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News round-up and open thread


This is an open thread. We’ll have more when news breaks.

– The White House is planning to unveil an anti-LGBT executive order geared toward “religious liberty” on Thursday.

– Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied review in a challenge to California’s ban on so-called LGBT “conversion therapy” for minors. The Court has previously denied review in this case and others challenging the ban and a similar one from New Jersey. The Court has not yet acted in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, involving a baker who doesn’t want to comply with a state anti-discrimination law protecting LGBT people.

– A lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for damages for her refusal to give licenses to same-sex couples who were marrying will go forward.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. guitaristbl  |  May 2, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Yeap just came to report it but it's already there. Very broad license to discriminate EO coming on Thursday. I wonder if it can be challenged in court soon.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  May 2, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Like other EO Trump has signed, I fully expect it to be stayed/overturned in court.

  • 3. theperchybird  |  May 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Who will he rant about this time? California, New York or Hawaii?

  • 4. JayJonson  |  May 2, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    If anyone expects the Marine Le Pen does not intend to repeal marriage equality in France, just ask her niece.

  • 5. VIRick  |  May 2, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    6th Circuit Court of Appeals Issues New Order in Same-Sex Marriage Suit

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals of the dismissal of the complaint in district court, in "Ermold v. Davis," a suit wherein which a same-sex couple was denied a marriage license by Kim Davis, and sued for damages, the dismissal has, in effect, been reversed.

    "Miller v. Davis" wasn't the only lawsuit against Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses. There were two others: "Yates v. Davis" and this case, "Ermold v. Davis." In the current suit, plaintiffs David Ermold and David Moore seek damages for deprivation of their fundamental right to marry.

    After passage of the bill in Kentucky, signed by Gov Bevin, one that changed the process for issuing marriage licenses, Judge Bunning concluded that since “marriage licenses continue to be issued without incident, there no longer remains a case or controversy before the Court” and dismissed all three complaints. See the opinion below for more details pertaining to the procedural history in this case.

    Following dismissal, plaintiffs in this case appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court heard argument in March 2017, and today, 2 May 2017, issued the opinion, reversing the district court's dismissal, and remanding for further proceedings consistent with this opinon.

    "Whether Ermold and Moore will prevail on the merits is not a question currently before us. We hold today that our 13 July 2016 order instructing the district court to vacate its preliminary injunction in 'Miller' did not render this damages-only action moot."

    The Opinion and Judgment is here:

  • 6. VIRick  |  May 2, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Mississippi: Lambda Legal Sues Funeral Home for Refusing to Transport/Cremate Body of Gay Man

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Picayune MS, 2 May 2017
    Today, 2 May 2017, Lambda Legal has announced that it has joined a state lawsuit, "Zawadski v. Picayune Funeral Home," originally filed on 7 March 2017 in the Circuit Court of Pearl River County MS, against a Picayune MS funeral home and its owners/operators for refusing to provide any service for Robert Huskey after his death, leaving his 82-year-old husband, Jack Zawadski, desperate to make other arrangements in the hours after his beloved spouse’s passing. The suit seeks damages for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

    The link to the complaint is in the Lambda Legal press release here:

  • 7. Randolph_Finder  |  May 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    For all of the coverage, I'm not sure how it can be proved that it was someone from the Funeral Home who said the "deal with their kind".

    The Funeral Home's defense is more or less "Nobody here said that" and we don't have a policy denying based on Sexual Orientation. This isn't a "Sweet Cakes" of Oregon situation where they are fighting for their right to discriminate as far as I can tell.

  • 8. davepCA  |  May 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Interesting. But has the funeral home offered any other explanation of their reason for refusing to provide services? According to the info, the services were arranged well in advance, so the funeral home apparently agreed to provide those services at that point and then changed their mind at the last minute for some reason……

  • 9. Randolph_Finder  |  May 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    I haven't seen anything indicating multiple communiciations after Mr. Huskey's death. I think there is a lot in the Timeline that is going to come out at the trial. If it was a *single* communication between the Nephew and the Funeral Home and all other actions by Mr. Huskey's family were taken due to the "deal with their kind" communication, then that is very different to "We called the Funeral Home several times and each time…"

    I believe in Sweet Cakes that both sides agreed on the facts of the case and it became a question of Law. In this case, the facts appear to be somewhat in doubt. The entire case could depend on how well the nephew is on the cross examination.

  • 10. VIRick  |  May 2, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    2nd Circuit Court of Appeals: 2nd Petition for En Banc Review of Sexual Orientation Discrimination

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 2 May 2017, in "Zarda v. Altitude Express," a second petition for En Banc review was filed with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in this instance, pertaining to the matter of an employee's estate wherein which an adverse decision had been rendered by the 3-judge panel on the employment discrimination claim under Title VII based on sexual orientation, a decision reached by a circuit panel currently bound by circuit precedent.

    On 28 April 2017, the first petition for En Banc review on an almost identical matter was filed with the same court in "Christiansen v. Omnicom Group," a case which additionally involves the claim of gender stereotyping.

    The Plaintiffs-Appellants’ Petition for Rehearing En Banc in "Zarda" is here:

  • 11. VIRick  |  May 2, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Perú: Progress on Marriage Equality Bill

    Per LimaGayNet:

    Hoy, 2 de mayo 2017, a las 3:30 PM, la congresista Indira Huilca sustentará ante la Comisión de Justicia y DD.HH del Congreso el proyecto de Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario.

    Today, 2 May 2017, at 3:30 PM, Congresswoman Indira Huilca will support the Equal Marriage Law bill before the Justice and Human Rights Commission of Congress.

  • 12. allan120102  |  May 2, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    This is a great summary and analysis of what the court is going and not going to do in the case of Yucatan. Everyone should really check it out.

  • 13. VIRick  |  May 2, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Panamá: Informing the Public on Marriage Equality

    Per Dr. Alvaro Gómez‏ y Guille Tejada:

    Estos Dos Manes hablan de Matrimonio Igualitario en Panamá con la Dra. Nelva Araúz Reyes (Doctora en Derecho) quien aclara las dudas sobre isso de todo el mundo.

    These Two Guys speak of Marriage Equality in Panamá with Dr. Nelva Araúz Reyes (Doctor of Law) who clarifies the doubts about this for everyone.

    This 16-minute youtube interview is almost too cute for words. Even for those who do not understand Spanish, the hottie on the left is to-die-for. Absolutely amazing eye-candy, so much so that I completely forgot the substance of what was being discussed.

    Manes = Spanglish slang, equivalent to "Guys," but with the implication of their being gay.

  • 14. allan120102  |  May 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Here is the status of the lawsuits in Panama
    The two claims of unconstitutionality filed against the law prohibiting same-sex marriage are far from being resolved by the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

  • 15. scream4ever  |  May 2, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Is there any word regarding the bill in Chile? I thought they were planning on introducing/passing it by the end of mid-year.

  • 16. VIRick  |  May 3, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Regarding Chile, there is no word as to the whereabouts of the Marriage Bill which was promised in January, with a lot of fanfare, and about which it was stated, at that time, that it would be introduced before the end of the first half of the current year.

    On Matrimonio Igualitario, Fundación Iguales has been presenting a daily count-down as to how few days remain. I have not reported anything in this regard, until now, simply because it remains a "no news" situation.

    In my opinion, even though Chile does have civil unions, Panamá, of late, has taken the lead toward full Marriage Equality, as one is now seeing much more activity emanating from all sorts of sources in Panamá, mostly in favor. The filing of those two recent lawsuits in Panamá appears to have grabbed everyone's attention.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  May 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Groups brace for Trump's religious liberty order

  • 18. VIRick  |  May 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    New Zealand: Same-Sex Marriage, Facts and Figures Up-Date

    New Zealand has become one of the most popular destinations for overseas same-sex couples to marry, as almost half of the same-sex marriages and civil unions performed there in 2016 were among people coming from overseas countries, Statistics New Zealand revealed.

    Out of the total of 954 marriages between same-sex couples registered in 2016, (while 483 couples, or 50.6%, were resident New Zealanders), the remaining 471 couples, or 49.4%, were living overseas. Of these, more than half came from Australia. Peter Dolan, population statistics senior manager said: “Couples from Australia accounted for 58 per cent (or 273) of the overseas same-sex couples coming here to marry.”

    A further 17 per cent (or 80) of the couples came from China, making it the country of origin with the second-highest number. (The country of origin of the remaining 25%, or 118 couples, from overseas was not disclosed, but one can surmise that the bulk of them came from additional countries in East Asia).

    Among resident New Zealanders, female couples far out-numbered their male counterparts, 309 (or 64%) compared to 174 (or 36%). Only 20 per cent (or 94) of the overseas same-sex couples who married in New Zealand had one or both partners born in the country. (Again, one surmises that a goodly chunk of this 20% are currently resident in Australia).

    Same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand on 19 August 2013, and since then, 2118 same-sex couples have been married there, Statistics New Zealand reported (through August 2016, for the first 3 years of its legality).

  • 19. GregInTN  |  May 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Former SF Archbishop George Niederauer dies at 80

    Archbishop George Niederauer, the eighth archbishop of San Francisco and a leader in the contentious 2008 battle to pass Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage in California, has died.

  • 20. davepCA  |  May 3, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I'm practicing restraint of pen and tongue.

  • 21. VIRick  |  May 3, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Oh Dave, just let it ALL hang out. Tell us what you really think, with all prior restraint utterly thrown to the wind.

  • 22. davepCA  |  May 3, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Paraphrasing a quote from Bette Davis after the death of Joan Crawford –
    "You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Archibishop Niederauer is dead. Good."

  • 23. DevilWearsZrada  |  May 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Russians have a saying, "You tell either good or nothing about dead ones".

  • 24. scream4ever  |  May 4, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Am I a terrible person for hating Russians and anything Russian due to recent current events LOL

  • 25. JayJonson  |  May 4, 2017 at 9:10 am

    No. You are smart. Of course, there are some "good" Russians, but Russian culture and history tend to be authoritarian, and the current political situation in Russia is viciously anti-gay. I would be suspicious of anything Russian unless there is convincing evidence that the person or institution is not pro-Putin and/or anti-gay.

  • 26. VIRick  |  May 4, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    No, the operating phrase might be to state that one has a "rational, well-grounded, deep-seated suspicion of anything/everything Russian."

    I have lived in Finland for an interval, and have picked up that feeling from the Finnish people themselves. It is not only due to their proximity, and to a very difficult history involving occupation, authoritarianism, and domination, but it also has to do with the distinct possibility of being totally overwhelmed, given the extreme difference between the small numbers of Finnish-speakers v. the massive numbers of Russian-speakers.

    This same intensely suspicious feeling exists in all the Baltic nations, but multiplied several times over, and is compounded by the fact that that "window of opportunity" which existed in the immediate aftermath of the break-up of the Soviet Union appears to have evaporated. Russia is back to being Russia.

  • 27. allan120102  |  May 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Alabama continues to become a more bigot state. Not surprised one a bit.

  • 28. Fortguy  |  May 4, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Alabama isn't becoming more bigoted. It's merely demonstrating that, as the Heart of Dixie, it's still the center of same stifling, oppressive hellhole where it's always been.

    Generations of Americans, unfortunately, have been fed positive portrayals of the state from the likes of musical bands such as Alabama and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I wish the state had a more accurate musical anthem such as their western neighbor does in Nina Simone's Mississippi Goddam.

  • 29. guitaristbl  |  May 4, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    From what I get and from ACLU's reaction to not bother to sue I understand that Trump's order was more show for his easily deceived base rather than anything substantial right ? It eased churches participation to the political process and gave some power to Sessions though to enact discriminatory measures if he wants in federal agencies.

  • 30. VIRick  |  May 4, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Not so quickly, Guitar. Check this suit, already filed against the EO:

    Wisconsin: Freedom From Religion Foundation Files Federal Suit Against Trump's Latest EO

    Per Equality Case Files:

    This afternoon, 4 May 2017, the Freedom From Religion Foundation just filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin federal court over today's EO.

    "The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (based in Madison WI), contends that Trump is violating its equal protection rights and favoring church groups over secular groups, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Trump has directed the IRS to do something for which they both lack any enumerated or implied power: to selectively enforce a legitimate statute based solely on religion.

    "Even if the precise language of the executive order does not accomplish Trump’s promise to 'totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,' the impression his administration is actively trying to foster among evangelical Christians is that the IRS will no longer enforce the Johnson Amendment against them."

    FFRF's press release concerning their suit against the EO is here:

    The link to their federal court filing is here:

  • 31. VIRick  |  May 4, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    New York District Court Judge Rules in Favor of Title VII Protections on Sexual Orientation Claims

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 3 May 2017, another federal district court judge, this time in the Southern District of New York, holds that sexual orientation employment discrimination claims can be brought under Title VII. The case is "Philpott v. New York," filed in August 2016.

    "I decline to embrace an 'illogical' and artificial distinction between gender stereotyping discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination, and in so doing, I join several other courts throughout the country. … For these reasons, and in light of the evolving state of the law on this question, I hold that plaintiffs sexual orientation discrimination claim is cognizable under Title VII."

    The Opinion and Order is here:

  • 32. Fortguy  |  May 4, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Here's a huge surprise no one saw coming. For the first time ever, a committee of the Texas Legislature has voted forward two bills that seek to end discrimination against LGBT in employment and housing. HB 225 by Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) would prohibit employment discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. HB 192 by Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) would make it illegal to refuse to sell or rent a home to someone who is LGBT.

    Both bills passed the House Committee on Business & Industry by a single vote and now must negotiate the House Calendars Committee to get to a floor vote where I'm sure they would certainly die if they get through Calendars. Here are the votes:

    In favor:
    *Rep. René Oliveira (D-Brownsville), committee chair
    *Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth)
    *Rep. Ramon Romero (D-Fort Worth)
    *Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas)

    *Rep. Hugh Shine (R-Temple)
    *Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford)
    *Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin)

    Kudos to Villalba for being the bills' lone Republican supporter.

    Lauren McGaughy, The Dallas Morning News: LGBT anti-discrimination bills overcome first hurdle in unprecedented committee vote

    Bernal thanked Villalba for throwing his support behind the bills, noting neither could have passed without the support of at least one Republican on the committee. Stickland, meanwhile, opined, "Villalba has lost his mind."

    While the rest of us thought that Stickland, a self-proclaimed "Proud Former Fetus" who doesn't believe rape happens inside of marriage, lost his mind a long, long time ago.

    Andrea Grimes, Texas Observer: Jonathan Stickland’s Pot Antics are Comical. His Views on Rape are Terrifying.

  • 33. VIRick  |  May 4, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Villalba is also Hispanic. Since both proposals are anti-discrimination measures, perhaps Villalba is able to see the bigger-picture from the inside-out when it comes to discrimination in a slightly different form.

  • 34. Fortguy  |  May 4, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Also, what struck me about the committee membership is there are no rural, small town members. Villalba is in a unique district with a tightrope where he has to be careful not to be primaried by a more far-right conservative while not being so conservative as to lose a general election against a Dem challenger. Other than that, Stickland and Workman represent mostly suburbs while Shine represents Temple, a decent-sized city adjacent to the gigantic Fort Hood military reservation.

    That the chairman of the committee is a Dem is not remarkable. Because the Lege is divided on factional rather than partisan lines, and because Speaker Joe Straus has always relied on 100% support from Dems to keep his speakership against Tea Party insurgents like Stickland, he does reward Dems with committee chairs knowing on which side his bread is buttered.

  • 35. VIRick  |  May 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Chile: Marriage Equality Up-Date

    Suddenly, today, 4 May 2017, after a very long silence, we have government-sponsored meetings on the proposed marriage equality legislation all over the country, from the provinces of Los Lagos and Biobío to the cities of Valparaíso‏ and Providencia:

    Segegob Los Lagos‏:
    Puerto Montt: El compromiso del Gobierno de Chile consagra la necesidad de convocar un debate abierto con amplia participación matrimonio igualitario. El Gobierno valora las instancias de conversación, respeto, y diversidad en los diálogos matrimonio igualitario.

    Puerto Montt: The commitment of the Government of Chile enshrines the need to convene an open debate with broad participation on marriage equality. The Government values the instances of conversation, respect, and diversity in the marriage equality dialogue.

    FOSIS Valparaíso‏:
    Diálogo participativo de matrimonio igualitario con Director de FOSIS, Seremi Gobierno, Dirigentes de Diversidad Sexual, y Organizaciones Sociales.

    Participatory dialogue on marriage equality with the Director of FOSIS, Government Seremi, Leaders of Sexual Diversity, and Social Organizations.

    Sernameg Biobío‏:
    Directora Valemedelz participa en diálogo con organizaciones para la construcción de Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario.

    Director Valemedelz participated in dialogue with organizations for the construction of the Marriage Equality Law.

    Diversidad del Municipio de Providencia:
    Estuvimos hoy en diálogo participativo sobre matrimonio igualitario, organizado por Segegob.

    Today, we were involved in a participatory dialogue on marriage equality organized by Segegob

    Segegob = Secretaría General de Gobierno

    I have been unable to identify the Chilean Spanish acronym, Seremi.

  • 36. Fortguy  |  May 4, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    According to Spanish Wikipedia, Seremi = Secretaría regional ministerial de Chile

  • 37. VIRick  |  May 4, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Ah, that makes sense. Since Valparaíso‏ is a city, Seremi would be the government ministry in charge of the surrounding administrative region (or province) of the same name.

    Also, just for the record, since 1990, the Chilean National Congress actually sits in Valparaíso, despite the fact that the rest of the national governmental structure remains located in Santiago.

  • 38. allan120102  |  May 4, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Sonora 22 couples had married and 34 are looking for amparos to get marry.
    In Sonora, 22 same-sex couples have been married and 34 are seeking amparo
    HERMOSILLO, May 4 .- In Sonora, from 2015 to date, 56 same-sex couples have sought to formalize their relationship with the State, of which 22 have consummated, while 34 couples continue in the legal battle to Through the amparo to search for what is known as "egalitarian marriage", figure that is not contemplated as such in the local laws.

    Martha Julissa Bojorquez Castillo, director of the Civil Registry of the State of Sonora, indicated that this dependency is not intended to hinder the civil rights of homosexual couples, but since the Family Code does not allow same-sex marriage, it is necessary that when Couples make the request to the Officer of the Unit they are denied for the interested parties to initiate the judicial process by means of amparo.

    "It is very clear, I maintain an open relationship with the people in favor of these issues that I attend directly when they look for me in the office, here the legal issue and they understand it, when a person of the same sex wants to contract marriage they arrive at Officer and request the procedure, the legal director is notified immediately and given a refusal, why? To generate the possibility of amparo with the positive result that makes union possible, but in the case of the State is not regulated, there are no obstacles in Civil Registry because because we do not even participate in the legal process, "said Julia Bojorquez.

    The holder of the Civil Registry detailed that to date there are many more pairs of women than men who have formalized their relationship: 16 pairs of women and six of men; Of which 13 couples are from Hermosillo; Two in Nogales, Agua Prieta and San Luis Río Colorado; One in Ciudad Obregón, Navojoa and Guaymas.

    María Azuzena Burgos Fuentes, Legal Director of the Civil Registry in Sonora, explained that there are five cases where the couples initiated the bureaucratic and legal process but did not consummate the nuptials.

    At the national level, despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice has established several legal precedents, stating that same-sex marriage is a right that must be recognized throughout the country, only 10 entities have legislated in favor.

    2015 to date
    Amparos 34
    Marriages celebrated 22
    Total 56

    Female 16
    Men 6
    Total 22
    HMO 13
    Apson 2
    SLRC 2
    Cliff 1
    Nogales 2

    5 did the process and do not specify
    They have not divorced

  • 39. VIRick  |  May 4, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Perfect! To date, that is the best, most complete summary on the situation with marriage equality for Sonora state yet encountered.

    The very first same-sex couple to marry in the state (via amparo) was the female couple resident in San Luis Río Colorado, way in the far northwest corner of the state, just south of Yuma AZ.

    I am also glad to note that Martha Julissa Bojorquez Castillo, the state director of the Sonora Civil Registry is still on-the-job, carefully guiding same-sex couples through the convoluted process for obtaining a marriage license. I count her as a major ally, in direct opposition to the ridiculously homophobic governor.

    Regarding the 5 instances where couples have successfully obtained a favorable amparo judgment, but have not yet had a civil marriage ceremony, it is important to remember that said judgments have no expiration dates. With amparo in hand, if they so choose, they can take their sweet time for as long as they wish in planning for the ceremony.

  • 40. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Costa Rica: Interim Marriage Equality Up-Date

    Per FDIcr:

    En 3 de mayo 2017, nos reunimos con activistas de derechos humanos de México, Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Ecuador, República Dominicana, y Guatemala. Discutimos sobre avances de matrimonio igualitario en la región. Compartimos prácticas y experiencias que enriquecerán la lucha en Costa Rica.

    On 3 May 2017, we met with human rights activists from Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. We discussed progress on marriage equality in the region. We shared practices and experiences that will enrich the struggle in Costa Rica.

    Per Janekeith Durán B.‏:

    Esto fue chivísima. Nos quedamos con muy buenas ideas para impulsar con más fuerza matrimonio igualitario acá (en Costa Rica).

    This was very clever. It leaves us with very good ideas to push more forcefully for marriage equality here (in Costa Rica).

  • 41. allan120102  |  May 5, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Breaking same sex marriage now legal in Bermuda. Another one add to the list. Thank God.

  • 42. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Bermuda: Gay Couple Win Right to Marry for All Bermudians

    Per "Bermuda Royal Gazette:"

    In a landmark ruling, a gay couple has won their legal challenge against the Bermuda Registrar-General’s decision to reject their application to marry in Bermuda. Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé, Greg DeRoche, took their case to the Bermuda Supreme Court, arguing that the Human Rights Act took primacy in Bermuda and protected their right to marry.

    This morning, 5 May 2017, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons delivered her ruling that stated: “On the facts, the applicants were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation when the Registrar refused to process their notice of intended marriage.” The judgment continues: “The applicants are entitled to an Order of Mandamus compelling the Registrar to act in accordance with the requirements of the Marriage Act and a declaration that same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act.”

    Additionally, per the judgment, which tossed the "one man, one woman" marriage definition: "As part of the existing marriage laws, the Matrimonial Causes Act reflects the common law definition of marriage. For the reasons stated above, it is appropriate for the court to declare section 15 (c) of the Matrimonial Causes Act inoperative."

    Mr Godwin and Mr DeRoche, represented by lawyer Mark Pettingill, sought an order from the Bermuda Supreme Court to compel the Registrar to post their marriage banns, in accordance with the Marriage Act. They also wanted a declaration that same-sex couples are entitled to be married under that law.

    When the civil case was heard over three days in January and February 2017, Mr Pettingill urged the court to write the final chapter in the protection of gay rights in Bermuda. And now, it has.

    The full news article is here:

    The judgment in full is here: ….

  • 43. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    As per my archives, here's a background report on the same case which eventually led to today's ruling by the Bermuda Supreme Court:

    Bermudian Couple's Marriage Application Rejected as Expected

    Bermudian Winston Godwin, 26, and his fiance, Greg DeRoche, 29, who lives in Toronto, filed notice of their intended marriage with Registrar-General Aubrey Pennyman on Monday, 4 July 2016. The application was accompanied by a letter from the couple’s lawyer, Mark Pettingill, which asked Mr Pennyman to make clear his “intentions” within two days as to whether he would post notice of their marriage.

    The "Royal Gazette" understands that Mr Pennyman has written back to Mr Pettingill, telling him he is not prepared to post the marriage banns, in accordance with the Marriage Act. The Registrar’s letter is believed to cite the Matrimonial Causes Act, section 15, which says a marriage is void if the parties are not male and female.

    The matter is now likely to go before the Supreme Court, with Mr Pettingill expected to seek a declaratory judgment to determine exactly what the position is in law. He will also probably apply for a court order which, if issued, would require Mr Pennyman to perform his statutory duties and allow the men to marry.

    Government backbencher Mr Pettingill, a former Attorney-General, has previously said that since the Human Rights Act bans discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and has primacy over all other laws, same-sex couples cannot be denied the service of marriage. Mr Pennyman’s letter, it is understood, made no reference to the Human Rights Act.

  • 44. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Looking further afield and farther down the road, today's ruling by the Bermuda Supreme Court in favor of marriage equality sets the precedent for the entire British Caribbean court system, one which includes any/all British and ex-British Caribbean territories/states, and from Guyana to Belize to the Bahamas, inclusively, for a total of an additional 17 territories, including a prime target visible from where I am sitting,– the British Virgin Islands.

    In 2016, the Belize Supreme Court struck down the Belize sodomy ban as unconstitutional, setting the precedent on that particular point throughout the entire British Caribbean court system. Today, the Bermuda Supreme Court struck down the Bermuda "one man, one woman" definition of marriage as being in violation of the Human Rights Act, setting the precedent on this crucial point throughout the same court system.

  • 45. SethInMaryland  |  May 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Same-sex marriage is now legal Bermuda

  • 46. JayJonson  |  May 5, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Congratulations to Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche. So glad that they pursued their claim to equal rights under the law!

  • 47. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    University of Iowa Discriminated Against Lesbian Athletics Official

    On Thursday, 4 May 2017, in a state court suit, a jury awarded more than $1.4 million to a former University of Iowa athletic administrator, ruling that the university had discriminated against her because of her gender and sexual orientation.

    Jane Meyer alleged she suffered workplace discrimination as a gay woman in a relationship with the school’s longtime and highly successful field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum, that the school retaliated against her for complaining about Griesbaum’s firing, and that she was paid less than a male counterpart for similar work.

    The jury began deliberating on Wednesday, 3 May 2017, and delivered its sealed verdict on Thursday. Judge Michael D. Huppert said the eight-person jury found in favor of Meyer on all five counts.

    Meyer’s attorney, Jill Zwagerman, said she expects Iowa to appeal the verdict — partly because of the size of the award. But Zwagerman also said that the $374,000 in lost wages the jury awarded to Meyer can be tripled under Iowa law because the jury found Iowa’s actions to be willful. Jurors awarded Meyer $444,000 in past emotional distress and $612,000 in future emotional distress, in addition to the lost wages.

  • 48. allan120102  |  May 5, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I am sad to inform that Peru has make a step backward. Lgbt people have been stripped from protections that the president put in place at the start of this year.
    The Plenum of the Peruvian Congress repealed parts of Legislative Decree 1323, issued earlier this year by the government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, considered by various family defenders in the country as a "gag law" pro gay.

    After midnight, at 00:02 on May 5, by 66 votes in favor, 29 against and 0 abstentions, the Plenary decided to repeal article 1 of Legislative Decree 1323, eliminating terminology favorable to the gay agenda, as "orientation Sexual "and" gender identity ".

    In September 2016, the Congress of Peru granted legislative powers for 90 days to the Pedro Pablo Kuczynski government, "in terms of economic reactivation and formalization, citizen security, fight against corruption, water and sanitation, and reorganization of Petroperu."

    Legislative Decree 1323 amended the Criminal Code to include as an aggravating factor for crimes "intolerance or discrimination", for, among other reasons, "sexual orientation" and "gender identity".

    In the amendment to article 323 of the Criminal Code, the rule established "a prison sentence of not less than two nor more than three years" or "provision of services to the community of sixty to one hundred and twenty days" for these cases.

    Speaking to ACI Prensa, Sergio Burga of the Latin American office of the Population Research Institute, explained that the repeal was due to the fact that the Legislative Decree "was not part of the powers that Congress had granted to the Executive Branch in matters of citizen security".

    With the repeal, the rule remains without "any reference to the terms sexual orientation and gender identity."

    Burga stressed that the debate prior to the vote "left no doubt about what the Executive understands as 'gender violence' and 'gender'."

    "While the population 'sells' the idea that 'gender violence' is equivalent to 'violence against women', in Congress the Kuczynski government showed that gender refers to LGBT groups (lesbians, Gay, bisexual and transgender). "

    Burga warned that laws similar to the one repealed are used in other countries "to persecute detractors of the gender ideology, accusing them of" inciting hatred "and silencing them through judicial processes.

    "Thus we have in many countries priests, pastors or leaders pro-families defamed, prosecuted and even imprisoned," he said.

    The pro-family platform With Mis Hijos No Te Metas highlighted that the repeal of the "gag law" came two months after the nationwide multi-national march against gender ideology, on March 4.

    "An exact 2 months of the march of March 4 was finished burying the gag law in the Plenum of the Congress of the Republic," said the organization on its Facebook page, and recalled that managed to gather more than one million and a half Of signatures "against Legislative Decree 1323".

  • 49. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    LimaGayNet has a very long account (in Spanish) of this legislative retreat. However, in addition, they have included the names of the legislators who voted for the repeal, as well as those who stalwartly voted to continue with the Kuczynski executive order.

  • 50. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Argentina: Marriage Equality History

    Per Norma López:

    Hace 7 años en Argentina, en 5 de mayo 2010, obtenía la mayoría sanción en Diputados a favor de la ley del Matrimonio Igualitario.

    Seven years ago in Argentina, on 5 May 2010, the majority approval in Deputies was obtained in favor of the law of Marriage Equality.

  • 51. VIRick  |  May 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    United Arab Emirates: Two Trans Men File Suit for Gender Recognition

    Two trans men in the United Arab Emirates are filing an unprecedented lawsuit to attain legal recognition for their gender reassignments. The lawsuit, a startling development in a country where homosexuality is still illegal and "cross-dressing" people are often prosecuted, was reported by state newspaper, "al-Bayan."

    The trans men were both identified only by their initials. A 26-year-old called H.S., and a 28-year old named A.M., have asked a court in Abu Dhabi to have their genders and names changed on state records. The pair has already undergone hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery in Europe and now seek a change of name and sex on official documents.

    The trans men’s lawyer, Ali al-Mansouri, told Reuters that the UAE’s federal laws on medical responsibility had to endorse gender reassignment because it was a diagnosed medical condition in the country. “The law permits it,” he emphasised. “Tradition is another matter, which might take more time.”

  • 52. VIRick  |  May 6, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Supreme Court Postpones Debate on Marriage Equality in Yucatán

    Pospone Suprema Corte Debate sobre Matrimonio Igualitario en Yucatán

    En 5 de mayo 2017, por segunda ocasión, la Primera Sala de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación pospuso la revisión del amparo directo 5459/2016, interpuesto por tres organizaciones de la sociedad civil, ante la negativa del Congreso de Yucatán de modificar el Código de Familia de la entidad en materia de matrimonio y concubinato.

    On 5 May 2017, for the second time, the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice postponed the revision of the direct amparo 5459/2016, filed by three civil society organizations, in the face of the Yucatán Congress's refusal to modify the state Family Code in matters of marriage and cohabitation.

  • 53. JayJonson  |  May 7, 2017 at 11:35 am

    French polls indicate that Le Pen is losing in a landslide to Marcon. She is projected to receive $35% of the vote to his projected 65%. What a relief. Among other things, it means that same-sex marriage is safe in France.

  • 54. davepCA  |  May 7, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    .. and that the last-minute election sabotage techniques that seemed to prove effective in the U.S. last November did NOT work this time in France.

  • 55. GregInTN  |  May 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    France doesn't use an Electoral College. Maybe the U.S. can learn something.

  • 56. VIRick  |  May 7, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    There are a lot of things the USA could learn from France. For starters, all French citizens, worldwide, are eligible to vote in the French Presidential elections. The winner is the candidate who receives the most votes. Period. France also still continues to use hand-counted paper ballots,– no machines or electronic devices.

    At noon on 6 May 2017, the first polling places to open did so on St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, off Canada's east coast. An hour later, the polling places in Guyane Français opened in South America. In the next hour, they opened in the Départments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, after which all 1.3 million French citizens living abroad could also begin voting.

    Here where I live, for every French election, the French consul maintains an official French voting place, which, appropriately enough, is located in the French consulate in Frenchtown (most French citizens here are from the near-by French islands of St-Martin/St-Barths/Guadeloupe).

    Of course, to me, the greatest irony is this: Despite being a US territory, US citizens resident in the US Virgin Islands are denied the right to vote in the US presidential elections. Yet, despite the fact that this same US territory has never been a French possession of any kind, French citizens here can vote in French elections (simply because French citizens anywhere in the world can vote in the French elections).

    And in June, we will repeat this process for the French National Assembly seats, voting for the various legislative candidates to represent Guadeloupe,– but not to represent the US Virgin Islands in the US Congress with equal, voting members.

    Note: The Départment of Guadeloupe includes the islands of Grande-Terre(Guadeloupe), Basse-Terre (Guadeloupe), Marie-Galante, Terre-de-Haut (Iles des Saintes), Terre-de-Bas (Iles des Saintes), La-Désirade, St-Barthélemy, and St-Martin, in all of which, of course, same-sex marriage is legal (as it is in all other French jurisdictions, worldwide).

  • 57. Christian0811  |  May 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Nominally, the Republic is decentralized (in the preamble of their constitution) but this usually isn't the case in practice and especially not in regards to civil rights. This is in stark contrast to the British tradition of devolution which is why there's little harmony in the U.K. on such matters like Marriage Equality (although the U.K. Parliament could theoretically unilaterally harmonize the law in its jurisdiction).

    In the Napoleonic Code, new laws were considered in effect on the date it could first be know or within 6 months (if I recall correctly). That was because in 1804 word travelled slowly. But in any case it was to be uniform throughout the empire, so that no one would have a privilege by merit of their residency (as was often the case in Ancien Regime)

    Anyways, the US takes after the British tradition which is why the Virgin Islands, for example, cannot vote in important American elections even though they may be citzens and in a US territory. It's convuluted, but historically that's why things are like that.

  • 58. VIRick  |  May 7, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Chile: Quick History on Civil Divorce

    Per Paulina Rojas:

    Un día como hoy hace 13 años en Chile, en 7 de mayo 2004, se promulga la nueva ley de Matrimonio Civil que permitió el divorcio.

    Today, 13 years ago in Chile, on 7 May 2004, the new civil marriage law that allows for divorce was promulgated.

    Amazingly enough, but prior to this date, civil divorce in Chile was illegal. Instead, (hetero) couples seeking a civil divorce would have to take themselves to Uruguay, and file their case there. Uruguay, with its progressive laws, passed well in advance of most of its neighbors, continues to maintain its traditional place as the marriage/divorce capital of South America. At the current moment, there is a special attraction for same-sex couples to marry in Uruguay, given that Uruguay has never required residency for either marriage or divorce.

  • 59. VIRick  |  May 7, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Bermuda Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

    Per Venezuela Igualitaria‏:

    Las Bermudas legaliza el matrimonio igualitario a través de una sentencia de su Corte Suprema.

    Bermuda legalizes marriage equality through a judgment of its Supreme Court.

    Here's a complete, well-written news release by Venezuela Igualitaria providing full particulars on the court case for those who might wish to read about it in Spanish, or disseminate the report throughout Latin America:

  • 60. VIRick  |  May 7, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Yucatán: Deputy Seeks to Analyze Marriage Equality Law

    Yucatán: Diputado Busca Analizar Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario

    Mérida, Yucatán
    Domingo, 7 de mayo 2017
    El diputado local del Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), Rafael Montalvo Mata, emplazó a sus compañeros de legislatura para que a la brevedad se discuta y analice la Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario en la entidad, ya que, según expusieron, representa un derecho fundamental de todos los ciudadanos que radican en la entidad.

    Abordado por "La Jornada Maya," el legislador recordó que desde el mes de noviembre del 2015 el Congreso local ha hecho caso omiso a una recomendación de la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH) donde se emplaza a todas las entidades federativas para que sus congresos locales avalen el matrimonio igualitario.

    Recordó que desde el arranque de la presente legislatura el perredista, David Barrera Zavala, presentó una iniciativa de ley que realiza reformas al código civil del estado que permita las bodas gay que actualmente están prohibidas en el marco jurídico vigente para contraer nupcias por la vía civil.

    Mérida, Yucatán
    Sunday, 7 May 2017
    A state deputy of the National Action Party (PAN), Rafael Montalvo Mata, urged his colleagues in the legislature to discuss and analyze the Marriage Equality Law in the state as soon as possible, as he said, as such, that it represents a fundamental right of all citizens who reside in the state.

    Addressed by "La Jornada Maya," the legislator recalled that since November 2015 the state Congress has ignored a recommendation by the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) whereby all states are called upon through their local congresses to endorse marriage equality.

    He recalled that since the start of this term, the PRD legislator, David Barrera Zavala, presented a bill that reforms the civil code of the state to allow for same-sex marriages, currently prohibited under the existing legal framework for contracting civil marriage.

  • 61. Christian0811  |  May 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Well congrats to Macron and his supporters, I really do hope that this new government listens to the concerns of the opposition as well as keeping true to the platform that got them elected. I still hope that's euroskeptics make gains in the parliaments to continue to push the government's on matters of terrorism and an EU referendum.

    That said, I truly want the French to comeback together. To heal and to see recovery, to have a bright and patriotic future. Brexit, Trump, and this election has been marked by so much anger and resentment I just hope the civil angst of the West can cease and return to a much less alarmist discourse. And I neither want nor envision people norm having passionate discussions or strong opinions, I just want to see people use the term 'fascist' or 'racist' a little less often. RBG and Scalia are great examples of people who can have vigorous disagreements and still be friends.

    I digress.

    I excused my self from the thread earlier because I felt that's it just became a flame war and it wasn't pointless, so I'm sorry to FortGuy for ghosting because gen was actually being a quite pleasant. I'm not necessarily expecting responses to this, its just that I usually respect the people on this platform and I've gotten a lot out of it over the past few years so I would would like to have some closure the distressing arguments a few weeks ago.

  • 62. JayJonson  |  May 8, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    If you want people to use the term racist and fascist less often, then perhaps you should hope that the extreme parties you seem to support will not adopt platforms and candidates that are racist and fascist.

  • 63. Christian0811  |  May 9, 2017 at 11:01 am

    You are perfectly entitled to that perception of candidates that you oppose, as you know I disagree with that assessment. I don't wish to get into another argument on this, I just want there to be good-will and a presumption of good-intention. Inquiry over accusation, I think that attitude has been healthy for this particular forum in the past and should continue even when there are stark differences of opinion.

    I like to pride myself as a moderate-liberal democrat (little 'd'), I can assure you that I'm no Stormfag (i.e. "Self hating" and/or a "neonazi"). I do not endorse, rather I vigorously despise, racial bigotry or the dissolution of a democratic state, I feel that my support for LePen was congruent to these primary points of my ideology.

    Again, my intention is not to argue. I prefer a healthy exchange of ideas that can be challenged and even refined. As such, I would like a margin of grace going into future discussions.

    I know it's kinda silly to take this seriously, but I do enjoy being here from time to time and I want to continue to be able to enjoy contributing to discussions.

  • 64. VIRick  |  May 9, 2017 at 2:27 pm


    Thank you, Christian, as I love that self-defining term because it seems so apropos for the occasion.

    From the perspective of the Caribbean, the EU has been quite beneficial to those islands lucky enough to have been included within its borders, namely any/all French and Dutch jurisdictions. Their relative affluence, coupled with the numerous social benefits inherent in EU membership, pose a stark contrast to their immediate neighbors who were not included, namely many of the British/ex-British islands,– or Haiti.

    So again, from the perspective of the Caribbean, your singular antipathy toward the EU is seen as being one which is rampantly racist and anti-immigrant (no matter how much you protest and claim otherwise). Unfortunately, there are way too many stormfags of this ilk who narrowly view the rest of the world from the privileged, entitled perspective of their own skin hue. If you lived here where I do (and I have lived in several of the ex-British islands, in addition to my present location), you would know.

    Still, I like you, and definitely want you to continue contributing here.

  • 65. Christian0811  |  May 11, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Well I appreciate that Rick, thank you for making me feel welcome in spite of our differences in opinion. 🙂

    I may have said it before, I like measures like the ECHR and it's implementation. I don't always agree with the decisions it's enforcing bodies may make, but the overwhelming majority of the time I believe it's a positive force so I don't object to it and I even support it.

    Anyways I think this horse has been beaten to death by now lol

  • 66. allan120102  |  May 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Trump to appoint 10 strong conservatives to the federal courts.

  • 67. Fortguy  |  May 8, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Rick, you speculated above about the motivation behind state Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) in his committee votes to join Democrats in passing two bills seeking to eliminate anti-LGBT discrimination in employment and housing. Now we know that part of his reasoning was out of respect and friendship with the author of one of the bills, Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas), and part contempt for Steve Hotze, leader of the Conservative Republicans of Texas and one of the organizers of the anti-HERO campaign in Houston. Hotze sent threatening text messages to all House Republicans demanding their support for the potty bill SB 6 and that linked to a blog post of his denouncing gay and trans people in vile, hateful language.

    Lauren McGaughy, The Dallas Morning News: Poo emojis, bathroom bill threats and an 11th-hour deal: What made a Dallas Republican vote for LGBT rights

    Normally, I'd suggest you read the whole thing; however, newspaper articles with headlines beginning with "Poo emojis" tend to draw plenty of eyeballs all by themselves.

  • 68. theperchybird  |  May 9, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Romania's Chamber of Deputies approved the referendum initiative to ban same-sex marriage in their constitution.

    Now we have to wait and see if the Senate to approves it by 2/3 as well or for both chambers to come together and vote as one with 3/4 for it to pass.

    Sadly, I think our goose is cooked in Romania and Georgia.

  • 69. allan120102  |  May 9, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Yeah Georgia is almost a given seeing the composition of the senate and Romania its almost done too as almost every MP is against ssm. Sadly its not the time for either of them to achieve marriage equality even though unjust and unfair there is no real party that will fight for this issue as most of the population its against in those countries.

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