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News round-up and open thread 10/23

Community/Meta Discrimination Transgender Rights

– The state of Washington and a couple denied a floral arrangement for their wedding because they’re a same-sex couple both filed briefs in the Supreme Court opposing review of the case.

– The anti-LGBT group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is appealing a decision dismissing a case involving videographers who plan to get into the wedding video business but don’t want to make videos for same-sex couples.

– In Pavan v. Smith, in which the Supreme Court recently ruled that children of same-sex parents should have both parents listed on their birth certificates, the Arkansas Supreme Court decided on remand that the circuit court should rule for the plaintiffs.

– In challenges to North Carolina’s laws known as HB2 and HB142, the parties have reached a settlement and asked for a consent decree which now has to be approved by a judge. Under the settlement transgender people will be allowed to use the correct bathrooms.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  October 23, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Costa Rica: Denying Marriage Equality Is Discrimination without Justification, Say Organizations

    Costa Rica: Negar Matrimonio Igualitario Es Discriminación sin Justificación, Dicen Organizaciones

    La Asociación Costarricense de Derecho Internacional, y la Fundación Igualitos y Acceder consideran que negar el matrimonio civil entre personas del mismo sexo es un trato discriminatorio no justificado contra esta población. “Esta negación repercute en la constitución de las democracias,” expresaron en un comunicado.

    Los grupos cuestionan la falta de protección para las relaciones de parejas homosexuales en torno a temas como herencias, bienes adquiridos, reconocimiento social, y pensiones, entre otros. “El estado de derecho es la base de la construcción de la democracia, y al no cumplir con el principio y derecho de igualdad, no solo se hace un diferencia odiosa, sino que se cuestiona la normativa nacional e internacional, y por lo tanto puede tener repercusiones en otros aspectos,” según el documento.

    The Costa Rican Association of International Law and the Fundación Igualitos y Acceder (Foundation for Equality and Access) assert that denying civil marriage to same-sex couples is unjustified discriminatory treatment against this population. "This denial has repercussions on the constitution of democracies," they expressed in a statement.

    The groups question the lack of protection for same-sex couples' relationships around such issues as inheritance, acquired goods, social recognition, and pensions, among others. "The rule of law is the basis for the construction of democracy, and not complying with this principle and the right to equality, not only makes an odious difference, but also questions national and international law, and therefore can have other unforeseen repercussions," according to the document.

    "Igualitos" is the diminutive plural of "igual" (equal), and has no literal equivalent in English. The two groups are broad-based Costa Rican professional organizations, rather than exclusive, LGBT-specific associations.

  • 2. Randolph_Finder  |  October 24, 2017 at 2:22 am

    ViRick, not directly related, but what states should change colors in the map of Mexico now?

  • 3. VIRick  |  October 24, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    At present, and as per the current Wikipedia map of Mexico, 31 of 32 jurisdictions are all correctly colored. So far, 12 jurisdictions (blue) have legalized same-sex marriage. Another 14 (gold) have acquired the necessary number of amparo judgments to require their state legislatures to act to change the state marriage codes to allow same-sex couples to marry. Only 5 (tan) still have not obtained the needed 5 favorable amparo judgments.

    That leaves one jurisdiction unclear,– Guerrero,– and one for which I do not have a good answer. As best as I am aware, the previous governor's executive order allowing same-sex couples to marry has never been rescinded. As a result, at one point shortly after its issuance in July 2015, and continuing for quite a few months thereafter, the Wikipedia map showed Guerrero to be blue (but more recently, was mysteriously changed to gold). Until we can positively determine that said executive order has, in fact, actually been rescinded, I would argue that it still ought to be blue.

    However, if the executive order has been rescinded (with suspect date being March 2017, but without positive written proof of such yet to be located), then Guerrero needs to be down-graded all the way to tan, because as best as can be determined, there has never been a single positive amparo judgment rendered in that state (and none was needed, once the previous governor had issued his executive order).

    At the moment, Guerrero is colored gold. Either way, as shown above, that coloring is incorrect. Thus, depending on the current status of that earlier executive order, Guerrero ought to be either blue or tan.

  • 4. allan120102  |  October 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I agree that Guerrero should be tan for now. As no amparo has been approve in the state. I try to localize information about executive orders in Guerrero but havent found a good place to look. I will try later today or tomorrow to look in twitter or facebook about an lgbt group in Guerrero who can give me specific information about ssm in the state.

    Anyhow a second amparo has been granted in Edomex

  • 5. VIRick  |  October 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Allan, there have been two new amparos granted in Toluca, Edomex, both on 24 October 2017, bringing the state amparo total up to 3, with a 4th pending. See new post further below for details.

  • 6. guitaristbl  |  October 23, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Is the videographers case the one where they were never asked to make a video for a same sex wedding but still sued ? lol. Given this goes to the 8th though they may find standing even in this one.

  • 7. VIRick  |  October 23, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, that's the one. It was dismissed in the district court for Minnesota for being a hypothetical non-suit. Not only were they never asked to produce a video for a same-sex wedding, but they actually have not even gotten into the business of producing such wedding videos for anyone else. However, according to them, if they were ever to go into the wedding video business, they are attempting to claim that they could not do so for a same-sex couple for "religious" reasons. And the ADF, truly grasping at straws (with a maleable idiot for a plaintiff) are appealing anyway.

  • 8. guitaristbl  |  October 23, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    This is such a silly case to pursue especially when they already have the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before SCOTUS now. Whatever happens in that one it would cover any hypothetical conduct their clients may or may not engage in anyway, even if there was merit to the case. But let them spend their funds in such nonsensical ways if it pleases them..

  • 9. VIRick  |  October 23, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    If I were a judge sitting on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals at this very moment, and had this preposterous, hypothetical non-suit come before me, I would fine the ADF the maximum allowable fine for having wasted the court's time by their having pursued this matter in the first instance.

    Minnesota is a relatively liberal state stuck in the very conservative 8th Circuit. The ADF is suing the state, and is attempting to claim that Minnesota's Human Rights Act, an inclusive non-discrimination law, might possibly, maybe, if their dim-bulb client ever gets off her a$$ and actually goes into business, sort of, possibly, maybe, might hit her with discrimination charges since she couldn't possibly film a video of a same-sex wedding, given her half-baked "christian beliefs;" and all this despite the fact that no one ever asked her to do anything of the sort, given that she's never actually launched any kind of business whatsoever. But she might, and thus, is tightly wrapping herself in her own victimhood blanket in advance, by claiming the possibility of some kind of potential reverse "discrimination" against her (for her actual acts of discrimination), just in case she ever does decide to launch her business.

    Next question: Is "nut-job" spelled that way, or this way: Nutjob?

    And the ADF, for its part, is attacking Minnesota, hoping that the very conservative judges of the 8th Circuit Court might actually listen to their twisted argument.

  • 10. Elihu_Bystander  |  October 23, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    According to my search, there are three variations of the spelling given in this order: nutjob, hut job, & nut-job. All are correct.

  • 11. VIRick  |  October 23, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Excellent points, Elihu, although I never expected a literal answer to my summary argument, succinctly disguised as a rhetorical question!

  • 12. guitaristbl  |  October 23, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    As the date SCOTUS will be hearing arguments in the bakery case is approaching I find myself more and more uncertain on its outcome. Kennedy has been a defender of the notion of "religious freedom" the baker and ADF present and decisions such as Hobby Lobby show it clearly while he has the legacy he has on LGBT rights as well. I have a suspicion we may get a ruling trying to differentiate between artistic work and other services with the first getting a pass to discriminate in a conservative 5-4 decision but then it may be that Gorsuch Alito and Thomas will want such a sweeping pro-discrimination ruling that it may scare Kennedy away.
    And I still hope the issue of what constitutional line can be drawn between discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and other protected classes such as race or religion will come up.

  • 13. scream4ever  |  October 23, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Hobby Lobby dealt with employees, while Masterpiece deals with consumers. That's the big difference.

  • 14. guitaristbl  |  October 24, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I do wonder how this will translate in Kennedy's mind though…

  • 15. JayJonson  |  October 24, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Glad that Kentucky has lost their appeal to avoid paying the attorney's fees for the couples that sued Kim Davis, when she refused to do her job. Taxpayers should realize that when they elect fools like Davis, who are intent on denying other people their constitutional rights, it may be costly.

  • 16. davepCA  |  October 24, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Excellent news.

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Kentucky Taxpayers Still Must Foot Bill in Kim Davis Case

    Ashland KY – On Monday, 23 October 2017, in "Miller v. Davis," a federal judge ruled that Kentucky taxpayers are still on the hook for attorney fees for the couples who sued Kim Davis, a county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the historic US Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage between same-sex couples. In July 2017, District Judge David Bunning ordered Kentucky to pay $222,695 to the attorneys of April Miller and others, after they won a favorable judgment against Davis. Bunning also awarded an additional $2,008 in other costs.

    Gov. Matt Bevin and Terry Manuel, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for the Libraries and Archives, appealed the ruling, claiming the fees should be assessed against Davis and the Rowan County Clerk’s Office. The governor and commissioner, who were third-party defendants in the case, argued that Davis did not represent Kentucky when she acted against the US Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in "Obergefell v. Hodges" because her behavior was not directed or approved by any state official.

    Bunning once again found the argument unpersuasive, and rejected the appeal. “The Commonwealth of Kentucky is liable for plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs because defendant Kim Davis acted on behalf of the Commonwealth when she refused to issue marriage licenses,” the judge wrote in his 14-page decision. He continued, “At most, third-party defendants have simply—and improperly—re-argued matters that have previously been decided. That third-party defendants wish to avoid liability for plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs hardly renders the circumstances extraordinary.”

    Davis became national news in the summer of 2015, after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The saga resulted in Davis being jailed for several days after she was found in contempt. She has claimed her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevented her from issuing the licenses. In the months and years following her actions, Davis has been at the center of numerous legal proceedings. In September 2017, Bunning ruled that other two lawsuits from same-sex couples seeking damages could proceed against the clerk, but only in her individual capacity.

    Despite these legal setbacks, Davis has continued her crusade against gay rights and recently visited Romania, where she advocated against gay marriage. Same-sex marriage is currently not legal in Romania, but some conservative politicians there want to specifically ban it via a constitutional amendment. Her trip to Romania was sponsored by Liberty Counsel, a conservative hate group pretending to be a legal group, which had provided legal counsel for Davis in the past.

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 24, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Edomex: Two Gay Couples Gain Amparos to Marry

    Edomex: Dos Parejas Gay Ganan Amparos para Casarse

    Toluca, Edomex – En 24 de octubre 2017, Jueces de Distrito otorgaron el amparo a dos parejas de hombres en el Estado de México para que puedan contraer matrimonio civil, con lo que suman seis uniones bajo sentencia, mientras la iniciativa para reconocer los matrimonios gay se mantiene en “la congeladora” del Congreso mexiquense desde marzo de 2015.

    Al resolver las demandas indirectas, 1104/2017 y 1169/2017, los Juzgados Primero y Cuarto de Distrito en Materias de Amparo y de Juicios Federales en el Estado de México determinaron proteger a Raymundo Santana Cabrera y Víctor Manuel Escobar Bernal, así como a Oscar Raúl Lara y Alejandro Mejía Gallo, de tal manera que podrán contraer matrimonio.

    Estos recursos se suman al fallo de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) en favor de cuatro parejas de mujeres en febrero de 2015, cuando los ministros además alertaron en la tesis jurisprudencial 43/2015 que el Código Civil del Estado de México es inconstitucional, discriminatorio, y falto de los tratados internacionales, por reconocer sólo el matrimonio entre un hombre y una mujer, y vincularon a la Legislatura local para modificarlo.

    Derivado de la sentencia, en marzo del mismo año, el entonces gobernador, Eruviel Ávila, remitió al Congreso mexiquense una iniciativa para modificar la disposición. Con los nuevos amparos en la mano, la comunidad LGBTTTI del Estado de México urgió a los diputados locales a cumplimentar el mandato de la Corte.

    Toluca, Edomex – On 24 October 2017, District Judges granted amparos to two male couples in the State of Mexico to enable them to civilly marry, bringing under amparo judgments a total of six unions, while the initiative to recognize same-sex marriage remains in "the freezer" of the Mexiquense Congress since March 2015.

    In resolving the indirect demands, 1104/2017 and 1169/2017, the First and Fourth District Courts in Matters of Amparo and Federal Judgments in the State of Mexico determined to protect Raymundo Santana Cabrera and Victor Manuel Escobar Bernal, as well as Oscar Raúl Lara and Alejandro Mejía Gallo, so that they can get married.

    These appeals were in addition to the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) in favor of four female couples in February 2015, when the justices also warned in their jurisprudential thesis, 43/2015, that the Civil Code of the State of Mexico is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and fails international treaty standards, by its recognizing only marriage between a man and a woman, and urged the local Legislature to modify it.

    Deriving from this sentence, in March 2015, the then-governor, Eruviel Ávila, sent to the Mexiquense Congress an initiative to modify the provision. With these new amparos in hand, the State of Mexico's LGBTTTI community urged local deputies to fulfill the Court's mandate.

    More Amparos Forthcoming in Edomex

    Una pareja del municipio de Nezahualcóyotl es la siguiente en interponer un amparo.

    A female couple from the municipality of Nezahualcóyotl is the next to file for an amparo.

    Note the second of which has no accurate, single-word translation in English:
    Mexicano/a – pertaining to the entire nation of Mexico
    Mexiquense – pertaining to the State of Mexico (Edomex)

  • 19. allan120102  |  October 24, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    On November 22 is when the project propose by Justice Fabregas is going to be read and possibly vote on. If a majority support the proposal ssm will continue to be illegal in Panama if its the way around then ssm will possibly be legalize in the Central American country. Hoping for the best.

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 24, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Uruguay: First Out Trans Senator

    Michelle Suarez took her seat in Uruguay's upper chamber of Congress on 10 October 2017, thus becoming that country's first out trans senator. She was first elected to Uruguay's lower house in 2014.

    She was Uruguay’s first out trans person to graduate from university, and was its first to become a lawyer. In 2013, she was at the forefront of making same-sex marriage legal in the country, helping to draft the bill which eventually became law.

    Suarez, a Communist Party representative, earlier this year said she would push for a law which would make it compulsory for one percent of government jobs to be reserved for trans people. The proposal would also set up a fund to compensate trans people who were persecuted during the country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and 80s. In addition, under her proposed law, trans people would be able to change their legal identities without having to get approval from a judge.

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