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News round-up and open thread 12/29

Community/Meta Transgender Rights

– In Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN’s challenge to President Trump’s ban on transgender military servicemembers, the servicemembers have filed a motion for summary judgment, i.e., a motion for a final judgment without a trial.

– The First Circuit ruled in favor of a firefighter who brought a Title VII claim of sex discrimination that included references to her sexual orientation.

This is an open thread. We’ll post new updates.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  January 29, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Gay Couple Flees Russia After Same-Sex-Marriage Scandal

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Rights activists say two Russian men whose marriage in Denmark was indirectly acknowledged by Russian authorities have fled the country, citing a "real threat" to their liberty and security. Pavel Stotsko and Yevgeny Voitsekhovsky left Russia after police declared their passports invalid and opened an administrative case against them for "intentionally defacing an official document," the Russian rights group LGBT-Network said on 29 January 2018. It was not clear to which country the couple had traveled.

    LGBT-Network head Igor Kochetkov said police had told Stotsko and Voitsekhovensky they would not be protected from possible attacks by homophobic vigilantes.

    Stotsko and Voitsekhovsky were married in Copenhagen on 4 January 2018. When they returned to Moscow last week, they presented their passports to police for confirmation of the marriage under provisions of Russian law that regulate the recognition of foreign marriages. Although Russia does not recognize same-sex marriages and sexual minorities regularly face discrimination and persecution there, a police official stamped the passports.

    On 28 January, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said that the official who stamped the passports and her immediate supervisor had been dismissed, and that the investigation into the matter remained open.

  • 2. Zack12  |  February 1, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Sad to say but that was almost a given they would have to do.
    IMO, it is unlikely they will ever be able to go back home to Russia.

  • 3. VIRick  |  January 29, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Trinidad Suit Could Help Undo Anti-Gay Laws in 7 Other Caribbean Countries

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 30 January 2018, a court hearing in Trinidad could set the stage for overturning anti-LGBT laws in seven other Caribbean countries.The lawsuit was brought by Trinidad-born LGBT rights activist Jason Jones, who currently lives in the United Kingdom.

    Jamaica-Canadian lawyer/activist Maurice Tomlinson says that a ruling in favor of Jones “would be persuasive” but it would not be binding on other Caribbean nations. It would have a generally positive effect in the region, similar to the Belize Supreme Court decision in 2016 that overturned that nation’s anti-LGBT law. “Each of the independent Caribbean countries with anti-sodomy laws would have to abolish them through their own courts or Parliament. That is what my own case before the courts in Jamaica is trying to do,” Tomlinson said.

    Still, if successful, a positive ruling in Trinidad could prove persuasive in providing court precedent in overturning similar bans in Antigua/Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent/Grenadines.

  • 4. scream4ever  |  January 30, 2018 at 12:09 am

    I'd be shocked if summary judgment isn't granted in the trans military ban suit, since every court granted the injunction against it.

  • 5. allan120102  |  January 30, 2018 at 1:17 am

    Well this is a first in NI and hopefully it result in good news .

  • 6. scream4ever  |  January 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I predict it will be legal by 2020, even if it has to go to a referendum.

  • 7. allan120102  |  January 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Peru. Same sex marriage to be legal within 2 years says Carlos Bruce. If congress dont pass laws that abide by the ich ruling then same sex couples might go to the judicial courts and have the ban struck down.

  • 8. VIRick  |  January 30, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    British MPs Discuss Bermuda's Attempt to End Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    As a summary of the debate in the House of Commons on 29 January 2018, one can state that the UK will not "impose" marriage equality on the 5 remaining British Overseas Territories that are still without it, but at the same time, it has not decided what to do about Bermuda's repeal bill, either.

    Labor MP Chris Bryant branded the Domestic Partnerships Act “a deeply unpleasant and cynical piece of legislation” that might appear “the same as civil partnerships in this country — but it is not." He added: “I have never seen a piece of legislation that so clearly declares, from the outset, that it is inconsistent with all the other laws in the land, including the Human Rights Act and the Constitution.”

    He compared discrimination against gay people to the view “over two centuries or more” that slavery was part of the natural order. Mr Bryant said that John Rankin, the Governor, was “entirely within his rights” to delay signing the Bill into law or to refuse to grant the Royal Assent to it altogether.

  • 9. VIRick  |  January 30, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Myanmar Hosts First-Ever Public LGBT Festival

    According to a news article dated 30 January 2018, Myanmar has hosted its first ever public LGBT festival to “acknowledge equality and basic human rights”. On its first day, around 6,000 people attended the OUT&PROUD Festival at a park in Yangon to celebrate being LGBT and proud. 

    Despite homosexual relations being illegal in the country, organizers were given permission to host it in a public space, unlike previous years when they had to host it in a discreet garden at the French Institute. The event ran across two consecutive weekends and had activities such as a drag queen race and screenings of LGBT films. It also had a “Human Library”, where LGBT people told their personal stories as part of the festival's aim to educate and entertain.

    “I would say this is not just for the LGBT community. This is for the whole country, acknowledging equality and basic human rights,” festival co-director Hla Myat Tun told Channel NewsAsia. This festival being made public is a big step in the right direction for equality in Myanmar.

  • 10. VIRick  |  January 30, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Costa Rica: Matrimonio Igualitario e Identidad de Género en el Trabajo

    Costa Rica: Marriage Equality and Gender Identity in the Workplace

    As a summary, this important article, directed at employers in the private sector, discusses how the recent ruling of the CIDH has long-term implications for LGBT employee/employer relations in the workplace, and covers everything from providing for the full range of spousal benefits for same-sex couples to the use of restroom facilities based on one's self-perception of gender. Besides Costa Rica, these same workplace implications also apply to all the other nations which adhere to the CIDH rulings.

    This is a long (and important) article in Spanish for which I presently do not have sufficient time to translate, but wish to provide the link for those who can read Spanish..

  • 11. allan120102  |  January 31, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    A ruling in the sodomy case in trinidad and Tobago is expect on April 12. Hopefully is in our favor.

  • 12. VIRick  |  January 31, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Philippines: Public Hearings Begun on Bill on Rights of Same-Sex Couples

    Per a news article in the "Manila Bulletin" dated 31 January 2018, there were no objections so far against the bill proposing to recognize the civil partnership of same sex couples and granting them the same rights as heterosexual couples in adoption of children, social security, insurance, and inheritance through intestate rights.

    At the launch of the public hearings for House Bill 6595, various government and non-government organizations backed the legislative proposal authored by House officials led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

    During the hearing conducted by the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, resource persons from the Department of Labor, Commission on Human Rights, and the Government Service Insurance System aired their support to the measure, as they noted no contradiction between the measure and their respective mandates.

  • 13. VIRick  |  January 31, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    LGBT Jobs Fair in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua

    En Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, se llevará a cabo una feria de empleo exclusivamente para la comunidad de Lesbianas, Gays,​ Bisexuales, y Transexuales el próximo 30 de enero en el Centro Municipal de las Artes.

    On 30 January 2018, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, a jobs fair exclusively for LGBTs will take place at the Centro Municipal de las Artes.

  • 14. allan120102  |  February 1, 2018 at 7:18 am

    El salvador supreme court has block new reforms that would have put a constitutional ban in the country saying that it was done in an improper way.

  • 15. bayareajohn  |  February 1, 2018 at 11:41 am

    For clarity, maybe, via Google Translate:

    In its resolution, the Constitutional Chamber of that body inhibits the Legislative Assembly from ratifying the reform agreement that sought to modify the text of articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Constitution regarding same-sex marriages.

    It also notes that the reform was given with dispensation of procedure – which would prevent study and discussion by the committee that corresponds to it – and that this did not proceed because it is a constitutional reform, so in this case the deputies They attributed acts that corresponded to us.

    Finally, he affirms that the Assembly did not give the people the opportunity to pronounce on the reform, since it occurred a few days after the end of its legislative period, so the issue of reforming these articles was not part of the information phase to the population.

    With the votes of the right-wing parties, the Assembly approved in April 2015 the reform of the three aforementioned articles and grant constitutional status to marriage between a man and a woman thus born. In addition, people of the same sex who are a couple were prohibited from adopting children.

    For the reform to take effect it was necessary that the current legislature ratify it with the votes of 56 of the 84 deputies.

    However, in its resolution, the Chamber emphasizes that "the impugned constitutional reform is not susceptible of ratification by the Legislative Assembly."

    In 2009, always with the votes of the deputies of the conservative parties, the Assembly also approved a constitutional reform to prohibit gay marriages, but neither was it able to be ratified in the next legislative period.

  • 16. VIRick  |  February 1, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    El Salvador Supreme Court Blocks Proposed Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    El Salvador's Supreme Court (Corte Suprema de Justicia) has put the brakes on a proposed constitutional change that would have barred same-sex marriage. The ruling, issued on 31 January 2018, blocks lawmakers from ratifying said measure, a measure which also would have constitutionally recognized marriage as being only between one man and one woman "born that way," and would have also prohibited same-sex couples from adopting children.

    The Legislative Assembly approved said measure in April 2015. However, in order for it to be ratified, it would have again needed 56 of the 84 lawmakers in the current assembly to have voted in its favor (as constitutional amendments must be approved by a 2/3rds vote by two consecutive sessions of the Assembly).

    The Supreme Court ruled that there had been procedural missteps, as the measure was fast-tracked through the assembly and voted upon "urgently," with just days left in the 2015 session. The court said that that was an improper procedure for a constitutional change, as there was no opportunity for the public to be informed about it and to thus weigh in.

    The above-noted news article, ostensibly written in English, originally seemed to be a very basic mis-translation from:

    Note: As presented above, said article has been re-translated into English, correcting the verb tense throughout, while simultaneously heavily editing the basic content to add additional procedural detail.

    Further note: From a legal point of view, having disposed of this attempted legislative ban, El Salvador's Supreme Court is now free to rule favorably in a separate suit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in El Salvador.

  • 17. Randolph_Finder  |  February 1, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    The States of Jersey (that's their legislature) has passed Marriage Equality. Currently waiting on Royal Assent. Vote was 43-1. Expectation is that marriages can start in May.

    For the UK, this means the only one of the Four Nations without is Northern Ireland, the only Crown Dependencies left are Sark (which is moving in that direction) and Alderney and for the fourteen overseas dependencies, the five in the Carribean don't allow and everyone else does (with Bermuda moving backwards from allowing to not allowing)

  • 18. VIRick  |  February 1, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Malta: First Same-Sex Marriage "At Sea"

    A gay couple has married aboard a cruise ship in one of the first same-sex unions at sea. Gay couple Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray held their marriage ceremony onboard the Malta-registered cruise ship, Celebrity Equinox, in what is believed to be the first legal same-sex marriage onboard a major cruise ship. 

    The pair married on Monday afternoon, 29 January 2018, in an intimate ceremony officiated by Captain Dimitrios Manetas, as they were en route from Key West, Florida to Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico. The grooms were joined by their immediate families for the ceremony.

  • 19. Zack12  |  February 1, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Hi all.
    Sorry I've been gone so long but it's just been hard to come to this site since Trump won.
    We all knew due to Republican obstruction and Democratic's stupidity (Leahy with the blue slip) that not only was SCOTUS at stake, but so were Circuit and District courts.
    When our side lost, I knew it wouldn't be good and I was sadly right.
    Gorsuch was a big blow but what is happening on the lower courts is even worse.
    The fact is SCOTUS hears very few cases so the Circuit courts are often the last stop.
    With the Circuit Court judges Trump has been able to get confirmed, the 5th,6th and 8th Circuit will be worse then they already are.
    Moderate courts such as the 3rd and 7th are going to take a sharp turn to the right and even the 9th and 2nd are going to take a hit.
    And the district courts..yikes!
    Sad to say but pretty soon there are going to be large parts of the country where LGBT citizens will simply have no one to protect them from a bigoted legislature.
    And if one of the marriage equality five goes on SCOTUS, I fear the rights we'll have gained will go too.
    Sorry for my return being on such a negative note but what is happening to our courts is scary, and neither the media nor Democrats for the most part seem to notice or care.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  February 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    We all know about it. First chance to do something about it is the 2018 US Senate races:

    As you can see it is closely balanced right now. Sabato sees 46 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and 5 toss-ups. If Democrats can take all five of those toss-ups and keep the 46, then the new Senate will be 51-49 in favor of Democrats and Trump's court-packing spree will be halted.

  • 21. ncusajohn  |  February 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    While it is not for the senate, the next special election for Congress is in SW Pennsylvania in March. The Republican incumbent resigned under scandal. Here is a link to the Democrat that is running (Conor Lamb).

  • 22. allan120102  |  February 2, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Honduras needs to abide the Ich ruling says lgbt organizations and state human rights in the country. If not the country will be in disobedience of international treaties.

  • 23. allan120102  |  February 2, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Breaking news from Venezuela. 6 of the 7 justices of the supreme court are in favor of marriage equaity and are trying to convince the last justice so the decision can be unanimous. A decision is expect really soon. If Venezuela joins the ranks with marriage equality countries that will leave Cuba as the only latin american country without being bind by the ICH ruling as both Venezuela and Cuba are not part of it.

  • 24. guitaristbl  |  February 2, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    The decision has to be unanimous to be valid or they just want it to be so that it carries even more weight ?

  • 25. allan120102  |  February 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    No it just need to be a majority , I guess they want to show unity in it. Even a 4-3 decision will do its job in bringing marriage equality to the country.

  • 26. allan120102  |  February 2, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Veracruz has pass in its first reading a constitutional ban on ssm. Pan Pri and other groups have vote in favor for that ban, only Morena has vote against along independent deputies. Its expect to pass easily in its 2nd and 3 reading. Lgbt organizations are disappoint by this decision.

  • 27. scream4ever  |  February 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    This will largely because symbolic though as it violates the Supreme Court's previous order.

  • 28. allan120102  |  February 2, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Not necessarily, same sex couples will still obtain amparos and will still get marry, but last time a constitutional amendment was challenge the supreme court didnt overturn it, this was the case in Yucatan last year in which the first chamber in a 3-2 decide not to meddle in it saying it was to there own state legislatures to modify laws.

    I just sincerely hope that lgbt organizations once this is pass decide to put an act of unconstitutionality in it. That is the only way some states have achieve ssm like Puebla, Jalisco and Chiapas who modify there codes but didnt allow ssc to be marry.

  • 29. Mechatron12  |  February 3, 2018 at 5:28 am

    This is exactly what I was afraid was going to happen after the Yucatan case. Although I hope you are right about the act of unconstitutionality part, you can't help but admit that stuff like this makes Mexico and its legal system look like a gigantic, bigoted joke.

    And between this and the Costa Rican election, I have lost a lot of the hope I had for Latin America after the court verdict. I never had any for the Caribbean anyway.

  • 30. TheVirginian722  |  February 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Four Candidates Seek Nomination To Oppose Kim Davis In November (Part 1 of 2)

    And they're off! Filing closed this week for the May 22 Democratic Primary in Kentucky, and front and center will be the four Democrats seeking their party's nomination to oppose the notorious Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. Davis, elected to her first term in 2014 as a Democrat, has since switched to the Republican Party and is unopposed in the GOP Primary.

    The four candidates are Elwood Caudill, Jr., David Ermold, Nashia Fife, and James "Jamey" Jessee. Any of them would be vastly superior to Davis, so primary voters would be wise to select the candidate with the best chance of defeating her.

    Rowan County has a very strong Democratic tradition, especially at the local level. Party registration stands at 62% Democratic, 31% Republican, and 7% Independent and minor parties. Kentucky's Republican Governor and two U. S. Senators all lost the county in their most recent elections. In 2016, Rowan County voters opted for out-gay Democrat Jim Gray over incumbent Senator Rand Paul.

    In 2014 Democratic nominees swept every county office, with the sole exception of the County Jailer. This year 28 Democrats have filed for the 16 offices to be elected, while Republicans were only able to scare up 8 candidates. Davis's conversion to the GOP seems not to have inspired any other county politicians to follow suit. More than a few local observers have even predicted that Davis's new Republican affiliation will be more detrimental to her chances than violating citizens' Constitutional rights, serving time in jail, and costing Kentucky taxpayers $224,000 in attorneys' fees and court costs.

    Elwood Caudill and Jamey Jessee are running "friends-and-neighbors" campaigns. They clearly do not want to reopen the marriage debate which roiled Rowan County residents and focused worldwide attention on their small county. David Ermold and Nashia Fife, on the other hand, were actively engaged in the marriage controversy when it occurred, so they will have difficulty avoiding the issue.

  • 31. allan120102  |  February 4, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    General elections are looking grim right now. The candidate who is strongly against ssm and who said it will ignore the ich ruling its on first place. With 26 almost 27% of the vote.

  • 32. TheVirginian722  |  February 4, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Four Candidates Seek Nomination To Oppose Kim Davis In November (Part 2 of 2)

    ELWOOD CAUDILL has worked for 21 years in the County assessor's office, right across the hall from Kimmers (which says is her nickname). He says, "I have 21 years working with the Clerk's office and know that I would do a great job as Clerk. I am not running for any other reason… I will say this: I do not discriminate against anyone. We are all equal." Caudill was a candidate for Clerk in the 2014 Democratic primary along with Davis, then the Chief Deputy to the previous clerk Jean Bailey, who happened to be her mother. Caudill actually defeated Davis in the Election Day vote 1,711 to 1,663.. But Davis won the absentee vote, 154 to 83, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. (It's always handy for a candidate to have her mother running the election.)

    JAMES "JAMEY" JESSEE is Administrator of Northfork Senior Living. He is a graduate of Rowan County High School, where he was a star baseball player, and Morehead State University in Morehead, the county seat where 30% of the county's residents live. He is active in coaching youth sports. His wife, Stormi, works in the county's pre-school education program. He says, "I care about equality … We need a County Clerk who will uphold the law."

    NASHIA FIFE organized the Rowan County Rights Coalition during the marriage controversy and actively protested Kim Davis's defiance of the law. She cites her community service of knitting hats for premature babies and fostering orphaned kittens.

    DAVID ERMOLD gained fame when he and his partner were denied a marriage license by Davis, an event recorded by camera crews and seen by millions. Ermold's filing as a candidate against Davis has been heavily publicized nationally, and many feel it would be sweet revenge for one of those wronged by her to do her in. Ermold works as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pikeville, which is 92 miles from his home in Morehead.

    This will be an interesting race to follow in the 15 weeks remaining before the primary. Based on his strong showing in 2014, Caudill would appear to be the strongest opponent for Davis. Perhaps some insight can be afforded by the number of "Likes" on their Facebook pages: 229 for Nashia Fife, 299 for Jamey Jessee, 822 for Elwood Caudill, and 6,074 for David Ermold. It is believed that some of those Ermold "Likes" actually came from Rowan County. Kim Davis was foolish enough to let Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver announce her re-election bid. The last thing Rowan County voters want or need is interference from outsiders.

  • 33. Randolph_Finder  |  February 6, 2018 at 5:05 am

    The candidates seem to be in order from least to most ability for Davis to charge that the Coastal Liberal outsiders are out to get her. She'll do it anyway, but with Fife or Ermold, it has a chance of sticking with some. Caudill on the other hand, can just hand out her campaign literature from last time with the date changed:)

    While Ermold would be sweet revenge, I'm not sure that there would be *that* much difference in the Clerk's office between any of these four as clerk. So if I lived there (after desperately trying to move elsewhere), I'd probably look at Caudill in the primary with the hope that all four are willing to come together for the winner of the primary.

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  February 4, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Taiwan is embracing marriage equality, and refining its own identity

  • 35. allan120102  |  February 4, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    With 58% of the vote in CR the homophobic candidate is winning by 5% with 25% the good news is that a supporter of marriage equality is in 2nd with 20%. If it can take the votes of the other candidates in the runoff then CR will have a marriage equality supporter.

  • 36. guitaristbl  |  February 5, 2018 at 9:41 am

    With 87 % of results in, the homophobic Alvarado leads with 24,8 % and the marriage equality supporting Alvarado follows with 21,7 %. The polarization between progressive and conservative voters is obvious. Before the the ruling on marriage equality Alvarez and Castro were the favourites to go to the 2nd round. Let's hope that Carlos Alvarado can win the run off or things will get very difficult for Costa Rica.

  • 37. JayJonson  |  February 5, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Both candidates are named Alvarado?

  • 38. guitaristbl  |  February 5, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Yes it is confusing and that may play a devious role in the actual election as well and confuse people a bit, although I haven't seen costa rican ballot papers to be sure how much of a mix up can happen. They are not related though and as different as day and night in terms of what they represent…Unfortunately homophobia is well and alive..The homophobic frontrunner was at best a big outsider 3 weeks ago with 3 % of the vote..But the progressive runner-up was also outside the top 2 and polled at 8 % or so. The polarization was huge and any moderate candidates were eroded in the process with two candidates further to the left and the right benefitted. I hope progress prevails…

  • 39. ianbirmingham  |  February 7, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Bermuda becomes first country in world to repeal same-sex marriage

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