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Still waiting on SCOTUS action in a few cases UPDATED WED. 2/26

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As we noted yesterday, the Supreme Court has granted a case related to Philaelphia’s decision to suspend its contract with Catholic Social Services over their refusal to place children with same-sex parents. That case won’t be argued until next term.

The Court still hasn’t said whether the Justices will take up a separate case about a florist who refuses to provide flower arrangements for same-sex couples. The case has been considered at several conferences but no action has yet been taken.

Also this morning, the Court released several decisions from argued cases, but none of those were the Title VII LGBT employment discrimination cases we’re following. The Court is expected to release more decisions tomorrow, but (as usual) we don’t know how many or which ones. We’ll report back if those decisions are issued tomorrow.

UPDATED 2/26

55 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. VIRick  |  February 25, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Maryland House of Delegates Votes to Repeal Sodomy Law

    On 20 February 2020, the Maryland House of Delegates voted 133 to 5 to repeal the state’s sodomy law, which criminalizes same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The vote took place 17 years after the US Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional.

    The Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on the bill the same day the House of Delegates approved it. A Senate committee vote of approval is needed before the bill can be sent to the full Senate for a final vote on whether the sodomy law should be repealed.

    The law, known as the Sodomy and Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practices Act, calls for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for anyone convicted of sodomy, which is defined as anal sex and other sexual practices, including oral sex or sex with an animal.

    As of 2019, Maryland was one of 16 states that had yet to repeal statutes criminalizing sodomy, including consensual same-sex sexual relations. The sodomy laws in some of those states also criminalize oral and anal sex committed by heterosexual couples.

    Similar to the Virginia sodomy repeal legislation, the Maryland repeal bill revises the state’s sexual assault laws to ensure that all sexual assault-related offenses, including male-on-male rape cases, could be prosecuted, while consensual sodomy between consenting adults is decriminalized.
    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/02/25/maryla

  • 2. Randolph_Finder  |  February 26, 2020 at 1:15 am

    There are a few liberal (LGBT and otherwise) bills that have finally been pushed this term in the Maryland legislature, IMO, out of embarassment that the new democratic controlled Virginia legislature has passed similar bills.

    Note, in Maryland, the Dems have more than 60% in both houses, which is what is needed to override, so unless the Dems split, Hogan's potential veto is irrelevant.

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 26, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Virginia House of Delegates Passes Gender-Neutral Driver's License Law

    On Tuesday, 25 February 2020, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that will require the Department of Motor Vehicles to offer “nonbinary” as a third-gender option on driver’s license applications. Senate Bill 246, introduced by state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County), previously passed the Virginia Senate in a 21-18 vote on 5 February. The House approved the measure in a 57-43 vote. The bill now heads to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk for his signature.

    The measure requires the DMV to offer “the option to mark ‘male,’ ‘female’ or ‘nonbinary’ when designating the applicant’s sex” on applications for driver’s licenses or state identification cards. When the bill becomes law, Virginia will join a growing number of jurisdictions, including DC and Maryland, which already offer a third-gender option on government-issued ID cards.
    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/02/25/va-hou

    The 13 states (14 jurisdictions) currently allowing gender "X" on state-issued IDs/driver's licenses are: Arkansas, California, Colorado, DC, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont. To this number, we will soon be able to add both Washington State and Pennsylvania, and now, Virginia.

    Virginia LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill Receives Final Legislative Approval

    On Wednesday, 26 February 2020, a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s across-the-board non-discrimination law cleared its final legislative hurdle. Senate Bill 868, which state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) introduced in the Virginia Senate, and which has already been passed in that body, has now passed in the Virginia House of Delegates after State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) introduced a version of the Virginia Values Act in that chamber.

    Virginia will thus become the first Southern state to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its statewide non-discrimination law once Gov. Ralph Northam signs it.
    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/02/26/va-non

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Wilton Manors FL: Openly Gay Mayor Dies at 41

    Justin Flippen, the mayor of Wilton Manors, a city located just outside Ft. Lauderdale that has long been a tourist destination for the LGBTQ community, died suddenly early Tuesday night, 25 February 2020, as he was driving to a meeting of the Wilton Manors City Commission, over which he was scheduled to preside.

    Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell said Flippen, 41, was taken to a nearby hospital due to a serious “medical issue,” and that he was later pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the "South Florida Gay News." Norm Kent, SFGN’s publisher, told the "Washington Blade" that a City Commission member told authorities he was speaking with Flippen on the phone while Flippen was driving to the Commission meeting and that something happened to Flippen which prompted the Commission member to call 911. On Wednesday, Police Chief Paul O’Connell said that the Medical Examiner’s Office determined Flippen died of a brain aneurysm, according to a report in the "Sun Sentinel."

    Flippen won election as mayor in 2018 in a local election in which all of the city’s elected officials, including all members of Wilton Manors City Commission, were LGBTQ, the South Florida "Sun Sentinel" reports, making it one of just a few jurisdictions in the country to hold that distinction.

    SFGN reports that Flippen was first elected to the Wilton Manors City Commission in November 2008 and selected by fellow commissioners to serve as vice-mayor. SFGN says he served on the commission from 2008 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018 before being elected as mayor in 2018.

    Media reports show Flippen grew up in Broward County, where Ft. Lauderdale and Wilton Manors are located, and graduated from Broward College, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Florida Law School. At FAU Flippen won election as student body president, becoming the first openly gay person in Florida to do so, the "Sun Sentinel" reports.

    At the time of his passing, Flippen held a full-time job as tourism project manager for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, SFGN reports. The LGBTQ newspaper also reports that Flippen had recently filed papers to run for re-election as mayor.
    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/02/26/gay-ma

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 26, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    South Carolina: Federal Suit Filed Challenging Law Prohibiting LGBT Public School Sex Education

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 26 February 2020, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, along with private counsel Womble Bond Dickinson, Brazil & Burke, and law professor Clifford Rosky, filed a federal lawsuit challenging a South Carolina statute that prohibits public school health education from including any discussion of same-sex relationships except in the context of sexually transmitted diseases. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the student organization, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, as well as the Campaign for Southern Equality and South Carolina Equality Coalition, including their members who are public school students in the state.

    The lawsuit, "Gender and Sexuality Alliance v. Spearman," alleges that S.C. Code § 59-32-30(A)(5), a provision of the South Carolina’s 1988 Comprehensive Health Education Act, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution by discriminating against students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ). The statute prohibits districts from including in their health education any “discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships, except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.”

    The law singles out LGBTQ students for negative treatment and does not impose any comparable restriction on health education about heterosexual people. Any teacher who violates the provision is subject to dismissal. The South Carolina Attorney-General has recently issued an opinion that a court would likely find the law unconstitutional.

    The complete Lambda Legal news article, providing more background detail to the federal lawsuit, is here:
    https://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20200226_lgbtq-a

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 26, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Mansfield TX: Suspended Lesbian Teacher Reaches $100,000 Settlement

    On Tuesday, 25 February 2020, a Texas teacher who was suspended for showing her students a photo of her then-fiancé has reached a $100,000 settlement with her school district, her attorney announced. Stacy Bailey will donate $10,000 of her settlement money from the Mansfield Independent School District to a charity helping LGBTQ students in schools.

    Bailey, who twice won Teacher of the Year awards at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, filed a discrimination lawsuit against MISD in 2018. The 33-year-old teacher was suspended in September 2017 after the district "received complaints from parents about Ms. Bailey discussing her sexual orientation with elementary-aged students," according to a press release from the school district.

    The complaint related to her showing a photo during an introductory slideshow of her and her then-fiancé, Julie Vazquez, dressed as Finding Nemo characters, telling students it was her "future wife." "If you are a school district that thinks you can bully a gay teacher out of their job, I hope you remember my name and I hope you think twice," said Bailey during a press conference on Tuesday.

    Under the terms of the settlement, the school district will withdraw the suspension from Bailey's permanent record, provide staffers with mandatory training on LGBTQ issues, and vote on whether to add "sexual discrimination" to its list of anti-discrimination categories.

    MISD also has to pay a total of $100,000 to Bailey and her attorney, Jason Smith. Bailey and her wife plan to donate $10,000 of their share to a charity for LGBTQ students, while Smith will donate $10,000 to the Human Rights Campaign. After an eight-month suspension from her job as an elementary school art teacher, Bailey was reassigned to a local high school.

    In November 2019, in "Bailey v. Mansfield," a federal judge ruled that Bailey's lawsuit claiming discrimination and a breach of her constitutional rights could go ahead. “If the community’s perception is based on nothing more than unsupported assumptions, outdated stereotypes, and animosity, it is necessarily irrational and […] provides no legitimate support for Mansfield ISD’s decisions,” wrote Judge Sam Lindsay. "The private antipathy of some members of a community cannot validate state discrimination." The case was heard at the federal district court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas.
    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/amberjamieso

  • 7. VIRick  |  February 26, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    USA: Bill to Add Third-Gender Option for Passports Introduced

    On Tuesday, 25 February 2020, Rep. Ro Khanna (D), representing California's Silicon Valley in the House of Representatives, introduced legislation that would add a gender-neutral option for passports, passport cards, and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

    If passed into law, the State Department would add a third option to mark on travel documents besides male and female: "(X) unspecified." Nearly a dozen other countries ⁠— from Australia to Bangladesh ⁠— already allow travelers to utilize the "X" option. The United Nations-run International Civil Aviation Organization currently recognizes the third option, meaning many customs and border officials are familiar with it.

    For safety's sake though, the legislation does not require those who have gender-neutral state identification to list "(X) unspecified" on their passport. "This allows gender-diverse Americans to make the best decision for themselves and their safety when traveling," according to a statement from Khanna's office.
    https://www.advocate.com/news/2020/2/25/bill-add-

    Other countries already issuing third-gender passports to their citizens are: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Canada.

  • 8. Fortguy  |  February 26, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    More on this story:

    As part of the settlement, the school district agreed to provide mandatory training to human resources and counseling staff on LGBTQ issues in schools, and to require the Mansfield ISD board of trustees to vote on whether to add protections for sexual orientation into its policies, according to a representative for Bailey.

    At a Tuesday press conference in Fort Worth, Bailey thanked Mansfield ISD President Karen Marcucci for showing leadership in going beyond a traditional monetary settlement to pursue training and policy changes.

    But Mansfield ISD still denies any wrongdoing and maintains that Bailey was not placed on leave for showing family pictures, according to a statement from Donald Williams, the district's associate superintendent of communications and marketing.

    "All parties deny any wrongdoing or liability, but wish to resolve their disputes to avoid the time, expense, stress and other impacts of continuing litigation, which would interfere with the mission of educating the students of MISD," the statement reads.

    The school district also agreed to withdraw the "administrative leave" designation from the eight-month period that Bailey was suspended and provide her with a letter of recommendation.

    Naomi Andu, The Texas Tribune: After penalizing gay teacher, Mansfield ISD awards her $100,000, plans vote to ban sexual orientation discrimination

    Mansfield is a suburb in southeastern Tarrant County southeast of Fort Worth and south of Arlington.

    I'll also add that requiring the school board to vote on adding sexual orientation protections to school policies is not the same as expecting a positive outcome despite the large monetary judgment. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Fort Worth, Dallas, and some of their inner ring suburbs are blue, but suburbs become increasingly red the farther they are from the cities' centers. Mansfield is fiery red.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  February 27, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Majority of troops in survey support transgender service members in ranks

    A Pentagon-funded study found that more than two-thirds of active duty service members back having transgender individuals serve alongside them. The report, “Support for Transgender Military Service from Active Duty United States Military Personnel,” reveals that 66 percent of the nearly 500 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines surveyed support allowing transgender Americans to serve in ranks.

    https://thehill.com/policy/defense/485020-majorit

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  February 27, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Support for Transgender Military Service from Active Duty United States Military Personnel

    Most transgender individuals are banned from serving in and joining the U.S. military. Historically, exclusions and limits have been placed on women, people of color, and sexual minority people seeking to serve and advance within the U.S. military. However, both history and prior research demonstrate that diversity contributes to social and institutional advancement within both U.S. and international militaries. We used an adapted respondent-driven sampling (RDS) approach to recruit transgender and cisgender heterosexual and LGB active duty military members in a first-of-its-kind study funded by the Department of Defense. We recruited 540 active duty service members serving one of the four major branches of the U.S. military between August 2017 and March 2018. We examined data from 486 heterosexual cisgender and LGB cisgender service members to understand their support for transgender people serving in the U.S. military. Findings indicate broad support for transgender military service across all four branches of the military and military ranks, with some statistically significant differences in support emerging by gender, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity. Results suggest that the ban, in part, based on a belief that transgender service members degrade unit readiness, contradicts our findings of broad support for transgender service among active duty service members. Policies limiting transgender service in the U.S. military should be lifted given these data.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13178-

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 27, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Woodford County KY, Cold Spring KY Both Pass LGBT Fairness Ordinances

    Per Fairness Campaign and LGBT Marriage News:

    In mid-January, Woodford County became the first Kentucky county to pass an LGBT fairness ordinance, with county-wide effect, in 20 years. Within Kentucky, this county became jurisdiction #18 with such an ordinance. Its county seat, Versailles, was jurisdiction #14 in passing the same measure in 2019. Woodford County lies immediately west of Lexington, southwest of Georgetown, and due south of Frankfort, in the heart of Bluegrass country, famous for both bourbon and horses.

    Then, on 24 February 2020, the leaders of Cold Spring KY, near Cincinnati, voted 4-1 in favor of protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. As jurisdiction #19, Cold Spring is the fifth city in Northern Kentucky over the last year to pass such an ordinance, according to the Fairness Campaign, and is the third municipality statewide to have done so in the current year.

    A full list of all 19 can be found here:
    https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/

  • 12. VIRick  |  February 27, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Israel: High Court Orders the State to End Discrimination against LGBT Couples Seeking to Adopt

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 27 February 2020, in a landmark decision, the High Court of Justice gave the state 12 months to fix its discriminatory adoption policy, and also ruled that same-sex couples be allowed access to surrogacy.

    The High Court of Justice also threatened the government that it will further empower homosexual couples by streamlining gay adoptions even beyond the current situation if the state does not fix existing discriminatory laws within 12 months. The state’s current policy allows gay adoption, but raises a number of hurdles that cause substantial delays and awkward transition periods in which adopted children reside with their Israeli adoptive homosexual parents, but the parents lack full rights until obtaining an additional court order.

    All five justices said the policy is discriminatory. There was a split among the justices on the issue of timing, with four justices – President Esther Hayut, Deputy President Hanan Melcer, Yitzhak Amit, and Neal Hendel – voting to give the state 12 months. Justice Uzi Vogelman dissented, saying the court should change the law immediately.
    https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Supreme-Court

  • 13. VIRick  |  February 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Jamaica: IACHR Declares Anti-Sodomy Law Incompatible with IACHR Principles

    Per Rex Wockner:

    On 27 February 2020, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) declared that Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law is incompatible with the principles of the IACHR. The commission "recommends" its repeal and further requests a law banning anti-LGBT discrimination. A similar complaint, still pending, has been brought from Barbados.

    Note: The CIDH makes "recommendations" which, in turn, are "binding" upon all signatory members who have agreed to adhere to its principles, decisions, and rulings. At this stage, the commission, having made its "recommendations," will undoubtedly refer the entire matter to the Inter American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) for further action which will include the definitive, "binding" ruling on the subject of all anti-sodomy laws still in existence in any/all remaining signatory states subject to CIDH rulings.

    Essentially put, that specifically refers to the ex-British Caribbean territories who are signatories to the CIDH, as all Latin signatories no longer have anti-sodomy laws on the books, not even Haiti or Suriname. Most all of the Hispanic signatories removed their bans 120-150 years ago.

    Here is the citation to today's decision, but only the headline can be read, because otherwise, one will obtain a nasty "Access Denied" message:
    https://outrightinternational.org/content/inter-a

  • 14. VIRick  |  February 27, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Bhutan: National Assembly Holds Firm: Remove Sodomy Ban Entirely

    Per National Assembly‏ of Bhutan:

    27 February 2020: National Assembly re-deliberates and passes the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2019 (for a second time).
    https://twitter.com/NABhutan/status/1232963581227

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    It appears that the National Assembly (lower house) did NOT agree with the National Council (upper house) recommendations to maintain a watered-down sodomy law; the Penal Code Amendments will now go to a Joint Committee to resolve differences.
    https://twitter.com/LGBTMarriage

  • 15. VIRick  |  February 27, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Tunisia: Final Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of LGBT Group, Shams

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 21 February 2020, the final court of appeal, the Court of Cassation (as in France or Italy), definitively rejected the government’s bid to shut down the LGBT rights group Shams. Shams (Arabic for “sun”) now has full legal authorization to continue its advocacy work. However, its founder and president, Mounir Baatour, remains the target of legal action, and recently fled to France to avoid prosecution.

    The government began its case against Shams by declaring that “Shams cannot continue its activities, which go against the traditions of Tunisians, who are Muslim. Islam prohibits these practices, also prohibited by Tunisian law, under Article 230 of the penal code.”

    That interpretation was rejected by a lower court in February 2016. The government appealed, but lost again at the Court of Appeal of Tunis in May 2019. And now, with this latest ruling in February 2020, the government lost for a third and final time.
    https://76crimes.com/2020/02/22/tunisia-appeals-c

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  March 1, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Buttigieg dropping out of Presidential race

    He became the first openly gay candidate to win the Iowa caucuses, and he finished a close second behind Sanders in New Hampshire. But he wasn’t able to expand his appeal among voters of color, finishing a disappointing fourth place in South Carolina on Saturday night and a distant third place a week earlier in Nevada.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/01/buttigie

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  March 1, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Billionaire Tom Steyer ends 2020 Presidential bid

    “Honestly, I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency,” Steyer said.

    Steyer rose to national prominence as a climate change activist and by investing heavily in a campaign to impeach President Donald Trump. His presidential campaign was heavily focused on South Carolina, where he sought to appeal to black voters by decrying yawning inequalities in American life that he said were caused by racism.

    “Am I going to continue to work on every single one of these issues?” Steyer said in announcing his departure. “Yes, of course I am. I’ve never stopped.”

    https://apnews.com/05d111c102cb0a113a59046407171e

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  March 1, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Klobuchar dropping out of Presidential race

    Klobuchar is planning to announce she's leaving the campaign after a disappointing finish in South Carolina. The Minnesota senator never managed to break into the top tier of candidates in polls and often lagged behind the race’s front-runners in fundraising.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/481278-klob

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  March 2, 2020 at 10:43 am

    2020 Democratic Presidential field thins out

    Going into Super Tuesday, here are the remaining candidates:

    The Progressives: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren

    The Moderates: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg

    The Zombies: Tulsi Gabbard

  • 20. VIRick  |  March 2, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Ay, Qué Chihuahua!

    I have just returned to the USA from Mexico. I flew into El Paso, where I was met by my brother and his wife. We drove into downtown El Paso where we did the Saturday market experience on Stanton Street/El Paso Street/Paisano, all within easy walking distance over the two bridges from Juárez, after which we then began our inspection of "The Wall."

    We departed downtown on the western extension of Paisano (US 85) which is squeezed into a narrow corridor between the rail lines and "The Wall," which at this point is on the US side of the Rio Grande, directly against the roadway, with the poverty-stricken area of Anapra, at the western end of Ciudad Juárez, visible through the slats. Suddenly, one could then see the privately-funded portion of "The Wall" take off up the hill just south of the hilltop Cristo statue across the river in Sunland Park, our next destination.

    Sunland Park NM, accessible via NM 273, although a separate municipality, is an Hispanic extension of El Paso, jammed directly against the border. There, we took the Anapra Road south until the railroad tracks cut us off, with "The Wall" dead ahead. At one time, there was a border crossing here, but now, instead, the private wall is to the east and the Trumpian wall continues on to the west. However, it is in this very section where the international water commission has made them remove portions of it (or barricade it open) so as to be able to maintain their access, as per treaty obligations.

    We then moved on to the replacement border crossing, the new Santa Teresa vehicular crossing point on the western Juárez-El Paso by-pass, NM 136, but one only accessible by vehicle, whether by private car or commercial truck. Lots of inspectors, lots of traffic, but no pedestrians.

    We then followed NM 9, running parallel to and just north of the border, for miles and miles on toward the west. In this area, sections of "The Wall" are still under construction, with major gaps quite visible, until it finally quits. But then, it resumes again near Columbus NM. Here, we turned south on NM 11, straight to the border. We parked in the Family Dollar parking lot, where my brother and his wife stayed with the rental car, while I did the last lap, via the pedestrian sidewalk, right into downtown Ascensión, Chihuahua.

    Here, at least, the concertina wire has been removed from the tops of the sliding sections of the closeable US border gates in the slatted Trumpian wall, erected about one foot further north of the old head-high block wall. I continued past "The Wall" and on into the Mexican Customs building where Mexican citizens were lined up buying car insurance so as to be able to drive into the USA. And I kept moving on, exiting at the other end, right next to the municipal building of Ascensión, a typical isolated western border town, with its multiple dental clinics, opticians, and pharmacies, Indigenous women in full regalia selling trinkets, any number of cantinas, restaurants, and souvenir shops, lots of blaring música Norteña, abandoned vehicles and brand-new ones of all description. Almost immediately, I spotted license plates from Sonora, Estado de México, Distrito Federal, and Morelos, in addition to the many from Chihuahua and assorted US states. I was instantly back in Mexico, full-on and full-throttle.

    In 3 of the 4 directions, no one paid me the least attention:
    1. I departed the USA.
    2. I entered Mexico.
    3. I departed Mexico.

    It was only on returning to the USA that anyone even took the time to scan my passport. I have not reported on several border incidents which I observed, but Michael Lavers of the "Washington Blade" has:
    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/02/29/blade-

  • 21. VIRick  |  March 2, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    Washington State Bans "Gay Panic" Defense in Homicide Cases

    On 26 February 2020, a measure prohibiting homicide defendants from claiming a defense based on panic over a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity has been passed by lawmakers in Washington State, with the Senate voting 46-3 in favor. The bill, which passed the House earlier this month on a 90-5 vote, would block a defendant from using a defense based on discovery or disclosure of the victim’s actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation and would prevent a claim of “diminished capacity” because the defendant did not fully comprehend the nature and gravity of the alleged crime.

    The legislation now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

    Nine states — California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island — have legislatively banned the use of gay or transgender panic as a legal defense, while Maryland is in process of passing the same type of legislation.
    https://apnews.com/32e99a36553bfa3984d6bf347fa700

  • 22. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 2:51 am

    Happy Super Tuesday! I, along with some of us, live in one of the relevant places to be having an especially super day today. The jurisdictions voting today will represent about a third of all the delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

    Today's votes will come from Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. Democrats Abroad will also begin their presidential primary, but that is a process that continues through March 10 which might be when we finally have a clue about the true delegate breakdown from California due to that state's generous mail ballot rules and their popularity among voters there. Waiting so long was considered a bug in Iowa and Nevada, but California regards it as a feature.

    A lot of the vote reported today will be from early voters who threw their votes away by voting for candidates who have since withdrawn. This is especially true in California where voting began before anyone knew the results from Iowa and New Hampshire, but was aggravated everywhere with three candidates withdrawing just since South Carolina.

    For the first time this year, we have states with presidential preference contests coupled with down ballot races for congressional, state, and local offices. These states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas. In these states, there are also GOP primaries worth watching. Remember, those candidates who make it through November determine the party balances in Congress and statehouses and will wield tremendous power in next year's redistricting battles.

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  March 3, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Who's your Super pick today, Fortguy?

  • 24. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Gosh, I have no idea. Sanders had a polling lead, but there have been no polls since Biden began his post-South Carolina surge. It's really hard to get a handle on such a big state that can't even agree on how to make barbecue properly. I live in a very remote, low density area in the far-western Trans-Pecos region that is hundreds of miles from anything. I'm between the El Paso and Midland/Odessa TV markets, and the only candidates who have been running ads out here are Bloomberg and, more recently, Warren.

    Since I can't venture a guess how Texas will swing, I won't even pretend to try to prognosticate the other contests elsewhere tonight.

    Any GOP Operation Chaos effort to push Sanders as an easier opponent to Trump is going to be a dud here just as it was in SC. Unlike SC, we have a full primary with many candidates trying to vie for House seats being vacated by many retiring GOP incumbents as well as state and county races. These should keep Republicans in the GOP primary.

    I'll report on Texas races as the returns come in. I'll also try to keep my eye elsewhere including interesting races in Alabama where Moore has put aside chasing teenage girls through shopping malls long enough to seek the GOP Senate nomination there.

  • 25. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    CNN calls Vermont for Sanders, the state he represents in the Senate.

  • 26. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    CNN calls Virginia and North Carolina for Biden.

  • 27. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    One race in Texas I'm watching is the Senate race. The GOP incumbent, John Cornyn, served as majority whip in the last session of Congress. Despite being a low-key senator who is not nearly as despised as his junior colleague Carnival Cruz, he nevertheless has drawn four GOP challengers who are all unknown entities who've never held public office before. On the Democratic side are 12 challengers. The top two Democrats will probably face off in a May runoff.

    Leading the Dem pack is MJ Hegar who barely lost to GOP Rep. John Carter in 2018 and has been supported by the DCCC. Trying to join her in the runoff are one-term former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell who was the losing Dem nominee for governor in 2006, St. Sen. Royce West of Dallas, Amanda Edwards who quit her Houston City Council position to run, Berniecrat activist Sema Hernandez, and Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez who has been raising good money as the darling of national progressive organizations. A comparison of most of these candidates can be found here.

  • 28. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    CNN calls Bloomberg the winner of the caucuses in American Samoa.

  • 29. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    CNN calls Alabama for Biden.

  • 30. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    These Texas members of the U.S. House are not seeking reelection: Mike Conaway, Mac Thornberry, Bill Flores, Pete Olson, Will Hurd, and Kenny Marchant.

    Dem incumbents Lizzie Fletcher and Colin do not have primary opponents, but will fight in November to keep the districts they swung from the GOP two years ago. Dems, meanwhile, are targeting the seats of retiring Hurd, Olson, and Marchant while also targeting the seats of Michael McCall, John Carter, Dan Crenshaw, and Chip Roy.

    Kay Granger and Henry Cuellar both have primary fights against RINO and DINO hunters respectively.

  • 31. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    CBS calls Tennessee for Biden.

  • 32. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    The AP calls Oklahoma for Biden.

  • 33. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    CBS calls Colorado for Sanders.

  • 34. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Gabbard comes in second and snags her first convention delegate in AS. This might qualify her for the next debate. She was born there.

  • 35. scream4ever  |  March 3, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    God I hope not.

  • 36. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    CBS calls Minnesota for Biden.

  • 37. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    CBS calls Utah for Sanders.

  • 38. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    The AP calls Arkansas and has a summary of the other major races there.

  • 39. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    The AP calls California for Sanders. It will take days to figure out the delegate allocation. They also call Massachusetts for Biden with Warren coming in a disappointing third after Sanders in the state she represents in the Senate.

  • 40. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    Bloomberg will reassess his plans tomorrow after spending boatloads of money for a piss-poor performance, the AP reports. He has only 18 delegates so far in their delegate tracker with five of them coming from American Samoa alone.

  • 41. ianbirmingham  |  March 3, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Warren absolutely destroyed Bloomberg in the debates. It was just a matter of time until he bled to death afterward.

  • 42. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    Cal Cunningham will be the Dem challenger to GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina despite a PAC aligned with Mitch McConnell throwing lots of money at the more liberal challenger, Erica Smith.

  • 43. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    Roy Moore did not make the GOP runoff later this month for Alabama's Senate seat held by Dem Doug Jones. Instead, the contest will be between former AG Jeff Sessions and former college football coach Tommy Tuberville (Auburn, Texas Tech, Cincinnati).

  • 44. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    CNN calls Texas for Biden, but his margin is small. Sanders will get nearly as many pledged delegates.

  • 45. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 12:12 am

    Yea! St. Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. has been forced into a runoff against Sara Stapleton Barrera. Lucio has made a DINO fool of himself giving Lite Guv Potty Patrick the fake appearance of bipartisanship whenever it so suits Patrick. This tool had the ignoble distinction of being the only Dem in the state Senate to support Patrick's transphobic bathroom bill. Since the House leadership never allowed the Senate's or any other bathroom bill to leave committee, Sucio Lucio was the only Dem in the entire Lege to vote in favor of having the state's prying eyes looking at kids' junk when they pee in school bathrooms. He also voted to allow the Senate to change its rules to require only a three-fifths vote instead of the traditional two-thirds to bring a bill to the floor for debate. This rule change allows the GOP majority to ignore the Dems in passing legislation. Although a Republican is also running, the winner of the Dem runoff should be assured election in the safely blue Valley district. His son, Eddie Lucio III, is a much more liberal member of the Texas House.

    In the only other state Senate race of consequence this cycle, a runoff will be held likely between Xochil Peña Rodriguez and Roland Gutierrez to challenge St. Sen. Pete Flores in a border district that flipped GOP for the first time since Reconstruction in a very low-turnout special election last year. That is the only Senate district the Dems hope to flip in November.

  • 46. JayJonson  |  March 4, 2020 at 5:04 am

    Yes, but she also destroyed herself with her aggressiveness against Bloomberg and Biden. There was a viciousness to her attacks against Bloomberg that boomeranged on her. She effectively exposed him, but also exposed herself. It wasn't a smart move for her politically.

  • 47. Randolph_Finder  |  March 4, 2020 at 10:28 am

    And Bloomberg is gone. Any why the *Hell* is Gabbard still in.

  • 48. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    At some point this morning Maine was finally called for Biden. That leaves us with ten states for Biden, four for Sanders, and the only territory whose residents aren't citizens for Bloomberg. Biden couldn't win in the West, and Sanders was only able to win the state he represents in the East.

    Warren is reportedly mulling over whether to quit the race and who she'll endorse if she does.

  • 49. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    In Texas, both parties typically place non-binding questions on their ballots to encourage participation. The GOP ballot had this transphobic doosey:

    PROPOSITION 6: TEXAS SHOULD BAN CHEMICAL CASTRATION, PUBERTY BLOCKERS, CROSS-SEX HORMONES, AND GENITAL MUTILATION SURGERY ON ALL MINOR CHILDREN FOR TRANSITION PURPOSES, GIVEN THAT TEXAS CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS THREE (3) ARE BEING TRANSITIONED FROM THEIR BIOLOGICAL SEX TO THE OPPOSITE SEX.

    It carried by 95% despite seeming in contradiction to another question passing with 91%:

    PROPOSITION 5: TEXAS PARENTS OR LEGAL GUARDIANS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18 SHOULD BE THE SOLE DECISION MAKERS FOR ALL THEIR CHILDREN'S HEALTHCARE DECISIONS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT, CONTRACEPTION, AND SEX EDUCATION.

    Meanwhile, the Dems passed this question by 97%:

    PROPOSITION 5 – RIGHT TO DIGNITY & RESPECT: SHOULD EVERYONE IN TEXAS HAVE THE RIGHT TO A LIFE OF DIGNITY AND RESPECT, FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT ANYWHERE, INCLUDING BUSINESSES AND PUBLIC FACILITIES, NO MATTER HOW THEY IDENTIFY, THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN, WHOM THEY LOVE, SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, DISABILITY STATUS, HOUSING STATUS, OR FROM WHERE THEY COME?

  • 50. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    This race wasn't decided until this afternoon, but West, who is African-American, narrowly edged out Tzintzún Ramirez to face Hegar in the runoff.

  • 51. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Granger, labeled a RINO despite being endorsed by the Orange Menace, won fairly comfortably. Her seat will be safe unless there is a blue tsunami in November.

    Cuellar barely won which is a shame because he is an asshole. He will be safe in November.

  • 52. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Here are the Dem and GOP nominees for the seats of the retiring GOP House members:

    *CD-11 (Conaway): John Mark Hogg v. August Pfluger
    *CD-13 (Thornberry): Gus Trujillo, Greg Sagan (runoff) v. Josh Winegarner, Ronny Jackson (runoff)
    *CD-17 (Flores): Rick Kennedy, David Anthony Jaramillo (runoff) v. Pete Sessions, Renee Swann (runoff)
    *CD-22 (Olson): Sri Preston Kulkarni v. Troy Nehls, Kathaleen Wall (runoff)
    *CD-23 (Hurd): Gina Ortiz Jones v. Tony Gonzales, Raul Reyes (runoff)
    *CD-24 (Marchant): Kim Olson, Candace Valenzuela (runoff) v. Beth Van Duyne

    CDs 11, 13, and 17 will not likely be competitive in November. In CD-13, Jackson is the former White House military physician who thinks Trump only weighs 230 lbs. and had his nomination to the VA shot down for hand out pills to staffers like candy. In CD-17, Sessions is a former congressman from a different district while Swann has Flores' endorsement. Missing from the CD-22 GOP runoff is Pierce Bush, nephew of Shrub and Jeb!, while Dem nominee Kulkarni nearly beat Olson in 2018. In my district, CD-23, Ortiz Jones is the out lesbian who nearly beat Hurd in 2018.

  • 53. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    In the two seats Dems flipped in 2018, Lizzie Fletcher will face challenger Wesley Hunt in CD-7 while Colin Allred will face Genevieve Collins in CD-32.

    In the districts Dems will be targeting, GOP incumbent Dan Crenshaw will face the runoff winner between Sima Ladjevardian and Elisa Cardnell in CD-2. Michael McCaul will face the winner between Mike Siegel and Pritesh Gandhi in CD-10. Chip Roy will face former gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis in CD-21. John Carter will face the winner between Christine Eady Mann and Donna Imam in CD-31. CD-31 is where Senate contender MJ Hegar nearly won two years ago.

  • 54. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    North Carolina Dem Gov. Roy Cooper will run against GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

  • 55. Randolph_Finder  |  March 6, 2020 at 10:54 am

    And Warren is out, with no endorsement yet.

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