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Transgender Rights

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

– SCOTUSBlog reports on new filings in the challenge to the military’s transgender servicemember ban. The DOJ recently asked the Court to grant review before the appeals courts’ judgments in three cases. Now, the DOJ has filed motions asking the Court to put the injunctions in the cases on hold if the Court denies review at this early stage. The Justice Department also suggests the Court should limit the injunctions against the ban to the specific plaintiffs in the cases. The Justices will likely ask for a response from the plaintiffs.


  • 1. VIRick  |  December 14, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Arizona: Jon Kyl Resigns from US Senate

    Senator Jon Kyl will resign from the US Senate on 31 December 2018, "The Arizona Republic" has confirmed, setting up a second replacement appointment by Governor Doug Ducey to the seat once occupied by the late John McCain. Ducey is required under law to name another Republican to the seat.

    A replacement to the Senate seat "will be announced in the near future," according to the Governor's Office. Kyl wrote a letter dated 12 December, informing him of his resignation. The letter was hand-delivered to the Governor's Office late Thursday, 13 December.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  December 14, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    The trans military issues will drag on until Trump is voted out of office in two years, with trans men and women continuing to serve openly.

  • 3. allan120102  |  December 14, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    If its drag down. With Ohio now in the republican side and becoming more republican as we speak. Florida continues to tilt republican and the state of Pennsylvania Michigan and Wisconsin only Michigan and pennsylvania are looking to be democrat and Wisconsin is tilting republican Walker was defeat only because of the strong dislike against him but Wisconsin continues to become republican and without it democrats will not win.

  • 4. scream4ever  |  December 14, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Florida will likely go Democrat in 2020 due to the felon voting law.

  • 5. FredDorner  |  December 14, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    It's completely wrong to say that "Wisconsin continues to become republican". The opposite is actually true (Dems won all the statewide races), but the GOP gerrymandered the voting districts in a way that results in the GOP getting 64% of the legislative seats despite winning only 46% of the vote.

  • 6. JayJonson  |  December 15, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Exactly. The problem is the gerrymandering. This problem must be addressed. In Michigan, if I recall correctly, a referendum designed to have congressional districts (and maybe state legislative districts) drawn by an independent non partisan committee, was passed in 2018. The same should be done in states like North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

  • 7. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 15, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Remember, Pennsylvania just had theirs redrawn by the State Court System. They were the ones used for the midterm elections. Democrats picked up a few congressional persons as a result.

  • 8. scream4ever  |  December 15, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Utah also approved an independent commission, although the final maps still go through legislative approval.

  • 9. Fortguy  |  December 15, 2018 at 12:10 am

    I agree with Fred about Wisconsin. Throughout the Obama-Trump states in the Midwest, if there is any lesson to be learned from 2018 it is that voters who switched to support Trump are now expressing buyer's remorse.

    I also agree with Scream, but not for the same reason. Although Dems will be able to pick up some felony-convicted voters, I think the Hispanic vote there will prove to be much more crucial. In the past, Dems in Florida dismissed the Hispanic community because it was so overwhelmingly anti-Communist Cuban-American that their resources were better spent elsewhere. Unfortunately, Bill Nelson, himself a dinosaur, was clueless of the changing character of Hispanic Floridians, and few in the party establishment had any experience in outreach toward the Hispanic community. This hurt Andrew Gillum who had to run a short campaign due to his late, contested primary.

    Now, most Florida Hispanics are not Cuban-American with hurricanes Irma and Maria creating a huge influx of Puerto Ricans who feel especially insulted by Trump's response to the storms. Added to these are younger Cuban-Americans who are generations removed from the anti-Castro politics that influenced their grandparents as well as Mexican-Americans and Central American immigrants that have been steadily streaming into the state in recent years.

    If Hillary had won Florida, nobody would be talking about Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Michigan because they would no longer matter. This is especially true since Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada are now looking reliably blue, while Arizona, North Carolina, and perhaps even Georgia and Texas are showing a very scary shade of purple for Republicans.

    In other words, if the Dems win Florida, no swing state in the Midwest does the GOP any good. If the Dems win Florida and Texas, there is no map the GOP can win. It may not happen in 2020, but that day is inevitable unless the GOP dumps its toxic base and and completely reinvents itself.

  • 10. JayJonson  |  December 15, 2018 at 6:11 am

    It appears that had the USPS been more effecient, Democrats would probably have won Florida in 2018. Thousands of mail-in ballots in Democratic areas arrived late and were not counted.

  • 11. VIRick  |  December 14, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    German Parliament Adds Third Gender to Birth Certificates

    Germany’s parliament has passed a law which will add a third gender to birth certificates for people born intersex. The current blank option on forms, instituted in Germany in 2013 as a Europe-wide first, will be replaced by a “diverse” option for newborns whose sexual anatomy does not fit the binary male or female, according to "The Local Germany" and "Deutsche Welle." Intersex people will also be able to change their gender and first name on birth certificates if they feel they were assigned the wrong gender at birth, though this will usually require a medical certificate.

    The changes to the law, passed on 13 December 2018 by the Bundestag, came after the highest court in the country ruled in November 2017 in favor of an intersex person seeking to add a third gender to official documents. The Federal Constitutional Court ordered that by the end of 2018, the parliament must legally recognize another gender option from birth, or else remove gender from documents entirely. In August, Germany’s cabinet, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, voted to approve plans to add the extra gender option.

  • 12. VIRick  |  December 14, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    California: Chief Justice of State Supreme Court Leaves Republican Party

    Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California's chief justice, who was appointed by Republican former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, made a stunning announcement on Thursday, 13 December 2018, saying she left the GOP.

    Cantil-Sakauye told "CALmatters" that the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were her breaking point. She doesn't say whether it was the accusations that Kavanaugh tried to rape a teenage girl or his unprofessional, partisan responses to senators, instead remarking, "You can draw your own conclusions."

    Only the second woman to serve as California's chief justice, and the first Filipina-American in the role, Cantil-Sakauye said, "I felt compelled to make a choice now. It better suits what I do and how I approach issues." Cantil-Sakauye was first appointed to the trial courts by Republican governors, before ascending to the chief justice position in 2011 after Schwarzenegger appointed her.

    The GOP's troubles aren't exclusive to California; Barbara Bollier, a state Senator in Kansas, just announced on 12 December 2018 that she was also abandoning the party of Trump and becoming a Democrat.

  • 13. VIRick  |  December 14, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Idaho: Federal Court Rules in Favor of Transgender Prisoner on Gender Confirmation Surgery

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 13 December 2018, in "Edmo v. Idaho Dept of Corrections," a federal case wherein which a transgender prisoner sued for gender confirmation surgery, the federal court for the District of Idaho ruled that prison authorities must provide gender confirmation surgery.

    "Plaintiff Adree Edmo alleges that prison authorities violated her Eighth Amendment rights (relative to cruel and unusual punishment) by refusing to provide her with gender confirmation surgery. For the reasons explained below, the Court agrees and will order defendants to provide her with this procedure, a surgery which is considered medically necessary under generally accepted standards of care."

    "The Rule of Law, which is the bedrock of our legal system, promises that all individuals will be afforded the full protection of our legal system and the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. This is so whether the individual seeking that protection is black, white, male, female, gay, straight, or, as in this case, transgender."

    Judge Winmill's order is linked here:

    Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order

    The NCLR statement on the ruling is here:

  • 14. VIRick  |  December 14, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    Texas: Federal Judge Has Ruled that Entire Affordable Care Act Is Unconstitutional

    On Friday night, 14 December 2018, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act must be thrown out in its entirety, a decision that could lead to millions of people losing their health insurance. In a dramatic ruling that flies in the face of what most legal experts had argued, US District Judge Reed O’Connor, who sits in Fort Worth, found that a tweak to the Affordable Care Act that Congress made last year makes a key part of the law unconstitutional, which means all of the hundreds of provisions in the over 900-page law, including popular provisions such as protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, are invalid.

    The ruling goes even farther than the Trump administration had argued in declaring the ACA's Medicaid expansion invalid — which would effectively strip health insurance from millions of low-income people.

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of Democratic state attorneys-general who intervened in the case to defend the Affordable Care Act are expected to appeal the ruling, and are likely to seek a delay of the ruling while they take the case up to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. O'Connor did not stay his ruling pending any appeal as part of his Friday night order. A Justice Department spokesman said they are reviewing the decision.

    If O'Connor's decision ultimately stands, it could throw the insurance markets into chaos and return America to the days when insurance companies could refuse insurance to people with pre-existing conditions or charge them exorbitant premiums. It is the most recent of many legal challenges to the ACA, also known as Obamacare, and will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court.

    It is not immediately clear what the fallout from the decision will be. O'Connor did not issue an injunction preventing the dismantling of Obamacare, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals could do so at any time. With the open enrollment period for the individual markets ending Saturday, 15 December, it is functionally too late for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions for next year. Likely there will be no immediate impact.

    to continue

  • 15. VIRick  |  December 14, 2018 at 8:20 pm


    The lawsuit was launched by 20 Republican state attorneys-general early this year after Congress effectively eliminated the ACA’s individual mandate. Led by Texas, the states argued this rendered the entire ACA is unconstitutional. In a late 2017 tax bill, Congress reduced the individual mandate tax penalty from $695 to $0. The Texas lawsuit argued that since legality hinges on taxation powers, removing the tax penalty makes the individual mandate unconstitutional. Further, Texas claimed that the individual mandate is so central to the ACA that the entire law must be struck down.

    Their case hinged on the question of “severability” — if one part of a law is struck down, does the entire law go with it? Legally, this question is settled. The courts err on the side of keeping laws in place, and in ambiguous circumstances they look to the intent of Congress.

    “It goes to the principle of legislative supremacy. The courts are very sensitive to Congress’s supremacy when it comes to legislation,” said Yale Law School professor Abbe Gluck. Legal experts across the spectrum have blasted the Texas lawsuit because, they say, the intent of Congress was clear: the individual mandate was repealed while the rest of the ACA was left to stand.

    To get around this, Texas turned to the Congress of 2010. At the time, Democrats were trying to defend the necessity of the individual mandate and argued it is tied intrinsically to pre-existing condition protections. The lawsuit cites this Obama-administration argument as evidence these parts of the bill are necessarily intertwined.

    Opponents have dismissed that view as a legal absurdity. Since 2010, the mandate was gradually neutered, first through non-enforcement by the Trump administration, then through legislation. But the markets adjusted and pre-existing protections remained the law of the land.

    Gluck and other legal experts provided an amicus brief that argues Congress’s intent was clear in 2017 when it preserved the ACA while striking down just the individual mandate. They argue it would be a massive breach of precedent for the courts to effectively overrule elected politicians by looking to a different Congress dealing with different circumstances seven years earlier.

  • 16. Fortguy  |  December 14, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    This judge, a GWB appointee, also issued a 2016 decision blocking Obama-era guidelines directing public schools to allow transgender children to use appropriate bathrooms. Texas AG Ken Paxton, the lead plaintiff in this case, has a history of judge-shopping to file and present cases in front of favorable judges even if his own staff has to travel a long way out of town to argue the case. This is why the judge's court is in Fort Worth rather than Austin.

    The Fifth Circuit will undoubtedly uphold this terrible decision because this circuit is so awful. I have hope that Roberts will join the liberals in overturning the decision as he did last time the ACA was before the Supremes.

  • 17. guitaristbl  |  December 15, 2018 at 6:37 am

    I don't want to be cynical but can anyone think of better news for democrats ? This is like a rallying cry – healthcare has been one of the main issues of their campaign in an era ACA enjoys growing support and republicans have proven to be totally useless in providing an alternative.

    If I was Pelosi and Schummer I would be opening champagnes now. Just wish it had happened before the election.

    The judge is a well known extremist so no surprises there. I don't expect Roberts to allow this to stand but we have time until then.

  • 18. Fortguy  |  December 15, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    What I think is that many Republicans better be quietly praying that the Supremes overturn Judge O'Connor's ruling or else it will be a complete electoral disaster for them. This decision comes way to late to be of any benefit to them. They needed this decision before McCain, along with Collins and Murkowski, killed the GOP repeal and replace plan. The ruling then would have forced a choice between the GOP plan or no plan at all. Now the GOP can't pass a replacement plan without Pelosi on board.

    The ruling also would have been beneficial to the GOP during the Obama presidency when most people where skeptical of the ACA and didn't know what benefit it would provide at what cost other than what they heard from the GOP's demagoguery. Now, a dead ACA would not only deprive millions of health care once the insurance coverage requirements, federal subsidies, and federal cost-sharing of Medicaid expansion are gone, but many more people will lose employer-provided policies as marginally profitable companies succumb to the resumption of rampant health care cost inflation from the removal of the ACA's regulatory environment.

    They might as well campaign on eliminating Medicare and Social Security, too, and see how well that works with voters.

    Ken Paxton won his reelection last month by only 3.6%. Let's hope his electoral ambitions four years from now are defeated by his own stupidity.

  • 19. VIRick  |  December 15, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Guitar, for once, you are not being cynical at all, but rather, have accurately summed up the longer-term prospects, without pushing it to extremes. However, I will.

    Last night, when I first encountered this BuzzFeed write-up on the insane court ruling from this notorious puppet judge in Texas, I was appalled. Speechless and appalled. But then, after I calmed down, the longer-term prospects became clearer.

    At this stage, anyone with a pre-existing condition, for their own self-preservation, ought to already be voting Democrat. As should anyone with the likelihood of developing a pre-existing condition (which potentially, could include almost everyone).

    For example, I have just undergone a heart procedure to relieve plaque buildups on two coronary arteries, and now have two titanium stents implanted in said arteries. Does this mean I have a pre-existing condition for heart disease? I suspect it does. And what does this mean for my continuing health care insurance coverage? I do not have the answers, but I hate being forced to contemplate the questions while still recovering from the procedure.

    Then my mind flips back to that day in DC (before I knew I had heart disease) when I witnessed that horde of noisy, wheel-chair bound disabled people storming the Senate Office building to hound Senator McCain, and how I single-handedly caught him sneaking out the Delaware Avenue back entrance to flee the angry mob who were after him. And all of this, of course, occurred prior to his critical vote to uphold the ACA and his own cancer diagnosis. Still, I will never forget that haunted look on his face when we ran into each other head-on. The man was not well, and it showed.

  • 20. Fortguy  |  December 15, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Should the LGBTQ community just be called Q?

    Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic: It’s Time to Drop the ‘LGBT’ From ‘LGBTQ’

  • 21. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 15, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Q by itself is difficult to pronounce in spoken English in a meaningful way. Although I agree with Rauch, we need a single term to refer to all sexual minorities. The alphabet soup LGBT+++ has become unmanageable. Rauch discusses the term queer only in all of its pejorative meanings. However, many LGBT persons have started owning the word queer as a fitting term for all sexxal minorities. Indeed I have heard a small minority of the community beginning to use that term on a regular basis. For that reason, I believe that the preferred term should be queer.

  • 22. Fortguy  |  December 15, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    While I applaud the efforts of younger generations to reclaim the word "queer", for me, as an older guy, the word is fraught with negative connotations and fearful emotions. It's only in the last few years that I've heard the word used in a positive context. For most of my life, however, "queer" has always been used alongside "faggot" by schoolyard bullies threatening to beat up a classmate after school, gangs of bigots threatening violence against people leaving a gay bar, and ignorant politicians that spewed bile about how merely letting us live our lives openly would get everyone infected with AIDS.

    Sorry, but I don't think I'll ever be able to embrace that word.

  • 23. JayJonson  |  December 15, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    No. While I agree that the extended alphabet soup can be a little silly and that "queer" may be a good umbrella term, many of us will rightfully resist this proposal to give up our own slice of the alphabet (LGBT) for self-identification.

    Moreover, I am deeply suspicious of Rauch, who is always ready to sell us out for approval by the majority, as when he notoriously proposed with David Blankenhorn a "compromise" in the marriage war where we would accept nation-wide civil unions in exchange for allowing "marriage" to be defined exclusively in heterosexual terms. Luckily, that "compromise," made just as we were beginning to gain traction in our quest for marriage equality, was embraced by almost no one.

    Here, his principal reason for giving up the alphabet in favor of "q" is that a lot of conservatives don't like "identity politics," which is just another way to say they don't like minorities whether defined by sex, gender, race, ethnicity, or whatever. I propose that we do not allow conservatives to erase our identities.

  • 24. VIRick  |  December 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I am not queer, and do not like nor identify with that term, one which I still find to be tainted by its pejorative past. To me, "queer" means something/someone extremely odd, overly unusual, beyond-the-pale, off-the-wall, hopelessly nelly, flamboyantly effusive, totally whatever, and/or all-of-the-above, or in any mixed combination.

    Instead, I like to think that we have been fighting for normalcy, as just ordinary, every-day people, rather than as some odd collection of strange peculiarities.

    Besides, someone/something can be queer without being gay, and in that sense, it misses the point completely.

    Also, LGBTI works perfectly in both English and Spanish. Queer does not. In Spanish, "raro/rara" simply means "odd, unusual, strange, peculiar, weird," without any reference to sexuality (and without any direct reference to people, either, as both objects and situations can be deemed "queer"). Perhaps I am influenced too much by the Spanish, but I am not odd, unusual, strange, peculiar, or weird. Instead, that is exactly what I am fighting against. I definitely do not want to hear, "Que raro" (How queer), a common expression in Spanish for a situation that is totally whatever.

  • 25. VIRick  |  December 15, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    2018 US House Elections Up-Date

    In its most recent election up-date, "The New York Times" has finally awarded the CA-21 seat to the Democrat, TJ Cox, and NY-27 to the indicted Republican, Chris Collins.

    Thus, at this point, the Democrats have 235 seats to the Republicans 199, a Democratic gain of 40 seats, with NC-9 still undecided, a situation which will continue on into the indefinite future, but one where the Democrat ought to be declared the eventual winner.

    Nationwide, as of 15 December 2018, the Democrats received 57,540,016 votes (52.4%) while the Republicans obtained 50,399,708 (45.9%), a spread of 7,140,308 votes. The remaining 1.7% of votes went to third party candidates.

    Nationwide, a week ago, on 7 December 2018, with counting not quite complete, in all US House races added together, the Democrats received 56,670,935 votes (52.2%) to the Republicans 49,941,439 votes (46.0%), or 6,729,496 more. The remaining 1.8% went to third party candidates.

    Notice that the nationwide spread increased by 410,812 votes between Ds and Rs with these last-counted votes, with the Ds receiving 869,081 more, while the Rs only received an additional 458,269. States which encourage vote-by-mail ballots need a lot of time afterward to complete their hand-counting. And as we can see here, a large portion of said vote-by-mail ballots (and last-counted ballots) are cast for the Democrats.

    As for Pennsylvania, using the newly-redrawn US House districts as set by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, the Democrats had a net gain of 3 seats. In the new congress, the state delegation will be an even 9/9, rather than the gerrymandered 12/6 favoring Republicans. In addition, in 3 districts, the Rs only won by 52% or less, in districts which should be flippable:
    PA-1 (Bucks County), 51-49%
    PA-10 (Harrisburg area), 51-49%
    PA 16 (Erie/NW PA), 52-47%

    See redrawn Pennsylvania district map for US House seats here:'s

  • 26. VIRick  |  December 15, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Mexico to Host Rival 2020 AIDS Conference

    Mexico will have its own AIDS conference in 2020 to coincide with the International AIDS Conference in the USA. “HIV2020: Community Reclaiming the Global Response” is slated for 6-8 July 2020 in Mexico City.

    “The HIV2020 Alliance has decided to organize the community-led event to provide a safe alternative for individuals who cannot or will not attend AIDS2020 (in the San Francisco area) due to discriminatory US immigration and travel policies directed against people from Muslim, African, Caribbean, and Latin American countries, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender people.”

    The International AIDS Society’s decision to host its 2020 event in the San Francisco Bay Area sparked vocal protests and calls for an “AIDS2020 For All” and an “HIV Power Shift” at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam this July. The society’s decision went against the recommendations of community advocates worldwide, including the national networks of people living with HIV in the USA, creating a dilemma for many in the global HIV movement,” organizers of the Mexico City conference said.

  • 27. VIRick  |  December 16, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Brasil: Gay Collective Wedding, Before Bolsonaro Assumes Presidency

    Brasil: Boda Colectiva Gay, Antes de la Asunción de Bolsonaro

    Unas 40 parejas gays se casaron en una boda colectiva ayer, el 15 de diciembre 2018, en la ciudad brasileña de San Pablo, por temor a las posibles consecuencias que pudiera traer para sus derechos la inminente asunción a la presidencia del ultraderechista Jair Bolsonaro.

    Las parejas dieron el "Sí quiero" en una ceremonia civil organizada por Casa1, una organización que ayuda a personas del colectivo LGTB en situación de riesgo. Durante la celebración, que tuvo lugar ayer en un centro cultural de la ciudad paulista, no faltaron las lágrimas, los ramos de flores, y demás expresiones de afecto de amigos y allegados.

    En Brasil, no existe ninguna legislación sobre el casamiento entre personas del mismo sexo, pero se permite en los registros civiles en función de una decisión judicial adoptada en 2013. Bolsonaro, criticado por sus polémicas declaraciones de tinte machista, racista, y homofóbico, asumirá como presidente de Brasil el 1° de enero próximo, y no son pocos los que temen que introduzca leyes que limiten los derechos de los gays en Brasil.

    Some 40 gay couples were married in a collective wedding yesterday, 15 December 2018, in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, fearing the possible consequences that could be brought against their rights by the imminent assumption to the presidency of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

    The couples gave their "I dos" in a civil ceremony organized by Casa1, an organization that helps LGBT people at risk. During the celebration, which took place yesterday at a cultural center in the city of São Paulo, there were no lack of tears, bouquets, and other expressions of affection from friends and relatives.

    In Brasil, there is no legislation on marriage between same-sex couples. but it is allowed in the civil registries as a function of a judicial decision adopted in 2013. Bolsonaro, criticized for his controversial statements of a macho, racist, and homophobic tint, will assume the presidency of Brasil on 1 January 2019, and there are many who fear that he will introduce laws that limit the rights of gays in Brasil.

  • 28. VIRick  |  December 17, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Singapore: Highest Court Rules: Gay Man Can Adopt Son Fathered through Surrogate

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A gay Singaporean can adopt his son fathered through a surrogate abroad, the city-state’s highest court ruled on Monday, 17 December 2018. The man and his partner tried to legally adopt the child last year, but at that time, the Family Justice Courts ruled against their petition. The case was then appealed.

    Singapore does not recognize same-sex marriages and adoption rights. In fact, gay sex is still punishable with up to two years in jail.

    The four-year-old child will now be eligible for citizenship in Singapore, according to the "South China Morning Post." The court, however, granted custody to only one man in the couple, the sperm donor. The court made it clear it was acting purely in the best interests of the child. "Our decision should not be taken as an endorsement of what the appellant and his partner set out to do" said Chief Justice Sunderesh Menon, according to the BBC.

    Singapore Lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, the gay couple's lawyer, said the high court had ruled against (and overturned) the lower court which "may have placed too much weight on what it perceived to be in the public interest and not put the child’s interests first."

    Thuraisingam is also representing Jonathan Ong in a case against the government over Singapore’s anti-gay law. Ong and his lawyer argue Section 377A of the Penal Code is unconstitutional.

  • 29. VIRick  |  December 17, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Ecuador: Cuenca Marriage Cases Headed to CIDH

    Per La Red LGBTI del Azuay:

    Este año, dos Juezas en Cuenca dieron paso a acciones constitucionles sobre matrimonio igualitario, con base en la decisión de OC-24/17 (de la CIDH). El Registro Civil apeló el fallo y la Corte Provincial, sin fundamento jurídico, negó las pretensiones. A falta (de la sentencia) de Corte Constitucional (del Ecuador), se llevará esta causa a la CIDH.

    This year, two judges in Cuenca favorably ruled on constitutional actions on marriage equality, based on the decision of OC-24/17 (of the IACHR). The Civil Registry appealed the ruling and the Provincial Court, without legal basis, denied the claims. In the absence (of the judgment) from the Constitutional Court (of Ecuador), this case will be taken to the IACHR.

    La Red LGBTI del Azuay (The Azuay LGBTI Network) is the local LGBT organization based in Cuenca. It is threatening/promising to carry this matter to the CIDH if the Constitutional Court refuses to rule in a timely fashion, as the cited CIDH decision on marriage equality is binding on Ecuador.

  • 30. VIRick  |  December 18, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    The new Constitutional Court of Ecuador consists of 9 members:

    Hernán Salgado
    Teresa Nuques
    Agustín Grijalva
    Ramiro Avila
    Alí Lozada
    Daniela Salazar
    Enrique Herrería
    Carmen Corral
    Karla Andrade

  • 31. guitaristbl  |  December 19, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Large female representation with 4 out of 9 there. I am not saying this means something (nobody would celebrate extremist theocrat Amy Coney Barrett on the supreme court) but its worth noticing.

  • 32. Fortguy  |  December 18, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has appointed Martha McSally to fill out the remainder of the term of the seat previously held by John McCain. Former Sen. Jon Kyl was appointed in September as a caretaker for the seat to avoid a special election. McSally was the loser to Kyrsten Sinema in November to replace the retiring Sen. Jeff Flake. McSally's seat will be up for election in 2020.

  • 33. scream4ever  |  December 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Good. It all but assures that Democrats will flip this seat in 2020.

  • 34. Mechatron12  |  December 18, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Depends on who the Dems run. Even if Trump loses the state (which I think is a huge possibility, especially if the economy goes south), a left-wing candidate still probably can't win here. Sinema is an amazing candidate, but I can't really think of another one like her in the party at the moment.

  • 35. guitaristbl  |  December 19, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Why ? Sinema was the best AZ democrats could put forward and she barely won. I don't see that strong candidate that will emerge from the AZ dem roster to be competitive for that seat tbh. If its a middle-of-the-road candidate running in an extremely bad climate for Trump maybe. But McSally is not Ward or Arpaio, she is a good fit for an even purple leaning AZ for the GOP mostly.

  • 36. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2018 at 9:45 am

    -Arizona is very quickly shifting blue.

    -McSally is no moderate, and while she is no Arpaio, Ward would've been a safer bet.

    -some voters will feel like their vote wasn't respected as McSally lost fair and square.

    -2020 is likely to be 2008 on steroids.

  • 37. Mechatron12  |  December 19, 2018 at 10:53 am

    McSally was a moderate (or somewhat of one in a swing district) before she decided she wanted to be a Senator and try and win a GOP primary. Nobody really knows what kind of a Senator she will be. If she acts like a moderate, she'll have a tough primary. If she goes hard conservative, it will make the general more difficult for her. BTW Chemtrail Kelli Ward is a lunatic and would be a cakewalk for the Dems in the general election.

    But really it comes down to how Trump is doing. AZ is thisclose to being a swing state. If he is going down hard, then McSally is toast as well. If he is winning, or even coming close, then she will likely win, unless the Dems can find another rock star. None of the current Dem contenders are as charismatic/slick as Sinema.

  • 38. guitaristbl  |  December 19, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Very quickly is relative. I dont think its turning blue quickly enough to have 2 dem senators in 2 years after having GOP senators for decades. The shift is there but it took an extremely popular candidate in a blue wave to win that one seat. Nothing implies that AZ turns blue as fast as wanted.
    McSally is more moderate compared to Ward or Arpaio – she used to be more moderate but this is the trump era so…Still many think she will be similar to McCain.
    Third point I cant argue but, again, given the margins by which this seat was decided I dont know how much this may influence the result.
    As for the last point we will see. Hopefully you are right.

  • 39. Mechatron12  |  December 18, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Sigh, yet again… Looks like gay marriage is kaput (at least for now) in Cuba. I think many people here (and I hate to say it given how much I really like and respect you guys) are kind of willfully ignoring the venomous homophobia that seems to consume large parts of Latin America, excepting maybe Argentina and Uruguay. Frankly it seems a hell of a lot worse than anyplace in the US, even the Deep South.

    The article seems to state that gay marriage will be addressed "later" in a Family Code revision, but I think we've all seen that movie before.

  • 40. VIRick  |  December 18, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Cuba Eliminates Gay Marriage Language from New Constitution

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Havana – The commission in charge of writing Communist-run Cuba’s new constitution has revised an original draft to remove the concept of marriage altogether, after originally amending it to open the doorway to same-sex unions.

    Cuba's government said on Tuesday, 18 December 2018, that language promoting the legalization of gay marriage will be removed from the draft of a new constitution after widespread popular rejection of the idea.

    Gay rights advocates, led by Mariela Castro, had proposed eliminating the description of marriage as a union of a man and woman, changing it to the union of “two people … with absolutely equal rights and obligations.” That change drew protests from evangelical churches and ordinary citizens in months of public meetings on the new constitution.

    Cuba’s National Assembly announced on Twitter that the constitutional commission, headed by Communist Party head and former president, Raul Castro, and responsible for revising the constitution, has proposed eliminating the language from the new charter “as a way of respecting all opinions.” The constitution would instead be silent on the issue, leaving open the possibility of a future legalization through the national legal code.

    The commission stated that the issue of marriage should be addressed in the family code which is set to be revised shortly, after the new constitution has been approved.

    Unlike the new constitution, the family code of the national legal code does not require popular approval through referendum in order to be implemented. In any case, the current restrictive definition of marriage, as found in the old constitution, will be gone.

  • 41. VIRick  |  December 18, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Mariela Castro Objects and Clarifies

    Per Katy Sánchez‏:

    Dice Mariela Castro que la Asamblea Nacional informó mal, mutiló, y dio un enfoque inapropiado a la propuesta del matrimonio igualitario en la reforma constitucional. Por eso, ha tenido que aclararlo ella mejor.

    Mariela Castro says that the National Assembly misinformed, twisted matters, and gave an inappropriate explanation to the proposal for marriage equality in the constitutional reform. That is why she had to clarify it better.

    Per Camilo Condis:

    Ahora Mariela Castro Espín afirma que la Asamblea de Cuba se equivocó en sus tweets y que la esencia se mantiene, sólo cambiaron el texto. Sólo queda esperar a ver cuál es la versión final. Es triste tanta confusión con un asunto tan importante y delicado.

    Now Mariela Castro Espín affirms that the Assembly of Cuba was wrong in its tweets and that the essence is maintained, only the text was changed. Just wait to see what the final version is. It is sad for so much confusion with such an important and delicate issue.

  • 42. VIRick  |  December 18, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    " . . . many people here . . . are kind of willfully ignoring the venomous homophobia that seems to consume large parts of Latin America."

    In a way, you are correct, but we are not going to win by appealing to popular opinion (infested, as it sometimes is, with blatant homophobia), as it still has not worked to everyone's satisfaction, even in a country as advanced as Chile (and where positive popular opinion is actually on our side). Instead, we need to focus on winning through court cases, knowing too that the courts take forever, often in incremental baby-steps, but where the legislative prospects are even more problematic (note Mexico in this regard).

    Popular opinion will bend once marriage equality has become an inevitable given and once it has become obvious that the sky will not fall, that their own lives will not be damaged, and that random acts of homophobia no longer command much traction. Note Mexico, Colombia, and Costa Rica. In effect, we have "won" in all three, yet in each there have been setbacks, delays, and plenty of obfuscation. Progress creeps along, but not as fast as any of us would like.

  • 43. Mechatron12  |  December 19, 2018 at 1:05 am

    I guess I've just gotten spoiled by how much progress we've made in the last 5 years or so. Now it seems we've plateaued a bit. Losses in Taiwan and Cuba (even if hopefully only temporary setbacks), and the agonizing slowness of Costa Rica, Chile, Panama, the remaining Mexican states, etc. And now everyone is on edge about what is going to happen in Brazil, and frankly I doubt Bolsonaro gives a f*ck about what the court might say.
    No real new prospects, maybe Switzerland some day, the vote in Czechia keeps getting delayed, nothing seems to be changing in N. Ireland.
    Just hoping for some more good news – what can I say, I'm greedy!

  • 44. VIRick  |  December 19, 2018 at 9:45 am

    For the moment, focus on this: In less than 2 weeks, from 1 January 2019, the delayed court ruling legalizing marriage equality in Austria goes into effect.

    We began 2018 on an extremely positive, upbeat note when the CIDH, on 9 January 2018, issued its sweeping ruling in favor of both marriage equality and gender identity. Since then, only the Constitutional Court in Costa Rica has followed through, but with a delayed ruling of its own, one which will not go into effect until late May 2020. The rest of the Latin nations know they are doomed, but in the meantime, the haters and obfuscators will do their best to continue hating and obfuscating.

    For 2019, in Chile, the long-delayed Gender Identity Law, already signed by the president, will finally go into effect. For the rest, I will refrain from speculating as to what happens next in Cuba, in Mexico, or with the plethora of pending court cases still unresolved in Perú, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panamá, or anywhere else in Latin America.

  • 45. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2018 at 10:02 am

    We are likely to finally see some movement in many Mexican states now that LGBT friendly parties have swept the electorate in many state legislatures. I expect we will see another "boom year" perhaps in 2020 when the court cases wrap up in many of the Latin American countries. I'm not worried about Brazil. Stephen Harper attempted to re-open debate on the issue after it had been legal in Canada for a shorter period than it has been in Brazil. He discovered very quickly that he couldn't.

  • 46. VIRick  |  December 19, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Brasil has a unique variable which should stymie Bolsonaro and his prudish evangelista base, namely the very advanced, Euro-oriented open sexuality on the part of the majority heteros. Even from the time when I lived there, and being more accustomed to the more subdued Hispanic cultural influences, I was surprised by the rampant, open flaunting of sex in just about every conceivable permutation imaginable, and not just from an LGBT perspective.

    The Portuguese cultural influences on sexuality are far more relaxed than anywhere else in Latin America, and are much more akin to European France (and have probably pushed past France). I can not foresee a lock-down, let alone even a minor retreat, in the overwhelming, hetero, in-your-face "boob-and-ass" culture that dominates in Brasil, where everyone is quite accustomed to doing their own specialized thing. Notice, for example, in gay porno, how much of it emanates from Brasil, where restrictions are almost non-existant and where big dicks seem to be quite abundant. Then there's the appallingly sexist and blatantly sexual, but wildly popular, "Miss Bum-Bum Brasil" competition, with contestants from every state, including transgender women, and televised live during prime time on national TV.

  • 47. ianbirmingham  |  December 19, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Within the porn industry, Brazil is well known as a very bold leader in hetero kink niches, including fart porn and scatological porn, and most specifically with the MFX Media video popularly known as "2 Girls 1 Cup".

    Yet despite its status as a viral video, "2 Girls 1 Cup" is not even particularly remarkable within the context of MFX Media's production catalog and is certainly very far from being among the boldest work that MFX has created.

    But even as one of MFX's tamer videos, it achieved viral status in the US and was considered "beyond the pale" by mainstream porn star Ron Jeremy: "Veteran porn star Ron Jeremy walked off while watching the video on The Playhouse."

    Only rock stars (a population well known for its own groundbreaking hetero kink) were actually able to handle it: "On the same [The Playhouse] program, singer Wyclef Jean sat through the whole thing without looking away or showing any apparent reaction, all while eating corn on the cob. Ace Frehley, formerly of Kiss, was shown the video on The Opie and Anthony Show in July 2009, and was unfazed, declaring, 'Crazier things than that have happened on the road.'"

  • 48. VIRick  |  December 18, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Nicaragua: Rainbow Revolutionaries

    San José, Costa Rica — A humble cinderblock home with a tin roof in a poor neighborhood in the Costa Rican capital of San José has become a refuge for nearly 40 gay Nicaraguan youth who played a leading role in the popular uprising against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s regime this past April. The destitute youth fled Nicaragua as refugees to nearby Costa Rica after Ortega launched a brutal and bloody crackdown on those who led months of mostly peaceful protests against changes in the country’s social security system and against government corruption.

    The 8-month-long government repression, condemned by the UN and the Organization of American States, has left at least 500 dead including two dozen minors, as well as many more injured. Among the victims are scores of LGBTI Nicaraguans. The violence has touched off a worldwide diaspora surpassing one million Nicaraguans, including hundreds if not thousands of gays. They are fleeing a country where neighbors inform on each other, the police and paramilitary supporters harass, illegally detain, beat, torture, or kill anyone they suspect, and do so with immunity.

  • 49. Fortguy  |  December 18, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Colorado's bigot baker is going to court again.

    Colleen Slevin, Associated Press: Colorado baker back in court over 2nd LGBT bias allegation

    DENVER (AP) — Attorneys for a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple on religious grounds — a stand partially upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court — argued in federal court Tuesday that the state is punishing him again over his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition.

    Lawyers for Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver, are suing to try to stop the state from taking action against him over the new discrimination allegation. They say the state is treating Phillips with hostility because of his Christian faith and pressing a complaint that they call an “obvious setup.”

    “At this point, he’s just a guy who is trying to get back to life. The problem is the state of Colorado won’t let him,” Jim Campbell, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said after the hearing. The conservative Christian nonprofit law firm is representing Phillips.

    State officials argued for the case to be dismissed, but the judge said he was inclined to let the case move forward and would issue a written ruling later.

    The Colorado Civil Rights Commission said Phillips discriminated against Denver attorney Autumn Scardina because she’s transgender. Phillips’ shop refused to make a cake last year that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside after Scardina revealed she wanted it to celebrate her transition from male to female.

    She asked for the cake on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would consider Phillips’ appeal of the previous commission ruling against him. In that 2012 case, he refused to make a wedding cake for same-sex couple Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins.

    The Supreme Court ruled in June that the Colorado commission showed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make the cake, voting 7-2 that it violated Phillips’ First Amendment rights.

    But the court did not rule on the larger issue of whether businesses can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gays and lesbians.

    Phillips’ lawsuit alleges that Colorado violated his First Amendment right to practice his faith and 14th Amendment right to equal protection. It seeks $100,000 in punitive damages from Aubrey Elenis, director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

    Attorney General Cynthia Coffman says the case should be dismissed because of state efforts to enforce its order against Phillips. A state hearing is scheduled for February to determine what will happen next.

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