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Equality news round-up: New report on transgender military service, and more

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BREAKING UPDATE 6:25 PM ET The plaintiffs in the Utah marriage case have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

– The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed the appeal in the Oregon same-sex marriage case. The appeal was filed by the National Organization for Marriage, who were denied the right to intervene, and the Ninth Circuit ruled that they lack standing.

– The Florida Supreme Court has been asked to take up a same-sex marriage case. Contrary to some reports, they haven’t decided yet whether they will hear any cases.

– As we covered yesterday, same-sex couples in Oklahoma and Virginia want the Supreme Court to take up challenge to their states’ marriage bans.

– A new report found that there would be little pushback and an easy path for the Pentagon to take to eliminate its ban on transgender military servicemembers. (Transgender servicemembers are banned from the military by a few regulations, and not a law passed by Congress, unlike the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law, which had to be repealed.)


  • 1. Ragavendran  |  August 28, 2014 at 8:12 am

    (This is a re-post as this information is more relevant under this article.)

    The 10-3 (en banc!) opinion from the Florida Second Court of Appeals, thoughtful and well-written, is here.

    "On June 26, 2014, a panel of this court entered an order denying the suggestion and cross-suggestion to pass the case through to the supreme court for immediate resolution. On August 14, 2014, this court on its own motion determined that the question of whether to pass the case through to the supreme court for immediate resolution should be considered en banc. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.331(a). We conclude that certification is appropriate on our own motion pursuant to rule 9.125(a). We therefore certify that the order on appeal requires immediate resolution by the Florida Supreme Court because the issues pending are of great public importance and will have a great effect on the proper administration of justice throughout the state."

    And here is the Florida Supreme Court docket that was immediately opened today in response to the order. The public website for this "high-profile case" with the filings is here.

    This development out of the blue is Interesting, as this comes out of the Second Court of Appeals. The docket of this case is here. I wan't aware of any pending cases there. I was expecting the Third Court of Appeals to act on the certification of the appeal ("pass through") to the Florida Supreme Court by now. The docket of that case, Huntsman, is here. Briefing on the issue is complete and an order could come down any day now.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  August 29, 2014 at 3:37 am

    Florida should put us at over 50% of the nation's population with same-sex marriage!

    Also, the Florida appeals court has rejected Bondi's request to stay proceedings pending the outcome at the US Supreme Court!!!

  • 3. Ragavendran  |  August 29, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Woohoo. Here's the text of the order:

    "Upon consideration, appellant's motions to stay briefing are denied. Appellees' motion to consolidate appeals is granted. The suggestions for Rule 9.125 certification of appeal to the Florida Supreme Court are carried with the case."

    Here's hoping for a favorable ruling on the certification to Florida Supreme Court!

  • 4. Randolph_Finder  |  August 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I'm actually surprised at the news from the Pentagon.

    The situation before the transition starts isn't a significant deal, but I would have expected them to say that at that being on HRT would negatively affect military readiness for the Soldier/Sailor.

  • 5. zackyma  |  August 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    There are a lot of different roles in the military. For example, if someone is a truck driver, a mechanic, a radio operator – will HRT make any substantial difference to their ability to perform those roles? But for other roles, e.g. special forces, a different story.

    I don't have a problem if the military imposes some restrictions on transgender service members, so long as those restrictions are based in fact. For example, if a role has very demanding physical strength requirements, a person on HRT might lose the ability to meet them, and in that scenario, it is reasonable for the military to reassign them to a different role.

    The problem is with the current across-the-board ban, which doesn't consider individual abilities or circumstances.

  • 6. Randolph_Finder  |  August 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I see 4 general issues in this regard.
    1) General reaction pre-op. For ex. The Military seems particularly badly set up for the "family" bathrooom setup, and having a pre-trans M->F in the women's bathroom/shower area on a base where not all soldiers know each other may prove problematic (heck at this point, I'm not sure a female solder who reacts to a man in the woman's shower with a groin kick would be punished)
    2) Requirement for Psych? I believe one of the European nations with Socialized medicine requires two Psychological evaluations and a year wait before transition, would the US Military do the same?
    3) Limitations to service post-transition based on the surgery to the body. For example, I could easily see the transition in either direction causing sufficient damage to the abdominal support musculature to keep post-trans airmen from flying combat jets due to reduced ability to take high G-forces.
    4) Limitations to service post-transition based on need for HRT. I could see the rule being whether the speciality has the expectation of being out of contact with refrigeration for more than 48 hours (I'm unfamiliar with the conditions that the HRT medicines could survive)

    If my comments here indicate a lack of knowledge, I'd love to be educated on why they are incorrect.

  • 7. Mike_Baltimore  |  August 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Per the 'Advocate':

    "California Takes a Stand Against Gay and Trans Panic Defenses in Criminal Cases" (… )

    We now need additional states to follow the lead being taken by CA.

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