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Open thread UPDATE 3/7


This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.

UPDATE: The Sixth Circuit has ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) doesn’t allow for exemptions to federal employment antidiscrimination law. The funeral home in this case had fired a transgender woman for transitioning and then cited religious beliefs under RFRA as an explanation.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  March 6, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Philippines: Supreme Court Sets Oral Arguments on Same-Sex Marriage

    Per Rex Wockner and ABS-CBN News:

    Manila – The Supreme Court of the Philippines has set 19 June 2018 as the date for oral arguments on a petition that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage in the country, its spokesperson said Tuesday, 6 March 2018. The petition, filed by members of the LGBTS Christian Church, challenges provisions of the Family Code that "impact" same-sex unions, said Supreme Court spokesman, Theodore Te.

    Currently, same-sex marriage, like divorce, is outlawed in the Philippines, the bastion of Catholicism in Asia, where 8 in 10 of its 100 million people subscribe to that religion.

    The petition was filed by Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, lawyer Fernando Perito of the LGBTS Christian Church, Inc., and the Reverend Cresencio Agbayani, Jr.

    On occasion (when he isn't slamming it), President Rodrigo Duterte had expressed support for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  March 6, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Hopefully Taiwan's positive ruling will transfer over.

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 6, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    The LGBTS (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Straight) Christian Church of Quezon City, Philippines, welcomes everyone. In addition to the church organization itself, its pastor, Rev. Cresencio Agbayani, Jr., is one of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit now pending before the Supreme Court. Here's the church's Facebook page, featuring photos of some of the same-sex commitment ceremonies they have performed:

    Although Manila is far more famous, and was once the capital, Quezon City, a new planned city near-by, is the actual governmental capital of the Philippines.

  • 4. VIRick  |  March 6, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Australia: Queensland Law to Be Amended Eliminating "Spousal Veto" over Gender-Change

    Per LGBT Marriage News and "Brisbane Times:"

    Queensland laws will be amended so that people who change their gender do not have to divorce their partner. Currently, under Section 22 of the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act, any Queenslander who has undergone gender reassignment surgery, in effect, has to divorce their partner in order to have their gender legally-recognized, because married Queenslanders can not change the gender on their birth certificates.

    Today, 6 March 2018, now that same-sex marriage has been legalized nationwide, the Attorney-General of the Queensland government will introduce legislation so that married transgender people do not need to divorce in order to legally change their gender on official documents.

    At the moment, only South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, like Queensland, have made this necessary change to state law. The rest of the states have until 9 December 2018 to follow suit. Otherwise, they will be in violation of the federal Sex Discrimination Act.

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 6, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Idaho: Policy Disallowing Gender-Change Ruled Unconstitutional

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 5 March 2018, in "F.V. v. Barron," a federal challenge to Idaho's blanket policy of refusing to amend the gender marker on birth certificates, a federal judge has ruled that transgender individuals must be given an opportunity to change said gender marker on their birth certificates, and that such blanket prohibition is unconstitutional:

    "After careful consideration, the Court finds IDHW’s (the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare) policy of categorically and automatically denying applications submitted by transgender individuals to change the sex listed on their birth certificates is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court finds further that any constitutionally sound rule must not include the revision history as to sex or name to avoid impermissibly compelling speech and furthering the harms at issue. The Court notes also that the new rule should withstand heightened scrutiny review to fall within the contours of equal protection law.”

    The Memorandum Decision and Order is here:

    According to Lambda Legal, these are the 4 recalcitrant states, plus Puerto Rico, which will not re-issue a corrected birth certificate for transgender individuals reflecting the proper sex on it: Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, Tennessee, Puerto Rico.

    Idaho's prohibition has just been ruled unconstitutional, while the federal case against Puerto Rico remains pending. It's time someone sued Kansas, Ohio, and Tennessee.

  • 6. allan120102  |  March 6, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    As expected conservative Paraguay the most conservative country in South America has state the Ich ruling is not binding by them and even so the deputies said they will do everything in there power to protect the constitution of the country against ssm.

  • 7. Randolph_Finder  |  March 8, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Going against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay again. Did so well last time.

  • 8. davepCA  |  March 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    "protect the Constitution"… against people's families being treated equally by the law. Hmm. They might want to study up on how that kind of backwards logic has worked out for those opposed to SSM in other countries where this issue has been addressed….

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Notes from the Paraguayan Constitution of 1992 (English Translation)

    Article 25: Of the Expression of Personality
    All persons have the right to freely express their personality, to creativity, and to
    forge their own identity and image.

    Article 33: Of the Right to Intimacy and the Right to Privacy
    Personal and family intimacy, as well as the respect of private life, is inviolable. The behavior of persons, that does not affect the public order established by the law or the rights of third parties, is exempted from the public authority. The right to the protection of intimacy, of dignity, and of the private image of persons is guaranteed.

    Article 45: Of Unstated Rights and Guarantees
    The enunciation of the rights and guarantees contained in this Constitution must not be understood as the negation of others that, being inherent to the human personality, do not expressively figure in it. The lack of a regulatory law may not be invoked to deny or to curtail any right or guarantee.

    Article 46: Of the Equality of Persons
    All the inhabitants of the Republic are equal in dignity and rights. No discriminations
    are admitted.

    Article 49: Of the Protection of the Family
    The family is the foundation of society. Its complete [integral] protection will be
    promoted and guaranteed. It includes the stable union of a man and a woman, the
    children, and the community formed with anyone of their progenitors and their

    Article 50: Of the Right to Constitute a Family
    All persons have the right to constitute a family, in whose formation and
    development the man and the woman will have the same rights and obligations.

    Article 51: Of the Marriage and of the Effects of the Unions of Fact (Uniones de Hecho)
    The law will establish the formalities to celebrate marriage between a man and a
    woman, the requirements to contract it, the causes for separation, for dissolution
    and their effects, as well as the regime of administration of assets and other rights
    and obligations between spouses.

    The unions of fact (uniones de hecho) between a man and a woman, without legal impediments to contract marriage, that meet the conditions of stability and singularity, produce similar effects to marriage, within the conditions established by the law.

    Article 52: Of the Union in Marriage
    The union in marriage of a man and a woman is one of the fundamental components in the formation of a family.

    Plausible Positive Interpretation of the Paraguayan Constitution

    Per Article 25:
    According to the Mexican Supreme Court, "Free Expression of Personality" includes being gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, intersex, none-of-the-above, and/or whatever. If interpreted in tandem with Paraguay's Article 45, one would obtain the same result for Paraguay as in Mexico.

    Per Article 49:
    A family may include a man and a woman, but according to one's interpretation of Article 45, is not limited to just that one singular pattern.

    Per Article 52:
    The union of a man and a woman is one of the fundamental ways to form a family, but again, invoking Article 45, is not the only exclusive one.

    Article 51 appears it might be the sole impediment, unless it were to be interpreted in the same broadly expansive manner, using Article 45 to do so, just as was done for Articles 49 and 52. In fact, the latter portion of Article 51 uses gender-neutral phrasing, "other rights and obligations between spouses," which could be interpreted to apply to the entire Article.

  • 10. VIRick  |  March 6, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Chile: Senate Passes Gender Identity Bill,– But

    Per Movilh Chile:

    Hoy día, el 6 de marzo 2018, el Proyecto de Ley de Identidad de Género es votado favorablemente en el Senado y ahora pasa a Comisión Mixta. Sin embargo, el Senado rechazó las modificaciones de la Cámara de Diputados.

    Today, March 6, 2018, the Gender Identity Bill is favorably voted upon in the Senate and now passes to the Joint Commission. However, the Senate rejected the amendments of the Chamber of Deputies.

    As in all bi-cameral legislatures, both bodies must pass prospective legislation using identical language. The Joint Commission will now iron out the differences, and hopefully, they can try again.

  • 11. scream4ever  |  March 6, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    God I hope they finish it quick so they can pass the marriage bill ASAP.

  • 12. allan120102  |  March 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    It will not be done until the next administration takes place, Even though its sad that this proposal has been file since 2013 some lgbt activist are celebrating as if it has been approve there could have been some trouble in the constitutional chamber base on some comments I read in movil tweet.

  • 13. scream4ever  |  March 6, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    The current administration recently said that they would not block/veto the marriage bill though.

  • 14. allan120102  |  March 6, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Yeah I am not worried about being veto I am worried that legislators dont disccuss the topic until much further on. Hopefully lgbt supporters can pressure the legislative body to disccuss the marrriage bill. With the majority in congress in favor of ssm I dont doubt about being pass I am worried in what time they are going to discuss at all. Just look at the gender identity bill it has been 5 years since it was introduced and it still isnt approve.

  • 15. VIRick  |  March 6, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Colombian LGBTs Extend Themselves to LGBT Venezuelans

    Per Caribe Afirmativo de Colombia:

    Todo listo para nuestro primer encuentro fronterizo colombo-venezolano de personas LGBT. En Maicao y Riohacha construiremos espacios de trabajo colectivo.

    All is ready for our first Colombian-Venezuelan border meeting of LGBT people. In Maicao and Riohacha, we will build collective work spaces.

    Riohacha is the port city and capital of the Colombian Department of La Guajira, while Maicao, in the same department, is the second-largest urban center in Colombia (after Cúcuta, further south) right alongside the Venezuelan border. Because of the current dysfunction on the part of the present Venezuelan government, the Riohacha-Maicao area is the mid-point in a massive two-way land-sea smuggling operation between Panamá and Maracaibo, while the whole region itself simultaneously shelters a massive influx of Venezuelan migrants. Mixed in among them, of course, are LGBT Venezuelans.

  • 16. Randolph_Finder  |  March 8, 2018 at 10:50 am

    "current dysfunction" may be one of the milder ways of stating the situation with the Venezuelan government that I've seen.

  • 17. VIRick  |  March 6, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Starkville MS to Allow Pride Parade After All

    In Mississippi, the Starkville Board of Aldermen has reversed an earlier vote and decided to approve a permit for an LGBT Pride parade after all. The board’s vote came after parade organizer, Starkville Pride, represented by civil rights attorney Roberta Kaplan, filed a federal lawsuit on 26 February 2018, saying the city government had committed anti-LGBT discrimination, and had violated Starkville Pride’s free speech rights, thus violating both the 1st and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.

    The latest vote, Tuesday evening, 6 March 2018, was a 3-3 tie, but Mayor Lynn Spruill, who had denounced the original vote taken last month, cast a tie-breaking favorable vote, according to Mississippi TV station WTVA. The original vote was 4-3 against the permit; this time, one board member reportedly abstained from voting.

    Starkville is home to Mississippi State University, and Starkville Pride leaders Bailey McDaniel and Emily Turner are students there.

  • 18. JayJonson  |  March 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

    Damn. I am sorry that these bastards reversed the earlier vote on a tie vote. I was looking forward to Roberta Kaplan teaching them a lesson about the Constitution of the United States and picking up a boatload of cash from the citizens of Starkville for her trouble.

  • 19. Fortguy  |  March 6, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Texas Primaries: Results are coming in from today's party primaries in the state. Most statewide executive offices are up for election this November along with one-third of the members of the Railroad Commission and higher courts with multi-seat benches. Carnival Cruz faces reelection this year for the Senate, and the Dems have fielded candidates in all 36 congressional districts for the first time in two and a half decades. Here's what we know with about 80% of the vote reported.

    U.S. Senate: U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso wins handily to challenge the oleaginous Cruz. O'Rourke is also the only statewide Dem with any fundraising finesse whatsoever having actually brought in more money than Cruz over the last couple of finance reports. No one from El Paso has ever been elected to statewide office because everybody knows it's part of New Mexico anyway.

    U.S. House: Three GOP Congress critters hold seats in districts carried by Hillary two years ago. Chief among these is my own district, the TX-23, which is the largest in extent stretching along the border from El Paso to San Antonio covering an area about as big as Pennsylvania. This is the only truly purple district floundering constantly between parties nearly every cycle. The incumbent, Will Hurd (R-Helotes), is a never-Trump GOPer who became the first sitting rep to win reelection (barely) last time in, well, forever. This race will require a runoff with Gina Ortiz Jones, an out lesbian, leading the pack. She is a former military intelligence officer hoping to become the first ever Filipina-American in Congress. She campaigned on supporting education and Medicare-for-all health reform. She and Jay Hulings, a former federal prosecutor and the most conservative candidate, were the most prolific fundraisers in the contest. Hulings, however, is polling at a distant fourth. Judy Canales, who was appointed by Obama to a low deputy under secretary position at the USDA and Rick Treviño, a Sandersista, are running tight for second place to make the runoff.

    In the north Dallas suburbs, TX-32 will require a runoff between former Tennessee Titans linebacker and now lawyer Colin Allred against either former TV news reporter Brett Shipp or Lillian Salerno to see who challenges incumbent Pete Sessions.

    The TX-7 in the Houston area will need a runoff between attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Sandersista Laura Moser. The DCCC made a big stink in this race by running misleading ads against Moser that caused a backlash raising Moser's stock. This seat is being defended by John Culberson.

    In open seats, El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar wins to replace O'Rourke in the TX-16 while St. Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia wins handily to replace retiring Rep. Gene Green in TX-29. Both districts are solidly blue making these women the first Hispanas to represent Texas in Congress. I don't know if Gina Ortiz Jones identifies as Hispana.

    Six GOP seats are also open including those held by Ted Poe (TX-2) in the Houston area, Sam Johnson (TX-3) in the Dallas area, Jeb Hensarling (TX-5) in Dallas and NE Texas, Joe Barton (TX-6) from DFW to College Station, Lamar Smith (TX-21) in San Antonio and part of the Hill Country, and Blake Farenthold (TX-27) of Corpus Christi through the Coastal Bend.

    To be continued…

  • 20. Fortguy  |  March 6, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    …continued from above.

    In state races, the Dems still suffer from a long Catch-22 they have faced for two decades: until Dems start showing they can win races, nobody with name recognition or fundraising prowess will run. Unless Dems with name recognition and fundraising prowess run, Dems can't win. This year, only O'Rourke has accepted that challenge and so, with the exception of the governor's race, I'll focus on the more interesting GOP primary races.

    Governor: Gov. Greg Abbott is winning with over 90% of the vote which is not surprising considering he is facing two unserious opponents including one who legally changed his name to SECEDE (yes, in all caps). This remains unsurprising even when you consider Abbott has the charisma of a dishrag and the vision of a potted plant. The two Dems who will face off in a runoff will be former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the son of the late former Gov. Mark White. Valdez is an openly lesbian Hispana, but to her discredit has demonstrated a limited grasp of the issues facing the state during her campaign, and her tenure as sheriff has caused deep suspicion among civil rights and criminal justice reform activists. White, who has never shown any interest at all in politics until six months ago, is running on a conservative agenda that sounds more like Dem candidates in the 70s and 80s than those of today.

    Lieutenant Governor: Lt. Guv Potty Patrick, by contrast, is "only" drawing 75% against Scott Milder from Rockwall. No one has ever heard of Milder, but his unfinanced message has been to call B.S. on Patrick's claim to conservatism by pointing out Patrick's war on local schools and municipalities, undue emphasis on ideological culture wars, and failure to pragmatically run state government.

    Attorney General: AG Ken Paxton has no GOP opponent and only token Dem opposition in the fall despite facing trial on multiple indictments of malfeasance that may end up costing him years in prison.

    Land Commissioner: George P. Bush could only beg for Patrick's support as he is merely getting 58% in his race. He is facing his predecessor, Jerry Patterson, who quit the job last time around to unsuccessfully seek higher office. Patterson criticizes Bush for his handling of redevelopment plans for the Alamo (you have to be from Texas to fully appreciate how sacred that is) and for his mismanagement of the General Land Office's response to Hurricane Harvey. Patterson's tenure was halfway decent with the other half overridden by his gun-nut fanaticism. Bush, son of Jeb! and only remaining office holder in the dynasty, is still widely ridiculed for throwing his family under the bus and endorsing Trump despite the constant insults Trump has thrown and continues to throw at his family.

    Agriculture Commissioner: Sid Miller apparently embarrasses many GOP voters as he is only getting 56% against token opponents. Miller provides a Twitter feed that is so far removed from fact, truth, dignity, or even basic decency that even Trump won't stoop that low. His tenure has been marked by his war on schools providing healthy lunches and his state-funded jaunts out of the state to supposedly meet with other officials who never wanted to meet with him in the first place. Famously, on one such trip to Oklahoma, he went to a Christian fundamentalist doctor to be injected with a "Jesus Shot" (apparently, among white religious fundamentalists, this is really a thing).

    Although Dem turnout remains less than GOP turnout, Dem turnout is sky rocket high compared to the last two election cycles while the Republicans can't even meet demographic growth due to Trump's unpopularity. Too bad that all of our best candidates chose to sit this cycle out.

  • 21. Fortguy  |  March 6, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Pardon me for failing to mention another LGBT candidate for governor. Jeffery Payne, a former International Mr. Leather and who owns several Dallas businesses including a gay leather bar, is polling at 5% and is in fifth place in a nine-candidate Dem field. Together, between him and Valdez, Dem voters are giving 47% of their votes to LGBT candidates.

  • 22. VIRick  |  March 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    6th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Title VII Protections

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 7 March 2018, in "EEOC v. R.G. &. G.R. Harris Funeral Homes," the trans employment discrimination case in whch the lower court ruled that RFRA provides for a Title VII exemption, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals' opinion reverses the lower court decision and grants summary judgment in favor of the EEOC (and the plaintiff represented by the EEOC):

    "RFRA provides the Funeral Home with no relief because continuing to employ Stephens would not, as a matter of law, substantially burden [business owner] Rost's religious exercise, and even if it did, the EEOC has shown that enforcing Title VII here is the least restrictive means of furthering its compelling interest in combating and eradicating sex discrimination."

    The case was argued on 4 October 2017 before Circuit Judges Karen Nelson Moore, Helene N. White, and Bernice B. Donald.

    The ACLU represented Aimee Stephens, the transgender employee who is the subject of the EEOC complaint. ACLU Attorney John Knight’s statement:
    "“Today’s decision is an exciting and important victory for transgender people and allied communities across the country. In too many workplaces around the country, coming out as trans is a fireable offense, as our client Aimee Stephens personally experienced. But this ruling affirms that that is illegal, setting an important precedent confirming that transgender people are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It also ensures that employers will not be able to use their religious beliefs against trans employees, ruling that there is no ‘right to discriminate’ in the workplace. We are thrilled for Aimee, and for all trans folks, to be able to announce this win today.”
    The ACLU press release is here:

    The funeral home was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom:
    “American business owners, especially those serving the grieving and the vulnerable, should be free to live and work consistently with their faith,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “The funeral home’s dress code is tailored to serve those mourning the loss of a loved one. Today’s decision misreads court precedents that have long protected businesses which properly differentiate between men and women in their dress and grooming code policies.”
    The ADF press release is here:

    The Opinion and Judgment is here:

  • 23. scream4ever  |  March 7, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Even better that it's from a conservative Circuit Court.

  • 24. allan120102  |  March 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    The three judges were democrats . Even White who was approve in Bush administration was nominate first during Clinton administration but was not confirm because of the withhold of the blue slip.

  • 25. VIRick  |  March 7, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    New Hampshire House Passes Transgender Non-Discrimination Bill

    Today, 7 March 2018, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319, a bill that would protect transgender people from discrimination, as the bill adds “gender identity” to the state’s non-discrimination laws.

    The bill has broad bipartisan support in the state, and now moves to the state Senate for passage where three Republican senators have co-sponsored the bill; Republican governor Chris Sununu has said he supports the change and would sign it into law. New Hampshire is the last remaining New England state that does not have gender identity protections as part of their non-discrimination laws.

    Per Rex Wockner:

    These 18 states, plus DC, already prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State.

    These three states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity, in employment, housing, and public accommodations: New Hampshire, New York, and Wisconsin. New Hampshire is now in the process of correcting this oversight, while the New York State Division of Human Rights promulgated regulations that took effect on 20 January 2016 prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, transgender status, or gender dysphoria in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

    Utah prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing, but not in public accommodations. Guam and Puerto Rico prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.

    The remaining 28 recalcitrant red states? No protections in state law.

  • 26. scream4ever  |  March 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Wonderful news. Virgina and Wyoming will likely be the next states to pass statewide anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people.

  • 27. guitaristbl  |  March 8, 2018 at 4:57 am

    Wyoming ? How so ?

  • 28. scream4ever  |  March 8, 2018 at 8:54 am

    One chamber of the legislature passed a bill a few years ago, so progress is being made.

  • 29. scream4ever  |  March 9, 2018 at 9:47 am

    In addition, while there is not any legislation, Indiana has case law which effectively bans employment discrimination in regards to sexual orientation, as the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Hively v Ivy Tech Community College, which was not appealed to the Supreme Court.

  • 30. VIRick  |  March 9, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Scream, correct.

    Plus, in reading further in Rex Wockner's blog, we have this federal court case summary concerning employment non-discrimination based on gender-identity, just amended to include the decision reached by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals:

    There are 12 states in the 1st, 6th, 9th, and 11th federal circuits that have statewide gender-identity job protections as a result of federal appeals court rulings that the 1964 Civil Rights Act's ban on employment discrimination based on sex is also a ban on employment discrimination based on gender identity. The states that have this protection via the federal courts (and which don't have it from their own state laws) are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee, plus the Northern Mariana Islands.

    That still leaves us with 16 states which have absolutely no sexual orientation or gender-identity non-discriminations protections in place either through state legislation or through appeals court rulings: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming, plus the US Virgin Islands.

  • 31. scream4ever  |  March 9, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Yah I'm hoping one case for sexual orientation and one for gender identity will reach the Supreme Court in time to be heard and decided by the end of the next term.

  • 32. VIRick  |  March 7, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Hawai'i: State Senate Passes Bill Banning Gay "Cure" Therapy for Minors

    Today, 7 March 2018, Hawai'i state senators passed SB 270, a bill which bans efforts to “engage in, or attempt to engage in, sexual orientation change efforts on a person under eighteen years of age.”

    The bill, sponsored by Stanley Chang, Rosalyn Baker, and Karl Rhoads, passed the state Senate, which is entirely controlled by the Democrats, by a vote of 24-1. The bill now moves to the Hawai'i House of Representatives where one hopes for swift passage, and then on to Governor David Ige’s desk for his signature.

    After Washington State's Governor Inslee signs that state's pending legislation into law (state #10), Hawai'i ought to become state #11 banning the discredited practice.

  • 33. scream4ever  |  March 7, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    And New Hampshire will likely become the 12th (13th if you include New York, which bans the practice not through legislation, but through allocation of funds).

  • 34. Randolph_Finder  |  March 8, 2018 at 10:56 am

    The State Senate isn't just "entirely controlled" by Democrats, it *is* entirely Democrats. (While 25-0 now, it was 24-1 for a while…

  • 35. VIRick  |  March 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Randolph, technically, you are correct. However, by my count, and as reflected in the actual Senate vote, there are 24 normally-functioning Democrats, and one nut-job "Democrat" named Senator Mike Gabbard, the head of the so-called “Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values,” who previously waged a vain, drawn-out, losing campaign to ban same-sex marriage in the state. He's still adamantly fighting any/all LGBT advances.

  • 36. scream4ever  |  March 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    LOL I remember him from the legislative battle in 2013.

  • 37. Randolph_Finder  |  March 9, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Looking at his legislative agenda, outside of Religion and LGBT, he actually aligns with the Democratic Party on many areas including Environment, Energy and endangered species. Maybe we can give him a party of his own…

  • 38. guitaristbl  |  March 9, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Conservative green politics is actually a thing in Europe.

  • 39. TheVirginian722  |  March 10, 2018 at 12:09 am

    Yes, let's put him in the Gabbardine Party. He's tried everything else. He started as an independent on the non-partisan Honolulu City Council in 2002. Then he ran for Congress as a Republican in 2004, easily winning the GOP primary, but getting only 36% in the general election. Undeterred, he then was elected to the State Senate in 2006 as a Republican. After serving only a few months of his four-year term, he decided being in the party outnumbered 23-2 wasn't much fun, so he announced that he was switching to the Democratic Party, where he has been ever since. He has been re-elected in 2010, 2012, and 2016 quite easily. Amazingly, even with his extreme bigotry, he has been unopposed in the Democratic primary in 2012 and 2016.

    At age 70, Mike's dreams of attaining higher office are fading, so the family's hopes now rest with his daughter Tulsi, who is currently serving her third term as one of Hawaii's two members in the U. S. House of Representatives. When Tulsi served in the Hawaii House in 2003-04, she echoed her father's anti-LGBT sentiments, but has since adopted more enlightened views (or pretends to, though many are skeptical).

    The Gabbards are an interesting family. Mike and Tulsi were both born in American Samoa. Mike is a devout Roman Catholic, while Tulsi and her mother Carol identify as Hindus. Tulsi is said to harbor Presidential aspirations, but it is unclear whether she would be eligible because of her Samoan birthplace.

  • 40. Elihu_Bystander  |  March 8, 2018 at 4:22 am

    By Dropping Appeal, Belize Catholic Church Allows Decriminalization Decision to Stand

    “The Catholic Church hierarchy in the Central American nation of Belize has withdrawn its appeal of a 2016 judicial decision which struck down the former British colony’s anti-sodomy law. The decision to withdraw means that the overturn of the anti-sodomy law will remain in place, as the one Catholic bishop of the small nation was the last remaining plaintiff calling for a reversal of the law.

    “The Belize Supreme Court struck down Section 53, the anti-sodomy section of the nation’s criminal code, in August 2016. Shortly thereafter, Belizean religious organizations banded together to mount an appeal of this landmark decision. Early in the process, however, both the Anglican Church and the Belize Council of Churches (representing Methodists, Salvation Army, Presbyterians, and the Chinese Christian Mission in Belize, the YWCA, and the Black Cross Nurses) stated that they did not want to be involved in the process. Because the National Evangelical Association had not been allowed to participate in the case, only the Catholic Church was left as the one group appealing the ruling.

    "Even before the church’s announcement of its withdrawal on March 5th [2018], there were indications that their resolve to go ahead with the case were flagging.”

    New Ways Ministry:

  • 41. guitaristbl  |  March 8, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    And back in the US, Republicans plan to re-introduce the so-called "First Amendment Defense Act" spearheaded by senator Lee (R-UT) with 22 republican co-sponsors in the senate :

  • 42. VIRick  |  March 8, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Georgia: Governor Signs LGBT "Neutral" Adoption Bill

    On Monday, 5 March 2018, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia signed into law a comprehensive bill updating the state’s adoption law after he joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in killing proposed changes that would have allowed adoptions by same-sex couples to be denied on religious grounds.

    The Georgia General Assembly’s approval of the sweeping adoption reform bill, known as HB 159, which includes no restrictions against same-sex couple adoptions, appears to have been overshadowed by the 23 February passage by the Georgia Senate of a separate, opposing bill, the Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act, or SB 375.

    Upon approval last month by the state Senate, SB 375 was sent to the House Judiciary Committee. A spokesperson for the committee’s chair, Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), stated that Willard had yet to schedule a hearing for the bill due to the committee’s consideration of numerous other bills. The spokesperson said she didn’t know when or if Willard planned to call a hearing.

    Under the Georgia General Assembly’s 2818 legislative session, any bill that isn’t fully approved by the state House and Senate by 29 March 2018 will be considered dead for the session.

    At least one source familiar with Deal and the Republican-controlled legislature said Deal and a number of prominent GOP lawmakers have made it known they oppose SB 375, among other things, because they believe its perception as a discriminatory law would hurt efforts to bring and retain large businesses in the state.

    Deal made his views known on that score in 2016 when he vetoed a “religious liberties” bill that critics said would have given employers and landlords authority to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds.

  • 43. guitaristbl  |  March 9, 2018 at 12:22 am

    Well there is at least one republican governor doing something right. Credit where credit is due. This is progress for Georgia.

  • 44. VIRick  |  March 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    "Notorious RBG" Documentary

    The first trailer for the new documentary about Supreme Court Justice, and all-around badass, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “RBG,” was officially released yesterday, 8 March 2018, on International Women’s Day. It is even more inspirational and exciting than even the most die-hard “Notorious RBG” fans could have hoped.

    Ginsburg, and others, are shown talking about her groundbreaking legal career, finding love with her belated husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, whom she called the first man to really respect her intellect, and is seen pumping weights and doing push-ups to help ensure she continues handing down rulings in favor of equality for years to come. Even if, hell, especially if, President Donald Trump doesn’t like it.

    The filmmakers shared the importance of the documentary:

    At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg ‘s exceptional life and career from Betsy West and Julie Cohen, and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films.

    The film hits theaters on 4 May 2018.

    Watch the trailer here:

    You can't spell "Truth" without "Ruth." On the other hand, you can't spell "Trump" without "Rump."

  • 45. ianbirmingham  |  March 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Would someone please "Pump That Rump"??

  • 46. VIRick  |  March 9, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Argentina: First Meeting of Trans Men in Patagonia

    Per Adrián Urrutia:

    Se viene el primer encuentro Patagónico de varones trans el 11 y 12 de mayo en Neuquén.

    The first Patagonian meeting of trans men will be held on 11-12 May in Neuquén.

    Meanwhile, in other parts of Latin America, there were two reported murders of trans individuals, one in El Salvador and one in Colombia, both today:

    Per El Blog de El Salvador:

    La cruel muerte que recibió un trasvesti en Antiguo Cuscatlán.

    The cruel death that a transvestite received in Antiguo Cuscatlán. (From the accompanying photo, it would appear that the individual was deliberately run over by a vehicle).

    Per Leonardo Castro Manrique of Bucaramanga, Colombia:

    Oriana Nicole, la reina trans nació en Sincelejo, fue asesinada en Riohacha en La Guajira.

    Oriana Nicole, the trans queen born in Sincelejo, was murdered in Riohacha in La Guajira.

  • 47. VIRick  |  March 9, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Costa Rica: Supreme Court Orders Churches to STOP!

    Per Agenda Gay:

    Hoy día, el 9 de marzo 2018, el Tribunal Supremo de Costa Rica ordena a la Iglesia (católica y evangélicas) que deje de hacer manifestaciones políticas, entre ellas, la feroz oposición al matrimonio igualitario, para no inteferir en el proceso electoral.

    Today, 9 March 2018, the Supreme Court of Costa Rica orders the Church (Catholic and evangelical) to stop making political demonstrations, among those, their fierce opposition to marriage equality, so as not to interfere in the electoral process.

  • 48. scream4ever  |  March 9, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Wow what a concept 🙂

  • 49. VIRick  |  March 9, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Read slightly differently, the Supreme Court appears to be laying the groundwork for the possible need to invalidate the up-coming presidential run-off if the anti-LGBT Evangelical nut-job preacher, Fabricio Alvarado, were to win, as his entire platform is based on virulent opposition to marriage equality, with rabid "church" support.

    In fact, I would go further and say that he is probably already in violation of Supreme Court orders, just by his being a preacher/candidate.

  • 50. VIRick  |  March 9, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Botswana: High Court Constitutional Challenge to Sodomy Ban Scheduled

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Lobatse High Court Judge Michael Leburu has scheduled a recent case in which a gay man has approached the court for an order that Section 164 (a) and (c) and Section 165, which criminalize sodomy, be declared unconstitutional. Arguments have now been scheduled for this case to be heard on 31 May 2018.

    Countries with active challenges to their sodomy laws are: Botswana, Kenya, India, Jamaica, Trinidad/Tobago; Legislative repeals have been proposed in: Angola, Cook Islands; Promise has been made to the UN, but no further action taken: Sri Lanka.

  • 51. VIRick  |  March 9, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Germany: Last Legal Challenge to Marriage Equality Law Dropped

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Tuesday, 6 March 2018, the Bavarian state government dropped their planned court challenge to same-sex marriage due to its having "little to no chance of winning." Bavarian Minister of Justice Winfried Bausback confirmed the news.

  • 52. VIRick  |  March 10, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    The Independent Party of Sinaloa Partners with LGBT Community

    El Partido Independiente en Sinaloa se Alía con Comunidad Lésbico-Gay

    Per Sonora Pride:

    CULIACÁN – El Partido Independiente de Sinaloa informó su alianza con el Comité de la Diversidad en Sinaloa que dirige Tiago Ventura Camacho, quien es un activista de la comunidad LGBTTTI. Con esta alianza, buscan impulsar las leyes para que derechos como el matrimonio igualitario se aprueben en Sinaloa, además de impulsar una agenda incluyente de todas las personas en el estado sin importar su género o preferencias sexuales.

    Serapio Vargas, Presidente del Pais, mencionó que Tiago Ventura Camacho sería parte de la planilla que representaría al partido en el Ayuntamiento de Culiacán.

    CULIACÁN – The Independent Party of Sinaloa reported its alliance with the Diversity Committee in Sinaloa, led by Tiago Ventura Camacho, who is an activist from the LGBTTTI community. With this alliance, they seek to promote laws so that rights such as marriage equality are approved in Sinaloa, as well as promoting an inclusive agenda for all people in the state regardless of gender or sexual preferences.

    Serapio Vargas, National President of the party, mentioned that Tiago Ventura Camacho would be part of the group that would represent the party in the City of Culiacán.

  • 53. VIRick  |  March 10, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Tennessee: Married Same-Sex Couple Sues State Republican Party

    A gay couple has sued the Tennessee state Republican Party for using their wedding photo in an attack ad. Their wedding was officiated by a candidate for state senate, but the couple says they didn’t sign up to be caught in the mudslinging.

    The Air Force veteran said he and his husband are private citizens, and this is casting a shadow on a very important memory. “After being together for nine years, we have a bond,” said Shane Morgan, referring to his husband Landon. Morgan said that’s why he was shocked to see a political attack ad mailer featuring a wedding picture of the couple with Gayle Jordan, who’s running for State Senate District 14. Jordan officiated the wedding. The mailer features the picture.

    Above it, it says, “Liberal Gayle Jordan will ‘destroy the fabric of American society.’ Take her word for it.” Morgan says the photo was lifted from his Facebook page. He and his husband are suing the Tennessee Republican Party for invading their privacy.

  • 54. VIRick  |  March 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Ellen De Generes Cancels Trip to Bermuda

    This news appears to be generating quite a worldwide splash, just as requested.

    Per Agenda Gay (in Spanish from Spain):

    Ellen De Generes cancela su viaje a Bermudas tras la anulación del matrimonio igualitario y llama a todo el mundo al boicot.

    Per Gay.It (in Italian):

    Bermuda, Ellen DeGeneres cancella il suo viaggio dopo l’abolizione del matrimonio egualitario e chiama tutti al boicottaggio.

    Ellen De Generes cancels her trip to Bermuda after the annulment of marriage equality and calls upon everyone to boycott.

  • 55. ianbirmingham  |  March 11, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Vietnam's Nguyen Huong Giang was crowned "Miss International Queen" in Thailand on Friday at one of the world's top beauty pageants for transgender women. The red-dressed winner fended off 26 competitors, from countries spanning Mongolia to Mexico, to clinch the coveted crown in the seaside town of Pattaya, where the popular contest has been running since 2004. …

    Thailand has a large and visible transgender population and is one of the world's top destinations for sex-reassignment surgery. Yet some segments of society remain deeply conservative. Despite high levels of education, many transgender people struggle to secure full-time work in professions outside the entertainment and sex industries. Same sex marriage is also still not legally recognised, and up until 2012, transgenders were considered mentally ill by the army.

    Vietnam, where this year's pageant winner hails from, has seen a growing LGBT scene in recent years while its communist government is drafting a landmark law that could allow some trans people to legally change their gender.

    Joe Wong, who works with the advocacy group Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), applauded contests like "Miss International Queen" as a "powerful medium to showcase the challenges, talents and hopes of trans people".

  • 56. VIRick  |  March 11, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Colombia Election Results for Congress; Two LGBT Candidates Win

    Bogotá — On 11 March 2018, a bisexual Colombian congresswoman became the first openly LGBT person elected to the country’s Senate. Angélica Lozano of the Green Alliance received 105,299 votes, the second-highest number of votes of her party's candidates who ran for the Senate.

    Lozano, a former member of the Bogotá City Council, and first elected to the Colombian House of Representatives in 2014, was among the 14 openly LGBT candidates who ran in the elections. Lozano was the first openly LGBT person elected to the Colombian House (and now, to the Senate). Her partner, Sen. Claudia López, was not out when she was elected (and was not up for re-election this cycle).

    In addition, Mauricio Toro, an openly gay man who is also a member of the Green Alliance, was newly-elected to the House with 19,045 votes, making him the first openly gay man to ever be elected to either legislative body.

    Per Mauricio Albarracín‏:

    Equally satisfying, the dirge, Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado, the former Procurador General (Attorney-General) who hunted down married same-sex couples all over Colombia and prosecuted them in the tense lead-up to the Supreme Court's definitive ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, received only 6% of the vote in his constituency. Additionally, neither of the two evangelical parties were able to cross the minimum threshold of votes needed, anywhere, nationwide.

    I am speculating here, but it strikes me that the Lozano-López partnership is also most likely the first instance worldwide, where BOTH partners in a same-sex relationship were members of the same legislative body at the same moment in time.

  • 57. VIRick  |  March 12, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Philippines: Civil Unions Bill Moves Forward

    Per LGBT Marriage News and ABS-CBN News:

    Manila – A bill that will legalize same-sex unions will do away with an administrative officer to avoid making it appear like a marriage, said one lawmaker involved in the deliberations. Under the Civil Unions Bill, same-sex or opposite sex couples who are seeking legal recognition of their partnership only need to sign a contract and submit it to their local civil registry, said Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, who chairs the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality.

    "So far, tinanggal na natin yung administrating officer para di na siya ma-equate to a same-sex marriage," Herrera-Dy told reporters. "We took out the administrating officer so that it won't be equated with same-sex marriage. It's really going to be a civil partnership contract of couples, whether same-sex or opposite sex," she said.

    The rights of couples in civil partnerships are still being deliberated upon by the bills' authors to "identify which of the existing laws can be amended," she said. These may cover provisions on adoption, inheritance, signing hospital waivers, or claiming bodies in case of death, she said.

    The next deliberations on the bill are scheduled for 19 March, just 2 days before Congress goes on its summer recess. "It is a priority measure of the speaker. We'll see if we can already pass it out of the committee," said Herrera-Dy.

  • 58. scream4ever  |  March 12, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Five years ago this would've gotten me excited, but it's just very late-in-the-game of them.

  • 59. VIRick  |  March 12, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    True enough, it's like re-inventing the wheel for the 100th time. Still, it would seem that each and every country will have to go through this convoluted process, at their own pace, each one in sequence, one after the other. At the moment, it's the Philippines' turn.

    Plus, for East Asia, this is the furthest any legislative body has yet gone. On the other hand, the upcoming oral arguments in the same-sex marriage challenge before the Philippines' Supreme Court in June could bring a swift end to any/all "civil unions" legislative debate. We simply have to wait and see.

  • 60. allan120102  |  March 12, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I hope the judges in the Philippines are lgbt friendly as the ones in Taiwan. I am hoping activist in SE Asia can become bolder I am almost sure we can win in countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Bhutan Vietnam and Nepal even if it was already mandate by there highest court. My saying id because in those countries Buddhism is there primary religion and as far as I know it doesnt condemn homosexuality and if it does it do it in a less hateful and fierce way than Christianity or Islam. The only against in this country is there lack of knowledge in lgbt topics and many people havent met lgbt people like in the case of Bhutan, I at least see them causing less trouble than the industrialize countries of South Korea and Japan in accepting ssm.

  • 61. scream4ever  |  March 12, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Yah Nepal's ruling was handed down 10 years ago this December. It's embarrassing how they've dragged their feet on the issue. Hopefully Taiwan and possibly the Philippines will push them to act soon.

  • 62. VIRick  |  March 12, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Mexico: Zabludovsky on Morena Presidential Hopeful, AMLO

    In his third bid for president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), Morena, is the current 15-point frontrunner in the up-coming Mexican presidential election scheduled for later this year. But lately, despite being the undisputed frontrunner, in an attempt to broaden his appeal, he has made some curious, and dubiously odd alliances.

    For background on Karla's article, we must remember that AMLO's political party, Morena, is ultra-leftist, to the left of the progressive, pro-LGBT PRD, which in turn is to the left of the PRI, which was originally founded as a leftist Marxist revolutionary party, but which has seemingly lost its way at some point since its founding. Due to rampant dis-satisfaction within the ranks, first the PRD, and now, more recently, Morena, have splintered off from the PRI, as has Nueva Alianza, a milder version popular in the pro-business northern tier who calmly assert, "Joda EEUU, podemos hacerlo solo" (Fuck USA, we can do it alone).

    On the right, the recently-ascendant, pro-business, pro-trade, pro-USA, pro-open-borders PAN (the Mexican equivalent of the Republicans, and whose vision is to become the next USA, but like good Republicans, minus the LGBT part) is about to eat dog-shit, while the ultra-rightist, "christianist" PES is in an even more hopeless position.

    Mexicans are angry, so expect a very hard shift to the left in these next elections, a much harder shift than even I had expected, one that has been exacerbated by almost every recent move taken by "El Norte," whether reflected in DACA, ICE, "border wall," "Mexico must pay for it," renegotiating NAFTA, one-way imposed tariffs, whatever. Then read Karla's article:

    Note: Karla Zabludovsky is a Mexican print journalist whose uncle, now-deceased, the revered Jacobo Zabludovsky, was once the premier Mexican TV journalist.

  • 63. allan120102  |  March 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    The bad thing is that Morena and PES have join forces. Manuel Lopez Obrador the leader and candidate for Morena have already state that important subjects like abortion and same sex marriage should be held in referendums. So Morena at least its presidential candidate its not that lgbt friendly. While PES is the party most against lgbt rights but should get force with its alliance with Morena. We need to remember that the only deputy who vote against ssm in Campeche was from Morena. Not even the deputies of PAN vote against.
    I would prefer PRD in having the presidency but I dont see them winning as they are extremely left for many religious while Morena like Obrador says have millions of evangelical and catholics. In other words Morena is more like socially conservative and economically liberal while PRD is more socially liberal and that is why most if not all of there candidates always vote in favor of ssm and abortion.

    This link explains the union between the extreme right of PES and Morena and all the forces the right might gain if Morena wins.

    So dont expect any good increase in lgbt rights from the government if Morena wins. This government have been the most lgbt friendly in the history of Mexico even some lgbt activist are worried about this alliance and have criticize Obrador for not having congruence.

  • 64. allan120102  |  March 13, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Good news coming from Australia. The last holdput has legalize ssm adoption for lgbt couples. Northern territory was the only state in Australia that didnt allow it

  • 65. VIRick  |  March 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Maryland: Federal Court Orders School; Treat Transgender Boy Just Like Any Other Boy

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 12 March 2018, in the federal case, "M.A.B. v. Board of Education of Talbot County," a transgender boy's suit against a Maryland school board for the right to access boys' restrooms and locker rooms, Judge George Russell III denied the school board's motion to dismiss:

    "On the basis of the Supreme Court’s holding in 'Price Waterhouse,' subsequent opinions of several Courts of Appeals, and this Court’s opinion in 'Finkle,' the Court concludes that allegations of gender stereotyping are cognizable as sex-discrimination claims under Title VII, and consequently, Title IX (of the Education amendments of 1972). The Court further concludes, on the basis of 'Finkle' and several Courts of Appeals decisions, that claims of discrimination on the basis of transgender status are per se actionable under a gender stereotyping theory."

    "Having determined that M.A.B. may bring a claim of discrimination under Title IX on the basis of his transgender status, the Court turns to whether M.A.B. has sufficiently alleged his claim under a gender-stereotyping theory. In brief, the Court concludes that M.A.B. has done so."

    The Court also denied M.A.B.'s motion for a preliminary injunction as to use of the boys' locker room, saying that because M.A.B. is not enrolled in physical education for the current school year, the harm is not "imminent.” The denial is without prejudice, meaning he can renew the request later if the Court hasn't reached a final decision on the merits in time for the start of next school year in September.

    NOTE: While the lawsuit involves use of both the locker room and restrooms, the school is no longer denying him use of the boys' restroom, so the motion for preliminary injunction was only as to the use of the locker room.

    The Memorandum Opinion is here:

    The Order is here:

    A second news report on this same case and its court decision is here:

    Yet a third news article pertaining to the same case and its court decision is here:

    The ruling in this case, from the District Court in Maryland, if it were to be appealed, has the potential to extend gender identity rights to all the other states within the Fourth Circuit, namely, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, 4 of the remaining 16 recalcitrant states still without any transgender protections whatsoever. In fact, even without an appeal, a separate suit in any one of them, citing the decision in the present suit as precedent, should be enough, particularly if it were to take the route of a gender stereotyping theory.

    This case is also "cleaner" than the earlier transgender school case from Virginia involving bathroom/locker access, "Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board," which pertained to the exact same issue, but which began with a negative ruling, and was subsequently appealed all the way to the Supreme Court and back. In the meantime, Gavin Grimm graduated.

  • 66. VIRick  |  March 13, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    ("M.A.B. v. Board of Education of Talbot County," continued)

    Per "Washington Blade," explaining in more detail, using Judge Russell's exact words taken directly from the decision, why the present case is "cleaner" than "Grimm" from a strict, legal standpoint:

    Russell notes precedent exists in the Fourth Circuit on bathroom access for transgender students after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of transgender student Gavin Grimm. However, Russell writes that that “no longer resolves” the situation because it is based on Obama-era guidance assuring transgender students access to school restrooms consistent with their gender identity, guidance which, in a blustery flourish, was rescinded by Trump, as if that were to resolve the "problem."

    Instead, Russell turns for guidance to Title IX and concludes Brennan is eligible for a claim of unlawful sex-stereotyping, referring to a decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Ash Whitaker (from Wisconsin), another transgender student. “The main difference between the policy in Whitaker and defendants’ policy here is that the school administrators in Whitaker barred the student from the boys’ restrooms, whereas here, defendants barred M.A.B. from the boys’ locker room,” Russell writes. “That difference does not change the court’s Title IX analysis. Like the policy in Whitaker, defendants’ policy of barring M.A.B. from the boys’ locker room requires him to use a facility that ‘does not conform’ with his gender identity.”

    Further, Russell finds M.A.B. is eligible for relief under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they both require sex discrimination and transgender discrimination to be subjected to heightened scrutiny. “The policy clearly implicates the Equal Protection Clause,” Russell writes. “It treats M.A.B. differently from the rest of the High School’s students. While the rest of M.A.B.’s peers may use the locker room that aligns with their gender identity, M.A.B. may not. Instead, Defendants discipline M.A.B. if he uses such a locker room — the boys’ locker room.”

    As evidence that transgender people are politically powerless, Russell notes “there are very few transgender elected officials” and only two openly transgender people have been elected to state legislatures. “Transgender people have been historically subjected to discrimination, their status bears no relation to their ability to contribute to society, they exhibit immutable and distinguishing characteristics, and they are both a minority and politically powerless,” Russell concludes.

  • 67. VIRick  |  March 13, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Mexico's First Out Gay Mayor, the Mayor of Fresnillo, Zacatecas

    Per "La Jornada Zacatecas:"

    In a news article from Zacatecas, Mexico, in which a well-meaning deputy to the state congress, Jorge Álvarez Máynez., is attempting to resurrect his bill, Ley de Sociedades de Convivencia (Unions of Co-Existence), buried in the "freezer" since 30 June 2011, and only supported by la priísta, Ana María Romo (PRI), el perredista Gerardo Romo (PRD), y los petistas Geovanna Bañuelos y Saúl Monreal (PT), he mentions:

    Dijo llamarle la atención que el presidente-electo de Fresnillo, Benjamín Medrano, incluso dio entrevistas a medios internacionales, asumiéndose como el primer alcalde homosexual del país; sin embargo, en su paso por la Legislatura (de Zacatecas), nunca se pronunció a favor de la iniciativa de "Sociedades de Convivencia."

    He said to call attention to the fact that the president-elect (mayor-elect) of Fresnillo, Benjamín Medrano, even gave interviews to international media, assuming himself to be the first out gay mayor of the country; however, in his passage through the (Zacatecas) Legislature, never pronounced in favor of the initiative for "Unions of Co-Existence."

    Note: "Sociedades de Convivencia," (Unions of Co-Existence) is usually more freely translated as Civil Unions. And the simple reason why Benjamin Medrano Quezada did not endorse this bill for same-sex couples is fairly obvious: It is not good enough, neither by Medrano's personal standards (as expressed on the floor of the Federal House of Deputies), nor by the jurisprudence already established by Mexico's Supreme Court.

    It should also be pointed out that Medrano was not born yesterday. He has been heavily involved in Mexican politics for many years, long before he voluntarily outed himself on the floor of the Federal House of Deputies in Mexico City during the vote on the failed national Marriage Equality legislation, one that would have resolved this state-by-state mess in Mexico, once and for all. He has been mayor of Fresnillo, deputy in the Federal House of Deputies, and now, he's back to being mayor,– and outwardly gay.

    Fresnillo, by population, is the second-largest city in Zacatecas state. As one of the biggest silver ore-mining communities in all of Mexico, it is left-wing, liberal, just like the coal-mining communities in Coahuila or the copper-mining city of Agua Prieta in Sonora.

  • 68. VIRick  |  March 13, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Costa Rica's First Out Gay National Legislator

    Este costarricense será el primer diputado abiertamente gay en un país enfrentado por el matrimonio igualitario. Cuando el 1 de mayo 2018 jure su cargo en la Asamblea Legislativa, Enrique Sánchez se convertirá en el primer diputado abiertamente gay en un órgano dominado por un partido conservador que impulsó su campaña en buena medida por el auge del conservadurismo religioso y el repudio al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo.

    Sánchez es solo uno de 10 legisladores del PAC frente a 14 de Restauración Nacional (PRN), en su mayoría pastores evangélicos debutantes, en la única cámara legislativa del país, de 57 miembros.

    With the 1 May 2018 swearing-in for his position in the Legislative Assembly, Enrique Sánchez will become the first openly gay deputy in a body dominated by a conservative party that boosted its own campaign largely on the rise of religious conservatism and the repudiation of same-sex marriage.

    Sánchez will be one of only 10 legislators of the (ruling) PAC, against 14 for Restauración Nacional (PRN), mostly newby evangelical pastors, in the unicameral national legislative chamber of 57 members.

    Notice in the Spanish text that Univision uses the word, "debutantes," to describe the newly-elected RN evangelical pastors, which is not only an incredible put-down, but an extremely clever play on words, given the over-all context of the news article.

  • 69. JayJonson  |  March 14, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which has a history of homophobic mayors, has just elected its first openly gay mayor, Dean Tantralis. I think he is now the mayor of the largest city in the South currently led by an openly gay official.

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