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Parties in Gavin Grimm’s Supreme Court challenge to school board’s anti-transgender policy file letters on next steps

Transgender Rights

The Supreme Court, on February 23, asked the parties in Gloucester County School Board v. GG to “submit their views on how this case should proceed in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice on February 22, 2017.” The request came in response to the Trump administration withdrawing a guidance letter that became a part of the case.

The letters are due today.

Lawyers for Gavin Grimm filed their response to the request. They urge the Court to keep the case on the docket and decide it on the merits:

Without the opinion letter referenced in the first question presented, and without any other specific guidance on 34 C.F.R. § 106.33 [the regulation that interprets Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972] left to defer to, the Court will inevitably have to settle the question by clarifying the proper interpretation of Title IX and 34 C.F.R. § 106.33. Delaying resolution of that question will only lead to further harm, confusion, and protracted litigation for transgender students and school districts across the country. Another few years of needless litigation would not help clarify the legal question facing the Court, and it would impose enormous costs on individual students until the Court provides additional clarity.

We will post the school board’s letter as soon as we get it.

UPDATE: The school board’s letter is here. It also urges the Court to decide the merits:

In the School Board’s view, the withdrawal of those documents should not prevent the Court from hearing argument and resolving the questions presented. That is particularly evident as to the second question, which addresses whether, properly interpreted, Title IX and its regulations require access to sex-separated facilities based on gender identity.

The school board also asks the Court to ask the Solicitor General to file a brief stating the views of the United States first, after the SG is confirmed, and to postpone arguments until then.

The Court will decide what will happen in the case now.

This post has been edited to reflect the school Board’s request to postpone arguments if the Court asks the Solicitor General to file a brief


  • 1. allan120102  |  March 1, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    NL get its second resolution in a row and the court urges the state to legalize ssm.
    The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) prepares the second warning to the state of Nuevo Leon to adjust its civil law to the jurisprudence issued by the highest court to legalize gay marriages throughout Mexican territory.

    Today the ministers will discuss, for the second time, an amparo so that a couple can contract nuptials without being applied the criterion that marriage and concubinage are exclusive of the heterosexual couples according to the Civil Code of the state of Nuevo León.

    The project carried out by the Minister Jose Ramón Cossío establishes to call again to the state government so that it adapts the code to the criterion of the Court that validates the gay marriage.

    The case came to the SCJN after the complainants sought to marry but the civil authorities indicated that they could only do so by entering into an unnamed contract.

    "If their only difference with marriage or concubinage would be the denomination, it would be inherently discriminatory to constitute a 'separate but equal' regime.

    "Thus, the exclusion of homosexual couples from the marriage and cohabitation regime results in double discrimination, as not only depriving same-sex couples of the expressive benefits of marriage and cohabitation, but also excluding them from Material benefits, "the document states.

    For this reason, as the second consecutive occasion in which the Court declares unconstitutional Article 291 bis of the local Civil Code, Minister Cossío Díaz ordered to notify the local Congress to hear the two resolutions and is able to analyze the repeal of the precept.

    "This First Chamber warns that this decision is the second consecutive time in which this court determines the unconstitutionality of Article 291 bis of the Civil Code for the State of Nuevo León," said the minister.

    "Consequently, refer this sentence to the presidency of this high court in order to inform the Congress of the State of Nuevo Leon about the existence of these resolutions," he says.

  • 2. Fortguy  |  March 1, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the challenge to Houston's policy of providing benefits to same-sex spouses of municipal employees.

    Alexa Ura, The Texas Tribune: Treat same-sex couples the same as others, Texas Supreme Court told

    Update: Here's a good comprehensive look at the case including its history:

    Doyin Oyeniyi, Texas Monthly: Here’s What You Need To Know About Pidgeon v. Turner

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Finland: Civil Marriage for Same-Sex Couples Legal from Today

    As of today, 1 March 2017, civil marriage became legally available for same-sex couples in Finland, the last Scandinavian country to do so. The law also allows same-sex couples to adopt children.

    Finland has had civil unions for same-sex couples since 2002. The law to legalize same-sex marriage was passed by parliament in 2014 and signed by the president in 2015, but marriages couldn’t happen until now because of a transition period built into the law. The status of the law remained uncertain until last week, when a citizen petition to repeal the same-sex marriage law was rejected by parliament in a 120-48 vote.

    Same-sex marriage in Finland is limited to civil marriage. The Lutheran Church will still not allow same-sex marriage. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is one of Finland’s two national churches, along with the Finnish Orthodox Church. The Lutheran Church is funded with tax money, and citizens can opt out of the church tax if they desire. Currently, over 70% of Finland’s population are members of the Lutheran Church and pay the church tax.

    Although a small but vociferously noisy minority, the Finnish Orthodox (a hold-over from their once having been part of the Russian Empire) are extremely opposed to same-sex marriage. They were temporarily able to delay passage of the legislation, but in the end, they simply did not have the requisite numbers to ultimately block it. However, their extremely negative attitude gives one a fairly clear picture as to how members of other Eastern Orthodox congregations in other parts of Eastern Europe, where they may well constitute a majority, feel about the subject.

    Officially, from today, Finland is now the 22nd independent nation, worldwide, to have legalized civil marriage for same-sex couples.

    Em Português:

    Por fim, os homosexuais podem casar na Finlândia, como iguais aos heterosexuais!

  • 4. theperchybird  |  March 2, 2017 at 9:16 am

    The head bishop wants to let couples marry in the Church, but we must wait until enough parish leaders get on board. It will happen sooner than we think. Faroe Islands on the other hand…the Christians there will have to wait a while before they can marry on those premises. The option to marry in the local church is already available to Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Icelanders and Greenlanders.

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 1, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Jacksonville: Once Again, Liberty Counsel Proves to Be Total Asshats

    Liberty Counsel is fighting to overturn Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance, and is pulling out all the stops to try to block the legally-enacted Human Rights Ordinance approved last month by city leaders in Jacksonville FL, filing a lawsuit to that effect in Duval County Court on Tuesday, 28 February 2017.

    The plaintiff is an unknown figure named John Parsons, a local resident represented by Mat Staver and his pack of conservative legal eagles. As the right-wing Christian law firm did with “marriage,” adding quotation marks around the word as if to question the legality of same-sex marriage, its news release announcing the suit refers to the HRO as “the so-called Jacksonville ‘Human Rights Ordinance.'”

    The law amended the city’s existing discrimination protections to include LGBTQ people. Discrimination complaints will be investigated by the city’s Human Rights Commission, and violations will be punishable by a $500 fine.

    The law includes a provision that exempts small businesses with less than 15 employees from the ban on employment discrimination. It also exempts religious organizations from all of the discrimination prohibitions and the law has no new requirements regarding restroom usage.

    One can read the lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel on their website, although personally, I would not bother:

  • 6. VIRick  |  March 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Saudi Arabia: Police Kill Two Pakistanis for Wearing Women’s Clothes

    From Pakistan, it has been reported that two Pakistanis identified as cross-dressers have been tortured to death by police in Saudi Arabia. The victims were among 35 men arrested in the capital city of Riyadh for dressing as women, an offence which has its own branch of law enforcement in Saudi Arabia.

    According to "The Express Tribune," a Pakistani publication, police raided a rest house for people dressing in women’s clothing after keeping the site under constant surveillance. The two victims were named as Meeno, 26, and Amna, 35. The police allegedly forced them into sacks and thrashed them with sticks while in prison. Local reports have called them transgender, but we (at "The Express Tribune") have not been able to verify their gender identity.

    Qamar Naseem, a Pakistani human rights activist, said that while 11 of those arrested who survived were released after paying a 150 Riyal (£32) fine, 22 of them were still in police custody. “Torturing humans after throwing them into bags and beating them with sticks is inhumane,” he added. ”No-one is there to save them as the life of a transgender is not of any value to anyone, not even our own (Pakistani) government.”

  • 7. Fortguy  |  March 1, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    On a previous thread, Rick reported on Irvin Gonzalez Torres, a trans woman apprehended by ICE after seeking a protective order against her ex-boyfriend from a court in El Paso. After initially being denied hormone treatment in detention and later provided only minimal "street-level hormones", a federal magistrate has ruled that treatment must be provided. Gonzalez's lawyers hope to have her released alleging the ICE officer who filed the criminal complaint against her perjored himself claiming agents incidentally arrested her on the sidewalk after seeing her walk out of the court building while security video shows agents awaiting and arresting her immediately outside of the 10th-floor courtroom likely due to being tipped-off by her ex-boyfriend.

    The outrageous, heavy-handed approach to immigration and border security under the new administration is mind boggling. I'm sick of constantly reading about the father apprehended under mistaken identity after dropping his three girls off at school, a Tibetan women's soccer team denied visas before a Dallas tournament, the 10-hour detention of a French Holocaust historian scheduled to speak at Texas A&M, or ICE's plans to reinstate private prisons likely including this hellhole. The lowest-of-the-low I've seen so far is ICE agents removing a Salvadoran woman with a brain tumor from a Fort Worth hospital to place her in a detention facility. These are only the more egregious examples in just my state alone! The Trump Administration is only 40 days old, so I suspect they will lower that bar in short order.

  • 8. VIRick  |  March 1, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Today, 1 March 2017, there was an egregious case in Mississippi:

    DREAMer Arrested Moments After Speaking Out Against Deportations At A News Conference

    Daniela Vargas was detained by federal agents moments after leaving a news conference where she spoke about her fear of being deported. A friend was driving Daniela Vargas, 22, away from the news conference when they were pulled over by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Jackson MS.

    About two weeks ago, ICE agents arrested Vargas’s father and brother at home, her attorney, Abigail Peterson said. She was found hiding in a closet, but let go because she had a pending DACA renewal application.

    At the news conference, Vargas said that after the arrest of her brother and father, she was planning to move out of the state and attend college to become a math professor.

    This article does not state Daniela's country of origin, but Vargas is a common surname in Brasil. If so, expect retaliation. Brasil is one nation which will stand up to the USA,– and be very noisy about it.

    The hordes of US citizens resident in Mexico have been shitting themselves over this same "enforcement" issue, not just those there for business reasons/job assignments, but much more especially, the thousands and thousands of elderly US retirees who have moved there over the years due to Mexico's lower cost of living, and the easier availability/lower cost of any number of medical drugs. It is entirely within the realm of possibility for Mexico to retaliate tit-for-tat on evictions. However, if they do, the first to be thrown out will likely be the Mormons and the JWs (as it would not be the first time Mexico expelled all of its foreign "missionaries"). The idiots currently in charge in the USA appear not to understand, nor care, that the US/Mexico border is actually a two-way street.

  • 9. Fortguy  |  March 1, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I remember that Mitt Romney's dad, George W. Romney, was born in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua. I would think that Trump would be vindictively happy if all of Mitt's cousins were kicked out of their Mexican homes.

    Vargas is also a surname that, if not very common, is not unusual either. A Wikipedia search for the name lands quite a number of notable people with the name from Spanish-speaking countries.

  • 10. allan120102  |  March 1, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Vargas is common in almost every latin American country. I have 4 or 5 Vargas in my Facebook.

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 1, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I stand corrected on Vargas as a surname, as Wikipedia claims it is both a Spanish and a Portuguese surname.

    I have lived in an assortment of Latin nations, and simply do not remember Vargas as being overly common in Mexico, nor do I know anyone from Puerto Rico with that surname. But I do remember it as being hyper-common in Brasil, including the infamously populist, dictatorial president, Getúlio Vargas, who ruled 3 times for total of 18 years before killing himself, literally ending his last dictatorship with a bang. In Rio, one can visit the former presidential palace (now a museum), and view the spot where he did the deed. For want of a better term, he is Brasil's answer to Evita (as contemporaries, they both died tragically within the same time-frame), and like her, his admirers always refer to him by his first name.

    As a result, I have always associated Vargas as being of Portuguese origin, even when I happened to encounter someone named Vargas in one of the Spanish-speaking countries.

    In any case, let us hope that Daniela Vargas is originally from Brasil, as the US administration is likely to obtain a much more "in-your-face," retaliatory reaction from Brasil, than from most of the Spanish-speaking nations.

    (Plus, there's a hidden message here for the infamously populist, dictatorial US president. Don't wait 18 years before pulling the trigger.)

  • 12. JayJonson  |  March 2, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Always learn something from you, Rick. Thanks!

  • 13. allan120102  |  March 3, 2017 at 7:39 am

    She is from Argentina based on CNN in Español.

  • 14. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks, as that fact makes this case even more extraordinary because people from that far away would have to have obtained some sort of temporary visa for entry into the USA in the first instance, and then merely overstayed it. As a result, they are simply not completely unvetted, unknown quantities, not even close.

    Most of the more-developed nations of South America already operate on a strict tit-for-tat basis with the USA, and have been doing so for many years. I know, because for Brasil, I needed to obtain an indefinite, multi-entry work visa prior to my first arrival (simply because the USA requires the same for Brazilian citizens). The same is also true for Argentina, although for there, such visas are limited to 6 months (so, yes, once I was there, I certainly could have overstayed by pre-approved 6-months time). Instead, I would take the cross-river ferry over to Uruguay and back at strategically-timed intervals to renew it.

    However, for Uruguay, Chile, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, I was able to obtain visas locally, on-the-spot (although I have had excess "fun" crossing the border overland between Colombia and Venezuela). For me, only Costa Rica, Mexico, and the French territories (and as I understand, currently, Ecuador) do not care, as long as one has a valid passport upon entry.

    I was also warned not to travel to Paraguay, Bolivia, or Peru on a Brazilian work visa, so I heeded the warning and did not go there.

  • 15. allan120102  |  March 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I hope you one day visit my country. Homophobic but a lovely place, each year things get better and better.

  • 16. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    True enough, for Central America, there's a gap between southern Mexico, where I once lived, not too distant from the border with Guatemala, and in the other direction, from the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border, which I have never travelled to or through.

  • 17. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Today, 3 March 2017, I see that Daniela has filed a lawsuit, seeking to block her own deportation.

    Vargas’s attorney, Abigail Peterson, told BuzzFeed News she was brought to the US from Argentina by her parents on a 90-day visa waiver program when she was 7. In order to get the visa, immigrants have to waive their rights to a hearing before a judge if they overstay, so ICE has been planning to deport Vargas without going through the courts, Peterson said. “We expect a decision to be made within the next week,” she said.

    Vargas had filed to renew her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, which gives her protection from deportation, on 10 February, and so Peterson was surprised her client was detained.

    On Thursday, 2 March 2017, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement that it appeared as though Vargas didn’t commit a crime and was only speaking on behalf of her family, who is threatened by Trump’s “misguided immigration agenda.”

    “ICE’s assertion that her detention is ‘routine’ is absurd and seems anything but. Clearly, ICE resources used in this case would have been better utilized to find and detain dangerous criminals and get them off our streets,” Thompson said. “As a DACA recipient she should be allowed to stay here. Those like Ms. Vargas just want a better life for themselves and their families and are true believers in the American dream – they should not be pushed further into the shadows.”

  • 18. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Here's an article that updates the situation with Daniela Vargas in Jackson, Irvin Gonzalez of El Paso, and other egregious cases around the country.

    Dara Lind, Vox: ICE isn't just detaining "bad hombres." They're scooping up anyone in their path.

    The article mentions that under Obama guidelines, ICE is to avoid "sensitive locations" such as churches, schools, and courthouses, but now ICE's website suggests courthouses are exempted from such sites to the consternation of advocates of criminal victims including domestic violence. This would explain the detention of Gonzalez in El Paso (but never justify the agent's lying about the circumstances). More disturbing, ICE has been casing two separate court buildings in Austin.

    Philip Jankowski and Tony Plohetski, Austin American-Statesman: ICE agents at Travis County courthouses looking for suspects

    This is likely due to retribution to the policy of the new Travis County sheriff to ignore ICE detainer requests without proper warrants. She's caught a lot of shade from grandstanding state GOP politicos as well even though she was acting within the law. Regarding that matter, it now seems a compromise is in the works.

    Tony Plohetski, Austin American-Statesman: Travis DA makes deal to ensure criminal cases aren’t derailed by ICE

    Meanwhile, back in El Paso, a member of the city council wants to prohibit city contracts to businesses and vendors who are also contractors to Trump's Big, Beautiful Border Wall.

    Darren Hunt, KVIA (ABC-TV affiliate): Svarzbein's Agenda Item: Council should discuss denying City contracts to Border Wall vendors

  • 19. theperchybird  |  March 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Seems that after a LONG delay, Faroese marriage law is closer to being ratified in Danish Parliament. I found this bill that had its first reading:


    The purpose of the Act is to introduce the possibility that two persons of the same sex civil marriage in the Faroe Islands, may have their case on the dissolution of marriage in the kingdom, when none of the spouses living in a country with a legislation marriage between two persons of the same sex, similar to the legislation that will apply to the Faroe Islands when the marriage law is made for marriage between two persons of the same sex.

    There are the Faroes decided that it should be possible for two people of the same sex civil marriage. The Parliament has adopted two imperial law's settings, which aims to impose state authorities to provide the legislative basis for it.

    One Realm Act setting relates to the changes which must be made by the Faroese marriage law, which is part of the Child and Social Affairs. These changes will be made by royal decree.

    The other Reich law setting which belongs to the Ministry of Justice, is an amendment to the Faroese Procedure Code, which should expand international jurisdiction to include cases of marriage between two persons of the same sex. The Act provides for necessary amendments to the Faroese Code.

    The second and final readings are usually the same week. It's just the period between the first reading, question time and any adjustment that we have to wait on. I think we'll have summer weddings.

  • 20. VIRick  |  March 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Madrid: How to Deal with Bigots, Spanish-Style

    A bus belonging to the conservative advocacy group, Hazte Oir (“Make Yourself Be Heard”), was towed away yesterday morning, 1 March 2017, because of the transphobic message painted on the side. In Spanish, the bus sign read: “Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina. That does not fool you. If you are born a man, you are a man. If you are a woman, you will stay that way.” The group faces a fine of €3000 ($3160) if the bus ever appears on the road again.

    The bus first took to the streets of Madrid on Monday, 27 February 2017, inspiring protests from the left. “It is a campaign of hatred based on intolerance,” said Ángeles Álvarez, a spokesperson for the Socialist Workers’ Party.

    The city of Madrid and the region of Cataluna asked the Attorney-General to intervene. However, in the meantime, the mayor’s office in Madrid investigated the case and found evidence that a city ordinance that bans ads on “any type of vehicle or trailer, in circulation or parked, except those that appear on vehicles intended for public transport” had been violated. In addition, Álvarez told "El Pais" that the prosecutor should look into taking action based on Article 510 of the penal code, which bans speech that incites violence against certain protected groups.

    The bus was supposed to tour the country this week, heading to Barcelona on Friday, 3 March 2017. The mayor of Barcelona tweeted, “In Barcelona, there’s no room for LGBT-phobic buses.”

  • 21. VIRick  |  March 2, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    States to End Suit after DOJ Withdraws Pro-Transgender Student Policy

    The several states, led by Texas, which have been suing the federal government over the Obama administration’s pro-transgender policies in "Texas v. USA" will be withdrawing their lawsuit soon — a result of the new administration’s policy shift — the Justice Department announced in a court filing on Thursday, 2 March 2017.

    The news came in the filing made at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals wherein which the Justice Department announced it would be withdrawing its appeal of a district court’s injunction against the administration’s pro-transgender student policies. Once the appeal is dismissed, per the filing, the states will dismiss their case. The move comes a week after the Education and Justice Departments jointly announced they had withdrawn the prior Obama-era pro-transgender guidance regarding protections for students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

    The Unopposed Motion for Voluntary Dismissal is at the bottom of this article:

  • 22. VIRick  |  March 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    DOJ Lets Stand Court Order against Transgender Health Care

    In yet another blow from the Trump administration to transgender rights, in "Franciscan Alliance v. Burwell," the Justice Department under A-G Sessions has let stand a court order against the implementation of an Obamacare regulation barring discrimination against transgender people in health care. The deadline for the Justice Department to appeal District Judge Reed O’Connor’s preliminary injunction was midnight on 1 March 2017, but that time has passed and the department hasn’t filed a notice of appeal.

    O’Connor’s order bars enforcement of a Department of Health & Human Services regulation against discrimination against women who have had abortions or transgender people in health care, including the refusal of gender reassignment surgery. The regulation is based on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of sex.

    Instead of appealing the injunction, the Justice Department on Friday, 24 February 2017, sought an extension of the time to answer the complaint as the underlying case proceeds in the district court to “provide opportunity for new leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services to become familiar with the issues in this case.” The deadline for that response was also 1 March at midnight. O’Connor granted the Justice Department’s request Tuesday night, 28 February 2017, giving the Justice Department until 2 May to respond.

    Defying the broadly-accepted interpretation in the courts of “sex” to include transgender people, O’Connor issued the preliminary injunction on 31 December 2016 as a result of a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton on behalf of eight states, including Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Kansas. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty was co-counsel in the case and represented religious-affiliated health providers who object to the regulation on religious grounds.

    Declining to appeal the order to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is consistent with the Justice Department’s recent decision to withdraw a request to halt an order from the same the judge barring enforcement of Obama administration guidance barring schools from refusing to allow transgender kids to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

    But the Justice Department’s refusal to appeal the order may not be the end of this case nor of the regulation assuring non-discrimination for transgender people in health care. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and River City Gender Alliance have placed a request with the 5th Circuit Court seeking to stay O’Connor’s injunction.

    Further, the organizations have sought to intervene in the case with two kinds of intervention under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, intervention as of right, or in the alternative, permissive intervention. On 24 January 2017, O’Connor issued an order denying intervention as of right, and ordered further briefing on permissive intervention.

    The ACLU appealed the denial of intervention as of right, so that is currently before the 5th Circuit Court. The plaintiffs challenging the regulation have asked the 5th Circuit to dismiss the appeal. Briefing is complete on permissive intervention, but the district court hasn’t yet issued a ruling.

  • 23. VIRick  |  March 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    DOJ Requests Suit against North Carolina HB2 Be Put on Hold

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 2 March 2017, in "United States v. North Carolina," the case wherein which the DOJ is suing the state and North Carolina officials over HB2, the USA has asked the district court to expand the current stay of proceedings to include any consideration of its own motion for a preliminary injunction. Currently, all proceedings in this case are on hold except consideration of the US motion for a preliminary injunction.

    The motion asking that all proceedings in district court be put on hold is here:

  • 24. VIRick  |  March 2, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    18 States File Amicus Brief at Supreme Court in Support of Transgender Rights

    On Thursday, 2 March 2017, in "Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.," 18 states and the District of Columbia urged the Supreme Court to rule that transgender students must be allowed to use school restrooms that match their gender identity, making them the latest players in a case that has highlighted an ideological divide over gender norms and pitted dozens of states against each other.

    Led by New York State Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman and Washington State Attorney-General Bob Ferguson, the states filed a friend-of-the court brief supporting 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, who was banned from the boys bathrooms at his Virginia high school. “Discrimination against transgender people has no legitimate basis, and serves only to injure a group that is feared for being different,” the state attorneys-general told the Supreme Court.

    Many of their states have transgender protections already on the books, they note, saying those policies improve lives of residents without the ill consequences claimed by critics. “Our shared experience demonstrates that ensuring the civil rights of transgender people — including by allowing them access to common restrooms consistent with their gender identity — creates no public safety or personal privacy threat and imposes no meaningful financial burden,” the states say.

    New York and Washington state are joined by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

  • 25. VIRick  |  March 2, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Mexican Congressman Climbed US Border Fence to Protest “Totally Absurd” Trump Wall

    A Mexican congressman apparently climbed a 30-foot fence along the US border at Tijuana's beach to send Trump a message: Physical barriers are useless for stopping immigrants.

    “I was able to scale it, climb it, and sit myself right here,” Braulio Guerra, a PRI congressman from the state of Querétaro, said in a video. “It would be simple for me to jump into the United States, which shows that it is unnecessary and totally absurd to build a wall.”

    Trump’s promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border has been a hot topic in Mexico’s political circles, where legislators and politicians have almost uniformly responded critically to the proposal, with most attempting to out-do the each other in their critiques, with this latest stunt clearly pushing the limits.

    Here's a pic showing Braulio Guerra neatly poised atop the current ugly border fence:

  • 26. allan120102  |  March 2, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Mexico news.
    Veracruz to take marriage case to the supreme court. After the governor legalize ssm but rescind the order after conservative pressure. They should have done this a long time ago when the modify the civil code.
    The spokesperson for the civil association "Soy Humano", Miguel Llinas González, announced that activists could bring to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) the issue of the Marriage Charter of Veracruz that appealed to the governor of Veracruz, Miguel Angel Yunes Linares.

    "Of course, we are going to the last consequences, we are no longer willing to remain silent, we are no longer willing to continue living in discrimination that fosters hatred, Veracruz is the second nationwide state in hate crimes for homophobia."

    He explained that the Marriage Charter of Veracruz was "a step forward" for the lesbian-gay community and set the tone for same-sex unions could be made concrete, although it is only a protocol document.

    In that sense, he accused the intervention of the Catholic church in the decision that took the state agent.

    "It is a clear intervention, but how could we explain this marriage letter that did not define whether it was a man or a woman who was getting married?"

  • 27. allan120102  |  March 2, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Aguascalientes still playing into not modifying the civil code, meanwhile the supreme court debates to strike down its ban.
    Aguascalientes, Ags.- PAN deputy Claudia Guadalupe de Lira Beltrán declined to issue a personal statement on same-sex marriage.

    "I am in favor of the institutions and what the law says. In that sense we are going to walk, "he said in a collective interview.

    By the way, the PAN legislator said that the PAN party in the State Congress, which has a majority of deputies, would address the discussion of the issue; But insisted that it remains in commissions.

    "I believe that when I pass an opinion on the subject, we can make a decision of our own. But now it is in the hands of the commissions and they have to take it out, "he said.

    The first antecedent of a legally recognized sex change in Aguascalientes for Eva Cabrera was recently endorsed, with a corresponding revision of her birth certificate. Cabrera's legal process took more than a year, according to media reports.

    De Lira Beltrán said that we must abide by what was already ruled by the Judiciary: "I respect these procedures. They are the decision of the corresponding authorities and we have only to respect and the dependencies to carry out their work in the right direction. "

    – Would not people have to go through these long processes?

    – We are in a moment of transformation and it is part of the process. You will have to do your process as it comes, so it is now. Congressional commissions will have to take that issue in their areas so that this process, if it is more agile or remains the same.

  • 28. allan120102  |  March 2, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Chihuhua PAN deputy said that the supreme court cannot force them to modify Chihuhua´s civil code to allow ssm.
    He stated that these legal remedies only have an administrative scope to particularly allow such unions before the Civil Registry without the need to amend the current Civil Code, as the LGBTTTI movement ensures.

    "The Court does not force us to legislate on the issue. This resource is administratively valid so that the Civil Registry can marry couples but does not force us to anything. There is no way we are forced because we are autonomous, "he reiterated yesterday.

    The statements originated after the civil association Cheros reported that a fifth sentence had been obtained in federal courts that declares as unconstitutional the marriage figure established in the Chihuahua Code, which defines it as the union between a man and a woman.

    In particular, the Panamanian legislator was in favor of maintaining that wording, and, in a given case, considered that in order to legislate the issue there should be some public consultation and submit the issue to the opinion of the citizens.

    'Legal implications'

    The return to the previous format of birth certificates, in which the word "papa" and "mama" is not replaced by "filiation", would have legal repercussions for Chihuahuas who reside outside the state, explained the PAN legislator , Miguel La Torre.

    He said that the formats, applied since the first half of last year, are part of a national agreement so that in all Civil Registries can be processed a record, regardless of the place of origin of the applicant.

  • 29. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Arkansas: Lawmaker Pulls His Anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bill'

    Little Rock AR — On Thursday, 2 March 2017, an Arkansas lawmaker backed away from a broad “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people that had drawn opposition from the state’s Republican governor, but said he will propose another measure giving schools legal protection over their restroom policies.

    Republican Sen. Greg Standridge said he’s withdrawing his one-sentence bill to address gender identity and bathroom privileges. A co-sponsor of the measure had said it was intended to require that people use public restrooms consistent with the gender on their birth certificate.

    Standridge said the bill isn’t needed after Trump revoked an Obama-era federal directive instructing public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender.

  • 30. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    South Dakota: Hateful Adoption Bill Advances

    Pierre SD — On Thursday, 2 March 2017, the South Dakota House approved new legal protections for adoption agencies and foster groups that cite religious reasons for denying services, such as refusing to place children in the care of same-sex couples or single parents. Critics contend the measure, which says agencies can’t be required to provide services that conflict with “sincerely-held” religious beliefs, would allow state-funded placement agencies to discriminate against some children or prospective parents.

    The measure, which passed the chamber 43-20, had previously advanced through the Senate, but a House amendment means senators must consider the changes. Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard said he will examine the bill if it reaches his desk.

    The measure would stop the state from limiting someone’s ability to perform child-placement services, imposing fines, canceling any benefit from a state program and blocking contracts or licenses, if a group declined to provide services because of religious beliefs.

  • 31. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    ACLU Files FOIA Requests for Documents on Discriminatory LGBT EO

    New York — Today, 3 March 2017, the ACLU has demanded documents from four federal agencies concerning a potential executive order that would sanction religiously-motivated discrimination against LGBT people, members of minority faiths, women, and people seeking reproductive health care.

    The Freedom of Information Act requests were filed with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, and Treasury and seek any communications regarding the drafting of an executive order that would attempt to grant broad religious exemptions to organizations from rules barring discrimination. A draft version of the order leaked last month.

    Among other items, the draft order would insert broad exemptions into existing non-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to offer insurance coverage for contraception, authorize federally-funded child welfare organizations to make decisions based on religious directives regardless of the best interests of the child, and allow federal employees, contractors, and grantees to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and women seeking reproductive health care.

    The links to the 4 FOIA requests, sent to the Departments of Treasury, Justice, Labor, and Health and Human Services, are in the ACLU press release here:

  • 32. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Chihuahua Facing Fines for Non-Compliance on Marriage Equality

    Chihuahua, 2 de marzo 2017 – De no reformar el Código Civil para incluir el matrimonio igualitario, el Gobierno del estado deberá pagar una indemnización de reparación del daño, informó el presidente de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos (CEDH), José Luis Armendáriz.

    En entrevista, el ombudsman aseveró que la jurisprudencia de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación es firme e inamovible, por lo que negarse a la armonización representa una violación a la ley, pues el código civil fue considerado inconstitucional.

    En ese sentido, consideró que cualquier debate al respecto resultaría ocioso y el tiempo que tarde el Congreso del Estado en hacer la reforma, se traducirá en un costo económico para Chihuahua, pues se deberá pagar una indemnización por su omisión.

    Chihuahua, 2 March 2017 – If the civil code is not amended to include marriage equality, the state government will have to pay compensation for damages, said José Luis Armendáriz, president of the State Commission on Human Rights (CEDH).

    In an interview, the ombudsman asserted that the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) is firm and irremovable, so refusing to harmonize the code represents a violation of the law, since the civil code has been considered unconstitutional.

    In that sense, he considered that any debate on this matter would be useless, and that the time the State Congress takes to make the reform will be translated into an economic cost for Chihuahua, since compensation will have to be paid for any such omission.

    So, both Tamaulipas and Chihuahua are now facing timed-deadlines before fines for non-compliance begin to be imposed.

  • 33. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Federal Judge: WH Statements on Travel Ban Contradict Statements to Court

    Seattle – On 3 March 2017, a federal judge granted the federal government more time before to respond to a lawsuit challenging aspects of Trump’s refugee and travel ban — but only after noting that he understands “frustrations” about White House statements that “seemingly contradict” the statements the administration has made in court. In Seattle, District Judge James Robart, who previously issued a nationwide injunction of most of Trump’s executive order, granted the Justice Department’s request for a two-week deadline extension in a case seeking class certification for a challenge to the order.

    The Justice Department has sought and obtained similar extensions in other courts based on the department’s representation in court that Trump “intends in the near future to rescind the [Executive] Order [at issue in this lawsuit] and replace it with a new, substantially revised Executive Order.”

    Since the order was signed on 27 January, Trump initially said on 16 February that a new version of the order would be coming the week of 20 Februry. That was delayed until this week, and now, with Trump already down in Florida for the weekend, it appears the order will not be coming until next week — at the earliest. Additionally, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly suggested that, while a new order is coming, the administration continues to believe it will win the ultimate legal fight over the first executive order.

    The plaintiffs in the Washington State case, "Ali v. Trump," fought back against the Justice Department’s request, noting that there have been “numerous contradictory statements by Trump and others in his administration to the effect that they will continue to defend the Executive Order at issue in this litigation, in addition to issuing a new Executive Order.”

    In his order, Robart referenced those statements — “Plaintiffs cite numerous transcripts of White House press briefing and of a presidential news conference that are available on the White House website in support of their argument” — and gave a soft warning to the lawyers representing the administration. “The court understands Plaintiffs’ frustrations concerning statements emanating from Trump’s administration that seemingly contradict representations of the federal government’s lawyers in this and other litigation before the court,” Robart wrote. “Nevertheless, the court will continue to rely on the representations of the government’s attorneys, as officers of the court, which indicate that the new Executive Order will ‘rescind,’ ‘replace,’ ‘supersede,’ and ‘substantially revise’ the existing Executive Order.”

    Today's Order granting the 2-week extension is here at the bottom of the article:

  • 34. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Mexico Sends Its "Very Best" over the Border as First "Payment" on Trump's Wall

    The coastal cities in southern San Diego County have long appeared to maintain solid, cooperative relations with the city of Tijuana and the state of Baja California. This is what makes Mexican officials’ failure to warn local cities of a massive Tijuana River sewage spill that they knew was happening and that lasted 18 days so baffling — and so grossly unacceptable.

    According to US officials with the International Boundary and Water Commission, a joint US-Mexico agency, an estimated 143 million gallons of raw sewage poured into the north-flowing Tijuana river and over the US border between 6-23 February 2017 while repairs were made to a major sewer pipe. Local water authorities say this was done without explanation or advance notice. It led to fouling of Pacific waters from the Mexican coast adjacent to Tijuana all the way north to Coronado and created substantial health risks for ocean and beach users.

    Was it intentional? Who knows. But since Trump already changed the rules to allow coal operators to dump coal waste into the rivers, is allowing pipelines to be built wherever, and has plans to abolish the Clean Water Act and the EPA, why worry?

  • 35. guitaristbl  |  March 3, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Breaking news on Northern Ireland :

    The homophobic DUP party topped the election polls but just marginally winning 28 out of 90 seats in the assembly. It lost its ability to trigger the petition of concern process it used before to stop marriage equality and which requires 30 MPs of either unionist or nationalist parties to agree to it- it will need the support of other so called "unionist" parties to trigger it again. The TUV party that elected 1 MP is likely to join them in triggering such a petition making it to a marginal 29 MPs. The only other unionist party is the UUP and its stance is what will decide the future of marriage equality in NI from now.

    But NI just got a step closer to marriage equality for sure finally.

    UPDATE : After a quick search results are not so encouraging on UUP's stance. It does allow free vote for its MPs on the issue but only one of its MPs (thankfully among the 10 elected now) voted in favour of marriage equality in previous legislative attempts. Now that does not mean they will join a petition of concern despite their opposition to marriage equality BUT even if one MP does so individually then marriage equality is off the books again. So its up to 9 UUP MPs not joining such a motion despite possibly opposing marriage equality. Its a longshot but..

  • 36. VIRick  |  March 3, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Based on your up-dated numbers in this latest election, only 39 of 90 parliamentary members are Unionists of some stripe. Conversely, this would mean that 51 are not. That matches with Northern Ireland's recent negative vote on Brexit, voting instead, like Scotland, to remain in the EU, and disassociating themselves from the current anti-EU sentiment present in England/Wales. So, there are several issues happening simultaneously, influencing the vote.

    I know this is extremely facile, but perhaps they could finally agree to divide Northern Ireland in half, with the die-hard Catholic side joining the Republic (which is in the EU), while the die-hard Protestant side joins an independent Scotland (which also remains in the EU). Since both the Republic and Scotland already have marriage equality, that particular matter is thus resolved.

    Those in Northern Ireland clinging to England at all costs are shrinking in numbers, and appears in large part to be a result of that Brexit vote in England/Wales. Northern Ireland really does not want to leave the EU.

  • 37. Fortguy  |  March 3, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Yeah, that is extremely facile. Just about every city and town in NI is divided between Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. That would be one really weird-looking border only a Congressional gerrymander expert could appreciate and would have no respect to road or rail lines, trade flows, nor county boundaries. It would be a nightmare.

  • 38. guitaristbl  |  March 4, 2017 at 5:59 am

    I am sure if they had the GOP there they could gerrymander it perfectly to their gain – they have perfected that art in many US states.

  • 39. guitaristbl  |  March 4, 2017 at 5:57 am

    The majority of northern irish people are unionist protestants and a scenario of irish reunification of any kind is far fetched even with unionists now not having an absolutr majority. Dont forget that the 51 one MPs that are not unionists are not all nationalists either as Alliance, Greens, People before profit subscribe as neither. The remaining independent MP is said to be a unionist bringing their total number to 40 maybe but I ll have to check that again.
    Any scenario of splitting northern Ireland further is profoundlt unrealistic imo.

  • 40. guitaristbl  |  March 4, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Independent unionist MP Claire Sugden is IN FAVOUR of marriage equality so DUP can forget her vote. Its all up to the 9 UUP MPs who either oppose or their stance is unknown yet. I have been reading comments that UUP does not believe though the PoC should be used on matters where there is a majority in the chamber.
    First estimations say there is a 54 to 36 majority for marriage equality now but it remains to be seen.

    The biggest gamble seems to be the formation of government because if DUP and SF do not agree to form one, devolved powers pass to westminster till new elections occur and new negotiations start.
    The big problem for SF is the DUP leader Arlene Foster who was responsible for the botched heating scheme scandal that led to the fall of the government. If she refuses to step down as leader she complicates the situation.

  • 41. VIRick  |  March 4, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Northern Ireland: DUP Loses Power to Veto Same-Sex Marriage

    The DUP, headed by Arlene Foster, emerged from the election with just 28 seats. Signatures from 30 Assembly members are required in order to pass the "petition of concern" to block marriage equality. Previously, the DUP held 38 seats before the governmental collapse that led to the elections, allowing the party to block same-sex marriage laws.

    Sinn Féin took 27 seats, while the SDLP had 12, the UUP 10, the Alliance Party 8, with other parties taking the remaining 5 of the 90 seats declared. Just 1,168 votes separated the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin, meaning that for the first time Unionists will not hold a majority vote at Stormont.

    Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Mike Nesbitt, who previously said same-sex marriage opponents are “on the wrong side of history,” while opposing it himself, has resigned from his position because of his party's poor performance.

    Following the results of the election, the parties will have three weeks to establish a government that will have to be run by both nationalists and unionists. Another election will be called if a government cannot be formed within that time.

  • 42. VIRick  |  March 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Mexico City: 7th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Jacqueline L'Hoist:

    Hoy, hace 7 años (en 4 de marzo 2010), la CDMX pasaba a la historia como la primera entidad del país en poner en marcha el matrimonio igualitario, gran paso en derechos humanos.

    Seven years ago today (on 4 March 2010), CDMX (Mexico City) went down in history as the first entity in the country to launch marriage equality, a major step in human rights.

    In that 7-year interval, a total of 8503 civil marriages have occurred in CDMX between same-sex couples (couples who have come from all over Mexico to be married there, and whose marriages must then be recognized and respected throughout the rest of Mexico).

    Yet, 7 years later, 21 of Mexico's 32 jurisdictions still do not have marriage equality.

  • 43. allan120102  |  March 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Looks like Marriage equality will not come to NI if a coalition is form as a UUP member has said he will vote for petition of concern along TUV and DUP. They need 30 and even if 1 member of the DUP rebels some UUP members might sign the petition of concern like Roy Beggs of the UUP. I hope England takes control and establish ssm. This pettion of concern is really destroying the chances of NI of getting marriage equality.I hope Sinn Fein leader dont accept a coalition without establishing that DUP might not issue a petition of concern in this topic.

  • 44. VIRick  |  March 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Fresh Push for Same-Sex Marriage in Germany

    Today, 5 March 2017, the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior party in the ruling coalition with Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats in Germany, has announced a new bid for same-sex marriage. According to Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary leader for the SDP, the Green Party will also push for the move. The Green Party’s parliamentary group leader, Katrin Goering-Eckardt, released a statement saying the party would ask for public debates on the issue. “For years, we’ve seen nothing but hot air from the conservatives and the SPD,” she said.

    The SDP hopes that in the upcoming September elections, that it may be able to form a government with smaller parties, and move away from the coalition with the Christian Democrats.

    Various studies have found a majority in support of same-sex marriage in Germany, but despite this, the Christian Democrats have continually opposed it. In the past, officials claimed they were unable to pursue reform on the issue due to the strict coalition agreement.

  • 45. allan120102  |  March 5, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Same sex marriage continue to advance in Tamaulipas as Tampico,Nuevo laredo and Matamoros are now issuing ss licenses to same sex couples without need of an amparo.

  • 46. VIRick  |  March 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Same-Sex Marriage Coming to Tamaulipas

    Nuevo Laredo – Los 57 neolaredenses que firmaron un amparo el 26 de junio del 2014 para poder casarse con personas del mismo sexo, esta semana recibieron un fallo a favor que otorgó la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación para que puedan contraer matrimonio en Nuevo Laredo o cualquier municipio de Tamaulipas.

    Sin embargo, están a la espera de que la resolución llegue a sus manos y puedan casarse ante la ley en los próximos días y así acceder a los derechos de seguridad social y otros que tiene un conyugue.

    “La resolución nos llega dentro de 15 días, posiblemente nos llega el 8 o 10 de marzo, pero estamos poniéndonos en contacto con los que firmaron para saber quiénes ya están listos para casarse y puedan hacer uso de este amparo," comentó Guadalupe Flores Cepeda, líder del grupo, Orgullo Laredo FC.

    “Nuestro abogado es Alex Ali Méndez Diaz de Matrimonio Igualitario México. Previamente, en los últimos dos años, 19 parejas de la entidad acudieron a casarse en Saltillo, Coahuila, que además dos veces por año ofrece bodas colectivas gratuitas, ya nada más pues conseguíamos el dinero para el viaje”, aseguró la líder del grupo Orgullo Laredo.

    Tampico, Matamoros, y Nuevo Laredo son los únicos tres municipios del Estado donde ya se pueden casar personas del mismo sexo, pero fue Tampico el primer municipio en aprobar este tipo de matrimonios, y el primer casamiento que se realizó fue entre dos mujeres.

    Nuevo Laredo – The 57 Neolaredenses who signed for an amparo on 26 June 2014 to be able to marry someone of the same sex, this week received a favorable ruling, granted by the Supreme Court of Justice, which enables them to be able to marry in Nuevo Laredo or any other municipality of Tamaulipas. However, they are waiting for the resolution to come into their hands in the coming days so as to be able to marry before the law and thus access social security rights and other spousal benefits.

    "The resolution will come to us within 15 days, possibly on 8 or 10 March, but we are contacting those who signed to know who is ready to marry and can make use of this amparo," said Guadalupe Flores Cepeda, leader of the group, Orgullo Laredo FC.

    "Our lawyer is Alex Ali Méndez Diaz of Matrimonio Igualitario Mexico. Previously, in the last two years, 19 same-sex couples from Tamaulipas went to be married in Saltillo, Coahuila, which also twice a year offers free collective weddings, and no other expense, other than the cost for the trip," said the leader of the group Orgullo Laredo.

    Tampico, Matamoros, and Nuevo Laredo are the only three municipalities in the state where same sex couples can now marry, but Tampico was the first municipality to approve this type of marriage, where the first such marriage was made between two women.

  • 47. theperchybird  |  March 6, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Chihuahua's PAN Governor breaks with most Panistas and calls for same-sex marriage to be discussed. PAN keeps arguing that the issue is too complicated to just debate it quickly and it needs public consultation/the Court can't tell us what to do and blah blah, but the Governor who said he was in favor of marriage but not adoption in his campaign, says they need to do it especially now that the Supreme Court has that jurisprudence set.

  • 48. VIRick  |  March 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Mexico's Congress Flooded with Anti-Trump Proposals

    Per Karla Zabludovsky:

    Mexico City, Mexico — Stop buying corn from the US. Levy a special tax on US citizens living in Mexico. Reclaim nearly 210,000 acres of land from New Mexico and Arizona. Lawmakers from across the political spectrum in Mexico are churning out a steady stream of proposals — some mild and others bordering on the absurd — to combat Trump’s policies that directly affect Mexico’s economy or its immigrants.

    “There’s a much more proactive dynamic [in Congress], and much less partisanship,” said Senator Armando Ríos Piter of the months since Trump, who has blamed Mexico for a litany of problems in the US, was elected. Some of the measures are outwardly retaliatory, like the one urging the Mexican Foreign Ministry to draw up a list of US cities that support mass deportations and make it public so that potential tourists avoid them. Its architect, Senator Jorge Luis Preciado, was inspired by the travel warnings the State Department regularly emits about Mexican cities it considers dangerous, which he says cost the country millions of dollars in tourism revenue every year.

    Preciado, who belongs to the opposition, PAN, is also pushing an additional tax on Mexican branches of US banks which agree to raise costs on money sent to Mexico. Trump has floated using funds from remittances to build the border wall he’s ordered, which he continues to insist that Mexico will pay for despite repeated denials from the Mexican government.

    Another initiative: wean Mexico off of its corn dependence on the US over the next three years, purchasing it instead from Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, while investing in making Mexico’s fertile land profitable again. That proposal came from Ríos Piter, who is behind Operation Monarch, a program launched shortly after Trump’s electoral victory. The program’s goal is to deepen support for undocumented migrants in the US (by making more attorneys available at consulates, for example) and help deportees transfer the education credits earned in the US to apply to their schooling in Mexico. Ríos Piter has also suggested amending the Constitution to guarantee that no public funds go toward financing the border wall Trump plans to build.

    Trump’s border wall, along with his campaign promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, has undone decades of efforts to deepen goodwill and cooperation between the two neighbors. “President Peña is not Mexico, and Mexico is not Peña,” said Preciado, adding that the US Congress needs to know that there are sectors of the Mexican government that will stand up to Trump’s bullying.

    One of those is Patricio Martínez, a senator from the ruling party. Martínez recently ordered a topographic study of the border, cross-referencing it with a series of binational treaties which determined where Mexico ends and the US begins. More than 268 miles of the border are placed further south than they should be, the study Martínez commissioned revealed. “We must proceed to demand that the border is put in its rightful place and that that territory is returned to us,” Martínez said.

  • 49. VIRick  |  March 10, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Mexico: Federal Judge: Freedom of Expression Does Not Protect the Homophobic Discourse of the Churches

    Libertad de Expresión No Protege los Discursos Homofóbicos de las Iglesias: Juez Federal

    Las asociaciones religiosas obligadas por la Constitución. Libertad de expresión no es sinónimo de permiso para discriminar.

    Religious associations are obligated by the Constitution. Freedom of expression is not synonymous with permission to discriminate.

    In September 2016, at the height of the anti-same-sex marriage marches across Mexico, aided and abetted by various prominent church figures issuing a host of noisy proclamations, Alex Alí Méndez Díaz sued the Archdiocese of Mexico City (and others) for interfering with and violating the separation of church and state. Today, 10 March 2017, Alex won his federal lawsuit in Mexico City, Amparo indirecto 1680/2016 issued by Juzgado Tercero de Distrito en la Materia Administrativa en la Ciudad de México.

  • 50. allan120102  |  March 10, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    South Dakota becomes the first state to pass an anti lgbt law this year. Sadly this bill affect the poor children that needs to be adopted by a loving family. Dissapointed that the governor sign the bill.

  • 51. VIRick  |  March 10, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Tennessee: Anti-LGBTQ Lawmaker’s Torrid Affair with His Married Cousin

    One would think the divorce case involving the vice-mayor of tiny Hohenwald TN and his now ex-wife would not make headlines beyond the 3,700 people who swap gossip at the Junkyard Dog Steakhouse and Big John’s Bar-B-Q. But it is, now that it’s a matter of public record that Lori Barber is leaving her husband for Tennessee State Senator Joey Hensley, one of the staunchest opponents of LGBTQ rights in the Volunteer State.

    And Hensley — who in 2012 declared he was a “family values” Republican — has more in common with his married lover than just their illicit affair. A lot more. "Nashville Scene" reports court documents identify Hensley, who is a doctor in private practice, as Barber’s second cousin. And Hensley is her employer; she works as a nurse in his office. And he is her doctor; records show Dr. Hensley is prolific at writing prescriptions for pain medication for her.

    Why is this important, other than to fuel curiosity and more gossip leading up to the next family reunion? Because Hensley has spent much of his other career, as a state senator, claiming a moral high ground in his opposition to individuals and families who identify as LGBTQ. The “Don’t Say Gay” bill he sponsored in 2012 died before coming to a vote. This year, he is sponsoring legislation to make babies born via artificial insemination illegitimate.

    As "Out and About Nashville" reported, if HB1406 passes, any individual who did not contribute to the conception of a child — such as a same-sex spouse — would only be able to become a legal guardian of that child by filing for a second-parent adoption. That, according to "Salon," could cost as much as $6,500.

    So what does Hensley say about all this? He reportedly refused to testify in the divorce case, using the excuse that he is otherwise unavailable as “a member of the General Assembly while in session,” as well as claiming doctor-patient privilege.

    Soon, Dr. Hensley may not have to worry about that second conflict, as his affair reportedly violated the American Medical Association code of ethics and state board guidelines, potentially endangering his license to practice medicine.

  • 52. VIRick  |  March 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Ruling in Sexual Orientation Case at 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On Friday, 10 March 2017, in "Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital," an appeal of the district court decision dismissing the employee's sex discrimination claim under Title VII, based on gender-nonconformity and sexual orientation, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling.

    In their Opinion, they affirmed the district court's dismissal order in part, and vacated and remanded in part. "The Court affirms the district court's dismissal of the the Title VII sexual orientation claim. The Court vacates the part of the decision that dismissed Evans's gender non-conformity claim and remands the case back to the district court to allow Evans to amend her complaint as to that claim."

    In other words, Evans will be allowed to re-present her argument in district court on the grounds of sexual stereotyping and gender non-conformity.

    The Court split 2-1 as to the sexual orientation claim. Judge Martinez wrote for the majority; Judge Wm. Pryor wrote a separate concurring opinion; Judge Rosenbaum dissented.

    US District Judge Jose Martinez, a George W. Bush appointee sitting by designation on the 11th Circuit Court, ruled that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation based on the federal appeals court’s existing precedent, such as the 1979 decision in "Blum v. Gulf Oil Corp."

    Judge William Pryor, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in his concurring opinion that Title VII only applies to gender stereotyping, and not sexual orientation.

    Dissenting Judge Robin Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee, wrote that the panel ignored the precedent set by the Supreme Court in its 1989 Price Waterhouse decision finding discrimination based on sex stereotyping unconstitutional. “Plain and simple, when a woman alleges, as Evans has, that she has been discriminated against because she is a lesbian, she necessarily alleges that she has been discriminated against because she failed to conform to the employer’s image of what women should be — specifically, that women should be sexually attracted to men only,” Rosenbaum wrote. “And it is utter fiction to suggest that she was not discriminated against for failing to comport with her employer’s stereotyped view of women.”

    Evans was represented by Lambda Legal, who issued the following statement: "Lambda Legal will seek a rehearing by the full panel – all eleven judges – of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals."

    The Opinion is here:

    Lambda Legal's statement is here:

    Explanatory articles from the "Washington Blade" and "LGBTQ Nation" can be found here:

  • 53. VIRick  |  March 11, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    In her dissent, Judge Rosenbaum also issued a slam against Pryor and his two-faced duplicity, as noted by Lambda Legal::

    In her dissenting opinion, Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum joins the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a host of district courts as the first appellate judge to emphatically say: ”…I argue that discrimination against a lesbian because she fails to comport with the employer’s view of what a woman should be violates Title VII’s ban on discrimination 'because of … sex,' and I support this argument with the text of Title VII, Supreme Court precedent, and this Court’s opinion in 'Glenn.' I also note that logic is on my side. Of course, the concurrence is free to ignore my analysis rather than respond to it, but that doesn’t make it go away.”

  • 54. VIRick  |  March 12, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Challenges to Trump's Muslim Travel Ban Prior to Its Taking Effect

    At 12:01 AM Thursday, 16 March 2017, President Trump’s new refugee and travel executive order is due to go into effect. But before that happens, Trump’s lawyers at the Justice Department will have to make their way through several hurdles: court challenges across the nation. The first executive order, signed on 27 January 2017, happened with no warning, went into effect immediately, and led to chaos at airports across the country. This new, second executive order, EO 13780, signed on 6 March, is not yet in effect, leading to less chaos, but also to a more organized effort to get the executive order in front of judges before it takes effect.

    Judges in two federal courts already have set hearings for Wednesday, 15 March 2017, on whether to halt enforcement of the new executive order before it goes into effect, with a third likely to be asked to take similar action before Thursday. A fourth federal judge has already issued a narrow temporary restraining order, which halted enforcement of the new executive order against three specific individuals.

    The first Wednesday hearing, taking place in Maryland at 9:30 AM, was ordered by US District Judge Theodore Chuang, in a case brought by two nonprofit refugee organizations, as well as individuals affected by the order. The International Refugee Assistance Project and HIAS, Inc., are going broad, asking for an order “enjoining Executive Order 13780 in its entirety.” Among those representing the plaintiffs in the case are lawyers from the national ACLU, the ACLU of Maryland, and the National Immigration Law Center.

    The second Wednesday hearing, taking place in Hawaii at 9:30 local time (3:30 PM Eastern Time), was ordered by US District Judge Derrick Watson, in a case brought by Hawaii and an individual affected by the order. Hawaii Attorney-General Doug Chin has brought in the Hogan Lovells law firm, including former US Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, to help represent the state. Slightly more limited than the litigation taking place in Maryland, Hawaii is seeking a temporary restraining order halting enforcement of sections 2 and 6 of the new executive order, the travel and refugee provisions.

    Meanwhile, in the case that halted enforcement of the first executive order, "Washington State v. Trump," US District Judge James Robart “declined to resolve the apparent dispute between the parties” over whether the prior injunction also applies to the new executive order until an amended complaint is filed that addresses the new executive order. Given that Washington State Attorney-General Bob Ferguson said an amended complaint will be coming soon, and given Washington’s aggressiveness in this case, it would be expected that Ferguson’s office, along with the other states expected to be joining his litigation, will be making a move early this coming week. Those states include Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

    Continued below:

  • 55. VIRick  |  March 12, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Continued from Above:

    Notably, the new travel ban order has already racked up its first, if temporary, court loss in a brief order from US District Judge William Conley in the Western District of Wisconsin. John Doe, a man who was granted asylum in the US due to his credible fear of persecution if he were to be returned to Syria, is seeking to bring his wife and daughter to the US under a similar asylum claim but fears they will not be able to travel to the US under the executive order.

    Conley, in an order on 10 March 2017, concluded that Doe “presented some likelihood of success on the merits” of the lawsuit. “Moreover, given the daily threat to the lives of plaintiff’s wife and child remaining in Aleppo, Syria, the court further finds a significant risk of irreparable harm,” he wrote, prohibiting the federal government from enforcing the new executive order against Doe, his wife, or his daughter. Conley’s decision is only a temporary restraining order, however, and further briefing on Doe’s request for a preliminary injunction is set to take place over the next 10 days, with a hearing set for 3 PM on 21 March.

    There also remain questions about what actions Virginia Attorney-General Mark Herring will take in the litigation through which his office obtained a preliminary injunction against parts of the first executive order. His office announced on 6 March that he would be reviewing the new order, but Herring’s office has taken no further action since.

    Additionally, the Arab American Civil Rights League and others who brought litigation in Michigan also filed a notice on 6 March that they would be filing an amended complaint in their lawsuit to address the new order.

    Finally, the PARS Equality Center and others who brought litigation in DC will be submitting an amended complaint on Tuesday, 14 March 2017, according to a joint status report filed on Friday, 10 March, but the remainder of the agreed-upon timeline for the case pushes any ruling off until April.

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