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Brief SCOTUS update

Community/Meta Discrimination

This morning the Supreme Court issued orders and some opinions in cases that were argued before the Court. There’s still no news on any of the LGBT cases we’re following. We’re still awaiting a decision in the Title VII LGBT employment discrimination cases that were argued on the second day of the term.

The Court normally issues decisions from the bench, generally with the decision’s author reading a short prepared summary. Due to the coronavirus, the Court released its decisions in five-minute intervals on its website. The Justices did not sit for decisions.

16 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Fortguy  |  March 25, 2020 at 12:13 am

    Playwright Terrence McNally died March 24 in Sarasota FL after contracting coronavirus at the age of 81. McNally frequently wrote about the lives of gay men in his plays. He was a survivor of lung cancer who subsequently suffered from COPD.

    McNally won Tony awards for best plays for Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995) and Master Class (1996). He also won Tony awards for writing the books for Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) and Ragtime (1998). He won a Tony for lifetime achievement last year. He received three other Tony nominations.

    He received an Emmy award in 1990 for the script of André’s Mother about a mother dealing with the death of her son from AIDS.

    McNally is survived by his husband Tom Kirdahy, a Broadway producer and lawyer, whom he first married in 2003 and remarried in 2010.

    Tim Teeman, Daily Beast: Terrence McNally, Tony-Award Winning Playwright, Dies of Complications Due to Coronavirus at 81

  • 2. VIRick  |  March 25, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Six of Trump's Top Revenue-Earning Hotels/Clubs Have Been Shuttered

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Trump’s private business has shut down six of its top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels because of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, potentially depriving Trump’s company of millions of dollars in revenue. Those closures come as Trump is considering easing restrictions on movement sooner than federal public health experts recommend, in the name of reducing the virus’s economic damage.

    In a tweet late Sunday, Trump said the measures could be lifted as soon as 30 March. “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” he wrote on Twitter.

    In his unprecedented dual role as president and owner of a sprawling business, Trump is facing dual crises caused by the coronavirus. As he is trying to manage the pandemic from the White House, limiting its casualties as well as the economic fallout, his company is also navigating a major threat to the hospitality industry. That threatens to pull Trump in opposite directions, because the strategies that many scientists believe will help lessen the public emergency — like strict, long-lasting restrictions on movement — could deepen the short-term problems of Trump’s private business, by keeping doors shut and customers away.

    So far, the Trump Organization has closed hotels in Las Vegas, Doral FL, Ireland, and at Turnberry in Scotland, as well as the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, plus the golf club in Bedminster NJ. Many of said hotels/clubs closed because they were required by local orders to do so.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/before-tr

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 25, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    British Virgin Islands Has Shut Down All Ports Due to COVID-19

    Since Sunday, 22 March 2020, all seaports and airports in the British Virgin Islands have been closed to all inbound passengers through 6 April, except for pre-authorized traffic, according to a BVI government release.

    The restriction does not apply to freight, cargo, or courier craft or vessels. International crew members on incoming vessels will be required to remain within the port facility and comply with all public health measures in effect.

    Until 17 April, the BVI is also prohibiting all non-essential gatherings with 20 or more people, and has instituted an 8 PM-6 AM curfew, effective until the same date.
    https://stthomassource.com/content/2020/03/24/bvi

    In order to halt the spread of COVID-19, many of the Caribbean islands, like the BVI, have invoked long-dormant colonial-era quarantine laws, last utilized in the mid-19th century to block the spread of cholera and/or yellow fever. Basically put, no one is allowed in or out. All flights and inter-island ferry services have been cancelled. This is yet another reason why I am content to remain on the US Mainland for the time being, as most everything has shut down.

    Where I live, in what was then the Danish West Indies, the quarantine law was last invoked in 1867-68 to halt a very deadly cholera epidemic. Thus, in a matter of weeks, in terms of public health, that is how far back in time we have regressed.

  • 4. JayJonson  |  March 26, 2020 at 8:55 am

    It is not as though he has not declared bankruptcy multiple times before. In any case, it is good to get some good news out of the Trump pandemic.

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 26, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    American Airlines Repatriation Flights to Dallas-Ft. Worth Due to COVID-19

    On 26 and 27 March 2020, American Airlines will be operating 6 repatriation flights to DFW from 3 cities in Honduras: one flight on each of both days from Tegucigalpa (TGU), San Pedro Sula (SAP), and Roatán (RTB). On 28 March 2020, it will operate one repatriation flight to DFW from São Paulo (GRU), with the southbound flight on 27 March reserved for citizens of Brasil wishing to be repatriated home.

    In conjunction with the US State Department, earlier this week, American Airlines has already flown a number of charter flights, repatriating US citizens from Guatemala City (GUA) and Lima, Peru (LIM).

    In addition, this week, American flew 71 ferry flights to the US from a number of Caribbean destinations, including 14 flights from Montego Bay (MBJ) and 3 from Kingston (KIN) in Jamaica; 5 from Santo Domingo (SDQ), 9 from Punta Cana (PUJ), 1 from Santiago de Caballeros (STI) and 1 from Puerto Plata (POP) in the Dominican Republic; 4 from Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP); 12 from Aruba (AUA); 3 from Bonaire (BON); 3 from Curaçao (CUR); 6 from St. Maarten (SXM); 8 from St. Lucia (UVF); 1 from Guadeloupe (PTP); and 1 from Martinique (FDF). Ferry flights flew without passengers to these islands and returned with US citizens wishing to return home to the United States.

    Otherwise, from 17 March 2020, American Airlines has suspended its entire Latin America service due to COVID-19.
    http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/2020/America

  • 6. ianbirmingham  |  March 27, 2020 at 1:15 am

    The Egyptian government has announced to UN member states that it is unable to protect LGBTI+ people’s rights due to the fact that they do not recognise that they exist.

    Egypt made the bigoted statement on the 12th of March during the country’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    Egypt announced the rejection of the recommendations made by several countries to end arrests and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It further asserted that it “does not recognise the terms mentioned in this recommendation.”

    The Egyptian government’s announcement follows a vicious state media campaign spreading hate against the Rainbow community after individuals waved rainbow flags at a music event in 2017. It was reported that dozens were arrested on charges such as “debauchery” and “homosexual activity,” with those convicted being sentenced to up to three years in jail.

    According to HRW and local LGBTI+ rights groups, the crackdown has not slowed down or ceased; one organisation documented 92 arrests for alleged same-sex conduct in 2019 alone under Egypt’s “debauchery” law.

    https://gaynation.co/egyptian-government-denies-e

  • 7. VIRick  |  March 27, 2020 at 7:29 am

    First NYC Nurse to Die from COVID-19 Is a Gay Man

    Kious Kelly has died after a battle with COVID-19. The 48-year-old assistant nurse manager at Manhattan's Mount Sinai West is the first nurse reported to have died of the virus in New York City, reports the "New York Times."

    Kelly informed his sister, Marya Patrice Sherron, on 18 March that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was breathing with the help of a ventilator in the ICU. Kelly had asthma but was described by his sister as otherwise healthy. He died Tuesday, 24 March 2020. "His death could have been prevented," Sherron wrote on Facebook. "Please help get our healthcare workers the protection they need."

    Kelly grew up in Lansing MI. He moved to New York City over 20 years ago with the dream of becoming a dancer before turning to a career in health.

    New York has emerged as an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Thursday morning, 26 March, 385 people had died and 5,327 had been hospitalized in the state, with 37,258 confirmed cases.
    https://www.advocate.com/news/2020/3/26/first-nyc

  • 8. VIRick  |  March 27, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    First American Airlines Flight Attendant Has Died from COVID-19

    On Friday, 27 March 2020, American Airlines confirmed that a flight attendant died on Monday, 23 March 2020, after contracting the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Paul Frishkorn, who was based in Philadelphia and had been working as a flight attendant since 1997, is the first American Airlines employee to die from COVID-19, his union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, said in a statement on Friday.

    "Over the years he built a reputation as a consummate professional who was honored as one of American’s Flight Service Champions twice for his excellent service to our customers," American Airlines said. The company recognized the 65-year-old's tireless dedication to his coworkers, calling him a "servant leader" through his work with the union throughout his career, as well as with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

    Frishkorn had been spending time in the Philadelphia crew room, helping other flight attendants by answering their questions and providing resources and information about the impacts of the coronavirus, Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told "BuzzFeed News" in a statement.

    "Paul’s death sheds a solemn light on our profession as front line workers. It underlines the risk to our members who continue to work as 'essential workers' in the airlines," she said. "Paul is the first of our colleagues to lose his life as a result of this deadly virus. We are deeply saddened and are reminded that no precaution is too much to take during this horrible time."
    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 28, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Turkey: Ankara Court Strikes Down Ban on LGBT Activities/Events

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Of recent date, a court in Ankara, the Turkish capital, has struck down a ban on holding LGBT activities, including Prides, in Ankara.. The Turkish LGBT organization Kaos GL has said that the Second Administrative Court of Ankara has struck down the indefinite ban on LGBT activity in the city.

    The governor of Ankara claimed that they have the right to issue said ban. But the law they cited says the governor can only "adjourn a meeting for a period of one month, at most, to maintain national security and public order, to prevent commission of crimes, to protect public health, morals, and the rights and freedoms of others, or they may prohibit a meeting in case there is an obvious and close danger of commission of a crime." Therefore, the court asked the governor’s office to provide documents on how they justified the ban on these grounds. The governor was unable to provide hard evidence.

    Same-sex activity is legal and people can officially change their gender in the country. However, there are no anti-discrimination protections or same-sex marriage rights. Moreover, gay and lesbian people are banned from serving in the armed forces.
    https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/court-strikes

    Note: Notice that the above-quoted article does not contain any specific dates within its text. Thus, unless this ban had somehow been re-instated within the last 12 months, here is what I found in my archives pertaining to what seems to be this very same court ruling in an announcement which is definitively dated 19 April 2019:

    Turkey: Court Lifts Ban on LGBT Pride Events in Ankara

    LGBT Pride events can now be held in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, as a court has lifted a ban that previously prohibited such celebrations. The news was announced on Thursday, 19 April 2019, explaining that it was the Turkish LGBT rights group, Kaos GL, which won on appeal. The organization had previously attempted to do the same in November 2018, but it proved unsuccessful.

    “We can say that the court has accepted our arguments that we have advocated since the day when the ban has declared,” Kaos GL’s lawyer, Hayriye Kara, voiced in a statement. The ban was first implemented by the Governorship of Ankara in November 2017.

  • 10. VIRick  |  March 28, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    West Virginia: Governor Issues Stay-at-Home Order Due to COVID-19

    ​To further combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice issued a Stay-at-Home Order, effective from 24 March 2020, at 8:00 PM. The order directs all West Virginians to stay at home and to limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs.
    ​ https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/Governor-Issue

    Although not previously cited individually, all of the following additional US states have already issued statewide Stay-at-Home Orders due to the spread of COVID-19:

    Hawaii
    Idaho
    Montana
    Colorado
    Kansas
    Minnesota
    North Carolina
    New Jersey
    Connecticut
    Rhode Island
    Vermont
    New Hampshire
    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/peteraldhous

    This brings the total to 31 US jurisdictions of 56 (29 states plus DC and USVI, along with St. Louis and Kansas City MO) with Stay-at-Home Orders.

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 28, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    American Airlines: April and May Capacity to Be Reduced 60-80% Due to COVID-19

    American will suspend 60% of its capacity in April as compared to the same period in 2019 and is planning to suspend up to 80% of its capacity in May compared to the same period in 2019. These changes are due to significantly decreased customer demand and government travel restrictions related to coronavirus (COVID-19). The reduced April schedule will be reflected on aa.com from Sunday, 29 March, and the reduced May schedule will be loaded on Sunday, 5 April.

    The most significant change is the reduction in service to Hawaii in April. In response to the new 14-day quarantine order for travelers flying to Hawaii, American has suspended operations into Kona (KOA), Lihue (LIH) and Maui (OGG). The airline will continue to operate one daily flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL).
    http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/2020/America

    United Airlines: More Travel Restrictions Due to COVID-19

    Alaska: As of 25 March 2020, all travelers arriving in Alaska are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. One should also note that since Canada has banned the entry of US and all other foreign citizens into Canada, one can currently only arrive into Alaska by air or sea.

    Texas: As of noon on 28 March 2020, every person traveling from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or the city of New Orleans and entering the state of Texas as a final destination must quarantine for 14 days.

    Cuba: By order of Cuban decree on 24 March 2020, entry to Cuba is banned for the next 30 days for Cuban citizens who permanently live abroad and for foreign travelers. Cuban citizens who have their permanent residence in Cuba and foreign nationals with permanent residency in Cuba are allowed to enter and will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
    https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notic

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  March 28, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    IraQueer is the leading Iraqi LGBT+ organization. We passionately defend and advocate for the LGBT+ community to make meaningful social and political change that enables LGBT+ citizens to live in an Iraq where everyone is recognized and protected.

    * Education: IraQueer produces written and visual resources in Arabic, Kurdish, and English to raise awareness amongst and about LGBT+ Iraqis. In addition to giving trainings and workshops to relevant stakeholders to advance the LGBT+ movement.

    * Advocacy: IraQueer leads advocacy efforts to realize human rights of LGBT+ citizens. IraQueer aims at achieving this goal through engaging directly with the United Nations and other international platforms, publishing reports and submissions, and holding events.

    * Direct Services: IraQueer offers a range of direct services that respond to urgent needs including safe housing, supporting asylum seekers who are in the process, counseling, and connecting them to support groups.

    https://www.iraqueer.org/projects.html

  • 13. ianbirmingham  |  March 28, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    IraQueer celebrates its 5th Anniversary (3/2/2020)

    Today, IraQueer celebrates its five year anniversary. During those five years, IraQueer quickly transformed from an online platform to a registered human rights organization that is recognized by the international community, quoted by governments and UN agencies, and most importantly, relied on by thousands of LGBT+ Iraqis.

    In the last five years, we have produced information in Iraqi Arabic and Sorani Kurdish that never existed before. We trained more than 100 activists, social workers, and journalists. We spoke at some of the biggest events in the world including the UN’s Human Rights Council, the General Assembly, and One Young World. Our work has encouraged other Iraqi organizations to be more intersectional in their approach to human rights and speak up for the rights of underrepresented groups like the LGBT+ community.

    Together with our Iraqi and international partners, we have achieved several political wins for LGBT+ Iraqis. Starting with the submission of numerous reports to United Nations mechanisms that resulted in giving Iraq several LGBT+ focused recommendations, and ending with our most recent win of having the Iraqi government recognize the right to life of individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

    While we still have a very long way to go and many other milestones to reach, we want to take this moment to reflect on our progress and to thank all the organizations, government, and individuals who believed in us and supported us throughout the last five years. Thank you for helping us reach more than ONE MILLION people online and offline. Thank you for being generous with your time, resources, and knowledge, and for helping us refine our work and be more effective. We have laid a strong foundation in the last five years because of your support.
    ​
    Today, all of us at IraQueer are determined to fight harder for human rights of LGBT+ Iraqis. For the coming years, we will be focusing most of our efforts on building an Iraqi human rights movement in which talking about LGBT+ rights is the norm. Together with current and future partners, we will build on the successes of our previous advocacy campaigns and continue to push for the legal and social protection of LGBT+ Iraqis. Our fight will not end until every LGBT+ Iraqi is protected, recognized, and able to live the life they deserve, and for that, we will continue to need your support so we hope you are as determined and excited about the future as we are.

    https://www.iraqueer.org/blog

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  March 28, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Crossing Iraqi Rainbow

    Rasan Staff had training in Beirut for its project manager, project coordinator project consultant and assistance and the social worker. The aim was to build Rasan’s capacity in different projects including LGBT+ related latest knowledge and research, safety principles, convincing skills, and debating skills,

    Two community forums were held with the presence of community leaders each from different sectors in the government, including Directorate of Health, General Directorate of Education, UNHCR, Directorate of Rehabilitation Center of Woman and Juveniles in Suleymaniyah, Directorate of Endowment and Religious Affairs, a lawyer, a business man, an Imam from the Fatwa comity in Kurdistan region, and a University lecturer and master student of college of Human Science social work department/University of Sulaymaniyah. The attendees were targeted to be present for the benefit of action plans and Rasan’s aim in the advocacy process of LGBT+ matters in specific influential locations.

    Online and office based consultancy and support: social worker and case manager will be online during work hours to receive cases, with a special room in the office to provide privacy and psychosocial support for the LGBT+ community.

    Designing and printing out brochures that contain facts and knowledge about LGBT+ community in terms of their historical background, scientific background, and real life stories to be distributed to people.

    https://rasanorg.com/2018/06/20/crossing-iraqi-ra

  • 15. VIRick  |  March 29, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Florida: North Miami Resident, LGBT Winter Party Attendee, Dies of COVID-19

    After the Winter Party announced that attendees reported being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, one of the event-goers has died. Israel Carreras is the first reported death due to complications from COVID-19 in Miami-Dade County. Carreras was 40 years old and his boyfriend said he had no previous conditions.

    Carreras reported feeling sick after attending the massive party and charity event in Miami, and was eventually admitted to the hospital. There, at times, he said he couldn't breathe. “He started to feel sick after the event,” Franco Conquista, Carreras' boyfriend told WSVN. The pair reportedly came down with fever and then Carrera developed a cough. “We went together. I went to his place, taking care of him for two days, and I also had it. He couldn’t breathe, so he wanted to go to the hospital. Then, he was at the hospital for four or five days. They put him to sleep because he was really agitated, and then, he never woke up again.” According to the outlet, putting patients in an induced coma if they are having severe trouble breathing, is not out of the ordinary.

    Carreras has lived in Miami for several years but was born in Cuba. He danced as a go-go boy at various parties and events, and was a radiologist, but also was a driver in ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to make extra money.

    Conquista is currently still in quarantine, as he also contracted the virus. On 27 March 2020, in addition to Carreras, the Florida Department of Health confirmed the death of another patient suffering from the virus as well. 10 people have died in neighboring Broward County.
    https://www.advocate.com/health/2020/3/28/miami-r

    The Winter Party Festival took place in Miami Beach during the week of 4-10 March 2020.
    https://winterparty.com/guide/

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  March 30, 2020 at 2:06 am

    Turkey: Courts nix 2nd Ankara governorate ban on LGBTI+ activities

    In 2019 the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA) said that Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia were the worst ranked countries in Europe for LGBTI rights. The association ranked a list of 49 nations based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people.

    Turkey's LGBTI community has long been subjected to state harassment and widespread discrimination.

    https://ahvalnews-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/ahva

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