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  • 1. VIRick  |  June 7, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Hong Kong: Same-Sex Recognition Case on Appeal to Court of Appeals

    A British lesbian who is not allowed to work in Hong Kong, and has to leave her wife every six months, has received support for her legal challenge from 12 huge financial institutions. Hong Kong’s government has refused to recognize the civil partnership which the lesbian couple, known only as SS and QT, attained in Britain.

    SS would have been allowed to bring a husband on a spousal visa, but because their union is not recognized under Hong Kong law, immigration authorities in the former British colony have repeatedly rejected QT’s spousal visa application. The pair moved to Hong Kong in 2011 after SS was offered a professional job in the territory, but QT is unable to find employment on her tourist visa. She also can’t get a bank account or identity card and must leave the territory every six months, meaning she is unable to carve out any sort of life that’s her own.

    The women lost their case at the High Court last year. They are now appealing, with QT arguing the decision was discriminatory and goes against the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights Ordinance. Between them, these two statutes hold that all Hong Kong residents shall have civil, legal, and political equality.

    Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley are among the dozen multinational companies who plan to submit their formal support for the pair’s case to Court of Appeals, the "South China Morning Post" has reported. The institutions plan to explain in the letter that it makes economic sense to help same-sex couples, and thus ensure that Hong Kong keeps attracting talent.

    According to the newspaper's source, “It will probably be the first time for non-NGOs to intervene and give the court their ideas. And more importantly, this time, it is from the financial sector, which creates the most money for the Hong Kong economy. It is more than a civil rights issue. Now, it is also a business issue."….

  • 2. VIRick  |  June 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Minnesota: Anti-Transgender Suit Appealed to 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 6 June 2017, in "Calgaro v. St. Louis County," the case of the miserable Minnesota mother who is suing her daughter, in addition to the health care providers and others who assisted the daughter with her gender transition, and who sorely lost in district court, as promised, has filed her Notice of Appeal with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The Notice of Appeal is here:

    The District Court ruling of 23 May 2017 is here:

  • 3. VIRick  |  June 7, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Virginia: "Grimm" Case Re-Assigned to Different Judge in District Court

    Per Equality Case Files:

    As of 6 June 2017, in "Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board," the case involving the right of a transgender student to use the boys' bathroom at school, Judge Doumar is no longer presiding over this matter in district court. Instead, it has been re-assigned to Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen. One may recall that Judge Wright Allen wrote the opinion in "Bostic v. Rainey," striking down Virginia's marriage ban.

    Notice was given in a text-only entry on the docket, with no further comment:
    "Case Reassigned to District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen. District Judge Robert G. Doumar no longer assigned to the case. (Entered: 06/06/2017)"

  • 4. VIRick  |  June 7, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Panamá: Up-Date on the Two Marriage Equality Court Cases

    Per Lima Gay:

    Decisión de Corte Suprema podría convertir a Panamá en el primer país de Centro América en permitir el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo si prosperan dos demandas que la Corte Suprema de Justicia revisa desde principios de este año.

    Una de ellas aboga por declarar inconstitucional el Artículo 26 del Código de Familia, que define el matrimonio como la unión entre un hombre y una mujer, y otra, un párrafo del Código de Derecho Internacional Privado que prohíbe expresamente la inscripción de uniones gais o lesbianas celebradas en el exterior.

    Rigoberto González, el Procurador de la Administración, aseguró al tribunal que “el Código de Familia no es inconstitucional en la medida en que se interprete que así como un hombre y una mujer pueden, voluntariamente, contraer matrimonio, personas del mismo sexo también pueden hacerlo.”

    Pero días después, la Procuradora-General de la Nación, Kenia Porcell, consideró que “no es discriminatorio ni inconstitucional evitar el matrimonio igualitario”.

    Si los magistrados fallan a favor, Panamá se uniría al bloque de países que permiten las uniones legales homosexuales; entre ellos Canadá, Estados Unidos, Colombia, Argentina, México, y Chile.

    One can also read more analysis, including detail about a third Panamanian couple (one of whom is beyond cute) who produced the adorable video-blog, "Estos Dos Manes" (These Two Guys), previously referenced in an earlier post, here:

    Supreme Court decisions could make Panamá the first Central American country to allow same-sex marriage if two lawsuit challenges that the Supreme Court of Justice reviewed earlier this year are decided favorably.

    One of them claims to declare unconstitutional Article 26 of the Family Code, which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and the other, the paragraph of the Code of Private International Law which expressly prohibits the registration of same-sex unions celebrated abroad.

    Rigoberto González, the State Prosecutor, assured the court that "the Family Code is not unconstitutional to the extent that it is interpreted that just as a man and a woman can voluntarily marry, same-sex couples can also do so."

    But days later, the nation's Attorney-General, Kenia Porcell, stated that "it is neither discriminatory nor unconstitutional to avoid marriage equality."

    If the judges rule in favor, Panamá would join the block of countries that allow legal same-sex unions, including Canada, the United States, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, and Chile.

  • 5. scream4ever  |  June 7, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    I'm hopeful given the recent ruling in Taiwan.

  • 6. allan120102  |  June 7, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    For anyone who didnt saw it.
    Puebla to have marriage equality by 2018. The 5 resolutions are ready but thanks to a bigot judge who didnt notify the lgbt groups now they need to wait between 7 to 8 months. The resolutions and the amparo limit of Puebla were resolved in mid 2016 but the judge didnt notify congress either to act. Puebla congress will be notified soon and wether they like or not they need to legalize ssm.
    I think you would like this Rick.
    Gabriela and Monica have been together for five years and as they say with laughter, "they still want to get married". They were one of the couples who initiated a collective amparo in the state of Puebla to be able to get married.

    A few years ago Monica had to enter the hospital and although it was an already distressing moment, it was frustrating for both of them not to allow Gabriela to accompany her, since they did not count (nor could count at that time) with an official document that accredited their Union.

    In 2015 the SCJN declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but in Puebla this reform has been frozen since then

    After two years of waiting, the amparo resolution has been notified in their favor and they will now be able to marry and although this is still not a right for the rest of the LGBTTTI population of the state of Puebla, Equal Mexico continues in the work so that that Hopes do not get longer, in fact, expect same-sex marriage to be a reality for Puebla in early 2018.

    The Equal Mexico project, led by Oaxacan lawyer Alex Alí Méndez, opened the door to same-sex marriage in the Mexican Republic when it began to file for amparos since 2011. In Puebla, the amparos were interposed from 2014, according to The lawyer Guillermo Pérez Jaramillo, representative of Equal Mexico in Puebla.

    In June of 2015 the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared the prohibition of same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but this decision was considered a jurisprudential thesis that does not invalidate the state laws, which means that the couples of the same sex Sex, even after the ruling, can not marry in the states until they make the changes corresponding to their civil code.

    In the case of Puebla this reform to the law, either by recommendation of the federal order or even by international instances, has been in the freezer of the State Congress since the same 2015.

    What has changed then? The amparos interposed by pairs of poblanos in 2014 and 2015 were recently resolved and notified by the SCJN in favor of the protected ones, which gives rise to a new and last judicial process that will force the Congress of the State of Puebla to finally modify the Civil Code .

  • 7. allan120102  |  June 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    2/2 In 2014, 15 couples of the same sex filed an amparo through the project of Equal Mexico to be able to marry in Puebla. In 2015 his amparo was rejected by a district judge who asked them, among other things, "to prove that they were members of that population."

    "How are you going to believe they were lesbians and homosexuals?" Who in your right mind asks you to prove a person, for example, to be indigenous? How do you believe? In addition there is a criterion of the Supreme Court that says that it is enough with the simple fact of saying truth so that they create you – says the lawyer Guillermo Perez in interview for Side B.

    In that same year 5 more amparos were filed, in that case they were separately presented cases and each one was rejected by both the district judge and by the collegiate order for the same reasons. Both the collective amparo and the 5 individual amparos had to To continue the process of amparo this time in front of the SCJN, who attracted the cases of Puebla and were of the last cases that the SCJN took before issuing the national jurisprudence where it establishes that "the legal definitions of marriage that contain the procreation like purpose Of it, violate the principles of equality and non-discrimination contained in Article 1 of the Constitution, by unjustifiably excluding same-sex couples. "

    Finally, the six amparos filed in Puebla before the SCJN were resolved in mid-2016 and although it was the responsibility of the sixth district judge to notify the defendants of their decisions, he never did.Recently (some two months ago) and through a review made by attorney Pérez Jaramillo on the SCJN web platform, he knew that the resolutions were ready and the ruling was in favor of same-sex couples, as it has resulted in all Cases on the same subject in the country.By means of an amparo type office, the district judge is asked, arguing on the 6 previous sentences, that the civil code be modified. It is a process that lasts between 7 and 8 months. Of course there will be resistance on the part of the governor and Congress, but even if they delay you will have no choice, the Amparo Act is the one that will force them.

    This General Declaration of Unconstitutionality is established in Chapter VI (Articles 231 to 235) of the Amparo Law. In the case of Puebla for equal marriage, the declaration of unconstitutionality is directed to articles 294 and 298 of the Civil Code of the State of Puebla that speak of marriage and concubinage, in which it is established that both figures are constituted by "a single Man and a single woman, "a definition that is discriminatory for people with different sexual orientation to heterosexual.

    When the amparo is resolved, as it has already happened with other states where the same legal strategy has been carried out, both the marriage and the concubinage will be a right for all people regardless of their sexual orientation and without the necessity of Lodging an amparo.

  • 8. VIRick  |  June 7, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Luis Larraín Appears on National Chilean TV to Promote Marriage Equality

    Last night, Luis Larraín, the ex-President of Fundación Iguales Chile, and who is now running for a seat in the Chilean Congress, appeared in an interview program on national Chilean TV to discuss (and promote) the Gender Identity Bill and the Marriage Equality Bill:

    Entrevista Verdadera, 6 de junio:
    Luis Larraín se refirió al inicio del debate por la Ley de Identidad de Género

    Luis Larraín referred to the beginning of debate on the Gender Identity Bill.

    One can watch and listen to the entire interview program here:

    To dispel any possible ambiguity, Luis is the younger, total hottie in the segment, while the older, white-haired gentleman is the interviewer, Juan José Lavín.

  • 9. VIRick  |  June 7, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Mexico: Quote of the Day

    Per Arturo Zaldívar, Justice of Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice, and as noted by Geraldina González de la Vega:

    Que México deje de ser el lugar en donde todo pasa y no pasa nada.

    That Mexico may stop being the place where everything happens and nothing happens.

  • 10. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 12:10 am

    I realize I have been remiss about reporting on the conclusion of the regular session of the 85th Texas Legislature partly because life responsibilities have kept me from issuing long-winded posts and partly because the fate of anti-LGBT bills resulted exactly as expected as I reported in my previous posts.

    As Rick reported in the previous thread, Gov. Greg Abbott has summoned The Return of the Legi for a special session beginning July 18. Under the state's constitution, special sessions may last for no longer than 30 days, may not consider issues outside of the governor's expressed agenda, and operate under the suspension of many rules normally enforced within each chamber.

    The special session became necessary after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held bills continuing the existence of several state professional boards through a stop-gap sunset process hostage unless the House passed a potty bill to his liking and a bill severely limiting the authority of local governments to approve property tax increases. The House did not blink, so the special is necessary or else come September the state will no longer have authority to license physicians along with practitioners of a few other professions.

    Alex Samuels, The Texas Tribune: Here’s everything you need to know about the must-pass “sunset" bills"

    Abbott, in calling for the special session, announced his 20-point agenda for the Lege to consider. Although a small number of items of his agenda are good things, the overwhelming majority are meant to give the far-right wingnuts in the GOP base something in which to masturbate like teenage boys with a porn magazine.

    Bobby Blanchard, The Texas Tribune: </a href="">20 things Gov. Greg Abbott wants lawmakers to address in a special session

    Patrick promised to force repeated special sessions, if necessary. However, Abbott threw a monkey-wrench into Patrick's plans. Abbott announced that the special session will begin with only the sunset agencies under consideration, and then, after that necessary legislation is passed, would he add the other 19 agenda items. He also, without mentioning Patrick by name, delivered a couple of backhands to Patrick for forcing the special in the first place while not taking responsibility for his own explicable absence, reticence, and lack of leadership during the regular session.

  • 11. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 12:11 am

    So where do we go from here? Due to the unusually large agenda Abbott has proposed for the special session, the limited amount of time, the animosity between Patrick and House Speaker Straus, and Abbott's aloofness, this all works in our favor.

    R. G. Ratcliffe, Texas Monthly: Abbott’s Politically Risky Special Session

    Ratcliffe writes:

    Over on the House side, Speaker Joe Straus, if he’s willing to take the heat, can simply not refer legislation on bathrooms or vouchers or tax rollbacks to a committee for a hearing. In other words, he could make a speaker pocket veto. The House also could approve the Senate legislation on renewing the agencies and then adjourn sine die, without another day—a unilateral end to the session. Between Democrats and rural Republicans who don’t want private school vouchers or property tax restrictions on local government, the votes would be there for such a drastic maneuver.

    That would be awesome. I might also add another tactic. Why pass mere stop-gap measures to keep the five agencies open for the biennium while kicking the can down the road until 2019 for their sunset review? The House could rightly decide that the review process should have occurred during this biennium and hold full hearings, gather agencies heads, professional experts, affected members of the public, etc., and settle their sunset reviews once and for all without waiting for another two years. They'd end up with better public policy while tying the wingnut agenda in knots.

  • 12. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Here is some more relevant analysis.

    Christopher Hooks, Texas Observer: Worst. Legislature. Ever. How Did We Get Here?

    Kolten Parker, Texas Observer: 30 Days of Horror: Greg Abbott Calls Texas Legislature Back for Summer Session

    Jay Leeson, Texas Monthly: Serving Dan Patrick Instead of Their Districts

    Sanford Levinson, Texas Monthly: Lawmakers Embraced Religion to Allow Discrimination

  • 13. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 12:18 am

    In my first post above, here's the correct link that I didn't craft properly.

    Bobby Blanchard, The Texas Tribune: 20 things Gov. Greg Abbott wants lawmakers to address in a special session

  • 14. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Unrelated to Texas politics, today promises to be a very fun day. Not only do we have fired FBI Director James Comey spilling the beans on Trump on Capitol Hill, but we also have the UK election that was timed to be a hurry-up win for Theresa May before the polls showed a colossal chasm open up suddenly underneath the Torries. I'm gonna overdose on popcorn.

  • 15. EricKoszyk  |  June 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Today the Scottish Episcopal Church became the first major Christian church in the UK to allow same sex marriages.

  • 16. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    UK election: Exit polling commissioned for BBC, ITV, and Sky suggest Tories will win a plurality of constituencies, but fall short of a majority. SNP also projected to lose seats.

    BBC News: Election 2017: Tories to be largest party – exit poll

  • 17. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    With 100 of 650 constituencies decided, Labour has 53 (pick up of 4), Conservatives 33 (loss of 2), SNP 8 (loss of 2), DUP 3, Plaid Cymru 2, and one seat carried by an independent. No seats yet for the Pirate Party nor for the Monster Raving Loony Party.

  • 18. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Over half of the constituencies are decided now (327 of 650) with 326 needed for a majority. Here's where we stand so far:

    Labour: 152, +16
    Conservative: 134, -4
    SNP: 23, -12
    DUP: 8, +1
    Lib Dem: 3, +1
    Plaid Cymru: 3, 0
    Sinn Fein: 3, +2
    UKIP: 0, -1
    SDLP: 0, -2
    UUP: 0, -1
    independent: 1, 0

  • 19. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    UK Results After 649 of 650 Seats

    Conservatives are set to be the largest party in Parliament, but definitely short of an overall majority. One needs 326 seats in order to have majority control.

    318, -12, Votes 13,650,900, Vote Share 42.4

    261, up 29, Votes 12,858,652, Vote Share 40.0

    Scottish National Party
    35, -21, Votes 977,569, Vote Share 3.1

    Liberal Democrat
    12, up 4, Votes 2,367,048, Vote Share 7.4

    Democratic Unionist Party
    10, up 2, Votes 292,316, Vote Share 0.9

    Sinn Fein
    7, up 3, Votes 238,915, Vote Share 0.7

    Plaid Cymru
    4, up 1, Votes 164,466, Vote Share 0.5

    1, 0, Votes 524,604, Vote Share 1.6

    0, -1, Votes 593,852, Vote Share 1.8

    Social Democratic & Labour Party
    0, -3, Votes 95,419, Vote Share 0.3

    Ulster Unionist Party
    0, -2, Votes 83,280, Vote Share 0.3

    Independent (N. Down, N. Ireland)
    1, 0, Votes 186,135, Vote Share 0.6

    The sole remaining undeclared constituency is Kensington, right in the heart of London. Just declared,– Labour won over the Conservatives by a mere 20 votes, giving them 262 seats.

  • 20. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    It's now certainty that the UK will have a hung Parliament. With 636 of 650 constituencies reporting and a majority being 326 seats, the Tories have 310 wins with the remaining 14 constituencies not enough to give them a government outright.

    Takeaways, winners and losers:

    There is no Big Winner.

    Labour is a Winner being able to win 258 seats with a 28-seat pick-up (so far) and deny the Tories their previously comfortable majority. This allows Labour to compete with the Tories to negotiate a governing coalition with other parties.

    The Lib Dems are Winners by carrying 12 seats which is a 5-seat pick-up. They did this despite losing 0.6% of the vote share compared to their performance in the 2015 election.

    In N. Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein are both huge Winners. Together, they eliminated the Social Democratic & Labor Party and the Ulster Unionist Party completely from Westminster, and, with the exception of an independent PM from NI who won reelection, together have staked their claims as sole representatives of their unionist Protestant and republican Catholic communities.

    The Welsh party Plaid Cymru Held Steady keeping its seats and its vote share unchanged. Two Welsh constituencies still haven't reported.

    The Conservative Party is a Loser. Despite this, they won the most seats and are more easily able to form a coalition with fewer ideological compromises than Labour. It helps them that the resurgent Lib Dems chose to align with them in the last coalition government. Nevertheless they lost at least 11 seats despite increasing their vote share by 5.6%, and there are already reports of party leaders calling for Theresa May to step down.

    The Green Party saw a falloff of more than 2% of their vote share, but they were working from a low baseline to begin with and only one MP, so let's just call them mere Losers.

    The Scottish National Party is a Big Loser. The party lost 21 seats holding 34 with one Scottish constituency still undecided. This surely weakens their efforts, in the wake of Brexit, to hold another independence vote and remain in the EU.

    As mentioned above, the N. Irish SDLP and UUP are Big Losers with the UUP in particular having lost 5.8% of its share of the vote since 2015.

    At the bottom, the UK Independence Party wins the dubious award for Catastrophic Loser. The party lost its parliamentary representation along with a stunning 10.8% drop in their share of the popular vote barely beating the Greens. Apparently, with Brexit already happening, the rest of Nigel Farange's toxic agenda to Make Britain White and Christian Again has no resonance with the electorate.

  • 21. Fortguy  |  June 9, 2017 at 12:23 am

    With 646 out of 650 constituencies decided, I will make this projection based upon all four missing districts being located in deeply Conservative rural Cornwall.

    Conservatives: 319 (including the 4 Cornish unresolved constituencies)
    Labour: 261
    SNP: 35
    Lib Dem: 12
    DUP: 10
    Sinn Fein: 7
    Plaid Cymru: 4
    Green: 1
    independent: 1

    In my assessment above, I'll upgrade the Greens to Held Steady for what it's worth. I'll keep the Welsh party Plaid Cymru in the same category despite their winning an additional seat.

    The Tories are still losers, but they can form a government most easily with the Lib Dems. A Labour government would be challenging impossible as they would need to get into the controversial demands of the regional nationalist parties to form a coalition. (Labour would need both DUP and Sinn Fein to get on board. That ain't happening.)

    I predict expect a Tory-Lib Dem coalition government, with or without May, but I also expect new elections sooner rather than later.

    And I'm dying to know when Holyrood has to call elections.

  • 22. JayJonson  |  June 9, 2017 at 5:31 am

    May is planning to form a government with the DUP. This is likely to be an unstable coalition. Expect another election by the end of the year. This will not aid May in her negotiations with Europe.

    The DUP is notoriously anti-gay and pro-Brexit.

  • 23. guitaristbl  |  June 9, 2017 at 6:12 am

    The tories seem to have given up on that last seat but a recount will take place this afternoon so we'll see. Most likely scenario is 318 though for them now. At this point each seat matters.

    Also Con+LibDem is not happening theybhave fundumentally different agendas.

  • 24. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Southwest Airlines Pushes Back Against Texas Politicians’ Transphobia

    Texas-based Southwest Airlines released a new video to show support for a trans employee during Pride, one day after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session to potentially discriminate against transgender students. The thrust of this new video posted to Facebook is that the airline not only welcomes trans employees, but celebrates them as part of a diverse workforce.

    Ethan Avanzino is a gay trans man who works as a creative producer at the company’s training facility, making videos that update staff on FAA regulations and airline policies. “Southwest Airlines University is a place where employees come to learn and grow,” the airline said in its post. “One Southwest employee shares his passion for his work, and the love and respect shared between him and his Southwest Family."

    Avanzino, whose mom also works at Southwest, said in the video that Pride is important to him because it celebrates who he is. Avanzino came out and transitioned on the job, and he said he felt what the airline calls “LUV” from his Southwest family.

  • 25. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Dumb-Ass Lively Appealing Favorable District Court Ruling

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 8 June 2017, in "SMUG v. Lively," the Sexual Minorities Uganda's suit against Scott Lively, the defendant filed an appeal of the district court decision in his favor – yes LIVELY is appealing:

    "Although this Order granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant-Appellant Lively, multiple jurisdictional grounds exist for its review by the First Circuit, including: (1) to reform the Order and eliminate from it certain extraneous but prejudicial language immaterial to the disposition of the case and which the district court had no jurisdiction to entertain or enter and (2) to correct the district court’s error in failing to dismiss Plaintiff’s state law claims with prejudice, such that they cannot be re-filed in state court." [citations omitted]

    He is also appealing the 14 August 2013 order denying his motion to dismiss.

    His Notice of Appeal is here:

  • 26. scream4ever  |  June 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    He really is stupid lol

  • 27. Fortguy  |  June 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    yes LIVELY is appealing

    No, he most definitely is NOT! Lively may appeal all he wants, but I will never, ever find him appealing.

  • 28. Elihu_Bystander  |  June 8, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for making a good end to my very good day. ROTFLMAO

  • 29. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    "yes LIVELY is appealing" …. "but I will never, ever find him appealing."

    Fortguy, you're wicked in your cleverness! But, I like it. Come, sit by me.

    Still, I didn't say that,– at that point, I was merely quoting Kathleen's comment at Equality Case Files.

    I only take credit for calling him a dumb-ass in the title of that post.

  • 30. Elihu_Bystander  |  June 8, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    These are my questions, can the plaintiff, SMUG, now now respond that Lively's actions in the United States were indeed significant and ask the appeals court to vacate the district courts ruling and remand it for trial?

    Does a federal district court have the jurisdiction to add prejudice to prevent filing a suit in state court?

    Should Lively and his attorney have allowed a sleeping dog to lie?

  • 31. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    "Should Lively and his attorney have allowed a sleeping dog to lie?"

    To normal people, the answer to that question is a self-evident "Yes."

    I do not believe that a federal court has the jurisdiction to dismiss state law claims, let alone to dismiss them with prejudice. The federal judge only ruled, based on federal claims, that he did not find he had sufficient jurisdiction at the federal level. However, had he been able to find otherwise, he would have ruled against Lively,– and said so, quite bluntly.

    Notice in the transgender insurance case, immediately below, that the plaintiff is requesting a re-hearing in federal court, and as an alternative, if that is not acceptable to the court, that they are requesting certification of the question for transfer to the Minnesota Supreme Court for a hearing on state law claims under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

    SMUG should immediately do the same, and file its claim in state court, as I believe Massachusetts has a similar Human Rights Act in force.

  • 32. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Request for Rehearing in Transgender Insurance Case Before 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 7 June 2017, in "Tovar v. Essentia Health," the appellant has filed for a rehearing of an 8th Circuit Court of Appeals order dismissing, for lack of standing, her employee-based suit for coverage of her transgender son's transition-related medical treatment.

    Plaintiff-Appellant Brittany Tovar's petition for rehearing on a portion of the panel's decision or, in the alternative, certification of the question to the Minnesota Supreme Court:
    "… Appellant Brittany R. Tovar (“Appellant”) respectfully requests panel rehearing or rehearing en banc of the portion of the Panel’s May 24, 2017 decision dismissing her Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) claim. In the alternative, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 480.065, subd. 3, Appellant respectfully requests certification of the MHRA issue to the Supreme Court of Minnesota."

    The Petition for Rehearing is here:

    Note: There are two simultaneous, but quite opposite Minnesota transgender cases at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. In this instance, the mother is suing her insurance company to cover the medical expenses for her son's transition. In the other, "Calgaro v. St. Louis County," mentioned at the beginning of this thread, the miserable mother is suing everyone in sight, including the daughter and all the medical personnel, for having gone through with the transition.

  • 33. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Germany Welcomes Gay Chechnya Refugee

    Germany has welcomed a gay man who fled the purge of LGBT people in Chechnya. This week, Germany took action to accept a refugee from the region. According to "The Local," a Foreign Ministry official confirmed that “a visa was issued and the person was able to come to Germany on 6 June."

    The Foreign Ministry told the online German newspaper "Tagesspiegel:" “We are happy to be able to help in especially difficult cases. In every case, the German government checks which meaningful protection can be granted in the interest of the affected person.”

    The country provides visas on “urgent humanitarian grounds” for people who are at risk.

  • 34. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Chile: More Government-Sponsored Participatory Meetings on Marriage Equality

    Per Segegob Tarapacá:‏
    Hoy día, 8 de junio 2017, dirigentes sociales en Tarapacá y Iquique analizan y discuten alcances sobre matrimonio igualitario, para definir proyecto de ley a enviar al Congreso.

    Today, 8 June 2017, social leaders in Tarapacá and Iquique analyze and discuss the scope of marriage equality, to define the bill to be sent to Congress.

    Per Injuv Aysén:
    Injuv Aysén realiza un desayuno público donde se dialoga con jóvenes del Colegio Diego Portales sobre el matrimonio igualitario

    Injuv Aysén holds a public breakfast to dialogue with young people of the Colegio Diego Portales about marriage equality.

    Tarapacá is in the far north, while Aysén is in the far south.
    Chilean acronyms:
    Segegob = Secretaría General de Gobierno (Regional Government Administration)
    Injuv = something with "juventud" (youth affairs) in it

  • 35. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Colombia Diversa Publishes a History of the Marriage Equality Court Case

    Per Colombia Diversa:
    Conoce el caso que sentó el precedente para que se lograra el matrimonio igualitario en Colombia.

    Know the case that set the precedent for achieving marriage equality in Colombia.

    This very extended article (in Spanish) covers the entire history of the court case in Colombia, step by step:

  • 36. VIRick  |  June 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Mexico: Jesuit Priest/Rector of Universidad Iberoamericana Publishes Article in Favor of Marriage Equality

    Here's the entire article, as published on 2 June 2017 (in Spanish) in "Reforma," written by the Jesuit priest, David Fernández Dávalos, the Rector of Universidad Iberoamericana, in favor of marriage equality:

  • 37. guitaristbl  |  June 9, 2017 at 6:26 am

    On the UK election :

    Conservatives most likely won 318 seats. With Sinn Fein in N Ireland winning 7 seats and given their usual stance of abstentonism the parliament has effectively 643 seats so the conservatives need a majority of 322 aka 4 seats. An alliance with ultra conservative DUP which increased its seats to 10 gives them a majority of 6 – nothing close to what May expected for sure especially the fact she has to form an alliance in first place.

    I saw a comment about other coalition scenarios and are all virtually impossible. Case-by-case :

    – Con LibDem : LibDems have made it clear they wont work with tories and want another EU referendum. They have a very pro european stance.
    -Lab SNP PlaidCymru Green( Sinn Fein) : As I said Sinn Fein does not take its seats under any case so they are out. The other 4 could work together but they do not amass a majority of MPs and it would have to be a minority government unlikely to be stable or tolerated by the majority consisting of the tories and the DUP.
    -Con Lab grand coalition : no chance. Labour have momentum and have zero reason to work with the tories right now.

    Any other combination is equally unlikely due to fundumentally different agendas (e.g. Con SNP) or pure arithmetics (e.g. Lab anyone but Con kind of scenario).

    The big positive is of course the absolute destruction of far right trump loving UKIP but on the other hand the major player in all UK politics now is the possibly even worse DUP. They hold all the cards and May as hostage at this point and it remains to be seen how this will influence the yet to be formed northern irish government and the negotiations there and of course LGBT rights. The DUP opposes marriage equality and supports conscience clause exceptions for religious people in anti-discrimination laws.

    UPDATE : The final seat has gone to Labour by a margin of 20 votes after all so the final tally as reported by BBC Is Con : 318 and Lab : 262 BUT one correction has to be made despite the fact there is ambiguity in media reports. The 318 tally for conservatives includes the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow who has been re-elected – but according to wikipedia :

    "Unlike presiding officers of legislatures in many other countries, the Speaker remains strictly non-partisan, and renounces all affiliation with his or her former political party when taking office as well as when leaving the office. The Speaker does not take part in debate or vote (except to break ties; and even then, the convention is that the speaker casts the tie-breaking vote according to Speaker Denison's rule)."

    So effectively this is 317 seats for Conservatives and 10 DUP = 327 : plus 1 from officially needed majority, plus 5 if Sinn Fein abstention is taken under consideration.

  • 38. guitaristbl  |  June 9, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is openly gay and married, sought categoric assurances from Theresa May about LGBT rights and the alliance with DUP.

    She is quoted to have said :

    "I was fairly straightforward with her. I told her there are number of things that count to me more than party. One of them is country, one of the others is LGBTI rights. I asked for a categoric assurance that if any deal or scoping deal was done with the DUP there would be absolutely no rescinsion of LGBTI rights in the rest of UK and Great Britain."

    She is also said to have reminded the prime minister that Scottish Conservatives hold more seats than the DUP.

  • 39. VIRick  |  June 9, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    "She is also said to have reminded the Prime Minister that Scottish Conservatives hold more seats than the DUP."

    True enough. Within Scotland, the Scottish Conservatives now hold 13 seats, 12 of which were just gained from the SNP. Labour now holds 7 seats, having gained 6 seats from the SNP, while the LDs now hold 4 seats, having captured 3 from the SNP.

    So, yes, Scotland is probably the only area within the UK where the Conservatives can claim a "win," a win which is likely to be rather tenuous at best, given Scotland's recent political history. In the previous Parliament, the SNP held 56 of Scotland's 59 seats. Now they hold 35.

  • 40. VIRick  |  June 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Venezuela: From the Inside Out and Up-Side Down

    Karla Zabludovsky, my favorite Mexican journalist, has just published a stunning article (in English) on the current social reality of every-day life in Venezuela. At first, if may seem somewhat off-topic, but this reality is what we're up against in the fight for marriage equality (among a host of other issues).

    It's a fascinating read, one comparing Mexico, which appears to be providing an array of essential foodstuffs, to a ridiculously-dependent Venezuela. Indirectly, of course, it shows how much better-off Mexico truly is (despite lots of its own faults, Mexico can actually boast of having a vibrant, functioning economy). And that one unanswered question in the comments section below the article,– If given the choice between arepas and tortillas, would 30 million Venezuelans actually pack up and move to Mexico? Probably, "Yes."

    And just for clarity, Catia, where much of the visiting/reporting/observation occurred, is probably the worst urban slum area in metro Caracas. So, the article is highlighting the bottom-most end of the social order, one which is in obvious disorder and utter disarray.

    Note: Karla is much braver than I am. I have driven through Catia, but have never ventured out to walk around in it, with or without a government-provided "minder" and assorted associates.

  • 41. VIRick  |  June 10, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    India: US Embassy Lights Up in Pride

    Per Rex Wockner, from US Embassy India, 5 Jun 2017:

    We’re celebrating LGBT Pride Month at the US Embassy in New Delhi by lighting our building in the rainbow colors of Pride.

  • 42. Fortguy  |  June 10, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Another interesting upcoming election will be Sunday when Puerto Rico holds another statehood referendum. Unlike previous referendums, tomorrow's ballot will present a strictly binary choice: yes or no to statehood. Should statehood be rejected, a future second referendum would be triggered between independence and the status quo.

    Previous plebiscites have shown the island to be nearly evenly divided between supporters of statehood and the current commonwealth with independence advocates placing in single digits of percent. However, the current financial crisis and the lack of sovereignty to address it have no doubt increased support for both statehood and independence at the expense of support for the status quo. Although many statehood opponents have pledged to boycott the vote, I think that is a dumb decision that should only be used when there is no commitment to holding free and fair elections.

    Should statehood prevail and despite traditional Republican platform support for PR statehood, I suspect this administration and the GOP majority in Congress probably think the island is populated by drug-smuggling Meskin rapists who won't speak American and want statehood only to let them begin imposing their sharia laws on the country.

    Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek: Will Puerto Rico Become the 51st U.S. State? Island Chooses Between Statehood, Independence or Status Quo
    Ed Pilkington, The Guardian: Puerto Rico votes again on statehood but US not ready to put 51st star on the flag

    As a state, PR would replace Hawaii as the third smallest state after Rhode Island and Delaware, and its population would be most similar in size to Connecticut. It would be entitled to five congressional districts temporarily swelling the size of the U.S. House until it would revert back to 435 seats after the following census. The Electoral College would similarly swell until after the census when Nate Silver would need to reserve the domain name

    And, just for fun, here's how a 51-star flag would likely appear.

  • 43. allan120102  |  June 10, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I am not sure but I believe Puerto Rico would be more of a Republican bastion than Democrat. Puerto Rico like most of LA is traditional and abortion and same sex marriage are not issue they support, PR compare to other LA countries havent had the problem of immigration as people in PR can enter the US easier than the rest of LA, So that wouldnt be an issue that democrats could apply. If Honduras or El Salvador became states for example they would take Alabama and Mississippi as the most bigot states and they would be 100% republicans. The only way they could become democrats is with the relaxation of immigration. A problem PR doesnt have.

  • 44. Fortguy  |  June 10, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I think the best way to test that premise is to look at stateside Puerto Ricans. Many islanders have been voting with their feet by moving to the states for many, many decades to the point that now more than half of all ethnic Puerto Ricans live in the states and D.C. than live on the island itself. How do they vote? Overwhelmingly Democratic.

    Part of that is because Puerto Ricans who came to the mainland, like most other legal Hispanic immigrants, entered society on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder and had to climb their way up against all odds and often had to rely on public services to help provide for their families.

    Another has to do with the extreme rhetoric and actions coming out of the GOP in recent decades. As Peter Beinart wrote for The Atlantic, Hispanics with heritage from different Latin American countries did not use to identify particularly strongly with each other.

    The forging of a Latino or Hispanic identity has two causes. One is the explosion of Spanish language media in the U.S. since the cable and satellite revolution in the 80s and the Internet in the 90s. Before then, Spanish television in the U.S. was limited to cities in the Southwest, Florida, and the Northeast available only within the radius of the broadcast radius of the stations' transmitting tower with each station catering to the news and music of the national group that predominated within its urban market. Once cable and satellite TV came onto the scene, it allowed the creation of national Spanish language networks such as Univisión, the granddaddy of them all, by recruiting local stations and offering them in exchange programming such gripping telenovelas the never were able to afford before. Although Univisión was initially started with heavy investment from Mexico's traditionally leading broadcaster Televisa, Univisión understood early on that they would need to offer programming and news embracing all of the country's Hispanic nationalities in order to be a truly national network.

    (continued below…)

  • 45. Fortguy  |  June 10, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    (…from above)

    Also helping to create a unified Hispanic or Latino identity in the U.S. as Beinart notes is longstanding hostile rhetoric that has only increased under Trump. Hispanics have long experienced discrimination, but there was a time when politicians actively courted them including Reagan. The Marielito boatlifts under Carter when Castro opened his prisons and told career criminals they were free provided they took a boat to the U.S. was not helpful. The big spike in Mexican migration in the 70s and 80s resulting in Reagan's 1986 amnesty has kept the bigots jumping up and down flinging their feces to this day. Through the 80s and the 90s however was a big, national movement of bigots organizing campaigns to force states to adopt "Official English" or "English Only" laws hoping to prevent the dissemination of government documents and eliminate bilingual education in schools.

    Then came former California Gov. Pete Wilson whose severe political miscalculation with Proposition 187 and other awful legislation intended to appeal to his bigoted base instead galvanized Hispanic opposition increasing their voter participation and destroyed the state GOP so badly they still can't recover.

    So, while a Puerto Rican voter may have socially conservative views, pocketbook issues and hostility from the GOP base will push them into the Democratic column just as it has all of their ex-patriots. GOP talk about free markets has no meaning when the island is closing schools and laying off teachers to pay back stupid hedge fund managers who didn't do any research before speculating all of their clients money on the island. Also, Puerto Ricans may be citizens, but they certainly don't feel like one when some asshole with a MAGA cap at the grocery store ignorantly tells them to go back to Mexico. With the nationalization of Spanish language media, its hard for Puerto Ricans to see what the GOP is doing to other Hispanics and not conclude that "they see something is wrong with my language, my culture, and ultimately me". It's the same conclusion Cuban-Americans are drawing. Granddaddy may have been a Republican because he fled Castro and communism. For younger Cuban-Americans, the Cold War is something in the history books, but the rhetoric of Trump and Ann Coulter are real. Unlike their grandparents, younger Cuban-Americans are now more likely to identify as Democrats. This is also true with Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. Up until GWB, they were predominantly Republican based on social issues and their history of entrepreneurship. Now, they are repulsed by the GOP and their hateful, toxic messaging.

    I'll finish by saying that, despite the relatively recent nationalization of Hispanic identity in the U.S., there are still some major differences that don't necessarily have anything to do with country of origin. For instance, you may have noticed that I primarily use the word Hispanic over Latino. I live in Texas where Hispanic is the preferred term. Hispanics in Texas have a disdain for the word Latino because, as they would say, Latino sounds too califas (Californian).

  • 46. VIRick  |  June 10, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    "…. Hispanic over Latino …."

    Just this evening, I was involved in an extended discussion on this very subject with an elderly Cuban lady (and a long-term refugee from Castro), comparing ethnicity and racial terminology as used in Cuba, versus what might be stated in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and/or Haiti, and how what one discusses within the given community on these matters differs from what one presents to the wider outside world. Both of us agreed that whatever the terms, we definitely nitpick within our respective communities, but unite in a solid phalanx when facing the outside forces.

    That phalanx is actually an illusion when we are comfortable with each other (so comfortable that we were discussing this in front of a group of English-speaking friends), but is a barrier which is quickly erected whenever one feels negativity and/or rejection. For example, one of my credit cards was issued by Banco Popular, one of the leading banks in Puerto Rico, and is totally in Spanish. Sometimes, the reaction to that can be quite odd, and very misplaced,– but is definitely noticed.

    Anyway, here's my take: Hispanic more refers to someone who is Spanish, whereas Latino refers more to someone from Latin America. And peculiarly enough, even in Latin America, Hispanic tends to be preferred as being more complimentary,– mostly because it emphasizes the Euro-centric nature inherent in the term. On the other hand, Latino covers a much wider spectrum. Particularly, for a non-Hispanic person, it is probably wisest to stick with "Hispanic," and leave the word, "Latino," for Latinos to use when discussing each other.

  • 47. VIRick  |  June 10, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    It's complicated. But it is also a class thing. Yes, Puerto Ricans on the US mainland tend to support the Democratic party quite heavily. However, one must remember that the bulk of that population has their roots in the poorer, working class element, a group who frequently found employment tenuous and haphazard if they remained on the island. On the other hand, those who have remained on-island tend to be from the more traditionally affluent element of society, and therefore, lean less heavily toward the Democrats. And in between, there's a shifting element who move back and forth, given that there are no immigration restrictions. Although I tend to view myself as a "special snowflake," I am one of those who move back and forth.

    But what really complicates the issue is that Puerto Rico actually has insular-based political parties, each of which has a pseudo-affiliation with one of the mainland political parties. In Puerto Rico, the pro-statehood party, the Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), nominally aligns with the Republicans, and the pro-status-quo party, the Partido Popular Democrático (PPD), with the Democrats. To me, that alignment has always felt backwards from what it ought to be. I suspect it is about 50-70 years out-of-date, and is caught up in hero worship of Luis Muñoz Marín, the deceased, long-term (1948-64) Rooseveltian-style governor who created the present Commonwealth, now being defended as the "status quo," but a concept which can not be defended forever.

    Leaving that aside, the pro-statehood sentiment within Puerto Rico has been growing at a fairly fast pace, as a much larger chunk of the younger people support it, while the older folks, content with the status quo, and who actually remember Luis Muñoz Marín, continue to die off (following in the wake of the independentistas, who have almost all died off).

    Per Wikipedia:
    The pro-statehood PNP is one of two major parties in Puerto Rico with significant political strength and currently holds both the governorship and the office of Resident Commissioner (Rep to US Congress). In legislative matters, the party has a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives; a majority that gives the party full control over all legislation, including constitutional amendments, without political opposition. These majorities in the legislature, the governorship, and a majority of Supreme Court justices affiliated with the party, give the PNP absolute control over all three branches of government. The party, however, has a minority in the number of mayors on the island.

    Then, we can not discuss Puerto Rico in a vacuum, as a single stand-alone issue. We in the USVI are ready for statehood (as is Guam), but we are deferring to Puerto Rico, as the larger, more populous territory, and have long talked about another "package deal" akin to the Alaska/Hawaii arrangement, but one possibly involving as many as 4 jurisdictions.

    I would not worry much about a 51-star flag. Instead, like Betsy Ross, it might be wiser to think ahead and invest in 54-star flag futures, as I also suspect that DC itself will raise all holy hell, including the complete shut-down of the federal government, if any other jurisdiction beats them to statehood. Besides, they are further along in their preparation.

    And, of course, I am well aware that with the 4 jurisdictions, 2 are majority black, one is thoroughly Latino (with good doses in 2 others), and the fourth is majority Asian. And that the mainland Republicans will totally shit themselves at that prospect, despite the fact that all of us are already US citizens. Plus, we in the USVI, like DC, are quite liberal. And I didn't even get to the whole language issue, but suffice it to say that both Puerto Rico and the USVI are officially and quite firmly bi-lingual, Spanish/English, and have been so for many years.

  • 48. Fortguy  |  June 11, 2017 at 12:55 am

    The only way I see DC statehood getting anywhere is if Trump screws up so badly that he causes a political realignment so severe it compares with the aftermath of the Great Depression or the Civil War before that when one of the two parties was removed from national influence for generations on end. DC's shitty status is, unfortunately enshrined in the Constitution. Amending the constitution would require two-thirds support of Congress plus approval of three-fourths of states. Alternatively, Congress could, by majority vote, give DC back to Maryland, or reduce the size of the district to some weird gerrymander-looking place that only contains federal properties and where only the pres and the VP live with their families allowing the rest to become a state.

    If we're talking constitutional amendments, a better one is just to give DC the same House and Senate representation it would have as a state, and in a good political climate, afford them a decent amount of sovereignty and home rule on local matters.

    A pro-statehood vote would surely be important. It would force GOPers in Congress to defend why or why not they support their own party's pro-statehood position while asking Trump to support it because he thinks PR is somewhere in the Bronx or oppose it because his Russian friends say so. Either way, a future Dem administration and Congress could act favorably.

    Guam? Only if they unite with the Northern Marianas. It would increase the population of the combined territory, and eliminate the distinction of the N. Marianas as being the only populated territory that can't elect a delegate to the U.S. House (yes, even American Samoa, whose residents aren't even citizens, have a delegate). They would then either start having sex like crazy to increase their population to a Wyoming level, or encourage migrants from outside which would diminish their native Chamorro culture.

    Meanwhile, Samoans should have been offered citizenship yesterday. They should also vote on union with Samoa, independence, or status quo.

    Otherwise, unless the USVI wants to become part or Puerto Rico, which would be weird, the only chance for the USVI and American Samoa to become states would be if the U.S. House were to be drastically enlarged as in 3,000 Congress critters. Their are good arguments for doing that. I just don't see it happening.

  • 49. JayJonson  |  June 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    The increase of openly LGBT Members of Parliament (from 32 elected in 2015 to 45 elected last week) means that Theresa May cannot sell us out to keep her coalition with the DUP, for there are now more openly gay Tory MPs (19) than the members of the DUP (10). Interesting analysis in the Washington Post:

    "While the 10 DUP MPs are essential to her survival, so are the 19 LGB members of her own party, and they have been steadfast in their commitment to gay rights in both Britain and overseas. Nick Herbert heads the All Party LGBTQ Parliamentary Group while Crispin Blunt was instrumental in establishing the International LGBTQ NGO Kaleidoscope and has challenged his own party when they have appeared to lose their focus on gay rights.

    But perhaps the most important gay Tory does not even sit in the House of Commons. Ruth Davidson is a lesbian and Protestant unionist who is about to marry her Irish Catholic partner. Moreover, she is the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, a member of the Scottish Parliament, and the woman credited for the dramatic reversal of Tory fortunes in Scotland. Her party’s 12-seat gain in the election saved the Conservative government. Davidson is talked of as a future leader of the Tories.

    Davidson demanded that May give assurances that gay rights would be strongly protected in any deal with the DUP. On Saturday morning, Davidson said that she had received such assurances from the prime minister."

  • 50. ianbirmingham  |  June 11, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Puerto Rico: 97% favor statehood, but only 23% of voters participated in the election.

    Note: SSM has been legal in Puerto Rico since Obergefell (2015).

  • 51. Fortguy  |  June 11, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    This is why you should never boycott a free and fair election. At the end of the day, tu voto es tu voz, and it is the 100% of those who voted whose voices matter while the 97% who voted for statehood made and especially bold statement. Anyone opposed to statehood who didn't vote is indistinguishable from the indifferent, those who just don't care and hold no meaningful opinion. If you feel you have the opinion of the majority on your side, then organize GOTV efforts. If you don't have the majority on your side, boycotting and then claiming the vote was illegitimate because you boycotted is the cowardly way out and demeans the efforts of those who actually took the time to go to the polls and show that they really do give a damn.

  • 52. VIRick  |  June 11, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    The PPD, the pro-Commonwealth, pro-status-quo party, boycotted the referendum for a very simple reason: They knew the numbers in advance, and knew they would lose.

    They really need to abandon this out-dated "Commonwealth" myth (officially called "Estado Libre Associado" in Spanish), as both the English and Spanish-language terms are meaningless, mythical, and contradictory. In the USA, there are 4 states which are officially titled Commonwealths, namely Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. By this standard, Puerto Rico is not a Commonwealth, never mind the phony title. It is simply not on an equal footing with those 4 states.

    Then there's the contradictory Spanish triple-word term, ostensibly covering the same phony concept as "Commonwealth," but which in actual fact means something else entirely:

    1. Estado (State). Unfortunately, Puerto Rico is NOT a state. In the kindest possible way, this is simply a misnomer.

    2. Libre (Free). Free of what? Or free from what? Free as in Independence? No. This word is utterly meaningless.

    3. Associado (Associated). OK, associated with the USA. And within the territory itself, Puerto Rico has a higher degree of limited self-government than the other territories. But it is still a territory with an antiquated, colonial relationship, one whose basic structure was established when the USA was a colonial power. Until the New Deal, we territories all had strict US military rule. Ask Cuba about Guantanamo, or check with Panamanians about the Canal. Then ask Puerto Ricans about what happened with Roosevelt Roads when the US Navy got pissed after we forced them to stop bombing the absolute shit out of both Vieques and Culebra. It's a nasty legacy, which continued even after the US President began appointing civilians as governors, as that strict hierarchical military government structure has remained intact,– and is still intact.

    We need to move on past this colonial era. All the territories need statehood. Almost no one wants independence. Check with Cubans as to how that went there. And then check with the Philippines. Or even nastier, check with Haiti, after the US Marines occupation as to how things went there after that.

    Obviously, I support the PNP in Puerto Rico on their pro-statehood stance. But I support the PPD on almost everything else, including every social issue one can name, beginning with marriage equality and continuing right down the list.

  • 53. Fortguy  |  June 11, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    France National Assembly election: Very impressive performance by Emmanuel Macron's party.

    Based on the first-round results, candidates from Macron’s LREM, a political party that barely existed one year ago, were projected to take between 415 and 445 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly next week. It would represent the largest parliamentary majority for a single party in France since the end of World War II.

    The LREM party won 32.32 percent of all votes, according to official final results published by the French Interior Ministry, in an election that was also marked by a record-high abstention of 51.29 percent. The mainstream conservative Les Républicains party finished the night in second place with 21.56 percent support. They were projected to win between 70 and 110 seats in the next Assembly according to a projection by Ipsos for FRANCE 24.

    France 24: Macron’s party buries French establishment in first round of legislative elections

    Marine Le Pen's National Front performed poorly, and the Socialists performed very poorly.

    The second round runoff will be next Sunday.

    I'll also add that, unlike Rick who may not vote in U.S. federal elections as a resident of the USVI, citizens of all of France's overseas territories were permitted to elect representatives today including those of St. Pierre and Miquelon, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin, St. Barthélemy, and French Guiana in the Western Hemisphere. An additional territory, Clipperton Island off the Pacific coast of Mexico, is uninhabited.

  • 54. Fortguy  |  June 11, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    I would not be surprised if, in the aftermath of this landslide, the new day's headlines will include a news story about Trump calling Macron to congratulate him on his victory and telling him that his party would have won a majority of the popular vote, too, if not for the votes of millions of "illegals".

  • 55. VIRick  |  June 11, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Colorado: Jared Polis Announces Bid for Governorship

    On Sunday, 11 June 2017, the most-senior out member of the US House declared his bid to become the next governor of Colorado, setting himself to become the first openly gay person elected governor in the United States. (Kay Brown in Oregon, elected as Lt. Governor, inherited the governorship when the previous governor resigned).

    Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who has served in Congress since the start of the Obama administration in 2009, said in an email blast to supporters that he’d formally declare his bid to become governor on Monday.

  • 56. VIRick  |  June 11, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Iceland: 7th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Fundación Iguales:

    Hoy se cumplen 7 años desde que Islandia aprobó el matrimonio igualitario. En 2006, se permitió la adopción entre parejas del mismo sexo. Y desde de 11 de junio 2010, el matrimonio igualitario.

    Today marks 7 years since Iceland passed marriage equality. In 2006, adoption was allowed between same-sex couples. And since 11 June 2010, egalitarian marriage.

  • 57. Fortguy  |  June 12, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Saturday, San Antonio voters defeated Mayor Ivy Taylor in favor of the more progressive city council member Ron Nirenberg. Taylor, the city's first African-American mayor, assumed the post when her predecessor Julian Castro became Obama's HHS secretary. Before becoming mayor, she was a district member of the city council and voted against the city's successful adoption in 2013 of a non-discrimination ordinance extending protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    More recently as mayor, she has taken positions against the city participating in a lawsuit challenging the state's newly approved SB 4 anti-immigration "sanctuary cities" law which the city council is pursuing over her objection. She also refused to sign an official statement of support with other U.S. mayors affirming the Paris Climate Accord after Trump announced the U.S. was leaving the agreement.

    Nirenberg has positioned himself against her on all of these issues in his victory. As Taylor leaves the mayor's office, let us hope that she has problematic issues with hard doors.

    Iris Dimmick, Rivard Report: Nirenberg Elected Mayor of San Antonio

  • 58. VIRick  |  June 12, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Keeps Trump's Travel Ban On Hold

    On Monday, 12 June 2017, a federal appeals court kept enforcement of Trump's travel ban on hold "in large part," allowing the federal government to conduct "internal reviews" while the ban is challenged, but keeping external enforcement on hold. As has often been the situation in the Trump presidency, his words on Twitter — a tweet from a week ago — worked against him on Monday.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cited Trump's recent statement — "That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!" — as evidence that the president's assessment is that "the 'countries' … are inherently dangerous, rather than the 180 million individual nationals of those countries" who are affected by the travel ban.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in its opinion, kept in place a lower court's injunction that halts enforcement of the temporary ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as the portions of the 6 March executive order that temporarily halted the refugee program and capped the number of refugees allowed into the country in 2017 at 50,000. The 9th Circuit Court is the second appeals court to uphold an injunction against the travel ban portion of the executive order.

    Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald M. Gould, and Richard A. Paez had heard arguments over the ban in Seattle a little less than a month ago. Monday's opinion was issued per curiam, meaning in the name of the court and not authored by a particular judge.

  • 59. VIRick  |  June 12, 2017 at 11:33 am

    DC and Maryland Sue Trump over Emoluments Clause

    Two Democratic attorneys-general in Trump’s backyard are behind a new legal attack against Trump’s continued interests in his business empire. On Monday, 12 June 2017, District of Columbia Attorney-General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney-General Brian Frosh filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing Trump of violating constitutional prohibitions on federal officials accepting gifts and other “emoluments” while in office, including payments by foreign officials for rooms at a Trump hotel and leases by foreign-owned entities of Trump properties.

    Trump is already fending off similar claims in federal court in New York that he violated the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. The foreign emoluments clause says that federal officials can not accept “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State," without approval from Congress. The domestic emoluments clause forbids the president from receiving any other “emolument” while he’s in office, generally defined as a payment or other financial benefit.

    The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the District of Maryland, claims that Trump’s businesses have received millions of dollars via leases and purchases of Trump properties from entities controlled by foreign governments; Trump’s lease with the Government Services Administration for his DC-based hotel; payments related to international broadcasts of The Apprentice and spin-off shows; and a slew of other business dealings between Trump properties and foreign governments.

    Frosh said that as part of the lawsuit they’ll be seeking Trump’s financial records, including his tax returns.

    Trump should be pleased, as we managed to use his name 13 times in that short report.

  • 60. VIRick  |  June 12, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Nunavut: First Gay Marriage in the Canadian Territory

    Per Rex Wockner and CBC News:

    Two men feted their wedding with friends in Iqaluit earlier this month in what is believed to be the first time a gay Inuk man has married in the territory of Nunavut. Joe Kucharski and Dwayne Nowdlak met in Iqaluit in 2013 and married on 3 June 2017. They're grateful for the support they received from family and friends. Nowdlak is from Pangnirtung.

    "Everyone came including his birth mother and his sister, who is very close to him. And they all made speeches about how they accept him and they accept us," Kurcharski said. "They're not used to this type of relationship, but they accept us because they know we love each other and that we have a daughter, so they accept our family."

    According to Nunavut government records, this marks the first time a self-declared Inuk man has married another man in the territory (though there has been at least one Inuk woman who married another woman).

    Note: Nunavut is the newest, largest, least populous, and northernmost territory of Canada. Essentially, it begins from the northern border of Manitoba, and extends forever. It was officially separated from the Northwest Territories on 1 April 1999. Its capital city, on Baffin island, is Iqaluit (formerly called Frobisher Bay). Inuk individuals are collectively referred to as Inuit, Esquimaux, or Eskimos, although the latter two terms are now considered out-of date.

  • 61. VIRick  |  June 12, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Jalisco: State Governor Joins Guadalajara LGBT Pride March

    Per Rex Wockner:

    En sabado, 10 de junio 2017, el gobernador de Jalisco, Aristóteles Sandoval, participó en la marcha "Guadalajara Pride 2017," y pidió que se respete el matrimonio igualitario.

    On Saturday, 10 June 2017, the governor of Jalisco, Aristóteles Sandoval, participated in the march "Guadalajara Pride 2017," and called for respect for marriage equality.

  • 62. allan120102  |  June 13, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    First polygamous same sex marriage have take place in Medellin Colombia. Conservative voices are fierce in opposition and are saying that they knew this would happen after ssm was legalized in the country.

    The three husbands sealed their love story before a notary.

    Paradoxically, what most worried Manuel Bermúdez, Víctor Prado and Alejandro Rodríguez, was the Christ hanging on the wall of the Notary Sixth of Medellin, for they represented a strong religious belief that would prevent the notary from accepting the document, Known as Constitution Special Patrimonial Regime between Trieja.

    However, the surprise was in their favor, because they succeeded, thus giving way for them to become a trio of husbands and had the freedom to live as a family constituted in Medellin. In the world, there are only two families formed in the "polyamory" mode, this case in the city, is the first in Colombia.

    For Victor Hugo Prada, this is a "feat", which opens a great door to the family constitution, regardless of sex, color or ethnicity, but is constituted by love.

    Manuel Bermúdez Andrade, known as the gay citizen of Medellín, stressed that the "polyamor" has very clear characteristics, that is, there is equality of family contributions, nobody commands at home and dialogue reigns in a Trieja household.

    He reiterated that they have had many years of open relationship to the public, unobtrusively, since they have always shown that their relationship is based on respect.

    Meanwhile, Victor Hugo Prada, reiterated that the document signed, received it last Thursday June 8, date that according to these husbands will forever remember as a step to freedom.

    Some sections of the document signed in the Notary Sixth say: "We wish to form an economic regime based on the relation of Trieja that we have at present" and "is not prohibited by the international laws, nor the law in Colombia. In short, they are married, Amen. "

    These husbands live in an apartment, located in Robledo, Noroccidente of Medellín, where they follow a routine "ordinary", that is, study, work and go out for a walk.

  • 63. Randolph_Finder  |  June 14, 2017 at 9:47 am

    IMO, Polygamy either in the "polyamory" form (greater than 2 in the marriage bond) or the "Mormon" form (able to marry more than one person) are likely to cause more necessary alterations to the law than Same Sex Marriage could possibly…

  • 64. ianbirmingham  |  June 14, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    You have it backwards! Polyamorous marriage happens exactly when each individual can legally marry more than one person, thus creating a "dyadic network":

  • 65. Randolph_Finder  |  June 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

    The article refers to three of them in a single marriage bond. I appreciate that Polyandry may exist in this form as well as the dyadic form. The question becomes which if either should be legallized.

  • 66. VIRick  |  June 13, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Virginia: Trans Candidate Wins House of Delegates Primary

    Danica Roem has won the Democratic primary for the Virginia House of Delegates’ 13th District, making her the first out transgender candidate to win a Virginia state legislative primary, and giving her a chance to be the nation’s only out trans legislator, if this November, she can beat one of the most atrociously obnoxious anti-LGBT lawmakers anywhere, in what could become a classically delicious take-down.

    Today, 13 June 2017, Roem bested three other Democrats, and in November, she will face a total clown-face, otherwise known as Republican Bob Marshall, an extremist who has represented the district with his increasingly ridiculous shit-show for 25 years, and who has garnered an endless list of pseudonyms including “Bigot Bob,” “Sideshow Bob,” and many others which can not be re-printed in a family-friendly environment, due to his extreme anti-LGBT stances, as well as for his extreme positions in support of a host of other far-right social issues and causes. The district is centered on Prince William County in northern Virginia, not far from Washington DC , an out-lying suburban area experiencing rapid growth and change, and one where the old-guard is fast fading.

    A journalist and lifelong resident of Manassas, the historic town that is Prince William County’s seat, Roem had the endorsement of the Victory Fund, EMILY’s List, Equality Virginia, and several other organizations. She won the primary over businessman Mansimran Kahlon, former prosecutor Steven Jansen, and Army veteran Andrew Adams.

  • 67. VIRick  |  June 13, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Chihuahua: Birth of Daughter to Married Same-Sex Couple Recorded

    Per Cheros AC‏:

    Primer registro de hija de matrimonio lesbo-maternal en la Ciudad de Chihuahua.

    The birth of a daughter in a lesbo-maternal marriage has been recorded in Ciudad de Chihuahua.

    The recording of this birth, without incident, places Chihuahua ahead not only of Baja California, but also of Arkansas and Indiana.

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