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Open thread 3/19


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

– According to SCOTUSBlog, tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, the Supreme Court will release more opinions in argued cases. We’re still waiting on Masterpiece Cakeshop, and the Court never announces in advance which opinions will be released. We’ll be following along both days in case that decision comes down, though it’s more likely to be released near the end of the term.


  • 1. VIRick  |  March 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    US Supreme Court Refuses to Block New Pennsylvania Congressional Map

    Washington – On Monday, 19 March 2018, the US Supreme Court, without a written opinion and with no noted dissents, gave a boost to Democratic hopes of seizing control of the US House of Representatives, by denying certiorari to, and thus rejecting, a challenge to Pennsylvania's new court-drawn state electoral map that Republicans had challenged as favoring Democrats.

    Republican state lawmakers had asked the Supreme Court to block the reworked map of the state's 18 House of Representatives districts, unveiled by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on 19 February 2018,, from being used in this year's mid-term elections. The state's top court had ruled on 22 January that the previous Republican-drawn electoral districts unlawfully marginalized Democratic voters. The Supreme Court took its action shortly after a panel of federal judges in Pennsylvania also refused to block the state's new congressional district map from taking effect.

  • 2. VIRick  |  March 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Savannah GA Ruined Pence's St. Patrick's Day March in Best Way Possible

    On Saturday, 17 March 2018, bigoted, homophobic Mike Pence was in Savannah, as the Georgia city hosted the South’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. He was expecting to see a lot of green as he marched in the parade, but he also got to see a major collection of rainbows. Multiple protestors holding signs that said “Mike Pence Is A Homophobe” and “Hate has no home here” waved rainbow flags. In fact, every single photo-op picture taken of Pence has at least one rainbow flag somewhere in the background.

    Originally, the city said, "No signs in the 'Pence zone,'" but the ACLU and local lawyers sued and won. For a selection of photos showing just how widespread the rainbow flags were in Savannah, see:

    In the meantime, on the same date, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, holding hands with his partner, Matt Barrett, marched in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    8th Circuit Court of Appeals: "Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management"

    Here is an up-date on the latest Title VII employment discrimination case from Missouri.

    The LGBT legal group Lambda Legal and the St. Louis-based law firm Mathis, Marifian & Richter LTD have brought before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals another lawsuit that could affirm employment protections within that jurisdiction for lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers. The litigation was filed on behalf of Mark Horton, a health care sales specialist whose job offer at Midwest Geriatric Management was rescinded after the employer found out he’s gay.

    Last week, in mid-March 2018, 47 businesses, attorneys-general from 15 states plus DC, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and major LGBT groups were among those that filed friend-of-the-court briefs before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the court to rule in favor of Horton and affirm Title VII protections for lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers.

    Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, staff attorney for Lambda Legal, said in a statement that the briefs demonstrate “the nation’s top corporations recognize that discrimination is bad for business. Our economy cannot thrive unless all people are welcome both as employees and customers,” Gonzalez-Pagan said. “Companies across all industries know that when an employee like Mark can bring their whole selves to work without fear of retaliation, they can focus on their jobs and succeed. Mark was recruited because of his recognized skills, which is what matters – and not his sexual orientation.”

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  March 19, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    If SCOTUS waits for a definitive split if the case before the 11th did not provide it, this should provide it. It's the 8th – with its current composition they would probably overturn Lawrence v. Texas if they could.

  • 5. allan120102  |  March 19, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    The 8th is the most conservative court in my opinion even more conservative than the 5th.

  • 6. scream4ever  |  March 19, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Or the 6th. Had the 6th (or the 5th) ruled in our favor for marriage equality, the 8th would've pushed the issue to the Supreme Court for sure, although it likely would've delayed a final ruling by a year.

  • 7. Zack12  |  March 20, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Why I'm glad we got the 6th Circuit ruling when we did.
    No reason to wait for the 8th Circuit panel(which had a judge who ruled against us before) to delay justice another year.

  • 8. Zack12  |  March 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    It was arguably the most conservative Circuit Court in the country before Trump got his judges on there.
    Even worse now.
    There is no way we will get a favorable ruling out of this circuit, none.

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 20, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Zack, I agree. The sooner this matter is brought before the Supreme Court for a definitive ruling (via a circuit split), the better. In the meantime, Missouri courts have already ruled. Here's the strongly-worded opinion of a Missouri state appeals court in a different case brought against a division of the state government of Missouri, one that also included an admonishment of the "fact-finding" process of the Missouri Commission On Human Rights itself:

    On 24 October 2017, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, in "Harold Lampley and Rene Frost, Appellants, v. Missouri Commission On Human Rights, et al., Respondents," ruled that sex stereotyping discrimination constitutes sex discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act.

    From the Opinion: "Though Missouri courts have not formally pronounced (until now) that sexual stereotyping falls within the intended scope of the MHRA, our existing case law provides a framework that readily accommodates a sex stereotyping theory. The MCHR contends a sex stereotyping analysis transforms sexual orientation into a suspect class. We disagree. This analysis simply allows the fact finder to determine whether sex stereotypes motivated disparate treatment. Sexual orientation is incidental and irrelevant to sex stereotyping, a conclusion underscored by 'Price Waterhouse,' where the claimant made no reference to sexual orientation. If an employer mistreats a male employee because the employer deems the employee insufficiently masculine, it is immaterial whether the male employee is gay or straight. The prohibition against sex discrimination extends to all employees, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation."

    The appeals court thus reverses and remands the case back to the trial court to remand back to the MCHR with instructions to issue right-to-sue letters.

    The former employer thus found guilty of the sex stereotyping charge was none other than a division of the state government of Missouri. "In 2014, Lampley filed charges of sex discrimination and retaliation against his employer, the State of Missouri's Office of Administration, Child Support Enforcement Division. Frost, a co-worker, also filed a claim alleging retaliation based on her association with Lampley." The two discrimination claims were then processed through the MCHR, which subsequently ruled in favor of the state, a decision now overturned.

  • 10. VIRick  |  March 19, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Tasmania Has Elected Its First Openly Lesbian Member of Parliament

    The Australian state of Tasmania has made history by electing its first openly lesbian MP into office. Last week, in mid-March 2018, Alison Standen was elected to the Tasmanian Parliament after standing for a seat for the Australian Labour Party. 

    On the campaign trail, Standen traveled with her partner and son and often spoke out about issues of equality. “Leadership to me is about connection to values; and about courage to stand up for the things that matter most to me – including LGBTIQ rights and addressing social inequality in general,” she said, during the campaign. “I haven’t always dreamt of being a politician or a gay activist. But this campaign has given me and my family the opportunity to stand up and contribute as advocates.”

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 20, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Venezuela: Evangelical Anti-LGBT, Anti-Abortion Presidential Candidate, Javier Bertucci

    Needless to say, this is a "bad news" candidate, off on a totally retrograde "social morality" agenda, in a country which at the moment is about as dysfunctional as it could possibly be. Under the circumstances, one would think that basic needs, like food, health care, and jobs, would have broader appeal:

    El candidato de creencia evangélica (en Venezuela) aseguró que todas las religiones serán respetadas, de resultar electo. Dijo que no está llevando su fe en los recorridos, sino “propuestas realizables” para el país. El candidato presidencial y ex-pastor evángélico, Javier Bertucci dijo que con sus recorridos por el país ha notado que “poco a poco se ha ido viendo la aceptación de mi candidatura en los estratos más bajos;” por lo que promete, de resultar electo, gobernar para todos sin importar las creencias religiosas.

    Aunque prometió no atacar a las personas por su orientación sexual, Javier Bertucci afirmó: “Nunca voy a permitir el matrimonio igualitario. Los niños no pueden tener mamá-mamá o papá-papá.” El religioso también desestimó aprobar una ley para aprobar el aborto porque, a su juicio, puede traer “un problema de aborto masivo en el país. Si le das legalidad, va a haber un montón de abortos,” consideró. Además, indicó que la aprobación de esta ley traería “un problema de carácter espiritual sobre el país.”

    Sin embargo, Bertucci aseveró: “No vengo a inocular odio. Las demás religiones y las personas de la comunidad LGBTI tienen garantías que no los voy a atacar por no pensar como yo.”

    If elected, the evangelical candidate (in Venezuela) assured that all religions will be respected. He said that he is not carrying his faith around on tour, but as "achievable proposals" for the country. Presidential candidate and former evangelical pastor, Javier Bertucci said that in his travels through the country he has noticed that "little by little my candidacy has gained acceptance among the lower strata;" but promises, if elected, to govern for all regardless of religious beliefs.

    Although he promised not to attack people for their sexual orientation, Javier Bertucci said: "I will never allow marriage equality. Children can not have a mom-mom or a dad-dad." He also would decline to approve a law legalizing abortion because, in his view, it could bring "a massive abortion problem to the country. If you give it legality, there will be a lot of abortions," he said. In addition, he indicated that the approval of this law would bring "a problem of spiritual character to the country."

    However, Bertucci said: "I do not come to inculcate hatred. The other religions and the people of the LGBTI community have guarantees that I will not attack them for not thinking like myself."

  • 12. allan120102  |  March 20, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Even though I dislike Maduro, if this is the candidate of the opposition I would not vote for him if I was from the lgbt community of that country. Venezuela is poise to have marriage equality as soon as this year and if they elect him he will cause trouble for lgbt people so I guess many in the lgbt community will vote for Maduro instead. He have already state he is in favor of ssm and of equal right for lgbt people.

  • 13. josejoram  |  March 20, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    He's not tbe only opposition's candidate. But it doesn't matter anyway…

  • 14. josejoram  |  March 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Neither Bertucci nor any other than Maduro has a real possibility to become President in a fraud marred election.

  • 15. josejoram  |  March 20, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Bertucci has zero Options in a fraud marred election.

  • 16. allan120102  |  March 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Unless something drastically happens Costa Rica is poise to have a bigot as a president. With just less than 15 days before the general elections Bigot Fabricio Alvarado is on top of every survey. Its winning by as much as 13 points of difference. This is because he have energize the religion vote and it looks poise that the rural provinces superceed in number of votes to those in the more modernize provinces. Fabricio have gone on tour claiming he will not allow ssm in the country and it looks like people are believing him base on polls.

  • 17. Zack12  |  March 20, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    In other words, he's doing what Republicans here in the U.S. have done.
    Makes me sick.

  • 18. scream4ever  |  March 20, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Thankfully, he can't stop a ruling from the IACOHR.

  • 19. allan120102  |  March 20, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    That will depend now on the decision of the CR supreme court. Base on CR constitution international treaties superceed country laws. So we will see.

  • 20. VIRick  |  March 20, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    As part of the promissory arrangement in providing for a new location for the headquarters of the CIDH (IACHR), when that court, as the judicial arm of the OAS, voted to vacate Washington DC after the USA refused to join its supra-national court system, Costa Rica, in its successful bid to secure the new site for San José, amended its constitution to state that international treaties supersede national law (and joining the CIDH required the signing of an international treaty which bound the nation to accept any/all court rulings rendered by the CIDH). Undoubtedly, Costa Rica's own Supreme Court will have to make a ruling on this matter, restating the obvious.

    Although Costa Rica is the nation which requested the CIDH ruling on marriage equality and self-declaration on gender identity, and because of its own constitution, is thus immediately bound by the decision, the same ruling is also binding on all of the following nations which do not yet have either marriage equality or self-declaration on gender identity, but also signed the treaty binding themselves to it: Barbados, Bolivia (marriage equality), Chile (with its own separate binding agreement from a previous ruling), Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico (marriage equality in the remaining 19 states where not performed), Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú (marriage equality), and Suriname, 16 nations in total.

    Bolivia, Mexico, and Perú have already legalized self-declaration on gender identity, while Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, and Uruguay, also signatories to the treaty, already have both marriage equality and self-declaration on gender identity. In Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico (in the 13 jurisdictions where performed), foreign same-sex couples are permitted to marry. In Brasil and Colombia, at least one member of the couple must be a local citizen.

    Cuba and Venezuela are the only Latin nations which are not signatories, although the latter's withdrawal from the CIDH is still being questioned.

    Odd fact: To this date, the majority of same-sex couples marrying in Uruguay are from Brasil. The reason is simple: the law in Uruguay is constitutionally-guaranteed law, whereas in Brasil it is merely through a Supreme Court ruling, and technically, the law itself in Brasil has yet to be up-dated (5 years on) to reflect this court ruling.

  • 21. guitaristbl  |  March 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

    The number of undecided voters is huge still and everything can happen. Don't preclude any result. Plus any result will hardly be able to stop marriage equality. Even if he wants to withdraw from ICHR he will need some kind of legislative approval and his far right party only controls 14 seats – not even close to enough for something like that.

  • 22. VIRick  |  March 21, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Plus, the ruling by the CIDH has already been rendered, and within the time-frame while Costa Rica still continues to remain a full-fledged member, with its own constitutional clause stating that international treaties take precedence over national laws. Any attempt to withdraw from, or abrogate the international accord ex post facto (well after-the-fact), and after Costa Rica itself had requested the ruling in the first instance, would undoubtedly be deemed illegal and invalid, no matter the method by which anyone might attempt to withdraw that nation.

    In fact, none of the 16 member states who are members of the CIDH (see list up above for specifics), and whose laws on these matters presently do not meet CIDH standards, can legally withdraw from the accord, and thus abrogate their own obligations. And then see below for reference to Chile and their Comptroller-General's ruling today on the binding nature of the same accord (and the full extent of it) as pertains to Chile.

    The same applies to all 16 nations, including Costa Rica, of course. Various officials in Panamá have also stated the same, as has the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Perú. And that's also why the right-wing politicians in Paraguay and El Salvador, among others, are so agitated, as they know full well that their nations must also comply. It's simply too late for any of them to back out. My only question: I actively wonder whether officials in the non-Spanish-speaking nations who are party to the accord fully realize that the same ruling applies to them as well, that is, to Barbados, Haiti, and Suriname?

    Remember, too, that Venezuela was once a party to the CIDH, and there are still many lingering questions and doubts as to the legality and validity of their withdrawal from the accord, given Chavez's unilaterally dictatorial declaration that he simply no longer recognized their authority over him (on other matters not having to do with marriage equality or gender identity).

  • 23. allan120102  |  March 20, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Baja California legislators and conservative organizations are doing everything they can to stop ss couples from adopting. Legislators are even thinking of banning ss adoption. The thing is the supreme court will kick them on there butt once this reach their way.

  • 24. VIRick  |  March 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Constitution of El Salvador

    Constitución de El Salvador

    A reminder per Antonio Arévalo de San Salvador‏:

    Artículo 3: Todas las personas son iguales ante la ley. Para el goce de los derechos civiles, no podrán establecerse resticciones que se basen en diferencias de nacionalidad, raza, sexo, o religión.

    Article 3: All persons are equal before the law. For the enjoyment of civil rights, restrictions that are based on differences in nationality, race, sex, or religion may not be established.

  • 25. VIRick  |  March 20, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    The "Gayly" Painted Buenos Aires Metro Station, Cárlos Jáuregui

    Per Fernando Albornoz‏:

    Feliz primer aniversario a la Estación Cárlos Jáuregui, que nos enorgullece a todos los miembros de la comunidad LGBT Argentina.

    Happy first anniversary to the Cárlos Jáuregui Station, which makes us proud for all the members of the LGBT community in Argentina.

    The entire underground station is "gayly" painted in multiple rainbow colors everywhere, with lots of additional wall murals illustrating LGBT history in Argentina. All the painting and art work was done by LGBT volunteers. See Fernando's twitter account for visual proof, as well as here:

  • 26. VIRick  |  March 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Chile: Comptroller-General Rules that Agreement between State and Movilh Is Legal and Binding

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Chile: Contraloría General Dictamina que Acuerdo entre Estado y el Movilh Es Legal y Vinculante

    Hoy, 21 de marzo 2018, la Contraloría General de la República descartó que existiera alguna ilegalidad en el Acuerdo de Solución Amistosa (ASA) que el Estado de Chile y el Movilh firmaron ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), y calificó de vinculante los compromisos ahí asumidos. Entre éstos, se cuenta el impulsar y aprobar el matrimonio igualitario, la ley de identidad de género, la filiación, y la adopción homoparental, entre otras leyes y políticas públicas contra la homofobia y la transfobia.

    De esa manera, la Contraloría General rechazó un recurso presentado por los diputados José Antonio Kast Rist, Arturo Squella Ovalle, y Juan Antonio Coloma Álamos, quienes alegaron que el Acuerdo y, en especial sus contenidos, eran ilegales, al igual que la firma de los ministros que sellaron el ASA con el Movilh.

    Al respecto, la Contraloría General dictaminó que “los tratados internacionales forman parte de la preceptiva que en el desempeño de sus funciones los entes públicos deben observar”. Explicó que los acuerdos alcanzados en virtud de la Convención Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), como ocurre con el ASA firmado por el Estado y el Movilh, "constituyen la aplicación de un medio de solución de controversias implantado bajo la jurisdicción de un organismo internacional, cuyas normas son parte del ordenamiento jurídico nacional, al tratarse de un tratado internacional suscrito, y ratificado y promulgado por la República de Chile.”

    Today, 21 March 2018, the Comptroller-General of the Republic ruled out the possibility that there existed any illegality in the Friendly Settlement Agreement (ASA) that the State of Chile and Movilh signed before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and that the commitments assumed there qualified as binding. Among these, is the promotion and approval of marriage equality, the law of gender identity, filiation, and homoparental adoption, among other laws and public policies directed against homophobia and transphobia.

    Thus, the Comptroller-General rejected an appeal filed by the deputies, José Antonio Kast Rist, Arturo Squella Ovalle, and Juan Antonio Coloma Álamos, who argued that the Agreement and, especially its contents, were illegal, as were the signatures of the ministers who sealed the ASA with Movilh.

    In this regard, the Comptroller-General ruled that "international treaties are part of the mandatory process public entities must observe in the performance of their duties." He explained that the agreements reached under the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (IACHR), such as the ASA signed by the State and Movilh, "constitute the application of a means of dispute resolution implemented under the jurisdiction of an international organization whose jurisprudence is part of the national legal order, as it is an international treaty subscribed to, and ratified and promulgated by the Republic of Chile."

    Filiation = Two-parent recognition from birth

  • 27. VIRick  |  March 21, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    The Office of Comptroller-General (General Accounting Office) is a constitutionally autonomous governmental body based on Chapter 10 of the Constitution of Chile, and is in charge of controlling the legal aspects, management, pre-audit, and post-audit functions of all activities of the centralized and decentralized civil service.….

  • 28. VIRick  |  March 21, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Davey Wavey's Gay Sex Ed

    Per the "Advocate:"

    Davey (as usual) wins the internet quote-of-the-day, asserting a point with which I would not disagree: "My talent is being gay."

    At first glance, this article and its theme may seem rather tongue-in-cheek and a bit too far "off-topic," but if one is seriously looking for a long-term relationship, and even marriage, it is definitely not.

  • 29. VIRick  |  March 21, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    An Up-Date on "Karnoski v. Trump"

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In "Karnoski v. Trump," the Lambda Legal and OutServce-SLDN case which is challenging the constitutionality of the ban on military service by transgender individuals in the State of Washington federal court, the federal Defendants had until 19 March 2018 to comply with a 14 March order requiring them to make meaningful initial disclosures to the plaintiffs.

    The Defendants say they've complied with the order "to the extent possible," but filed a motion with the Court asking for "clarification" and, if necessary, "reconsideration" of the order. "Specifically, Defendants ask the Court to clarify whether, by asking whom the President consulted with, the Court intended to order Defendants to disclose potentially privileged information regarding the President’s deliberative process preceding his announcements regarding military service by transgender individuals."

    On 20 March, the Court denied the motion: "The Court expects Defendants to comply with its 14 March Order no later than 5:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time on 22 March 2018."

    In the meantime, briefing on Motions for Summary Judgment continue. A hearing on motions by the Plaintiffs' and by the Intervenor State of Washington is set for 27 March at 10 AM.

    Order Denying Motion for Clarification and Reconsideration is here:

  • 30. scream4ever  |  March 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Because obviously Trump didn't consult with anyone in the military beforehand. Also, when will the new guidelines be released, as they were supposed to have a month ago…

  • 31. VIRick  |  March 21, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    I was editing to add that point, but you beat me to it! In effect, the answer from the court to the defendant's query about "clarification" is: "Yes, disclose, assuming the highly dubious notion that there had been any deliberative process whatsoever prior to the announcement (and a selective poll of assorted members seated at the next table at Mar-a-Lago does not count).

    As to your other point, there are no new guidelines, and there won't be any new guidelines. That thought was just a ruse to attempt to delay for more time. The military has already stated that no new guidelines are necessary.

  • 32. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    Judge Orders Trump to Turn over Names of Experts "Consulted" on Trans Ban

    In "Karnoski v. Trump," in a move that could shed light on the motivation behind Trump’s transgender military ban and embarrass his presidency (as if anything more could embarrass it), on Thursday, 22 March 2018, a federal judge ordered the US government to turn over the names of military experts who were consulted before he announced his policy on Twitter.

    In a three-page order, US District Judge Marsha Pechman in Washington State responded to a request for clarification from the Justice Department on whether that information must be turned over as part of ongoing litigation. The administration argued that that information should be subject to executive privilege.

    But Pechman declined to find that the information should be protected because “the court cannot rule on a ‘potential’ privilege, particularly where the allegedly privileged information is unidentified.”

    The "Blade" article brings up an interesting point, I had not previously considered. What we know, regarding two individuals who should have been consulted, is this:

    Secretary Mattis was away on vacation at the time of the Twitter announcement, while the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford called the move “unexpected” and intended to tell Congress he was “not consulted.” Thus, it is important for the public to know and understand who Trump is actually getting military policy from, because it is certainly not any of the individuals who should be advising the White House on DOD policy and personnel.

    Since Trump claimed he reached the decision after “consultation with my Generals and military experts,” we need to know who these so-called "generals" and "military experts" might happen to be.

  • 33. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    San Francisco Airport Will Name New Terminal after Harvey Milk

    The San Francisco International Airport will name a terminal after Harvey Milk, the iconic LGBTQ rights advocate and the state’s first openly gay elected official. The plan includes the installation of artwork commemorating him.

    The idea of naming the airport itself after Milk was put forward by then-Supervisor David Campos five years ago. The proposal was met with opposition, the "San Francisco Examiner" notes, and an airport naming committee was formed to take up the issue. It has recommended naming the airport’s Terminal 1 after Milk.

    The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee will vote on the name change today, 22 March 2018.

  • 34. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Pennsylvania: Two Women Were Married at a Walmart

    A Pennsylvania couple had an unusual wedding venue this past Saturday, 17 March 2018: the garden section at Walmart. In 2015, Chrissy Slonaker Torres and Leida Torres first met at the Walmart in West Manchester Township, where they both still work.

    Originally, they were planning a private ceremony in their home. But as they started sending out invitations, they realized that many of their co-workers at Walmart wouldn’t be able to get time-off from work to attend.

    “We both have a lot of really close friends that we call family in our Walmart store,” Chrissy said. “We discussed it with the store manager and the home office so that everybody in our store – everybody that we share our lives with – could be part of the wedding.”

    That’s sweet – until you realize that their underpaid and overworked friends couldn’t get the time off to witness their wedding, resulting in the couple taking their wedding to their friends. Walmart continues to provide notoriously bad working conditions and has already settled a class-action lawsuit, alleging anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination, for millions of dollars.

  • 35. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Kenya: Court Rules that Forced Anal Exams Are Unlawful

    A Kenya court has ruled in a landmark decision that the use of forced anal examinations is illegal. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) challenged the practice following the treatment of two men arrested in 2015. The men were subjected to forced anal examinations, which police claimed was done to find out if they had engaged in anal sex and were gay. They were also forced to undergo HIV testing. Lawyers for NGLHRC claimed the forced examinations were tantamount to torture and a violation of the right to privacy and dignity.

    The decision comes after the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) spoke out against the practice, saying: “We condemn and discourage any form of forced examination of clients, even in the guise of discovering crimes.”

    Another landmark case is due to be ruled upon after a two-year battle, as the Kenya High Court is currently deliberating on whether or not to legalize same-sex sexual relations.

  • 36. scream4ever  |  March 22, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    I'm hopeful Kenya will rule in our favor in the upcoming case.

  • 37. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    The present ruling regarding forced exams comes from an appeals court in Mombasa which stated that another earlier court decision that had upheld the practice was unconstitutional and a violation of human rights.

  • 38. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Northern Ireland Marriage Equality Bill

    Per Rex Wockner:

    A bill to bring marriage equality to Northern Ireland, which hasn't had a government of its own for more than a year in large part because of disagreement over marriage equality, will be going before the British House of Commons in London on Wednesday, 28 March 2018.

    The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Bill will be introduced and presented by Labour MP Conor McGinn on that date. It will be introduced under the Ten Minute Rule, which allows an MP to make the case for a new Private Members’ Bill for up to 10 minutes, after which an opposing speech may be made. MPs then vote on whether the bill should advance to its first reading stage.

  • 39. allan120102  |  March 22, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    I really hope it advance quickly through its readings but I am not sure how long it takes to approve laws in UK.

  • 40. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Australia: NT Adoption Equality Bill Signing

    Per Paul Mitchell and LGBT Marriage News:

    The Northern Territory Adoption Equality Bill is to be signed into law this Friday, 23 March 2018, at 11 AM, at Government House, Darwin. The law then goes into effect the very next day on Saturday, 24 March.

  • 41. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    El Salvador: Draft Bill on Gender Identity Introduced into National Legislature

    Per Diputada Lorena Peña y Noticias LGBT‏:

    El 22 de marzo 2018, presentamos en este momento a la Asamblea Legislativa de El Salvador el anteproyecto de Ley de Identidad de Género, para que se reconozcan derechos a las personas transgénero.

    At this moment, on 22 March 2018, we present to the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador the draft bill of the Gender Identity Law so that the rights of transgender persons are recognized.

  • 42. VIRick  |  March 22, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Michigan: Federal Case Challenging State's Discriminatory Adoption Practices

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The ongoing federal lawsuit, "Dumont v. Lyon," is challenging Michigan's practice of allowing state-funded adoption agencies to use "religious belief" as an excuse to turn away prospective foster care/adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation. The case is being heard by Judge Paul D. Borman, in the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

    The official state defendant is Nick Lyon, Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, but the actual guilty party doing the "religious belief" vetting of prospective foster care/adoptive parents is St. Vincent Catholic Charities, the Intervening Defendant. However, it is the state of Michigan that blissfully continues to fund their discriminatory foster care/adoption practices, thus making the state guilty by association.

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