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Open thread and news round-up UPDATE 4/6

Community/Meta Transgender Rights

– There’s a mail-in ballot election going on in Anchorage, Alaska, over the issue of bathroom use by people who are transgender. The results are leaning toward the pro-equality side winning: voters appear to reject a measure that would require bathroom use based on sex at birth instead of gender identity. UPDATE 4/6: The equality side is declaring victory in this election, since it appears the vote is insurmountable at this point.

– In California, a legislative committee has passed a bill to ban so-called LGBT “conversion therapy” for adults.


  • 1. VIRick  |  April 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Maryland House of Delegates Approves Bill Banning "Conversion Therapy" for Minors

    On Wednesday, 4 April 2018, the Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill that would ban so-called "conversion therapy" for minors in the state. Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1028 by a 95-27 vote margin.

    The Maryland Senate already approved the same measure on 28 March 2018. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has indicated that he supports the bill. The bill is now heading for his desk for his signature.….

  • 2. scream4ever  |  April 4, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    This apparently happened at the end of debate in the House of Delegates:

  • 3. Randolph_Finder  |  April 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

    For the majority of Social issues, especially LGBT, Hogan hasn't really pushed back at the Legislature. The fact that the Democrats have more than enough of a Majority in both houses to override also helps with that. 🙂 OTOH, he is more than likely to get re-elected in November 2018.

  • 4. VIRick  |  April 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Alaska: Anchorage Voters Leaning to Reject Prop 1, Regulating Restroom/Locker Use

    Per Equality Case Files and "Anchorage Daily News:"

    Initial results in Anchorage's local election Tuesday night, 3 April 2018, showed a majority of voters rejecting a contentious ballot initiative to regulate restrooms, locker rooms, and "intimate facilities" by sex at birth instead of by gender identity, after what was one of the most expensive campaigns in city election history. The measure, Proposition 1, would have rolled back a legal protection for transgender people that has been in effect for more than two years, an effort by Alaska Family Council president Jim Minnery to repeal portions of Anchorage's Non-Discrimination Ordinance as it applies to transgenders.

    The results could change in the coming days. About 53 percent of the 50,000 ballots counted Tuesday night, the deadline date for the mail-in ballots, were "No" votes on Prop. 1, compared to 46 percent in favor. But at least an additional 16,000 ballots cast have been received by elections officials and have not yet been counted.….

  • 5. scream4ever  |  April 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Hopefully they will take this campaign strategy to Houston and correct the mistake voters their made in 2015.

  • 6. VIRick  |  April 4, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Swaziland Set to Host First-Ever Pride Celebration

    A group of equal rights activists in Swaziland are looking to make history by hosting the first-ever public LGBTI event in the republic. To be held this June, the celebration will be spearheaded by the advocacy group, Rock of Hope and its communications manager, Melusi Simelane.

  • 7. VIRick  |  April 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Mexico: Olga Sánchez Cordero TV Interview

    Per Omar Monroy:

    La ex-ministra, Olga Sánchez Cordero, próxima Secretaria de Gobernación del gobierno que encabezará López Obrador, se manifiesta a favor del matrimonio igualitario.

    The ex-minister (former Justice of Mexico's Supreme Court), Olga Sánchez Cordero, the next Government Secretary of the government to be headed by López Obrador, is in favor of marriage equality.

    Olga Sánchez Cordero was a member of Mexico's Supreme Court at the time when Jalisco's ban on same-sex marriage was unanimously struck down as unconstitutional, so her view on this subject is obvious and a matter of public record. She has already been named to be the next Government Secretary in the next administration. It is also fairly clear that López Obrador (AMLO) will be Mexico's next president, but he's been waffling on the subject of same-sex marriage, suggesting a public consultation as a ploy to broaden his base in the upcoming election.

    Per Gayristegui:

    Olga Sánchez Cordero, estratega jurídica de AMLO, tiene muy claro que debe haber matrimonio igualitario en todo México. Ojalá le pasé el memo a López Obrador – o mínimo un acordeón, para que ya no prometa que someterá a consulta pública derechos LGBT.

    Olga Sánchez Cordero, legal strategist for AMLO, is very clear that there must be marriage equality throughout Mexico. Hopefully, she passes the memo to López Obrador – or at least an accordion, so that he no longer promises that he will submit LGBT rights to public consultation.

    Per Daniel Berezowsky‏:

    A ver si así, López Obrador entiende que ni el matrimonio igualitario, ni ningún otro derecho humano, se debe someter a consulta popular.

    We will see if López Obrador understands that neither marriage equality, nor any other human right, should be submitted to popular consultation.

    Note: The Mexican expression, "pasar el acordeón," (to pass the accordion) is equivalent to telling someone in the EEUU to go whistle "Dixie" over some lost cause, although in Spanish, if one thinks of the sound an accordion makes, there are much ruder implications, more akin to "blowing it out one's a$$," i.e., whistling out the other end.

  • 8. JayJonson  |  April 4, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Transgender rights victory in Puerto Rico.

    On April 3, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico struck down a policy that prevented transgender people born in Puerto Rico from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificates and ordered Commonwealth officials to allow such corrections.

    Lambda Legal challenged Puerto Rico’s categorical ban on corrections to the gender marker in birth certificates last April in a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit.

    “This is a tremendous victory for our clients and all transgender people born in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican government must now allow transgender Puerto Ricans to change the gender markers on their birth certificates so that they accurately reflect and affirm their identities,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal.

  • 9. VIRick  |  April 4, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Puerto Rico Will Not Appeal Federal Court Birth Certificate Ruling

    Per Pedro Julio Serrano‏:

    Maravillosa noticia del 4 de abril 2018: El Departamento de Justicia (de Puerto Rico) NO apelará la decisión del Tribunal Federal que permite que las personas trans atemperen (el marcador de género en) su certificado de nacimiento en Puerto Rico.

    Wonderful news of 4 April 2018: The Department of Justice (of Puerto Rico) will NOT appeal the Federal Court decision allowing transgender persons to adjust (the gender marker on) their birth certificates in Puerto Rico.

    And here:

    Mariana Cobian, a spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico Justice Department, told the AP that the government does not plan to appeal the ruling.

  • 10. VIRick  |  April 5, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Trinidad/Tobago: High Court Ruling on Sodomy Ban Expected

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In January 2018, High Court judge Devindra Rampersad reserved his decision after hearing submissions in a landmark case in which gay activist Jason Jones is challenging Trinidad/Tobago’s homophobic laws.

    In the lawsuit, Jones is challenging the sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalizes sodomy and serious indecency even between consenting adults. Jones is claiming that the legislation contravenes his constitutional rights to privacy and freedom of thought and expression.

    Rampersad is expected to deliver his judgment on 12 April 2018.

    Note: The above-quoted extract was edited from an insanely homophobic "news" article from the "Trinidad Express" of 5 April 2018, focused on some sort of "bishops conference" at something called Redemption Worship Centre in Chaguanas, claiming "same-sex marriage is a cancer." The on-line web-site, stlucianewsonline, for its part, added this caveat to the article:

    This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

    Further note: Chaguanas is the de facto "capital" of central Trinidad's Big India area. Throughout the region, the population is predominately Hindu, with a Muslim minority. So, it is a mystery as to why a group of black "christian bishops" would venture there and make such pronouncements, other than to be self-righteously provocative in an attempt to stir up ethnic/religious animosity. One notes that the presiding judge in the case at hand is of Indian ethnicity.

  • 11. VIRick  |  April 5, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Ukraine: Ombudsman Removes Anti-LGBT Petition

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Ukraine's Anti-Discrimination Ombudsperson has set an important, though controversial, precedent by demanding that a petition purporting to "defend family values" be removed from the President's website for being in violation of the rights of sexual minorities and for inciting discrimination. The petition in question "called for measures to be taken to stop propaganda of homosexuality and for defending family values" and was, accordingly, removed from the electronic petitions section, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group wrote.

    The petition had been supported by various churches and religious organizations, and had received 23,000 signatures when deleted on 28 March 2018. Its author was informed that the Ombudsperson on Human Rights, Non-discrimination, and Gender Equality, Aksana Filipishyna, had demanded its removal as containing "calls to restrict human rights and elements of incitement to restrictions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (belonging to the LGBT community)."

    The Ombudsperson cites Article 68 of Ukraine's Constitution. This states that no one should "encroach upon the rights and freedoms, honor and dignity of other persons." She stresses the fact that while each person is guaranteed freedom of religious views and convictions and of expression, both Ukraine's Constitution and the European Convention impose some restrictions in order to protect the rights and freedoms of others. She notes that the petition claimed that "non-traditional sexual orientation of parents have a terrible influence on children's future life" and that adoption by homosexuals was "an act of violence against these children" (and other claims).

    In Ukraine, public officials are obliged to comply with current legislation and that Article 6 of the Law on the Principles for Preventing and Countering Discrimination in Ukraine specifically prohibits any form of or incitement to discrimination, on the grounds, among others, of their sexual orientation. It is pointed out that Article 10 of that same Law gives the Human Rights Ombudsperson the right and duty to react to the publication of petitions with such content.

  • 12. allan120102  |  April 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Same sex marriage could be legal in just a couple of weeks in Costa Rica. Hopefully sooner. This will be a groundbreaking day not just for Costa Rica but for all of Central America.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 5, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Costa Rica: Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to Define Future of Marriage Equality in Coming Weeks

    Costa Rica: TSE Definiría Futuro del Matrimonio Igualitario en las Próximas Semanas

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Comisión especial analiza alcance de pronunciamiento de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH). Desde que la CIDH emitió un criterio para que el país se aprobara el matrimonio entre parejas homosexuales y el cambio de género, el Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) continúa recibiendo decenas de solicitudes por parte de la comunidad gay costarricense.

    Serán los funcionarios del Tribunal quienes analicen el criterio de la CIDH sobre los derechos igualitarios, para ello se instauró una mesa que se pronunciaría en las próximas semanas sobre este tema. A partir de ahí, se podría establecer una hoja de ruta, para definir si el criterio de la Corte se debe acatar y cómo se aplicaría dicha opinión.….

    A Special Commission is analyzing the scope of the pronouncement of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH). Ever since the CIDH issued the criterion for the country to approve same-sex marriage and self-determining gender change, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) continues to receive dozens of requests from the Costa Rican gay community.

    The officials of the Tribunal will be analyzing the CIDH's criteria on equal rights, for which a study group was established that will issue its findings in the coming weeks on this subject. From there, a roadmap would be established to define if the Court's criteria must be complied with and how that opinion would be applied.

  • 14. VIRick  |  April 6, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Costa Rica: Action of Unconstitutionality Up-Date

    Per Daniel Valverde-Cano Mesén‏:

    Me impresiona que mi acción de inconstitucionalidad presentada contra la Consejo Superior Notarial hizo que instituciones como la PGR (Procuraduría General de la República) y la Defensoría de los Habitantes de la República de Costa Rica se pronunciaran a favor de (la expediente ante de la Sala Constitucional, Sala IV), OC/24-17. Ciertamente el matrimonio igualitario es un cambio irreversible en nuestro país.

    I am impressed that my action of unconstitutionality filed against the Superior Notarial Council caused institutions such as the PGR (Attorney-General of the Republic) and the Ombudsman of Costa Rica to declare themselves in favor of (the case before the Constitutional Chamber, Sala IV), OC/24-17. Certainly, equal marriage is an irreversible change in our country.

    Subtly, or not-so-subtly (I am not sure now which), I had wondered where the hyphenated Cano in his name had come from. In his blog, Daniel is quite clear:

    En esos años también conocí a Rodrigo Cano, persona que considero mi compañero de vida. Incondicional como pocos, él me ha enseñado tantas cosas nuevas y diferentes que ameritan otros espacios para discutirlos. En esencia, su corazón me ha demostrado que las injusticias y el odio se luchan con amor, y que la crueldad es inaceptable, tanto contra personas como contra otros seres vivos.

    In those years I also met Rodrigo Cano, a person who I consider my life partner. Unconditional as few others are, he has taught me so many new and different things that merit other spaces to discuss them. In essence, his heart has shown me that injustice and hatred are fought with love, and that cruelty is unacceptable, both against people and against other living beings.

    Per Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia:

    Acabo de hablar por teléfono con Carlos Alvarado Quesada, nuevo presidente de Costa Rica. Le reiteré mi felicitación y nuestra voluntad de trabajar para seguir fortaleciendo la gran relación entre nuestros países.

    I just spoke on the phone with Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the new president of Costa Rica. I reiterated my congratulations and our willingness to work to continue strengthening the great relationship between our countries.

  • 15. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 5, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – Update – April 4, 2018:

    "By the second day of tallying ballots, Proposition 1 still leans towards not passing. As of Wednesday evening, there are 30,711 votes against the proposal, and 27,207 votes in favor of it.

    "On Tuesday, there was a difference of 3,884 votes. One day later and that difference has shrunk slightly – it's now 3,504 votes.

    "As of Wednesday evening, MOA reports that 57,918 votes were tallied towards this measures. That makes up 26.5 percent of this election's total registered voters."

    [See KTUU's graph of vote results here, as they come in]

  • 16. scream4ever  |  April 5, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    I believe there are only 10,000 ballots to go, so it's virtually impossible for the other side to make a comeback at this point.

  • 17. scream4ever  |  April 6, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    The final ballots are in and the initiative has been defeated by 52.7%!!!

  • 18. VIRick  |  April 5, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Chile: Inter-American Commission Cites Government to Report on Marriage Equality

    Chile: Comisión Interamericana Cita al Gobierno a Informar por Matrimonio Igualitario

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Una convocatoria llegó esta semana al gobierno (de Chile) de parte de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH).

    El organismo, que depende de la OEA, citó al Ejecutivo (de Chile) para una reunión en República Dominicana el próximo 3 de mayo 2018, cuyo objetivo es abordar el estado de avance de las medidas incluidas en el acuerdo de solución amistosa al que llegó la administración de Michelle Bachelet para que se desactivara una demanda contra el Estado chileno por la prohibición del matrimonio igualitario en nuestro país.

    A call came this week to the government (of Chile) on behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH).

    The agency, which depends on the OAS, summoned the (Chilean) Executive to a meeting in the Dominican Republic on 3 May 2018, whose objective is to address the status of progress of the measures included in the friendly settlement agreement reached by the administration of Michelle Bachelet so that a demand against the Chilean State for the prohibition of equal marriage in our country would be deactivated.

    I like the CIDH strategy on selecting the meeting site where they intend to berate Chile,– la República Dominicana,– as that site selection reminds and reinforces the point that the República Dominicana continues to be a full-fledged CIDH member, and as a result, that it, too, will also have to follow the same process as Chile. It brings the issue "home" to both government officials, as well as to the general public, in the Dominican Republic.

  • 19. VIRick  |  April 6, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Mississippi Supreme Court: Divorced Lesbian Has Parenting Rights to Child

    On Thursday, 5 April 2018, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the state must recognize the parenting rights of the non-birth mother to the child of a divorced lesbian couple and not that of an anonymous sperm donor. In a 15-page decision on behalf of the court, Mississippi Associate Justice David Ishee finds Christina Strickland has parenting rights because she acted prior to the divorce as parent to the child, identified as Z.S., even though Kimberly Day was the birth mother.

    As a result of the ruling, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the decision of the chancery court that ruled Strickland wasn’t a full parent and remand the case for a custody agreement consistent with the ruling. Ishee writes the potential for injury is “particularly clear” because Strickland had to face the possibility Day would seek to have the child adopted by a new spouse and “with an inferior in loco parentis status, could do nothing about it.”

    Ishee writes the chancery court “erred in finding” an anonymous sperm donor has rights to the child and not the spouse of the women married to the birth mother when the child was conceived.

    “Make no mistake — affirmance here arguably would impose parentage, and all its responsibilities, on anonymous sperm donors who contribute to assist families in achieving pregnancy — perhaps creating a chilling effect on sperm donation,” Ishee writes. “Furthermore, it effectively would leave many children conceived through this method with one legal parent. And in the tragic situation in which a mother dies during childbirth or before a proper termination proceeding — it would leave the child an orphan. Such a notion is untenable and certainly contrary to the public policy of the state.”

  • 20. VIRick  |  April 6, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Georgia: Public Defender Urges Civil Partnerships for Same-Sex Couples

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In eastern Europe, Georgia’s public defender has called on the government to legally recognize same-sex relationships, for example with civil partnerships. In their 2017 report, the public defender also denounced recent constitutional changes defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    The report, released on 2 April, said the amendments to the constitution will worsen homophobia and spread hatred in society. It said that unless same-sex relationships are legally recognized, the constitution ‘"will contradict the standards of the European Court of Human Rights and the OSCE’s recommendations."

    In 2017, Georgia’s Parliament adopted a package of constitutional amendments, one of which defined marriage as a union between man and a woman. This definition had already existed as law.

    In 2017, the prosecutor’s office examined 86 alleged hate crimes, 12 out of which were based on sexual orientation and 37 on gender identity. The Public Defender’s report says violence against queer people, whether in the family or in public spaces, is a serious problem, and that the government has been unable to respond to this challenge.

    Extraordinarily enough, LGBT people are fleeing homophobia in their home countries by seeking asylum in Georgia. This article highlights three cases,– from Egypt, Azerbaijan, and Nigeria.

  • 21. allan120102  |  April 6, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Idaho is complying in allowing trangender people in having there papers change.

  • 22. VIRick  |  April 6, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Idaho Begins to Allow Gender Changes on Birth Certificates

    On Friday, 6 April 2018, Idaho health officials began accepting applications from transgender people trying to align their birth certificates with their gender identities. Until now, people who are transgender couldn’t change the sex they were assigned on their birth certificate to match with their gender identity if they were born in Idaho.

    State officials said they didn’t have a problem making the change, but that they needed a court order in order to do so because of strict laws surrounding birth certificates, according to the "Idaho Statesman."

    So, with Idaho suddenly in compliance with its court order, and with Puerto Rico not appealing an identical court decision against it, we are down to Ohio (with a pending federal suit, "Ray v. Himes," challenging its ban), plus Kansas and Tennessee. It is time federal suits were also filed against these latter two to force them to allow amendments to be made to birth certificates.

  • 23. VIRick  |  April 6, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    "Doe v. Trump," Up-Date on First Suit against Ban on Transgenders in the Military

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 6 April 2018, in "Doe v. Trump," the GLAD and NCLR lawsuit challenging the ban on military service by transgender individuals in DC District Court, the Plaintiffs have asked the court to compel document production by the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation.

    Specifically, they seek all documents from 20 January 2017 to 1 September 2017 containing communication "concerning military service by transgender people and/or any restriction of military service by transgender people” between the organizations and the President, the Vice-President, the Executive Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-President, and the Department of Defense.

    The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoenas for Production of Documents Directed to Nonparties Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation is linked here:

  • 24. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I did not previously know about the involvement of the Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation in the matter of transgender troop service. That puts a whole new parameter into the proceedings doesn't it?

  • 25. VIRick  |  April 7, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Both "Doe" in DC and "Karnoski" in Washington State are in the "discovery" stage of the trials. In "Karnoski," when documents were requested, the White House claimed "executive privilege" in their refusal to turn over said documents (assuming there were any to turn over), a point, though, which did not impress the judge, who is now sitting there looking at an assortment of tweets as the sole evidence.

    So now, in "Doe," the plaintiffs are taking the opposite tack, working the matter from the reverse direction, by summonsing documents from the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation, neither of which can claim "executive privilege." We will see what is produced.

  • 26. VIRick  |  April 7, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    San Marino: Up-Date on Civil Unions Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The public consultation in San Marino on the proposed civil unions bill to include same-sex couples occurred yesterday, 6 April 2018. As yet, there are no conclusions that can be drawn, other than that there has already been a first reading on the proposal, at which time, a public consultation was requested. The public consultation has now happened.

  • 27. Zack12  |  April 8, 2018 at 12:34 am
    I know it's not polite to speak ill of the dead, especially of a civil rights hero but IMO, Reinhardt (and Ginsburg I fear) were foolish in not stepping down when they had a chance.
    Reinhart's replacement would have been easily confirmed while Democrats still had control of the Senate and you can be sure whomever Pence and Leonard Leo come up with to replace him now, he/she will be a vicious anti-LGBT hack.
    I get wanting to stay on as long as you can for fear your replacement won't be as liberal but sometimes you can lose sight of the greater good.
    I dread what will become of the 9th Circuit soon, I truly do.

  • 28. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2018 at 2:26 am

    Ginsburg's a tough old broad and won't be going anywhere soon trust me. I think we will overtake the Senate in November, so we can stop any effort to replace her if something happens God forbid.

  • 29. guitaristbl  |  April 8, 2018 at 7:35 am

    With early polls in Tennessee being kind of hopeful for dems I think this possibility is growing for sure. Of course running against someone like Blackburn should make virtually anyone electable, but given this is Tennessee I ll take even one vote difference.

  • 30. allan120102  |  April 8, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I think we can win Arizona and Tennessee but I also think we are going to loose Missouri. That will give us a 51-49 majority. We cannot loose another race though. Polls are showing Rick scott in ahead of Nelson. I just hope the PRicans that move vote as they tend to be more democrat.

  • 31. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Florida we'll keep for sure, although the race has tightened. We're also likely to take Nevada as well. In a Dem wave year, it's not at all unlikely that Democrats will keep all their seats and make gains. Also, McCaskill is coming back in the polls a bit.

  • 32. guitaristbl  |  April 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

    No doubt the Missouri seat is the most vulnerable with the West Virgina, Montana, Indiana, North Dakota and Ohio seats not far behind. But I believe even McCaskill can do it. She is polling better recently. If we assume a +3 DEM (Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee) then they can indeed aford to lose just one seat. It will be tough but if Jones and Lamb can win then its do-able.

  • 33. Mechatron12  |  April 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Guys, we are getting WAAAAAAY ahead of ourselves in Tennessee. The GOP in the state isn't worried in the slightest as of yet. It's worth keeping in mind that Bredesen was a former governor and is known statewide, Blackburn is just a House rep and is only known in her district. In the end, if things keep going the way they are going she will win by 10 or so.

    Of course, with this president, you can't take anything for granted and he may very well tank the economy, which will cause a GOP wipeout for the ages.

    I actually think McCaskill is safer than several of the other Senators because she can potentially get high Dem turnout in St. Louis and Kansas City to offset the rest of the state. Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia don't have any real liberal areas to try and turn out, even if those Senators are technically more popular than McCaskill.

    I think the path for a Dem Senate (and it's a longshot) is: picking up Nevada (highly likely), picking up Arizona (much tougher but doable, especially if a nutcase wins the GOP primary), and then holding all the other states (VERY doubtful but technically possible). If the economic situation changes drastically, then Texas is a possible pickup, but I certainly wouldn't hold my breath. Also, in theory McCain in AZ could drop dead and open the second seat up, but he seems to be holding on and the window is closing for a 2018 election to his seat.

  • 34. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Synema is polling ahead of both Republican hopefuls in Arizona, plus the fact that it's an open race will benefit Democrats.

  • 35. guitaristbl  |  April 8, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Heitkamp is liked and popular among North Dakotans for the most part and on a good DEM year she should have no problem. On the other hand I have to be honest : I understand it is important to have as many D senators as possible but when it comes down to voting for bills and views I won't cry over Munchin losing his seat in WV personally.

    Nobody said Tennessee is in any way something easily doable but there is a candidate that gives a good opening for sure with Bredesen. Blackburn is polarizing and won't get that much support from moderates in Nashville and its metropolitan area I assume.

  • 36. VIRick  |  April 8, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    "… I won't cry over Munchin …"

    Democratic Senator Joe Manchin represents WV in the US Senate. Steven Mnuchin is the US Secretary of the Treasury. Munchkin works nicely for either or both.

  • 37. guitaristbl  |  April 9, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I meant the WV senator Manchin of course – I could not check the spelling at the time I wrote the comment.

  • 38. Randolph_Finder  |  April 9, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Given the current situation, I'm not sure that *any* other Democrat has a snowball's chance of getting over 50%. I'll take his vote on given Schumer control of the gavel in the Senate and grit my teeth through everything else.

  • 39. guitaristbl  |  April 10, 2018 at 4:37 am

    These people in WV literally still believe coal will make a comeback in 2018 don't they ? Ugh this state…Don't get me wrong I am sure it has many fine people but..this state.

  • 40. SethInMaryland  |  April 10, 2018 at 10:31 am

    I understand where you're coming from but they have depended upon coal for years. It's created a mentality that's hard to break. They don't see themselves being able to adjust in the clean energy. technology era and receiving its awards. Of course I support moving toward clean energy but for coal minors who have worked mining for years it feel like a loser situation for them.

  • 41. davepCA  |  April 10, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I understand people being reluctant to embrace change, but I gotta say that this particular WV coal issue does baffle me. I mean, of all the possible jobs/industries that someone might want to cling to, why on earth would anyone feel that way about coal? It seems to be one of the worst possible ways for someone to try to earn a living. I would think that just about ANYTHING else would be preferable.

  • 42. ianbirmingham  |  April 11, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    It gets worse… Donald L. Blankenship, former C.E.O. of coal giant Massey Energy, was convicted on a federal charge of conspiring to violate mine safety relating to a 2010 explosion that killed 29 people and sent to prison; but now that he's out, WV seems likely to give him the R Senate nomination!

  • 43. VIRick  |  April 10, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    I wish I could explain West Virginia, but there are two areas of the state that do not give a shit about coal. One is the eastern, 4-county panhandle sandwiched between Maryland and northern Virginia, as they are too busy becoming exurban/suburban extensions of DC, while touting their lower taxes. The other is the Ohio River valley, which has always been more into oil and gas. The western slope of the Appalachians does not contain coal, as coal is only found on the eastern slope and in the central ridges. Instead, it has all the oil and gas, plus with deeper wells, natural gas is now quite plentiful.

    For example, Parkersburg WV boasts about its oil and gas museum, touting its local history. Ashland KY is the site of a huge Marathon oil refinery which was once the HQ of Ashland Oil until it was merged with Marathon. And all the electric generating plants (in whichever state along the Ohio River) have switched over to natural gas usage many years ago, a product which is cheaper, cleaner, and readily available near-by, and have no interest in ever returning to coal. And the steel production plants have all closed. Still, the Ohio River area seems almost as affluent and as forward-thinking as the eastern prong.

    However, the central and southern parts of the state are clueless. They never had anything other than coal, most of which has already been totally played out (so, other than wishful thinking, there's nothing to "bring back"). A few areas, like around Fayetteville and the New River Gorge, are desperately attempting to switch over to tourism. So is Tamarack and Beckley, and on over toward Lewisburg.

    Central Pennsylvania has the same problem, but central and southern West Virginia seem more desperate, because unlike Pennsylvania, held together and out-populated by Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, West Virginia does not have the mega-cities at either end.

  • 44. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Also two factors may come into play as well:

    -John McCain could die or resign at any time, which would open up another opportunity for Democrats in a state that's rapidly turning Blue.

    -there is speculation that Susan Collins may switch parties (at least caucus with the Dems as an independent) if it will cause the GOP to lose their majority, because she needs to save face in Maine due to her vote on the tax bill/betrayal over the Senate not passing her bill/amendment regarding Obamacare premium control.

  • 45. allan120102  |  April 8, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    People can marry more easily in Veracruz after the state amparo won last year. A total of 21 couples have amparos in place and more are to come as couples now can easily marry.
    He added that in Boca del Rio, Xalapa and Orizaba there are two procedures with the same objective in each city, meanwhile, in Antigua and Cordoba there is a request respectively.
    "This year they wanted to marry everyone, but it was because of the state protection that we won, that with this protection all the people of the state can marry, then with that protection we have been marrying people."

    He pointed out that the process "no longer takes so long", because the judges are more accessible, in addition they already have a machote in the civil registers of control, especially; however, they still ask that the marriage certificates establish whether the marriage is between men or women.
    "He does not say, he, she, she keeps saying he and she; and she and him. Right now we are working on how we are going to fix the documentation in the records "

    He also mentioned that the church attacks them by asking citizens not to vote for political parties in favor of equal marriage.

  • 46. VIRick  |  April 8, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Colombia: Second Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Alejandro Michells:

    Hace 2 años, el 8 de abril 2016, la Corte Constitucional de Colombia reconoció jurisprudencialmente el matrimonio igualitario.

    Two years ago, on 8 April 2016, the Constitutional Court of Colombia jurisprudentially recognized marriage equality.

  • 47. VIRick  |  April 8, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade

    Per "El Nuevo Herald:"

    Hoy día, 8 de abril 2018, Miami Beach celebra su Orgullo Gay con el esquiador olímpico Gus Kenworthy.

    La icónica Ocean Drive, en South Beach, fue el escenario del consabido desfile de carros alegóricos y personas de a pie, entre residentes y visitantes, algunos de los cuales se han permitido este mediodía dominical vestimentas fosforescentes y de escaso metraje, y maquillaje amplio.

    Today, 8 April 2018, Miami Beach celebrated its Gay Pride with the Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy.

    Iconic Ocean Drive, in South Beach, was the scene of the usual parade of allegorical floats and people on foot, with both residents and visitors alike, some of whom this Sunday mid-day took to scantily-clad phosphorescent garb and ample makeup.

    The reporter who wrote this piece in Spanish for "El Nuevo Herald," the Spanish-language version of the "Miami Herald," came at it from such a straight, straight-laced, Sunday-immediately-after-church perspective, they made me laugh and exclaim, "Hijo, que ojos cuadratos!" (Son, what squinty eyes!).

  • 48. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 9, 2018 at 5:10 am

    Massachusetts Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination
    Veto Referendum

    “The Massachusetts Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Veto Referendum will be on the ballot in Massachusetts as a veto referendum on November 6, 2018.

    VR (Veto Referendum)

    Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination
    LGBT issues
    Repeals law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity

    “A "yes" vote supports upholding Senate Bill 2407, a bill to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in public places—such as hotels, restaurants, and stores.

    “A "no" vote opposes SB 2407 and repeals the law designed to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in public places—such as hotels, restaurants, and stores.”

    Note that a ‘YES’ vote for the veto referendum upholds SB 2407. In other words, a ‘YES’ vote protects transgender civil rights. A ‘NO’ vetoes SB 2407 and revokes transgender civil rights. So, we must support a ‘YES’ vote. That is going to be very confusing to the ordinary voter. One has to ask: Do I support SB 2407? If that is true, then I must vote ‘YES.’

    “One ballot measure committee, Freedom for All Massachusetts, Inc., was registered to support a "yes" vote on the veto referendum as of April 4, 2018. Freedom for All Massachusetts opposes the intention of the veto referendum petition sponsors. According to the 2017 year-end report, the committee had raised $458,616.72 in total, including in-kind contributions. The top five donors to the opposition committee were responsible for 72.7 percent of contributions. The largest donor was the 1199 SEIU MA PAC, which gave $100,000.”

    “One ballot measure committee, Keep MA Safe, was registered to sponsor the referendum petition effort and to support a "no" vote on the veto referendum as of April 4, 2018. According to the 2017 year-end report, the committee had raised $104,650.60, including in-kind services. Of that, $77,538.60 (74.19 percent) came from the Massachusetts Family Institute and the Renew Massachusetts Coalition in the form of in-kind services.”

  • 49. scream4ever  |  April 9, 2018 at 8:31 am

    If anything, this will be less confusing, since a Yes vote is about supporting the law.

    After our victory in Anchorage, I'm confident that we'll win this.

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