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DOJ tells SCOTUS it doesn’t think federal employment law protects transgender employees

Discrimination Transgender Rights

US Department of Justice building. Source: Wikipedia
US Department of Justice building. Source: Wikipedia
Bloomberg Law reports that the Justice Department has filed a brief in the Supreme Court telling the Justices that it believes transgender discrimination in employment is legal under current law. There are several petitions the Court could take up for review that involve LGBT discrimination in employment. All those cases had been scheduled for an earlier conference, but the Court rescheduled them, presumably until after a ninth Justice was confirmed.

The article reports that the transgender discrimination case involves a funeral home that fired one of its employees:

Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the high court that a civil rights law banning sex discrimination on the job doesn’t cover transgender bias. That approach already has created a rift within the Trump administration, contradicting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s view of the law it’s tasked with enforcing.

A Michigan funeral home wants the high court to overturn a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision finding that the company violated federal workplace discrimination law when it fired Aimee Stephens, a transgender worker. The EEOC successfully sued on behalf of Stephens in that case, but the Justice Department has the sole authority to represent the government before the Supreme Court. The DOJ told the high court that the Sixth Circuit got the case wrong.

“The court of appeals misread the statute and this Court’s decisions in concluding that Title VII encompasses discrimination on the basis of gender identity,” Francisco said in a brief filed with the court.

The DOJ brief says that were the Court to deny the petitions that involve sexual orientation discrimination, it should also deny this petition, because, they argue, review wouldn’t otherwise be proper at this time. “If the Court were to grant the petitions in Zarda, Bostock, or both to resolve that conflict,” they write, “its decision may bear on the questions petitioner raises concerning gender-identity discrimination and thus may bear on the proper disposition of the petition in this case.”

The Trump administration has taken several actions against LGBT, and especially transgender, people. Most recently the New York Times reported that the administration is seeking to redefine sex for federal law purposes in a way that would essentially eliminate transgender people. The administration’s ban on transgender military servicemembers is still being litigated in the federal courts. And several of the administrations appointees to cabinet positions and federal judgeships have expressed solidly anti-LGBT views.


  • 1. allan120102  |  October 24, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Even with all of his racist, homophobic, sexist and Mysoganist comments. A huge quantity of women and gay people are going to vote for Bolsonaro. I believe that a higher percent of lgbt people will vote for Bolsonaro than there Us conterparts did for Trump.

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  October 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Caitlyn Jenner Says She Was "Wrong" to Think Trump Could Help With LGBTQ Issues

    Better late than never, Caitlyn… now what do the Log Cabin Republicans have to say?!?


  • 3. davepCA  |  October 25, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Gee, no shit, Caitlyn. I remember how frustrating it was to watch her repeatedly spewing her clueless, brainwashed pro-Trump insanity on her reality TV show. She was surrounded by people who knew better and who repeatedly took the time to explain it to her and spell it all out in detail, and she wouldn't listen, and wouldn't believe.

    Of course, the real source of the anti-LGBTQ bigotry in this administration is not entirely from Trump himself, it is from VP Mike Pence and groups like the Heritage Foundation.

  • 4. JayJonson  |  October 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Caitlyn is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least she has now recognized the obvious. Of course, she doesn't really care about anything other than what directly concerns her own best interests. After all, she is a Republican.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  October 25, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Caitlyn Jenner: Trump 'Relentlessly Attacking' Trans People

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 25, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Progress of the Latest Central American Caravan

    The migrants are now well within Chiapas state, and as always, the common people of Chiapas, and the local authorities there, are bearing the brunt of the influx, in this, one of the largest migratory movements in number ever gathered. The people in the town of Huixtla, with 65% of its own population below the Mexican poverty line, still greeted their neighbors from down the road with whatever they had,– diapers, bottled water, tarps, cooked rice and beans. The caravan has now moved further along to Acacoyagua, a Japanese-Mexican coffee town, where the group was given the same warm welcome. Next stop: Mapastepec.

    Alejandro Mendoza was there, and took a series of individualized photos of some of the people participating in the caravan. Notice the quantity of LGBT participants. The montage begins with Cesar “El auténtico” Mejia, 23, an LGBT activist from San Pedro Sula, wrapped in the rainbow flag. Or Giovanni, 27, from El Salvador, waving his own rainbow flag. Or the guy from Acacoyagua, greeting the caravan with his "make-do" Honduran flag. I also like the "realist" in the group who has set his sights on either Tijuana or Canada.

  • 7. Fortguy  |  October 25, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    These reports in no way resemble the Middle Eastern Scaravan Trump is trying to get everyone worked up about. The Scaravan's march on Brownsville according to the administration and Fox News looks something like this:

    Peter O'Toole, of course, plays the part of a liberal Democrat who supports open borders and wants a horde of foreigners to come into the country to apply for welfare and impose sharia law on the rest of us.

  • 8. VIRick  |  October 25, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Of course not (in answer to your first sentence). Migrant people have been migrating back and forth, south to north, and back, since time immemorial. Cutting off their temporary access to seasonal jobs, like picking fruit or cleaning shrimp, will only aggravate the severe shortage of workers willing to do the nastiest of the nasty jobs at the lowest level of pay in the USA. Mexico's agro-businesses will be the main beneficiaries, and actually, already have been.

    As for "foreign" languages, in Guatemala alone, there are 21 different Mayan languages, with the 4 most-widespread being spoken by over 2.5 million people. Yet, the government of Guatemala only recognizes Spanish as "official," despite the fact that almost 40% of the population, primarily to the west and north toward Mexico, speak something else.

    So, yes, working with Guatemalan migrants in Mexico, the biggest handicap was lack of communication. In most cases, their Spanish was non-existant to rudimentary, and my knowledge of any of the Mayan languages was also non-existant. However, I would plead with the group, "Alguna persona aqui habla Ixil?" The Ixil were a small minority being forcibly driven out of Guatemala by the racist, fascist government in charge. If the question went unanswered, I would try again, "Quien habla K'iche'?" The K'iche' are over 1 million strong. Almost invariably, someone would answer with a bi-lingual ditty like, "Abra la puerta open the door." And we took it from there. That one reply told me that at least that individual had worked the migrant circuit before, and could help with some much-needed translating.

    Note: I have never been to Guatemala and have no intention of ever going there for any reason. Having worked with any number of indigenous Mayan groups forcibly pushed out of their own native country while I was living in southern Mexico, I have seen and experienced more than enough.

  • 9. VIRick  |  October 26, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Pijijiapan, Chiapas: Entire Town Greets Caravan, Showering It with Everything It Has

    The responsibility of feeding, clothing, and sheltering several thousand migrants has been embraced by the small Mexican towns along the route, with residents jumping into charity mode as if they are responding to a natural disaster. It was hard to walk a block here without seeing crates of free bottled water, tables packed with ham and cheese tortas, or relief stations filled with medical supplies donated by the community to help the people on this grueling march. “We’re supporting them 100 percent,” Rafael Trinidad, a municipal employee, said as he passed out sandwiches to migrants arriving along the main road.

    While The Assh-Ole-in-Charge in El Norte is looking for ways to block the caravan at the US border, Mexicans are pitching in to ease the travelers’ journey. Residents along the route say they are motivated by a tradition of charity, a shared familiarity with migration to the United States, and a deep sense of solidarity in the face of all the ignorant anti-migrant rhetoric bellowed from up north.

    For towns such as Pijijiapan, migration is second nature. For decades, people have hiked the back roads and ridden trains heading north. Many here say they have relatives in the USA or have migrated themselves. Central American migration to southern Mexico has caused tensions in recent years, as numbers have grown, but people here understand the poverty and violence that migrants are fleeing. “Today it’s them. Tomorrow it could be us,” said Lesbia Cinco Ley, 70, who was volunteering with the Catholic church in town to distribute food.

    Town officials in Pijijiapan said they began readying for the caravan’s arrival from Monday, 22 October, holding meetings to strategize how to attend to the migrants. Before dawn on Thursday, 25 October, in anticipation of the caravan's arrival later that day, Cinco Ley and several others began cooking, on a mission to prepare giant vats of ham and eggs and 14,000 sandwiches. Between the municipality, churches, and private citizens, town officials estimated Pijijiapan had spent nearly $8,000 for one day’s worth of food. “This is a poor town, but we still did all this,” said Guadalupe Rodriguez, 48, a city councilwoman.

    On the radio in Tonalá, the next stop, a city 50 miles north of Pijijiapan, public service announcements went out on the radio Thursday ahead of the caravan’s arrival, instructing people where to donate and how to help, once the caravan arrives there.

    Local governments in the state of Chiapas have so far been most welcoming. The newly-elected mayor of Pijijiapan, Hector Meneses Marcelino, is Morena, the same as Mexico’s incoming president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who campaigned on treating migrants less as criminals and more as human beings with rights that need to be defended. Meneses said he spent one morning this week defusing a situation in which federal immigration officials wanted to arrest local Mexicans who were picking up migrant hitchhikers and carrying them further north along the route (oh shit, we would routinely do that, and no one ever complained,– ever). The caravan is now dispersed among several towns along the highway in Chiapas, and many are struggling to keep up.

    More than 1,000 migrants have dropped out to apply for asylum in Mexico; and new people have joined. Meneses, Pijijiapan’s mayor, said 7,500 migrants had been in town. "We’ve seen migrants here before, but never this many,” he said. “It looks like all of Honduras is coming.”

  • 10. VIRick  |  October 26, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    In the post immediately above, from the town of Pijijiapan, the generous lady with the incredible name, Lesbia Cinco Ley, made a comment, which if thought about in terms of the double-entendre inherent in her name, is so profound and so accurate, and so prescient, as to defy any further elaboration:

    “Today it’s them. Tomorrow it could be us.”

    Or does one need to understand colloquial Mexican Spanish in order to see what I see? I read her clever pseudonym as additionally implying:

    "Today it is the migrants. Tomorrow it could be the LGBTs."

    Another point: In Spanish, there is only one term, "migración," to cover both terms in English, immigration and migration. In English, the first term implies a one-way, permanent move, and the second, a back and forth, fluctuating multiple move. Spanish simply does not distinguish.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  October 25, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Trump Administration Wants To Remove 'Gender' From UN Human Rights Documents

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  October 25, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Log Cabin Republicans Boosted Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court Nomination

    Log Cabin Republicans president Gregory T. Angelo penned an op-ed for Fox News in response to the HRC’s “specious” report on Kavanaugh. As Angelo argues, Kavanaugh has no anti-LGBT history and deserves a fair hearing with open minds before any judgments can be made.

    Here's the link to HRC's "Stop Kavanaugh" campaign:

  • 13. guitaristbl  |  October 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    They will never learn will they ? *sigh*

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  October 25, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Kenya's Top Court Sets Date To Announce Ruling On Legalization Of Gay Sex

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 27, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Ian, the page you cite for your reference does not load. Did you actually look there before posting the link to it?

    Instead, when I clicked on your link, all I obtained was a "tease" in my browser at the very top of the screen, indicating: kenyas-top-court-sets-date-to-announce-ruling-on-legalization-of-gay-sex

    and that is exactly what you copied, word for word, and then carefully "fixed," to make it appear as if that were your headline, or the actual headline to the article. So, the "test" question in return to you is: What is the date which has been set for the announcement of the court ruling in Kenya?

    In the future, I strongly urge you to at least look at the web-page in question before rushing to post a link to it. I become very leery very quickly of anyone posting breezy fluff which has not been properly vetted or authenticated prior to its being posted here. Personally, from now on, I will need to see more than a "headline" and a link before I ever again click on one of your links.

  • 16. Fortguy  |  October 28, 2018 at 2:55 am

    Rick, Ian's link works for me. I don't know what technical issue you have, but here's the text:

    Mark your calendars for Feb. 22.

    That’s when the Kenya High Court announced it would issue its ruling on whether to decriminalize homosexuality. Under Sections 162 and 165 of its penal code, individuals convicted of “sexual acts against the order of nature” face up to 14 years in prison.

    Advocates with Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) argue the colonial-era law violates constitutionally mandated rights to privacy and dignity. Under the 2010 Kenyan Constitution, they argue “all citizens in Kenya [are protected] regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

    A three-judge bench heard arguments in February and March. The High Court did not set a timeline for its ruling, which was rumored to be issued by the end of the year.

    The date was finally set on Thursday. Earlier the same day, the court allowed both sides to submit additional statements on how a historic Sept. 6 ruling from the Indian Supreme Court decriminalizing sodomy might apply to Kenya’s law.

    In a unanimous decision, judges with India’s highest court ruled a “consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults… cannot be said to be unconstitutional.”

    LGBTQ advocates say they are “encouraged” by that ruling.

    “It is the very same fight that we are fighting here in Kenya,” Kari Mugo, operations manager at NGLHRC, told Reuters earlier this year. “We both have these old colonial laws but also have these modern constitutions that speak for equality, so we are really hopeful that what we are seeing in India will be replicated here.”

    Currently, Kenya is one of more than 70 countries that outlaw homosexuality.

    Critics of the sodomy ban claim, though, that it does more than criminalize same-sex relationships. According to NGLHRC, it has fielded more than 3,000 cases of “murder, sexual assault, mob violence, blackmail, and extortion” against LGBTQ people since 2013.

    Although an estimated 98 percent of Kenyans oppose homosexuality, momentum is on the side of the LGBTQ community.

    Earlier this year, the Kenya Court of Appeal ruled that forced anal exams used to “prove” an individual’s homosexuality are unconstitutional. In September, Justice Wilfrida Okwany of the High Court temporarily lifted a ban on the lesbian film Rafiki in order to ensure it could qualify for consideration at the Academy Awards.

    “I am not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society whose moral foundation will be shaken by simply watching a film depicting gay themes,” she said.

    Rafiki became a massive smash during its one-week qualifying run. After playing to packed movie-houses in the capital of Nairobi, it became the second highest-grossing Kenyan film in history, earning over $33,000. Given that the average monthly wage in Kenya is $76, that would be more like $372,000 in the United States.

    In the wake of that film’s historic embrace, LGBTQ advocates say it’s time for Kenya to take another step forward.

    “These colonial legacy laws undermine LGBTQ people’s fundamental rights as enshrined in our Constitution and ostracise them from society, causing misery and isolation, and devastating their lives,” claimed Njeri Gateru, executive director of NGLHRC, in a statement.

    “We believe that this wrong must be put right,” Gateru added. “There is no place in our proud Kenyan democracy for old discriminatory laws.”

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Fortguy, perfect! Thank you so much for posting the entire text of the full article. Had Ian included even the first 5-6 paragraphs of it in his post, that would have been more than adequate in providing the key information. Plus, it would have prevented me from becoming quite so anal (always a good thing).

    I (correctly) assumed that the article contained some new information (and it did), specifically the date when the court ruling in Kenya would be announced (22 February 2019), and wanted to record that information in my archives for future reference.

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  October 26, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Sydney, Australia's Same-Sex Penguin Couple Welcome Their Newly Hatched Baby

  • 19. VIRick  |  October 26, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Czech Republic: First Reading of the Marriage Equality Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In the Czech Republic, the marriage equality bill is to have its first reading before the parliament on 31 October 2018.

  • 20. Mechatron12  |  October 26, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Fingers, toes and eyes crossed. Czechia would be the first Slavic and first ex-Warsaw Pact country with marriage equality. Hopefully then pressure could be exerted on Slovakia and Hungary, maybe even another go in Slovenia.

  • 21. allan120102  |  October 26, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    I am pretty sure Slovenia have a supportive majority for ssm like Italy. The problem with the former is that the boycott happen and they surpass the requirement for the referendum to pass. I am almost sure that they might get ssm in the next 5 years. When Slovenia pass it Croatia might be next thanks to the pressure exert by Slovenia approval. While Italy could get it in a more liberal government even though prostest would be massive like it happen in France. But right now dont even think it as the government is strongly against.

  • 22. VIRick  |  October 26, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Romania: Government Withdraws Same-Sex Civil Partnership Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News‏:

    In Romania, on 25 October 2018, the Government and Prime Minister withdrew the plan for LGBT civil partnership legislation.… …

  • 23. Mechatron12  |  October 26, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    As awesome as defeating the referendum was, Romania is nowhere near ready for same-sex partnerships. We are probably going to have to wait until the EU government or courts mandate marriage equality across the bloc. Pushing a law like this too hard right now may have resulted in yet another referendum, or even the government falling and being replaced with something far worse. But rest assured, we WILL win in the end.

  • 24. VIRick  |  October 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Argentina: Obituary for an Outstanding LGBT Militant

    Murió Ramona Arévalo, militante LGBT y protagonista del primer casamiento entre mujeres en el país. A los 75 años, murió Ramona “Cachita” Arévalo, quien junto con Norma Castillo, fueron en 2010 la primera pareja de mujeres en contraer casamiento en la Argentina, y en todo Latinoamérica, a través de un amparo judicial, antes de la sanción del matrimonio igualitario.

    La militancia y la historia de ambas, al igual que las de las y los demás integrantes de la comunidad homosexual, le dieron impulso a la ley que ese mismo año fue sancionada en el Congreso y que permitió la igualdad de derechos civiles para las parejas de personas del mismo sexo. Chau Cachita.

    Ramona Arévalo has died, an LGBT militant and protagonist in the first marriage between women in the country. At age 75, Ramona "Cachita" Arévalo died, who along with Norma Castillo, were in 2010 the first female couple to marry through a judicial amparo in Argentina, and in all of Latin America, before the legalization of marriage equality.

    The militancy and history of both, as well as that of the other members of the LGBT community, gave impetus to the law that was approved in Congress later that same year and which allowed for equal civil rights for same-sex couples. Chau Cachita.

    Note: From 2009, same-sex couples in Argentina began winning judicial amparos (just like in Mexico) which allowed the individual couple to be able to marry, despite the fact that the law had yet to be changed. Ramona and Norma were the first female same-sex couple to marry in Argentina, and did so by this process. As soon as same-sex marriage was legalized in Argentina, the courts in Uruguay followed suit, issuing judicial amparos to allow individual same-sex couples there to be able to marry.

    Affectionate departure greeting in Argentine slang: Chau = ciao in Italian

  • 25. ianbirmingham  |  October 27, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Tens of thousands of people transform Taiwanese capital into a carnival of color in Asia's largest gay pride parade ahead of 11/24 SSM vote

  • 26. VIRick  |  October 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Honduran Migrant Caravan Enters Oaxaca

    Tapanatepec, Oaxaca – Coordinators of a caravan of several thousand Central American migrants moving through southern Mexico urged its members to rest on Sunday, 28 October 2018. The migrants said they would stay and hold a meeting Sunday in Tapanatepec, in the far eastern portion of the state.

    After being delayed for a couple hours when federal police halted their exit from the town of Arriaga, Chiapas, the last city in Chiapas on their route, Saturday morning, 27 October, most of the migrants finally arrived in Tapanatepec in the searing heat. Dozens headed down to the Novillero river below the central square to bathe, wash clothing, and cool off. Others lined up at a medical aid station mostly for attention to their battered feet.

    For the first time, an arm of the federal government seemed to be directly helping the migrants advance, rather than trying to diminish the caravan. In this case Grupo Beta, Mexico's migrant protection agency, gave rides to stragglers and passed out water. Many of the migrants have depended on hitchhiking to move between towns rather than walking the entire way.

    Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto launched a program on Friday, 26 October 2018, dubbed "You are home," which promises shelter, medical attention, schooling, and jobs to Central Americans who agree to stay in the southern Mexico states of Chiapas or Oaxaca, far from the US border.

    Mexico's Interior Ministry said that temporary identity numbers have been issued to 111 migrants under the program. The IDs, called CURPs, authorize the migrants to stay and work in Mexico, and the ministry said pregnant women, children, and the elderly were among those who had joined the program and were now being attended at shelters.

  • 27. allan120102  |  October 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Bolsonaro has won the general elections in Brasil a sad day for minorities in that country, but that is how democracy works

  • 28. FredDorner  |  October 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    The last few years have seen a wave of bigoted authoritarians elected around the world from the US to the Philippines and now Brazil. There must be some sort of virus going around. Either that or mankind is devolving.

  • 29. scream4ever  |  October 28, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    The Nationalist streak.

  • 30. guitaristbl  |  October 28, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Unfortunately Brazil won't have marriage equality for much longer…Tbh LGBT people should fight to even keep homosexuality legal I believe under this monster.

  • 31. scream4ever  |  October 28, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Thankfully the ICOHR can and will intervene if worst comes to worst.

  • 32. guitaristbl  |  October 28, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    What makes you think Bolsanaro won't take Brasil out of its jurisdiction ? I don't know what power the legislature has in Brasil or how its current composition is even willing to stop Bolsanaro ideologically but I hope they can provide some barriers.

  • 33. allan120102  |  October 28, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Like I said in an above comment a lot of lgbt people vote in Brasil for him even more than the lgbt people in the US that vote for Trump. Bolsonaro already promise to take out Brasil from the paris treaty so I could see him going out of the ICH if they intervine. Sadly for the lgbt community in brasil the two most important states now have conservative governors so Rio de Janeiro and Sau Paulo will be allies of Bolsonaro along other states. Conservatives were elect in record numbers in the senate the party of Bolsonaro was impulse so they might have a majority. If not the other right parties will make them a majority,

    I mention that they were three vacancies in the supreme court but until recently I learn that Michele temer the president that its in the post who is a center right have also appoint some court members who have shift the court to the right but with Bolsonaro I could see ssm being affect as conservative groups might file so the previous ruling is struck down. Brasil is not as liberal as Uruguay and Argentina and the first president to congratulate him was Sebastian Piñera of Chile who is doing nothing to pass ssm in that country.
    I am even more worried than I was with trump because at least was hypocrite while this one is a very hostile man for minorities rights.

  • 34. guitaristbl  |  October 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I guess the pride parades (and the Sao Paolo one is one of the biggest in the world annually) will also be probably banned from now on…

    As for the LGBT people that voted for this monster my answer is the same as for Log Cabin Republicans. I wish they would be the only ones to live under the consequences of the policies they chose. Not everyone else.

  • 35. allan120102  |  October 28, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Its actually worse than I thought with all the members of the right wing theys might have the votes to approve a constitutional amendment aganst abortion and ssm they will have a total of 350 seats very close of the 70% need to approve those amendments.For the none believers that this will not happen I might remind you that many of those elect are from priests and pastors along with military history there is even a women that reminds of Michele Backman because of her homophobic stantce

    I never thought this but Brasil minorities are really going to feel the brunt of a government even more than the ones in the US .

  • 36. guitaristbl  |  October 28, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Yes it seems LGBT rights will be wiped out. I hope criminalization of homosexuality will at least escape the agenda. But I wouldn't rule it out at this point.

  • 37. VIRick  |  October 28, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Guitar, this is precisely why so many same-sex couples from Brasil have always arranged to be married in Uruguay, and have continued to do so, even after the highest court in Brasil ruled to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. And, if necessary, they will continue to trek off to Uruguay (in vastly greater numbers) if they absolutely must.

    In Uruguay (and Argentina), for same-sex couples, one's marriage is protected and guaranteed by the legislature having made a fundamental change to the basic law of Uruguay (and Argentina), whereas in Brasil, the law was never changed, but merely re-interpreted in a much broader manner. Instead, in Brasil, most same-sex marriages are contingent upon the court ruling and interpretation (oh wait! Over half of the 27 jurisdictions in Brasil had already changed their state policies and practices to allow for marriage equality prior to the court's 2013 nationwide ruling. Marriage in Brasil is a federal function, but one administered by the states through state notaries, a point currently obscured by the 14-1 federal court ruling, but one which makes it a much more complex issue because of the federal nature of Brasil).

    There once was a time when I thought that these same-sex couples from Brasil who insisted upon marrying in Uruguay were being overly cautious. But now, I see. Uruguay will go to "war," in effect, to defend and protect its long-standing reputation as the marriage (and divorce) capital of South America, a business so vital to its economy that they view it as an "industry."

    We also need to wait and see what the final composition of the national legislature looks like, based upon proportional representation, as expressed from the first round of voting. I expect that Bolsonaro will find himself facing a hostile federal congress (both houses), and just like in Chile, which utilizes the same system (on purpose, to prevent the rise of a new dictatorship), very little will be accomplished.

    Note: Prior to the 2013 court ruling, these jurisdictions: Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Paraná, Piauí, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, and Sergipe, as well as the city of Santa Rita do Sapucaí (MG), had already allowed same-sex marriages, while any number of civil partnership unions had been converted into full marriages by state judges. In Rio de Janeiro, same-sex couples could also marry but only if local judges agreed with their request. As early as 7 December 2011, the Alagoas Court of Justice had ruled that same-sex marriages could be performed within the state, a ruling which appears to have been made independently of whatever the federal government may or may not have been doing.

    Alternatively, at that point, in mid-2013, these states had not yet made the statewide change: Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Maranhão, Pará, Amapá, Amazonas, Roraima, Acre, Goiânia, and Tocantins. Thus, at worst, Brasil could possibly revert back to a Mexico-like situation, with marriage equality in some states but not in others, as the court ruling was only aimed at the states which had not yet instituted marriage equality.

  • 38. allan120102  |  October 28, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    I need to remind that the supreme court of Brazil had three vacancies and Bolsonaro like Trump had say he will appoint strong conservative judges the abortion case going right now going through the judicial system is now doom.

  • 39. arturo547  |  October 29, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Guys, I think you are freaking out too much on Brazil's situation. I understand that Bolsonaro is a conservative but it doesn't mean that he'll have absolute power to do anything he wants. First off, same-sex marriage is already protected by court ruling. The only judicial body that can overturn that is the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court and according to Wikipedia this court receives thousands of cases each year. So how likely will it be that they take a case that has already been resolved? I don't think it possible even if the three vacancies are filled with conservative judges. Take into account that this court has 11 members, so they would need 6 votes to overturn the National Council's ruling.

    However, I read somewhere that Bolsonaro wants to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court. That would be a worrying situation, but I'm not 100% sure if he actually plans that, and if so I don't know what the process would be and how likely it would be to do it.

    On the other hand, some of you are saying that Bolsonaro's party will have an absolute majority in congress in order to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, but that's not true. According to Wikipedia, Bolsonaro's party has only won 11% in both houses of Congress. For a constituional amendment they will need an absolute majority (about 300 votes). I know that Governments usually form coalitions, but as far as I'm concerned party leaders can only mandate over their own parties. I don't think Bolsonaro can order his coalition members to vote in favour of banning gay marriage. I understand your fears, but I think you are overexaggerating!

    What is true, however, is that under Bolsonaro's presidency LGBT antidiscrimination and gender education laws won't take place.

  • 40. guitaristbl  |  October 29, 2018 at 3:23 am

    It's not just Bolsonaro's party but a number of conservative parties in Brazil's heavily fractured legislature that would be very likely to support a homophobic agenda – and reportedly those parties control a majority of seats and what is likely close to the needed 350 seats to approve of a constitutional amendment.

    Furthermore it's not just marriage equality. A number of LGBT-protective measures have come through initiatives of the executive branch that are now very likely to be stripped away.

  • 41. allan120102  |  October 29, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I didnt say his party achieve the numbers but he will ally with the conservative wing together they will have a majority very close to absolute majority the link I leave above explains it better. Bolsonaro will not criminalize homosexuality that is a sure thing even he has state it. He will not risk loosing between 10 to 17 Percent of the population that identify as lgbt. Especially in the major cities. Ssm is another issue he have state that he will wipe out every law that is inmoral and against God law.

  • 42. VIRick  |  October 29, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    "Bolsonaro's party has only won 11% in both houses of Congress."

    Arturo's point bears repeating. Directly, Bolsonaro's political party, the PSL, only won 5-10% of the seats in both houses of the legislature. Currently, they hold 1 seat in the House and 0 seats in the Senate. In the new Congress, the Partido Social Liberal will hold 52 seats of 513 in the House and 4 of 81 in the Senate. Given that his party is some sort of personally-focused one-man evangelical-based fringe group, it strains credulity to imagine that other conservative/right-wing parties will rush to jump in bed with him. Brasil is a very sexually-liberated, secular nation, far more advanced in both categories than all of its Hispanic neighbors. And way on the left, the Workers Party (PT)(#1), the Communist Party (PCdoB), the Socialists (PSB), Democratic Labor (PDT), REDE, and the Greens (PV) (who all tend to work together, to a degree, in their own ad hoc coalition) will fight him tooth and nail. So that leaves the other right-leaning parties in the driver's seat, and it is unlikely that they will kow-tow to him. He has been a member of congress for years, so they are familiar with his grandstanding and his lack of substantive accomplishment. He is trying to run a one-man show, built on illusions of grandeur, in a political system that will not allow it.

    In addition to the radical left mentioned above, the strongest outside political party, and the one governing up to this moment, the non-Marxist, Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB)(#2), the big-tent, anti-military-dictatorship party, still leans left. The Progressistas (PP)(#4) are center-right, but do not count on them to support Bolsonaro, as he abandoned that party to go off on his own. Also, the big centrist party, Social Democracy (PSDB)(#3), does not work well in any sort of coalition, whether to the left or to the right, nor do the Social Democrats (PSD)(#7), while Podemos (PODE)(#5) wants direct democracy, not dictatorship. So maybe the right-wing Republicans (PRB and PR), the Social Christians (PTC), the pro-military ARENA, currently the main right-wing party, now re-branded as Democrats (DEM)(#6), and Getúlio Vargas' ghost (PTB) will support him in some sort of coalition. Still, that only adds 15 Senators to his paltry 4, not even half way to forming a majority.

    In the current Senate, there are 81 members (3 from each jurisdiction) proportionally representing 19 different political parties/factions. Of the 81 members, 43 from 8 parties are considered "government," 17 from 5 parties are opposition, and 21 from 6 parties are "independent." Try governing with that. Some serve until 2023. The others will be replaced on 1 February 2019. In Espiritu Santo, the gay candidate, Fabiano Contarato (REDE), knocked out the sitting right-wing evangelical, Magno Malta (PR), bringing the potential right-wing coalition down a notch to just 18 (and 41 are needed).

  • 43. VIRick  |  October 30, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Jamaica: Challenge to Anti-Sodomy Law Accepted by IACHR

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Kingston, 16 October 2018 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) says it has accepted a case challenging Jamaica’s anti-buggery law, which has been brought by a gay man living in exile, and a lesbian who says she was also forced to flee the country. The victims in the case, Gareth Henry and Simone Edwards claim that sections of Jamaica’s 1864 Offences Against the Person Act – a British colonial-era law that outlaws the ‘abominable crime of buggery’ and acts of ‘gross indecency’ – not only criminalize consensual sexual activity between men, but also legitimize violence towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

    In its report setting out the decision, the IACHR – an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) – acknowledged the victims’ concerns about “violence and discrimination against LGBTI people and the impact of buggery laws” and noted that, “if proved, the alleged facts relating to threats to life, personal integrity, interference with private and family life, obstacles to the right of residence and movement, unequal treatment, lack of access to justice and judicial protection, and interference in access to health care, could establish possible violations of…the American Convention [on Human Rights].”

    Henry, who sought asylum in Canada in 2008 after enduring repeated attacks by homophobic gangs and police brutality, said he took heart from the Commission’s decision, and sincerely hopes it “signals the beginning of meaningful change for our community.”

    Edwards was shot multiple times outside her home in 2008 by two men belonging to a homophobic gang, who also tried to kill her two brothers, one of whom is also gay. Following a series of police failures to protect her and her family, she was granted asylum in the Netherlands.

    This decision arrives over six years after the case was first filed in 2012. It will now move to what is known as a merits stage, whereby the Commissioners will consider the substance of the legal arguments and make a finding on whether and how Jamaica’s maintenance of these laws violates rights under the American Convention on Human Rights (which Jamaica has ratified) and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man.

    The IACHR can make recommendations to the government to repeal the offending laws, to ensure proper protection of LGBT citizens from discrimination and violence, and to investigate the facts and make reparations.….

  • 44. VIRick  |  October 30, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Mexico City Providing Material Aid to the Migrants

    A partir del próximo lunes 29 de octubre, saldrán desde la Ciudad de México las primeras brigadas multidisciplinarias del “puente humanitario” en apoyo al éxodo migrante, como parte de las acciones articuladas entre autoridades locales, organismos nacionales e internacionales, y sociedad civil, así como la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal (CDHDF).

    Alrededor de 65 personas, en unidades móviles, partirán de la capital del país hacia la frontera entre los estados de Oaxaca y Veracruz, punto en el que se espera alcanzar a los desplazados, para brindarles servicios de salud ante los problemas que han padecido por agotamiento, deshidratación, enfermedades estomacales y respiratorias, golpes de calor, quemaduras, y torceduras de pies.….

    Starting Monday, 29 October, the first multidisciplinary brigades of the "humanitarian bridge" in support of the migrant exodus will leave from Mexico City, as part of the actions co-ordinated among local authorities, national and international organizations, and civil society, as well as the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (CDHDF).

    Around 65 people, in mobile units, will leave the capital of the country towards the border between the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz, a point at which it is expected they will reach the displaced, to provide them with health services in the face of the problems that they have suffered from exhaustion, dehydration, stomach and respiratory illnesses, heat stroke, burns, and sprained feet.

    Note: Because of the irrational rantings and loud bellowings emanating from El Norte trashing the migrants, ordinary Mexicans, as a simple matter of basic national pride, have taken it upon themselves to assist the migrants in any manner they can. I can feel the empathy because in about two days' time, they will be passing directly in front of the entrance to the shop/house where I once lived in that small town on the Gulf Highway in southern Veracruz state. In fact, I am certain the entire Tuxtla region is ready for their arrival, and that the outpouring of support will be no less grand than it was in Chiapas.

  • 45. VIRick  |  October 30, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Niltepec Welcomes the Central American Caravan

    Niltepec, Oaxaca, an impoverished Mexican town nearly flattened by a 2017 earthquake welcomed thousands of tired and hungry Central Americans in a US-bound caravan in quiet defiance of Trump's condemnation of the group. On Monday, 29 October 2018, the same day he ordered 5,200 troops to the US-Mexico border to block the migrants, residents of the southern town of Niltepec, who still live among piles of rubble that once were their homes, prepared for the caravan with homemade soup, medical tents, and diapers for children.

    "We wish we had a space dignified enough to offer our visitors," said Zelfareli Cruz Medina, Niltepec's mayor. As she spoke, caravan members were stringing up garbage bags to use as tents in Niltepec's main square. Surrounding buildings were scarred with cracks and gaping holes caused by the 8.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the region on 7 September 2017.

    Of 1,720 homes in Niltepec, 1,602 were damaged in the quake, according to town officials, while 530 collapsed entirely. At least 100 families are still without homes, they said. But a willingness to help the needy comes as almost second-nature to residents of the hardscrabble town in Oaxaca, one of Mexico's poorest states, Cruz said. "We know now what it means to suffer," she said.

    For their next stop, on Tuesday, the caravan should be in Juchitán, home to the transgender Zapoteca muxes, another town badly damaged in the same earthquake.

  • 46. VIRick  |  October 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Amended and Up-Dated:

    Guyana: Caribbean Court of Justice to Soon Announce Ruling against Anti-Trans Law

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice, Guyana's highest court, is due to release its ruling against Guyana's anti-trans cross-dressing law soon. Arguments in the case were heard in June 2018, after which the CCJ reserved its judgment.

    Case # GYCV2017/015, "Quincy Mc Ewan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud v. The Attorney-General of Guyana"

    The appellants, who identify as transgender persons, are appealing their highly-publicized 2009 convictions under the colonial-era 1893 Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act for the offence of being men who were wearing female attire in public for an ‘improper purpose,’ which is an offence in Guyana. The appellants are challenging this law on several grounds, including that it is discriminatory and inconsistent with the Constitution of Guyana.….

    This post has been up-dated and corrected to reflect additional new information found in a second source, including a group photo of the 4 plaintiffs, but for which I am unable to copy-and-paste:

  • 47. guitaristbl  |  October 31, 2018 at 4:38 am

    A case against Guyana's sodomy laws is also long overdue.

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