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Open thread with HB2 updates, and more

Transgender Rights

We’re still trying to get information, but it looks like North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law known as HB2 could be repealed today. This appears to be happening because Charlotte repealed its pro-transgender “bathroom ordinance” in a unanimous vote this morning. This likely means there would be no HB2, but there would also be no protections for LGBT people in Charlotte or around the state.

In other news, a transgender girl in an Ohio school district will get to use the correct restroom, after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a stay in her case.

This is an open thread.


  • 1. guitaristbl  |  December 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

    What is that now ? Why would Cooper encourage Charlotte leaders to repeal the ordinance ? This is by no means a victory of any kind and it just gives ammunition to the GOPers and McCrory.
    A disaster and a pity.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Well Charlotte can simply wait and then pass it again. There's no way the state legislature would pass HB2 again, especially with a Democratic Governor.

  • 3. allan120102  |  December 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Not really. The senate and the house of the state can do it again because they have super majorities in the state so even if the governor vetoes they would override it. Even though I hate that Charlotte repeal its law the other anti discrimination laws in other parts of the state that had pass but were repeal with HB2 will come into effect again. We need to remember that charlotte's repeal was more symbolic as the law was nullify when HB2 came into effect.with charlotte repealing the other anti discrimination laws throught the state were saved.

  • 4. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Trust me, even if Charlotte passes the same ordinance (which I'm sure they will in some capacity), the legislature will not stick their foot into this again, given the backlash and (especially) Pat McCory's defeat.

  • 5. Fortguy  |  December 19, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Also remember that the state legislature is under court order to redraw their maps and face a special election afterward in 2017. The current maps have already been deemed by a three-judge panel to unconstitutionally violate minority representation. It's unlikely that any future map that meets court muster will provide the GOP with a super majority.

  • 6. VIRick  |  December 19, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Charlotte Rescinds Pro-Trans Ordinance, North Carolina to Repeal HB2

    On Monday, 19 December 2016, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory called for a special session of the legislature to consider repealing House Bill 2 (HB2), after the Charlotte City Council voted unanimously to rescind their expanded non-discrimination ordinance. After months, with the majority of the Charlotte City Council refusing to compromise on its ordinance offering protections to the LGBTQ community, including the controversial transgender bathroom and locker room protections, they decided Monday, 19 December 2016, in a 10-0 vote, to do just that.

    HB2 nullified all non-discrimination ordinances passed by cities and municipalities in the state, as well as requiring trans individuals to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching the gender on their birth certificates when in government-owned buildings. Private businesses are left to make their own policies regarding the issue. It also capped the state’s minimum wage and prevented people from suing for employment discrimination in state court, which was later amended.

    The Charlotte expanded non-discrimination ordinance offered protections for the LGBTQ community against discrimination in public accommodations, passenger vehicles for hire, and by private businesses. It also allowed trans citizens to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. This prompted the state to pass HB2, which has since cost the state millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs due to boycotts.

    The Charlotte City Council voted against a repeal in May. After that compromise attempt failed, both Gov. McCrory and House Speaker Tim Moore admitted a full repeal of HB2 was never on the table.

    In its repeal today, the city included a clause saying its non-discrimination ordinance will be enacted again if HB2 isn’t repealed by 31 December. Mayor Roberts said the vote today “should in no way be viewed as a compromise of our principles or commitment to non-discrimination.”

    Note carefully: If the current state legislature fails to act in repealing HB2 in its entirety by 31 December, the Charlotte ordinance, just rescinded, will be re-enacted.

  • 7. guitaristbl  |  December 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    And ? LGBT people in Charlotte will still be without protections. Why this is reported as a victory when it is exactly what McCrory wanted buffles me.
    Plus it gives him ammunition to claim that the Charlotte city council refused to rescind the ordinance before in order to help Cooper get elected on the platform of fighting HB2.

  • 8. VIRick  |  December 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Guitar, the ordinance which Charlotte just rescinded could not be enforced because the statewide law, HB2, took precedence. So, they've temporarily revoked the Charlotte ordinance (until 31 December) to allow for a "window of opportunity" for the state legislature to revoke HB2. Cooper is making McCrory (who is still governor until the end of the year) cancel his own "pet" law. Cooper takes office on 1 January 2017.

    McCrory is the former, long-term mayor of Charlotte (1995-2009), and seems to have a fixation with the city, now that he is no longer its mayor, and the new administration there is doing things quite differently than when he was in charge.

    Charlotte, as North Carolina's largest city, is poised to become a world-class city, the next Atlanta, if you will. And yes, as an expression of it, in the recent election, they voted overwhelmingly for Cooper, and strongly against their former mayor.

    McCrory, despite being Charlotte's long-term mayor, is actually a nouveau implant, a native Ohioan attempting to out-Southern the Southerners. On the other hand, Cooper is a native North Carolinian, born in tobacco country in rural Nash County, between Rocky Mount and Nashville, in the north-eastern part of the state.

    Nashville NC should not be confused with the far more famous Asheville NC nor with Nashville TN.

  • 9. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Expect Charlotte to pass a similar ordinance soon, though it will likely lack bathroom accommodations.

  • 10. VIRick  |  December 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Florida: Federal Sexual Orientation Discrimination Case Settled

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 19 December 2016, in "Baldwin v. Foxx," a case in which a former FAA employee was suing for sexual orientation discrimination under Title VII, the Plaintiff David Baldwin filed notice that he has accepted a judgment in his favor.

    "Defendants offer to have judgment entered against them, and in favor of Plaintiff David Baldwin in the amount of Ten Thousand and One Dollars ($10,0001.00), such amount to be considered inclusive of all costs accrued to date that might be recoverable against Defendants in this action, including without limitation, any claim of attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, or other costs awardable by statute, contract, or otherwise. This offer of judgment is made for the purposes specified in Rule 68, and is not to be construed either as an admission that defendants are liable in this action, or that plaintiff has suffered any damages.”

    Plaintiff’s Acceptance of Defendants’ Rule 68 Offer of Judgment is here:

  • 11. guitaristbl  |  December 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Happy 3-year anniversary of the district courr's ruling om Kitchen v. Herbert, the first case after Windsor that a marriage ban was struck down !
    Might as well celebrate it cause it may be one of the last years it will still hold..

  • 12. VIRick  |  December 20, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Today is the third anniversary of the federal court decision in "Kitchen v. Herbert," the first federal court decision following "Windsor" which struck down a state's same-sex marriage ban. Here's the original AP press release from 20 December 2013:

    Utah Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down as Unconstitutional

    Salt Lake City — On Friday, 20 December 2013, in "Kitchen v. Herbert," a federal judge struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban in a decision that brings a nationwide shift toward allowing gay marriage to a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it. The Salt Lake County clerk's office started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately following the ruling. Deputy Clerk Dahnelle Burton-Lee said the district attorney authorized her office to begin issuing the licenses but she couldn't immediately say how many have been issued so far.

    Just hours earlier, US District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued a 53-page ruling saying Utah's law passed by voters in 2004 violates gay and lesbian couples' rights to Due Process and Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment. Shelby said the state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way. "In the absence of such evidence, the State's unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify the State's refusal to dignify the family relationships of its gay and lesbian citizens," Shelby wrote.

    The Utah attorney-general's office said it would issue a statement on the ruling later. The ruling comes just one day after New Mexico's highest court legalized gay marriage after declaring it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A new law passed in Hawaii last month now allows gay couples to marry there.

    During a nearly four-hour hearing on 4 December 2013 in Salt Lake City, attorneys for the state argued that Utah's law promotes the state's interest in "responsible procreation" and the "optimal mode of child-rearing." They also asserted it's not the courts' role to determine how a state defines marriage, and that the Supreme Court's ruling last summer that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act doesn't give same-sex couples the universal right to marry.

    Utah's lawsuit was brought by three gay and lesbian couples. One of the couples was legally married in Iowa and just wants that license recognized in Utah. The other couples were Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, as well as Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. Peggy Tomsic, Kitchen's attorney, applauded Shelby's courage in making the ruling but warned that the legal fight is not over, saying she expects the state to take the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. During this month's hearing, Tomsic contended marriage is a fundamental right protected by the US Constitution, saying discrimination has gone on long enough. She said Utah's law, which passed with two-thirds of the vote, is "based on prejudice and bias that is religiously-grounded in this state."

    In the ruling, Shelby wrote that the right to marry is a fundamental right protected by the US Constitution. "These rights would be meaningless if the Constitution did not also prevent the government from interfering with the intensely personal choices an individual makes when that person decides to make a solemn commitment to another human being," Shelby wrote.

  • 13. scream4ever  |  December 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Marriage itself won't be replealed, trust me. Stephen Harper tried to do it in Canada. He discovered very quickly that he couldn't.

  • 14. guitaristbl  |  December 20, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I wish I could share your optimism. Unfortunately knowing that at least Alito and Thomas are ready to do it, knowing three pro-equality judges are about 80 years old and that there is a very easy legal way to trigger a challenge I am afraid I cannot relax for now.
    If reports of Kennedy hiring just one clerk for this year mean he is ready to retire..we are screwed. Really screwed.

  • 15. allan120102  |  December 20, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    The USA is very different than Canada, They are a lot of states in the USA that no doubt if just one of the pro equality justices retired they will file a case asap,and with Trump just choosing its nominees from the list he provide we are fighting against really anti lgbt judges.

  • 16. VIRick  |  December 20, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Please remember that a variety of methods were employed to obtain marriage equality in the various states, and that several of these methods are untouchable by the federal courts (assuming that eventually the federal courts begin to rule against us, an unlikely scenario, given its strict adherence to precedent). Just from the quoted 2013 article directly concerning Utah, note that two other alternate methods were cited in passing, namely:

    In New Mexico, the New Mexico State Supreme Court declared the ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional based on the state's own constitution (as did a number of other state Supreme Courts before it, including that of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and New Jersey).

    In Hawaii, the state legislature passed an amended state law legalizing same-sex marriage (as did a number of other state legislatures before it, including that of Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Delaware, Illinois, and DC).

    Not mentioned in the article, other states approved of marriage equality by the state's voters voting in favor by state referendum. These states include Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State. And then there's California which had some of every conceivable method.

  • 17. scream4ever  |  December 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Exactly. The worst they could do would be in the vein of Roe v Wade, where some inconveniences happen, but it will never be fully repealed, given that support is continuing to increase.

  • 18. guitaristbl  |  December 20, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Oh I consider Roe v. Wide dead in the water tbh during the next 4 years, I am pretty certain about its reversal.

  • 19. allan120102  |  December 20, 2016 at 11:19 am

    El Salvador supreme court rejects to rule on the unconstitutionality of article 32 saying that such a move will be unprecedent for them. here is the decision. I guess something like this was going to happen knowing how conservative El Salvador is.

  • 20. allan120102  |  December 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    More news coming from El Salvador. Not all bad after all. There is still a second challenge against the ban
    Latin America
    Salvadoran Constitutional Court Rejects Gay Marriage Application
    20 Dec 2016

    The Constitutional Court of El Salvador rejected today a lawsuit filed last September by a citizen who requested that Article 11 of the Family Code be declared unconstitutional, by not allowing same-sex persons to marry.
    see more

    The complainant alleged that this article, which states that "marriage is the legal union of a man and a woman, in order to establish a full and permanent community of life," is not in accordance with the Constitution, since "deprives The homosexual people of the right to form a family, in contravention of the principle of equality. "

    The Chamber dismissed the application, claiming that it "errs in not detailing the interpretation it gives to constitutional provisions where allegedly establishes the obligation to regulate homosexual relations."

    Likewise, he considered that the citizen's claim "lacks sufficient and valid arguments to be taken into account and proceed to his admission".

    The Salvadoran right-wing Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (Arena) called on Congress on Nov. 15 to ratify a constitutional reform that seeks to shield the Magna Carta against homosexual marriage.

    Arena Deputy Mayteé Iraheta presented to Congress a request for "study and ratification" of the reforms to articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Constitution approved with 47 of 84 votes in April 2015.

    The reform states that "so-and-so" men and women "will be able to marry" and prohibit the adoption of children to same-sex couples.

    It also stipulates that "same-sex marriages celebrated or recognized by the laws of other countries will not have effect in El Salvador," according to a statement from Arena.

    The current legislature has to ratify the reform with at least 56 of 84 votes, otherwise, the initiative will be rejected and to see the light would have to go through the whole process of constitutional reform.

    At the beginning of last month, the lawyer Hernán Durarte Iraheta presented a complaint of unconstitutionality before the Supreme Court of Justice in which he requested to annul certain articles of the Family Code because they discriminate against the community of lesbians, gays, transsexuals, Bisexual and intersex (LGTBI).

    The right to marriage "must be accessible to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation," reads the document to which Efe had access.

    According to Duarte Iraheta, there are "hundreds" of LGBT people who have been killed as a "consequence of the passivity of the State" that has allowed an "act of perpetual discrimination" by not "blocking the door" to the "irrational hatred of homophobia

  • 21. VIRick  |  December 20, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Dozens of Obama’s Judicial Nominees, Including Historic Picks, Won’t Make It onto the Bench

    Fifty-two of President Obama’s judicial nominees didn’t get a vote in the Senate. They include lawyers and judges who would have added new diversity to the federal bench.

    This detailed article provides case-specific information regarding Obama's federal judicial nominees which were left unconfirmed when the US Senate adjourned on 16 December 2016.

    Of course, the new president *could* re-nominate any/all of them.

  • 22. guitaristbl  |  December 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    But of course he will not re-nominate a single one of them. Why miss the opportunity to fill the benches with far right theocratic hacks ?

  • 23. VIRick  |  December 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    "Ending Anita:" How Two Key West Bartenders Won Marriage Equality for Florida

    This new book is Anthony Adams’ recounting of how two Key West bartenders become the first couple in Florida to win a same-sex marriage lawsuit. From the book’s Amazon description:

    "Ending Anita" is the story of Aaron Huntsman and Lee Jones, the two gay, outspoken, and impatient blue-collar Key West bartenders with no experience as activists who won gay marriage (marriage equality) for Florida. Any online search for information about gay marriage (marriage equality) in Florida will get you the dates, court cases, and rulings, but "Ending Anita" introduces you to the people behind the headlines. In addition to the Florida plaintiffs Aaron and Lee, you will meet the straight, Republican Roman Catholic mother who became their brilliant lawyer and then their friend. You will meet the gay judge who was slated to hear their case but was suspiciously chased off the bench because of his profile on a gay hook-up site. You will meet the gay former Marine with experience in the Hollywood film industry who helped guide them through the media scrutiny that almost drowned them during their suit. You will meet the close-knit circle of loyal and protective Conch (Key West) friends who stood with Aaron and Lee in their battle for justice.

    Gay marriage (marriage equality) is now the law of the land thanks to the Supreme Court. That victory was actually earned by LGBT activists on the state-level where they fought against anti-gay laws treating them as second-class citizens. Florida in particular was beset by homophobic laws spawned by Anita Bryant’s Miami-based anti-gay fear mongering of 1977. Florida public sentiment has now changed in favor of LGBT rights, but anti-gay politicians did not want those laws dropped. Aaron and Lee, with no political or legal experience, were told they were in over their heads. This did not stop them.

    Aaron and Lee were born post-Stonewall! Despite several decades of LGBT progress, when they went to their County Clerk’s office to request a marriage license, they were declined. "Ending Anita" is the story of their winning fight against that discrimination.

    For students of Florida history, "Ending Anita" contains a marriage equality timeline, a history of gay Florida, and a history of gay Key West. The addenda include the "Huntsman v. Heavilin" suit, the court transcript of the hearing, and the text of Judge Garcia’s ruling.

  • 24. VIRick  |  December 20, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Final: Hillary Wins Popular Vote By Almost 3 Million

    The Hill reports:

    Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by just under 3 million votes, final state vote totals aggregated by the Cook Report revealed on Tuesday, 20 December 2016. The political news outlet, which has been tracking the votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, found Clinton with 65.8 million votes, or 48.2 percent, compared to 62.9 million, or 46.1 percent, for Republican Donald Trump. It tweeted out that all of the states plus D.C. had certified their results.

    Clinton – 65,844,610 (48.2%)
    Trump – 62,979.636 (46.1%)
    Others – 7,804,213 (05.7%)

    So, specifically, Clinton received 2,864,974 more votes than her nearest opponent.

  • 25. VIRick  |  December 21, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Equality Virginia Outlines 2017 Legislative Priorities

    Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish this week said codifying marriage rights for same-sex couples into state law is among his organization’s top legislative priorities in 2017. Senate Bill 782, which state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) has introduced, would repeal Virginia laws that ban marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples. State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) has introduced an identical measure in the Virginia House of Delegates. “It should be a no-brainer,” Parrish told the Blade, referring to efforts to repeal the same-sex marriage ban from the Virginia state constitution.

    Ebbin has also re-introduced Senate Bill 783, which would ban discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. State Sen. Jennifer Wexton last month re-introduced Senate Bill 822, which would add LGBT-specific protections to the Virginia Fair Housing Law. Both bills passed in the Virginia Senate in January 2016 with Republican support. A House of Delegates subcommittee later killed the measures.

    State elections will take place in Virginia in November 2017.

  • 26. VIRick  |  December 21, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Mexico City: Seven Years of Marriage Equality

    Ciudad de México: Siete Años de Matrimonio Igualitario

    En 21 de diciembre de 2009 sería el momento histórico en que logramos (en la Asamblea Legislativa) cambiar la definición del matrimonio en el código civil, colocando a la Ciudad de México (el Distrito Federal o CDMX) como la primer ciudad en América Latina en reconocer este derecho de matrimonio igualitario. Luego seguiría Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil, Colombia.

    On 21 December 2009 would be the historic moment in which we (in the Legislative Assembly) managed to change the definition of marriage in the civil code, placing Mexico City (i.e., the Federal District, or CDMX) as the first city in Latin America to recognize this right of marriage equality. Then would follow Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil, Colombia.

    According to MOViiMX, since then, over 8,500 marriages have taken place between same-sex couples within the Federal District of Mexico.

  • 27. allan120102  |  December 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    I hope this is the end of the gay cake case in Ireland. The couple fighting against equal rights just need to stop appealing as they lost already. They need to pay the client for the discrimation they make him suffer for not making him the cake.

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