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READ IT HERE: Government files motion to dismiss in Chelsea Manning’s transgender rights case

Transgender Rights

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Attribution:
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Attribution:
The government has filed a motion to dismiss the case filed by Chelsea Manning, who is seeking medical care related to her gender, as well as the right to grow her hair out.

The filing argues that most of her claims aren’t ready for court review yet because there are administrative remedies that have to be exhausted first. The filing also argues that because Manning is in a prison for men, she has to rely on grooming standards for that type of prison.

Part of the case has sort of disappeared, because Manning has been allowed to wear gender appropriate clothing and receive counseling, speech therapy, and hormone treatments.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. JayJonson  |  November 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    In October Maine's Supreme Judicial Court announced its answer (or rather, its refusal to actually entertain the question since the answer was so obvious) to a question regarding same-sex marriage that was posed in a divorce proceeding.

    The specific issue was whether Maine’s 1997 ban on same-sex marriage had the effect of making the marriage of a same-sex couple from Maine who married in Massachusetts in 2008 a non-entity until Maine’s equal marriage initiative law went into effect in 2012. The question of the effective date of their marriage –when licensed by Massachusetts in 2008 or when Maine’s law became effective 2012 – affected what counts as martial property in the divorce proceedings.

    The Court said there is no “sufficient … doubt” about the validity of a same-sex couple’s marriage from the date of its celebration, and thus declined to entertain the question.

    Mary Bonauto, of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, co-counsel in the case, explained the "non-answer" as follows: “the U.S. Supreme Court wiped away any lingering effect of state anti-marriage laws to people who have pending cases or proceedings. The Law Court relied on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell to say that there is no “substantial doubt” about the legal question, and quoted that ruling to the effect that: ‘[T]here is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.’ Marriages of same-sex couples lawfully joined are valid – period – and that rule applies to any pending civil case or proceeding.”

    I think that a similar question was raised by the Attorney General of Texas when he attempted to recognize only same-sex marriages and adoptions of children by same-sex couples after Obergefell. Federal Judge Garcia set him straight.

    I missed the Maine Court's reaction to the question when it was issued in October.

    Here is a link to a report from GLAD:

  • 2. Fortguy  |  November 13, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Oak Lawn, the oldest and most preeminent gayborhood in Dallas, has seen 11 violent attacks and robberies in the last two months.

    Stephanie Kuo, KERA News: Oak Lawn Assault Victims Call For More Security And Find Comfort In One Another

    Police say they’re not sure these attacks qualify as hate crimes. So far, they’ve only used the label once — after a man was beaten and robbed in late September after he left the Dallas Pride Festival.


    “This can be a vulnerable area with a vulnerable population, and if somebody wants to do harm and come from outside the LGBT community, they know they can find a high concentration of people here — people are out late, it’s not the best-lit place in town — they can come here and cause harm. It’s not that difficult to do,” Cox said.

    Oak Lawn’s history is proof of that. Cox says there’s fear and distrust among the LGBT community, dating all the way back to the late-70s, early-80s.

    “Police were actually arresting people who were coming out of bars or taking down license plate numbers of patrons who were going into bars and colluding with reporters, and people's names were showing up the next day in the Dallas Times Herald. They were essentially outing people.” Cox said. “It adds to a history of our community sometimes being hesitant to want to engage in a proactive way with law enforcement.”

    Police say they’re aware of that history, but are working hard to reach out to Oak Lawn residents and keep an open line of communication.

    “There is an initial need for you to call 911, for you to get the report down and get started on the offense,” said Deputy Chief Catrina Shead. “But in the long term, it helps us as an agency and as a city to reallocate resources based on need. If we don’t have those offenses or those crimes reported, then it doesn’t look like we need additional resources.”


    Michael Dominguez, for one, won’t let the attack change his life. This is still his neighborhood, after all. He’s worried, though, about what the last two months have revealed about the community.

    “There are deficiencies in how we take care of each other, how callous we’ve become to responding to certain things. I’ve heard that people don’t feel safe. I’ve heard some people don’t even know what’s going on in their own backyard,” Dominguez said. “I think we have a responsibility to make sure that it stays a safe haven.”

    Dominguez has started an LGBT support group called SOS — Survivors Offering Support. It provides group therapy, financial assistance and other resources. For Dominguez, this effort is his way of working through what could be a dark time.

    KERA is the DFW metro PBS or public television affiliate. The article sections I included do not describe Mr. Dominguez's horrendous assault. You'll have to follow the article link for that.

  • 3. VIRick  |  November 14, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Per Equality CaseFiles:

    In "Miller v. Davis," the never-ending case against the Rowan County KY Clerk who won't issue marriage licenses and who won't go away:

    The Third-Party Defendants, Governor Beshear and Wayne Onkst (State Librarian and Commissioner of Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives), have filed their response to the Plaintiffs' motion to enforce the preliminary injunctions of 3 and 8 September 2015, as required by order of the Court.

    Their position is essentially that: (1) yes, the licenses were altered and, as such, are not fully consistent with state statutes, but (2) that doesn't mean they're invalid and they, the state defendants, will recognize as valid the properly-solemnized marriages, unless a court says otherwise. However, they make clear that these defendants are not the "official arbiters of whether a lawful marriage has been consummated."

    Response of Third-Party Defendants to Plaintiffs’ Motion to enforce 3 September and 8 September Orders is here:

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 14, 2015 at 12:33 am

    The Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City is illuminated with the colors of the French flag in solemn remembrance of those slaughtered in the multiple attacks in Paris.

  • 5. guitaristbl  |  November 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    As a european the events in Paris have shaken me a lot. So I think I will take a break from commenting on US LGBT rights progress tbh..I just don't have the mind for that kind of stuff for now really..I am scared. Not so much of terrorist attacks to be honest but from the enemy from the inside : The far right Freedom Party was leading in polls in Austria before that and will now skyrocket, the National Front in France is definately having a party after the tragic events as it is more and more likely to secure more and more influence in the municipal elections now and even the presidential election in 2017, the far right Swedish Democrats topped some polls before the events and will gain more influence now, right wing to far right populists got absolute majority in Poland not long ago and hold a tight grim on Hungary as well, they participate in the danish coalition government and the right wing populists of AfD are polling double digits as well – before the events. This is about to get worse…Don't expect any progress on LGBT rights in Europe any time soon…After yesterday expect recession – we will have to defend what we have..especially in France where marriage equality faces a grim future after the 2017 elections for sure if the nazis rise in power. Things are about to get really bad, not because of terrorism but because of those the fear of it will bring to power..

  • 6. scream4ever  |  November 14, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    It won't be repealed, trust me. A few years ago everyone said the same thing about Spain and it didn't happen.

  • 7. JayJonson  |  November 15, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Our thoughts are with our French and other European colleagues in the quest for justice. Thank you for your contributions to the site and to the struggle for equality.

  • 8. David_Las_Cruces_NM  |  November 15, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I agree with your concern about the right wing extremists.

  • 9. VIRick  |  November 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Clerical Error Led to Costa Rica’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriage

    San José CR — When Jazmín Elizondo Arias was born in 1991, someone erred and noted on her birth certificate that she was male. As the years passed and Elizondo grew up, the mix-up never caused any problems. So she never bothered to try to correct the record officially, something that others in her situation found could turn into a slog through Costa Rica’s bureaucracy with no guarantee of success.

    Recently, Elizondo and her partner, Laura Flórez-Estrada Pimentel, exploited that simple clerical error to become Costa Rica’s first legally married gay couple — at least briefly — and high-profile protagonists in the Central American nation’s debate over same-sex unions.

    “All that I know is I had in my hands a certificate that says they are a man and a woman. Legally she is a man, and legally a man and a woman can get married,” said Marco Castillo, a lawyer and activist who performed the civil ceremony. “I married a man and a woman according to the official documents.”

    Elizondo and Flórez-Estrada run a cafe in the eastern part of the capital, San José. Flórez-Estrada, a 28-year-old Spanish national who has lived in Costa Rica since age 6, is the sister of a prominent leftist politician, José María Villalta.

    The two women decided after this year’s gay pride march to tie the knot, and they did so quietly on 25 July 2015. Their marriage became widely known only last week after they received their marriage certificate and Costa Rican media picked up on the story. The flurry of publicity prompted an unusually quick response by Civil Registry officials, who reviewed Elizondo’s records, reclassified her as a woman and in recent days annulled the nuptials. They also opened criminal complaints against the women and Castillo, the lawyer, for allegedly performing an “impossible marriage.”

    “It’s absolutely suspicious and discriminatory. It’s clear that the Civil Registry moved out of hate, because they not only annulled the marriage but filed this criminal complaint,” Florez-Estrada said. The agency’s director, Luis Bolanos, was quoted by the website as saying that for a marriage to be annulled, the Family Code calls for an administrative process to correct the mistake. “In this case effectively there was an error in one of the registrations, which makes the annulment of this marriage possible,” Bolanos said.

    Castillo said it was telling that officials apparently fast-tracked the review when similar cases of mistakenly-recorded gender can languish for decades. “One woman waited 60 years for them to make the change for her, and she couldn’t even register the children to whom she gave birth,” said Castillo, who also heads the gay marriage activism group Diversity Movement. “Meanwhile in our case, it didn’t take them two days.”

    According to Costa Rican law, knowingly entering into a marriage where there is an impediment carries a possible prison sentence of six months to three years. While Elizondo and Florez-Estrada await possible prosecution, the Constitutional Court is considering the case of another gay couple, whose relationship was recognized as a “de facto union” by a family judge on 2 July 2015. Several versions of a bill proposing to recognize same-sex unions have also been presented in congress (with one emanating from the office of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís), sparking fierce opposition from political parties with religious ties.

    Please note: This is an extremely high-profile case, as Flórez-Estrada is not only a Spanish citizen, but is also the sister of the former presidential candidate and prominent leftist legislator, José María Villalta, the very same individual who engineered the amendment to the Youth Code of July 2013 (subsequently signed into law by former President Laura Chinchilla) which allows for the de facto union of same-sex couples, with judicial approval, after an interval of 3 years.

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Uruguay Joins Global LGBT Rights Initiative

    Uruguay is the latest country to join a US initiative that seeks to promote LGBT rights around the world. The small South American nation will join Chile, France, Germany, Sweden, and other countries that contribute to the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the US State Department manages with the US Agency for International Development. The initiative has given more than $17 million to LGBT advocacy groups since its 2011 launch. The State Department, the Uruguayan government, and the Washington-based Council for Global Equality are scheduled to formally announce Uruguay’s participation in the Global Equality Fund on 18 November during a reception at the Uruguayan Embassy in northwest DC.

    Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Uruguay since 2013. Transgender people are also able to legally change their gender without surgery. Uruguay co-sponsored a resolution against anti-LGBT discrimination and violence that the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted in September 2014.. The Uruguayan government in April 2016 will host an LGBT rights conference that is expected to draw advocates from around the world.

    “It is within this context that Uruguay has decided to join the Global Equality Fund, recognizing it as a valuable tool in the promotion and protection of LGBTI rights around the world,” the Uruguayan Embassy noted in a statement issued on 13 November. The Uruguayan Embassy in the US also noted Chile’s participation in the Global Equality Fund as evidence of Latin America’s growing role in the promotion of LGBT rights around the world.

    See more at:

  • 11. VIRick  |  November 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    In Rio de Janeiro, the landmark Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue which overlooks the entire city from high atop its singular pinnacle, has been illuminated in the colors of the French flag in solemn remembrance of those slaughtered in Paris.

  • 12. iocbyux  |  November 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Peshmerga forces of the Kurdish Regional Government, backed by US air support, just killed over 300 ISIS terrorists and seized the entire town of Shingal and 28 surrounding villages, all of which had been occupied by ISIS for more than a year. This also cuts the only road between Raqqa (ISIS capital) and Mosul (large ISIS-occupied city). Both the Syrian army and the Iraqi army are routinely humiliated by ISIS, whereas Kurdish forces in both Iraq (Peshmerga) and Syria (YPG/YPJ) bravely fight ISIS and win.

    News article here:

    News article here:

    News article here:

  • 13. iocbyux  |  November 15, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Caught between apostasy and heartbreak: a Mormon lesbian love story

    News article here:

  • 14. aiislander  |  November 15, 2015 at 9:01 am

    As in cities all over the world, the French Tricolore flies at half-mast atop Seattle's iconic Space Needle:

    Likewise, in Sydney, the Opera House is lit in the colors of France:

  • 15. Christian0811  |  November 15, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I read that Lithuania's anti-gay "propaganda" bill was shelved in their Parliament, but if it came back do we have enough votes in the Seimas to refer it to their constitutional court? Would anyone here know about this?

    From what I understand, the constitutional court only has apriori review powers so we'd need at least 1/5 of the parliament or the president to refer the bill and, hopefully, see it killed permanently.

  • 16. VIRick  |  November 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Lithuania Postpones Vote on "Russia-style" Gay Propaganda Law

    On 13 November 2015, Lithuanian lawmakers postponed a vote on a new anti-LGBT law that emulates Russia’s ban on "gay propaganda." The nation’s Parliament (Seimas) had been due to vote on proposals that would introduce fines for any public display that “defies traditional family values”. Reaching further than simply banning public displays of affection among gay people, the law could also ban any LGBT rights march or protest, and outlaw any form of visibility for LGBT people. Lawmakers were set for a showdown on the amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations this week, but the item was bumped from the Parliament’s agenda, though it could return at a later date,

    Shawn Gaylord of US-based lobbying group, Human Right First, said: “While the tabling of this amendment is a welcomed respite for LGBT Lithuanians, the proposed amendment will remain a threat to the protection of the human rights of Lithuania’s LGBT community until it is officially defeated. The introduction of this amendment and other similar bills throughout Eastern Europe is an alarming trend that contributes to increased violence and discrimination. We urge the Obama Administration to publicly condemn this legislation and to press the Lithuanian government to ensure that the amendment is not reintroduced.”

    Tomas V. Raskevičius, Policy Coordinator of the Lithuanian Gay League, said: “Despite the fact that the bill was removed from the Parliament’s agenda, it can be submitted for the final voting at any time. This continuous threat serves a persistent reminder that LGBT human rights remain a tool for political manipulation and blackmail. As human rights defenders, sometimes we feel hopeless that even the basic rights for LGBT people are being questioned.”

    The next Baltic Pride in the country has adopted the slogan "We are people, not propaganda," and will take place in June 2016.

    Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė recently condemned a singer who compared gay people to pedophiles, claiming his comments exemplify issues with homophobia in Lithuania. She said: “I believe the incident benefits the state in a way that, in this country, we are becoming more and more open in our discussions about how insular we are, our intolerance of people who are different, as well as homophobia."

  • 17. VIRick  |  November 15, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Colombia: President Santos to Legalize Medical Marijuana by Executive Order

    Colombian Minister of Health Alejandro Gaviria announced on Thursday, 12 November 2015, that the government will issue a decree to regulate the use of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. Within this framework, the government will determine the exact conditions under which production, commercialization, possession, and use of the substance will be permitted.

    Uruguay, meanwhile, became the world’s first country “to legalize the growing, sale, and smoking of marijuana” in 2013. The measure to be taken in Colombia, however, will contain one groundbreaking element: the decree will allow the creation of an “export license” through which producers of cannabis-based medical products — salves and ointments, for instance — will be able to sell their goods in countries where such products are legal. These include Uruguay, Canada, and the Netherlands.

    This means that, for the first time, the Colombian government openly recognizes the global economic potential of the local cannabis industry. The export license will be issued by the National Council on Drugs, which will also emit permits for cultivation, production, and research pertaining to cannabis.

    Critics of the measure include conservative Inspector-General Alejandro Ordoñez, who vowed to review the government’s decree since, in his view, it “weakens the fight against drugs and threatens the young, children, and families in every part of the country.” (This is the same pinched-nosed ass-hat who has challenged Colombia's same-sex marriages in a case presently before the Constitutional Court).

    The decree legalizing medical marijuana in Colombia won’t come into effect before President Juan Manuel Santos gives his authorization with his signature. Santos, however, made headlines during his first term in office (2010-2014) for suggesting that “new strategies, new visions, and new approaches” were needed in the debate over the international drug trade. Since 1994, Colombian law has permitted individuals to possess a small dose of narcotics for consumption without being subject to criminal charges.

  • 18. JayJonson  |  November 16, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Same-sex weddings commence in Ireland today. But the process is not simple for all couples. If they are already in a civil union or if one of the partners lives abroad, there may be delays. Some scenarios require giving notice of intent to wed and delays of several days; others require giving notice of intent to wed and delays of as much as three months.

    Here is a link to an infographic prepared by Ireland's Gay & Lesbian Equality Network that outlines various scenarios.

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