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Equality news round-up: DADT, DOMA come up in 2016 presidential campaign, and more

DOMA trials Don't Ask Don't Tell LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Colorado state seal– Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is petitioning the Colorado Supreme Court to review the Masterpiece Bakeshop case in which the store refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple.

– In the Fourth Circuit, the plaintiff has filed his opening brief in the case in which he isn’t allowed to use the correct restroom because he’s transgender.

– On the Rachel Maddow show, Hillary Clinton claimed that DADT and DOMA were passed in order to avoid worse laws.

– Her statement was criticized by Bernie Sanders as inaccurate.

– LGBT activists also disputed her comments.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Which States Are Currently Banning LGBTQ Discrimination? Which Aren’t?

    In the absence of a federal law banning discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, there is a sharp split among the states, with some enacting such protections and a majority opting not to. According to LGBT-rights advocacy groups, here’s the latest breakdown:

    —28 states have no explicit statewide protections for sexual orientation and gender identity: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.

    —17 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

    —Three states prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations: New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin. The laws in these states don’t encompass gender identity. However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is issuing an executive order that will soon extend protections to transgender people.

    —Massachusetts prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations. There’s an effort underway to extend the public accommodation protections to transgender people.

    —Utah prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing. Its law doesn’t cover public accommodations.

  • 2. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 26, 2015 at 10:18 am

    In the Fourth Circuit, the split on employment discrimination is exactly the same as Marriage Equality:

    Maryland was FOR ME, and is AGAINST employment discrimination;

    The other four states in the Fourth Circuit (Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina) were AGAINST ME, and are FOR employment discrimination.

    Same with the Sixth. TN, KY, OH and MI all were against ME, and all allow employment discrimination.

    I guess there is some truth in that old saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • 3. StraightDave  |  October 26, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    In other words, a bigot is a bigot is a bigot, regardless of the details.

  • 4. Steve27516  |  October 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I don't recall the details, but Puerto Rico also has a non-discrimination law on the books — I think for outlawing discrimination in employment. Perhaps you or others know more of the specifics.

  • 5. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Steve, indeed, Puerto Rico does. Per my archives cached on another site:

    "In 2013, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed two bills into law that ban anti-LGBT discrimination in Puerto Rico (across the board) and added sexual orientation and gender identity to the island’s domestic violence laws.

    On 10 August 2015, García issued two executive orders that extend rights to transgender people in the US commonwealth. One of the orders that García signed specifically prohibits hospitals from discriminating against potential patients based on their gender identity when they seek treatment in an emergency room. The second mandate allows trans Puerto Ricans to change the gender on their driver’s licenses."

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Alabama: Tally of Attorney Fees Continue to Mount

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In "Searcy v. Strange," the federal Alabama marriage recognition and 2nd parent adoption case, the Plaintiffs have filed for attorney fees and costs. In their motion, they ask for $189,310 in attorney fees and $8,400 in costs.
    Their motion is here:

    In his response, the Attorney-General "does not dispute that Plaintiffs are prevailing parties,” but argues that the amount of fees should be cut to approximately $50,000 and there should be no award of costs, as plaintiffs "have provided no accounting of what those costs are.” (and then climbs onto his high horse to belittle and denigrate the plaintiffs' attorneys, as follows):

    "In this case, there was no discovery, no hearing, and no trial. With respect to the claims against the Attorney-General, the Plaintiffs’ case involved a complaint (doc. 1), a premature motion for summary judgment and accompanying brief (docs. 21, 22); an expert report that had to be amended for failure to comply with the Rules of Civil Procedure (docs. 41, 51); a response to Defendants’ summary judgment motion (doc. 51), and responses to Defendants’ motions to stay. There was activity against defendants who were dismissed, and parties (namely, probate judges) who should have been defendants but were not, but none of that activity contributed to relief against the Attorney General, and none of that activity should be part of this fee analysis."

    " Plaintiffs struggled after their judgment to bring in parties who enforce marriage laws. Plaintiffs first filed an odd motion for sanctions against non-parties, and against the Attorney-General who never violated this Court’s orders. (Doc. 71). Then they filed a separate action where the sole claim was failure to follow the injunction in this case. See "Hedgepeth v. Judge Don Davis, et al.," case no. 1:15-cv-67 (S.D. Ala. filed Feb. 9, 2015) (voluntarily dismissed). These were needless steps that accomplished nothing, but instead reveal a lack of experience in civil rights litigation. It was ultimately the attorneys for the "Strawser" plaintiffs (who retained counsel after receiving a preliminary injunction), rather than counsel here, who joined the Probate Judges into the litigation the correct way and obtained an injunction against officials who issue marriage licenses."

    The state Defendant’s Response to Motion for Attorney Fees and Expenses is here:

  • 7. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Mississippi: The Case Against the Last State Same-Sex Adoption Ban

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In the federal suit, "Campaign for Southern Equality v. Mississippi Department of Human Services," the challenge to the state's adoption ban for same-sex couples, we have an amazing array of filings and counter-filings in this case which have been made over the past month or so. Enjoy:

    Defendants' Answers to the Amended Complaint
    – Attorney General Jim Hood:
    – Gov. Phil Bryant, et al.:
    Here's the Amended complaint, for reference:

    Motions to Dismiss
    – Executive Branch Defendants:
    —— Memo in support of Motion:
    – Judicial Branch Defendants:
    —— Memo in support of Motion:
    – Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Motion to Dismiss:
    – Executive Branch Defendants’ Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss:
    – Judicial Branch Defendants’ Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss:

    On Motion for Preliminary Injunction:
    – Judicial Branch Defendants' Opposition:
    (Executive Branch Defendants' opposition was filed 9/11/15)
    – Plaintiffs' Reply in support of motion:
    —— Brian Powell, Ph.D. Reply Declaration in Support of Motion:

  • 8. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Lambda Legal Sues US State Department on Behalf of Intersex US Citizen Denied Passport

    Today, 26 October 2015, Lambda Legal filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Colorado against the U.S. State Department on behalf of an intersex client, Dana Zzyym, denied a U.S. passport because Dana could not accurately choose either male or female on the passport application form, and the form does not provide any other gender marker designation. Though many intersex people identify as male or female, some – like Dana – do not.

    Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul D. Castillo said: "Dana is intersex, identifies specifically as intersex and rejects categorically any effort by the federal government to compel them to choose one way or the other. The State Department in effect is demanding that Dana use incorrect information on the passport application and choose either ‘male’ or ‘female’ when, in fact, Dana is neither. They shouldn’t have to choose."

    Dana, who uses the gender-neutral pronouns “they,” “them” and “their,” was born with ambiguous sex characteristics. Shortly after Dana’s birth, their parents and doctor decided to raise them as a boy. As a result, Dana underwent several irreversible, painful and medically unnecessary surgeries that didn’t work, traumatized Dana and left them with severe scarring.

    It was only many years later, after serving six years in the US Navy and then attending Colorado State University, that Dana began researching the surgeries and came to understand they had been born intersex. Drawing on personal experience, Dana began educating the public about issues facing intersex people. Dana currently serves as associate director for the United States affiliate of the Organisation Intersex International. As part of their work, Dana was invited to attend the International Intersex Forum in Mexico City in October 2014, at which time Dana applied for a US passport. The application requires that the applicant select a gender marker of either "male" or "female." It also requires first-time applicants to submit a birth certificate, which in Dana’s case lists their sex as “unknown.”

    Notwithstanding the information on their birth certificate, and the fact that Dana’s doctors with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, confirm their gender as intersex, Dana’s application for a passport was denied.

    See article here:

    See federal court filing here:

  • 9. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Nepal: Third-Gender Passports May Be the Future of Trans Travel

    The arrival of a transgender activist from Nepal in Taiwan last Saturday, 24 October 2015, for the 2015 International Lesbian and Gay Association’s Asia conference may seem unremarkable. But it was in fact quite special: The activist, Bhumika Shrestha, is the first Nepali citizen to travel abroad carrying a passport marked O for “other” instead of M for “male” or F for “female.” This is a groundbreaking and long-overdue achievement for global travel because it demonstrates that self-identification can and should be the sole factor in obtaining gendered documents.

    Nepal’s legal recognition of a third category began with a 2007 Supreme Court case in which the judge ordered the government to create a legal category for people who identify as neither male nor female. Crucially, the judgment dictated that the ability to get documents bearing a third gender should be based on “self-feeling.” That is to say: no tests, expert opinions, or other potentially humiliating adjudication should play a role in the process.

    But that concept had at the time only recently been enshrined in the Yogyakarta Principles, the first international guidelines on sexual orientation, gender identity, and human rights standards. And carrying out the court decision proved knottier than the court’s declaration. Following the court’s judgment, LGBTI rights activists in Nepal advocated with bureaucrats to include the third gender on everything from voter rolls to citizenship papers. In 2011, Nepal included a third gender in its census.

    However, only this year, after sustained pressure from LGBTI rights activists, was Shrestha able to finally obtain her third-gender citizenship certificate and begin changing other documents.

    But in addition to the dignity such a shift affords people who want third-gender passports, this autumn’s successful issuance of Shrestha’s passport and her Taiwanese visa shreds one common argument against issuing passports in three genders: that foreign governments will not acknowledge them, imperiling those who possess them. There is no Taiwanese consulate in Nepal, so Shrestha had to travel to India to apply for her visa. This means she left Nepal, entered India, and successfully obtained a Taiwan visa all bearing her legal gender marker, O. Hong Kong also issued her a transit visa for the trip.

  • 10. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Texas Appeals Court Sides with Transgender Widow in Fight over Estate

    Wharton TX — A Texas state appeals court has reaffirmed its earlier decision in "Delgado v. Araguz" to validate the marriage of a transgender widow seeking the estate of her firefighter husband who died battling a blaze. The ruling Friday, 23 October 2015, by the 13th Texas Court of Appeals sent the case of Nikki Araguz Loyd back to a Wharton County judge who originally voided the marriage because (at the time) Texas did not recognize same-sex marriage. Kent Rutter, an attorney for Araguz Loyd, said Monday, 26 October 2015, that that earlier ruling meant Araguz Loyd was not entitled to Thomas Araguz’s estate.

    However, Rutter says the Texas appeals court had then ruled in early 2014 in Araguz Loyd’s favor, determining she was a woman at the time of her marriage, but then had to issue another ruling at this time after an appeal sent to the Texas Supreme Court was not heard and was thus returned back to the lower court.

  • 11. RnL2008  |  October 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Thank You Rick for all of the information you have posted……..I for one appreciate the time you put in to finding it and posting it, then adding the additional information.

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Jindal to Court: Dismiss ACLU Lawsuit Against Me

    Baton Rouge LA — Gov. Bobby Jindal is asking a state district judge to throw out a lawsuit that challenges Jindal’s executive order offering protections to people who oppose same-sex marriage. Judge Todd Hernandez heard arguments Monday, 26 October 2015, about Jindal’s request, but did not immediately rule.

    The executive order under contention prohibits state agencies under Jindal’s control from denying licenses, benefits, contracts, or tax deductions in response to actions taken because of someone’s religious belief against same-sex marriage. The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana, the Forum for Equality Foundation and six New Orleans residents are seeking to have Jindal’s order declared unconstitutional.

    Jindal’s lawyer says the gay rights advocates haven’t shown they face harm from the order. An attorney for the plaintiffs says the governor is exceeding the bounds of his authority with the order.

  • 13. A_Jayne  |  October 26, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Too funny – Jindal’s lawyer says the gay rights advocates haven’t shown they face harm from the order.

    What, does the guy work for Liberty Counsel? Since when is open discrimination not harmful?


  • 14. davepCA  |  October 26, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    VRick – I think the first sentence in the second paragraph in your comment above this one about Jindal is missing some text?

  • 15. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 26, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    "VRick – I think the first sentence in the second paragraph in your comment above this one about Jindal is missing some text?"

    Try re-reading it, as it seems to be a complete sentence. I had to re-read the sentence, as I had a completely different idea about what it said. Then when I considered Jindal's bigotry against the GLBT community, and after re-reading the sentence, I realized he is still a bigot, and his executive order totally reflects that bigotry of his.

    Oh, and missing some text? Please be kind enough to fill in the missing text (if there is any), including a link showing the 'missing text'. Rick's comment is based on… You have a different source?

  • 16. davepCA  |  October 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    aaah, you're right, Got it. Never mind.

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 27, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Dave, the executive order which is currently being challenged in court is the one Jindal issued to "protect" businesses whose "religious beliefs" run counter to same-sex marriage (rather similar to the idiocy in Indiana and/or Arkansas, with their "religious freedom" nonsense, but done as an executive order after the Louisiana Legislature refused to pass a law with the same intent).

    It was issued in direct response to the 5th Circuit Court's denial of the appeal in "Robicheaux v. Caldwell," whereby the court returned the case to the District Court level with instructions to Judge Feldman to overturn his earlier ruling upholding Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage, a point which he then very promptly proceeded to do.

    Doing his best "Last-Minute Lucy" impression, in a vain attempt to "save the day" for the religious nut-jobs, Jindal jumped into the situation with his foolish, overblown executive order, which, in turn, is now being challenged as unconstitutional.

  • 18. 1grod  |  October 27, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Kim Davis request to reopen briefing on class action denied by Judge Bunning

  • 19. Raga  |  October 27, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I think it is the plaintiffs who wanted to reopen briefing on class action, not Kim Davis…

  • 20. 1grod  |  October 27, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Strawser v Strange – plaintiff's file for $197,000 in attorney fees & costs.
    Defendant's response to fees request is below. – In their filing AG Strange acknowledges the plaintiff's have prevailed at the 11th Circuit. Another nail in AL Supreme Court's coffin to resurrect their March 3 injunction. Time for the probate judges including Brandy Clark Easlick of Chambers Co to do the same.

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