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SCOTUS to decide whether to take up LGBT employment discrimination cases


The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
Equality Case Files is reporting that the Supreme Court has scheduled a conference for three cases involving employment discrimination against LGBT people on November 30. Two cases involve sexual orientation discrimination and the third involves discrimination based on gender identity:

Two of the cases, Bostock and Altitude Express, were first scheduled for a conference on September 24, but the Court rescheduled those cases with no explanation, likely because the Senate was still considering whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

The Court’s conferences are private, and the decision they’ll make will be whether to take up one or more of these cases. It takes only four votes to grant review, not a majority. We won’t know immediately whether a case is granted: they’ll likely announce it the following Monday. Even then, the Court has the option of rescheduling or relisting the cases so they can be considered more thoroughly at a later conference.

This is the first time since Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement that the Court could hear cases related to LGBT rights. Kennedy was replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who’s seen as a likely anti-LGBT vote.

Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, and they have said they would make the Equality Act a priority. That law would explicitly add gender identity and sexual orientation protections to existing employment laws, among other things.


  • 1. allan120102  |  November 8, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Costa rica same sex marriage ruling to be publish this month. The 18 wait will start soon.

  • 2. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    9th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of DACA

    Current recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will continue to receive the protections of the Obama-era program for now, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, 8 November 2018. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide injunction preventing the Trump administration from rescinding DACA for current recipients.

    Several district courts have reached the same conclusion, but Thursday’s decision is the first time a federal appeals court has weighed in on Trump’s efforts to end the program. The Justice Department already asked the Supreme Court to take up the question of whether the Trump administration could end the program. Thursday's ruling makes it more likely, though by no means certain, that the justices will do so.

    Writing for the court, Judge Kim Wardlaw said that then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke was incorrect when she decided to end DACA because she had concluded that it was illegal. Reviewing the record and immigration enforcement history, the court held that “DACA was a permissible exercise of executive discretion.”

    Specifically, Wardlaw wrote that “deferred action has been a feature of our immigration system — albeit one of executive invention — for decades; has been employed categorically on numerous occasions; and has been recognized as a practical reality by both Congress and the courts.”

    Because the court concluded that DACA was not illegal, it held that challengers to the decision to end DACA on that basis “are likely to succeed in demonstrating that the rescission must be set aside.” As other judges have stated in their opinions, Wardlaw also noted that the decision is not one declaring that the Trump administration could not end DACA.

    “To be clear: we do not hold that DACA could not be rescinded as an exercise of Executive Branch discretion,” she wrote. “We hold only that here, where the Executive did not make a discretionary choice to end DACA — but rather acted based on an erroneous view of what the law required — the rescission was arbitrary and capricious under settled law.”

    Finally, the court also held that "plaintiffs have stated a plausible equal protection claim," noting plaintiffs' allegations that "the rescission of DACA disproportionately impacts Latinos and individuals of Mexican heritage, who account for 93% of DACA recipients." The three-judge panel was unanimous in affirming the trial court's decision.….

  • 3. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Georgia: Democrat Lucy McBath Wins 6th Congressional District

    Democrat Lucy McBath, a national anti–gun violence advocate whose son's murder spurred her run for Congress, has won her bid for a House seat. McBath defeated Republican Karen Handel in Georgia's 6th District. Handel conceded early Thursday morning, 8 November 2018.

    Handel won the seat in 2017, narrowly beating Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election for former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's seat. That race was watched closely as an indicator of a 2018 blue wave.

    McBath's father was the president of the Illinois NAACP chapter. She told BuzzFeed News' Profile in September that growing up in a home steeped in the civil rights movement, around rallies and marches, was an early foundation for an entry into politics. McBath's son, Jordan Davis, was murdered in 2012 at a Florida gas station by a white man who shot at the car Davis was in because the music was too loud.

    "Everything I was teaching him to be, and I thought and assumed that I was grooming him for, I’ve ended up assuming that role."….

    Note: The 6th District covers an up-scale north Atlanta suburban area that has finally flipped blue. The 7th District, with another Republican incumbent, which sits directly adjacent and to its east, is still too-close-to-call.

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Kansas: LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections to Be Reinstated,– and More

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender state employees across Kansas will again have protections from on-the-job discrimination once Democrat Laura Kelly becomes governor. On Thursday, 8 November 2018, Kelly reaffirmed plans to reinstate an executive order providing a protection from discrimination that former Gov. Sam Brownback rescinded in 2015. The order, first put in place by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2007, prohibited harassment, firing, or discrimination against state workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

    “'I am planning to actually have an executive order drafted before I take office to take action as soon as possible," Kelly said. Kelly will become governor on 14 January 2019.

    Kelly’s comments come after the election of the first two openly LGBT members of the Kansas House. Democrats Brandon Woodard and Susan Ruiz both won suburban Kansas City-area seats Tuesday.

    At the national level, Kansas City-area voters elected Sharice Davids to Congress. Davids will be the state’s first openly LGBT member of Congress, and the first Native American woman to serve in Congress, along with New Mexico’s Deb Haaland.

    Kelly also said that if it is possible, she will direct the state to require adoption agencies with state contracts to not discriminate against LGBT couples and individuals. Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a bill that ensures faith-based adoption agencies can turn away gay and lesbian couples based on religious beliefs. The bill says the Kansas Department for Children and Families cannot block any foster or adoption agency from participating in its programs solely because it refuses to adopt or place children with LGBT individuals.

    Kelly also said Thursday that she supports medical marijuana and believes Kansas is ready for it. Her comments came after Missouri approved medical marijuana earlier this week.….

  • 5. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    New Mexico's All Native American/Hispanic Congressional Delegation

    In New Mexico's northern 3rd District, Ben Ray Luján, D, of Santa Fe has been re-elected. His cousins include the former Secretary of the Interior, Manuel Luján, Jr., and New Mexico's Governor-elect, Michelle Luján Grisham, D (who is also the current representative in the 1st District).

    Replacing Michelle Luján in the central 1st District will be Debra A. Haaland, D, a registered member of the Laguna Pueblo people (whose father was Norwegian-American, thus the surname), and the former chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party. She and Sharice Davids, D, Kansas, will be the first-ever Native American women in Congress.

    In New Mexico's southern 2nd District, Xochitl Torres Small, D, of Las Cruces has flipped that district blue. She is a former federal law clerk and is married to Nathan Small, a Democratic member in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

    This will be the first time in almost 100 years that the state does not have at least one Anglo representative in the US House. Of the 3, I am personally elated that Xochitl won, not only because I have family resident in that district, but also because, in the face of all the bigoted Trumpian anti-Mexican/anti-immigrant rhetoric, someone with such an obviously hyper-Azteca (Nahuatl) name from southern Mexico simply deserves to win.

  • 6. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Colorado to Offer Third Gender Option on Driver's Licenses

    Colorado has become the latest state to offer a third gender option on government-issued ID cards and driver's licenses. From 30 November 2018, residents will be able to choose "X" if they are non-binary.

    The Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue “has found that adoption of these rules are necessary for the preservation of public health, safety, and welfare” according to an FAQ issued by the department.

  • 7. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Alabama: Openly Gay Ex-Marine Wins Seat in Alabama House

    Former state Rep. Patricia Todd’s District 54 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives will continue to be represented by a member of the LGBTQ community, with former Marine Neil Rafferty, a Democrat, handily beating independent Joseph Casper Baker III, 90 percent to 10 percent. Rafferty is openly gay and an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights. His partner of 14 years is also an ex-Marine.

    Currently, he is the project manager at the non-profit, Birmingham AIDS Outreach.

  • 8. davepCA  |  November 9, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    That link looks like it points to the wrong article – it's about rep. Hale (R) losing to rep. Mark Pettway (D).

    BTW, rep. Neil Rafferty is frikken adorable. Just sayin'.

  • 9. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Dave, scroll down further and look for the second headline reading, "Patricia Todd’s Successor." That extended article covers all of the Jefferson County election returns.

    So,– you're planning to get between two ex-Marines,– and in Alabama???

    Still, I totally agree with your expert assessment on the adorableness factor.

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Arizona: In US Senate Race, Kyrsten Sinema, D, Now Leading

    In the race for US Senator from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, seeking to become the first out bisexual member of the chamber, had a lead of more than 9,600 votes over Martha McSally as of Thursday evening, 8 November 2018, per the announcement made by the Arizona Secretary of State. At that point, Sinema had 932,870 votes, representing 49.1 percent, while McSally had 923,260, or 48.59 percent. Most of the remainder has gone to Green Party candidate Angela Green.

    When the Maricopa County Recorder releases its first batch of ballots this evening, there will still be approximately half a million votes left to count.

  • 11. Fortguy  |  November 8, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    John Bowden, The Hill: Amnesty International: 10 men arrested in Tanzania on suspicion of being gay

    Ten men were arrested in Zanzibar amid a Tanzanian crackdown against gay men and other members of the LGBT community, according to Amnesty International.

    The human rights group reports that the men were attending a beach party that was raided by police officers on Saturday. Six other men reportedly escaped.

    Police had been tipped off about a gay marriage supposedly taking place on the beach, according to Amnesty International.

    "This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government’s assurance that no one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity," Amnesty International's East Africa deputy director, Seif Magango, said in a statement Tuesday.

    “We now fear these men may be subjected to forced anal examination, the government’s method of choice for ‘proving’ same-sex sexual activity among men. This must not be allowed to happen – these men must be released immediately," Magango added.

    Amnesty reports that the men are being detained at a nearby police station, but have not been charged with a crime.

    The crackdown comes following statements from a regional police commissioner in the nearby port city of Dar es Salaam, on the Tanzanian mainland, who stated that his forces would begin arresting members of the LGBT community last week.

    The State Department has issued a travel advisory for the region, urging American travelers to comply with local laws and request that a U.S. consulate be notified should an arrest occur.

  • 12. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Washington State: 8th Congressional District Flips to the Democrats

    Kim Schrier, D, has been declared the winner in Washington State's 8th District with 53% of the vote, gaining an open seat in the eastern Seattle suburbs which had previously been held by a Republican who chose to retire rather than face re-election.

    In the current congress, the state split is 6 Ds and 4 Rs. In the new congress, it will be 7 Ds and 3 Rs. The other 9 incumbents all won re-election.

  • 13. VIRick  |  November 8, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    Wisconsin: Deservedly, Karma Bites Scott Walker Extra-Hard

    Scott Walker narrowly lost the Wisconsin governor's race. But under the circumstances, he could not ask for a recount. According to a new law he himself signed just last year as an upshot of the Jill Stein/Trump re-count brouhaha to the 2016 Wisconsin presidential vote, a candidate for elected office in Wisconsin must now be losing by less than 1 percent before they can ask for an election recount.

    Walker lost by 1.2 percent.

  • 14. Fortguy  |  November 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    Michael Burke, The Hill: Two Marine aviators grounded after flight pattern 'resembled a phallic image'

    The Marine Corps. announced this week that two pilots have been banned from flying amid an investigation that they flew a phallic-shaped pattern in Southern California last month.

    Maj. Josef Patterson, a Marine spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said Tuesday that any discipline for the two aviators will be determined after the investigation, according to ABC News. He also said the pilots will provide support from the ground while they are banned from flying.

    “The Marines and Sailors of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will perform at the highest levels expected of professional warfighters, and uphold our core values of honor, courage and commitment,” Patterson said in a statement, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Images reportedly showing the flying pattern were posted to Twitter late last month by an aviation enthusiast using flight-tracking software, ABC reported.

    Somebody needs to have a word with the crew of US Navy T-34C 160937 SHUTR91 out of MCAS Miramar
    — Aircraft Spots (@AircraftSpots) October 23, 2018

    The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement last month that an investigation into the flight pattern had been opened, according to the Marine Corps Times.

    “A T-34C aircraft assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, flew an irregular flight pattern over the Salton Sea that resembled a phallic image," the statement read. "An investigation to uncover the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing."

  • 15. guitaristbl  |  November 9, 2018 at 12:55 am

    The outcome of these cases above is a given : granting certiorari and 5-4 reversals (or affirmations if the ruling was anti-LGBT in first place). I am more worried of the flower shop case from washington at this point.
    Btw I hope Ginsburg recovers soon, the last thing we need now is trouble with her.

  • 16. scream4ever  |  November 9, 2018 at 7:48 am

    Not necessarily. It wouldn't surprise me if they just deny cert to all of them.

  • 17. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Arizona: Sinema Appears to Have Won US Senate Seat by 9,610 Votes

    Per "New York Times" at 5:21 PM, 9 November 2018:

    Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat, 932,870, 49.1%

    Martha McSally, Republican, 923,260, 48.6%

    Angela Green, Green, 43,838, 2.3%

    1,899,968 votes, 99% reporting (1,484 of 1,489 precincts)

    One can see the complete breakdown for the US House here, showing Democrats having won 225 seats, and Republicans 197, with 13 seats still too-close to call. Of those, the Ds lead in 5 and the Rs are ahead in 8.

    Potentially, the Ds have a 4-seat gain in New Jersey and 3-seat gains in New York, California, and Texas, together with a definite 3-seat gain in both Pennsylvania and Virginia, and 2-seat gains in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. They also picked up 1 seat each in Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington State. In return, the Republicans did not gain a single seat previously held by the Democrats.

  • 18. scream4ever  |  November 9, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Republicans did flip two seats in Minnesota, although they were open races, and another district in Pennsylvania which was newly created when their maps were redrawn (Democrats also flipped another new one there as well).

  • 19. guitaristbl  |  November 9, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Worth noting that out of the 5 california districts yet to be called, democrats lead in 2 and republicans in 3 but, according to fivethirtyeight :

    "…late-arriving ballots tend to lean Democratic in California, so those GOP leads will probably shrink, if not reverse entirely. (They have already shown signs of shrinking.) Because of this, we’re guessing that Democrats might win most, if not all, of these districts when all is said and done."

    Democrats are likely to win the Maine 2nd as well with the preferential ranking system it uses in case no candidate reaches 50 % as is the case now.

    Also the irony of the special election at Georgia 6th and all the money poured into it a few months ago only for the GOP to hold that seat then and lose it now with much less fuss.

  • 20. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    The results of the Georgia 6th is karma in print, because in addition to everything you just said about it, and all the previous attention thrown at it in that special election, the seat was won by a black woman in a district which is predominately white (and for Georgia, that is still important). Besides, that is Newt Gingrich's old seat, in addition to being that of Tom Price, one of the Trumpenfuhrer's stranger cabinet picks, one who lasted less than 8 months as HHS Secretary before resigning in disgrace.

    In a previous report concerning Lucy McBath's win, I only hinted at that fact by mentioning that her father was president of the Illinois NAACP, and that her son was killed by a white man in Florida in 2012.

  • 21. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Pennsylvania, with its redistricting and re-numbering, is very difficult to properly tally, but where the Democrats ended up with a net gain of 3. But you are correct about the exchange in Minnesota, another state with open seats where it was difficult to tally, but where two incumbent Republicans were also defeated, with one being a major homophobe who was finally taken down by Angie Craig.

    Plus I have two oversights, as the Democrats also gained a seat in Arizona, as well as two seats in Michigan (not just one).

    And the Democrats could still gain an additional 8 seats, where the Republicans appear to be ahead, but which have not been finalized, and where re-counts may be necessary. In order of closeness, they are GA-7, TX-23 (which I have already called for Gina Ortiz, just because), NC-9, ME-2, NY-27, CA-10, CA-39, and CA-45.

    It is difficult to believe that there are still any Republican seats remaining in California. Yet, 3 major clowns there have been re-elected: Kevin McCarthy, Devon Nunez, and the indicted Duncan Hunter. Still, Dana Rohrabacher and Darryl Issa are both gone. Proportionally, the Democrats did best in New Jersey where only one lonely Republican remains.

  • 22. Fortguy  |  November 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Regarding the situation involving Gina Ortiz Jones, the following is the procedure under Texas law.

    Counties must receive military mail ballots no later than Tuesday, November 13 for them to be counted. The deadline has already past for receiving non-military and certain military ballots from domestic locations depending on the type of mail service.

    Each county's early voting ballot board is responsible for counting mail ballots and counting provisional ballots after determining their eligibility. These county boards must do so no later than Monday, November 19.

    The local canvass must occur sometime between Friday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 20; however, the canvass may not occur until after the early voting ballot board has concluded its work.

    The state canvass for all federal and state offices will then be held no earlier than Saturday, November 24 and no later than Monday, December 10.

    The deadline for requesting a recount for federal and state offices is 5 pm the second day after the state canvass whenever that may end up being.

    Texas law does not hold an automatic recount provision such as Florida and some other states. The petition for a recount must include a deposit of $60 for each precinct using paper ballots and $100 for each precinct using electronic voting systems.

  • 23. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    California Congressional Up-Date

    In California, the Democrats could possibly gain a total of 6 House seats, 3 of which are definite, and 1 more is now quite likely.

    Mike Levin, D, CA-49, has already flipped Darrell Issa's old seat in coastal San Diego County blue, while bi-sexual Katie Hill, D, CA-25, in northern Los Angeles County, took out the Republican incumbent.

    In CA-48, coastal Orange County, Harley Rouda, D, had a substantial lead over the long-term Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher, and in most circles, has already been declared the winner. As of late Saturday, 10 November, this race has been officially called in favor of Rouda.

    In a late surge, in CA-10, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties in the central valley, Josh Harder, D, has pulled 1.8 points ahead of the Republican incumbent, Jeff Denham.

    The Democrats still trail in CA-39 and CA-45, both in Orange County, but the spread in each has narrowed considerably. The 39th is an open seat because long-term incumbent Ed Royce, R, chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chose to retire rather than face re-election and shifting demographics. As a result, the current race pits Young Kim, R, a Korean-American woman, against Gil Cisneros, D, an Hispanic. In the adjacent 45th, Katie Porter, D, is challenging the Republican incumbent, Mimi Walters.

    Overall, the latest count gives the Democrats 227 seats, a gain of 32, while leading in 4 more, and the Republicans have 198, while narrowly leading in 6 more, 4 or 5 of which could still potentially flip to the Democrats, especially ME-2.

  • 24. VIRick  |  November 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    California: Congressional Up-Date

    12 November, 11:11 PM

    The Democrats have already flipped 3 congressional seats in California, CA-25, CA-48, and CA-49. In 3 others, the races are still too close and have not yet been called, as the vote count continues:

    CA-10, D now leading by 1.8%, and pulling ahead
    CA-45, R still leading by 0.4% in an ever-tightening race
    CA-39, R still leading by 1.2%

    Nationwide, of the 10 congressional races still to be called, the Ds lead in 4 and the Rs in 6. CA-45 has now become the closest of all 10. The Ds already have 227 seats, a gain of 32, while the Rs have 198. When all the tallying is completed, the Ds are likely to have 233-235, and the Rs 200-202.

  • 25. Fortguy  |  November 13, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    The AP has declared Harder the winner in CA-10.

    Michael R. Blood, Associated Press: Democrat Harder ousts California GOP US Rep. Denham

  • 26. VIRick  |  November 13, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    California: Congressional Up-Date, and More

    As of the end of the day, 13 November 2018, CA-10 has been called in favor of the Democrat, Josh Harder, over the incumbent Republican, making this the fourth California seat picked up by the Democrats. Overall, this latest win now gives the Democrats 228 seats to the Republicans 198, with 9 races still undecided. The Democrats lead in 4 of those, with the Republicans leading in 5.

    In addition, CA-45 is the latest district in the process of flipping, as the Democrat there, Katie Porter, has finally begun pulling ahead of the Republican incumbent by 0.2%. This would be the fifth California seat to flip. And the race in CA-39 has also tightened dramatically, where the Republican, Young Kim, is now only leading by 0.4% over the Democrat, Gil Cisneros.

    The Democrats also lead in UT-4 by 0.6%, in NY-22 by the same 0.6%, and in NJ-3 by 1.1% (I have already called all 3 races for the Democrats,– not that that makes it official,– but just to keep the record straight). In addition to CA-39, the Republicans still lead in GA-7 by the same 0.4%, in TX-23 by 0.5%, in ME-2 by 0.7%, and in NY-27 by 1.1%. Of these latter, ME-2, with the ranked choice voting, is almost certainly guaranteed to flip to the Democrat, once the ranked choice process is finalized.

  • 27. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Arizona Up-Date: Sinema Leading By 20,203 Votes

    Per "New York Times," 7:55 PM, 9 November 2018:

    Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat, 991,189, 49.3%

    Martha McSally, Republican, 970,986, 48.3%

    Angela Green, Green, 46,796, 2.3%

    2,008,971 votes, 99% reporting (1,485 of 1,489 precincts)

  • 28. Mechatron12  |  November 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    There are still around 350,000 votes outstanding in AZ. I REALLY wish the media would stop with that "99% reporting" bullshit. It's based on precinct counts which ignore the hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots. It's factually incorrect and feeds the deplorable fantasies about vote-stealing.

    In AZ, we can turn in mail-in ballots all the way up to Election Day, and it takes a week or more to verify the signature and then count them. The vast majority of the time, they don't change the outcome so people don't pay attention and they can call the election that night. In a close race like this, however, every vote does matter.

    It's also worth noting that the latter votes from Maricopa County (Phoenix) are thought to be more friendly to McSally, so this thing can definitely tighten again.

  • 29. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    North Carolina's 9th District Is Narrowly Lost to a Raving Homophobe

    Republican Mark Harris, an evangelical minister who has expressed longing for the days when homosexuality was outlawed, prevailed over Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes portions of Charlotte and the surrounding area.

    Harris, who had defeated the incumbent, Robert Pittenger, in the Republican primary, has a long history of anti-LGBTQ and sexist rhetoric. The "Charlotte Observer" reports that Harris won by 49.4 percent to 48.8 percent, with the remainder going to Libertarian Jeff Scott. McCready received more of the vote in urban areas, Harris in rural ones.

  • 30. Fortguy  |  November 9, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    St. Sen. Sylvia Garcia and El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar have been elected as the first two Hispanic women in the state's U.S. congressional delegation. Garcia replaces the retiring Rep. Gene Green in a Houston district while Escobar succeeds Beto in the seat he gave up to run for senator. Green is an African-American congressman best known for filing articles of impeachment against Trump.

    Garcia resigned her Senate seat today, and Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special election to replace her for December 11. State Rep. Carol Alvarado and St. Rep. Ana Hernandez both announce bids for Garcia's Senate seat since Garcia won her primary in March. The Legislature convenes on January 8.

  • 31. Fortguy  |  November 9, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    There are two openly LGBT members of the Texas Legislature: Rep. Mary González in an El Paso-area district and Celia Israel of Austin. With the election, they will now be joined by Jessica González and Julie Johnson, both from the Dallas area, and Erin Zwiener from central Texas. Two of the three newcomers flipped GOP districts.

    I don't know where all the LGBT men are hiding out other than still in the closet.

  • 32. VIRick  |  November 9, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Georgia's 7th District Could Be A Drawn-Out Fight

    Georgia's 7th District covers major portions of both Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties, to the immediate north-east of Atlanta. Gwinnett County has around 1,500 provisional ballots that it believes were cast in the election for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, a tightly contested race that remains in limbo.

    Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson said a total of about 2,500 provisional ballots were issued across the county, which has drawn negative scrutiny over several voter access issues this election season. Sorenson also confirmed the estimated number of 1,500 provisional ballots believed to be tied to the 7th district, where Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux is narrowly trailing incumbent Republican Rob Woodall.

    Provisional ballots allow voters with eligibility questions — like a lack of ID or signature mismatches — to cast their ballots at the polls, but they require those issues to be resolved before the ballot is actually counted. Gwinnett announced Thursday, 8 November, that it was extending its elections office hours to allow provisional voters more time to produce the extra documentation to have their ballots verified.

    But the Bourdeaux camp has signaled that its best potential path to victory may be through a recount, which they can request if the candidates are divided by less than 1 percent of the vote. Bourdeaux is currently within that margin, only 0.4% behind.–politics/gwi

  • 33. VIRick  |  November 10, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Maine: Ranked Vote Tally Starts in 2nd District Race

    Neither the incumbent, Bruce Poliquin, R, nor the challenger, Jared Golden; D, received 50% of the vote in the first round, so second-choice picks come into play in the first congressional election with ranked-choice voting. Election officials began the painstaking task Friday, 9 November, of processing hundreds of thousands of ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd District as they prepare for the nation’s first ranked-choice voting tabulation to decide a federal race.

    Incumbent Bruce Poliquin heads into the weekend with a narrow lead of roughly 2,000 votes (roughly 0.7%) over challenger Jared Golden, according to several unofficial estimates. But political insiders, an exit poll, and even bettors suggest Poliquin’s lead could evaporate as the second and third choices of voters are added to the tallies of the two front-runners during the ranked-choice tabulation process.

    If Poliquin, of Oakland, tops 50 percent of the vote in the second round of counting expected to take place next week, he will begin a third term in Congress. If Golden reaches that magic number, he would be the first member of Congress in history to win in a ranked-choice voting runoff.

    The race also included two independent candidates, Tiffany Bond of Portland and William Hoar of Southwest Harbor, who finished a distant third and fourth, respectively, collecting about 24,000 combined votes (which, in effect, will now be re-distributed, based on those voters' second-choice selection).

    Under the ranked-choice system, voters can designate their first-, second- and third-choice candidates in the event that none of the candidates receives more than 50 percent support in the first tally. Once every ballot is processed and loaded into the system, computer algorithms will be used to eliminate the last-place candidate – Hoar in this case – and redistribute his supporters’ votes to whichever candidate they (the voters) ranked second. The same process is likely to be used to reallocate the second-choice votes of people who supported Bond, who finished third in the four-person race.

    Once either Poliquin or Golden achieves 50 percent plus one vote, they will be declared the winner. An exit poll conducted Tuesday by Fair Vote, professors at Colby College, and the Bangor "Daily News" found nine of 10 people who voted for the two independents picked Golden before Poliquin as a second choice. (If this point proves true, Golden will win by over 19,000 votes.)

  • 34. scream4ever  |  November 11, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Ranked-choice voting really is the way we should have elections. It eliminates the spoiler candidate effect, consolidates the primary and general elections into one, and encourages positive, coalition building among campaigns.

  • 35. VIRick  |  November 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    When Mechtron first mentioned Maine's ranked voting system, I honestly did not understand to what he was referring. As a result, I did a search until I finally found the above article in the "Press Herald" which provided an excellent explanation of how it works whenever none of the candidates in a given election (and it apparently applies to any/all elections in Maine) receive more than 50% of the vote.

    Maine's Democratic governor-elect won her primary through the same process.

    It appears to be a process they recently invented in that state to avoid ever having to put up with the accidental election of someone as bigoted as Paul LePage in a 3-way race.

  • 36. guitaristbl  |  November 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    It is essentially the system used in the Australian elections. That's why when polling occurs they have a generic preference poll and a two-party preferred polling. Labour by itself generally trails the Liberal/National coalition in generic preference vote but it is the two-way preference polls it has built a lead over the last years of Liberal failures.

  • 37. ianbirmingham  |  November 11, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Ranked choice voting in Maine doesn't apply to all elections, only to federal elections & state primaries. It does not apply to state general elections.

    Despite repeated efforts by Maine’s Republican establishment to block RCV, citizens of the state have twice passed referenda in favor of it. They recently decided to continue to use RCV in federal congressional elections and state primary elections. Ironically, as a result of a decision by the Maine Supreme Court, the system does not apply to the general election that motivated the reform in the first place—the election of the governor.

  • 38. VIRick  |  November 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Colorado: Trans Woman Wins Seat in State Legislature

    On Sunday, 11 November 2018, transgender candidate Brianna Titone declared victory in her close race for Colorado's House District 27. Titone, 40, is now 368 votes ahead of her Republican challenger, Vicki Pyne, the "Denver Post" reported. Titone appears to have flipped a GOP seat in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

    Titone was advised in her campaign by Danica Roem of Virginia, the nation's first openly transgender legislator. Like Roem, Titone embraced social justice causes, as well as more pragmatic issues like local development.

  • 39. VIRick  |  November 11, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Arizona: Sinema's Lead Widens in US Senate Race to 30,310

    11 November 2018, 4:40 PM

    Kyrsten Sinema, D, 1,049,522
    Martha McSally, R, 1,019,212

    Per the Secretary of State's office, approximately 264,000 votes statewide still need to be tallied, 198,000 of which are from Maricopa County.

    Part of what is complicating and slowing the process is that this is not the only tightly-contested statewide election race in Arizona, meaning that ballots for multiple offices must be carefully scrutinized and re-scrutinized. For State Superintendant of Public Instruction, in another race that has already flipped, Kathy Hoffman, D, leads over Frank Riggs, R, by 42,000 votes, while the true nail-biter is for Secretary of State. In that race, so far, Steve Gaynor, R, just barely leads by a hair over Katie Hobbs, D, 1,035,375 votes to 1,032,255, that is, by just 3,120 votes.

    Within Arizona itself, the extreme tightness in the race for Secretary of State has deflected some of the drama away from the US Senate race. Final results for all statewide races in Arizona should be known by 5:00 PM on 14 November 2018.

    In Arizona, one can not request an election re-count unless one is within 200 votes of the winner. Thus, it is already widely rumored that the "retired" appointed replacement to John McCain's seat, Jon Kyl, will himself again "retire," given that he only committed to serving until early January 2019, and that the governor will then appoint McSally as the next appointed replacement, setting her up to be the "incumbent," as that seat will next be up for election purposes in 2020.

    Up-date: At 5 PM, 11 November 2018, MST, the latest count per the Arizona Secretary of State for the elected position of Secretary of State, now shows only a 150-vote spread, but with the D finally in the lead:

    Katie Hobbs, D, 1,054,052
    Steve Gaynor, R, 1,053,902

  • 40. VIRick  |  November 12, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Arizona: US Senate Race: Sinema Declares Victory

    Votes counted on Sunday, 11 November, put Sinema 32,640 votes ahead of McSally, with 220,000 votes left to count. Sinema is now ahead by 1.52%. Today, 12 November, her campaign declared victory.

    In order to take the lead, McSally would have to win the remaining 162,000 Maricopa County votes by 22%, even though she has been losing that county so far. The Sinema campaign said that this scenario isn’t possible.

    To date, counting Sinema, there will be 47 US Senators in the Democratic caucus next year and 51 in the Republican caucus. As for the remaining 2 seats, Florida’s Senate race remains too close to call, while in Mississippi, where no candidate garnered 50% of the vote in a 4-way race on 6 November 2018, a runoff election between the appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith, R, and Mike Espy, D, former US Secretary of Agriculture, will be held on 27 November.

    As of Monday night, 12 November, the Arizona Secretary of State's official vote count showed Sinema leading McSally by over 38,000 votes. Earlier this evening, McSally conceded the race.

    With Sinema's win, Democrats have flipped two Senate seats previously held by the GOP, following Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen's victory over incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada last week.

  • 41. Fortguy  |  November 12, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    McSally has conceded.

  • 42. VIRick  |  November 12, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Wyoming Equality Director Wins State House Seat

    Wyoming Equality director Sara Burlingame has nabbed a seat in her state's legislature, with the Democrat besting her Republican opponent by 70 votes, Wyoming Public Radio reports.

    Burlingame is well-known in the Cheyenne area, the state's capital, working on both sides of the aisle to advocate for LGBTQ equality. Burlingame, who identifies as queer, said she hopes to bring more civility to politics as representative for House District 44, centered on Cheyenne.

  • 43. scream4ever  |  November 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Hopefully they can finally pass the anti-discrimination bill which narrowly failed in the House in 2015.

  • 44. VIRick  |  November 12, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Oaxaca: First Same-Sex Marriage Without Amparo Outside State Capital

    En el municipio de Jalapa de Marqués, en la zona del Istmo de Tehuantepec, el 10 de noviembre 2018, se llevo el primer enlace matrimonial igualitario entre dos mujeres en una ceremonia pública, presidida por un oficial del Registro Civil. Las contrayentes fueron Dayana Jiménez Martínez, de 26 años, quien es dentista, y Fabiola Cabrera Pérez, de 27 años, empleada de una empresa privada.

    La ceremonia se realizó en un salón de eventos especiales con una bandera de la diversidad sexual, a la que asistieron más de 150 invitados, en su mayoría familiares. La pareja logró casarse legalmente sin recurrir al amparo, derivado a una jurisprudencia dictada por la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) lograda (por Oaxaca) en 2017.

    In the municipality of Jalapa de Marqués, in the zone of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, on 10 November 2018, the first equal marriage between two women took place in a public ceremony, presided over by a Civil Registry officer. The contracting parties were Dayana Jiménez Martínez, 26, who is a dentist, and Fabiola Cabrera Pérez, 27, an employee of a private company.

    The ceremony was held in a special events room with a banner for sexual diversity, and was attended by more than 150 guests, mostly relatives. The couple legally married without recourse to an amparo, deriving instead from jurisprudence issued by the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) achieved (by Oaxaca) in 2017.

    So, the "Oaxaca work-around," first invented in Cuidad Oaxaca, the state capital, and which depends solely and directly upon the Supreme Court's jurisprudence (just as in Querétaro, but dating there from 2015), while legally ignoring out-of-date state law, is now spreading to other parts of the state.

    Jalapa de Marqués is a small city in the Zapoteca heartland to the northwest of Juchitán, a city famous for its regular Vela Festivals in which transgender women, known as Zapoteca Muxe, put on their colorful and splashy performances.

  • 45. Fortguy  |  November 12, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    The 86th Texas Legislature doesn't convene until January 8, but that doesn't stop the Austin Awful Association from waiting until then to make news.

    It looks like we have a new consensus candidate to replace House Speaker Joe Straus who didn't seek reelection. There were seven candidates for the job, but everyone including one Democrat has now withdrawn their candidacies with most endorsing Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) who suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Bonnen held a press conference appearing with Democrats and both moderate and far-right Republicans and released to the press a bipartisan list of 109 House members who have pledged to support him. He needs only 76 out of the 150-member chamber.

    Unlike Abbott and Patrick, whose ideological positions and leadership styles are well known, Bonnen is a big question mark. He is considered ideologically in the center of the House's GOP conference, was a loyal lieutenant of Straus, and is well liked by the far-right bombthrowers. He has promised to continue the tradition in leading the House in a bipartisan faction including appointing Democrats to some committee chairmanships.

    The Republican conference is supposed to meet December 1, and they have pledged to support the candidate endorsed by the conference. The conference, however, requires two-third support on at least the first two ballots for that endorsement, and the House GOP has not been known in recent years for its unity and comity. The Dems are also pledging to act in unity for their support for speaker. So far, it looks like Bonnen has the support he needs, but two months is an eternity in politics, and speaker pledges have been less binding historically than pinky-swears.

    Bill filing has also begun for the session and over 400 bills have been filed on the first day of the filing period alone. Only one bill concerning LGBT issues has been filed or at least that has received any media reporting. Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) has filed HB 84 which would remove from the Penal Code the provision criminalizing sodomy. Although this provision has been unenforceable since Lawrence, all previous efforts to repeal it have gone nowhere and I doubt this bill stands a chance, either. The bill will also remove unenforceable clauses in the Health and Safety Code requiring that school sex-ed classes teach that homosexuality and homosexual conduct are criminal based on the Penal Code provision. Strangely, under Moody's bill, the requirement that sex-ed class teachings contain "emphasis, provided in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public" would remain. WTF? There are no such "facts", and the general public now supports ME in the state.

    UPDATE: I went through Bonnen's list of 109 names, and he does have the expressed support of roughly half of House Democrats.

  • 46. JayJonson  |  November 13, 2018 at 8:03 am

    There will be at least ten openly LGBT members of the new Congress. All are Democrats.

    Two Senators: Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) and Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona).

    Eight members of the House of Representatives: David Cicilline (Rhode Island); Mark Takano (California), who may be the next chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee; Mark Pocan (Wisconsin), who is chair of the House Progressive Caucus; Sean Patrick Maloney (New York); Angie Craig (Minnescota); Sharice Davids (Kansas); Katie Hill (California); and Chris Pappas (New Hampshire).

    Former Congressman Jared Polis has traded in his seat in Congress to become Governor of Colorado.

  • 47. VIRick  |  November 13, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    Guyana: CCJ Declares Anti-Cross-Dressing Law Unconstitutional

    Per LGBT Marriage News and Rex Wockner:

    Port of Spain, Trinidad. On 12 November 2018, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Guyana's highest court, ruled that a law in Guyana which makes it a criminal offence for a man or a woman to appear in a public place while dressed in clothing of the opposite sex for an “improper purpose,” is unconstitutional. The law, Section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, is to be struck from the laws of Guyana. The case of "Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) v The Attorney-General of Guyana" began with the arrest of the appellants in February 2009.

    Four of the appellants, who identify as transgender persons, were arrested, convicted, and punished for cross-dressing in public. At the time of arrest, McEwan was dressed in a pink shirt and a pair of tights and Clarke was wearing slippers and a skirt. A few hours later, Fraser and Persaud were also arrested by the police and taken to the Brickdam Police Station. At the time, they were dressed in skirts and were wearing wigs.

    The Court ordered that Section 153(1)(xlvii) be struck from the laws of Guyana and that costs are to be awarded to the appellants in the appeal before the CCJ and in the courts below. The full judgment of the Court and a judgment summary are available on the CCJ’s website at <a href="” target=”_blank”>

    In the meantime, sodomy is still illegal in Guyana.

  • 48. arturo547  |  November 14, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I didn't know the Caribbean Court of Justice had direct jurisdicton over Guyana. So, it is the last court of Guyana and its rulings have to applied immediately. This means that in the meantime LGBT rights will be "imposed" on Guyana. That's great.

  • 49. VIRick  |  November 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Yes, the Caribbean Court of Justice is Guyana's highest court even though it actually sits in Trinidad. Their ruling on this matter is final and has immediate effect. Said law is unconstitutional, the criminal sentences against the plaintiffs have been reversed, and the state will now be required to retroactively pay for all of the plaintiffs' legal expenses right from the very beginning, all the way back to the initial prosecution and the very first court judgment against them in 2009.

    Plus, given that the precedent has now been set, one is hopeful that Guyana's sodomy ban will be the next to be overturned and ruled unconstitutional, just as were the same bans, first in Belize and then in Trinidad itself.

  • 50. VIRick  |  November 14, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Coahuila: State Congress Passes Trans Rights Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Trans Persons in Coahuila Can Now Change the Gender Marker on Their Birth Certificates

    As of today, 13 November 2018, Coahuila becomes the fifth jurisdiction in Mexico with a Law on Gender Identity.

    This website is not functioning correctly, as it does not allow me to do my usual copy-and-paste, nor can I read more than the initial headlines.

  • 51. Fortguy  |  November 14, 2018 at 2:20 am

    I hope this helps.

    El Estado es hoy en el quinto estado del país en contar con una Ley de Identidad de Género

    Con el voto diferenciado del PAN, Coahuila se convirtió hoy en el quinto estado del país en contar con una Ley de Identidad de Género, por lo que las personas trans ya podrán cambiar de género y de nombre en sus actas de nacimiento por la vía administrativa y no por la vía judicial. Se espera que más de 2 mil 500 personas que residen en el estado se vean beneficiadas con la medida.

    El Congreso del Estado aprobó este martes el dictamen que reforma la Ley para la Familia y que expide una nueva Ley del Registro Civil de Coahuila para incluir el procedimiento administrativo para el cambio de identidad de género en las actas de nacimiento.

    La diputada Claudia Ramírez Pineda, del PRD, autora de la iniciativa con el apoyo de las organizaciones de la diversidad sexual en Coahuila, señaló que con la medida aprobada, las personas transexuales cambiarán de género y de nombre en sus actas de nacimiento y a partir de ello en otros documentos oficiales como la credencial de elector, Seguro Social, entre otros.

    “Las ventajas principales es que estamos reconociendo y garantizando el proceso de las personas trans a cambiar su nombre de una manera más sencilla, que actualmente se hace por la vía judicial y es muy largo, tedioso y les genera un costo también. Las personas que lo hacían en la Ciudad de México llegaban a Coahuila con una doble identidad”, explicó.

    Con la modificación, las personas trans que acudan a hacer el trámite de cambio en la identidad de género, tendrán que presentar una solicitud en la que conste el consentimiento libre e informado de que se reconozca su identidad de género, una copia certificada del acta de nacimiento primigenia, así como el original y copia fotostática de una identificación oficial.

    Continued below…

  • 52. Fortguy  |  November 14, 2018 at 2:23 am

    …From above

    El artículo 128 de la Ley del Registro Civil de Coahuila señala que “la autoridad administrativa no podrá oponerse o negarse a la realización del procedimiento administrativo de cambio de género, salvo por vicios al consentimiento libre e informado del solicitante y frauda a la ley. La cancelación de la reasignación de identidad de género no procederá por la vía administrativa.

    Coahuila se une a los estados de Colima, Michoacán, Querétaro y la Ciudad de México en contar con una Ley de Identidad de Género. La legisladora perredista aseguró que personas de estados cercanos como Nuevo León, Chihuahua y Tamaulipas, también podrán hacer sus trámites en la entidad coahuilenses.

    La nueva Ley de Identidad de Género en Coahuila se une a otras modificaciones que se han hecho para favorecer a las asociaciones de la diversidad sexual en el estado, como fue el caso de la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario y la adopción para parejas de homosexuales, aprobadas años atrás.

    “Tenemos también en puerta y turnada a la comisión una iniciativa para la creación de una fiscalía especializada para atender los derechos de las personas de diversidad sexual, es un tema pendiente, esperemos que no se nos vaya para el otro año. Es una agenda muy grande en materia de diversidad sexual, pero va caminando”, concluyó la legisladora.


    Noé Ruiz Malacara, dirigente de la asociación San Aelredo, aplaudió el dictamen aprobado por el Congreso del Estado e hizo un llamado para que las 2 mil 500 personas trans que viven en Coahuila, se acojan a las nuevas disposiciones que les permitirán cambiar de género en sus actas de nacimiento y por ende en sus documentos oficiales.

    Continued below…

  • 53. Fortguy  |  November 14, 2018 at 2:24 am

    …From above

    Integrantes de asociaciones de la diversidad sexual de todo el estado, se dieron cita en el Congreso del Estado para presenciar la aprobación del dictamen que contiene medidas para su beneficio. Aplaudieron la determinación del Congreso local y reafirmaron que Coahuila es uno de los estados punta de lanza en inclusión.

    “Representa la culminación de un trabajo en defesa de los derechos de la población trans, la inclusión social en Coahuila y que vuelva a ser punta de lanza en este tema. Buscaremos que la población trans, hombres y mujeres, en el estado se acoja a esta Ley, que en cuanto salga la Ley, ellos puedan arreglar sus documentos”, dijo Ruiz Malacara.

    Agregó que mujeres y hombres trans de otros estados podrán tramitar en Coahuila el cambio de su identidad de género y la entidad en la que residen estará obligada a reconocer la modificación y sus derechos.

    “Ellos tendrán seis meses para arreglarlo. No tendríamos retroactivos, porque lo que quieren es su nueva identidad. Se les recomienda que en el menor tiempo puedan realizar esto y claro que personas de otros estados podrán venir a hacer su trámite y se les tiene que reconocer”, explicó.

    Finalmente, Ruiz Malacara dijo que está pendiente la creación de una fiscalía especializada para la atención de delitos cometidos en contra de personas de la comunidad LGBT. Dijo que en lo que va del año ha habido siete asesinatos en Coahuila contra personas de ese grupo.

    “Buscamos que sea una realidad esta fiscalía, no para sentirnos especiales, sino que necesitamos un trato aparte para que se entiendan los crímenes de odio por transfobia, lesbofobia. A partir de esta fiscalía podrá estar funcionando unos cuatro o cinco años y luego integrarse a la Fiscalía General”, concluyó.

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