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Open thread and news 9/17

Community/Meta Transgender Rights

– The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to step in and block a request from lawyers for transgender military servicemembers who are trying to get the government to release certain documents related to the ban on trans servicemembers. Note: This is the Ninth Circuit case. Previously, the request would have gone first to Justice Kennedy in his former capacity as Circuit Justice for the Ninth Circuit. Since his retirement, Chief Justice Roberts has taken his place, so the request goes to him first and he can act on it himself or refer it to the full Court. UPDATE: The Solicitor General has withdrawn this request.

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


  • 1. VIRick  |  September 17, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Cuba: President Miguel Díaz-Canel Expresses Support for Same-Sex Marriage

    Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel has expressed support for same-sex marriage ahead of a vote that could cement the right for LGBT couples to marry in the country’s constitution. "The approach of recognizing marriage between two people, without limitations, responds to a problem of eliminating all types of discrimination in society,” Díaz-Canel told television station Telesur of the constitutional change.

    The amendment is part of the country's proposed new constitution, which has been approved by parliament and will head to a national referendum early next year. The new constitution would change the definition of marriage from the "voluntary union of a man and a woman” to a union between "two people”. It would also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual identity.….

    Note: Telesur is a TV network largely funded by the Venezuelan government. The interview was broadcast on it in Cuba on Sunday night, 16 September 2018.….

    Telesur is a Venezuela-based, multi-state funded, Latin American terrestrial and satellite television network headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela. It is sponsored primarily by the government of Venezuela, but also with additional funding by the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Bolivia. It was launched in 2005, under the government of Hugo Chávez. Argentina stopped being the major state sponsor of Telesur in 2016.….

  • 2. VIRick  |  September 17, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Ecuador: 4th Anniversary of Official Recognition of Same-Sex Civil Unions

    Per Diana Maldonado:

    Un día como hoy, 15 de septiembre 2014, hace 4 años, después de dos años de lucha, se logró que el Registro Civil del Ecuador inscribiera y registrara la "unión de hecho" como estado civil en las cédulas de ciudadanía e identidad.

    On a day like today,15 September 2014, four years ago, after two years of struggle, the Civil Registry of Ecuador began to inscribe and register "de facto union" as the civil status on citizenship and identity cards.

    As proof, she included a photo of her own "cédula de ciudadanía," prepared in Guayaquil, showing the words "en unión de hecho," but with certain other key information blocked out.

  • 3. VIRick  |  September 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Brief History of Same-Sex Unions in Ecuador

    Needless to say, this topic has been a "work in progress" spread out over quite a number of years:

    The current 2008 Constitution of Ecuador, implemented in 2009, constitutionally banned the recognition of same-sex marriage, but provided same-sex couples in stable, monogamous relationships, of at least two years duration, some of the same rights. Still, according to Article 11, paragraph II, of the same constitution, one has a fundamental right to one's sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Because of the original 2-year "proof" delay, the first same-sex civil unions were not recorded at the civil registries until 2012. But even then, the government did not recognize such unions on other official documents.

    Then, per announcement made by President Rafael Correa on 24 August 2014, Ecuador would begin to formally recognize the civil unions of same-sex couples on documents from 15 September 2014, allowing couples to register their unions, while simultaneously allowing their status to appear on official documents, like the identity card (as per Diana Maldonado's reminder, immediately above).

    On 22 April 2015, Ecuadorian lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the across-the-board legal recognition of civil unions, one which also wiped out the 2-year "proof" delay. By an 89-1 vote margin, members of the Ecuadorian Assembly approved the provision as part of a measure that amended the country's civil code. It was signed into law on 19 June 2015. From this latter date, civil unions in Ecuador effectively became "marriage in all but name." Furthermore, because domestic Ecuadorian residency/citizenship is not required of either party, it is also from this date that same-sex couples from Venezuela, Perú, Central America, and even Cuba, began to travel to visa-free Ecuador to be "civil unioned" there.

    From 4 March 2016, the Provincial Government of Azuay, as a symbolic mechanism to support the enforceability of rights, created the Azuay Registry of Marriages LGBTI in order for those couples who require it to register their unions. The Administrative Unit for Equality and Gender will be responsible for maintaining the registry and will perform all previous administrative processes, including symbolic marriages.

    Also in 2016, the Gender Identity Law was passed, one which now allows individuals to self-choose their own name and gender on their identity cards.

    On 29 May 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of Satya, the case of the little girl with two mothers, recognizing both women as her legal parents.

    On 29 June 2018, in the city of Cuenca, the family court judges for Cuenca, Iliana Vallejo and Ruth Alvarez, accepted two requests for "actions of protection" from two same-sex couples, declared violations of equality and non-discrimination (on the part of the Civil Registry for their refusal to register said couples), and ordered the Civil Registry of Cuenca to immediately register the marriages of the couples. These positive rulings came about specifically in light of the CIDH marriage equality ruling of 9 January 2018.

    The Civil Registry appealed said ruling, and on 9 September 2018, the judges of the Labor Chamber of the Provincial Court of Justice of Azuay, accepted the appeal and revoked the positive ruling on equal marriage. The entire matter is now under appeal to the Constitutional Court.

  • 4. arturo547  |  September 17, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Is the case already before the the Constitutional Court of Ecuador? That would be great.

  • 5. VIRick  |  September 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Officially, it will be quite soon. Here is a long treatise on that very subject, bearing today's date, 17 September 2018:

    Per Fermín Antonio Vaca‏:

    Las Cuestionadas Sentencias que Frenan el Matrimonio Igualitario

    The Questionable Rulings which Block Marriage Equality

    As pointed out in the ruling handed down in the Satya case of 29 May 2018, the Constitutional Court specifically applied the CIDH ruling (opinión consultiva) of 9 January 2018 in reaching its decision, thus determining that that ruling of the CIDH is binding (vinculante) in all aspects upon Ecuador. The Cuenca judges followed the same line of reasoning, and used both of those rulings as precedent. The instant ruling by the Provincial Court of Justice of Azuay contradicts that precedent.

  • 6. VIRick  |  September 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Here's the "Headline of the Day," which I refuse to translate, as I would thus defeat its entire point:

    Empleada de Taco Bell Se Niega a Tomar una Orden en Hialeah Porque la Clienta No Hablaba Español

    Suffice it to say that Hialeah FL is a suburb of Miami directly north of the Miami International Airport which is almost entirely Cuban, and that both sides can play this same petty game.

  • 7. VIRick  |  September 17, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Yucatán: State Congress to Vote on Marriage Equality

    Per Marco Aurelio Mendoza, Emperador Gay de Yucatán:‏

    El Congreso de Yucatán discutirá y votará en los próximos 10 días las reformas que posibilitarán el matrimonio igualitario en Yucatán. Ubica a tu representante en el Congreso y jodelo hasta que vote a favor.

    The Yucatán Congress will discuss and vote within the next 10 days on the reforms that will enable marriage equality in Yucatán. Locate your representative in Congress and harass them until they vote in favor.

  • 8. Elihu_Bystander  |  September 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    In the federal government emergency request to SCOTUS, here is the 162 page brief this is the Karnorski case from Washington State via the 9th Circuit.

  • 9. VIRick  |  September 17, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Bangladesh: Appointment of First Transgender Human Rights Official

    The first transgender human rights official in Bangladesh is hoping to transform attitudes towards trans people in the country. Tanisha Yeasmin Chaity, who was appointed to Bangladesh’s Human Rights Commission, said she was “excited” and added “it was a new beginning for the entire transgender community.”
    Hijra is an umbrella term which refers to a third gender in south Asia and is sometimes used to describe transgender people. Speaking to the "Dhaka Tribune," Chaity said: “Hijras should lead lives as normal people. The attitude and mindset of society has to change in order to ensure that hijras do not have to do what they are forced to do for money.”

    In 2013, in Bangladesh, hijra were officially recognized as a third sex which enabled them to identify their gender in documents such as passports. In 2014, at least 1,000 hijra led Bangladesh's first-ever Pride March.

    In Trinidad, the majority of individuals whose ancestry derive from India are Bengali, whether from West Bengal (currently a state in India) or from East Bengal (modern-day Bangladesh). In the Bengali language, the term "hijra" specifically refers to transgender women.

  • 10. VIRick  |  September 18, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Hong Kong: Visa Rights Granted to Same-Sex Couples

    Hong Kong has made spousal visas available to same-sex couples for the first time in the wake of a court ruling — but the government has firmly ruled out permitting marriage between same-sex couples. In July 2018, Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal ruled that same-sex couples who have entered unions elsewhere must have their relationships recognized as part of the spousal visa application process, following a high-profile challenge from a lesbian couple.

    The Hong Kong government confirmed: “From 19 September 2018, a person who has entered into a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, ‘same-sex marriage,’ opposite-sex civil partnership, or opposite-sex civil union outside Hong Kong with an eligible sponsor in accordance with the local law in force of the place of celebration and with such status being legally and officially recognized by the local authorities of the place of celebration will become eligible to apply for a dependent visa/entry permit for entry into Hong Kong.”

    The government stressed: “The revision concerns the immigration policy on applications for entry of non-local dependents only and it does not affect the meaning of ‘spouse’ under this policy. It does not affect any other policies of the Government or any other rights under the existing law in Hong Kong.”

  • 11. VIRick  |  September 18, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Colorado: Favorable Transgender Birth Certificate Settlement

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Colorado law requiring “that the sex of an individual born in this state has been changed by surgical procedure” before correcting a transgender person’s birth certificate is unconstitutional.

    Transgender people born in Colorado will soon be able to correct their birth certificates without having to undergo expensive, potentially unnecessary surgeries or subject themselves to costly, time-consuming court proceedings. Intersex Coloradans will now have the opportunity to have their birth certificate match who they are, as well.

    In a settlement reached in federal district court, signed by both parties on 14 September 2018, and finalized on 17 September 2018, in "B.D. v Colorado," between the Plaintiffs – a transgender minor and his mother – and the Defendants – the State of Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state is involving community stakeholders in the revision of the current rules to remove both the surgical requirement and the requirement to seek a court order for gender change.

    A link to the Settlement Agreement is here:

    Note: 21 states, DC, and Puerto Rico do not require sex reassignment surgery before reissuing the birth certificate for transgender individuals to reflect their correct gender. Those states are: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington State, and Hawaii. Colorado will make that number become 22.

    On the other hand, 25 states, the USVI, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas still require sex reassignment surgery before changing the gender marker on birth certificates. They are: Maine, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, North Dakota, Montana, and Alaska. Based on the terms of the settlement just reached in the Colorado suit, all 25 have a state law which could now be deemed unconstitutional.

    And 3 states still refuse to change the gender marker on birth certificates under any circumstances whatsoever: Ohio, Tennessee, and Kansas.

    To complicate matters further, some 26 states from both categories above will reissue a new birth certificate showing the corrected gender marker, while 21 states, again from both categories, plus DC and all the territories, will amend the old birth certificate to reflect the corrected gender.

  • 12. VIRick  |  September 23, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    For comparison, here's the situation on this same transgender subject for Latin America:

    These nations do not require sex reassignment surgery before reissuing the birth certificate for transgender individuals to reflect their correct gender: Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil, Bolivia, Perú, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, all jurisdictions of France, the Dutch jurisdictions of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius, Mexico in 3 jurisdictions, CDMX, Michoacán, and Nayarit, which will make the change on any Mexican birth certificate presented to them from anywhere in Mexico, plus Chile, once the pending legislation is signed into law by the president, and the Dominican Republic, by individual presidential decree on a case-by-case basis. And just for completeness, Canada, as well.

    Those still requiring sex reassignment surgery before changing the gender marker on birth certificates, a category quickly fading into history in Latin America, are: Chile (until the pending legislation is signed into law), Cuba, and Panamá.

    Those which refuse to change the gender marker on birth certificates under any circumstances whatsoever are: Paraguay, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Haiti, the Dutch islands of Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, plus the remaining 6 British territories and 10 ex-British nations. Only 6 of the full 29 in this category are actually Hispanic.

    Multiple lawsuits have been filed in Venezuela and another is still under appeal in Suriname to change this, as is pending legislation introduced in El Salvador and Guatemala.

  • 13. VIRick  |  September 18, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Wisconsin: Transgender Plaintiffs Win Medical Coverage Case Against State

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 18 September 2018, in "Boyden v. Wisconsin Dept. of Employee Trust Funds & Group Insurance Board," the federal case wherein which UW-Madison employees sued the state over the denial of coverage for transition-related medical care, Judge William Conley ruled on cross-motions for summary judgment, and "concludes here that the challenged exclusion constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title VII and the ACA."

    "As for the court, it concludes that the claim is subject to heightened scrutiny, and defendants have failed to put forth evidence to find that proffered concerns about cost or efficacy were genuine and not post hoc inventions in response to litigation."

    The full Opinion and Order is linked here:

  • 14. allan120102  |  September 18, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Dont expect bcs to legalize ssm soon as some even Morena deputies have state that they would prefer to die or be an addict than be gay.

  • 15. VIRick  |  September 18, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Aguascalientes: Prohibition Has Not Stopped 25 Same-Sex Couples from Marrying

    Aguascalientes: Prohibicionismo No Impidió que 25 Parejas del Mismo Sexo Se Casaran

    Pese a las restricciones contenidas en el el Código Civil del Estado de Aguascalientes, en los últimos tres años, 25 parejas del mismo sexo se han casado ante el Registro Civil, informó Carmen Lucía Franco Ruiz Esparza, la Directora-General de esa dependencia de la Secretaría General de Gobierno. Ella detalló que en 2015 se celebraron dos matrimonios igualitarios; en 2016, cuatro; en 2017, ocho; y en lo que va de 2018, van 11, lo que “es lógico, que entre más se difunda, haya más gente interesada.”

    Los Artículos 143 y 144 de dicho código estipulan que: “El matrimonio es la unión legal de un solo hombre y una sola mujer, para procurar su ayuda mutua, guardarse fidelidad, perpetuar la especie, y crear entre ellos una comunidad de vida permanente” y que “cualquier condición contraria a la perpetuación de la especie o a la ayuda mutua que se deben los cónyuges, se tendrá por no puesta.” Por ende, cuando dos personas del mismo género acuden a las oficinas del Registro Civil a solicitar el trámite, la respuesta es siempre negativa.

    Cuando esto ocurre, las parejas recurren al amparo ante la justicia federal, que por lo general dictamina en sentido positivo, acatando la jurisprudencia emitida por la SCJN en 2015, que declaró inconstitucional condicionar el contrato matrimonial a la procreación y las preferencias sexuales, como se encuentra plasmado en la legislación aguascalentense.

    Despite the restrictions contained in the Civil Code of the State of Aguascalientes, in the last three years, 25 same-sex couples have been married before the Civil Registry, informed Carmen Lucía Franco Ruiz Esparza, Director-General of that unit of the General Secretariat of Government. She explained that in 2015 there were two equal marriages; in 2016, four; in 2017, eight; and so far in 2018, there were 11, which "is logical, given that the more it spreads, the more people become interested."

    Articles 143 and 144 of said code stipulate that: "Marriage is the legal union of one man and one woman, to procure their mutual aid, to maintain fidelity, to perpetuate the species, and to create among them a community of permanent life" and that "any condition contrary to the perpetuation of the species or to the mutual aid that the spouses owe, will be considered as invalid." Therefore, when two people of the same gender go to the offices of the Civil Registry to request the procedure, the answer is always negative.

    When this happens, the couples resort to an amparo before a federal judge, who will dictate a positive ruling, following the jurisprudence emitted by the SCJN in 2015, that declared unconstitutional any condition in the matrimonial contract regarding procreation and sexual preferences, as is encountered in the Aguascalientes legislation.

  • 16. scream4ever  |  September 19, 2018 at 12:34 am

    I can't find a news source, but the Baker/McConnell marriage from Minnesota in 1971 has officially been recognized as valid by both the state judiciary and the county in which they live. It's believed to now be the first official same-sex marriage in the entire world.

  • 17. Elihu_Bystander  |  September 19, 2018 at 7:58 am

    The question is was this a matter of validating their 1971 marriage? Or was this a vanity thing about their marriage was first?

  • 18. VIRick  |  September 19, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Short answer: Both, but more along the lines of officially recognizing and validating its 1971 date, along with a good dose of vindication, noting the "competition" below.

  • 19. VIRick  |  September 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Scream, to answer your question, here's what I found in my archives on this subject. But first, I will begin with the "competition" for being the first legally-recognized same-sex marriage in the USA:

    LGBT History: Same-Sex Marriage, Boulder CO, 1975

    During a brief "window of opportunity" in Boulder CO during the spring of 1975, a number of same-sex couples successfully obtained marriage licenses from the then-county-clerk of Boulder County CO. In 1975, Clela Rorex was the county clerk in Boulder, Colorado. She had only been on the job for three months when two men walked into her office. They wanted to get married. Rorex gave them, and five other same-sex couples, a marriage license. In the process, she caused a national uproar. But looking back on her decision 40 years later, Rorex says that she can't imagine having done anything differently.

    One of those 6 couples turned out to be Richard Adams and Anthony Sullivan. The US Government now says that this Los Angeles gay couple's 1975 marriage which took place there in Boulder during that time is valid.

    "(In 2016), the United States federal government has recognized as legally-valid the April 1975 same-sex marriage of Richard Adams and Anthony Sullivan, approving the 'green card' petition that Adams filed in 1975 for his husband, an Australian citizen. After Adams died in December 2012, Sullivan sought to have the Immigration Service recognize their marriage and grant a green card to him as the widower of a US citizen.

    "The green card, granting Anthony permanent resident status in the United States, was issued on the 41st anniversary of his Boulder CO marriage to Richard, a same-sex marriage that remained in the record and which was never invalidated by Colorado officials. The green card was recently delivered to the Hollywood apartment Richard and Anthony shared for nearly four decades."

    At the moment, that would make this the earliest same-sex marriage verifiably recognized as such by the US Government, with legal documentation in hand as proof.

    Those last 7 words proved to be a "rub" to this Minnesota couple:

    LGBT History: Same-Sex Marriage, Minnesota, 1971

    In early 1971, Jack Baker and Michael Mc Connell were originally denied a marriage license from the Minnesota county from which the infamous "Baker v. Nelson" lawsuit arose (Hennepin County). But undaunted, they subsequently turned around and successfully obtained a marriage license from a different Minnesota county (less than a year later), and were then duly married shortly thereafter.

    With some sleight of hand involving a legal change to a gender-neutral name, they obtained a marriage license in another Minnesota county (Blue Earth County), and later in 1971, in white bell-bottom pantsuits and macramé headbands, they exchanged vows before a Methodist pastor and a dozen guests in a friend's apartment. Ever since, they have maintained that theirs was the country's first lawful same-sex marriage. The state and federal governments have yet to grant recognition, but the pastor, Roger W. Lynn, 76, calls theirs "one of my more successful marriages. They are still happily married, and they love each other," Mr. Lynn said.

    Presumably, that marriage, with the license obtained from the second Minnesota county, is still legally-valid (and now, as you mention, both the state judiciary and the county in which they live have officially recognized their marriage as legally-valid).

  • 20. VIRick  |  September 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Australia: Senate Passes Motion to Ban Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    The motion came after a series of anti-LGBTQ remarks by Australia’s new Prime Minister. On 14 September 2018, the Australian Senate successfully passed a motion that seeks to ban "conversion therapy" across the country. The motion was brought forward by the Australian Green Party, and was passed on the voices, meaning that no one in the chamber opposed the bill. Although the ruling coalition disagreed with a nationwide ban, saying that it should be up to individual states, they did not oppose the bill.

    Senator Janet Rice, who introduced the motion and is the Australian Green Party’s LGBTIQ spokesperson, praised the passing of the bill and condemned Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s views saying: “For the Prime Minister to dismiss this as an issue that’s ‘not for him’ is an absolute disregard of duty. This is an issue for him and the Senate has just confirmed it.”

    Anti-LGBT "conversion therapy" is already illegal in the Australian state of Victoria.

  • 21. VIRick  |  September 19, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Sesame Street Puppet Sexuality Row, Spanish Language Version

    Bert and Ernie, modelled after the author and his partner, apparently, according to the writer himself, are supposed to be gay. This inside "reveal" has caused a lot of hand-wringing, sweaty palpitations, and intense pearl-clutching from the christianists and the political right-wing (who had no problem whatsoever with the companion "reveal" that Miss Piggy was modelled after Bette Midler), and has now spilled over into the Spanish-language version, Barrio Sésamo, where all the principal characters have somewhat different names, but the same personalities:

    Per Rubén López de España:

    En fin, que si os extraña que Barrio Sésamo haya desmentido que Epi y Blas sean maricas, pues sinceramente a mí no… Que dicen que los muñecos no tienen sexualidad? Joder, pues que se lo digan a Peggy o a la rana Gustavo. Pero claro, ellos son heteros, y entonces Sí, pueden tenerla.

    Anyway, if you're surprised that Sesame Street would deny that Epi and Blas (Bert and Ernie) are queers, since honestly I am not … What do they say, that puppets do not have sexuality? Damn it, so they can thus tell that to Peggy (Miss Piggy) or to the frog Gustavo (Kermit the Frog). But of course, those are straight, and then Yes, they can have it.

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  September 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Victory! State Department Cannot Rely on its Binary-Only Gender Policy to Deny Passport to Nonbinary Intersex Citizen

    A U.S. District Court Judge today ruled that the U.S. State Department exceeded its authority under the Passport Act of 1926 when it denied a passport to Lambda Legal client Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran who is intersex and non-binary, and does not identify as male or female.

    The State Department denied Dana’s passport application because Dana could not accurately choose either male or female on the passport application form, and the form does not provide any other gender marker designation.

    This is the second time Zzyym has won against the U.S. State Department for denying them a passport. In November, 2016, the same district court found the State Department had violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act and ordered the department to reconsider its binary-only gender policy.

    The State Department doubled-down on its discriminatory male-or-female-only policy to deny Zzyym a passport, leading to today’s ruling. …

    At least ten countries issue passports with gender markers other than “F” (female) or “M” (male), including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand and Pakistan.

    Most countries that offer a third marker in the sex field on passports use “X,” a gender marker option that is recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency that sets forth international travel document standards.

  • 23. VIRick  |  September 19, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    US State Dept. Cannot Rely on Binary-Only Policy to Deny Passport to Intersex Citizen

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 19 September 2018, in "Zzyym v. Pompeo," the federal case in which an intersex person is challenging the male-or-female, binary-only gender marker policy for US passports, US District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that the US State Department exceeded its authority under the Passport Act of 1926 when it denied a passport to Lambda Legal client Dana Zzyym, a US Navy veteran who is intersex and non-binary, and who does not identify as male or female.

    The order is here:

  • 24. VIRick  |  September 19, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Motion to Dissolve Nationwide Injunction Blocking Trans Military Ban Denied

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 18 September 2018, in "Stockman v. Trump," the federal case in which Equality California and seven individuals have been challenging the transgender military ban, Judge Bernal denied the defendants' motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction.

    Order is linked here:

    Equality California's statement is here:

  • 25. VIRick  |  September 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    DC Council Approves Non-Binary ID Card Bill

    On 18 September 2018, the DC City Council gave final approval by unanimous voice vote to legislation that allows residents to choose a gender-neutral identifier on driver’s licenses and other DC identification documents. The legislation, the Nonbinary Identification Cards Amendment Act of 2017, requires the DC Department of Motor Vehicles to “permit applicants for a license, permit, or identification card issued pursuant to this act to designate their gender as ‘non-binary’ in lieu of ‘male or ‘female.’”

    The Council’s action came one year and three months after DC Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a mayoral order directing the motor vehicles department to do essentially the same thing. The mayor’s order, which has been in effect since 26 June 2017, allows residents to choose a gender-neutral “X” identifier on driver’s licenses or other DC identification documents.

  • 26. DevilWearsZrada  |  September 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    The coolest option would be removal of the mandatory nature of the sex/gender field in identity documents.

  • 27. bayareajohn  |  September 21, 2018 at 9:26 am

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm, identity documents have value in identifying. And while gender definitions can be ambiguous in some cases, on the whole they validly describe. Just as race, hair color, eye color, height, weight, age can individually fail to be appropriate descriptors in individual cases. Actually, gender neutral as a descriptor is a valid identifying aspect that increases accuracy of the identification.

    Whether in a police search or finding a child's parent at a park, it would not benefit anyone to be unable to describe the missing person, and gender remains the most primary sorting characteristic. And NEUTRAL as an option helps that sort's validity. Removal of the field entirely would not serve the purpose of identity documentation.

  • 28. DevilWearsZrada  |  September 21, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I would support not abolishing the presence of a gender marker but making its presence optional, just like there are optional marks in some identity documents for height, ethnicity or blood type that may be useful for identification or other purposes. And even if some persons wouldn't have a gender marker on their IDs it doesn't mean that the other people couldn't address them in the gender deduced from their (non)conformance to gender stereotypes, the way it has always been. You don't have to look at the someone's papers in order to call them "sir" or "madam".

  • 29. VIRick  |  September 21, 2018 at 11:56 am

    As I understand the new DC legislation, it will allow applicants for licenses, permits, and ID cards to select their gender marker from one of 3 choices, "male," "female," or "X."

    And basically put, this 3-choice option is the same option which Dana Zzyym has been fighting to obtain from the US State Dept. in terms of the issuance of US passports, something which at least 10 other countries worldwide already allow. The US State Dept. really needs to broaden its thinking on this issue, because as a parallel, I recently saw an account wherein which a citizen of India with a "T" marker for gender was disallowed a visitor's visa to the USA because the USA only recognizes "M" and "F" markers.

    The issue of "race/ethnicity," including hair and eye color, has largely been eliminated on most government-issued documents by the simple measure of including a full-color facial photo of the applicant on said document.

    For example, my new US passport only lists surname, given names, nationality (USA), date of birth, place of birth, sex, date of issue, and date of expiration. But of course, in addition, it bears my digitalized full-color facial photo without any head coverings whatsoever,– no hats, scarves, glasses, or any other obstruction allowed. I know because the first time around, we forgot to remove my dark-tinted eye-glasses, and the photos were rejected. "Sorry, but with tinted glasses, we can not see your eye color."

  • 30. VIRick  |  September 21, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Trinidad/Tobago: Court Delivers Final Ruling Decriminalizing Gay Sex

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 21 September 2018, the High Court in Trinidad/Tobago has delivered its final ruling in the gay sex decriminalization case. The "buggery" and "serious indecency" laws will continue to stand, but they will be strictly limited to cases without consent. No stay of the ruling was granted. However, the Government still plans to appeal said ruling to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the UK.

    Per CNC3:

    Trinidad Court Rules Sex between Two Consenting Males Legal

    It's official, sex between consenting male adults is no longer illegal. In April 2018, High Court Judge Davindra Rampersad ruled that sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalizes "buggery" and "serious indecency" even between consenting adults, is unconstitutional. However, (at that time), Rampersad did not make a ruling on how the law should be interpreted to give effect to his judgment.

    During the recent hearing, Fyard Hosein, SC, who is leading the State's legal team, requested that a 45-day stay be put in place while his team prepares the State's appeal. Hosein reiterated the position stated by Attorney-General Faris Al-Rawi that the State would take the case to the (Judicial Committee of the) Privy Council for full judicial determination on the contentious issue. This request for a stay was denied by Rampersad.

    Delivering a 14-page ruling at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain this morning, 21 September 2018, Rampersad modified the offending legislation to introduce the element of consent. Stating his decision was the "least intrusive" choice, Rampersad refused to strike down the legislation in its entirety. He pointed out that striking it out was not necessary, as there was no evidence that any citizens were prosecuted for consensual sexual activity.

    Trinidadian-born British gay rights activist Jason Jones, who brought the novel constitutional challenge, was not in court for the hearing and was represented by his attorney, Rishi Dass.

    Interesting side-note: Every last one of the principal players in this case,– judge, Attorney-General, and the lawyers for both sides, are of Indian descent, with our side (plus judge) seemingly being represented by the Hindu portion and the state opposition seemingly being represented by the Muslim portion.

  • 31. Mechatron12  |  September 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    And still they appeal. Hateful to the bitter end. This kind of viciousness is why I love it when courts mandate gay marriage in certain places. Some places, people's hearts and minds will change with time and a little effort. For whatever reason, the West Indies seems an absolute lost cause.

    (And lest someone try and make this a race thing, I would say the same thing about Russia and most of Eastern Europe). Hopefully the EU court mandates marriage equality across the whole region just to spite the Romanian bigots.

  • 32. VIRick  |  September 21, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Mechatron, when it comes to the Caribbean area, one could probably successfully argue that it is a race thing, or certainly has that as an angle, and successfully win the argument (although several other factors are undoubtedly also at play, including a very parochial "insular mentality" thing and an extremely twisted "colonial mentality/superiority" thing).

    Within the ex-British colonial sphere of influence in the Caribbean, it is significant that Belize, with an Hispanic majority, and Trinidad, without any majority, but with a near-majority deriving from India (most of whom are of Hindu descent), are the two jurisdictions where lawsuits were filed, and where the courts subsequently struck down (so far) their anti-LGBT laws.

    It is also significant, one step further along in the process, among those which have remained British, that the two which are the most Euro-centric, Bermuda and Cayman Islands, are the two with lawsuits (so far) seeking marriage equality.

    Plus, the British-based courts are all inter-connected. If the Government of Trinidad insists upon taking this matter to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and they rule the way we expect, as Jason says, a positive ruling there will strike down the anti-gay laws in at least 10 other countries. And ditto for the effects from a positive ruling from them in the Bermuda marriage case.

    In the Trinidad, Bermuda, and Cayman Islands instances, I am more than pleased to note, too, that some or all of the plaintiffs are of a certain common unnamed racial identity/ethnicity. Without anyone ever admitting so publicly, that undiscussed factor helps our side a lot.

  • 33. ianbirmingham  |  September 24, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Regarding Russia, here is a very interesting analysis explaining the Ukraine crisis as symptomatic of an underlying Russian resistance to Western culture…

    As the Ukrainians are now accepting Western culture and rejecting Russian culture, the Russians – seeing the Ukrainian example – will swing back toward the acceptance of Western culture. Russian history shows a strong pendulum-like tendency in this respect, alternating periods in which Russia is actively ingesting Western culture (Peter The Great, Mikhail Gorbachev, etc.) with periods in which Russia is actively rejecting Western culture (Stalin, Putin, etc.). The rejectionist Putin period is rather long in the tooth now, which indicates that a Western cultural invasion of Russia is to be expected in the medium-term future. Just as Putin fears, Ukraine may well prove to be the open door through which that Western cultural invasion enters Russia.

  • 34. VIRick  |  September 21, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Malaysia: PM Says Malaysia Can Not Accept Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 21 September 2018, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammed, 93, says the country cannot accept LGBT rights or equal marriage.

    Meanwhile, Malaysian law describes oral and anal sex as against the order of nature. Civil law stipulates jail for up to 20 years, plus caning and fines for offenders, although enforcement of the law is rare. In addition, Muslims are also governed by state-level Islamic laws, most of which carry provisions outlawing same-sex acts.

    Obviously, from all the recent noise, Malaysia, ostensibly a "Muslim" country, but in reality, a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society, is deeply concerned about the domino effect arising from the Supreme Court of India's decision to legalize gay sex, as well as by the moves in Singapore to do the same thing. Malaysia's laws on this subject derive from the same laws propagated from India by the British Raj, remembering as well, that Singapore/Malaysia were once integral portions of the same British colony, Malaya.

    At best, Malaysia's Muslim population (both Malay and Indian together) only comprise about 60% of the total. At least another 25% are Buddhist/Taoist (mostly Chinese, but also including Thai and Vietnamese). Plus another 8% or so are Hindu (mostly Indian). The remaining 7% are a polyglot, covering everything from the indigenous people of North Borneo and Sarawak, to those who are mixed race/ethnicity, plus an assortment of Europeans.

    Of Malaysia's 13 states, of the 11 on the peninsula, 2 have non-Muslim majorities (Penang and Melaka), and a third one has a Hindu Rajah (Perlis) as traditional ruler. On insular Borneo, in Sarawak, the native Dayak are a majority, while in Sabah, an assortment of indigenous people predominate, while the Chinese outnumber the Malay 4:1.

  • 35. VIRick  |  September 21, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Barbados: Rihanna Fenty Appointed Ambassador

    Barbados-born, pro-LGBT icon, pop singer, actress, and designer Rihanna can add another accolade to her growing list of achievements after being given a new ambassadorial role by the government of Barbados.

    The artist, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was named "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary" for her home country on Thursday, 20 September 2018. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said she was honored to confer the title, a role which involves promoting education, tourism, and investment. The singer is now to be described as Ambassador Fenty by the Barbados government.

  • 36. davepCA  |  September 22, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I had to look up the definition of "plenipotentiary". What a fabulous title!

  • 37. VIRick  |  September 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Michoacán: Married Couple Registers Baby as Having Two Mothers, a New First

    El 21 de septiembre 2018, un matrimonio logra registrar a su hijo bajo la figura de dos madres. El registro del bebé, que hoy tiene once meses de edad, se logró mediante un amparo interpuesto ante un juez de distrito en la capital michoacana, Morelia.

    Anteriormente, otras parejas lesbo-maternales habían conseguido el registro, pero bajo formas como madre y cónyuge de la madre. Pero, cuando se registra a un bebé bajo esa figura, la que queda como cónyuge no puede tomar decisiones de carácter legal, como en el caso de la salud.

    On 21 September 2018, a married couple has registered their son as having two mothers. The registration of the baby, which today is eleven months old, was achieved through an appeal filed before a district judge in the Michoacán capital, Morelia.

    Previously, other same-sex female couples had been able to register, but under forms like mother and spouse of the mother. But, when a baby is registered in that manner, the one that remains as the spouse can not make decisions of a legal nature, as in the case of health.

  • 38. VIRick  |  September 23, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Colorado: First State to Issue an Intersex Birth Certificate

    Colorado has become the first state to issue an intersex birth certificate to a person that is medically accurate. Previously, just New York City had done so (which has its own vital records department separate from New York State records). As of 19 September 2018, Anunnaki Ray Marquez is now the proud new owner of their own identity on record.

    Marquez identifies as a gender non-conforming androgynous gay man. What this means, essentially, is that they have an assortment of hormones, chromosomes, and secondary sex characteristics that can’t be categorized by the two binary sexes once only available on birth certificates.

    In order to obtain their corrected birth certificate, Marquez had to petition the state government and provide numerous medical documents for verification. Once confirmed by the Colorado state government, Marquez’s birth certificate was updated to reflect “intersex” instead of “male” or “female.”

    “Here’s the thing that confuses people: My biological sex is intersex,” Marquez said. “We live in a world that thinks that should be in alignment with my gender identity. But biological sex and gender identity don’t always match, as my gender identity is non-conforming, androgynous male,” Marquez said. “My sexual orientation confuses people even more. If I have an intersex body, they get confused when I say I’m gay.”

    Marquez received their updated birth certificate on the same day that a federal judge in Denver, in a separate case, ruled that the State Department can not deny the issuance of US passports to non-binary and intersex citizens, and just two days after the state finalized a settlement in yet another court case to eliminate the need for transgender residents to undergo sex reassignment surgery before amending the gender marker on their birth certificates.

  • 39. VIRick  |  September 24, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Hong Kong: Top Court to Hear Gay Civil Servant’s Appeal Seeking Spousal Benefits for Husband

    Per Rob Salerno:

    On Monday, 24 September 2018, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal granted a gay Hong Kong immigration officer leave to appeal to the city’s top court against its decision that his husband could not enjoy the same spousal benefits offered to his heterosexual government colleagues. In addition, Angus Leung Chun-kwong, 37, was also granted leave to challenge the Inland Revenue Department for not letting him and his partner, Scott Adams, jointly declare their taxes as heterosexual married couples can.

    Leung’s lawyers at Daly, Ho & Associates said he was reviewing the judgment with his legal team to see whether it was necessary to make an application to the Court of Final Appeal to redefine the scope of his intended appeal.

    His bid came on the heels of the Court of Final Appeal’s landmark decision in July 2018 in favor of a lesbian ex-patriate, known as "Q.T." in court, requiring the city’s Immigration Department to grant her a spousal visa. That led to a government announcement last week that Hong Kong would for the first time recognize overseas same-sex partnerships when granting dependent visas. Encouraged by the top court’s ruling, Leung then filed his application for leave to appeal.

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