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News round up and open thread 6/21 w/ UPDATES

Right-wing Transgender Rights

– LGBT employees will honor Gavin Grimm, the transgender student who’s suing his school board in Virginia to be able to use the correct bathroom, at the US Justice Department’s Pride event.

– The Department of Education is closing its LGBT cases involving student discrimination and bathroom use, since the Justice Department is getting less involved in civil rights under the Trump administration. More on that, with filings, here.

– The Supreme Court has not yet acted on Pavan v. Smith, a case involving same-sex adoption, or Masterpiece Cakeshop, a case involving a baker who wants to avoid compliance with state anti-discrimination laws in order to refuse a cake to a same-sex couple. The Court is expected to decide whether to grant or deny the cases before the term ends at the end of the month.

UPDATE 6/22: Earlier today, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the people challenging Mississippi’s law allowing recusal of state officials and service providers in cases involving same-sex couples, among other things, don’t have standing to challenge the law because they lack any injury related to the law. The challengers will ask the full Fifth Circuit to rehear the case.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. allan120102  |  June 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Hopefully everyone reads this. Is about how ssm and lgbt rights have been won in Mexico step by step. It shows opinions from important lawyers and what steps need to happen for ssm to be legal in all of Mexico.

  • 2. VIRick  |  June 21, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    DC DMV to Allow 3rd Gender Option on IDs, Driver's Licenses

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The DC DMV will now allow residents to choose a gender neutral identifier whenever they obtain a local ID card or driver's license. The department announced the move on 20 June 2017 after months of planning. According to the DMV, from later in June, residents will be able to select a gender option that includes "non-binary", "undesignated," and other categories.

    The identifier will be marked with an "X" on their cards instead of an "M" or an "F."

    DC follows closely behind Oregon in allowing a 3rd gender listing on IDs and driver's licenses. Both California and New York are in the process of allowing the same.

    Note: I see I can edit a few of these early posts of mine which, as yet, do not have any replies. However, I am unable to reply to any post whatsoever, nor can I make a new post.

    I suspect that the sudden appearance of a new troll (or the re-appearance of a tired, old one) may have a lot to do with this peculiar situation at hand. Oh, yes. All the troll's posts, as well as all the ensuing back and forth, has been deleted, and everything from the 8th post on down to the end of this thread seems as if it has been "frozen." There have been no new posts made for the past 15 hours which haven't otherwise been deleted for having gotten caught up in the cross-fire (edited to note time at 1900 hours EDT). Plus, there are now only 24 posts still remaining in this thread, as opposed to the 60 stated just above.

  • 3. VIRick  |  June 23, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    I see I can now reply to the first 9 posts on this thread. Here's what I wrote earlier when I could only edit these first handful:

    Note: I can edit a few of these early posts of mine which, as yet, do not have any replies. However, I am unable to reply to any post whatsoever, nor am I able to make a new post.

    I suspect that the sudden appearance of a new troll (or the re-appearance of the same tired, old one) may have a lot to do with this peculiar situation at hand. Oh, yes. All the troll's posts, as well as all the ensuing back and forth, has been deleted, and everything from the 8th post on down to the end of this thread seems as if it has been "frozen." There have been no new posts made for the past 15 hours which haven't otherwise been deleted for having gotten caught up in the cross-fire (edited to note time at 1900 hours EDT). Plus, there are now only 24 posts still remaining in this thread, as opposed to the 60 stated just above.

  • 4. VIRick  |  June 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Survey Finds Broad Opposition to "License to Discriminate" Laws

    According to the latest PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) survey, the percentage of people who oppose allowing a small business owner to refuse to provide products or services to gay or lesbian people, even if doing so somehow violated the owner's so-called "religious beliefs," varied from a high of 75% in Vermont and 72% in Connecticut to razor-thin majorities in an assortment of red states. Rather surprisingly, Alaska showed the least opposition to such pseudo-religious bigotry, at exactly 50%, but was closely followed by Alabama and North Dakota at 51%, Mississippi and Montana at 52%, Oklahoma at 53%, and Louisiana and Tennessee at 54%.

    Despite all the political noise coming from Texas of late, 57% of its residents actually oppose any such "license to discriminate." And overall, within the entire USA as a whole, 61% oppose.….

  • 5. VIRick  |  June 21, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    First Same-Sex Marriage in Tecuala, Nayarit (by a Couple from Mazatlán, Sinaloa)

    Tecuala.- En 20 de junio 2017, con la solemnidad y el protocolo correspondiente, el Director del Registro Civil de Tecuala, Víctor Manuel Alcaraz Gómez, entregó el acta correspondiente al abogado, Daniel Martín Morales Acosta, y al arquitecto, Jesús Domingo Hernández Aldana, vecinos de Mazatlán, Sinaloa, luego de contraer matrimonio igualitario en sociedad conyugal, en el Municipio de Tecuala, Nayarit.….

    Tecuala.- On 20 June 2017, with all the solemnity and corresponding protocol, the Director of the Civil Registry of Tecuala, Víctor Manuel Alcaraz Gómez, recorded the act uniting the lawyer, Daniel Martín Morales Acosta, and the architect, Jesús Domingo Hernández Aldana, neighbors from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, after entering into an equal marriage in a conjugal union, in the Municipality of Tecuala, Nayarit.

    The state of Nayarit has already legalized same-sex marriage. However, for a long interval immediately afterward, almost all such marriages only occurred in the state capital, Tepic, or in Nuevo Vallarta to the south, abutting Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco state. So, this marriage in Tecuala is significant as having taken place in another Nayarit jurisdiction other than those two. Furthermore, the couple is actually resident in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, the neighboring state immediately to the north, one which has adamantly refused to legalize same-sex marriage. The coastal municipality of Tecuala directly abuts the Sinaloa state line, not overly far from Mazatlán, thus making it the closest out-of-state locality with marriage equality.

  • 6. VIRick  |  June 21, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    First LGBT+ Pride March in Querétaro

    Primera Marcha del Orgullo LGBT+ en Querétaro

    En sabado, 17 de junio 2017, más de un millar de personas, entre las que destaca la participación de 16 organizaciones civiles, empresas, y colectivos, se han congregado a las afuera de la Alameda Hidalgo para celebrar la “Primera Marcha del Orgullo LGBT+, Celebrando los Cuerpos y las Vidas,” una estrategia para poner a prueba el respeto que la sociedad queretana dice tenerles.

    Dos de los objetivos que tienen son exhortar al Poder Ejecutivo y Legislativo a que saquen adelante la iniciativa de ley que regularía el matrimonio igualitario, además de la educación incluyente en las escuelas de nivel básico.….

    On Saturday, 17 June 2017, more than a thousand people, including participants from 16 civil organizations, companies, and groups, gathered outside the Alameda Hidalgo to celebrate the "First LGBT + Pride March, Celebrating Bodies and Lives," a strategy to test the respect that society claims to have in Querétaro.

    Two of the objectives of the march were to urge the Executive and Legislative branches to move forward on the bill that would regulate marriage equality, in addition to inclusive education in elementary schools.

  • 7. VIRick  |  June 21, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Mexico: Marijuana is Legalized Nationwide

    Per Geraldina González de la Vega:

    As of today, 20 June 2017, the medical and scientific use of marijuana is legal throughout all of Mexico.

    Ya permiten siembra y cosecha de plantas y venta o compra de fármacos con derivados que cumplan la norma.

    The planting and harvesting of plants and the sale or purchase of drugs with derivatives that meet the standard is now permitted.

    This change in the law in Mexico should go over well, given the negative attitude on this very subject by the current AG of the USA, while free-lance "importers" of various stripes should have a happy time inventing new ways to move their legally-obtained goods over, under, and around Trump's wall.

  • 8. VIRick  |  June 21, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    New York: First Openly Gay Judge Confirmed to State's Highest Court

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Albany — New York’s highest court has a new member. On Wednesday, 21 June 2017, the state Senate confirmed Paul Feinman to serve on the Court of Appeals. He will be the first openly gay person to serve on the court.

    Feinman has been a judge for more than 20 years. He fills a vacancy created by the death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who was found dead in the Hudson River near her Manhattan home in April.

    Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Feinman and today called him a “trailblazer” whose career has been dedicated to the causes of justice and fairness. Senators from both parties hailed Feinman’s experience and said he would be an excellent addition to the Court of Appeals.

  • 9. FredDorner  |  June 21, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    I'd be very, very surprised if SCOTUS grants cert to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case given that they denied cert in the Elane Photography case, which arguably had a better argument.

    While IANAL, I don't think SCOTUS has ever ruled against a public accommodations law.

  • 10. Rick55845  |  June 22, 2017 at 5:14 am

    My hope is that there are insufficient votes among the justices to grant certiorari, and the delay in announcing it is to allow one or more justices to write a dissent (or rant, or whatever). Or mayhap they were waiting for the vacancy to be filled before voting on it? We could get an answer today.

  • 11. scream4ever  |  June 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

    They've added tomorrow and Monday as opinion days. The latter will presumably be the finally day before they go on break (it's also the anniversary of Lawrence v Texas, Windsor v United States of America, and Obergefell v Hodges).

  • 12. VIRick  |  June 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I will be there at the Supreme Court on Monday, 26 June 2017. This year, for Equality Day, I'm not completely certain what we will be celebrating, other than the anniversary date of those previous years' wins. Nevertheless, I will be there.

  • 13. JayJonson  |  June 22, 2017 at 8:52 am

    So happy to learn that the Cincinnatti City Council voted unanimously to name a street in honor of Jim Obergefell and his late husband John Arthur. The renamed street is where Obergefell and Arthur lived the final two years of Arthur's life.

  • 14. allan120102  |  June 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

    As expected the 5th circuit has rule against us and the law of Mississippi has gone into effect. The 5th circuit said that until someone show that the law harms them, the law is constitutional. Unless it goes to the supreme court this case is done as the whole 5th circuit will not overturn the ruling. Sad day for lgbt people in the 5th circuit.

  • 15. Samiscat1  |  June 22, 2017 at 11:07 am

  • 16. VIRick  |  June 22, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Mississippi: HB1523 Becomes Law after 5th Circuit Court Overturns Injunction
    Jackson — Today, 22 June 2017, the controversial "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Religious Discrimination Act" has now become state law, after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the 2016 injunction that prevented House Bill 1523 from becoming law on 1 July 2016. The opinion says that plaintiffs, who were Mississippians from every corner of the state claiming the wide-ranging legislation affected and discriminated against them, did not prove that they had suffered injury-in-fact that would allow a court to deem the law unconstitutional.

    "We do not speculate on whether, even with those allegations, the injury would be too attenuated to satisfy the standing requirements. The plaintiffs have not shown an injury-in-fact caused by HB 1523 that would empower the district court or this court to rule on its constitutionality," the opinion says.

    The court did not shut down the possibility of further litigation where a plaintiffs could prove that they suffered injury due to the implementation of House Bill 1523, but the "Barber v. Bryant" case is officially closed. "We do not foreclose the possibility that a future plaintiff may be able to show clear injury-in-fact that satisfies the 'irreducible constitutional minimum of standing,'" the opinion says. "… [T]he federal courts must withhold judgment unless and until that plaintiff comes forward. The preliminary injunction is REVERSED, and a judgment of dismissal for want of jurisdiction is RENDERED."

    The three-judge panel ruled unanimously with an opinion from Circuit Judge Jerry Smith. Jennifer Elrod and Catharina Haynes were the other two judges. Plaintiffs could appeal to the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case or appeal to the US Supreme Court.

    In addition, the ACLU of Mississippi will continue their case, " Alford v. Moulder," filed on behalf of Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas, executive director Jennifer Riley-Collins said in a press release. “That case was put on hold until the court of appeals ruled. We will continue to proceed on behalf of Nykolas and Stephen to protect them, and other same-sex couples from this harmful and discriminatory law."

  • 17. guitaristbl  |  June 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Expected given that panel of clowns.
    To SCOTUS I guess and hopefully this is heard with the current composition of the court.
    Gorsuch and co. will be blistering hopefully.

  • 18. Zack12  |  June 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Indeed.. there was no way we were going to get a favorable ruling from this panel.

  • 19. VIRick  |  June 22, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Plaintiffs in "CSE v. Bryant" Intend to Seek En Banc Review

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Note the correction to the interpretation from the initial Jackson "Free Press" news article, as just issued by the CSE in its own blistering press release, quoted in full, that said ruling, only announced today, it NOT yet effect, despite all the self-congratulatory back-patting on the part of a host of Mississippi politicians,– and that said ruling may never be in effect:

    Per Campaign for Southern Equality:

    The plaintiffs in the case, "Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant III" (the correct title to the case, rather than "Barber v. Bryant"), will appeal this ruling, seeking review by the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals:

    The three-judge panel did not rule on the merits of the law itself. The opinion reverses Judge Reeves’s lower court decision granting a preliminary injunction. However the preliminary injunction will not be lifted – and HB 1523 will not go into effect – until the formal mandate of the Court of Appeals issues. If the 5th Circuit agrees to take this case en banc, the preliminary injunction will remain in effect until the court rules.

    This decision is not only deeply upsetting for the rights of LGBT individuals living in Mississippi, but also for the protection of religious liberty in our country. Our clients have already suffered enough. The state communicated a message loudly and clearly with the passage of HB 1523: only certain anti-LGBT beliefs will get the protection and endorsement of the state. Under the logic of this opinion, it would be constitutional for the state of Mississippi to pass a law establishing Southern Baptist as the official state religion.

    "We plan to seek an en banc review of the decision by the 5th Circuit” says Roberta Kaplan, lead counsel for the plaintiffs in "Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant," one of two cases challenging HB1523 (the other being the ACLU case, mentioned above, "Alford v. Moulder").

    “HB 1523 is a reckless law designed with only one purpose – to discriminate against LGBT people in Mississippi. We will continue to fight this law in federal courts and to stand with the LGBT community across Mississippi,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

    Passed by the Mississippi Legislature and signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant last spring, HB 1523 would enable Mississippi officials and service providers, such as doctors or store owners, to recuse themselves from serving LGBT individuals on the basis of three specific religious beliefs about gay marriage, transgender individuals, and sex before marriage. Plaintiffs in "Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant (CSE III)" argued that HB 1523, by protecting three specific religious beliefs above all others, is unprecedented and violates the First Amendment’s guarantee that government cannot endorse, or establish, religion.

    Continued below:

  • 20. VIRick  |  June 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Campaign for Southern Equality press statement continued:

    HB 1523 would allow public employees, service providers, and business owners in Mississippi to deny treatment, services, and goods to LGBT individuals on the basis of three specific religious beliefs: (1) that marriage can only be between a man and a woman; (2) that sexual intercourse is properly reserved to such a marriage; and (3) that sex is an immutable characteristic that is assigned at birth and cannot change. Thus, a restaurant manager in Jackson, Mississippi who chooses not to “recognize” the marriage of Rev. Hrostowski and her wife would have been empowered under HB 1523 to refuse to seat them together at a table for two on their anniversary, despite the existence of an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. HB 1523 also prohibits the state from intervening to protect the best interests of gay or transgender children in the care of adults who may hold one or more of these religious beliefs. And HB 1523 not only allows private citizens to refuse to provide counseling and psychological treatment on the basis of the three specific religious beliefs in clear violation of professional ethical guidelines—it also permits state employees, including public school guidance counselors, to turn away students desperately in need of support.

    Mississippi is home to 60,000 LGBT adults and an estimated 11,400 transgender youth and adults, according to 2016 data published by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. The state is also home to 3,500 same-sex couples, 29 percent of whom are raising children—the highest rate in the nation.….

  • 21. FredDorner  |  June 22, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    It's hard to see how HB1523 isn't a violation of Romer v Evans, Lawrence v Texas and Obergefell v Hodges. So while I think it won't survive review by SCOTUS, the standing issue is an interesting one in a state which generally doesn't have any protections for sexual orientation or gender identity. So regardless of whether HB1523 was in force that kind of discrimination would generally be legal. But I think the issue here is that the bill specifically targets LGBT folks for harm and that simply isn't permissible under Romer.

  • 22. VIRick  |  June 22, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Virginia: Prince William School Board Approves LGBT Non-Discrimination Policy

    On Wednesday, 21 June 2017, the Prince William County School Board approved a proposal that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the district’s non-discrimination policy. The entrenched anti-LGBT bigot, State Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County), and his Democratic opponent for the same seat in the House of Delegates, Danica Roem, who is transgender, were among those who testified prior to the favorable 5-3 vote.

    In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia criticized school board members who also voted in favor of a provision that it said “appears to invite” the district’s superintendent” to “write implementing restrictions that restrict the right of transgender students and employees to choose to use the bathroom that confirms with their gender identity. If the superintendent were to accept the board’s invitation and adopt any such restriction, the rule would violate the constitutional and statutory rights of Prince William students and employees who are transgender — rights the ACLU of Virginia continues to stand ready to defend,” it said.

    Prince William County now joins Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax Counties in a bloc in northern Virginia, all with the same sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination school policies, one totally in opposition to the school board policy in Gloucester County where the "Grimm" case originated.

  • 23. VIRick  |  June 22, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Morelos: First Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per IMRy TV Morelos and Graco Ramírez, Gobernador del Estado de Morelos:

    A un año de la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario, colocan banderas de la diversidad sexual en Casa Morelos, el edificio historico del sede de gobierno en Cuernavaca.

    One year after the approval of marriage equality, sexual diversity flags are placed on Casa Morelos, the historic government headquarters building in Cuernavaca.

    IMRy TV Morelos – Instituto Morelense de Radio y Televisión
    Graco Ramírez – The current leftist democratic governor who successfully pushed the marriage equality legislation and state constitutional amendment through to fruition.

    Per Graco Ramírez:

    En Morelos, construimos una Sociedad de Derechos, el Matrimonio Igualitario se elevó a rango constitucional y se respeta la diversidad sexual.

    In Morelos, we are building a Society of Rights, where Marriage Equality has been raised to the constitutional level and sexual diversity is respected.

    Graco Ramírez personally tweeted the above message to the Matrimonio Igualitario website, in celebration of the first anniversary.

  • 24. VIRick  |  June 22, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    California Bans State Travel to Four More States over Anti-LGBT Laws

    California has banned state-funded travel to four more states because of their newly-enacted anti-LGBT laws. The announcement, made by California Attorney-General Xavier Becerra in San Francisco this week, doubles the number of banned states from four to eight.

    The banned list, originally put in place by Becerra’s predecessor Kamala Harris, already includes Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Now, the new additions to that list are Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas.

  • 25. ianbirmingham  |  June 22, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Montana: New Anti-Trans Ballot Initiative After Legislature Nixes Similar "Potty Bill"

  • 26. Elihu_Bystander  |  June 23, 2017 at 12:02 am

    From the article, "The foundation called the effort a necessary step to protect "the privacy, safety and dignity" of Montana children and help guard against sexual predators."

    Wasn't that the Anita Briant organization's claim in Florida? "Save the Children?"

  • 27. Zack12  |  June 23, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Should be noted this hate group is funded by the Republican who was just elected to Congress from Montana, which makes him an all around bigot.

  • 28. ianbirmingham  |  June 23, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Altus Air Force Base Hosts LGBT Pride Month Luncheon


  • 29. ianbirmingham  |  June 24, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    After Greens & Left, Maas & SPD also back LGBT+ equality in Germany

  • 30. scream4ever  |  June 25, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Internal talk suggests Malcolm Turnball is getting ready to allow a free vote in the Australian Parliament on the marriage bill:

  • 31. ianbirmingham  |  June 25, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    In Istanbul, Mr. Gay Syria Fears For His Life

  • 32. allan120102  |  June 26, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Breaking Scotus will hear the baking case of Colorado. I smell another 5-4 decision.hopefully it will be on our side.

  • 33. allan120102  |  June 26, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Breaking as expected the case of same sex couples of Arkansas has been reversed. What I didnt expected was the dissent of Thomas,Alito and Gorsuch. If anyone expect Gorsuch lgbt friendly think again.

  • 34. guitaristbl  |  June 26, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Extremely worrying that SCOTUS decided to hear the baker's case. Lets hope Kennedy stays on court next year and rules in our favour. Especially the trio of Alito, Gorsuch, Thomas must have really pushed on that..

    Also kind of symbolic that they granted cert on this so symbolic for the LGBT community date – 2 years since Oergefell, 4 years since Windsor and 14 years since Lawrence.
    On another note we have another pro-LGBT decision on this day with the per curiam reversal in the Arkansas adoption case. Comforting Roberts did not join the dissent.

    Gorsuch wrote the dissent by the way right ? Not surprised. Just read it. Truly laughable – the man has no legal argument to support his position. He just marches on his already stated bigotry and position that the scope of Obergefell is not settled. He is determined to undermine it all the way to its reversal.

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