks to China when absolutely necessary. Vietnam is perpetually angry at China due to China's attempts to essentially push Vietnam out of the South China Sea (which China preposterously thinks it literally owns).

  • 60. VIRick  |  May 26, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Barbados Rejects Homophobia,– Maybe,– to a Degree

    On Thursday, 24 May 2018, Barbados elected its first female prime minister, as the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) took all the seats in parliament. The BLP’s platform calls for a referendum on LGBT issues. The new prime minister, Mia Mottley, won after overcoming a homophobic campaign by the ruling Democratic Labour Party, which criticized her presumed sexuality.

    Previously, from 2001, Mottley served as the country’s Attorney-General. In that position, she commissioned a study on laws that affected HIV interventions. The study recommended scrapping the country’s anti-sodomy law. Though largely unenforced, it is the worst in the Western Hemisphere, calling for life imprisonment. At the time, the proposal to repeal the anti-sodomy law ran into strong public opposition and was dropped.

    Late in the campaign, Barbadian pop star Rihanna gave Mottley a boost by commenting on Instagram that Mottley deserved to be elected prime minister. This article includes information from activist Maurice Tomlinson.
    https://76crimes.com/2018/05/26/with-a-boost-from

    The website, "76 Crimes" focuses on the 76 nations worldwide where sodomy is still legally considered to be a criminal offense. Currently, though, the actual number of countries where sodomy remains criminalized stands at stands at 74, because since the site's founding, Seychelles, Belize, and Nauru have dropped their criminality, while Chad has added it.

    Once the court proceedings overturning Trinidad's ban have been finalized, the number will drop to 73. And once Angola's revised criminal code goes into effect, it will again drop to 72. Once India's Supreme Court rules the way we are expecting, the number will again decrease to 71. And after the Cook Islands has finished revising its criminal code, the number will shrink to 70. However, they are quite uncertain as to where to place Egypt, as the law there states that sodomy is not illegal, yet the recent practice indicates the contrary.

  • 61. Fortguy  |  May 27, 2018 at 2:03 am

    My own partner of nearly 30 years is Mexican-American, and we live in a border county. During my college years, I traveled extensively in Mexico as, not only did I study there one summer at UNAM, but with the collapse of the peso back in the 80s, it was much cheaper to vacation there than even here in my home state. As a result, I've visited or lived in over half of Mexico's states.

    My partner is also a little older than I, and knows firsthand how brutally society and the local school system could treat Hispanic kids in Texas back in the bad old days of segregation. During the Colonial period, the British, and the French for that matter, maintained a consistent policy of Native extermination while the Spanish f*cked their way through the New World creating families with the Natives who gave them children before dying from smallpox first. These differences are clearly evident in the attitudes between my Hispanic Tejano neighbors and the Southern rednecks who came to settle here later but think they own the place.

    Also, the Spanish came from a broader southern European Latin Catholic culture where everyone around the western Mediterranean basin has always ignored the church and practiced an anything-goes attitude toward sexual morality.

    Spanish colonial culture could never fathom a Hester Prynne being forced by Puritans to wear a scarlet letter A nor any of the stupid blue laws forced upon people until present day under the smug pretentiousness of White Evangelical Christianity, that cancer on the faith that won't die off despite the embarrassment of being proven theologically wrong through slavery, segregation, the sexual revolution, or Donald Trump.

  • 62. ianbirmingham  |  May 27, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Partying and protesting for a more liberal Georgia

    Georgian society is becoming increasingly polarized. A poll found that 80 percent of Georgians described themselves as highly religious and conservative. But that identity can also wear the ugly face of right-wing extremism. In 2013, priests led a violent mob to attack an LGBTQ rally. And at Tbilisi's recent techno festival turned protest rally, far-right counter-protesters showed the Hitler salute.

    The other 20 percent of Georgians are predominantly young and well-educated. Over the past five years, many have joined activist groups pushing for Georgia to become a more liberal country. They're well connected to the country's club and electronic music scene. Which means that nowadays, partying at a night club is tantamount to taking a political stand. Davit Chikhladze, who represents Tbilisiclub Mtkvarze, is dedicated to fighting for a more liberal Georgia. He says that "the only way for us to gain more respect is to close ranks and show no fear. We must do that if we want change." … "Georgia's club scene has always been about women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and about just being whoever you want to be."

    http://www.dw.com/en/partying-and-protesting-for-

  • 63. ianbirmingham  |  May 27, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Ukrainian journalists in Tbilisi: Georgians love Putin, not gays

    People of the older generation can speak Russian for the most part, but the youth is better acquainted with English.

    “They want to legalise drugs, but that isn’t what we want, we’re against that. We’re Orthodox Christians, we must have family purity.”

    There were men who seemed to be about 50-60 years old standing on the side. They said that they always come on 17 May with their families to march and then they relax. But as soon as we started speaking about the demonstrations in front of the parliament, their ‘peaceful’ attitude quickly took a turn.

    “Those weren’t people there. There were just gays. To be more exact, faggots,” said 60-year-old Tengiz dismissively. “I hate them. And it’s not just us that are against it – they’re also against it in Russia. Putin is also against it.”

    Tengiz said that Georgia and Russia historically need to be together, and he then mercilessly cursed the former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. He spoke of Americans with resentment, and his friend, who heard that we’re from Ukraine, advised us: “Be friends with Putin, and everything will be better.”

    Despite the fact that LGBT organisations officially cancelled their events for 17 May – International Day Against Homophobia – a demonstration was still held in the evening in Tbilisi protesting homophobia. All those who were not afraid of the ultra-right groups were called to join the demonstration.

    People say that they’ve come out not just against homophobia but against everything that is happening now in Georgia.

    “I want to live freely, in calm, I want to be who I am. I am not a lesbian, I am simply a person. I am for freedom,” says 25-year-old Anna with bright red hair. Her friend Keti adds: “On the streets, one can see homophobia everywhere. I have been the victim of this homophobia on many occasions, and my 19-year-old son as well, because he has long hair.”

    Most people who have come to the demonstration participated in the ‘dancing protests’ as well. Anna and Keti too. They call their far-right opponents ‘fascists’.

    Just five-hundred meters from the government building, near the Georgian parliament, LGBT-opponents gathered, organised by ‘Georgian March’.

    “We hate, excuse me for the expression, faggots and lesbians,” said Giorgi, who looks to be about 45 years old. “We’re Georgians, real Georgians and we love our country. Georgians live here – these aren’t Georgians. They’re not even believers.” …

    https://jam-news.net/?p=104419

  • 64. VIRick  |  May 27, 2018 at 11:13 am

    "… while the Spanish f*cked their way through the New World creating families with the Natives who gave them children before dying from smallpox first …"

    … but in fierce competition with the Portuguese, who did the same thing. In fact, I once received a quick history lesson from a São Paulo taxi driver, covering the entire history of Brasil and South America, based on this precise theme. However, according to him, the Portuguese were actually better at fucking the natives than were the Spanish. His proof: Just look at a map of South America, and note the vast size of modern Brasil, occupying over half of the continent, given that the Portuguese obviously out-fucked the Spanish all the way up the Amazon and its many tributaries.

    In fact, this fucking competition grew so fierce that a so-called neutral zone was created between them, called Paraguaí, where the Jesuits were given free reign to fuck the natives, a situation which actually proved to be the worst of all possibilities (and as reflected in a much shrunken-down modern-day Paraguay, given that all of its neighbors, over time, even Bolivia, grabbed huge chunks of the original "neutral" territory).

    On the other hand, the French, Dutch, and British apparently found that fucking the natives was far too icky a process. The proof: Again, look at the map, and note how small an area each were able to occupy, and which today, respectively, would be Guyane Français, Suriname, and Guyana.

    In any event, my taxi driver got so into his version of South American history that we drove right past my destination and had to circle around. Still, the lesson continued for an additional 15 minutes, even after we had arrived.

  • 65. VIRick  |  May 27, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    LGBT Rights and Wrongs in Guyana

    by Ashley Binetti, a Teaching Fellow at Georgetown Law’s Human Rights Institute:

    Or as she phrased it, "The Oppression of 'Tolerance' in Guyana"

    In this relatively depressing report, she cites a multitude of examples which clearly indicate that Guyanese society is not even tolerant of LGBT persons. The truth is more nuanced, hidden in the same closet in Guyana where LGBT individuals seek refuge.

    Guyana, a small Caribbean country located in South America, is the only country on the South American continent that still criminalizes same-sex intimacy. The country also criminalizes “cross-dressing” for an “improper purpose” — whatever that means. (Guyana’s Appeals Court upheld the law recently but refused to define the term, making it impossible to know what constitutes a violation.)
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/05/27/the-opp

    True encounter from personal experience in "closeted" Guyana:

    Some years ago, while walking in central Georgetown, I got caught in a sudden, sultry, late-afternoon monsoon. Without thinking, I quickly ducked into the first available open doorway, only to discover, once inside, that I had boldly and quite blissfully walked right in to the front parlor of a high-end whore house. Business was quite slow (no foreign ships were in port). So, the ladies were absolutely thrilled. But I demurred. The ladies kept insisting. I continued to demur, trying to explain that I had only ducked into their doorway to keep from getting wet, in their view, a ridiculous excuse which simply provoked endless laughter. In fact, for some, it was the funniest line of nonsense they had heard in quite a while, as they kept repeating: "Imagine that: some cute guy here just ducked into our lovely, prestigious 'place of business' to keep from getting 'wet.'" And more laughter. Soon, the entire whore house was in a complete uproar, laughing themselves silly, as more and more ladies kept showing up to inspect this truly strange creature with this impossible excuse. Until….

    One very sharp cookie in the uproarious bunch finally noticed that I had been out shopping. With that new nugget of information in hand, several of them proceeded to disappear, only to coyly return with a number of very exotic, shy, young "lady boys" in tow. Today, I would imagine, even in Guyana, that we would more correctly refer to them as transgender women. However, since the government of Guyana still criminalizes "cross-dressing" for an "improper purpose," and given that I suddenly found myself in the middle of a whore house one sultry afternoon checking out their display of "lady boys," I also suspect I have some understanding of what might constitute an "improper purpose." Still, to reflect upon Ashley Binetti's original question: What might then constitute a "proper purpose?" And how does one, in a court of law, distinguish between the two?

    Undoubtedly, that also explains why the ladies were so fondly and enthusiastically greeting me at the front doorway, while the collection of cute "lady boys" was carefully hidden away in some back room somewhere, only to be presented after I had declined the many original offers multiple times, and only after my shopping spree purchases had finally been duly noted, and the subtle hints were then added together.

  • 66. ianbirmingham  |  May 28, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Lebanon LGBT scene empowered despite crackdown

    Since first raising a rainbow flag in a 2003 protest, activists and civil society have steadily raised the bar. Law 534, which criminalizes homosexuality as an "act against nature" remains on the books despite efforts to abolish it. At least 76 people were arrested under it in 2016. But more and more often prosecutors release those arrested rather than sending them to court. Four times in past years, courts have refused to apply Law 534, giving defense lawyers a basis to have cases thrown out.

    Police stations and doctors have barred the use of anal exams for arrested gays after a public uproar following a mass arrest in 2012. After lobbying by activists, five lawmakers in the newly elected 128-member parliament have vowed to support LGBT rights and called for decriminalizing homosexuality, Azzi said. The debate over LGBT rights has become part of the mainstream, featuring in TV shows and media reports.

    Since Helem's founding in 2005, there are now at least a half dozen other active LGBT advocacy groups. Lebanon boasts openly gay bars and clubs. Its activists are proud to have introduced, in collaboration with Palestinians, a new, positive Arabic word for homosexual, "mithli," to replace the more common, derogatory term, "shazz," or "deviant." Lebanon also created an Arabic equivalent for the acronym LGBT: "The Meem Movement," from the letter 'M' in Arabic, which begins the words for homosexual, transgender, bisexual and questioning.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm

  • 67. VIRick  |  May 28, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Netherlands: Court Recognizes Person as Non-Binary

    In a groundbreaking move, a Dutch court has ruled that a person will be legally recognised as non-binary. The anonymous plaintiff will now be given a new birth certificate which indicates that they have “no determined sex.”  The ruling was handed down on Monday, 28 May 2018, by a family court in Limburg, in the south of the country, after that court had determined that a non-binary person forced to define themselves as male or female conflicted with their right to self-determination, autonomy, and a private life.

    The recipient of the decision, who was born in 1961, was originally registered as male by their parents because it was “easier for the child,” according to Dutch News. They changed their legal gender to female in 2001, but were forced to go to court when they realized that they did not identify as either binary gender.

    Since 1993, it has been possible to write on a birth certificate that a child’s gender can not be determined. However, until now, this possibility has not existed for people once past the point of their birth.
    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/05/28/netherlands

  • 68. VIRick  |  May 28, 2018 at 11:58 am

    San Juan, Puerto Rico: LGBT Senior Center Announced

    Per Pedro Julio Serrano:

    El 27 de mayo 2018, la Alcaldesa Carmen Yulín Cruz anunció que el Municipio de San Juan identificará edificio para centro comunitario para ancianos LGBTT.
    http://www.primerahora.com/noticias/puerto-rico/n

    On 27 May 2018, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz announced that the Municipality of San Juan will identify a building for a community center for LGBTT elders.

  • 69. ianbirmingham  |  May 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    How a Gay Friendly and “Very Pro-Choice” Trump Created the Most Anti-Choice, Anti-LGBT Administration in Generations

    https://theintercept.com/2017/12/26/trump-health-

  • 70. VIRick  |  May 29, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Intersex Passport Case Re-Opened and Re-Argued

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The intersex passport case, "Zzyym v. Pompeo," previously "Zzyym v. Kerry" and "Zzyym v. Tillerson," has returned, as the intersex person challenging the male-or-female, binary-only gender marker policy for obtaining a US passport, has re-opened the case, a case which was originally filed in 2015, and which remains before Judge R. Brooke Jackson.

    In November 2016, Judge Jackson of the federal District in Colorado held that denying Dana Zzyym a passport without a male or female gender marker was arbitrary and capricious and ordered the State Department to reconsider. The case has been reopened, following the State Department’s more-recent, continuing refusal, in May 2017, to issue Zzyym an accurate passport.

    Here's Lambda Legal's press release on the current matter:

    Lambda Legal To Urge Colorado District Court to Allow Intersex Citizen to Obtain Accurate Passport

    Denver, 28 May 2018 — Lambda Legal will argue again before the US District Court for the District of Colorado tomorrow, 29 May 2018, that the US State Department continues to violate the US Constitution by refusing to issue an accurate passport to Dana Zzyym, a US citizen and Navy veteran who is intersex and does not identify as male or female. The US Passport Agency continues to reject Zzyym’s passport application because Zzyym cannot accurately choose either male or female on the passport application form, and the form does not provide any other gender marker designation.

    In October 2015, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Colorado asserting that the US State Department violated the due process and equal protection components of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as the federal Administrative Procedure Act, by denying Dana a passport that accurately reflects their gender. The Court issued its ruling in favor of Zzyym on 22 November 2016, finding that the US Passport Agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act and ordering the Passport Agency to reconsider its denial. The Agency continues to deny Zzyym an accurate passport.

    Zzyym currently serves as associate director for the Intersex Campaign for Equality, the United States affiliate of the Organisation Intersex International (OII-USA). As part of their work, Zzyym is invited to various international conferences, which they are unable to attend because the State Department refuses to issue an accurate passport. The passport application requires that the applicant select a gender marker of either ‘male’ or ‘female.’ It also requires first-time applicants to submit a birth certificate, which in Zzyym’s case lists their sex as “unknown.” But, notwithstanding the information on their birth certificate and the fact that Zzyym’s doctors with the US Department of Veterans Affairs confirm their gender as intersex, their application for a passport continues to be denied.

    The entire case history can be found here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/d-colo-115-cv-02362-d

  • 71. VIRick  |  May 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Gay Puerto Rican Hairdresser Still Rebuilding after Hurricane Maria.

    For the second time, Michael Lavers of the 'Washington Blade" has profiled Ricky Santiago, the gay hairdresser from Humacao PR who lost his home and salon when Hurricane Maria first made landfall there at Humacao, located on Puerto Rico's southeast coast, with 155 mph winds, on 20 September 2017.

    Ricky finally had electrical power restored to his home and salon on 31 March 2018. His sister, who lives nearby, had hers restored on 24 May 2018, more than 8 months after the hurricane slammed through. However, handwritten signs observed throughout Humacao indicate that many other people there still do not have electricity. In addition, damaged utility poles and houses with “techos azules” (the blue FEMA tarps) remain commonplace.

    Santiago is currently living with his mother, his father who has been bedridden for 15 years, two of his (displaced) aunts, and three Chihuahuas, all on the first floor of the family’s house (his unit, upstairs, was destroyed). Santiago sleeps on a twin-size mattress that he places on the living room floor each night.

    Today, 29 May 2018, the New England Journal of Medicine reported researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine have concluded that Hurricane Maria may have killed an estimated 4,645 people in Puerto Rico. The New England Journal of Medicine reported researchers have concluded that the “interruption of medical care was the primary cause of sustained high mortality rates” in the three months after the hurricane made landfall.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/05/29/gay-pue

    Note: The blue FEMA tarps remain commonplace where I live as well, as hundreds and hundreds of damaged dwellings remain covered over with them, particularly toward the eastern end of the island.

  • 72. VIRick  |  May 29, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Ecuador: Constitutional Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Couple

    Per Andrés Duque:

    "El Caso de Dos Mamás" (The Case of Two Mothers)

    After a six-year court fight within the Ecuadorean judicial system, today, 29 May 2018, a British same-sex couple, Nicola Rothon and Helen Bicknell, have won the right to register their Ecuador-born children as their own, and to do so under both of their surnames, following a Constitutional Court ruling in their favor.
    https://twitter.com/Blabbeando

    Registro Civil del Ecuador deberá inscribir a Satya con los apellidos de sus dos madres.
    https://twitter.com/elcomerciocom/status/10015292

    The Ecuadorian Civil Registry must register Satya with the surnames of her two mothers.

    The complete news article in "El Comercio" (in Spanish) is here:
    http://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/colectivos-c

    Per Pamela Troya, while waiting for the ruling on her own marriage equality case:

    Esto marca un precedente fuertísimo para los derechos LGBTI.

    This marks a very strong precedent for LGBTI rights.

  • 73. scream4ever  |  May 29, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Long overdue but still wonderful!!!

  • 74. VIRick  |  May 29, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    In Colombia, there were a series of "peripheral" rulings of this nature, related to parentage rights, adoption rights, and the recognition of individual foreign same-sex marriages, building up the precedent leading to their definitive marriage equality ruling. In Ecuador, their Constitutional Court appears to have finally begun to move in the same direction, and as Pamela notes, building the precedent for her case. Ecuador, in essence, inherited the same judicial system as Colombia (as did Panamá and Venezuela).

  • 75. Randolph_Finder  |  May 29, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    So when does it go into effect?

    So the next time I'm in Jersey, I'll just walk. :)

  • 76. VIRick  |  May 29, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Transgender Immigrant Dies in Federal Custody

    The recent death of a transgender asylum-seeker from Honduras while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement highlights the need for release of all trans people in ICE detention, activists say. Roxana Hernández, 33, died Friday, 25 May 2018, of complications from pneumonia while in ICE custody at the Cibola County Correctional Facility, a privately-run prison in New Mexico, according to a news release from the Transgender Law Center, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, and la Organización Latina de Trans en Texas.

    "Although she was processed into the United States on 13 May 2018, it is unclear where and under what conditions Ms. Hernández was held for the five days she was in custody until she was transferred to ICE,” the release notes. “It has been repeatedly reported that asylum seekers at the border are held in freezing holding cells (often referred to as ‘hieleras’) for days.”

    The law center and the other groups called for ICE to adopt and immediately implement a policy against detaining transgender people; for the Department of Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over ICE, to parole all LGBT undocumented immigrants and those with life-threatening medical conditions; and for the dismantling of ICE and Customs and Border Protection.
    https://www.advocate.com/transgender/2018/5/29/tr

  • 77. allan120102  |  May 29, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    We need to note the decision was 5 in favor 3 against and 1 abstention. We might expect a similar outcome of 5-4 in favor of marriage equality. The Ecuadorian supreme court is quite conservative so they are chewing there lips rendering this types of decision. I read they are being investigate because they have pending cases from 2010 and still not resolve.

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