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News round up and open thread


– You can read the transcript from a November hearing in the challenge to mississippi’s ban on same-sex adoptions.

– The Utah judge who ordered a foster child to be taken from a same-sex couple has recused himself from the case.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. David_Las_Cruces_NM  |  November 17, 2015 at 10:30 am

    The link for "recused" in the second news item above opens a Facebook page that needs a Facebook account to view. (I don't have any interest in creating a Facebook account.)

    The Salt Lake Tribune story is here:

  • 2. Fortguy  |  November 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    You don't have any interest in creating a Facebook account? But how else are you gonna poke your grandma?

    Randy Marsh: Stan, poke your grandma!!

  • 3. JayJonson  |  November 17, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Apparently, the Estonian Parliament passed a marriage equality law last year. (I don't think I knew that.) However, conservatives have blocked the implementation of the law. Can someone explain what this actually means?

    Here is a link:

  • 4. DevilWearsZrada  |  November 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Actually that law was about cohabitation rather than marriage equality (straight couples will have access to it as well). In order for it to finally come into force a number of other laws (which still regard only married straight couples) should be amended. That amendments were blocked by conservatives. The framework law passed last year should come into force in 2017 so they have some time to pass the amendments.

  • 5. JayJonson  |  November 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for the explanation. I wondered why I had not heard of Estonia passing a marriage equality law.

  • 6. Christian0811  |  November 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    From what I understand, Estonia is the more liberal of the Baltic states. I hope this cohabitation law will be a stepping stone, like PACS was in France.

  • 7. VIRick  |  November 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Jay, in digging back through my archived notes, I found this:

    Today, 9 October 2014, Estonia became the first former Soviet republic to legalize same-sex unions.

    Lawmakers have voted 40-38 to approve a gender-neutral partnership act that recognizes the civil unions of all couples regardless of sex. Twenty-three lawmakers were absent or abstained in the third and final reading of the bill. The new law will give those in civil unions, heterosexual or gay, almost the same rights as married couples, including financial, social, and health benefits provided by the government, and legal protection for children. It does not give adoption rights for couples in such unions, but does allow one partner to adopt the biological child of the other.

    The gender-neutral partnership act has yet to go into effect, but was originally slated to become effective sometime in 2016, once certain other contingent laws, as Devil has mentioned, have been modified.

    Estonia appears to be closely following in the footsteps of Finland, as the ethnic similarity (and geographic proximity) between the two is quite profound. Example: Back in the dreadful Soviet era, everyone in Tallinn, Estonia's capital, who could possibly afford it, had erected 40-foot-high TV antennas so they could receive the extremely liberal Finnish TV programming being broadcast from Helsinki just across the gulf (the two languages are closely-related, and are generally mutually-understood by native-speakers of either).

  • 8. JayJonson  |  November 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks, Rick.

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  November 18, 2015 at 5:54 am

    It was a very tight vote that legalized some registered partnership scheme during the previous parliamentary period. Unfortunately in the meantime there were elections and a radical conservative party entered the parliament – they have dedicated the majority of their parliamentary activity trying to block the implementation laws needed for this registered partnership law. It is supposed to take effect in January 2016. I don't know what's going to happen.

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 17, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    This is as good as it gets:

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In the appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in "Hard v. Strange," with the SPLC representing the Alabama widower, Paul Hard, seeking recognition of his Massachusetts marriage in a wrongful death suit, the Intervenor, Pat Fancher (Paul Hard's greedy, evil, stupid mother-in-law, poorly represented by Roy Moore's "non-profit" foundation, currently run by his wife, Kayla Moore), has had her request to hold up payment of Dr. Hard's portion of the wrongful death suit proceeds, while she appeals the decision, DENIED. In full, in every way imaginable.To quote:

    "Ms. Fancher requests several forms of relief, but her request is due to be denied in full. First, Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure provides no basis for the requested relief. Second, a stay pending appeal is inappropriate under the circumstances. Third, Ms. Fancher is not entitled to a supersedeas bond. Fourth, there is no justification for issuing an order requiring Dr. Hard to place the funds in escrow pending appeal. Fifth, this court is without jurisdiction to issue other relief."

    So, stuff it, Pat Fancher AND Roy Moore AND Kayla Moore! The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is a REAL court which follows proper rules and procedures.

  • 11. tx64jm  |  November 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    "The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is a REAL court which follows proper rules and procedures."

    Ah … so the fact that the 11th circuit has upheld laws banning gay adoptions is a decision from a REAL court! Got it!

  • 12. VIRick  |  November 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    This comment was a snotty reference on my part, directed solely toward Pat Fancher, Roy Moore, and Kayla Moore. Quite indirectly, given the obvious connection, I was also comparing the overall behavior of the Alabama Supreme Court with that of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Gay adoption, however, does not figure into any aspect of this case, "Hard v. Strange."

    So apples and oranges yourself.

  • 13. davepCA  |  November 17, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Our troll seems to be especially bored and whiney today. Aaw.

  • 14. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Has anyone considered that tx64jm truly enjoys being down voted?

    Please comment.

    tx64jm, the invitation is inclusive.

  • 15. VIRick  |  November 17, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    "Has anyone considered that tx64jm truly enjoys being down-voted?"

    Actually, I think he most enjoys being in a whole roomful of Cockes and Johnsons,– but still hasn't yet been able to admit this singular fact to himself.

  • 16. tx64jm  |  November 18, 2015 at 3:20 am

    I actually dont give a crap whether you downvote me, upvote me, or whatever.

    As my 8th grade teacher said, (who also happened to be the mayor of the town), "opinions are like assholes … everyone has one and they all stink".

  • 17. Randolph_Finder  |  November 18, 2015 at 7:15 am

    I'd prefer to whatever you, but that's still against the law in most states.

  • 18. davepCA  |  November 19, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    "I actually don't give a crap" Bullshit. Your troll ego is quite obvious.

  • 19. GregInTN  |  November 17, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    It looks like it was the District Court that denied her requests rather than the 11th Circuit.

  • 20. VIRick  |  November 17, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Greg, you could very well be correct, as Equality Case Files is not clear in its lead, and I was unable to access the provided link to determine.

    I assumed that the entire case had already been decided at District Court level, and noted from the ruling:

    "First, Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure provides no basis for the requested relief."

    to conclude that this was an appeals court ruling. Either way, though, her requests were DENIED in full. And if you're correct, that would then mean her requests were DENIED by a district court in ALABAMA.

  • 21. waggleberry1  |  November 18, 2015 at 6:02 am

    It was the District Court denying her request for a stay and/or injunctive relief. Still, nice smackdown.

  • 22. JayJonson  |  November 18, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Yes, it looks like the ruling is from the District Court. In any case, the order makes clear how inept were the filings by the attorneys for the evil mother, and how clear the issues are. Judge Roy Moore's wife seems to be as hateful and as ignorant of judicial procedure as he is.

  • 23. VIRick  |  November 17, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    It's Official: Salt Lake City Elects Lesbian Mayor, Jackie Biskupski

    Unofficial totals showed Jackie Biskupski besting incumbent Ralph Becker on 3 November, but the vote count wasn’t finalized until today, 17 November, after a canvass. It shows Biskupski with 51.5 percent of the vote to Becker’s 48.5 percent, "The Salt Lake Tribune" reports. Becker had refused to concede until the official count was announced.

    While Salt Lake City is home to the headquarters of the famously conservative Mormon Church, its local politics trend progressive. While Biskupski is the first LGBT person to be elected mayor there, or in any major city in the state, she isn’t the first liberal Democrat. Becker also proudly claimed that designation, as did a previous mayor, Rocky Anderson. City races, however, are nonpartisan.

    Today’s official vote count also affirmed Derek Kitchen’s election to a seat on the City Council. Kitchen was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that brought marriage equality to Utah. He becomes the second openly gay member of the City Council, joining Stan Penfold.

  • 24. Randolph_Finder  |  November 18, 2015 at 7:17 am

    At this rate, the SLC city council will soon vote to change the center of the street numbering system to the State Capitol, just like the other 49 states.

  • 25. VIRick  |  November 17, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Oklahoma Supreme Court Expands Same-Sex Parental Rights

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On Tuesday, 17 November 2015, in "Ramey v. Sutton," the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling increasing the rights of non-custodial parents who have been in same-sex relationships. The decision acknowledged the rights of a non-biological parent in a same-sex relationship who has acted as a parent.


    Same sex couple planned to have a child and co-parent. Upon the termination of their relationship and following almost ten years of co-parenting, the biological mother denied plaintiff's status as a parent and sought to end all interaction between plaintiff and child. Couple did not have a written agreement regarding parenting. Plaintiff petitioned the District Court in Oklahoma County seeking a determination of parental rights and custody. The District Court granted defendant's motion to dismiss. Plaintiff appealed and this Court issued an Order granting plaintiff's motion to retain this appeal.


  • 26. guitaristbl  |  November 18, 2015 at 5:59 am

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court makes favourable decisions for LGBT rights in general. I think shortly after Obergefell there was a ruling in favour of parental rights of same sex couples as well. For the life of me I cannot understand how is that possible in a state that is the darkest shade of red with an all republican Supreme Court.

  • 27. allan120102  |  November 18, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Because they follow the constitution like it should be. They are judges and they should follow the law even if they don´t like it. I am happy that they are not like the Alabama Supreme court. That court is a joke.

  • 28. guitaristbl  |  November 19, 2015 at 5:30 am

    I understand that but it's an unusual combination : Republican judge and following the constitution.

  • 29. Fortguy  |  November 17, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Jon Buice, who murdered Paul Broussard in a 1991 gay-bashing outside of a nightclub in the Montrose gayborhood of Houston, has been granted parole. Buice (rhymes with ice), was the longest-imprisoned member of "The Woodlands 10" who confronted Broussard and two of his friends on the 4th of July of that year as the victim and his friends were leaving the nightclub. Buice was the attacker who inflicted the fatal stab wounds, and Broussard's friends successfully fled for safety. The Woodlands, where the attackers lived, is an affluent suburb north of Houston in Montgomery County.

    At the time, Buice was a 17-year-old high school student while Broussard was a 27-year-old bank employee.

    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: Jon Buice granted parole

    This is a fascinating story. Absolutely do follow Kuffner's links to his previous commentary on this case and to the media reports and commentary he provides. This case intersects so many arguments regarding criminal justice reform and the proper role of punishment within that, what constitutes a hate crime, media manipulation on the part of both Buice's advocates and adversaries including Ray Hill who has had a change of heart in the matter, as well as larger notions of confession, forgiveness, and redemption.

    Kuffner is a straight guy, and I'm gay. Yet he takes a harder-nosed opinion toward Buice than I am willing to make despite the horrendous nature of the crime itself. I could be wrong, but the case is certainly worthy of discussion.

  • 30. JayJonson  |  November 18, 2015 at 7:20 am

    I find it repugnant to think that many gay rights groups, including Equality Texas, either supported Buice's parole petition or took no position on it.

  • 31. allan120102  |  November 18, 2015 at 5:17 am

    Breaking. Colombia, looks like their constitutional court will vote 6-3 to strike down the gay marriage ban if I understand this article correctly. The decisiom is expected tomorrow .

  • 32. Randolph_Finder  |  November 18, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Gay Star News is reporting based on the noticiasrcn article that they will strike down (apparently they have someone who reads spanish better than you or I. However all the article says is that they have six votes for. One of the members (Alejandro Linares Cantillo) was appointed earlier this month, so probably won't be part of the opinion. So I believe this will be 6-2.

    As a note, Colombia with a score of 3.5 would be the nation with the worst Freedom Rating to have Marriage Equality, currently Mexico has the worst at 3. (scores are the average of Political Rights and Civil Liberties scores with 1 being best and 7 worst). On the other hand there are countries with the best possible score of 1 that do not have Full Marriage Equality (Australia, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, Poland and a few more)

  • 33. VIRick  |  November 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Here's an amended link to the noticiasrcn article which actually works:

    The last two paragraphs of this article state:

    Corte Constitucional le Daría el "Sí" Definitivo al Matrimonio Gay

    Pero seis de los nueve integrantes de la Corte Constitucional piensan lo contrario, y estarían de acuerdo en que este jueves Colombia debe dar una paso adelante en la protección de los derechos de parejas del mismo sexo, aprobando el matrimonio gay.

    Estos son Maria Victoria Calle, Gloria Ortiz, Miryam Ávila, Jorge Iván Palacio, Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva y Alberto Rojas, este último tendría que redactar el texto definitivo que daría vida al matrimonio entre parejas del mismo sexo.

    (Constitutional Court Will Give the Final "Yes" to Gay Marriage

    Six of the nine members of the Constitutional Court did not agree (with a previous lower court ruling opposing), but on Thursday (19 November 2015) would agree to give Colombia a step forward in protecting the rights of same-sex couples by approving gay marriage.

    These six are Maria Victoria Calle, Gloria Ortiz, Miryam Ávila, Jorge Iván Palacio, Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, and Alberto Rojas, the latter of whom would have to draft the final text that would approve marriage between same-sex couples.)

  • 34. Randolph_Finder  |  November 19, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Good to see that someone who actually reads the language can assure us of what it says…

    Presuming this is correct, my guess is that the next Spanish speaking nation to have Marriage Equality after Colombia would be one of the following three: Cuba, Venezuela or Chile.

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