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News round-up and open thread


Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill
– The New York Times is reporting that the Trump administration won’t undo President Obama’s executive orders protecting some LGBT workers. He could still of course issue a religious freedom” executive order which could allow some discrimination.

– At the end of last week, the Trump administration released an executive order banning people from predominately Muslim countries from coming here and restricting refugees from some countries. The ACLU and immigration lawyers immediately challenged the ban and it has since been halted. It would have included LGBT refugees of course. Buzzfeed has some good reporting on everything that happened.

– Alao over the weekend, the Acting Attorney General, a holdover from the Obama administration, issued a memo saying that the Justice Department would not defend the immigration orders, and she was promptly fired by President Trump. She had been a federal prosecutor since 1989.

– President Trump is expected to name his Supreme Court nominee today. According to reports, the list has been narrowed to two deeply conservative appeals court judges. Democrats have said they will filibuster the nominee.


  • 1. VIRick  |  January 31, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Current Status of LGBT Rights in Select Latin American Nations

    "Washington Blade" International News Editor Michael K. Lavers will travel throughout Latin America in 2017 as part of the newspaper’s ongoing commitment to covering LGBT issues around the world. Lavers will report from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras from 28 January-13 February. The Blade is also planning to report from Cuba, Colombia, and Chile and attend LGBT and intersex conferences throughout Latin America in the coming months.

    Lavers will interview LGBT activists, politicians, and candidates while in Central America. He will also report on anti-LGBT violence and discrimination that remains rampant throughout Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

    – Same-sex couples are not legally recognized.
    – Anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws do not include sexual orientation or gender identity.
    – Consensual same-sex sexual relations are legal.
    – Transgender people can legally change their name without surgery. They cannot legally change their gender.
    – Sandra Morán in 2016 became the first openly LGBT person elected to the Guatemalan Congress.

    El Salvador
    – The Salvadoran constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
    – Anti-discrimination law includes sexual orientation, but not gender identity.
    – Penal code includes enhanced penalties for anti-LGBT hate crimes, but activists say prosecutors rarely apply them.
    – Consensual same-sex sexual relations are legal.

    – The Honduran constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
    – Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is banned, but activists say these provisions have little impact.
    – Consensual same-sex sexual relations are legal.
    – Erick Martínez, a gay activist from Tegucigalpa, is a candidate for the Honduran Congress.

    – The Cuban constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
    – Lawmakers in 2013 approved a bill that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.
    – Consensual same-sex sexual relations are legal.
    – The country’s national healthcare system has offered free sex-reassignment surgeries since 2008. Independent LGBT activists insist only a few dozen trans people have been able to undergo the procedure.
    – Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, publicly champions LGBT and intersex issues.

    – Same-sex couples can legally marry and adopt children.
    – Discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal.
    – Trans people have been able to legally change their gender without surgery since 2015.
    – A peace agreement between the government and leftist FARC rebels that the Colombian Congress approved in November 2016 specifically includes LGBT Colombians.
    – Angélica Lozano in 2014 became the first openly lesbian woman elected to the Colombian Congress.

    – Same-sex couples can enter into civil unions, but not marriage.
    – Discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity are illegal.
    – A bill that would allow trans people to legally change their name and gender without surgery has been introduced in the Chilean Congress.
    – The Chilean Ministry of Health in 2015 urged doctors to no longer perform surgeries that “normalize” the sex of intersex children.
    – Jaime Parada, a councilman in the Providencia section of the Chilean capital of Santiago, is among the growing number of high-profile LGBT and intersex activists.

  • 2. guitaristbl  |  January 31, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Neil Gorsuch is Trump's nominee.

    Worst case scenario for us. And he is just 49 years old which means he could infest the bench for almost 40 years if he holds.

    I hope democrats have that fillibuster coming. But I feel like republicans will try to change the rules to have him confirmed by simple majority vote.

    Dark decades coming on bench that's for sure…

  • 3. scream4ever  |  January 31, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    McConnell has indicated pretty strongly that they won't, but still.

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  January 31, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    They won't skip the opportunity. They know such an extreme candidate cannot get the 60 votes and they won't settle for anyone more moderate to replace Scalia. It will be nuclear option. I think only lobbying of moderate GOP senators has a slight ray of hope to succeed now..

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