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Open thread

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Open thread for discussion.

I will post if there’s any news today.

35 Comments

  • 1. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Some good news from Rhode Island:

    Bryant assistant coach Chris Burns has come out as gay in a first-person column he wrote for the website Outsports.com.
    ( http://collegebasketball.nbcsports.com/2015/10/08… )

    His column in Outsports: http://www.outsports.com/2015/10/7/9474273/bryant

  • 2. Zack12  |  October 8, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Last to second day in Hawaii and I thought I would check in.
    First of all, this place is amazing and everyone needs to come here at least once.
    Second of all, if you want to see how bigots lie about the horrors that marriage equality will bring, you also need to come here.
    Judging from what I've seen, it does appear the tourists who were going to stop coming if marriage equality was passed didn't get that memo.
    The bigots especially made a big deal about tourists from Asia not coming anymore, which I can tell you is NOT the case.
    Hawaii also hasn't been hit with diseases or any of the other lies we saw spewed during that horror show.
    Bottom line, as elsewhere, once marriage equality passes, no one gives a crap but the bigots who hated LGBT people and wanted to see them suffer.
    Everyone else simply gets on with their lives.

  • 3. Jaesun100  |  October 8, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I think someone should sue Casey Davis and those Alabama courts before the Supreme Court *possibly shifts balance. Enough is enough……

  • 4. VIRick  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Casey Davis is an idiot seeking attention, and doesn't deserve to have his public posturing dignified by the filing of a lawsuit. At first, he was attempting to do the sanctimoniously pious Kim Davis thing, of not issuing marriage licenses to anyone (lest they be "discriminating"). But no one paid him any mind. So, now he's switched to the blatantly ugly Kay Schwartz thing, of only issuing "Bride/Groom" licenses, to use that insane woman's ridiculous phraseology. So far, no one has yet paid him any mind, despite all his vain efforts to keep his face in the news and to remain "relevant."

    Kay Schwartz, the Whitley County KY clerk, is obviously even more unhinged than either Kim Davis or the Probate Judges in Alabama who are still holding out, as she's not even using their "non-discrimination" pretext as cover. Instead, she may have picked up a nut-job pointer or two from the Irion County TX clerk (the sole hold-out in that state) who is also only doing "Bride/Groom" licenses, and already got her 5 minutes of "fame" before fading from public view.

    According to Ballotpedia, we're at the 99.9% compliance rate. The remaining 00.1% need to recognize that reality.

  • 5. RobW303  |  October 9, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Since the state department responsible for the forms has changed them, won't he be guilty of tampering with the licenses if he issues a "bride/groom" one? (Much as Kim Davis is.)

  • 6. Jaesun100  |  October 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Yes they need to recognize reality. The reality is they aren't and we aren't an anarchy they should comply with the law, resign or be sued if they don't. It may be .1% but allowing that .1 is allowing the GLBT in those areas to be demeaned and discrminated against. I don't agree with giving them a pass.

  • 7. 1grod  |  October 10, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Jaesun: There are a number of cases already in the judicial system. Consider the AL class-action suit in Strawser vs Strange. It is with the 11th circuit appeals court . Rick recently observed that now that the case in Georgia has been settled by Judge William Duffey and the state is unlikely to appeal, the 11 circuit may be more ready to dispose of the Alabama and Florida cases. Many commenters here would hope do. A favourable ruling in the Strawser case would allow Judge C. Granade of the Southern District Federal Court in Mobile to file a final judgement and permanent injunction which would put considerable pressure of the 9/10 holdout probate judges as it would position straight and non-straight couples to bring a class-action lawsuit against them collectively. Here's hoping that the AL Supreme Court can keep itself out of the equation in the meantime, as imo their involvement could well bring the administration of justice in the state into disrepute. Their very questionable involvement in March without the state being a participant, sent a confusing message then, – particularly to probate judges; and their willingness to receive submissions/briefs post-Obergefell continues to do so. Apparently few of these judges are paying attention to the cost in lawyers fees that are being award plaintiffs in other states.

  • 8. VIRick  |  October 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Here are the details on the agreement in the Georgia class-action suit, as worked out in advance between the state and the plaintiffs:

    Today, 21 September 2015, there has been some significant movement in "Inniss v. Aderhold," the Georgia class-action marriage case, the very last state marriage case still to be decided at the district court level.

    In the Parties' Joint Status Report, in which the parties have agreed that judgment should be entered in favor of the plaintiffs:

    "State Defendants’ [11th Circuit] status report had argued that the Plaintiffs’ case has become moot after "Obergefell." … After further discussion, however, the parties have reached agreement that entry of judgment is appropriate, as described further below."

    "…the parties agree that the Court should enter judgment in favor of Plaintiffs, decreeing that:

    "1. Any source of Georgia law that denies same-sex couples the freedom to marry, or denies recognition for their valid marriages from another jurisdiction, including but not limited to Georgia Constitution art. I, § IV, para. I, and Official Code of Georgia Annotated §§ 19-3-3.1, 19-3-30, violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and may not be enforced against Plaintiffs or any other same-sex couple.

    "2. Defendants and their officers, employees, agents, and all other individuals under their supervision, direction, or control are permanently enjoined from enforcing any source of Georgia law that denies same-sex couples the freedom to marry, or denies recognition for their valid marriages from another jurisdiction, including but not limited to Georgia Constitution art. I, § IV, para. I, and Official Code of Georgia Annotated §§ 19-3-3.1, 19-3-30. See, e.g., Robicheaux, No. 2:13-cv-05090, ECF No. 142; De Leon, No. 5:13-cv-00982, ECF No. 98.

    "Plaintiffs have agreed not to seek fees or costs in this matter."

    This class-action suit, brought by Lambda Legal, is before a less-than-sympathetic judge. Thus, the strategy appears to be to reach a solid judgment for a statewide injunction and forfeit legal fees, rather than run the risk of having the case simply rendered moot.

    Note: This is the agreement which Judge Duffey finally signed on 7 October 2015, as posted below.

    Further note: NO appeal. Georgia is done.

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  October 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    So couples and state agreed on a detailed wording when it comes to the order with the state not having to pay fees to the attorneys of the plaintiffs.
    Seems good to me. Georgia was one of the states that co operated very well after Obergefell and did not cause any drama anf given that the case was still at district court the bill should not be that big anyway. Plus there is final closure to a case that seemed to go slow while other cases are still in the 11th and the 8th with all the back and forths. Plus as you said the judge was not that friendly towards our cause anyway..

  • 10. VIRick  |  October 8, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Federal Judge Says Georgia’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Can Not Be Enforced

    Atlanta — In "Innis v. Aderhold," a federal judge in Georgia has finally ruled that that state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage cannot be enforced. The ruling is effectively a formality, given that state probate courts have been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples ever since the Supreme Court's 26 June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

    Georgia’s constitution prohibits same-sex marriage, stating that the state will recognize only the union of a man and a woman as marriage, and that same-sex marriages performed in other states are not legally-recognized. However, in April 2014, the gay-rights group, Lambda Legal, filed a lawsuit challenging that ban on behalf of three couples and a widow. On Wednesday, 7 October 2015, District Judge William Duffey finally signed an order ruling in the plaintiffs' favor, saying the Supreme Court ruling means the same-sex marriage ban can not be enforced. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2015/10/judge-says-geo

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 7 October 2015, in "Inniss v. Aderhold," the Georgia class-action marriage case, Judge Duffey entered the final order and judgment, closing out the case.

    The Order is here: http://files.eqcf.org/cases/114-cv-01180-67/

    The Judgment is here: http://bit.ly/1NpQMYS

  • 11. RobW303  |  October 9, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Remember when news like this would have been picked up by every major outlet and have been closely watched by marriage equality supporters? Not a peep about it on Joe.My.God, Gay Star News or similar media sites. Strange. This judge and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals have been conspicuously dragging their heels; this is the first notable sign of action since the Obergefell ruling.

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 9, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Indeed, Rob. In terms of a district court ruling, this Georgia judgment means that Georgia has come in absolutely in last place. It may have been a formality in light of "Obergefell," but this judgment was still a necessary formality in order to close out this case with finality, in the sense of formally striking down the Georgia ban and rendering it officially unenforceable.

    Judge Duffey was not an ally, not even close. However, the state has already worked out an agreement with the plaintiffs, and at this stage, has no intention of appealing. Thus, now that this matter has been finally resolved, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals can concentrate its efforts on denying the multiple pending appeals from both Florida and Alabama, without having to deal with Georgia at all.

    In fact, the more one thinks about it, the more one realizes that this unresolved case from Georgia was delaying the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals from moving forward with their denial of the remaining pending appeals from the other two states within that circuit. Until this moment in time, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has only denied the appeals in the several Alabama adoption cases, a subject matter which was not a major factor in this pending Georgia case nor in the Florida appeals.

  • 13. Zack12  |  October 10, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Judge Duffey made it clear he wanted to rule against us but was putting that ruling on hold per SCOTUS.
    Not a surprise he was going to drag his heels on this, it's the last way these bigots can spew venom in our direction on this.

  • 14. guitaristbl  |  October 9, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Well that took a while…Its a happy coincidence that Georgia's officials complied without much of a fuss – had there been such a delay to some of the other pending cases in states like Louisiana, Alabama or Texas I could see a whole lot of grandstanding from officials there. Or maybe the compliance with Obergefell in Georgia took out the sense of urgency for that case to be fast tracked. Still the judge drugged his feet till the very end.

    So this case is over then since no appeal has been filed (and I do not see one being filed) ?

  • 15. aiislander  |  October 9, 2015 at 7:28 am

    The cretins over at Breitbart are displaying their usual high standards of journalism. I hesitate to post this link and certainly do not condone nor approve their message. But it's out there.
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2015/10/07

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 9, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Hmmm, Breibart is claiming, "Left Tries to Mock Kim Davis with $500K Porn Offer."

    However, I do believe that the Dogfart Network made a serious proposal to Kim Davis to have her star in an interracial lesbian porn production for their ZebraGirls.com site.

    We can debate whether the Dogfart Network will be able to find another porn star willing to have lesbian sex on camera with Kim Davis, or whether anyone would be unhinged enough to want to watch the finished product. However, since lesbian porn is marketed almost exclusively to hetero males, I doubt if too many of us here would be overly interested in the offering.

  • 17. Sagesse  |  October 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Out of curiosity, when did Dogfart Network become "the left "? Some of us on the left might take offence?

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 9, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    "Out of curiosity, when did Dogfart Network become 'the left?'"

    Sagesse, I suspect that in Breibart's peculiarly strange world view, all sorts of "sinister" groups who, in reality, have nothing to do with any segment of the political spectrum, are, from Breibart's conspiracy-laced, ultra-right vantage point, are, almost by default, looked upon as "The Left."

    If the writers at Breibart were truly hetero, they would have already realized that the offer to Kim Davis to star in an interracial lesbian porn production was actually designed to entice them into watching their own "action" super-hero in action, doing what she does best. Instead, they're focusing on the inanity of the name of the group, Dogfart Network, as if that "proves" their flimsy case that that's mockery from The Left.

  • 19. Sagesse  |  October 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    From their point of view, anything that is not the Right must be the Left. The Christian view is that the only acceptable form of sex is procreative sex within traditional marriage. Hence, I guess, the porn industry must be part of the Left. Just sounds silly.

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 9, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Northern Ireland: Challenge To Same-Sex Marriage Ban To Be Heard In December

    This morning, 9 October 2015, Northern Ireland’s Rainbow Project announced on Facebook that their clients’ same-sex marriage ban challenge will be heard in court on 3 December 2015. According to a poll released in July, 68% of the Northern Irish public now supports same-sex marriage, an even greater number than the 62% that voted “yes” in the Republic of Ireland’s national referendum. In Northern Ireland, the highest support comes from Catholics, 75% of whom support equal marriage. Support among polled Protestants stands at 57%.

    Last month Ivan Lewis, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, called for a public vote to legalize same-sex marriage. His suggestion is opposed both by the Rainbow Project and the anti-gay Evangelical Alliance, the latter of whom have surely seen that July poll. http://www.joemygod.com/2015/10/09/northern-irela

  • 21. VIRick  |  October 9, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Kansas Ends Volatile 2014 with 154 Same-Sex Marriages

    Kansas City — Recently released reports show that 154 same-sex couples married in Kansas during the volatile period in late 2014, months before the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in June 2015 that legalized the unions nationwide. Newly-compiled data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment show that those unions made up less than 1 percent of the 17,655 marriages statewide in 2014. The agency says marriage data so far for 2015 isn’t yet available.

    Tom Witt of the gay rights group, Equality Kansas, says roadblocks to marriage in 2014 were “substantial,” but he expects far more same-sex unions this year. Confusion reigned in Kansas after the US Supreme Court in October 2014 turned away appeals from five states seeking to retain same-sex marriage bans. Two such, Oklahoma and Utah, were in the same federal circuit court of appeals as Kansas. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2015/10/kansas-ends-vo

  • 22. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Great news from Denmark:

    The gay US Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford married his partner, Dr. Stephen DeVincent, in a ceremony in Copenhagen Saturday morning (October 10, 2015).
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/10/10/u-s-amb
    http://www.advocate.com/world/2015/10/10/us-ambas

  • 23. GregInTN  |  October 10, 2015 at 11:11 am

    From Joe.My.God: KENTUCKY: Liberty Counsel Files Motion Opposing ACLU Request For Class Action Status In Kim Davis Battle http://www.joemygod.com/2015/10/10/kentucky-liber

    Here's the link to the filing on Equality Case Files: http://files.eqcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/

    After telling the media that they believed the licenses issued by the deputy clerks were not valid because they had not been blessed by Kim Davis, they are now arguing in court that the licenses are valid.

  • 24. davepCA  |  October 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Yeah, that's the problem with groups like Liberty Counsel spewing countless lies non-stop. Eventually it gets difficult for them to keep track of them and they begin to contradict each other.

  • 25. stevew999  |  October 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    They're also playing fast and loose with the truth regarding the changed licenses. They're using the statements by the AG and such that the first licenses issued, which had replaced Davis' name with "Rowan County", were valid and asserting that those statements applied to the *later* licenses with considerably more deletions and changes (lines X'd out, Notary Public instead of Deputy Clerk, etc.).

    I'll be disappointed if a) the opposing counsel doesn't call this out explicitly, and b) the judge doesn't get seriously angered about them lying to the court like this.

  • 26. GregInTN  |  October 11, 2015 at 11:56 am

    It would seem to me that the final authority on the validity of the licenses would be the state courts in Kentucky rather than the Governor, Attorney General, or other officials. I can't imagine that the Federal courts are going to do anything about their validity without getting the state courts involved. However, who would have standing to bring it up in state court without somebody having denied the couples services or benefits due to invalid licenses?

  • 27. FredDorner  |  October 11, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Whether the state chooses to recognize the illegally altered licenses is one thing, but the statute clearly requires that all the counties use the standard form issued by the Dept of Libraries and Archives, and the statute specifies what must be on the form (which is lacking in the Davis version).

    More relevant to the issue of contempt of court is that Davis was ordered not to interfere directly or indirectly, and the deputy clerks were instructed to use the standard license form.

  • 28. VIRick  |  October 11, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    "More relevant to the issue of contempt of court is that Davis was ordered not to interfere directly or indirectly, and the deputy clerks were instructed to use the standard license form"

    Fred, precisely so. She remains in contempt of court for continuing to interfere with her insistence on altering the standard state-issued form.

  • 29. RnL2008  |  October 12, 2015 at 11:27 am

    In my personal opinion, Davis NEEDS to be thrown back in jail and held there UNTIL such a time as she is willing to resign. She will continue to interfere in DOING her job, as well as interfering with others doing THEIR job. This woman wants to be a martyr and her 15 minutes of fame is way over expired!!!

  • 30. Zack12  |  October 10, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Sad update out of Texas.
    John Allen Stone-Hoskins, who fought the state of Texas to amend his late husband's death certificate and won has passed away. http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Man
    I'm glad he lived long enough to see justice done in his case and that his fight has helped ensure other same sex couples in TX and hopefully elsewhere won't have to go what he went through.
    One more thing, I want to see a bigot try and explain the justification for this.
    I still have yet to see one straight couple state they didn't divorce or decide to have kids when they didn't want to because the surviving half of a same sex couple was denied benefits or a death certificate.
    Putting LBGT people through crap like this is all about bigotry and nothing more, period.

  • 31. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    News from Indiana:

    'Lines being drawn for Indiana's next fight over LGBT rights'
    ( http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/indiana/… )

  • 32. VIRick  |  October 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Australia: Sydney Mayor Marries Same-Sex Couple Inside British Consulate

    Despite same-sex marriage remaining banned in Australia, Sydney’s Lord Mayor has performed a same-sex marriage ceremony inside the British consulate in Sydney.

    Australia’s anti-gay-marriage former PM, Tony Abbott, plotted to stall same-sex marriage earlier this year when it was set to come to a vote, instead proposing a plebiscite (public vote) to be held in 2017. Though Abbott has since been ousted as Prime Minister, his replacement, Malcolm Turnbull, is sticking to the plebiscite plan, meaning same-sex couples are still banned from marrying.

    That did not dissuade the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, however, with Ms Moore marrying gay couple, Matthew McCarron and Edmundo Apon, inside the British consulate last month. McCarron and Apon have been together for 15 years and have a six-month old son, but are not legally recognized as married under Australian law. However, they were eligible to marry inside the British consulate, as McCarron has British heritage. Under the UK’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, marriages can take place in British embassies, consulates, and high commissions in a number of overseas countries, even if the country itself doesn’t recognize them.

    Mr McCarron told the "Australian Daily Mail" of the Lord Mayor’s involvement: “She’s a pretty strong advocate for same-sex marriage, so she was very pleased, I think, and very happy to be involved in the event. It was the first marriage she had officiated at.” http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/10/11/sydney-mayor

  • 33. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Sydney is where Tony Abbott's sister (Christine Forster) is a member of the City Council. Ms. Forster is a lesbian, and although she didn't have a vote, is also a member of the (misnamed) Liberal Party (Australia's conservative party).

    A New York Times piece from September 5, 2015 (prior to Tony Abbott's replacement as parliamentary head of the party) gives additional details: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/world/asia/aust

  • 34. VIRick  |  October 11, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    France Allegedly Backs Down after Vatican Blocks Gay Ambassador

    French President François Hollande has reportedly backed down, after his attempts to appoint a gay ambassador to the Vatican were blocked. Back in January, the French government selected openly gay diplomat, Laurent Stefanini, as ambassador to the Vatican, the home of the Catholic Church, an entity which remains strongly opposed to LGBT rights.

    It usually takes just weeks for a nomination to be approved. But it became clear in April that the Vatican was ‘freezing out’ the country’s selection of ambassador, refusing to respond to the nomination at all. French President François Hollande had refused to back down over the incident, but after ten months with no Vatican approval, sources say he has finally given up. According to French newspaper "Libération," sources confirmed the president has agreed to drop the ambassador nomination. A source told the newspaper: “It’s dead.” France previously nominated a gay ambassador to Vatican City in 2007, but also backed down after receiving no response from the Vatican.

    The news comes as the Vatican has re-asserted its anti-LGBT stance in recent weeks. Speaking at the opening of a Synod last week, the Pope suggested that same-sex marriage is a ‘passing fad’. Despite an early ‘who am I to judge’ PR blitz attempting to bolster his image, the Pope has yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.

    Proposals to ‘reach out’ to gay people were scrapped at last year’s Synod, and despite suggestions that the plans would return this year, it is clear that the Church has no plans to have another discussion surrounding the matter. The Vatican has also maintained a silence after a report exposed that it was funding a ‘gay cure’ clinic for priests. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/10/11/france-backs

    But don't worry. France will continue giving the finger to the Vatican, most likely by nominating yet one more gay ambassador to the post, just to prove that France is France, and they, as a thoroughly secular nation, will send who they want to send.

  • 35. VIRick  |  October 11, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Illinois Judge: Yes, Hobby Lobby Discriminated Against Trans Woman

    Last year, activists worried that the Supreme Court's ruling in "Burwell v. Hobby Lobby" opened the door to discrimination, but in one trans employee’s case, the bias was already occurring. In a decision from May that was only made public this week, Administrative Law Judge William J. Borah ruled that Hobby Lobby violated the Illinois Human Rights Act by refusing to allow a transgender female employee to use the women’s restroom at work.

    That employee, Meggan Sommerville, began her gender transition in 2009, and has worked as the frame shop manager at Hobby Lobby's location in Aurora IL for more than 16 years. She first filed a complaint against the Christian-owned chain of Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts stores in 2011 when, she says, management wrote her up for using the women's restroom. Her complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights alleging discrimination in employment and public accommodations was initially dismissed in 2012 for lack of evidence, and then reinstated and advanced to the administrative law judge.

    While management did not fire Sommerville, and acknowledged her as a woman once she legally changed her state ID and birth certificate in 2010, her complaint alleges that by sanctioning her for using the women's bathroom, managers created a hostile environment. Moreover, Hobby Lobby management maintained that Sommerville had to first undergo specific gender-affirming surgeries before using the bathroom that corresponded with her gender identity. Sommerville's attorney, Jacob Meister, stated that such a requirement is "absurd" and "unlawful," and "there's absolutely no support in the law for this.” Not only is gender-confirmation surgery costly, many trans people do not desire or cannot access such procedures, while it remains unknown whether Medicaid or health insurers for low- to middle-income people in Illinois even cover such surgery.

    Last year, the US Supreme Court held in a 5-4 vote in "Burwell v. Hobby Lobby" that religiously-minded business owners essentially may “line-item veto” birth control coverage out of their employees’ health plans. The court based its decision on the claim that Hobby Lobby and other "closely-held corporations" are protected from the government interference with the owners' exercise of religion as guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The Internal Revenue Service defines a "closely-held corporation" as one in which more than 50 percent of the value of all outstanding stock is owned by five or fewer people.

    Acknowledging the close relationship between reproductive rights and LGBT rights, activists warned that if Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, the two businesses that challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage requirement, could use their "sincerely-held religious beliefs" to deny contraception to employees, then they might use the same power to deny health care to transgender people or withhold coverage for HIV and AIDS treatment to employees.

    Jennifer C. Pizer, Lambda Legal's senior counsel and law and policy project national director, argues that the "Burwell" decision presents a slippery slope that likely opens the door for businesses to discriminate against LGBT people under the guise of religious freedom. This week’s ruling in Sommerville’s case shows that anti-LGBT discrimination was already alive and well within Hobby Lobby prior to the "Burwell" ruling. Somerville suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition which increases her need to use the restroom. Still, Hobby Lobby management restricted her to using the male restroom, or waiting up to six hours for her lunch break to use the facility at a nearby fast food restaurant. When Sommerville was written up for using the women’s restroom in 2011, she was not officially working, but rather visiting her store as a customer. Hobby Lobby management went to enormous lengths to deny Sommerville use of the correct bathroom, even constructing a separate gender-neutral single-stall restroom in 2014, which remains the only restroom that management has approved Sommerville to use.

    Where the judge’s ruling leaves Sommerville is unknown. The ruling was a recommendation that the Illinois Human Rights Commission must now affirm. For now, Sommerville still soldiers on as an employee at Hobby Lobby. http://www.advocate.com/transgender/2015/10/11/ju

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