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Happy New Year open thread and news updates

Right-wing Transgender Rights

Happy New Year!

– A Texas district court has issued a nationwide injunction, halting transgender protections in the Affordable Care Act. The new rules were supposed to go into effect this week.

– Equality Case Files has provided the audio in an Eleventh Circuit appeal dealing with employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Lambda Legal argued the case.

– A school district’s appeal in the Sixth Circuit in a case involving the Obama administration’s guidelines over bathroom use has gotten a briefing schedule. Briefing should be complete by March 21.

– President-elect Donald Trump has asked for a list of State Department programs supporting gender equality including gender identity policies.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  January 3, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Iraq: Kurdish Group Launches Pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign

    In some parts of the world, even the tiniest of steps can be deemed to be important:

    A Kurdish advocacy organization has launched an LGBT-inclusive human rights campaign. On 25 November 2016, the Rasan Organization began to paint murals on the walls of three high schools in Sulaymaniyah, a city in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Staffers and volunteers of the Sulaymaniyah-based organization painted the murals with the help of a local artist.

    One of the murals contains images of three rainbow-colored couples — two who are gay and lesbian and one who is straight — above a slogan that reads, “love is love.” Another mural simply reads, “equality” in English and Kurdish. Ayaz Shalal, a human rights activist who is the deputy director of programs for the Rasan Organization, stated that the organization hopes to implement similar campaigns in the cities of Irbil and Kirkuk.

    By extreme contrast, the so-called Islamic State, whose occupied territory abuts directly against the southwestern edge of Kurdish-held Iraq, has publicly executed dozens of men in Iraq and Syria who have been accused of committing sodomy. The city of Mosul, which is ISIS’ last major stronghold in Iraq, is less than 200 miles from Sulaymaniyah.

    From the photo accompanying the article, note, too, that the women appear to be independent, and that everyone is dressed in what could easily pass as Western attire. Legs and arms may be covered (it is winter there now), but heads are not.

  • 2. VIRick  |  January 3, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    China: Transgender Man Wins Illegal Dismissal Case

    A transgender man in China has won an illegal dismissal case after being fired from his job. The ruling is thought to be the very first in Chinese history.

    The man was fired from his job after seven days working for a health centre in the southwestern province of Guizhou, according to reports. The Guiyang Yunyan district people’s court ordered the company to pay the man, known as Mr C, 843 yuan (£145 or $176) in salary. They were also ordered to pay compensation of 1,500 yuan (£280 or $320).

    However, the court refuted the claim that it was specifically because of his transgender status, though it did find he was unfairly dismissed. The employer had claimed that he had a lack of appropriate skills and that was the given reason for the firing.

    The man, identified only as Mr C, said he was “quite happy” with the result. “It is the first case in China where a sexual minority wins,” he said.

  • 3. VIRick  |  January 3, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Marriage Equality Expands in Veracruz State

    Matrimonio Igualitario se Expande en el Estado de Veracruz

    En el estado de Veracruz se han registrado ya más de nueve matrimonios de parejas homosexuales conseguidos a través de amparos. Pero, como Guillermo Izacur Maldonado denunciaba el pasado mes de noviembre, el apoyo por parte del gobierno estatal, para revisar las leyes estatales sobre el matrimonio y acoplarse a la Jurisprudencia de la SCJN, es casi nulo. Incluso aseguró que sólo había sido el Registro Civil del Puerto de Veracruz el organismo que había aceptado validar los matrimonios igualitarios; mientras que otros organismos, como el de Boca del Río y Xalapa, se habían negado a validar los matrimonios, aun presentado los amparos correspondientes.

    Afortunadamente, parece ser que la llegada de este nuevo año ha sido acompañada por un sentimiento más grande de tolerancia y aceptación hacia la comunidad LGBT en el estado ya que se espera que en este mes de enero se apruebe un nuevo amparo, y se celebre la primera boda lesbosensual en el municipio de Coatzacoalcos, alargando así la (muy corta) lista de municipios dispuestos a validar estas uniones. El anuncio fue confirmado por el oficial del Registro Civil de Coatzacoalcos, Leonardo Lozada Parra.

    In the state of Veracruz, more than nine marriages of same-sex couples obtained through amparos have already been registered. But, as Guillermo Izacur Maldonado denounced last November, support by the state government to review state laws on marriage and to comply with the Jurisprudence of the SCJN is almost nil. He even claimed that only the Civil Registry of the Port of Veracruz had agreed to accept same-sex marriages; while other registries, such as that in Boca del Río and Xalapa, had refused to validate such marriages, even though the corresponding amparos had been presented.

    Fortunately, it seems that the arrival of this new year has been accompanied by a greater sense of tolerance and acceptance towards the LGBT community in the state since it is expected that in January a new amparo will be approved and the first same-sex marriage will be celebrated in the municipality of Coatzacoalcos, thus extending the (very short) list of municipalities willing to validate these unions. The announcement was confirmed by the Civil Registry officer of Coatzacoalcos, Leonardo Lozada Parra.

    Coatzacoalcos is the home-town of Salma Hayek, and the "big town down the road" from where I used to live in the Tuxtla region of the state.

  • 4. allan120102  |  January 3, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Breaking news.
    Queretaro municipalities could allow same sex marriage if the mayors of each municipality allows it said activist .
    QUERETARO, Qro. January 3, 2017.- The decision taken by the municipal administration of the capital to allow egalitarian marriages without the need for amparo could be replicated in other municipalities as a measure in the absence of legislative actions by the deputies, said Alejandra Martínez Galán member of the association Civil AQUESEX. Although the activist acknowledged this action taken by Mayor Marcos Aguilar Vega, said that compliance with human rights should not be subject to the will of a popular representative but should be specified in the law. "I think it has been very interesting, from the outset, to be able to observe this will that the municipality of Querétaro had to be able to accept marriages without needing an amparo, I think it gives a powerful message … what follows is that it would not have That being at the disposal of the party of those who are in front of it, would have to be an issue already made by law, "he said. It should be recalled that since the previous Legislature there have been various initiatives and proposals to begin discussing about ensuring the right to marry all people, however, has not made such a debate. Martínez Galán said that a change is not expected on the part of the local deputies with respect to this subject reason why is probable that there is no progress in the matter during the 2017. In the second link the activist said this though

    "The matter of the municipality of Querétaro is interesting just because of that, because it makes possible a reading that determines to us that the equal marriage is equal to any other. Obviously in a pre-election year as it will be this year much less will want to enter and if this ends up being by will, what will happen when this municipal government comes out, and if this ends up being by will what will happen when the municipal government leaves and Enter others, "he said.
    This is what worried me when states legalize ssm without codifying there civil codes in permitting ssm because if a new administration takes place it could rescind orders that allow it.

  • 5. VIRick  |  January 3, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    "The decision taken by the municipal administration of the capital of Querétaro state to allow for egalitarian marriages without the need for an amparo could be replicated in other municipalities."

    Yes, precisely. And not just in Querétaro state, either, but rather, in every municipality in every jurisdiction throughout all of Mexico. With the mayor's approval, the Civil Registrar for each municipality throughout the entire nation could begin issuing marriage licenses to any/all same-sex couples without the need for an amparo, and base their decision solely upon the Jurisprudence already issued and mandated by Mexico's Supreme Court. And, in fact, they could have begun from July 2015, the date when Ciudad Querétaro began.

    So far, though, I am only aware of two cities (in states which have not otherwise approved same-sex marriage) to have taken this independent-minded step, namely, Ciudad Querétaro in Querétaro state, and San Pedro Cholula in Puebla state.

  • 6. allan120102  |  January 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    I am sorry if this was post already but I dont remember a federal judge approves an amparo against Baja California on December 22.

  • 7. VIRick  |  January 3, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Baja California: Judge Approves Amparo for Another Same-Sex Marriage

    Baja California: Otorga Juez Amparo para Otra Boda Gay

    El amparo se solicitó el passado 8 de abril 2016 en la ciudad de Mexicali, siendo otorgado apenas el 22 de diciembre. La sentencia del amparo declara como inconstitucional los Artículos 7 del Constitución del Estado y 143 y 144 del Código Civil local, que son los que establecen que el matrimonio sea exclusivamente para las parejas heterosexuales.

    The amparo was requested on 8 April 2016 in the city of Mexicali, but was only approved on 22 December. The amparo judgment declared Articles 7 of the State Constitution and 143 and 144 of the State Civil Code to be unconstitutional, those which establish that marriage be exclusively for heterosexual couples.

    According to this account, this was the second favorable amparo judgment from the First District Court in Mexicali, just published in the state's Official Journal on 3 January 2017 (but by my count, it is at least the third from that court).

  • 8. allan120102  |  January 3, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    In puebla there would not be same sex mariage says deputies, base on what they are saying PAN deputies of the state would had vote for ssm if the federal government had vote in favor of the bill but as they didnt they are not going to do it. Wether they like it or not its ban would be struck down by the supreme court anyways.
    In spite of the nonconformities, in Puebla will not legalize the egalitarian marriages derived from that at the federal level the proposal was rejected, therefore, in the entity these unions are not recognized, said the president of the Congress, Jorge Aguilar Chedraui.

    In an interview, the local legislator said that although some states have already legalized these unions, without waiting for the national reform, in Puebla they will remain without legal recognition, since the agreement that had been agreed by the deputies of the different fractions, was That was approved in the Congress of the Union to apply it in the entity, which did not happen.

    Aguilar Chedraui pointed out that although some MPs have already presented two initiatives on the subject of this type of unions, the current legislature does not intend to analyze them, since at Congress level the Union was rejected the proposal of the president of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto.

    "It depended on being approved in the Congress of the Union, we were very respectful, we marked the times very clear, there is a resolution on the matter, the initiative was rejected, and here will be the vote in similar senses," he announced.

    Aguilar Chedraui pointed out that at least the parliamentary faction of the PAN will vote in this regard, but being a majority, it is almost a fact that any proposed reform will be rejected in the Legislative.

  • 9. VIRick  |  January 3, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    "Whether they like it or not, Puebla's ban will (quite soon) be struck down by the Supreme Court."

    And in the meantime, San Pedro Cholula has not waited. Nor should any of the rest of the municipalities in that state. The president of the Puebla Congress, Jorge Aguilar Chedraui, is merely obfuscating, vainly pretending that the state can not act until after the Federal Legislature has acted.

  • 10. VIRick  |  January 4, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    1,226 Law Professors Tell Congress to Dump Jeff Sessions

    Law professors have an instruction for Congress: Do not confirm Alabama senator Jeff Sessions as US Attorney-General. In a petition published Tuesday, 3 January 2017, the 1,226 professors from 176 different law schools in 49 states are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the Republican politician as head the Department of Justice.

    Notably, Sessions was rejected from a federal judgeship in 1986 due to alleged racist remarks. In the present day, this group has seen no evidence that he has changed his views. "Nothing in Senator Sessions’ public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge," read the petition, which referenced Sessions' "misguided prosecution" of civil rights activists, his history of denying climate change, and his "repeated opposition to legislative efforts to promote the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community" as other points of concern.

    Sessions, who was nominated by President-elect Trump for the post in November, has a lengthy anti-LGBT record. He voted to amend the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage; spoke out against the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling; voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; is a co-sponsor of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow discrimination against LGBT people and others in the name of “religious freedom;” voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act which expanded the federal definition of hate crimes to include those based on sexual orientation, gender, and disability; and voted against repealing “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”

  • 11. VIRick  |  January 4, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    California Hires Eric Holder for Fight Against Trump

    California is determined to stand up to any regressive policy moves pushed by Donald Trump when he becomes president, a stance it made even stronger today when the state legislature hired former US Attorney-General Eric Holder to represent it in fights against the Trump administration.

    “He will be our lead litigator, and he will have a legal team of expert lawyers on the issues of climate change, women and civil rights, the environment, immigration, voting rights — to name just a few,” California Senate leader Kevin de León told the "Los Angeles Times."

    Hiring an outside law firm to represent the state is unusual but not unprecedented, the "Los Angeles Times" notes. Legal representation is generally the duty of the state’s attorney-general, and California Gov. Jerry Brown has nominated state Rep. Xavier Becerra to take over that post from Kamala Harris, who just became a US senator. Instead, it is far more unorthodox for both houses of a state legislature to join together in retaining counsel in a pre-emptive bid to prepare for as-yet-unknown litigation and policy-making at the federal level, the LA paper reports.

  • 12. VIRick  |  January 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    DC Council Approves Two LGBT-Related Bills

    On 20 December 2016, the DC City Council voted unanimously to give final approval for two LGBT-related bills that as of early this week were awaiting Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature.

    One of the bills, the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2016, would end the city’s 25-year-old ban on surrogacy parenting agreements, enabling same-sex couples and infertile straight couples to enter into legal agreements with a surrogate mother to give birth to a child. The bill establishes parental rights and procedures for the couples seeking a surrogate and protections for the surrogate similar to those adopted long ago by other states.

    The second bill, the Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016, establishes a process for designating the gender identity and expression on the death certificate of a person who dies. The legislation, which was advocated by transgender rights activists, among others, allows individuals to pre-designate their gender identity with the city’s Registrar of Vital Records prior to their death.

    If no pre-designation has been made, the bill allows any person to challenge a decedent’s gender as reported by a funeral director or the person in charge of the disposition of the body, including blood relatives, with the DC Superior Court if they believe the gender designation does not accurately reflect how the person lived his or her life.

  • 13. allan120102  |  January 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    In some states even Democrats are against lgbt people. I am appalled and quite surprise that even the top republicans didnt want to push for anti trans bills and this two democrats state senators in Kentucky are introducing bills against us.
    His state is one of the poorest in the nation, but Rep. Rick Nelson thinks LGBT people are Kentucky’s most pressing problem. The Middlesboro Democrat introduced an antigay “license to discriminate” bill and an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” on the Kentucky General Assembly’s first working day of 2017.

    Nelson’s House Bill 105 is a typical “religious freedom” bill, according to Louisville's Courier-Journal. It says no law or court order shall supersede “a person’s right of conscience” to stand by religious beliefs, which ostensibly opens up discrimination against LGBT patrons from conservative business owners. Meanwhile, House Bill 106 would require bathrooms in public schools, state universities, and government buildings to “only be used by persons based on their biological sex.”
    Nelson, a proud Baptist, represents a slice of southeastern Kentucky and has served in the assembly since 2001. Ironically, Kentucky’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, and GOP House Speaker Jeff Hoover are not interested in anti-LGBT legislation, instead hoping to focus on bringing jobs to poverty-stricken Kentucky.

    Only last month, Bevin said “bathroom bills” are unnecessary since they address a nonexistent problem. While Republican leadership appears opposed to anti-LGBT bills, it’s not clear if the rest of the legislature — controlled by Republicans — will fall in line.

    "The effect of passing this type of discriminatory legislation is clear. It will cost the state millions of dollars," Chris Hartman, director of Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign, said in a statement. "If Kentucky lawmakers want to remain focused on improving our commonwealth's economy, this is exactly the legislation they should avoid. Furthermore, if Kentucky fans hope to host NCAA College Basketball championship games in the future, they must speak out against HB 105 and HB 106."

  • 14. allan120102  |  January 4, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Breaking. Rick the Perchy you would love what I found of Queretaro.
    At least 8 municiaplities in Queretaro are now permitting same sex marriage to occur. I didnt think many would do it without an amparo but they are,amazing! At least other 3 are asking for amparo. Marriage equality in Queretaro is moving forward at amazing speed. Reminds me of New Mexico in the Usa. Meanwhile deputies are staying quiet of what municipalities are doing. IMO so there is no reproach of the conservative population as there is nothing they can do anymore.
    In Amealco, Cadereyta de Montes, Ezequiel Montes, Huimilpan, Pedro Escobedo, Querétaro, San Joaquín and Tolimán, same-sex couples can join civilly despite the fact that the deputies have not legislated to allow equal marriage in the Civil Code inform Miguel Nava Alvarado, president of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the state of Querétaro (DDHQ).

    On the contrary, he mentioned that in the demarcations of Colon, Corregidora and Pinal de Amoles this is not possible, since the amparo is still required.

    "In Querétaro, even more conditions are foreseen to legislate, because even several municipalities in Querétaro, starting with the capital, no longer need even the reform of the Civil Code in order to marry people today. There are municipalities that answered that they do apply the principle propersona, without amparo and without modifying the Civil Code. We already have several municipalities that, regardless of whether there is a modification, they do grant this public service, "he said.

    Nava Alvarado reported that as far as his administration is concerned, only one complaint has been filed against an administration for violating the right to civil union of a same-sex couple in Bernal, Ezequiel Montes; This complaint, he said, is in the final stage since the municipality replied that yes it is possible that they contract marriage without amparo.

    "That matter we have in process but we have not located this couple again to tell them that the municipality has already answered that there is no problem that they can go, but that was the complaint that through a government institute spent the year past. In Ezequiel Montes, it originates in Bernal, "he said.

    The Ombudsman Queretano recalled that during his administration he presented two initiatives to legislate on egalitarian marriage, one when the LVII local legislature was in operation, and one more to the current Legislature; To these are added the initiative presented by the PRD deputy Carlos Lázaro Sánchez Tapia.

    In addition, he said that it is not a question of "whether or not they want to" legislate the deputies on the issue, since they must do so.

  • 15. allan120102  |  January 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Queretaro is made of 18 municipalities with at least 8 issuing it means almost half the territory now has marriage equality. Could be more as 7 havent answer if they are issuing or not and only 3 Have been comfirm than an amparo is need. Still the majority of population probably now enjoys this freedom.

  • 16. VIRick  |  January 4, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Excellent, as this is much more positive than what I had anticipated.

    In all of Querétaro state, there are only 18 municipalities. According to this latest report, of this number, in 8 municipalities, namely, Amealco, Cadereyta de Montes, Ezequiel Montes, Huimilpan, Pedro Escobedo, Santiago de Querétaro, San Joaquín, and Tolimán, same-sex couples can join civilly, without obtaining an amparo, despite the fact that the deputies have not legislated to allow equal marriage in the state Civil Code.

    Contrarily, in only 3 other municipalities, Colón, Corregidora, and Pinal de Amoles, is an amparo still required. And the policy of the remaining 7 is unknown (probably because there's never yet been a request presented to them).

    I imagine that the staunchly progressive example set by the Civil Registrar and Mayor of the state capital, Santiago de Querétaro, a municipality containing over 40% of the state population, has been a huge factor in convincing other Civil Registrars and Mayors to follow along. Plus, Miguel Nava Alvarado, the Human Rights Ombudsman for the state of Querétaro (DDHQ), has been very pro-active in spreading the message.

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