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Supreme Court pushes back briefing in transgender rights case

Transgender Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
SCOTUSBlog reports:

Today the Supreme Court announced a new briefing schedule for Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the case of a transgender student who identifies as a boy and wants to be able to use the boys’ bathroom at his Virginia high school. The revised schedule extends the time for each side to file its main merits brief by at least a month. Under the original schedule prescribed by the court’s rules, the main merits brief for the Gloucester County School Board, which has asked the justices to reverse a lower-court ruling ordering the board to allow the student to use the boys’ bathroom, would have been due on December 12, with the brief for G.G., as the student is known in the Supreme Court litigation, coming 30 days later, on January 11. But the school board’s brief will now be due on January 3, with G.G.’s brief following on February 23.

This means the case won’t be ready for argument in February, so it will have to be set for March or April. More importantly, though, SCOTUSBlog notes that the Trump administration will get to determine the position of the United States government in the case. The Obama administration has been consistently supporting these cases and they believe that “sex” under anti-discrimination law refers to gender identity. There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical that the new Republican president would share the same view.

There are still only eight Justices on the Court and it’s not clear whether a ninth could be confirmed before March or April. Even if they were, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the result in this case. After all, the new Justice would be replacing Antonin Scalia, who was unlikely to support transgender rights anyway. It’s possible that, as usual in cases related to LGBT rights, the ruling could come down to the views of Justice Anthony Kennedy.


  • 1. allan120102  |  December 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Veracruz. 2 gay couples have win an amparo against the state to get married this December. More amparos are expected to be granted next year. 7 amparos have been issue just in Veracruz municipality alone.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  December 8, 2016 at 10:01 am

    If Pryor is appointed, it's possible that he could rule in our favor, since he did rule in favor of a trans woman who was fired from the Georgia Legislature, indicating that gender identity is indeed covered under "sex" in the Civil Rights Act.

  • 3. scream4ever  |  December 8, 2016 at 11:43 am

    An excellent piece on McCory's defeat. It will certainly give pause to legislators who will try and do the same thing.

  • 4. tx64jm  |  December 8, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    "In short, many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. When I first posted about this on Facebook, I wrote that I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court. I’ll add now that I hope Verrilli enjoyed putting the fear of government into the God-fearing because it cost his party the election.

    UPDATE: As co-blogger Todd Zywicki wrote to me on Facebook, “When you find yourself in the Supreme Court adverse to the Little Sisters of the Poor you might consider whether maybe you have pushed a little too far.”

  • 5. allan120102  |  December 8, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Sad news coming from Arkansas they reverse the same sex court birth certificate ruling of judge Tim Fox.

  • 6. scream4ever  |  December 8, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Better now then before Trump's administration can reshape the SCOTUS.

  • 7. allan120102  |  December 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Trump nominee will probably be in the court by March at the latest so even if the case is appeal he would probably be in the panel. Even though I believe that Kennedy will be with us in this issue, so not scare, I just hope they just take the case if its appeal.

  • 8. scream4ever  |  December 8, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I suspect they will, since it's a no-brainer really. It's such a shame though since the Arkansas Supreme Court used to be quite progressive, at least for a Southern state.

  • 9. VIRick  |  December 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Arkansas Supreme Court Rejects Same-Sex Couples on Birth Certificates

    Today, 8 December 2016, in "Smith v. Pavan," the State's appeal of a decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court requiring both parents names' on birth certificates for children born during the couple's marriage, the Arkansas Supreme Court has reversed the lower court ruling.

    Here is the opinion of the court:

    And from the report linked below:

    Little Rock AR — In a 3-3-l ruling, Arkansas' highest court on Thursday, 8 December 2016, threw out a judge's ruling that could have allowed all married same-sex couples to get the names of both spouses on their children's birth certificates without a court order, saying it doesn't violate equal protection 'to acknowledge basic biological truths.' In the state Supreme Court's decision Thursday, the justices sided with the state attorney-general's office, saying Arkansas has a vested interest in listing biological parents on birth certificates.

    "What is before this court is a narrow issue of whether the birth-certificate statutes as written deny the appellees due process," Justice Josephine Linker Hart wrote in the court's majority opinion. "…In the situation involving the female spouse of a biological mother, the female spouse does not have the same biological nexus to the child that the biological mother or the biological father has. It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths."

    Cheryl Maples, who sued on behalf of three same-sex couples, said she hasn't decided yet whether to appeal to the US Supreme Court. The three couples who sued were allowed to amend their children's birth certificates last year under a ruling issued by Fox.

    "There's no requirement that DNA be given or that there be a biological relationship to a child to get on a birth certificate for a father, for the non-birth parent," she said. "All you have to do is legitimize the child and you're entitled, if you're heterosexual. This is wrong."

    Associate Justice Paul Danielson dissented and Justice Rhonda Wood concurred in part and dissented in part.

    "There can be no reasonable dispute that the inclusion of a parent's name on a child's birth certificate is a benefit associated with and flowing from marriage," Danielson wrote, adding that the US Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage "requires that this benefit be accorded to same-sex spouses and opposite-sex spouses with equal force."

  • 10. VIRick  |  December 8, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    "Smith v. Pavan" was an unusual, deeply split decision. Justice Josephine Linker Hart ostensibly wrote for the majority,– except there was no majority. Only two other justices agreed with her in totality, meaning that only three justices subscribe to the ruling just handed down. The Arkansas Supreme Court is a seven judge bench.

    The remaining four justices ruled as follows:

    Brill, C.J. and Wood, J. concur in part and dissent in part.

    Danielson, J. dissents.

    Howard W. Brill, Chief Justice, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

  • 11. scream4ever  |  December 8, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Ah I thought it was unanimous. That's a bit of relief I guess.

  • 12. allan120102  |  December 8, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    It was not unanimous but still looks bad the court is now more conservative than 2 years ago with most of them against ssm. I remember than in 2014 the justice supposedly voted 5-2 to overturn the ban but with the two new justice it was change to 5-2 in favor of the ban. Here is a good analysis how the court with most members now against us.

  • 13. VIRick  |  December 8, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Eh, and I've mis-understood the court's abbreviations. According to the court, "C.J." stands for "Chief Justice," and "J" stands for "Justice," and is not the initial of their first name.

    So, here's my revision:

    The Arkansas Supreme Court is a seven judge court. The ruling in "Smith v. Pavan" is actually a rather split 4-2-1 decision. Justice Josephine Linker Hart wrote for the majority. Both Rhonda Wood and Howard W. Brill (Chief Justice) concurred in part and dissented in part. Paul Danielson dissented.

    I have no idea why the Chief Justice was seemingly cited twice in the actual ruling which I had "copied-and-pasted" in a vain attempt to be accurate. Plus, quite inaccurately, he wasn't cited at all in the quoted news article.

  • 14. VIRick  |  December 8, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Actually, this ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court in "Smith v. Pavan" is a completely ignorant decision, as the names on any given birth certificate have nothing to do with biology, let alone "basic biological truths." Instead, a birth certificate is a legal document establishing legal responsibility and custody.

    Adopting parents are routinely listed on the child's birth certificate, even when neither are the biological mother nor the biological father. Furthermore, the person listed as the father is simply the legal claimant (whether claimed by the mother, or self-proclaimed), even when physical absence or physical inability preclude the possibility, and is not ever subjected to DNA testing to "prove" it.

    The lower court judge Fox, as well as Justice Danielson, both got it right.

    The Arkansas Supreme Court even quoted this section from the "Obergefell" decision regarding some of the myriad benefits of marriage, but then ignored the entire passage, including the associated "De Boer" case which was, in fact, an adoption case:

    "Indeed, while the States are in general free to vary the benefits they confer on all married couples, they have throughout our history made marriage the basis for an expanding list of governmental rights, benefits, and responsibilities. These aspects of marital status include: taxation; inheritance and property rights; rules of intestate succession; spousal privilege in the law of evidence; hospital access; medical decision making authority; adoption rights; the rights and benefits of survivors; birth and death certificates; professional ethics rules; campaign finance restrictions; workers’ compensation benefits; health insurance; and child custody, support, and visitation rules."

  • 15. VIRick  |  December 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    One of the harsher commentators at Joe.My.God, Joann Prinzivalli, had this to say:

    The Arkansas Supreme Court confuses legal status with biology.

    I think this could be a precedent for requiring ALL birth certificates to list the "actual biological parents as established by a battery of paternity tests" when a baby is born. Because of stark "biological" reasoning like this, in Arkansas one can now never again assume that the husband in a married heterosexual relationship is the biological father of any child produced by his wife.

    The actual, factual, biological father of a child ostensibly produced in a married heterosexual relationship in Arkansas is possibly more likely to be the woman's pastor, brother, cousin, or some traveling salesman, than it would be her husband. So go ahead, judges, throw out the polite fiction of assuming that a child produced while a heterosexual couple is married to each other is "fathered" by the husband.

    After all, based on their inability to reason their way out of a paper bag, the majority judges on the Arkansas State Supreme Court seem to be exhibiting the "biological truth" of the sort of feeble-mindedness long thought to be associated with generations of inbreeding, notwithstanding whatever polite fictions about paternity one might find on their birth certificates.

  • 16. bayareajohn  |  December 8, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    So very ripe for obvious discriminatory interpretation, since there have throughout history been births with dubious and even fully acknowledged biological disparity with duly executed birth certificates. By heterosexual couples. With no judicial hand-wringing about the public health record.

  • 17. Christian0811  |  December 9, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Can this be appealed to SCOTUS (for whatever good that may do at this point)?

  • 18. bythesea66  |  December 9, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Yes though they may not take it. However remember the balance of the Court won't have changed since the marriage equality ruling even if Scalia's replaced. It is hardly pointless.

  • 19. guitaristbl  |  December 9, 2016 at 8:42 am

    This is so blatantly in violation of Obergefell that I smell a summary reversal or most likely a per curiam order reversing it (with Alito, Thomas, Roberts, Trump's appointee – if they make it on time – dissenting) if it hits SCOTUS – which it should.

  • 20. allan120102  |  December 9, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Agree its such a violation like the one made by the Alabama supreme court in the adoption case,that they may reverse it without asking for briefs or anything else.

  • 21. scream4ever  |  December 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Also basically how they handled the marriage issue period!

  • 22. bayareajohn  |  December 9, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I do see potential good emerging from this, though… a separate section on birth certificates for LEGAL parents, and another for BIOLOGICAL parents if different (and known). It makes a lot of public health sense. The form can't just presume that they are different only in a SSM.

  • 23. scream4ever  |  December 9, 2016 at 10:49 am

    The fallout from McCory's defeat begins:

    I believe the Senate/House majority leader in Texas has made a similar statement as well.

  • 24. bayareajohn  |  December 9, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    AAAAAND the roaches scatter as another is stepped on…

    But there's only so many cabinet seats to migrate to.

  • 25. Fortguy  |  December 9, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    That would be House Speaker Joe Straus. He has already said that passing a bathroom bill is not among his priorities. Although the Texas Lege does have party conferences, the Lege is not traditionally organized among partisan lines but factional ones. At present, the three main legislative factions are Dems; adult GOPers who recognize they have a Constitutional duty to fund essential services like transportation, education, and criminal justice; and Tea Partiers more prone to throwing temper tantrums in the legislative aisles.

    Straus was elected as speaker the last session with 100% Dem support who in turn received some choice committee chairmanships. His only opposition was from the noisiest Tea Partiers, but still won the majority of that faction. After all, opposing the speaker is a sure way to find yourself on the House Furniture Committee and being so inconsequential that none of your colleagues approach you for legislative horse-trading.

    The Senate, however, is led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who is doubling down in his calls for bathroom bills and other culture war issues. If last session provides any guidance, Patrick can expect the Senate to approve his bigoted priorities which will then suffer a quiet death in the House. Following is a good primer on the dynamics in play within each chamber.

    Ross Ramsey, The Texas Tribune: Analysis: Pulling the Texas House, pushing the Texas Senate

  • 26. Fortguy  |  December 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Here's an update. A newly elected state senator suggests that a potty bill might focus on schools and not businesses or sporting venues. The senator may be speaking off script, however.

    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: It’s just school bathrooms Dan Patrick really cares about

    I linked to the report via Houston blogger Kuffner not only for his commentary but also because he includes and especially poignant cartoon.

  • 27. allan120102  |  December 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    The cherokee Nation to recognize same sex marriages. Excellent news coming from Oklahoma nonetheless.

  • 28. scream4ever  |  December 9, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Wonderful. They're a big tribe!

  • 29. theperchybird  |  December 9, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    The largest 🙂

  • 30. allan120102  |  December 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    The Navajo are the largest in terms of Population follow by the Cherokees. The Navajo ban same sex marriage in 2005 after overriding Joe Shirley´s veto.

  • 31. VIRick  |  December 9, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Cherokee Nation to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

    While a tribal court recently avoided ruling on the marriage issue, the Cherokee Nation will begin recognizing same-sex marriages under an opinion issued Friday, 9 December 2016, by the tribe's attorney-general, who even suggests that the Cherokees practiced something similar to gay marriage in past centuries.

    While agreeing that the tribe, as a sovereign nation itself, was not bound by the 2015 US Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, Todd Hembree echoed the Court's reasoning, deciding that the tribe's own constitution "protects the fundamental right to marry," regardless of the genders involved in the relationship. That decision appears to nullify a law the Cherokee Nation enacted in 2004 to specify that marriage had to be between a man and woman.

    That law came after two women, Dawn McKinley and Kathy Reynolds, obtained a marriage license from the tribe in early 2004. Then-Attorney General Dianne Hammons issued an opinion that the license was invalid because Cherokee law, while not specifically requiring couples to be opposite-sex, presumed the traditional definition of marriage. The Tribal Council then quickly passed a bill to make that definition explicit.

    "A lot of time has passed since then," said Chrissi Nimmo, an assistant attorney-general for the Cherokee Nation. "And a lot of social changes have happened."

    The attorney-general's opinion came as a reply to the tribe's Tax Commission director, one of several Cherokee officials who had asked for clarification on whether to recognize same-sex marriages performed under licenses issued by the state of Oklahoma. As recently as October 2016, a tribal court had the opportunity to rule on the issue in a case that was still pending over the validity of McKinley's and Reynolds' marriage license from 2004. But the tribal district court dismissed the case on a technicality without ruling on the issue itself.

    Without a clear direction from the courts, the attorney-general then needed to act on his own, Nimmo said. "It was a question that officials were going to be facing more and more often," she said, "and it had to be addressed one way or another." Cherokee officials will not be able to make conscientious objections to issuing marriage licenses nor to processing benefits, Nimmo said.

    In his opinion, signed and published Friday, 9 December 2016, Hembree explains that Cherokee beliefs about gender roles and sexuality changed after European settlers brought Christianity to the tribe. Before that, oral histories "suggest a tradition of homosexuality or alternative sexuality among a minority of Cherokees," the attorney-general wrote.

    Visiting the Cherokee Nation in the 1830s, writer John Howard Payne described a festival that, according to Hembree, "resembles that of a homosexual ceremony." But Payne, in an excerpt included in Hembree's opinion, never mentions sexuality, and describes the ceremony as "a vow of eternal brotherhood."

    Hembree also cites another early 19th century explorer, Charles Trowbridge, who observed "men who assumed the dress and performed all the duties of women" among the Cherokees.

  • 32. VIRick  |  December 9, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Costa Rica: Up-Date on Pending Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

    Activistas gais: el matrimonio homosexual es nuestro derecho

    El Frente por los Derechos Igualitarios (FDI), una organización que lucha en pro de la defensa de los gais en el país, insistirá en presionar a los diputados para que se apruebe el proyecto 19.852, el cual establece el matrimonio homosexual en el país. Esta iniciativa se presentó hace un año en la Asamblea Legislativa con el apoyo de varios diputados, pero su avance ha sido casi nulo.

    Hoy día, 9 de diciembre 2016, recibió un impulso adicional, por parte del Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), que mediante un comunicado de prensa pidió al Presidente de la República, Luis Guillermo Solís, convocar el proyecto en este periodo de sesiones extraordinarias y anunció también que este tema será fundamental en el próximo plan de gobierno de la agrupación, de cara a las elecciones del 2018.

    La diputada del PAC, Marcela Guerrero, hizo un llamado en el Plenario para que la discusión se pueda dar en el Congreso.

    Gay activists: same-sex marriage is our right

    The Front for Equal Rights (FDI), an organization that fights for the rights of LGBTs in Costa Rica, insists upon putting pressure on the legislative deputies to approve bill 19.852, which establishes same-sex marriage in the country. This initiative was presented a year ago in the Legislative Assembly with the support of several deputies, but its progress has been almost nil.

    Today, 9 December 2016, it received an additional impulse from the Citizens' Action Party (PAC), which in a press release asked the President of the Republic, Luis Guillermo Solís, to convene the project at this extraordinary session, and also announced that this issue will be fundamental to the next plan of government to the group when facing the elections of 2018.

    The PAC deputy, Marcela Guerrero, made a call in the Full Assembly in order that discussion can be given to it in the Congress.


    PAC toma la bandera electoral del matrimonio igualitario para 2018, sea quien sea el candidato presidencial. Otros fijo harán campaña contra.

    The PAC takes the electoral banner of marriage equality for 2018, for whoever is to be their presidential candidate. The others will campaign against.

  • 33. Fortguy  |  December 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Uh-oh, it looks like the Gambia might not be getting rid of their homophobic, long-time dictator so easily after all.

    Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa: The Gambia’s president has rejected the outcome of the election he conceded

  • 34. scream4ever  |  December 9, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    How is this even possible?

  • 35. Fortguy  |  December 9, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Simple. The man has run the country for 22 years with an iron fist, owns the police state, and has always ruled with impunity. Our hope is that the other countries in ECOWAS and the African Union step up and say no. Neither organization is dominated by progressive states. The only other option is that people take to the streets in such numbers to convince security forces to stand with them.

  • 36. Fortguy  |  December 10, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    If you are a city health department worker promoting HIV awareness by stringing bags of condoms and lube with safe-sex information from trees in a city park known to be a gay cruising hangout, you might want to make sure your department higher-ups and parks department officials get the memo first.

    Associated Press via Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Austin officials surprised by park condoms-in-trees campaign

  • 37. FredDorner  |  December 11, 2016 at 11:52 am

    I always wondered how condoms found their way under shrubbery. Now we know it was a gubermint conspiracy!

  • 38. SethInMaryland  |  December 10, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    250,000 people coming out to support marriage equality in Taiwan

    I never have seen anything like that even in the Europe and the West

  • 39. scream4ever  |  December 10, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    When Taiwan passes it, Australia will be the only continent in which same-sex marriage is unavailable anywhere (it's even legal in the British Territory portion of Antarctica!).

  • 40. allan120102  |  December 10, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Ehhhh you are wrong there my friend. Australia is a country,its part of the continent of Oceanica along with New Zealand which already has marriage equality and other 12 or 13 small countries like tuvalu and Vanuatu which are part of Oceanica.

  • 41. tx64jm  |  December 12, 2016 at 5:41 am

    Actually Australia is a continent. Oceania is a region.

    "Australia, sometimes known in technical contexts by the names Sahul, Australinea or Meganesia, to distinguish it from the Australian mainland, is a continent comprising mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, Seram, possibly Timor, and neighbouring islands."

    "New Zealand is not part of the continent of Australia, but of the separate, submerged continent of Zealandia. New Zealand and Australia are both part of the wider regions known as Australasia and Oceania. The term Oceania is often used to denote the region encompassing the Australian continent and various islands in the Pacific Ocean that are not included in the seven-continent model."

  • 42. VIRick  |  December 10, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Using Rex Wockner's very thorough list, the following places within Oceania already have marriage equality:

    New Zealand
    New Caledonia
    French Polynesia
    Wallis et Futuna
    Northern Marianas

    Easter Island (Chile) and the Galapagos (Ecuador) both allow same-sex civil unions.

  • 43. scream4ever  |  December 10, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    While I don't think all of those apply only to Oceania, New Zealand definitely does. I stand corrected!

  • 44. VIRick  |  December 10, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Agreed, but that's everything I could think of that lies within the Pacific Ocean, regardless of political affiliation.

    If we stick with Polynesia, within their traditional culture, they exhibit a very relaxed attitude toward sexuality,– thus, the phenomenon, for example, of the fa'afafine in areas like Samoa. Nor do Polynesians give a shit about who is living with whom, married, not married, same-sex, fa'afafine,– whatever. Who cares? Only the missionaries worry about that.

    Also, since this thread already contains some commentary regarding the traditional culture and customs of the Cherokee, if one were to use that as a typical example of practices found among many indigenous Native American groupings, it is worth noting this strange commonality with the practices of traditional Polynesians, as they happen to be almost identical, despite the geographical separation. Anthropologists have themselves a field day attempting to explain this mysterious connection, as the concepts of the fa'afafine and the "two spirit people" is very strong in both.

  • 45. allan120102  |  December 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Kyrgystan to ban same sex marriage. Will continue the trend of other ex sovietic unions to ban gay marriage. Armenia Belarus already ban same sex marriage, and supposedly soon Georgia will ban it too.

  • 46. theperchybird  |  December 11, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    It was approved by 80% of voters.

    More recent article by the same news site:

    For a second it would be a specific issue referendum, but looks like a package overhaul of the Constitution like Armenia's. Still awful though and I worry it's only a matter of time until the propaganda bill is resurrected.

  • 47. VIRick  |  December 11, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Intersex and Non-Binary Gender Recognition

    The movement toward the legal recognition of non-binary gender is gaining traction, with additional Californians filing petitions to change their legal gender to non-binary. On 2 December 2016, three members of the Intersex & Genderqueer Recognition Project (IGRP) filed their petitions with the San Francisco County clerk’s office. David Strachan, Xin Farrish, and Xin’s spouse Char Crawford will be represented by IGRP Legal Director Toby Adams at their 31 January 2017 hearing.

    “We at IGRP applaud these brave humans fighting for the right to be recognized as their authentic selves in all areas of their lives, and we applaud their families for their loving support,” Adams said in a release. Adams and IGRP advisory committee member Sara Kelly Keenan said they are working with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss non-binary identification on drivers’ licenses. While no specific timeline has been offered, Adams said the DMV “has made a commitment to move forward.”

    There appears to be national support for offering an alternative gender designation within the industry. This year the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators introduced “X” as an optional gender designation, though it is up to individual jurisdictions to decide whether to offer that option.

    Keenan became the first Californian and second person in the United States to have a non-binary gender legally-recognized by the courts. Earlier this month, Keenan was also granted an amended California birth certificate reading “intersex,” which Keenan described as “a dream come true in that it acknowledges scientific reality and says society is ready to accept that people like me exist.”

    In June 2016, Oregonian Jamie Shupe became the first person to receive a court order recognizing their gender as “non-binary.” Shupe also recently received a new birth certificate with this designation from Washington DC.

    Intersex Colorado resident Dana Zzyym is also currently petitioning to receive a US passport with a non-binary gender designation.

  • 48. VIRick  |  December 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Michigan Supreme Court Rejects Stein's Appeal to Restart Presidential Vote Recount

    The Michigan presidential vote recount was first halted on Wednesday, 7 December 2016, by federal judge Mark Goldsmith. After two days of ballot counting, conflicting court decisions, and legal wranglings between frustrated lawyers, he halted the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots cast for president in Michigan, concluding there's no real evidence of foul play and there's no valid reason to continue the recount.

    In his eight-page opinion, US District Judge Mark Goldsmith said "there is no basis" for him to ignore a state court ruling that said the recount should never have started. He was referring to the Michigan Court of Appeals 3-0 ruling, which said that Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, who requested the recount, never had a shot at winning with her fourth-place finish and 1% of the vote, and therefore was not an aggrieved candidate.

    On Friday, 9 December 2016, Green Party activists braved freezing temperatures to rally in front of the Michigan Supreme Court in support of recounting Election Day presidential ballots, on the final appeal of the original decision from the state appellate court now before the Michigan Supreme Court, but the justices in Michigan were unmoved.

    The presidential vote recount in Wisconsin continues, while the same recount in Pennsylvania never started.

  • 49. ianbirmingham  |  December 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Russia Accuses Electronic Arts (a computer gaming software company) Of LGBT Propaganda Over Including Rainbow Shoelaces Soccer Players Wore In Real Life

    Members of the Russian government are calling on a ban of EA Sports' FIFA17 game, purely because the game includes the option to have players wear rainbow shoelaces, as their real-life counterparts did.

  • 50. VIRick  |  December 11, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Ireland: Up-Date on Marriage Equality Statistics, One Year On

    Dublin has been host to 450 marriages between same-sex couples since the Marriage Act was passed following the referendum. The numbers make up nearly half of all marriages between same-sex couples that have taken place in Ireland in the last 12 months.

    On average, 21 marriages between same-sex couples have been officiated each week since the law was enacted in November 2015. A total of 1,082 couples have gotten married in ceremonies since that time, and 450 of those ceremonies took place in the Irish capital.

    However, it's not just Irish citizens marrying, as the country has become an increasingly popular spot in which overseas couples choose to marry. To date, same-sex couples from Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Croatia have all travelled to Ireland in order to marry.

  • 51. theperchybird  |  December 11, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Macedonia's ban was approved in the first stages some time ago, but never finalized and the whole country took a pause for new elections. Now the results are coming in and it's going to be up to small parties to choose who rules.

    Nearly final results from Macedonia's parliamentary elections show the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party with a razor-thin lead over the opposition Social Democrats (SDSM).

    The State Electoral Commission website showed that with 98 percent of the votes counted, the VMRO had won 37.96 percent of the vote while the SDSM had garnered 36.65 percent.

    Final results are expected around noon on December 12.

    With the country's two main parties so close, it appears neither will have a majority in the 126-seat unicameral parliament, putting great importance on the results of the ethnic Albanian parties in the elections, one or more of which could become a coalition partner.

    Both the VMRO and the Social Democrats claimed victory late on December 11.

    SDSM leader Zoran Zaev told supporters that "we are the winners!" He said the SDSM had "one more seat" than the VMRO.

    Though final results were not available, Zaev said "the trend is clearly in our favor."

    The small parties are ones that fight for the large Albanian minority's rights in Macedonia. In the beginning they gave the old PM the needed votes to pass the first round of the process to ban same-sex marriage (2/3 in favor), but things soured after wiretaps were exposed and ethnic tensions rose so they pulled away from the coalition as time went on.

    Since the opposition caught up to the ruling party, I think the 2/3 majority is lost either way and the ban is stopped for now. It's back to nothingness which is not ideal, but given how conservative the region is, it's the best LGBT there can hope for.

  • 52. guitaristbl  |  December 12, 2016 at 2:34 am

    I dont think the issue will come up in the agenda unless VMRO and gruevski want to divert attention from the huge problems the country has and boost the morale of his supporters – in case he wins of course but you can never know. The country is so poor and has a political elite so corrupt that I doubt these elections were transparent. And given those results there will only be more chaos ans uncertainty. The status quo is fine for now, it will take years till any progress is made there. I passed through the country in late October..It was depressing how in terms of infrastructure it seemed like it was stuck in the 80s, quality of life is very poor as well.
    Point is they have bigger fish to catch right now other than banning marriage equality.

  • 53. theperchybird  |  December 12, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Similar to Macedonia, Romania's center-left party isn't that keen on expanding marriage and certain rights either so the best short-term situation in the country is to have a statutory law barring unions rather than a constitutional ban while the courts decide in the Romanian lawsuit. The Left (SPD) won the Romanian elections yesterday by a big margin.

    Depending on how much they get and how divided the coalitions are on the issue, the ban could still fail to get the 2/3 necessary to be approved.

    We're lucky the case was deferred and a referendum was not set to coincide with elections or it surely would've met the majority in favor and possibly the amount of participation to be binding. Even though only 40% participated in yesterday's election, you never know if voters could come running to vote Yes and push the turn out rate higher with help from the Church.

  • 54. allan120102  |  December 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    With 9 votes in favor and 7 against the new constitution of the Mexico city will have marriage equality, conservatives tried to stop ssm in the Mexican capitan but they failed thank God.

  • 55. JayJonson  |  December 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Please explain. Mexico City has had same-sex marriage since March 2010.

  • 56. VIRick  |  December 12, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Jay, Mexico City (CDMX) has had marriage equality since March 2010 because, shortly before that date, they passed a law to that effect.

    Now, with this latest vote of approval, CDMX has taken the measure one step higher and enshrined marriage equality into their new "state" constitution, making them the second Mexican jurisdiction (after Morelos) to have done so.

  • 57. JayJonson  |  December 12, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks, Rick, for the explanation.

  • 58. VIRick  |  December 12, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Massachusetts: Anti-Gay "Christian" Churches Dismiss Their Own Lawsuit

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 12 December 2016, in "Horizon Christian Fellowship v. Williamson," a federal case in which four Massachusetts churches were challenging state law barring gender identity discrimination in public accomodations as applied to churches and pastors, the plaintiffs, under the tutelage of the ADF, have voluntarily dismissed their own case, while simultaneously claiming some sort of victory.

    The Notice of Voluntary Dismissal is linked here:

  • 59. allan120102  |  December 12, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    PAC became the first political party in supporting same sex marriage in Costa Rica but not all deputies are happy with that. Many feel they were stabbed as many support civil unions or register partnerships but not marriage. 5/13 with a possible 6 said they do not support same sex marriage and will do everything to try and change the party position and if same sex marriage came to vote they would vote against.

  • 60. allan120102  |  December 12, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    This is from a month ago and I havent seen it being publish in here. Anyways the International court of human rights have condemned Ecuador because on discrimination of sexual orientation. This is an important precedent this was when an ex military was discriminate because he was gay and was dismiss. He filed a case and it reach the highest court who rule in favor of the plaintiff. Because of all the time it has pass he cannot longer be re admit but the court has rule that Ecuador will pay him the money since he was dismiss to the date of the ruling. He will also receive remunerations because of the moral damage he suffer.Ecuador becomes the third state to be condemn. The others were Colombia and I believe Chile being the other not sure of that one to be honest. Anyways of note in Honduras is also illegal to be gay and serve in the military.

  • 61. allan120102  |  December 13, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Saint Helena same sex marriage bill have been withdrawn after a debate. This means that the marriage bill pass by ascencionin on hold until ST Helena pass it.

  • 62. VIRick  |  December 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Kentucky: Favorable Federal Title IX Transgender Litigation Ruling

    Per Equality Case Files:

    A transgender black man fired from GE Appliances in Louisville can sue for race and gender discrimination, according to a federal court ruling late last month. China-based Qindao Haier Co., the owner of GE Appliances, requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying the company did nothing wrong and that the employee should have reported harassment to a supervisor.

    But, on 29 November 2016, in "Mickens v. General Electric Company," federal District Court Judge Joseph McKinley denied GE's Motion to Dismiss and said Mykel Mickens has the right to sue under state and federal civil rights laws.

    Here is the Memo Opinion and Order:

    In particular, on page 7, note that "G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board," "Highland Local School District v. US Dept. of Education," "Hively v. Ivy Tech," and "EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes" were all cited in making the above determination.

    Notice how the federal courts tightly follow (this newly clarified) precedent, even though the cited cases are from Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, respectively, that several are still under appeal, and that only the second and fourth are from states within the same 6th Circuit as Kentucky.

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