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Equality news round-up: News from North Carolina, Alabama, and more

Marriage equality Right-wing Transgender Rights

Seal of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission– After the federal district court judge held a hearing in the challenge to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law known as HB2, he stay in a similar case from the Fourth Circuit, GG v. Gloucester County School Board impacts the way the district court (which is also in the Fourth Circuit) should review the case, and can the judge issue a preliminary injunction beyond the scope of just the named plaintiffs, The plaintiffs filed a response which the Justice Department joins as to part one.

– Also this week, a judicial ethics panel in Alabama decided not to dismiss a complaint filed against Chief Justice Roy Moore for his actions to stop clerks from giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples even after federal injunctions took effect. The ethics panel also declined to immediately rule that Moore should be kicked off the bench. Instead he’ll face a trial proceeding.

– The EEOC has said it will continue to take anti-gay bias claims even after the Seventh Circuit ruled that sexual orientation is not protected in employment law.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  August 10, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Belize Supreme Court Strikes Down Law That Made Homosexuality Illegal

    Today, Wednesday, 10 August 2016, the Belize Supreme Court ruled that a law punishing homosexuality was unconstitutional. The decision was announced on the LGBT rights group UniBAM’s Twitter account soon after the ruling was made. UniBAM (United Belize Advocacy Movement) first brought the challenge against the law back in 2010.

    Caleb Orozco, the main plaintiff in the case, stated that the Belize Supreme Court ruled in his favor on privacy grounds, as well as under protections of “dignity, equality, and freedom of expression.” He added that the court also decided that protections in the Belizean constitution surrounding sex extend to sexual orientation.

    Belize, a country of around 350,000 people on the Caribbean coast bordering Mexico and Guatemala, has had the law in place since its days as a British colony. Belize is the first former British colony in the Caribbean area to strike down its colonial-era sodomy law, a move that could boost LGBT rights throughout the region. LGBT advocates are now hopeful that the ruling could bolster efforts to eliminate similar laws in 10 other English-speaking countries in the Caribbean, antiquated laws which also have roots in their colonial past.

    The written judgment in the case was not immediately available.

    In a tweet per UniBAM Belize at 1:40 PM on 10 August 2016:

    "We won on all counts. Speechless. Omg. Speechless."

    This was followed by a tweet from Maurice Tomlinson at 2:04 PM on 10 August 2016:

    "Caleb won his challenge to the Belize anti-sodomy law on all counts and was awarded costs! VICTORY for the Caribbean."

    In December 2015, in Jamaica, attorney Maurice Tomlinson brought suit against Jamaica’s law criminalizing homosexuality. That suit is still pending. Most immediately, the ruling in Belize, just rendered, will have direct bearing upon the eventual ruling in the Jamaica suit.

  • 2. guitaristbl  |  August 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    "He added that the court also decided that protections in the Belizean constitution surrounding sex extend to sexual orientation."

    This is the most important part of the ruling imo. Not 100 % sure about the provisions referencing sex in the constitution of Belize but this could work as an incentive to challenge further discrimination-inducing measures in court (marriage or civil unions even ?)

  • 3. VIRick  |  August 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Guitar, indeed, looking forward, that is the most important aspect of the ruling.

    Additionally, in combination with that aspect, of the protections surrounding sex extending to include sexual orientation, there are two other important factors to bear in mind:

    1. All of the British/ex-British Caribbean area countries/territories share the same court system, so that a ruling in one sets a direct precedent for a similarly-situated ruling in the rest. We've recently seen how this domino effect works when a ruling in a same-sex immigration case in Bermuda directly caused the same ruling to be applied to a similarly-situated same-sex immigration case in the Cayman Islands.

    2. All of the British/ex-British Caribbean area countries/territories have very modern constitutions, written in an inclusive, non-discriminatory, forward-thinking style. Some, like that of the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla, even have their marriage provisions written in gender-neutral language.

    Personally, I know of a same-sex couple resident in the British Virgin Islands, one of whom was born there. I was present at the ceremony, some years ago, when BVI officials, with multiple winks and plenty of nods, granted permanent residency status (euphemistically called "belonger" status) to the non-citizen partner. I sincerely wish this couple would now get off their asses and file for a marriage license. Either way, whether their request were accepted or rejected, they could eventually upend the entire same-sex marriage prohibition throughout the entire British/ex-British Caribbean.

  • 4. allan120102  |  August 10, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    I am really elated that the final ban have been struck down. Now all of Central America is free of discriminary laws against lgbt people. This move us foward as a region. I am happy for all my lgbt brothers and sisters that live in Belize. Now they can be free to love who they want without being arrested. With the ruling the judge said that anti discrimination against gays its illegal. A really good but unexpected surprise.

    Like you said Rick I hope this send a strong Message to all the Caricom nations that still ban same sex relationships. Especially Jamaica that have its case heard a couple of weeks back. This might be the start of the end of the remaining bans in the Caribbean and Guyana. Hope Guyana modify its code to allow lgbt relationships so all territorial America have gays couples to live free as they are. That will only leave the islands in the Caribbean.

    Today is a great day for the people of Belize, for Central America and for all the people in the world. Might be a small achievement for many but not for the lgbt people in Belize and for all of us that fight for our rights and for the rights of everyone to be treat fairly.

  • 5. VIRick  |  August 10, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Belize's Constitution and How it Affected Today's Court Ruling

    Per Wikipedia, as already posted there earlier this evening, 10 August 2016:

    Section 16(3) of the Belize constitution bans discrimination on the basis of sex, race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, or creed. Today's ruling overturning Section 53 of the criminal code (the sodomy ban) specifically stated that "sex," as mentioned in Section 16(3) of the constitution, includes sexual orientation.

  • 6. allan120102  |  August 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Belize might still appeal the ruling to the Caribbean court justice. I have mix feelings about this as if they take the case they might issue a ruling that affects all the remaining bans in the Caribbean but still it would be cool that lgbt people in Belize enjoy their win without being stay. Whatever they decide they would not take the beautiful moment we are feeling as seeing another ban being struck down. Hahaha I could imagine religious conservative head exploading right now.

  • 7. davepCA  |  August 10, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    …. and in a best case scenario, the government could still appeal the ruling, and lose, setting further precedent for other cases, yet the court could determine that there is no valid reason to 'stay' the ruling during that appeals process, so today's ruling would not be delayed in becoming effective. win win.

  • 8. VIRick  |  August 10, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    If the Government of Belize were to appeal this ruling to the Caribbean Court of Justice, and subsequently lose its appeal, then that loss would not only definitively strike down Belize's colonial-era sodomy ban, but also, that of the 10 other British/ex-British countries/territories which still have similar bans on the books (whether enforced or not) and which share the Caribbean Court of Justice with Belize.

    So, in addition to Belize, the Caribbean countries with sodomy bans still on the books, and thus directly affected by such a ruling would be:

    1. Antigua/Barbuda
    2. Barbados (not enforced)
    3. Dominica (not enforced)
    4. Grenada
    5. Guyana (not enforced)
    6. Jamaica
    7. St. Kitts-Nevis
    8. St. Lucia
    9. St. Vincent/Grenadines
    10. Trinidad and Tobago (not enforced)

    The following British/ex-British countries/territories do not have a colonial-era law on the books making sodomy illegal, and punishable by fines or imprisonment:

    1. Anguilla (since 2000)
    2. Bahamas (since 1991)
    3. Bermuda (since 1994)
    4. British Virgin Islands (since 2000)
    5. Cayman Islands (since 2000)
    6. Montserrat (since 2000)
    7. Turks and Caicos Islands (since 2000)

    Furthermore, by comparison, same-sex sexual activity has been legal in all of the neighboring French Caribbean islands since 1791, and in arch-conservative Dominican Republic since 1822. More recently, Cuba legalized same-sex sexual activity in 1979, and Haiti did likewise in 1986. In the USA, the legality of any/all remaining sodomy laws were struck down by the US Supreme Court in its ruling in "Lawrence v. Texas" in 2003. For the British Caribbean area, today's ruling in Belize is as important.

  • 9. allan120102  |  August 10, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    A ruling in favor of us would made us the 2nd continent in the world to not have more bans on homosexuality after Europe. Little by little we will create a better world for everyone were we will be treat equal and with respect. I hope we win Jamaica too as they are the most populous of the 10 countries in America that still the ban on gay relationships.

  • 10. Fortguy  |  August 10, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Texas AG Ken Paxton's motion for a preliminary injunction against the Obama administration's interpretation of Title IX expressing the federal government's position that trans kids in school should be able to pee in peace goes before a homophobic federal judge Friday.

    John Wright, Texas Observer: Paxton’s Transgender Bathroom Lawsuit Goes to Court Friday

    In the meantime, Paxton has been granted a reprieve for a separate bout of homophobia when the State Bar of Texas dismissed the professional misconduct complaint against him for instructing county clerks that they did not have to follow the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: State Bar dismisses other complaint against Paxton

    Nevertheless, he still faces countless criminal and civil suits against him in state and federal courts.

  • 11. Fortguy  |  August 12, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    No ruling today from the judge on Paxton's request for a nationwide preliminary injunction.

    Alexa Ura, The Texas Tribune: Judge Doesn't Rule in Texas' Lawsuit Over Transgender Protections

  • 12. Fortguy  |  August 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    College sports may soon undergo a mini conference realignment frenzy again as the Big 12 Conference announced a month ago that they are considering expanding by either two or four schools. Since then, the heavy media speculation is that the three leading contenders are BYU, Cincinnati, and Houston. BYU's bid to join the conference is now getting severe pushback from LGBT rights groups.

    Stewart Mandel, Fox Sports: 25 LGBT groups send letter to Big 12 urging it to shun BYU

    I should add that the Big 12, being sick and tired of dealing with Baylor's sexual assault scandal, is understandably leery of the recent allegations that BYU has been threatening women coming forward with assault charges of having violated the drinking and sex prohibitions within its honor code.

  • 13. Randolph_Finder  |  August 11, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Note, BYU would not be the only religious school in the Big 12, Texas Christian University is also a member.

  • 14. Fortguy  |  August 11, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Baylor is also a religious school in the Big 12 and is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, itself a Southern Baptist body. The Stewart Mandel article goes in to the details of the various schools' non-discrimination policies.

    The huge difference is that TCU is merely affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, and the denomination has never had any role in the university's governance. TCU's non-discrimination policy specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The student body is also much more religiously diverse than either Baylor or BYU.

    Furthermore, the Disciples of Christ is a much more mainline Protestant denomination that officially welcomes and affirms the sexual orientations and gender identities of its LGBT members. The denomination is non-hierarchical leaving it up to individual congregations whether to perform same-sex marriages or ordain LGBT pastors, and many congregations have.

    As the article states, Baylor has pulled "homosexual acts" language from its disciplinary policy while maintaining its rejection of same-sex marriage or extra-marital sex in general in order to please the Big 12. Baylor has a long history of demonstrating contortions that would make the author of the Kama Sutra blush in order to reconcile its fundamentalist worldview with the academic reputation it wants to promote such as embracing young-earth creationism and rejection of evolution while maintaining accredited biology and geology programs.

  • 15. Randolph_Finder  |  August 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I'll look more closely at the article. Oddly enough BYU accepts evolution for *everything* except people. So yes, Crocodiles and Alligators evolved from a common ancestor as did the Gorilla and the Orangutan, but people didn't evolve from that ancestor… Not quite sure where they are on young-earth, but the place where BYU is really out of sync is Central American History which they are still trying to make work with their beliefs on the Book of Mormon.

  • 16. Lynn_E  |  August 11, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    My undergraduate work (Weber State University, Utah) included a course in Utah history. The professor was a graduate of BYU (and local leader of his church), and we used a course book printed by BYU. The course book included accepted dates for the Native American cultures that pre-dated the European involvement in this part of the West. Interestingly, the professor's lectures were word-for-word recitations of the text of the book, but with revised dates to fit the LDS view of the world's history (apparently the world began in 4004 B.C.). The tests for the course were based on his dates given in the lectures. Needless to say, I withdrew from the course and took it from a more secular professor the next semester.

  • 17. davepCA  |  August 11, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    That kind of stuff is just insane. I mean, if you want to have a religious belief about when & how the world began, even if that view contradicts established evidence, great. Knock yourself out. It's a free country. And if you want to teach that religious belief in a class in which the subject is THAT RELIGIOUS BELIEF, that's also just peachy. But just blatantly changing facts and telling lies in a class that is NOT about that religious belief, like a class about science or natural history or early civilizations, well that's just completely messed up. What on earth do they think they are accomplishing with those ridiculous shenanigans? It completely undermines their validity as a legitimate University.

  • 18. Randolph_Finder  |  August 12, 2016 at 7:06 am

    The odd thing is that the Gospel Doctrine teachers in my wife's ward *actively* avoid any use of 4004 BC or any other young earth chronology in teaching Gospel Doctrine *in* the Church.

    And BYU has a Geology department whose teachings on both Petroleum Geology *and* Lake Bonneville (the Ice age large Lake of which the Great Salt Lake is the remnant of) that isn't significantly different than what UNevada-Reno is teaching.

  • 19. Lynn_E  |  August 14, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I would have approached the dean with this, except this professor was the dean. The course book was very scholarly, published by BYU's press, and one of the best for Utah history. It shocked me because this was taking place at an otherwise secular University (well, in Utah the lines do somewhat blur). I took the required course from another professor, got a good grade, and honestly haven't thought about the course material since. It must be said that this was in the 1980's (ironically part of Utah History now).

  • 20. Fortguy  |  August 12, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Apparently, BYU's bid to join the Big 12 is in greater jeopardy than I thought.

    Chuck Carlton, The Dallas Morning News: Even if Big 12 were to expand to 14 teams, BYU's LGBT views could keep them out; Source: 'It is a serious issue'

    Forget TV network preferences, or markets or academics or alumni bases or athletic programs or anything else that might be on the table when Big 12 presidents finally get around to a decision. The current front-burner issue involves BYU's honor code and the LGBT community.

    As it applies to BYU's hopes of joining the Big 12, it's now a significant factor, multiple industry and Big 12 school sources confirmed Tuesday. Suddenly, BYU's strong football tradition, national following and 63,000-capacity stadium may not be enough to secure Big 12 membership.

    "It is a serious issue," said an industry source familiar with the Big 12 discussions. "Whether it keeps them out or not, it is a serious issue."

    The top three Big 12 expansion candidates have been viewed as Cincinnati, Houston and BYU, sources said. If the Big 12 only expands by two to 12, BYU could be out.

    "Three schools for two possible spots," said the source. "This doesn't help."

    If the league goes to 14 — right now about a 51-49 proposition according to one source — BYU still might not be guaranteed a spot with schools like Memphis, Central Florida, UConn and Colorado State among those in contention.

    Beyond the thorny debate about personal freedom vs. religious liberty, the political implications are impossible ignore. As a recent reminder, there's the NBA's decision to move the NBA All-Star game from Charlotte because of anti-discrimination concerns involving a state bill on bathroom access. And the NCAA announced it is surveying potential future site hosts on discrimination issues.


    While same-sex attraction is not a violation of BYU's Honor Code, but any physical contact is — a difference from the code regarding heterosexual contact.

    News accounts have put faces with the concern. Fox Sports, which broke the story Monday evening, quoted openly gay former Oklahoma pole vaulter Tanner Williams as saying he wouldn't travel to compete at BYU. USA Today cited former another gay athletic, former TCU football player Vince Pryor, expressing the same sentiment.

    Any decision on expansion will have to be made by the 10 Big 12 presidents and — as several sources noted — LGBT concerns are among hot-button campus issues.

    BYU has other issues that might give the Big 12 pause. The school announced this week it is being investigated by the Department of Education for its handling of sexual assault reports.

    After the very public issues at Baylor, Big 12 presidents may be unlikely to embrace another private school with strong church ties and potential Title IX issues.

    BYU has also drawn scrutiny with allegations its Honor Code discourages students from reporting sexual assaults. Similar suggestions have been made about the situation at Baylor, according to an Associated Press report.

    Any Big 12 expansion candidate needs eight votes to be added. Sources indicated that the Big 12 will probably seriously talk with six to eight candidates before decision on whether to add two or four members. Discussions with TV partners ESPN and Fox — which are believed to have favored the addition of BYU — are part of the equation, as well.

  • 21. allan120102  |  August 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Good news coming from Russia. Yeah Russia believe it.
    A women had won compensation after a bigot comapny didnt want to hire her because she was a lesbian. This news coming from Russia are a surprise but a good one nonetheless. Hope this can set a precedent in other parts of the country.

  • 22. allan120102  |  August 10, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Ughhh not so good news coming from Texas though.Looks like Texas AG escape ethics complaints after he encourage county clerks to not follow the law.

  • 23. scream4ever  |  August 11, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Some good news from Australia:

    -Tasmanian and Capitol Territory governments pass resolutions in support of same-sex marriage bill:

    -Influential union group ends opposition to SSM:

    It's believed it was their opposition which kept former PM Julia Guillard from supporting SSM when her party was in control.

  • 24. guitaristbl  |  August 11, 2016 at 5:21 am

    Georgian president blocks referendum on constitutional marriage ban :

  • 25. allan120102  |  August 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Deputy Sandra Diaz in Sinaloa laments that the president of congress of the state didnt include the propose to legalize ssm for this session. She feels sorry for the homophobic behavior of other deputies. Although she would have prefer that marriage equality would have been pass by legislature action she clarifies that the supreme court is now looking at the 5th and final amparo need to declare the ban on Sinaloa unconstitutional. ( Although she made it sound like it will be invalidate like Jalisco´s ban was ). With the court to issue its ruling invalidating the bans in Chiapas and Puebla before November this will give us three more states before the year is done.

  • 26. allan120102  |  August 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Culiacan Sinaloa. The lgbt leader have confirmed the words of the deputy saying that the supreme court will soon invalidate the ban of Sinaloa if they do not act soon. Sinaloa joins Puebla and Chiapas to soon have their ban invalidate like Jalisco if they do not act soon.

  • 27. 1grod  |  August 11, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Alabama developments:
    Complaint against SPLC's president
    and this past June complaint against AL Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker brings counter action by the judge. The Judicial Inquiry Commission is investigating the judge.

  • 28. VIRick  |  August 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker Under Investigation for Judicial Misconduct

    This an undated article. Can we be certain that it is current/recent? The only dates are within the text of the article itself, and range between 2004-2006:

    For the second time in three years, an Alabama Supreme Court justice is under investigation for violating judicial rules. A Tuscaloosa lawyer filed a complaint against Tom Parker. Interestingly, the dispute sounds very similar to the controversy surrounding Parker's mentor, Roy Moore.

    Lawyer Joel Sogel says Parker could have used judicial language in a dissent asking the US Supreme Court to reconsider (a decision banning the death penalty for youth under eighteen). Instead, he says Parker crossed the line when he said Alabama should defy the order completely, and especially when he did so in a Birmingham newspaper editorial.

    The Judicial Inquiry Commission will investigate the claim. If it appears Parker violated the rules, the Commission will send the case to the Court of Judicial Appeals.

  • 29. VIRick  |  August 11, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    OK, here's the current investigation:

    Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker Files Lawsuit to Block Potential Suspension

    On 15 June 2016, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker filed a federal lawsuit against the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission, which has been investigating complaints that he violated judicial canons of ethics for statements he made about same-sex marriage.

    In October 2015, the SPLC filed a judicial ethics complaint against Parker, claiming he inappropriately commented on pending same-sex marriage cases and voiced his personal opinions about the issue. The SPLC cited Parker's appearance on a conservative radio talk show.

    Parker states in his lawsuit that the JIC informed him on 5 November 2015 that it had decided to investigate the SPLC complaint charging that in his radio interview on 6 October 2015 Parker violated Canon 3A(6) by publicly commenting on a petition regarding same-sex marriage that was still pending before the Alabama Supreme Court.

    Also, in that same interview he is alleged to have violated Canons 1 and 2A by making comments "that undermine the integrity of and public confidence in the integrity of the federal judiciary and the United States Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution in Obergefell v. Hodge (U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision) … suggesting that the Alabama Supreme Court should defy and refuse to give effect to the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell."

  • 30. allan120102  |  August 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Campeche conservative groups still fighting the marriage law. Jeez they should just surrender. THE LAW ITS NOT GOING TO CHANGE. Jesus, they are trying to overturn the law but the judicial system will not let them. The supreme court have already issue jurisprudence they should just abide by it.

  • 31. allan120102  |  August 11, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Queretaro to approve, modify or throw out the propose of marriage for ssc in this legislature. This will be big because this legislature ends in December so Queretaro might approve ssm before the year ends.

  • 32. allan120102  |  August 12, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Even members or PRI will vote against the president initiative of marriage equality. They are not even to discuss the proposals the president sent on May to congress. This means that marriage in Mexico for now will not come from the federal level.

  • 33. guitaristbl  |  August 12, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    5th circuit DENIES the request for stay of the decision of the district court pending appeal in the Mississipi "religious freedom" law case :

    They also denied the motion to expedite the appeal and granted the motion to consolidate it with the other case.

    (Panel Dennis, Haynes, Graves – Heynes did not dissent)

  • 34. allan120102  |  August 12, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    She is more of a moderate republican so not that surprise. She also vote to overturn the draconian Texas law of ID. I am pretty sure Scotus will not stay the ruling so for now the law of Mississippi is invalid.

  • 35. guitaristbl  |  August 12, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Hopefully the same panel will listen the case. Although tbh the law is pretty indefensible..I would love to see how even a very bigoted judge who would disregard the equal protection arguments, would be able to get around the establishment clause with this one and the 3 categories of beliefs it protects.

  • 36. VIRick  |  August 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    5th Circuit Court Denies Request To Allow Mississippi To Enforce Anti-LGBT Law During Appeal

    Gov. Phil Bryant had asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce HB 1523, passed earlier this year, while appealing the trial court ruling against the law. Today, 12 August 2016, in "Barber/CSE v. Bryant," the federal appeals court denied Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s request that the state be allowed to enforce a recently-passed anti-LGBT religious exemption law while the state appeals the trial court’s order halting enforcement of that law. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, in denying the request for a stay pending appeal, also denied the governor’s request to expedite the appeal, and consolidated the two appeals.

    Bryant signed the bill, HB 1523, into law on 5 April 2016. The bill provided protections for individuals, religious organizations, and certain businesses who take actions due to their “sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions” regarding same-sex marriage, or any sex outside of hetero marriage. It also provided similar protections for those who object to transgender people.

    The trial court judge who halted enforcement of the law on the night before it was due to go into effect, US District Court Judge Carlton Reeves, denied the request for a stay pending appeal on 1 August 2016. Today’s order came from a three-judge panel of the appeals court: Judges James Dennis, Catharina Haynes, and James Graves. Dennis was nominated to the bench by President Clinton, Haynes by President George W. Bush, and Graves by President Obama.

    Bryant now could seek a stay from the US Supreme Court or proceed with the state’s appeal without being able to enforce the law in the meantime.

    Per Equality Case Files, see Order here:

  • 37. VIRick  |  August 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Tonga: Gay Olympic Swimmer Tears into Journalist who "Outed" Athletes on Grindr

    A gay Olympic swimmer from Tonga has literally flashed his (gorgeous) rear end at a journalist who trawled Grindr in the Olympic village. Quite foolishly, "The Daily Beast" had posted a worthlessly unnecessary piece, originally titled "I got three Grindr dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village" by straight, married journalist, Nico Hines. Hines reflected on reports of hook-ups and sex parties during the Olympics, and took to Grindr in Rio himself in a bid to find athletes who were up for sex. But he came under fire for potentially exposing closeted athletes.

    The article recounted the country and sport of many of those looking for sex on Grindr. In one case, Hines even gave the height, weight, nationality, and language of a competitor who came from a country where widespread discrimination against LGBT people is common.

    Tongan Olympian Amini Fonua, who is openly gay, tore into the story. He tweeted: “As an out gay athlete from a country that is still very homophobic, 'The Daily Beast' ought to be ashamed. Imagine the one space you can feel safe, the one space you’re able to be yourself, ruined by a straight person who thinks it’s all a joke? No straight person will ever know the pain of revealing your truth, to take that away is just… I can’t. It literally brings me to tears. It is still illegal to be gay in Tonga, and while I’m strong enough to be me in front of the world, not everybody else is. Respect that.”

    He then posted an eyeful of a picture of his bare rear end on Instagram (included in quoted Pink News article), adding: “Yo @nicohines & @thedailybeast – if what you were looking for on Grindr was hot ass (and I don’t see any other reason why you’d be on there), here, you have mine in all its proud glory. Now, kiss it and f**k off.”

    One can view said (gorgeous) hot ass here:

    Homosexuality is still technically illegal in Tonga under a Colonial-era penal code, with a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

    Note: Amini Fonua is a different hottie from Tonga than the one who stole the show while carrying Tonga's national flag at the opening night ceremonies.

  • 38. davepCA  |  August 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    The Daily Beast has removed the article and has now apologized rather thoroughly, although only time will tell how much damage was done by this. What the hell were they thinking???

  • 39. JayJonson  |  August 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    If you ever had any doubt about the cruelty and ugliness of the supporters of Alabama Chief Justice Moore, this article will remove it. Note as well that the man mocked is Dr. Paul Hard, whose case we have discussed here. (His evil mother-in-law is represented by Moore's wife's Christian legal foundation (i.e. scam.)

  • 40. VIRick  |  August 12, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Feds: Texas Can't Sue Over Unenforced Trans Student Guidelines

    Texas and 11 other states jumped the gun when they sued the federal government over trans-inclusive guidelines for public schools, the Obama administration argued in court today, 12 August 2016. The Obama administration asked a federal judge in "Texas v. United States" to reject a request from 12 states seeking to ignore the federal government’s guidance on equal access for transgender students.

    The guidance, issued by the federal Departments of Education and Justice in May 2016, is not legally binding, and so the states challenging the policy haven’t actually been forced to comply, attorneys for the administration said today, according to tweets from Lambda Legal. Lambda staff attorney Paul D. Castillo was at the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth today, sitting in Judge Reed O’Connor’s courtroom as the Obama administration and attorneys representing 12 states, led by Texas, made their opening arguments in the case known as "Texas v. United States."

    The lawsuit is one of two (the other, "Nebraska v. United States," was filed on 8 July 2016) in which a combined two dozen Republican-led states have challenged the administration’s interpretation of existing law to mean that public schools should allow transgender students access to restrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams that correspond with their gender identity. Prior to today’s hearing, Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton claimed that the administration’s guidance, which follows a long-standing legal trend toward trans-inclusive interpretations of Title IX’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination in schools, somehow allows students to flip-flop between genders.

    Today’s hearing was on the states’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which, if granted, would block the trans-inclusive guidelines issued by the federal government. Attorneys for both sides were given uninterrupted time to make their opening statements, and the first questions from the judge were procedural, according to Lambda. Judge O’Connor did not issue a ruling today, though he did ask about the start date for school districts included in the lawsuit, which Lambda interpreted to mean that a decision may come down “soon.”

    At the opening of today’s hearing, Judge O’Connor acknowledged that the case could easily be confused with the numerous similarly-titled cases in which Texas has been challenging policies implemented by the administration. Laughter could be heard in the courtroom, Lambda notes, serving as an acknowledgement that Texas Attorney-General Paxton (and his predecessor, now-Gov. Greg Abbott) have filed an unprecedented number of lawsuits on behalf of the state against the current US government.

  • 41. allan120102  |  August 12, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    Wyoming supreme court to hear the case about a judge not marrying ss couples.

  • 42. VIRick  |  August 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Wyoming: State Supreme Court Hearing on Judge's Ouster

    Cheyenne WY – On Wednesday, 17 August 2016, the Wyoming Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether a Pinedale WY judge who has said she wouldn't perform same-sex marriages because of her religious beliefs should be removed from office. In April 2016, Ruth Neely, who is not a lawyer and who is represented by the anti-LGBT organization, ADF, filed a petition asking the court to reject a recommendation from the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics that she lose her posts as a municipal judge and circuit court magistrate.

    Casper lawyers Patrick Dixon and Britney F. Turner represent the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics. "The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics has no interest in interfering with Judge Neely's or anyone else's free exercise of religion," Dixon and Turner wrote in a brief to the Wyoming Supreme Court, which is set to hear arguments Wednesday in Cheyenne. "Neither is it concerned with suppressing her First Amendment right to permissible speech. However, it is tasked with enforcing the Code of Judicial Conduct. What Judge Neely did and said is a violation of that Code. Given her unwillingness to even acknowledge the ethical implications, she cannot remain in office."

    The Wyoming Supreme Court has denied requests from a number of religious organizations and current and former state lawmakers to file legal briefs in support of Neely's position. The court is only allowing a joint brief from the town of Pinedale and the Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based conservative public policy organization.

  • 43. Sagesse  |  August 13, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Who would have seen this coming :)?

    Anti-Gay Marriage Group Calls Fundraising Results 'Pathetic' [On Top Magazine]

    "Right Wing Watch points out: “Regardless of what kind of response NOM’s shaming email brings in, Brown will have plenty of anti-equality work to keep him busy, as he recently became president of the World Congress of Families, a network of organizations dedicated to resisting LGBT equality and preserving anti-gay discrimination around the world.”

  • 44. VIRick  |  August 14, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Belize Supreme Court Judgment Declaring Sodomy Law Unconstitutional

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Here is the written Judgment (which was not immediately available when the judgment was declared) to Claim No. 668 of 2010, "Caleb Orozco v. Attorney-General, et al.," the constitutional challenge to Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code:

  • 45. JayJonson  |  August 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Will the NCAA live up to its policy of inclusiveness, or will it admit Brigham Young University to the Big 12 Conference?

  • 46. Fortguy  |  August 14, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Technically, this is not up to the NCAA but merely eight of the ten presidents of the Big 12 either at their next scheduled meeting in October or any meeting before then they may choose to hold. Yes, the college conferences are not named by math majors. The Big 12 Conference has ten members while the Big Ten Conference has 14.

    The idea of whether schools such as BYU, Baylor, Notre Dame, BC, or Liberty and Anal Roberts in lower divisions, should abide by non-discrimination guidelines that protect LGBT athletes and staff is another issue that I wish the NCAA would address, as well as certifying bowl games in LGBT-hostile cities and states.

  • 47. VIRick  |  August 15, 2016 at 8:11 am

    " …. or Liberty and Anal Roberts …."

    Not to be too discriminating here, but I've always been particularly fond of, and quite thoroughly enjoy, Anal Roberts!

  • 48. VIRick  |  August 14, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Texas Court Says Transgender Man Has No Right to Change Gender on ID

    Sometime between 8-12 August 2016, a Texas state appeals court ruled that a transgender man is not entitled to change the gender marker on his driver’s license, upholding a lower court’s refusal to issue a gender change order. Judge Martha Hill Jamison wrote that while Texas law “appears to contemplate the possibility of orders relating to gender designation,” it does not provide authorization or detail procedures for such orders to be issued.

    She went on to say that even if the law provided for gender change orders, the petitioner “did not present any evidence in the trial supporting the proposition that [his] current gender designation is inaccurate.” Apparently, being a post-operative transgender person who is consistently seen as a man is not enough evidence to suggest an “F” on his ID would be confusing and inappropriate.

    “I’ve paid like $2,000 to still have a big fat ‘F’ on my driver’s license, despite being seen completely as a man as well as being post-operative,” said the petitioner, who asked the "Texas Observer" to withhold his name. “It’s honestly jarring and heartbreaking.”

    And while the appeals court noted a lack of clear law around the issuance of gender change orders, some Texas judges do issue them. And the DMV lists gender change orders as a requirement for changing the gender on one’s driver’s license.

    “I don’t see anything in it that I think is going to change the status quo, because the status quo in 95 percent of the state is that they don’t do it anyway,” Katie Sprinkle, a Dallas attorney who handles identification and gender marker cases, told the "Observer." “Worst-case scenario, the case goes up to the Texas Supreme Court, and the court rules negatively. There are at least several hundred thousand Texans that that could seriously adversely affect.”

    The petitioner has said he does not plan to take his case to the state’s Supreme Court, but may instead simply try filing for the order in a different Texas county.

  • 49. Fortguy  |  August 14, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    LGBTQ Nation seems to be posting an abridged version of this original report:

    John Wright, Texas Observer: Texas Court Says Trans Man Can’t Be Listed as Male on His Driver’s License

    In his article, Wright reports the following:

    Katie Sprinkle, a Dallas attorney who handles identification and gender marker cases, said some Democratic judges in Bexar, Dallas and Travis counties allow trans people to correct gender markers on their driver’s licenses and birth certificates if they provide proper documentation, including letters from doctors and therapists. Sprinkle also said the 14th Court of Appeals’ decision may be “persuasive,” but is not “binding,” on other jurisdictions.

    I'm curious exactly in which counties judges are allowing DL gender marker changes. El Paso? Tarrant? Nueces? Some of the other large-city or big suburban counties? Wright closes with this gem:

    The issue could become even more critical, Sprinkle said, if Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and other GOP lawmakers make good on threats to pass a law requiring trans people to use restrooms based on the sex assigned on their birth certificates.

    “If you can get the bathroom bills, then the IDs come next because, ‘Oh, these people have fraudulently changed their IDs,’” she said. “That’s why fighting these bathroom bills is so important. It’s not just about this step; it’s about what comes next.”

  • 50. TheVirginian722  |  August 14, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Hawaii Primary Voters Oust Anti-Marriage LGBT State Representative

    In Saturday's Hawaii primary election, State Representative Jo Jordan was defeated for renomination by Democratic voters in the 44th District. Jordan gained notoriety in 2013 when she became the first LGBT state legislator to vote against marriage equality. Her lame attempts to explain her vote at the time included her feeling that "religious exemptions" in the bill were not strong enough — even though the legislation imposed no obligations whatsoever on any church or member of the clergy.

    Jordan was defeated by 23-year-old student Cedric Gates by a vote of 1,219 to 979. Gates, who had run against Jordan in 2014 as a Green Party candidate, will face Republican Marc Pa'aluhi on November 8.

  • 51. VIRick  |  August 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Minnesota: $3.5 Million Settlement Award in Gay Job Firing/Discrimination Case

    When Stephen Habberstad, 61, came out in his late 50s, his family did not take the news well. The Minnesota banking executive not only landed in divorce court, and on the outs with his relatives, but he got fired as well. That’s because he worked for the family business, Country Bankers, Inc., and despite claims from the family that they terminated him for legitimate business reasons, a judge ruled in late July 2016 that the only reason Habberstad was fired, is because he is gay.

    That ruling by Steele County District Judge Joseph Bueltel is worth $3.5 million to Habberstad: $798,733 in back pay, $25,000 for emotional distress, and at least $100,000 a year for life, given an estimated life expectancy of 21 years. The judge chose to award cash, and not stocks, to prevent him from “making mischief” or possibly retaliating against the family.

    The award of $3.5 million is believed to be the largest payout in Minnesota history to one person for sexual orientation discrimination.

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