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SCOTUS asked to decide transgender military servicemember ban cases

Transgender Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
The U.S. Supreme Court. Attribution: Jeff Kubina
Buzzfeed reports:

The Trump administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to take up three cases challenging the administration’s repeated efforts to bar transgender people from serving in the military.

The effort to reverse Obama-era policies allowing for open transgender military service began when President Donald Trump tweeted out news of the ban in July 2017 and have been met with heavy skepticism from courts around the country since that morning.

Notably, the petitions ask for review to be granted before the appeals courts can decide the merits. As Buzzfeed notes, the Trump administration is likely doing this so the case could be heard this term and decided by June.

We’ll update this when we have more information.


  • 1. VIRick  |  November 23, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Bermuda: Same-Sex Marriage Is Now Legal, Ruling Takes Immediate Effect

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Same-sex marriage campaigners were victorious in court today, 23 November 2018, after the Bermuda Government lost a legal battle to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The Court of Appeal dismissed the government’s claim that former Chief Justice Ian Kawaley erred in a ruling that reopened the door for same-sex marriage.

    The packed courtroom erupted with cheers as Sir Scott Baker, president of the Court of Appeal, announced the decision. They broke into cheers again half an hour later when the court refused to stay the effect of its judgment, meaning same-sex marriage is now legal in Bermuda, as the ruling takes immediate effect.

    However, the Government may apply for the matter to be heard via the Privy Council in Britain within the next 21 days. If the Privy Council agrees to hear the case, the body could grant a stay.

    Successful applicants Maryellen Jackson and Roderick Ferguson said in a joint statement: “Speaking for ourselves and on behalf of gay and lesbian Bermudians, we are grateful for the court’s decision, and its recognition of the significance of marriage in supporting and protecting our families."….

  • 2. VIRick  |  November 23, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories Marriage Equality Bans Doomed

    The lawyer in the Bermuda marriage equality case, Rod Attride-Sterling, said that the Court of Appeal ruling today, 23 November 2018, in Bermuda could set the precedent for Northern Ireland, as well as for the other remaining British Overseas Territories without marriage equality, namely Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks/Caicos Islands.

    All marriage equality bans in the afore-mentioned jurisdictions are now doomed, and in due course, by citing the Bermuda precedent, all will be struck down. So, the Bermuda Government's intransigence not only took down the Bermuda ban, but also that of 6 other jurisdictions.

    If the Bermuda Government were to be foolish enough to appeal today's ruling to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (and lose, which they will,) then an additional collection of jurisdictions, worldwide, including Jamaica and the Bahamas, will have their marriage equality bans doomed by the established precedent.

    The full list currently without marriage equality whose bans would then be doomed by precedent are: Antigua/Barbuda, Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts/Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent/Grenadines, Trinidad/Tobago, Mauritius, Kiribati, Tuvalu, the New Zealand associated states of Cook Islands and Niue, plus Brunei.

    Within the British Caribbean area, the only jurisdictions which would be unaffected by a positive ruling from the Privy Council striking down the Bermuda marriage equality ban would be Barbados, Belize, Dominica, and Guyana, as these 4 have opted to utilize the Trinidad-based CCJ as their final court of appeal.

  • 3. Randolph_Finder  |  November 24, 2018 at 8:13 am

    The country that jumps out here is Brunei. Given that current Brunei law allows for the Death Penalty for Homosexuality, what the heck would they do if they Judicial Committee of the Privy council allowed for Marriage Equality.

  • 4. Mechatron12  |  November 24, 2018 at 9:09 am

    I'm sure they'd withdraw from the jurisdiction completely, or simply refuse to follow any pro-gay ruling. No way in HELL Brunei allows gay marriage. As far as Muslim countries go, maybe Turkey in about a hundred years or so. If we're lucky.

  • 5. scream4ever  |  November 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I'd say Lebanon will be first, probably in about 25 years or so.

  • 6. ianbirmingham  |  November 24, 2018 at 10:43 am

    I'm going to sharply restrain myself here and simply say that there is NFW that Lebanon, which is to put it mildly an Iranian sock-puppet, is going to legalize SSM within 25 years…

  • 7. Randolph_Finder  |  November 25, 2018 at 4:51 am

    If had to guess which Muslim majority countries would be first to have SSM, it would be *either* Morocco or Bangladesh (and Bangladesh would be at least 5 years after India)

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Morocco – the good: In 2010, the government permitted openly gay singer Elton John to give a performance during the Mawazine Festival, despite objections from the Justice and Development Party, which was, at the time, the biggest opposition party in parliament. The festival was condoned by King Mohammed VI and was a part of the king's plans to create a more open and modern nation. … the government has tolerated the existence of one magazine for the gay community as well as one gay rights organization. The LGBT publication Mithly has been allowed to be discreetly distributed to adults in Morocco, although the government still will not grant the publication a distribution license and the magazine itself has to be made in neighboring Spain. In a similar sense, the government will not officially recognize the LGBT rights organization, Kif-Kif, but has allowed it to exist and co-sponsor some educational seminars.

    Morocco – the bad: None of the major or minor political parties have made public statements in favor of LGBT-rights and no LGBT rights legislation has been enacted. Government attitudes towards homosexuality tend to be in the interests of the protection of the tradition of the country, in keeping with the culture's traditional gender roles and religious mores. It has banned books on homosexuality and required schools to teach a curriculum that "emphasises…the danger and depravity of "unnatural acts". … Discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is not addressed in any Moroccan civil rights laws. Most Moroccan citizens were raised to believe that homosexuality and gender identity are signs of western decadence or immorality and the government does not consider it "in the best interests of the people of Morocco" to formally address the issue of LGBT-rights in Morocco.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Bangladesh – the good: Transgender individuals (called hijras in South Asia) are legally recognised as a third gender in Bangladesh. Nonetheless, they still face societal discrimination and rejection, despite being part of Bangladeshi and South Asian culture since the Kama Sutra period (400 BC to 200 AD). … Boys of Bangladesh (BoB) [with 2,000+ members], whose current moderator is Tanvir Alim, is the largest network for Bangladeshi gay men, organising numerous LGBT rights-related events in Dhaka since 2009. Boys of Bangladesh aims at building a gay community in the country and repealing Section 377. In January 2014, Bangladesh's first LGBT magazine was published. The magazine is named Roopbaan after a Bengali folk character who represents the power of love. Since 2014, every year at the beginning of the Bengali new year on 14 April, a Pride event called Rainbow Rally has been organised in Dhaka. After threats, the 2016 event had to be cancelled. On 25 April 2016, Xulhaz Mannan, a founder of Roopbaan and organiser of the Rainbow Rally, was killed in his apartment together with a friend.

    Bangladesh – the bad: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights are heavily disrespected in Bangladesh. Due to the traditional mentality of the predominantly conservative Bangladeshi society, negative attitudes towards those in the LGBT community are high. Homosexuality has been illegal under Bangladeshi law since 1860, when it was governed by the British Indian Government, and is punishable by up to life imprisonment, though this law is not enforced always. It is still dangerous for those who identify as LGBT to openly come out in society because of communal rejection, shame, assault, or murder. Human Rights Watch states that "discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is pervasive in Bangladesh" … The UN Population Fund and several NGOs have put pressure on Bangladesh to address issues such as LGBT rights and sexuality education. These issues were discussed at the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference which began on 16 September 2013. Bangladesh altogether opposed the UNFPA's idea to support LGBT rights. Bangladesh's permanent representative to the UN, Abulkalam Abdul Momen, said that adopting such policies would go against the country's social norms. In September 2014, at the International Conference on Population Development, Bangladesh refused the idea of providing rights to the LGBT community. Abdul Momen made similar comments in regards to the situation as he did the previous year at the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population conference. He was quoted saying that, like other Muslim or even Christian countries, Bangladesh does not support LGBT rights because it does not represent their values.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 10:08 am

    IMO neither Morocco nor Bangladesh qualifies as a potential first here, and especially not Bangladesh. Look instead at Tunisia:

    Tunisia – the good: In March 2011, Tunisia's first online magazine for the country's LGBT community, Gayday Magazine, was launched. In 2014, Association Shams was formed as Tunisia's first LGBT rights organization. On 18 May 2015, Shams received official government recognition as an organization. On 10 December 2015, which is International Human Rights Day, Shams group joined with local activist groups to protest the ongoing discrimination against Tunisia's LGBT community. An online radio station catering to the LGBT community began broadcasting in December 2017, believed to be the first of its kind in the Arabic-speaking world. In January 2018, the Mawjoudin’s Queer Film Festival successfully took place. It was the first ever film festival celebrating the LGBT community in Tunisia. … In September 2017, Minister Mehdi Ben Ghardia agreed to stop forced anal tests as proof of homosexuality. Ben Gharbia told Agence France-Presse that authorities could still perform anal tests on men suspected of being gay, but "these exams can no longer be imposed by force, physical or moral, or without the consent of the person concerned". Additionally, he said that Tunisia was "committed to protecting the sexual minority from any form of stigmatization, discrimination and violence", adding that "civil society must first be prepared" for such change in a Muslim country. … On 15 June 2018, the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee (COLIBE), a presidential committee composed of legislators, professors and human rights advocates, recommended to President Beji Caid Essebsi the decriminalization of homosexuality in Tunisia. MP Bochra Belhaj Hmida told NBC News that the committee's recommendation regarding homosexuality "is the outright repeal of article 230." The committee did propose a second option, which is lowering the punishment to just a fine of 500 dinars (around $200) and no risk of jail time. The committee wrote in its report: "The state and society have nothing to do with the sexual life amongst adults… sexual orientations and choices of individuals are essential to private life." The commission's proposal faces strong opposition from religious conservatives, who claim it would "eradicate Tunisian identity" and have likened it to "intellectural[sic] terrorism" … According to a 2014 poll by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 18% of Tunisian people were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, with 61% opposed.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Tunisia – the bad: Article 230 of the Penal Code of 1913 (largely modified in 1964) decrees imprisonment of up to three years for private acts of sodomy between consenting adults. Cross-dressing is not expressly illegal, although transgender people, along with gay people, are often accused of violating Article 226 of the national Penal Code which outlaws "outrages against public decency". On 7 December 2016, two Tunisian men were arrested on suspicion of homosexual activity in Sousse, "anally probed" and forced to sign confessions of having committed "sodomy". On 11 March 2017, while on bail, they were given eight-month prison sentences. … In March 2011, Tunisia's first online magazine for the country's LGBT community, Gayday Magazine, was launched. Running stories and interviews related to the country's community, the publication's covers consisted of English and French titles. … Human Rights Minister Samir Dilou with the encouragement of popular TV celebrity host Samir Wafi have called for the magazine to be denied the right of free speech and expression and stating that being LGBT is a sickness not a human right. He was asked about Gayday magazine on a talk show, the Tunisian Minister for Human Rights, who is a member of the Islamic Ennahdha Party, said even freedom of expression has limits. "Of course these people are also citizens, but there is a red line and that line is our morals, our history and our culture," he said, adding—to the presenter's consternation—that sick people needed to be treated. "That was a politically-correct type of insult," says Houssem, with a wry smile. After all, he explains, the Minister did not explicitly refer to homosexuals as sick. Fadi Krouj is the editor-in-chief and creator of Gayday Magazine, an e-magazine that's been addressing LGBT issues with a focus on the Maghreb region. Commenting on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in 2012, Fadi said: "The Tunisian LGBT community in Tunisia has started to mobilize and discreetly form its support-base. Reactions to the thus far mainly online activism were met with radical, homophobic statements from the current Minister of Human Rights, Samir Dilou. He described homosexuality as a mental illness that requires treatment and isolation, and described social values and traditions as red lines not to be crossed." As of 2018, the site is still running.

  • 12. Randolph_Finder  |  November 25, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you for the information. My apologies if my comment indicated that I thought that *any* of the majority Muslim countries are likely in the next 5 years.

    I fully expect the PRC, ROC, India and Japan and every nation in the Americas to have Marriage Equality before more than 1 or 2 nations in the Muslim world do so.

  • 13. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    I interpreted your comment as indicating which majority Muslim country would accept SSM before any of the other majority Muslim countries did, without indicating any timeframe for that event. However, as I explained above, Tunisia is likely to be the first. Of the others discussed, Morocco would follow Tunisia sooner rather than later, while Bangladesh, Lebanon and Iran would certainly be much later.

    Japan is actually a strong candidate to get it done within 5-10 years: Japan's culture and major religions do not have a history of hostility towards homosexuality. A majority of Japanese citizens are reportedly in favor of accepting homosexuality, with a 2013 poll indicating that 54 percent agreed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 36 percent disagreed, with a large age gap. Although many political parties have not openly supported or opposed LGBT rights, there are several openly LGBT politicians in office. A law allowing transgender individuals to change their legal gender post-sex reassignment surgery was passed in 2002. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is banned in certain cities. Tokyo Rainbow Pride has been held annually since 2012, with attendance increasing every year. A 2015 opinion poll found that a majority of Japanese support the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

    India also seems likely to happen sooner rather than later: In October 2017, a group of citizens proposed a draft of a new Uniform Civil Code that would legalise same-sex marriage to the Law Commission of India. It defines marriage as "the legal union as prescribed under this Act of a man with a woman, a man with another man, a woman with another woman a transgender with another transgender or a transgender with a man or a woman. All married couples in partnership entitled to adopt a child. Sexual orientation of the married couple or the partners not to be a bar to their right to adoption. Non-heterosexual couples will be equally entitled to adopt a child". There are currently several same-sex marriage petitions pending with the courts.

    ROC (Taiwan) is well discussed here and need not be restated.

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Finally, PRC (China) is comparable to Morocco: With the rapid legalization of same-sex marriage in numerous countries around the world, discussion on the issue has emerged in China. The Chinese Government's approach to LGBT rights and same-sex marriage has been described as "fickle" and as being "no approval; no disapproval; no promotion." Public opinion towards LGBT people is becoming more friendly. However, there is still much resistance from the authorities, as various LGBT events have been banned in recent years. Børge Bakken, a criminologist at the Australian National University, said in 2018: "President Xi Jinping's regime is very nervous about everything. So they are cracking down on LGBT events, not particularly because these people are gay, but because they see their organising as a potential threat." … On December 31, 2015, the China Television Drama Production Industry Association posted new guidelines, including a ban on showing LGBT relationships on TV. The regulations stated: "No television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviors, such as incest, same-sex relationships, sexual perversion, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violence, and so on." … Days before the International Day Against Homophobia in 2018, two women wearing rainbow badges were attacked and beaten by security guards in Beijing. The security company dismissed the three guards involved shortly thereafter. In 2018, the Chinese Government banned Mr Gay World 2019 from taking place in Hong Kong. That same year, a woman who wrote a gay-themed novel was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison for "breaking obscenity laws"

    The Americas are very well discussed here at EoT and so need not be restated.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    As to the timeframe on Tunisia, I assess that Tunisia is curently pre-Stonewall and note that it took the United States five decades to progress from Stonewall to Obergefell. Tunisia is not likely to achieve SSM legalization in less time than the United States needed. Therefore, I assess that Tunisia is currently at least 50 years away from legalizing SSM.

  • 16. Randolph_Finder  |  November 26, 2018 at 3:08 am

    To me pre-stonewall does not equal 50 years, but does represent at least 25. How much faster would the United States have progressed if at the time of Stonewall, Spain was already willing to send over a Man married to a man as an ambassador?

    (But Death Penalty does equal 50 years plus)

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  November 26, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    US would not have progressed faster. The Netherlands started recognizing same-sex relationships in 1979. Denmark recognized SSM in 1989. The US responded in 1996 with the "Defense Of Marriage Act" prohibiting the federal Government from recognizing same-sex unions. The problem is not solvable for any given country based on the existence of sane people in other countries. It can only be solved by defeating the crazy people inside that country.

    Positioning Tunisia as pre-Stonewall is only the first step. The next step is to assess whether Tunisia could progress faster or slower than the US did. To rule out "faster", consider this contemporary example of tolerance in another Islamic-majority country (& click through to the article for photographs of massive lynch mobs):

    Islamists are 'hunting door to door' to try and find Pakistani Christian mother who was cleared of blasphemy as they continue to demand her death

    The family of Asia Bibi, a Christian who was recently acquitted after spending eight years on death row for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, have said they are being stalked by Islamists calling for their murder.

    Bibi was cleared of blasphemy by Pakistan's Supreme Court three weeks ago, but has been forced to remain in protective custody ever since after the ruling prompted an outcry among ultra-religious Muslims calling for her execution.

    Her family are also in hiding but are reportedly constantly on the move to avoid the band of extremists who are pursuing them and even going door-to-door with their photographs.

    The allegations against Ms Bibi date back to 2009, when she was working in a field near her home village in Sheikhupura, Punjab and was asked to fetch water.

    The Muslim women she was labouring with objected, saying that as a non-Muslim Ms Bibi was unfit to drink from the same water bowl as them.

    Ms Bibi would later say that the women insulted her religion, to which she responded: 'I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?'

    This prompted the Muslim women to go to a local imam and accuse Ms Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed.

    Before Ms Bibi could be arrested on any official charges, a violent mob descended on their family home, and beat Ms Bibi up in front of her children.

    The abuse was so violent, police were called to the scene, but after rescuing the mother-of-five, they arrested her and threw her in jail – and a year later she was convicted of blasphemy.

    Blasphemy is a charge so sensitive in Pakistan that anyone even accused of insulting Islam risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

  • 18. VIRick  |  November 24, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Randolph, I agree with you completely. First off, it seems odd that Brunei would still utilize the Privy Council as its court of final appeal. And yes, the clash between their law declaring the death penalty for homosexuality and the court ruling to legalize marriage equality is extreme beyond rationality.

    Still, the Privy Council can not make an across-the-board single ruling affecting all the jurisdictions under their purview. Instead, a separate case would have to be pressed in each jurisdiction in question, one at a time. Once the case is before them, the established precedent from the first case (Bermuda) can be utilized in declaring the law from the second jurisdiction (for example, Cayman Islands) unconstitutional.

    In fact, at the moment, of all the jurisdictions named, only the Cayman Islands (plus the muddle in Northern Ireland) presently has a pending marriage equality case before the court. Under the circumstances, the Cayman Islands will undoubtedly be the next jurisdiction to find its ban against marriage equality to be declared unconstitutional.

    And as Mechatron mentioned, we may also find certain jurisdictions hurrying to remove themselves from the Privy Council's purview before a marriage equality suit can be filed against them. (Thus, we should not advertise this inevitable domino-effect, given the strictness of British precedent, too loudly and too far in advance, as it would be wiser, in the long term, to allow them to blunder into the predicament blindly.)

    Although you have one-upped me on the dichotomy by focusing on Brunei, I find the situation with Trinidad/Tobago almost equally ironic. Instead of relying on their own Trinidad-based CCJ as their final court of appeal (while Barbados, Belize, Dominica, and Guyana do), Trinidad still relies on the UK-based Privy Council, but unlike most others, without the intermediate, second-stage Court of Appeal in between. Thus, any appeal from the court of first instance in Trinidad goes directly to the Privy Council.

    Note: Despite noise from the Attorney-General of Trinidad that he would appeal the decision from the ruling striking down Trinidad's sodomy ban, such appeal has not materialized. Perhaps it finally occurred to him that the Privy Council would be quite unlikely to rule in Trinidad's favor on this matter.

  • 19. VIRick  |  November 23, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Guyana: Prime Minister Applauds CCJ Ruling on Cross-Dressing

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Monday, 19 November 2018, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo called for robust educational campaigns so more persons can understand that individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, or queer must enjoy basic human rights like everyone else.

    He was at the time responding to questions posed by News Room about the landmark ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against Guyana, striking out laws that prohibit cross-dressing in a society where there is massive resistance to the LGBTQ community.….

  • 20. VIRick  |  November 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Costa Rica: Constitutional Court's Equal Marriage Ruling Sent to National Printer

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 22 November, the Constitutional Court of Costa Rica sent its marriage equality ruling to the national printer. Once published (within a few days) in the Boletín Judicial, the 18-month countdown to the ruling's implementation will begin.

    Per Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica:

    The ruling will be published in Boletín Judicial #219 on Monday, 26 November 2018.

    Thus, marriage equality will automatically become law in Costa Rica on 26 May 2020, unless the Legislative Assembly were to act sooner by striking out Article 14, paragraph 6, of the Family Code.

  • 21. VIRick  |  November 26, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Costa Rica: Marriage Equality Ruling Has Been Published in Boletín Judicial

    Per Imprenta Nacional‏:

    La sentencia íntegra del expediente 15-013971-0007-CO sobre el matrimonio igualitario en Boletín Judicial N° 219 del 26 de noviembre del 2018 está aquí:

    The full ruling of case 15-013971-0007-CO on equal marriage in Judicial Bulletin No. 219 of 26 November 2018 is here:… …

  • 22. VIRick  |  November 26, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Costa Rica: 14 Same-Sex Couples Already Waiting for Marriage Recognition

    Per Noticias Columbia:

    Hay 14 parejas del mismo sexo que esperan el plazo de 18 meses para poder inscribir sus matrimonios, según revela el Registro Civil. La mayoría son uniones ya hechas fuera del país que esperan ser reconocidas en Costa Rica.

    There are 14 same-sex couples who are waiting the 18 months to register their marriages, according to the Civil Registry. Most are unions already made outside the country that expect to be recognized in Costa Rica.

  • 23. psicotraducciones  |  November 28, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Rick, do you think that this will finally motivate some action in other latin american countries, kind of like a domino effect? I think most of us are still very optimistic but feel everything is going slow. With that said, I think Costa Rica had to lead by example as it was the country that asked for the IACHR opinion and I wouldnt be surprised if courts from other latin countries have waited for Costa Rica to make a decision first before doing anything. Im peruvian and feel like our Constitutional Court is taking forever, even though it hasnt been that long

  • 24. VIRick  |  November 23, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Hong Kong: Married Gay Man Sues Government over Rejected Housing Application

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A gay man is suing the Hong Kong government for denying him a public housing flat because he is married to another man. In a judicial review application filed to the High Court on Thursday, 22 November 2018, Nick Infinger argued that the Housing Authority’s decision was unconstitutional under the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.

    It follows several high-profile LGBT court cases in the city in recent years but is the first to affect low-income couples. Infinger, 25, married his husband in Canada in January and applied for public housing under the category of “ordinary family” in March. The authority replied on 24 August that the relationship must be either husband and wife, parent and child, or grandparent and grandchild – and cited a definition in the Oxford English Dictionary. Infinger’s application was rejected on 7 September.

  • 25. Fortguy  |  November 23, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Jessica Gresko and Mark Sherman, Associated Press: Government asks high court to hear transgender military case

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to issue an unusually quick ruling on the Pentagon’s policy of restricting military service by transgender people. It’s the fourth time in recent months the administration has sought to bypass lower courts that have blocked some of its more controversial proposals and push the high court, with a conservative majority, to weigh in quickly on a divisive issue.

    Earlier this month, the administration asked the high court to fast-track cases on the president’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields young immigrants from deportation. Administration officials also recently asked the high court to intervene to stop a trial in a climate change lawsuit and in a lawsuit over the administration’s decision to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a frequent target of criticism by President Donald Trump, is involved in three of the cases. Trump’s recent salvo against the “Obama judge” who ruled against his asylum policy — not one of the issues currently before the Supreme Court — prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to fire back at the president for the first time for feeding perceptions of a biased judiciary.

    Joshua Matz, publisher of the liberal Take Care blog, said the timing of the administration’s effort to get the Supreme Court involved in the issues at an early stage could hardly be worse for Roberts and other justices who have sought to dispel perceptions that the court is merely a political institution, especially since the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. At an especially sensitive moment for the Supreme Court, the Trump administration is “forcing it into a minefield that many justices would almost surely prefer to avoid,” Matz said.

    The Supreme Court almost always waits to get involved in a case until both a trial and appeals court have ruled in it. Often, the justices wait until courts in different areas of the country have weighed in and come to different conclusions about the same legal question.

  • 26. Fortguy  |  November 24, 2018 at 1:07 am

    Taiwan Referendum: Polls are open in Taiwan in which voters are asked to weigh in on five measures relating to various aspects of LGBT life on the island such as allowing or banning same-sex marriages or providing for civil partnerships, and measures on how LGBT people are treated in children's school instruction. Five other measures deal with non-LGBT issues. Wikipedia has a good write up on the individual ballot questions.

  • 27. Mechatron12  |  November 24, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Unfortunately, we are apparently getting murdered in the early results. Maybe the tide will turn somewhat, but so far this is exactly what I was afraid was going to happen. I hope that coward of a president is happy.

  • 28. VIRick  |  November 25, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Taiwan: 2018 Elections: Only One Referendum Legally Binding

    Except for one, the 10 referenda held yesterday, 24 November 2018, would be little more than a NT$1.5 billion (US$48.54 million) survey, as nine would not be legally binding on the government if they passed, attorney Lu Chiou-yuan (呂秋遠) said on Friday, 23 November. “If they pass, the government would consider them. If they fail to pass, that would not mean the government would not consider them,” he stated.

    The exception is Referendum No. 16, which asks people about overturning the policy to phase out nuclear energy by 2025, because it asks whether voters agree to abrogate Article 95-1 of the Electricity Act (電業法), meaning the article would be nullified if the plebiscite is passed, he wrote.

    The other nine would not impose any legal liability on the government if it refused to act on the results, as that would only cost it political credibility, he wrote.

    Per Xiani P. Ch.:

    No es legalmente vinculante que el gobierno ha acatado el resultado. Se equivoca al decir que el "No" al matrimonio igualitario es una derrota para Tsai. Es más bien una bendición (de una manera perversa) porque no va a tenerse que enfrentar a un tema que fractura el DPP. La cobardía del gobierno de Tsai respecto a su promesa electoral de legalizar el matrimonio igualitario es lo que ha provocado esta situación, todo por no perder a la vieja guardia del DPP.

    It is not legally binding that the government comply with the result. It is wrong to say that "No" to marriage equality is a defeat for Tsai. It is more of a blessing (in a perverse way) because she will not have to face an issue that fractures the DPP. The cowardice of the Tsai government regarding its electoral promise to legalize equal marriage is what has caused this situation, all for not losing the old guard of the DPP.

  • 29. arturo547  |  November 25, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    So that referendum is not legally binding. The Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruling is supposed to take effect by May 2019 if no legislation is enacted by then. How likely is it that in just six month the Taiwanese legislature passes a law? I think laws are not usually passed that fast.

    There is still a glimpse of hope! Let's hope the Taiwanese government doesn't pass any law so that the court ruling takes effect by May 2019.

  • 30. VIRick  |  November 26, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Yes, as matters currently stand, the Taiwanese Constitutional Court ruling is still scheduled to take effect in May 2019.

    Here is what Rex Wockner has to say on the subject in his up-dated "Worldwide Marriage Equality Watch List:"

    According to Article 30 of Taiwan's Referendum Act, the executive branch of government has three months to study the referendum results and send a proposal to the legislative branch, which then must deliberate on the proposal before its next adjournment (but not necessarily agree to pass anything).

    If the Legislative Yuan passes nothing between now and late May 2019, (given that the referenda results are not legally binding,) marriage equality will arrive automatically in Taiwan under a May 2017 Constitutional Court ruling that struck down the opposite-sex definition of marriage as unconstitutional and gave the legislature two years to change laws. If the Legislative Yuan passes something less than marriage equality before the deadline, legal wrangling likely will ensue over the conflict between the new law and the Constitutional Court ruling.

    Note: Rex has up-dated his commentary on Bermuda and Costa Rica as well. He has also expanded his watch list to 23 countries, to include both India and Japan.

  • 31. VIRick  |  November 25, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Taiwan: 2018 Elections: First Lesbian City Council Member Elected

    Per Gwen Wang:

    Miao Poya 苗博雅 of the Social Democratic Party is expected to become Taiwan’s first lesbian City Council member.

    This is the news article referenced,– in Chinese:

    Per Gwen Wang:

    For a referendum to pass, 25% of the nation's eligible voters must vote "Yes," which equates to about 4.7 million votes, while also outnumbering "No" voters.

  • 32. VIRick  |  November 25, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Taiwan: Full Referenda Results, 2018

    Per Rex Wockner:

    The full 2018 Taiwanese referenda results on all issues is here:

    The only one related to LGBT matters which passed states:

    Case 12 referendum:
    Do you agree to the protection of the rights of same-sex couples in co-habitation on a permanent basis in ways other than changing of the Civil Code?

    Assent votes 6,401,748
    Dissent votes 4,072,471
    Valid votes 10,474,219
    Invalid votes 540,757

    Total votes 11,014,976
    Eligible voters 19,757,067
    Vote rate(%) 55.75%
    Valid ballots of assent / Eligible voters (%) 32.4%

  • 33. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    That isn't what the linked results say!

    Case 10 referendum
    Do you agree that marriage defined in The Civil Code should be restricted to the union between one man and one woman?
    Result: Adopted

    Case 11 referendum
    Do you agree that the Ministry of Education should not implement the Enforcement Rules for Gender Equity Education Act in elementary and middle schools?
    Result: Adopted

  • 34. VIRick  |  November 25, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Sorry,– I should have said, "that passed in a positive, favorable way, compatible with expanding LGBT rights."

    The two you cited affirmed the negative in terms of LGBT rights. And the one I cited is the watered-down version which some people are equating with voters affirming that they agree with the concept of some sort of "civil unions" arrangement for same-sex couples.

    Actually, for me, these results simply confirm that most people will tend to agree with whatever the phraseology happens to be: "Do you agree to restrict …?," "Do you agree to not implement …?," "Do you agree to protect …?"

  • 35. allan120102  |  November 25, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    I just hope that in this 6 months that they are left Taiwan dont pass a civil union law letting the same sex marriage ruling take effect but I am pretty sure conservatives in the country will pressure legislators to do it.

  • 36. ianbirmingham  |  November 26, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Three referendums failed on that very same ballot despite said "phraseology":

    Case 13 referendum
    Do you agree to the use of “Taiwan” when participating in all international sport competitions, including the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
    Result: Vetoed

    Case 14 referendum
    Do you agree to the protection of same-sex marital rights with marriage as defined in the Civil Code?
    Result: Vetoed

    Case 15 referendum
    Do you agree in accordance with “Gender Equality Education Act” that national education of all levels should educate students on the importance of gender equality, emotional education, sex education, same-sex education?
    Result: Vetoed

  • 37. Mechatron12  |  November 24, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Sigh. And the truly pathetic part is that the cowardly bitch (sorry) president refused to do anything about marriage equality in order to avoid hurting her party's chances, and she STILL got her party's asses kicked.

  • 38. allan120102  |  November 24, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Wow. As much as 70 Percent is voting against. I am not surprise by the loss but more because of the huge margin of the loss and I thought taiwan was more open for ssm. They alson vote against lgbt curriculum or being teach at school. My heart aches for what the lgbt community is feeling right now.

  • 39. Mechatron12  |  November 24, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Asian culture is super conservative socially, and the bigots were able to use every disgusting scare tactic against the gay marriage "boogeyman". Had the country legalized when the court TOLD them to, a lot of their nonsense would have been shown to be false (but the referenda still might have passed).

    Now the big question is what happens to gay marriage? According to their Supreme Court, the country has to pass SOMETHING before next year's deadline, but now it will most likely be some kind of civil union.

  • 40. scream4ever  |  November 24, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Which will be unconstitutional and force the issue back to the courts.

  • 41. VIRick  |  November 24, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Australia: LGBT Legal Up-Dates, Northern Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 23 November 2018, the Northern Territory Assembly passed laws that 1.) remove the requirement for surgery before gender on birth certificates can be amended, and that 2.) allow for an option other than male and female on birth certificates.

    The Northern Territory also passed laws that 3.) strike down the requirement that people be single before applying for gender recognition. Said laws are often referred to as “forced divorce” laws, as they require people who are married to seek a divorce before changing their gender.

    Following the introduction of same-sex marriage in the federal parliament last year, states and territories were give one year to bring their state laws into line. While several states have removed the forced divorce laws, some states have also taken the opportunity to update other laws relating to birth certificates and gender recognition.

    In Western Australia, the bill to remove forced divorce has passed the lower house and now needs to be debated by the Legislative Council. In Western Australia, laws requiring people to have surgical intervention to change gender were removed several years ago. A proposal to remove gender from birth certificates has been put forward by the state’s law commission and is expected to be debated by parliament early in 2019.

    Last week, when Tasmania’s Liberal government put forward legislation to end forced divorce, Labor and the Greens teamed up with the Liberal speaker to add amendments that would see birth certificates no longer automatically recording the newborn's gender. The amended bill containing both measures passed.

  • 42. VIRick  |  November 24, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Querétaro: Complaint Filed against Municipality of Querétaro for Requesting Amparos for Marriage between Same-Sex Couples

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Querétaro: Presentan Queja contra el Municipio de Querétaro por Pedir Amparos para Matrimonios entre Parejas del Mismo Sexo

    De manera adicional, las organizaciones que integran el Frente Queretano alistan una campaña con un despacho jurídico (La Defensoría Estatal de los Derechos Humanos) para amparar a bajo costo a las parejas del mismo sexo que decidan contraer matrimonio en el municipio de Querétaro y se promoverá la creación de un fondo para financiar esos procesos legales.

    Se espera que la Defensoría Estatal de los Derechos Humanos analice el caso en los próximos días para que se tenga un pronunciamiento. De manera adicional, se presentará la tercera iniciativa de ley para modificar el código civil y se pedirá el apoyo de la Legislatura Queretana, además que se contará con el apoyo de un despacho para facilitar los amparos.

    In addition, the organizations that comprise the Frente Queretano have enlisted a campaign with this legal office (the State Human Rights Ombudsman) to provide low-cost amparos to same-sex couples who decide to marry in the municipality of Querétaro and will promote the creation of a fund to finance these legal processes.

    It is expected that the State Human Rights Ombudsman will analyze the complaint in the coming days and then issue a pronouncement. Additionally, the third bill to modify the civil code will be presented and the support of the Querétaro Legislature will be requested, as well as the support from this office to facilitate the amparos.

  • 43. VIRick  |  November 26, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    New Mexico: Wrongful Death Tort Claim Filed on Behalf of Transgender Asylum Seeker

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 26 November 2018, the Transgender Law Center (TLC) and the Law Office of Andrew R. Free announced that they have filed a Notice of Wrongful Death Tort Claim in New Mexico for a personal injury and wrongful death claim for damages under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, the first step in holding all parties responsible for Roxsana Hernandez’s death accountable. They were joined by Black LGBTQIA Migrant Project – BLMP, as well as Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement (Familia), who have advocated for an end to detention for trans and queer migrants.

    “An independent autopsy report reveals that Roxsana was shackled for a long time and very tightly, enough to cause deep bruising on her wrists,” said Lynly Egyes, TLC’s Director of Litigation. “She also had deep bruising Injuries consistent with physical abuse with a baton or asp while she was handcuffed, according to an examination of the tissue by an independent expert board-certified forensic pathologist. In the final days of her life, she was transferred from California to Washington to New Mexico, shackled for days on end. If she was lucky, she was given a bottle of water to drink. Her cause of death was dehydration and complications related to HIV. Her death was entirely preventable.”

    "Roxsana Hernandez was a Honduran transgender woman and an asylum seeker who arrived with a caravan organized by Diversidad Sin Fronteras. She arrived in Tijuana and sought asylum by presenting herself at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (SYPOE) in May. What followed was a hellish ordeal of being held in US Customs & Border Protection custody in the notoriously cold holding areas, known as “hieleras,” growing increasingly ill as a result of the inhumane conditions. She was repeatedly denied access to medical care she begged for, only able to see a doctor after days of vomiting and diarrhea."

    The legal notice is here:

  • 44. VIRick  |  November 26, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    First Same-Sex Marriage at Mexican Consulate in New York

    Per Daniel Berezowsky:

    Así, hoy día, el 26 de noviembre 2018 (a las 18:00 horas), nos (Jaime Chávez Alor y yo)convertiremos en la primera pareja del mismo sexo que se casa bajo el Código Civil Federal (de México). Ojalá nuestro matrimonio aporte un granito de arena a la lucha que muchas parejas han llevado a cabo por décadas en favor del amor, la igualdad, y la no discriminación.

    Thus, today, on 26 November 2018 (at 6:00 PM), we (Jaime Chávez Alor and I) will become the first same-sex couple to marry under the Federal Civil Code (of Mexico). Hopefully our marriage will contribute a bit to the struggle that many couples have carried out for decades in favor of love, equality, and non-discrimination.

    Note: Actually, this is the first same-sex marriage to occur at any Mexican Consulate worldwide, but the Mexican federal court has ruled, the precedent has been set, and more marriages will follow at Mexican Consulates all over the world.

    Note: If one were to scroll down a bit on Daniel's twitter feed, one will see a gorgeous photo of the hot couple which he posted yesterday under the heading, "Así, mi sonrisa de hoy. Mañana les cuento por qué." (So, my smile today. Tomorrow I will tell you why.)

  • 45. VIRick  |  November 26, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    California: David Valadao, R, Headed for Defeat in CA-21

    Valadao was considered among the safest bets for re-election at the outset of the 2018 election cycle. Even amid a blue tide that would end up sweeping House Republicans from power on 6 November, Valadao’s strong connection to the voters of his heavily Hispanic, Central Valley seat was thought enough to win him another term.

    Three weeks after the midterm elections, ballots were still being counted in California’s 21st Congressional District. Republicans monitoring the race predicted that the next batch would erase Valadao’s diminishing lead and put businessman T.J. Cox, the Democrat, on top (a prediction that proved true, as Cox is now leading by 436 votes).

    If Cox wins, this will be the 7th California seat flipped by the Democrats, and the 40th overall, giving Democrats 235 seats in the House to the Republicans' 200.

    The biggest problem? Given the continuing Trumpian anti-immigrant rhetoric, the Hispanic vote for generic Republicans has almost completely evaporated, despite the fact that Valadao personally is an outspoken proponent of immigration reform and of protecting the so-called Dreamers.

    Per California Secretary of State, 26 November 2018, 7:03 PM:

    TJ Cox, DEM, 55,672 votes, 50.2%

    David Valadao, REP, 55,236 votes, 49.8%

  • 46. scream4ever  |  November 26, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Very important for several reasons:

    -it will mark a net gain of 40 Democrats in the House of Representatives, which officially qualifies this election as a "Blue Wave" (Democrats will have flipped 43 seats, while Republicans flipped 3).

    -it was one of the most Democratic friendly district nationwide (D+5) to be held by a Republican (the new one is now NY-24, which is D+3).

    -it officially cuts the California Republican delegation in half (from 14 seats to 7).

  • 47. guitaristbl  |  November 27, 2018 at 4:55 am

    And finally AP has retracted its call after at least 2 weeks it should have done so. Nate Silver has been calling them out for sticking to their call so long.

  • 48. Fortguy  |  November 27, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Tasneem Raja, The Tyler Loop: How Madeline Snyder, a trans woman in Tyler, got her driver’s license fixed

    This is a very uplifting and heartwarming story about a group of East Texas transgender individuals and activists banding together to overcome the hardships involved in making their identities legally whole. I strongly recommend reading it. The article's links provide valuable resources for transgender people, especially in Texas, attempting to reconcile their legal documents with their identities.

    I have never heard of The Tyler Loop before this article was republished in the Texas Observer. The Loop sounds like a necessary and long-overdue source of alternative news in its deeply conservative part of the state.

    Tyler, Texas is the largest city in the state's CD-1 represented by Louie "Louie the Loon" Gohmert, a far-right wingnut that is so unintentionally hilarious that you're glad that it is he, rather than someone more effective and dangerous, that represents such a solidly red district. Fox News rarely interviews him for mortal fear that he may say something incredibly embarrassing, a very low bar for them. Instead, he invariably gains a national audience on the late night comedy shows every time he opens his mouth and something ridiculous and batshit crazy spills out.

  • 49. Fortguy  |  November 27, 2018 at 2:40 am

    Mississippi Senate Runoff: Today is the day we find out whether Mississippi joins the New South or is just the same ole Miss described by MLK as "a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression". The incumbent, Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, was appointed to finish the term of her predecessor Thad Cochran. The challenger is Democrat Mike Espy, an African-American former congressman who was a USDA secretary under Obama. The polls close at 7 pm ET.

    The election will determine whether the GOP has 52 or 53 Senate seats.

    I am not at all confident about this race even though runoff turnouts are usually very low and Hyde-Smith's repeated gaffes, photo faux pas, and votes as a former legislator supporting Confederate memorials.

  • 50. guitaristbl  |  November 27, 2018 at 4:57 am

    I dont think we will have surprises here of the level of Alabama. Mississippi is as red hellhole as it can go and Hayde- Smith will be easily re-elected.

  • 51. JayJonson  |  November 27, 2018 at 6:00 am

    I don't think "Hyde-Smith's repeated gaffes, photo faux pas, and votes as a former legislator supporting Confederate memorials" are gaffes at all, but rather a calculated attempt to make certain the racist supporters of her primary opponent, McDaniels, turn out in the general election. She is gambling that what seem to us "gaffes" and shameful statements will be greeted with glee by white conservative voters. Mississippi, after all, incorporates the Confederate battle flag into its current state flag, and several attempts, including a referendum, to have it removed have failed.. So the voters are not going to be shocked that she supports Confederate memorials.

    The "gaffes" will certainly infuriate the black voters and the few white liberals in the state, and may rally them to the polls, but there are likely not enough of those voters to put Espy over the top.

    Still, the Republicans are worried enough about the race to spend a lot of money there and to send Trump in to seal the deal. So an upset, while unlikely, is not impossible.

  • 52. ianbirmingham  |  November 27, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Mississippi Senate runoff: GOP Sen. Hyde-Smith keeps her seat [54% vs. 46%] after divisive election

    JACKSON, Miss. — Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won a divisive Mississippi runoff Tuesday, surviving a video-recorded remark decried as racist and defeating a former federal official [Mike Espy] who hoped to become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction.

    The runoff was rocked by the video, in which Hyde-Smith said of a supporter, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row." A separate video showed her talking about "liberal folks" and making it "just a little more difficult" for them to vote.

    The comments by Hyde-Smith, who is white, made Mississippi's history of racist lynchings a theme of the runoff and spurred many black voters to return to the polls Tuesday.

    In the aftermath of the video, Republicans worried they could face a repeat of last year's special election in Alabama, in which a flawed Republican candidate handed Democrats a reliable GOP Senate seat in the Deep South. The GOP pumped resources into Mississippi, and President Donald Trump made a strong effort on behalf of Hyde-Smith, holding last-minute rallies in Mississippi on Monday.

    The contest caps a campaign season that exposed persistent racial divisions in America — and the willingness of some political candidates to exploit them to win elections. With Hyde-Smith's victory, Republicans control 53 of the Senate's 100 seats.

  • 53. VIRick  |  November 27, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    LGBTQ Employment Discrimination and the Supreme Court

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The three certiorari petitions asking the Supreme Court to consider whether Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity had been scheduled for the Court's conference this Friday, 30 November 2018. They are now listed as "rescheduled," meaning that they will be not be considered at this next conference, but are to be rescheduled to some future, as yet undetermined, date. The dockets are here:

    • Bostock:
    • Altitude Express:
    • Harris Funeral Homes:

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