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Supreme Court is asked to hear challenge to anti-transgender Gloucester County School Board ordinance

Transgender Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
The Gloucester County School Board in Virginia has filed a petition for review in the Supreme Court of an appeals court decision barring its enforcement of an anti-transgender bathroom policy in its public schools.

The case was originally filed by GG, a teenager who is transgender and wants to use the bathroom that matches his gender identity. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor, holding that the Obama administration’s guidance on the issue should be given controlling weight, so that discrimination based on gender identity is discrimination based on sex under the Education Amendments.

The new petition asks three questions: first, whether the Supreme Court’s doctrine of Auer deference, which led to the appeals court deferring to the administration’s interpretation of its guidelines, should remain good law. Over the years, a few of the more conservative Justices (including the late Justice Scalia, who wrote the decision in Auer v. Robbins) have criticized the doctrine and called for it to be overturned. A decision overturning the doctrine would mean that the Fourth Circuit would have to reevaluate its decision without deferring to the guidelines.

The second question essentially asks: if the Auer doctrine is still good law, should it be relied on in this context, where the guidelines were laid out in an unpublished agency letter that doesn’t have the force of law? A decision that it is still law but can’t be relied on in this situation would have the same effect as in the first question.

The third question the school board asks the Court to review is essentially: regardless of the Court’s view of Auer deference, should the administration’s interpretation that sex includes gender identity apply? This is the main question being asked in challenges to different schools’ bathroom policies across the country, as well as in cases related to North Carolina’s HB2.

A brief by the student’s lawyers opposing review will be due in 30 days, then, two weeks later the Court will distribute the case for conference based on its distribution list. That should make the petition ready for consideration by the November 4 conference.

The conference is private, and details aren’t shared. It takes the votes of four Justices to hear a case. Since there are currently still only eight Justices, it’s hard to say whether there will be four who want to hear the case. The petition seems to acknowledge that there’s no direct “circuit split” – appeals court disagreement – on the main issue, but it notes that a federal judge in Texas recently blocked the same guidance from remaining in effect.

Buzzfeed has a bit more information on the case.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  August 30, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Chicago to Issue 10,000th Marriage License to Same-Sex Couple

    Chicago — Cook County officials say they expect to issue the 10,000th marriage license to a same-sex couple this week. Cook County Clerk David Orr held a news conference Monday morning, 29 August 2016, along with state lawmakers and civil right groups, to mark the milestone. He said that, as of that moment, the clerk’s office had issued 9,990 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    The Illinois Legislature approved a marriage equality law in late 2013, making Illinois the 16th state to allow same-sex marriages. The law took effect in June 2014. State Rep. Greg Harris and state Sen. Heather Steans, who sponsored the Illinois legislation, were at Monday’s event in Chicago.

  • 2. VIRick  |  August 30, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Australia: Opposition to Put Forward Equal Marriage Bill as Public Vote Plan Implodes

    As of 30 August 2016, Australia’s opposition Labor Party is submitting its own equal marriage bill to rival the government, after having objected to a planned public vote on the issue. The country’s right-wing Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has avoided a free Parliamentary vote on equal marriage, instead making plans to take the issue to the public in a non-binding plebiscite to avoid a rift with his own conservative anti-LGBT MPs.

    But the proposal is being blocked by opposition parties, who support equal marriage, but who see a plebiscite as a costly measure inviting homophobic debate. The opposition Labor Party, which holds a decisive sway on the issue due to the government’s wafer-thin majority, has today confirmed that it would not be supporting the government’s plan, and would instead put forward its own legislation.

    Under the Labor plan, equal marriage would go straight to a free vote in Parliament, paving the ways for marriages to begin much sooner without requiring a plebiscite. Labor leader Bill Shorten said: “[Deputy] Tanya Plibersek and I have given notice to the Parliament that we intend to introduce a private member’s bill to make marriage equality a reality, without an expensive and divisive plebiscite.”

    The bill could come to the floor within the next few days, depending on Labor’s strategy on the issue.

  • 3. davepCA  |  August 30, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    This could finally be the beginning of marriage equality for Australia…. Here's hoping….

  • 4. VIRick  |  August 30, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    New York's Highest Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Partner

    Per Equality Case Files:

    "Today, 30 August 2016, in 'In Re Booke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C.,' the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that non-biological, non-married, non-adoptive parents can seek custody and visitation of children who were born into their relationships with the consent of the child’s biological parent.

    "The decision comes in a case Lambda Legal co-counseled with Blank Rome LLP and The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York on behalf of Brooke B., a non-biological lesbian mother who is seeking shared parenting time and financial responsibility for a child she and her former same-sex partner planned for and raised together. The couple were engaged to marry but separated before New York’s marriage equality law passed in 2011."

    Lambda Legal has the decision available here:

  • 5. VIRick  |  August 31, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Texas Attorney-General Jumps into Lawsuits over North Carolina’s Anti-Transgender Law

    Today, 31 August 2016, Texas and 12 other states injected themselves into the ongoing legal battles over North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, by asking a federal judge to put those lawsuits on hold for now. The law, HB 2, was passed earlier this year, and one of the provisions, the subject of several lawsuits, limits public restroom usage to people’s biological sex. Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton, joined by 10 other state attorneys-general and two governors, specifically asked District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder to put the Justice Department’s pending challenge to that law on hold while other cases proceed.

    The Obama administration has asked Schroeder to halt enforcement of the anti-transgender provision, and he heard arguments over that request on 1 August.

    Putting the cases on hold, as Paxton and the other states’ officials asked in the unusual filing today (or denying the Obama administration’s request, a move the brief also supports), would mean that the anti-transgender law would remain in effect for the time being. Paxton and the state officials cite an injunction issued in the case that Texas and several other states brought against the Obama administration’s pro-transgender policies as a key reason for the judge in North Carolina to issue a stay in that case, despite the fact that the injunction issued in the Texas case specifically exempted previously-initiated litigation from that order.

  • 6. FredDorner  |  September 1, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Given that the 4th Circuit CoA has already ruled on the issue it seems very unlikely that the district court will agree with Paxton's request.

  • 7. VIRick  |  September 1, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Texas: DOJ Seeks Clarification on Order Against Trans Student Guidance

    In "Texas v. United States," following a court order blocking the Obama administration’s recent guidance warning schools not to discriminate against transgender students, including bathroom use, the Justice Department is seeking clarification on the breadth of the order. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who issued the order last week in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton on behalf of 12 states, ordered additional briefings from both the federal government and states involved in the case.

    The request from the Justice Department comes amid questions about whether the Obama administration will continue to enforce federal civil rights law to prohibit anti-trans discrimination in the aftermath of the sweeping order, which enjoined the federal government from interpreting the prohibition of gender discrimination under current civil rights law to apply to transgender people. In a seven-page filing on Tuesday, 30 August 2016, signed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney-General for the Civil Division Benjamin Mizer, who’s gay, and other US attorneys, the Justice Department seeks clarification on whether the administration can continue to participate in ongoing litigation alleging anti-trans discrimination.

    “Defendants understand that in such cases they are permitted to comply with all deadlines and court orders, file appeals as necessary, and continue to participate as an amicus or interested party,” the filing says. The filing broadly describes all cases in which the Justice Department is involved, but draws attention to one in particular: The lawsuit the Justice Department filed in March 2015 against the Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which alleged the school violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against and terminating the employment of transgender English professor Rachel Tudor based on her gender identity.

    “There is a pressing need to proceed in the case against Southeastern Oklahoma State University so that pre-trial deadlines and the scheduled trial are not unduly delayed,” the filing says. “Although defendants do not believe that the case is intended to be covered by this court’s preliminary injunction, the Department of Justice has halted its discovery out of an abundance of caution.” The filing says the Justice Department will seek a stay in that case “pending confirmation that proceedings in that case are not enjoined by this court’s order,” but without immediate confirmation “there will likely be substantial disruption” in the schedule for the litigation.

    In response to the order, O’Connor scheduled additional briefings in the case, setting a deadline of 9 September for the Texas attorney-general and a deadline of 14 September for the Obama administration to file a response.

    As Buzzfeed reported, although the states sought an order barring the federal government from enforcing both Title IX and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect transgender people, the court only issued an injunction on the former. That would suggest the Obama administration can continue to enforce the law with respect to transgender workers, but not transgender students.

  • 8. VIRick  |  September 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    An Icy, Curt Response Message from Mexico's President to Donald J. Trump:

    Per Rex Wockner:

    At 3:31 AM, this morning, 1 September 2016, after having just flown to Mexico City for a meeting with Mexico's President, Enrique Peña Nieto, the day prior, Donald J. Trump tweeted:

    "Mexico will pay for the wall!"

    Enrique Peña Nieto Retweeted to Donald J. Trump, 5 hours ago (about 2:00 PM on 1 September):

    "Repito lo que le dije personalmente, Sr. Trump: México jamás pagaría por un muro."

    "I repeat what I said to you personally, Mr Trump: Mexico would never pay for a wall."

    And as a bonus, I just learned a new word in "proper" Spanglish: Tuitéenle. That's what happens after someone is instructed to pass on a tweeted message: Tuitéenle (tweet it on). So, I just did.

    Also see:

  • 9. allan120102  |  September 1, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    I hope someone challenge soon the ban on Antigua and Barbuda as the government has said that the law will probably fall like the one in Belize. Its like they are inviting someone to mount the challenge but without saying it so to not caused commotion in the couple. I hope someone brave do it and soon Like Orozco did in Belize.

  • 10. DevilWearsZrada  |  September 2, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    By the way Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican activist, wrote in an article for that site that "most of the other [Caribbean Anglophone] states unique constitutional arrangements appear to save the [sodomy] law from any judicial review" (
    Can someone explain what he meant by that?

  • 11. VIRick  |  September 2, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Antigua: Anti-Gay Law Ripe for Reversal

    If LGBTI rights activists in the Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuda mount a legal challenge, the courts there would likely nullify that nation’s ban on sexual relations between men, according to Antigua’s cabinet. But the Antigua government itself won’t take such action on its own.

    As Antigua’s "Daily Observer" reported:

    "The government has said an outright 'No' to repealing the laws criminalizing buggery, a decision which has disappointed the LBGT community. On 24 August 2016, the Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda agreed that 'the buggery law will remain unchanged.' However, in the same breath, government acknowledged that the results which were obtained in the recent historic Belize court case are likely to follow, should an interest group pursue this matter in the Antigua courts, since 'our jurisprudence is similar.'"

    The Supreme Court in Belize ruled a few weeks ago that a law which criminalizes homosexuality is unconstitutional.

    Antiguan law provides for up to 15 years in prison for consensual anal intercourse, whether between men or between a man and a woman. Antigua’s Minister of Social Transformation, Samantha Marshall, says this law is antiquated and should be repealed.

    Antigua is one of several Caribbean countries where the possibility of repealing such laws is at least being discussed. In Guyana, the prime minister has talked several times about repealing such bans. In Dominica, the prime minister says they’re not enforced.

    Actually, there are 10 ex-British Caribbean countries whose anti-sodomy laws are now doomed, and need to be immediately repealed, else the courts overturn them as unconstitutional, using the Belize ruling as direct precedent. Of course, someone still needs to mount the challenge in each (since the Belize government did not appeal its ruling to the Caribbean Court of Justice) before the courts can act. As of this moment, only the anti-sodomy laws of Jamaica have a direct court challenge already filed against them.

    The Caribbean countries with sodomy bans still on the books are:

    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)

    Special note to the Antigua Cabinet regarding the comment, "Our jurisprudence is similar:" That is a politically-inspired understatement of a very high order, as it should have been correctly stated this way: "Our jurisprudence is identical."

    There is only one jurisprudence governing all of the British/ex-British Caribbean countries as a singular unit, and that jurisprudence was established and affirmed by the Belize court ruling which the Belize government subsequently declined to appeal.

  • 12. VIRick  |  September 2, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Devil, in the same article about which you asked the question (and for which I have no direct answer), please also note these comments by Maurice Tomlinson:

    "Although the (Belize) decision is not binding on the rest of the courts in the region (since it was not appealed), it will provide very persuasive precedent. Among other things, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled that the anti-sodomy law violates Caleb’s constitutional rights which are common across the Caribbean, and he also declared that majority religious views must not trump these fundamental rights. The negative health impact of this archaic law was also highlighted by the court which found that the fight against HIV is hampered when gays are criminalized.

    "Caleb and his brilliant legal team have won a victory for the entire Anglophone Caribbean and the wider Commonwealth where the vast majority of states still retain these British colonially-imposed laws. We must now leverage this jurisprudence to complete the liberation project for ALL our peoples."

    From this, I will emphasize, in particular:

    The anti-sodomy law violates constitutional rights which are common across the Caribbean, and that . . . . nothing can trump these fundamental rights.

    Also of note, re Jamaica, is this additional comment by Maurice Tomlinson:

    "Jamaica’s 2011 Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, that I will be relying on in my matter, is largely based on the Canadian Charter of Rights, and so Canadian jurisprudence will be of great relevance."

  • 13. allan120102  |  September 2, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I am betting that if the Jamaican sodomy law is struck down there will be riots and very likely they will appeal and then the Caricom may issue precedent for the remaining bans.

  • 14. VIRick  |  September 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Allan, there are always riots in Jamaica,– so, that's actually a separate issue. In fact, I stopped going to Jamaica after becoming caught up in some of their endless political riots, as it was simply no longer worth the risk.

    But yes, when the Jamaica sodomy ban is eventually overturned (using the jurisprudence already established, based on the Belize decision), but is then subsequently appealed by the Jamaica government on to the Caribbean Court of Justice, then at that stage, once a ruling is handed down upholding the overturning of Jamaica's ban, then that highest court's ruling will apply simultaneously to all 10 countries. Perhaps, too, given this likely scenario, it is fortunate that the Caribbean Court of Justice is located in Trinidad, rather than in Jamaica. That way, Trinidad (whose ban will also be ruled void at the same moment in time) can blame Jamaica, while Jamaica can blame Trinidad.

    Also, even if the Jamaica court were to uphold the ban, and Tomlinson were to then appeal, so that the Caribbean Court of Justice finally ruled in his favor based on the jurisprudence already established by the Belize decision, such a final ruling would still apply to all 10.

    So, either way, the sodomy bans are doomed.

  • 15. scream4ever  |  September 2, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    That's great to hear.

  • 16. allan120102  |  September 3, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I think though that the Caribbean court of Justice has more power than the supreme court of Belize. That is why is the highest court imo. If the Jamaican supreme court uphold the ban then the Caribbean court may uphold or overturn that ruling but they are not by any means force to take the jurisprudence from Belize, they might take it as an example but not more.

    Its like a federal appeals court decision it may be uphold or overturn by the supreme court .Other courts might find it persuasive meanwhile its appeals but the final ruling comes from the Scotus.

    Another example is the central American court of Justice.A ruling from a supreme court of the 7 members might be appeal to them but the decision its only binding if the CA supreme court upholds the ruling.

  • 17. VIRick  |  September 3, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Allan, technically, you are correct on all counts. However, there are several other factors to consider. British-based courts hold very, very tightly to precedent, more so than the US court system, and definitely more so than the many Latin American systems.

    The Belize Supreme Court decision was a clean-sweep, across-the-board ruling of unconstitutionality based on fundamental rights (and strikingly similar to the recent sweeping marriage equality decision reached in Colombia). However, such a broad ruling of unconstitutionality is almost unheard of from a British-based court. Ironically, but fortuitously, this sweeping decision was further solidified after the Belize government declined to appeal the ruling. Thus, this ruling can not be ignored, as it sets a new unchallenged and unchallengeable precedent, and looms there, like a giant "elephant in the room." In effect, it fairly well "forces" all the other British-based courts in the Caribbean to follow this now-established precedent, namely that any/all sodomy bans are unconstitutional.

    Logically, such a law can not be deemed unconstitutional in Belize for violating fundamental rights, yet still be deemed constitutional somewhere else in the British Caribbean. At the very highest level, all 18 of them share the same court (10 of which still have sodomy bans as law).

    Strategically (and this was not an accident, but rather, a co-ordinated maneuver), the Belize law needed to be struck down first, long before the Jamaica court could act, because now, the Jamaica court must rule in accordance. If the Jamaica court manages to rule differently, in spite of itself, then the Caribbean Court of Justice (based in Trinidad) will slap it down, using the established precedent from Belize (which can not be ignored), and overturn all of the bans in all 10 of the countries. And these governments already know it. Re-read that news article from Antigua for re-assurance that they, indeed, already know it.

    Also, as a continuing part of the overall strategy, we further need all of these remaining sodomy laws in the British Caribbean to either be repealed legislatively, or to be ruled unconstitutional by the courts prior to Chief Justice Kawaley of Bermuda issuing his ruling in the pending marriage equality case already filed in Bermuda, as it seems fairly likely that that ruling will prove to be favorable, creating a second wave of court rulings.

  • 18. VIRick  |  September 2, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    So-Called "Citizens Group" Drops Its Lawsuit Against North Carolina HB2

    Raleigh NC — A so-called "citizens group" has dropped its lawsuit defending a North Carolina law that limits LGBT rights and requires transgender people to use bathrooms in many public buildings matching the sex on their birth certificate. North Carolinians for Privacy filed a notice with the court on Wednesday, 31 August 2016, that it was dismissing its own case, "North Carolinians for Privacy v. DOJ," one of several pending in federal court. Lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom represented the group. The ADF said in a statement that it’s shifting to a supporting role (probably because it finally dawned upon them that they likely do not have standing to pursue the matter).

    On the other hand, the state’s Republican legislative leaders are continuing to defend the law in two other cases. In one, a trial is scheduled for 14 November (but as of today, 2 September 2016, the whole fandango has now been pushed back to May 2017). Meanwhile, Gov. McCrory, facing almost certain defeat in November's re-election bid, now claims HB2 to be "irrelevant."

  • 19. VIRick  |  September 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Hate Group Asks Virginia Supreme Court to Consider Its Suit Against School District

    On Thursday, 1 September 2016, Liberty Counsel asked the Virginia Supreme Court to consider its lawsuit against the Fairfax County School District’s nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.The anti-LGBT legal group filed the lawsuit in December 2015 on behalf of Jake Doe, a minor, his parents, and Traditional Values Coalition President, Andrea Lafferty. The lawsuit alleges that members of the Fairfax County School Board violated Virginia law when they added sexual orientation and gender identity to the district’s nondiscrimination policy in November 2014 and May 2015 respectively.

    In February 2016, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Brett Kassabian dismissed the lawsuit. The Liberty Counsel then appealed the ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court.

    Robert Rigby, Jr., president of FCPS Pride, a group that represents LGBT employees of the Fairfax County School District, pointed out to the "Washington Blade" in an email, that in March 2015 Virginia Attorney-General Mark Herring said state law allows school boards to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies. “Is Liberty Counsel going to court to preserve their clients’ right to discriminate?” asked Rigby.

    Virginia’s statewide nondiscrimination law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • 20. VIRick  |  September 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Trump, México te saluda. (Trump, Mexico salutes you)

  • 21. VIRick  |  September 5, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Long-awaited news, per KMOX St. Louis:

    Phyllis Schlafly, longtime head of and founder of the Eagle Forum, and life-long, career hater of anything/everything pertaining to LGBT and women's rights issues, has died at the age of 92.

    7:12 PM – 5 Sep 2016

    At Joe.My.God, they're suddenly singing "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead!"

    with additional comment about "Bye, Phyllisia."

  • 22. scream4ever  |  September 5, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    So I can't use the word "cunt"?

  • 23. VIRick  |  September 5, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Perhaps if you said it in Danish, "kusse," or even better, in Finnish, "kusipää." Or try French, "chatte," or my favorite, Spanish, "el coño," and then ponder why in the world that that, of all items, would be considered masculine. Still, in vulgar street French, "le con," also masculine, means the same thing.

    Or show a picture of Kim Davis standing in front of the "Carter County Jail" sign upon her release, with her arms upraised, so as to block out the second and last letters of the middle word.

  • 24. Fortguy  |  September 5, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Here is the correct link to the Joe.My.God report:

    BREAKING: Phyllis Schlafly Dies At Age 92

    My only statement is to repeat commenter MattPS's reply to the story:

    I'll stick to Bette Davis' famous quote upon hearing of Joan Crawford's demise: "You should only say good things about the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good."

  • 25. sglaser2  |  September 7, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Rachel Maddow today talked about her latest book that came out today. It endorses Trump using the same phrasing as the title of her first book "A Choice, not an Echo". That book was self published in 1964 endorsing Barry Goldwater for president.

    Goldwater lost in a landslide, 486 to 52 electoral college, winning 6 states and only 38% of the vote.

    One can only hope Ms. Schlafly is equally "accurate".

  • 26. sglaser2  |  September 7, 2016 at 12:43 am

    I helped broadcast a debate with her as one of the sides. This was around 1974 at Rice University in Houston TX. I forget the exact topic/proposition. I think it was abortion, but it could have been the ERA (or its precursor). I remember she had this huge collection of index cards and never said anything that wasn't written on one of those cards. Very scripted and uninspiring.

    Then: KTRU, 91.7 FM Stereo, 250 watts — more power than your average light bulb
    Now: and 96.1 FM

  • 27. Sagesse  |  September 6, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Think how different all our lives would be today, women and the LGBT community, if the ERA had passed.

    I will not speak ill of the dead… but I could.

  • 28. allan120102  |  September 5, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    3/4 of every Pri Senate deputies are against Peña Nieto initiative to legalize ssm. Looks like this will need to be in a state level until we have more support. At least is a start.

  • 29. JayJonson  |  September 6, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Article at New Civil Rights Movement about Washington's Initiative 1515, which was inspired by North Carolina's HB2, may be of interest to some readers here. I don't whether to believe that Chef John Howie's quick recantation of his support for the anti-transgender initiative was sincere or not, but I am glad that he did what he did.

  • 30. VIRick  |  September 6, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Arizona: The Hateful, Forcibly-Outed Gay Sheriff Running for Congress

    Openly gay Republican congressional candidate Paul Babeu has two challengers who are not in politics. Instead, the conservative politician, and current elected Sheriff of Pinal County AZ, who was totally outed in 2012 by his ex-lover, has currently been facing down two of his sisters in a war of words.

    As Sheriff, Babeu, who dropped his 2012 campaign for Arizona’s 1st District congressional seat after being outed following allegations he threatened to have his ex-boyfriend, a gorgeously cute Mexican immigrant, deported after they broke up, just won a five-way primary race last week to become the Republican party’s official candidate. A federal investigation later cleared Babeau of the 2012 charges, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed.

    “The decisions my brother Paul has made throughout his life are not the makings of someone who represents the values of our congressional district, our state, or our country,” Lucy Babeu said in a press released earlier this summer.

    Veronica Keating, another sister, joined the condemnation. “Paul thinks only of himself and his political career at the expense of others. He does not care about the people whom elected officials are called to serve. As his siblings, Lucy and I know firsthand how unfit he is to serve. The people of Arizona must know, too,” she said.

    The race is expected to be a tight one with Republicans investing heavily to try to flip the district out of Democrat control. Another openly gay man, Democrat and former state lawmaker Matt Heinz, won his primary race in Arizona’s 2nd congressional district. Kyrsten Sinema, the first bisexual member of Congress, represents the state’s 9th congressional district.

  • 31. VIRick  |  September 6, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Texas: Wedding Venue's Ad Tells Same-Sex Couples They’re Not Welcome

    Bob and Genie Flournoy of East Texas are the toast of right-wing religious zealots across America for advertising in their local Christian magazine their refusal to book weddings for same-sex or transgender couples.

    “Our Christian faith demands that we not participate in same-sex, transgender, or any other perversion of marriage,” the ad says. “If you disagree with our stance on marriage, please respect our Christian belief and have your wedding elsewhere.”

    Mr. Flournoy is the owner of Texas Forest Country Weddings, a bed and breakfast venue in Manning, Texas, that features a mansion, a lodge, acres upon acres of beautiful land, and the online equivalent of a big “You’re Not Welcome” sign to LGBTQ couples.

    "We don’t turn away gays at the property, we just don’t host same-sex marriage ceremonies,” said a spokesperson for the venue in response to questions from LGBTQ Nation. When pressed to clarify why transgender Americans who are straight and engaged to marry heterosexuals would be excluded from booking a wedding at Texas Forest, the unnamed spokesperson responded, “We book traditional heterosexual weddings. Pretty simple.”

    One presumes they're the next "christianist martyr wannabes" begging for a lawsuit.

  • 32. FredDorner  |  September 6, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Unlike the other marriage venue cases Texas has no statewide public accommodation law which would apply, so bigots are free to deny service to LGBT folks.

    All the more reason to turn Texas blue this November.

  • 33. VIRick  |  September 6, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Virginia: Prince William County Schools to Consider LGBT Non-Discrimination Policy

    On Wednesday, 7 September 2016, the Prince William County School Board will hold a public hearing on whether to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the district’s non-discrimination policy. The hearing will take place at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center in Manassas. The school board is then scheduled to vote on the proposal itself on 21 September.

    The Fairfax County School Board added sexual orientation and gender identity to their district’s nondiscrimination policy in November 2014 and May 2015 respectively.

  • 34. Fortguy  |  September 6, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Texas AG Ken Paxton and his wife fulfilled his promise to accept a dinner invitation from the family of an eight-year-old Denton County transgender boy. The dinner apparently was quite gracious.

    Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, Denton Record-Chronicle: Family invites Paxton to dinner to put a face on transgender issues

    The couple didn’t ask Paxton for anything specific in relation to the politics surrounding LGBT rights in Texas. Instead, they asked the attorney general to remember them and their son when considering future actions.

    Adam Briggle said he knows not everyone agreed with the idea of inviting Paxton to dinner. He had heard the criticism for making their private family life public and for dining with a political adversary.

    Briggle, a University of North Texas philosophy professor, called sympathy the wellspring of morality. Those human qualities must be cultivated, he said, adding that a conversation over dinner is a great way to communicate.

    Amber Briggle plans to monitor developments at the state and national level in relation to the civil rights of transgender people, including developments during the next session of the Texas Legislature.

    She expects a lot of legislation to be filed on the topic. She said advocacy is one of the most important things she can do for her son’s long-term safety and well-being.

    “I expect to testify,” Briggle said. “Not a lot of transgender families feel safe to do that.”

    Considering the multiple corruption charges Paxton is facing, I do hope Amber Briggle had the foresight to count the silver before Paxton departed.

  • 35. Fortguy  |  September 6, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Meet Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine:

    Mark Joseph Stern, Slate: Texas Supreme Court Justice: States Can Deny Same-Sex Spousal Benefits to “Encourage Procreation”

    The article concludes with this gem:

    Devine secured his spot on the Texas Supreme Court during a Tea Party wave, allegedly declaring that he could defeat incumbent David Medina because “I can beat a guy with a Mexican last name.” He is best known for refusing to remove a painting of the Ten Commandments from his courtroom as a lower court judge, illegally using his chambers for a conservative political event, and speaking at anti-abortion rallies. His dissent on Friday fits neatly into his life’s pattern of placing his personal politics before judicial principles. It is a disturbing reminder that far-right judges remain eager to chip away at Obergefell and that our next Supreme Court justice will have the power to reject this kind of sophistry—or write it into law.

    Finally, the conservatives have found a legal mind worthy of replacing Scalia. I'm surprised he isn't on Trump's short list of SC appointments.

  • 36. Fortguy  |  September 6, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    And, finally, Paxton and Lite Guv Dan Patrick get pushback from El Paso County.

    John Wright, Texas Observer: El Paso County Challenges GOP Leaders’ Anti-Trans Rhetoric

    El Paso County isn’t having any of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s potty mouth.

    County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Monday condemning rhetoric used by Patrick and other GOP state leaders in the ongoing debate over transgender restroom access, even linking their words to violence against the LGBT community.

    The nonbinding resolution states: “History has demonstrated that rhetoric and discourse that promotes fear, intolerance, and hate can manifest into the darkest and most horrific of human actions and transgressions against one another.”

    Commissioner David Stout, a Democrat who authored the resolution, told the Observer it wasn’t in response to any specific statement by Patrick or others. Instead, Stout cited lawmakers and other elected officials’ general comments and tone on social media and in news reports over the last several months. Patrick, for example, has repeatedly asserted that LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws will lead to “men in women’s bathrooms,” even though there’s no evidence to support his claim.

    “Those types of statements and that type of rhetoric, it’s ugly, and I don’t think there’s any place for that in public discourse,” Stout said. “You continue to proliferate this type of rhetoric, and you’re just opening the doors for folks to continue to commit hate crimes against these populations.”

    A spokesman for Patrick, who’s arguably been the state’s most outspoken opponent of trans rights, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Also Monday, commissioners voted unanimously to add LGBT nondiscrimination protections to El Paso County’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy. Stout said the statewide debate over trans restroom access prompted him to review the county’s policies to ensure they were fully inclusive of LGBT people.

    Stout added he plans to hand-deliver copies of the resolution to the offices of state leaders including Patrick and fellow Republicans Governor Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and House speaker Joe Straus. Paxton’s office is behind two lawsuits challenging the Obama administration’s efforts to protect trans people against discrimination.

    In addition to condemning recent anti-trans rhetoric, Stout’s resolution states that El Paso County opposes anti-LGBT legislation, including any bill that would allow private businesses to discriminate or limit access to health care, education and public facilities.

    “I definitely would urge other cities and counties to do the same so the voice becomes stronger and more impactful,” Stout said.

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