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  • 1. VIRick  |  December 19, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Cuba: Mariela Castro's Marriage Equality Clarification

    Per Mariela Castro Espín:

    No hemos cedido ni cederemos a los chantajes fundamentalistas y retrógrados que se oponen políticamente al proyecto emancipador de la Revolución.

    Con toda la responsabilidad, debo aclararlo: la nueva fórmula sostiene la esencia del Artículo anteriormente propuesto 68, pues borra el binarismo de género y heteronormatividad con el que estaba definido el matrimonio en la Constitución de 1976. La variación en la nueva propuesta estriba en las sustitución de “personas” por “cónyuges," cuestión que mantiene la posibilidad de que todas las personas podamos acceder a la institución matrimonial.

    Además, coloca como elemento novedoso las uniones de hecho, sin atarlas a género alguno; esta figura, a la larga y según las estadísticas, es la más usada en nuestra sociedad. No hay retroceso. La esencia del artículo 68 se mantiene, la lucha continúa, ahora démosle el SÍ a la Constitución y luego cerremos filas para lograr un Código de Familia tan avanzado como el nuevo texto constitucional.

    We have not yielded or given in to the fundamentalist and retrograde blackmail that is politically opposed to the emancipation project of the Revolution.

    With complete responsibility, I must clarify: the new formula sustains the essence of the previously proposed Article 68, since it erases the binary of gender and heteronormativity with which marriage was defined in the 1976 Constitution. The variation in the new proposal lies in the substitution of "persons" for "spouses," an issue that maintains the possibility that all persons may access the institution of marriage.

    In addition, it presents as a new element the de-facto unions, without binding them to any gender; This measure, in the long run and according to statistics, is the most used in our society. There is no retreat. The essence of Article 68 is maintained, the struggle continues, now let's give a YES to the Constitution and then close ranks to achieve a Family Code as advanced as the new constitutional text.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  December 19, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    So civil unions with the likelihood of marriage through judicial action in other words?

  • 3. allan120102  |  December 19, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    She is saying that marriage will be explain in the family or civil code. So ssm will not be in the constitution but its going to be very probable its going to be in the family code they have two years to do it if I am not mistaken. from what I have seen in comment sections this was due to silence the church who was creating a lot of noise and many deputies were scare that the referendum was going to fail because of the marriage question.

  • 4. VIRick  |  December 19, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    The Spanish language portion of my post are Mariela's exact words, taken directly from her website, CENESEX. The English language portion is my translation.

    But to answer your question: I cannot quite judge. There appears to be some sleight-of-hand occurring, as they really want this new constitution to pass by popular referendum (and so do we, on one level, as it wipes out the old prohibition). However, as a replacement, I am not entirely certain as to what we will obtain.

    This is the first instance where I have seen any mention about de-facto unions (uniones de hecho), a section which was not easy to translate, as something felt missing (ah, she does not directly link it to the Family Code, whose revisions have not yet been finalized). But, is that in addition to, or as a substitute for marriage? And does Cuba currently have uniones de hecho for hetero couples? They may, but Mariela is not clear, even though she claims that that is the most popular current choice.

    Uniones de hecho is what Costa Rica currently has for same-sex couples, but which will be wiped away when marriage equality goes into effect in 2020. However, uniones de hecho is far less than the AUCs (Acuerdos de Uniones Civiles) (Civil Union Agreements) currently in effect for same-sex couples in Chile. So, if uniones de hecho is what Cuba will have for same-sex couples (and for heteros?) with their new constitution, then it is an improvement over Cuba's current prohibition, but it is not 100% satisfactory, not even close to the standard of the formally-signed, legally recognized agreements in effect in Chile,– or even the much-improved current arrangement extant in Ecuador.

    In effect, uniones de hecho is what happens when a couple merely begins living together in an ad hoc informal arrangement. At some point thereafter, the government then deems to legally recognize the informal arrangement as being in existence. In Mexico, said ad hoc informal arrangement is called concubinato.

  • 5. VIRick  |  December 20, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Cuba: Rex Wockner's Interpretation/Explanation on Marriage Equality Proposal

    Per Rex Wockner:

    After deleting marriage equality from the final draft of the new constitution, Cuba's National Assembly decided to deal with the issue in a new Family Code, which will go to a voter referendum within two years of the new constitution coming into force.… …

    Basically put, this is what is "missing" from Mariela Castro's explanation. As a result, at this moment, we really can not say what Cuba will finally have in the way of same-sex anything. It has now become a "wait-and-see" without a definitive answer.

  • 6. VIRick  |  December 19, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Federal Suit Filed to Block Discharge of HIV-Positive Members from USAF

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 19 December 2018, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, with partner law firm Winston & Strawn, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two HIV-positive members of the United States Air Force who were given discharge orders just days before the holiday season. Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit, "Roe and Voe v. Mattis," in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division. As detailed in a "Washington Post" exclusive, the case was filed anonymously to protect the plaintiffs’ medical privacy. The plaintiffs received notification just days before Thanksgiving, denying their discharge appeals, despite compliance with fitness assessments and medical treatment, as well as strong support from commanding officers. Nevertheless, the plaintiffs were found "unfit for continued military service."

    OutServe-SLDN is also an organizational plaintiff in this case to advance the interests of its members who are living with HIV and serving in the military. Along with "Harrison v. Mattis" and "Deese and Doe v. Mattis," this is the third lawsuit that Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN have brought to challenge military policies that discriminate against people living with HIV.

    There is a link to the complaint in the Lambda Legal press release here:….

    Or here:….

  • 7. VIRick  |  December 19, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Ohio: Kasich Signs Executive Order Barring Discrimination against LGBTQ State Employees

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 19 December 2018, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an historic executive order protecting LGBTQ state employees from discrimination. In what will be a defining element of Governor Kasich’s legacy, he will be the first Republican Governor of a state without statutory protections for LGBTQ people to issue an executive order protecting state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

    Kasich will leave office next month, and will be replaced by Governor-elect Mike DeWine. DeWine has not weighed in on this specific executive order, but has in the past expressed an openness to preserving Kasich’s executive orders.

  • 8. VIRick  |  December 19, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Kansas: Kansas City Suburb Passes LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On Monday, 17 December 2018, Prairie Village City Council approved an ordinance that shields LGBTQ individuals from many types of discrimination within the city. The measure passed by a unanimous vote, which was greeted by applause and cheering from a council chamber filled mostly with supporters of the ordinance.

  • 9. VIRick  |  December 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Kansas: Second KC Suburb Passes LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On Wednesday, 19 December 2018, two days after Prairie Village KS passed a similar measure, the Mission KS City Council approved a non-discrimination ordinance with legal protections for LGBTQ residents and employees.

    The ordinance, which goes into effect on 1 January 2019, extends legal protections in the city to sexual orientation and gender identity, while also covering currently protected classes at the state and federal levels (such as race, ethnicity, military status, etc.). The 7-1 vote drew a round of applause from the packed council chambers.

  • 10. VIRick  |  December 20, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Maryland: Federal Lawsuit Alleging Transgender Workplace Discrimination

    Equality Case Files:

    Today, 20 December 2018, Lambda Legal joined Arnold & Porter in a federal lawsuit filed against the Prince George’s County Public Schools and Board of Education on behalf of a transgender teacher who endured years of abuse, harassment, and retaliation at the hands of school administrators, fellow teachers, staff, parents, and students after she began to live authentically as the woman she is. The lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of Jennifer Eller, an English teacher who taught at three schools within the district from 2008 to 2017, when she was forced to resign.

    The case was initially filed in November and is assigned to Judge Theodore D. Chuang. Today's filing is an amended complaint, available here:

  • 11. VIRick  |  December 20, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Argentina: Another New First, as Two Men Marry in Jujuy Province Prison

    Matrimonio Igualitario en el Penal de Gorriti

    Federico Colqui, interno del penal, y Walter Tejerina, se casaron ayer, el 19 de diciembre 2018, y celebraron su boda dentro de las instalaciones del Servicio Penitenciario Nº 1 del barrio Gorriti, siendo la primera pareja de hombres que contraen matrimonio en una cárcel de la provincia de Jujuy.

    Marriage Equality in the Gorriti Prison

    Federico Colqui, prison inmate, and Walter Tejerina, were married yesterday, 19 December 2018, and celebrated their wedding inside the facilities of Penitentiary Service No. 1 in the Gorriti neighborhood, being the first male couple to marry in a prison in the province of Jujuy.

    Jujuy Province is in the far northwest of Argentina, bordering both Bolivia and Chile, an area where the Quechua (modern Inca) people predominate.

  • 12. VIRick  |  December 21, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    RBG Is Recovering, But Take A Deep Breath Before Reading

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery in New York City on Friday, 21 December 2018, to remove two cancerous nodules from her lung, which were determined to be malignant. The surgery — a pulmonary lobectomy — took place at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the Supreme Court's public information office reported.

    "Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease," according to a statement from the court, but Ginsburg remains in the hospital currently. The court's statement also noted that there was "no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body" and that "no further treatment was planned."

    The nodules were discovered, according to the court, when Ginsburg was treated for three fractured ribs in early November. She then returned to work for oral arguments in cases after Thanksgiving.

  • 13. scream4ever  |  December 21, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    So her fall was a blessing in disguise.

  • 14. guitaristbl  |  December 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    She is tough for sure and she doesn't seem willing to give up. Admirable but some things are beyond our control. She should have realized that while Obama was in office. I truly hope she stays for another 2 years.

  • 15. VIRick  |  December 21, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    9th Circuit Court of Appeals Refuses to Rehear "Conversion Therapy" Case

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 21 December 2018, in "Pickup v. Brown," the Liberty Counsel challenge to California law banning conversion therapy for minors, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will not reconsider its order disallowing Liberty Counsel from reopening this case, one that was decided back in 2014, in an order denying a petition for rehearing by a larger panel of the court.

    "The full court has been advised of Appellant’s petition for rehearing en banc, and no judge of the court has requested a vote on it."

    Liberty Counsel tried to manipulate the 9th Circuit Court to recall its final decision, arguing that a recent Supreme Court case has essentially overturned this court's decision. The 9th Circuit Court rejected that request, and has now rejected a request to reconsider.

    Liberty Counsel filed a similar request in "King v. Governor of New Jersey," the 3rd Circuit appeal in the case challenging the New Jersey law banning conversion therapy for minors. The outcome was the same in the 3rd Circuit: the appeals court will not withdraw its decision, nor will it reconsider that decision.

    The Order in "Pickup" is here:

  • 16. VIRick  |  December 21, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Supreme Court Tells Trump "NO"

    On 21 December 2018, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's request to let it enforce its new asylum ban while the case makes its way through the courts.

    In a 5–4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts joined his more liberal colleagues in denying the Justice Department's stay request to implement the ban, which would bar migrants who enter the US without authorization from requesting asylum.

  • 17. VIRick  |  December 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Mexico City: 9th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    El 21 de diciembre 2009, con 39 votos a favor, 20 en contra, y cinco abstenciones, el voto mayoritario y libertario del PRD en la Asamblea Legislativa del Distrito Federal logró la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario.

    On 21 December 2009, with 39 votes in favor, 20 against, and five abstentions, the majority liberal vote of the PRD in the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District gave their approval to marriage equality.

  • 18. VIRick  |  December 21, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Costa Rica: President Alvarado Signs 4 Pro-LGBT Decrees and 2 Pro-LGBT Directives

    Per TICOSOS, Organización Oficial de la comunidad de osos de Costa Rica:

    Los cuatro decretos firmadas por Alvarado son:

    – Directriz a las instituciones que están en el Consejo Notarial para eliminar la prohibición y sanción a notarios que realizan matrimonios para la población LGTBI.

    – Reconocimiento de idoneidad de género en Dimex (Documento de Identidad Migratoria para Extranjeros) para la población trans.

    – Reconocimiento del estatus migratorio para parejas que se casan con personas de otra nacionalidad.

    – Acceso a bonos de vivienda. En este caso deben presentar una declaración jurada de ser una pareja con más de tres años de unión, y otros requisitos iguales a los de una pareja heterosexual en unión libre.

    Estos lineamientos quedarán en firmes una vez sean publicados en La Gaceta, lo cual sería a inicio del próximo año.

    The four decrees signed by Alvarado are:

    – Directive to the institutions that are in the Notarial Council to eliminate the prohibition and sanction against notaries who perform marriages for the LGTBI population.

    – Recognition of gender appropriateness in Dimex (Immigration Identity Document for Foreigners) for the trans population.

    – Recognition of immigration status for couples when one marries someone of another citizenship.

    – Access to housing bonds. In this case they must present an affidavit of being a couple with more than three years of union, and other requirements equal to those of a heterosexual couple in a de-facto union.

    These changes will become firm once they are published in La Gaceta, which would be at the beginning of the new year.

  • 19. VIRick  |  December 21, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Costa Rica: Commentary on Today's Pro-LGBT Presidential Decrees

    The first decree is not only important, but critically necessary, as this is where we were previously snagged and stymied, about a year ago (20 January 2018), immediately following the CIDH ruling, when the Venezuelan/Costa Rican same-sex couple attempted to marry before a notary. The Notarial Council raised a big stink, attempted to revoke the notary's license, and filed a lawsuit blocking all parties from moving forward. Their lawsuit is now moot, and any attempt to censure any notary for marrying LGBT couples has been eliminated.

    The second sorts out the gender identity issue on travel/immigration documents for trans foreigners, as well as for trans Costa Ricans wishing to travel abroad.

    The third eliminates and renders moot a number of additional pending lawsuits filed against the state by immediately recognizing foreign same-sex marriages for purposes of immigration and residency/work permits, normalizing and recognizing the foreign spouse as spouse.

    The fourth recognizes same-sex couples' current de-facto marriages (such as they are) as valid for housing purposes/bank loans/financial matters.

    La Casa Presidencial also released a video in which individuals in all four categories discuss how the decrees will be of immediate benefit, given their own personal situations:

  • 20. Randolph_Finder  |  December 22, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    So does thatf unctionally mean that Costa Rica has marriage equality?

  • 21. davepCA  |  December 22, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    It doesn't sound like it to me, although these do seem like big steps. For example, regarding #1, even though a notary can no longer be at risk of having their license revoked when they DO decide to perform a legal marriage for a same sex couple, this decree doesn't seem to do anything to COMPEL all notaries to do so. It sounds like government employees may still decide not to allow a same sex couple to marry, or may decide to decline to do their job as they would for other couples – i.e. being a 'Kim Davis' seems like it would still be allowed.

    Nor does it seem to clearly state that same sex couples have the legal right to marry and have those marriages legally recognized in ALL the same ways as other legal marriages.

  • 22. VIRick  |  December 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Dave, to avoid any unforeseen difficulties, I would urge any/all same-sex couples who wish to immediately (and very quietly) marry in Costa Rica to seek out the assistance of the public notary, Luis Roberto Zamora, in San Pedro (see below for details).

  • 23. VIRick  |  December 22, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Randolph, effectively, same-sex couples have been quietly marrying in Costa Rica ever since the CIDH ruling. In their eagerness to be first, the "mistake" made by the Venezuelan/Costa Rican couple in January 2018 was to announce their intentions beforehand, thus bringing the wrath of the Notarial Council down upon them. Almost immediately thereafter, a different same-sex couple successfully married before a different notary (without any fanfare or publicity) in February 2018 in San Pedro. In my archives, dated 23 May 2018, I found this news item:

    Costa Rica: A Notary Already Married a Same-Sex Couple in February 2018

    A notary married a same-sex couple in February 2018 despite the fact that the national notary office prohibited same-sex marriages. The new marriage of a same-sex couple was held last February and is awaiting registration by the Civil Registry. The act was made after which the National Directorate of Notaries prohibited marriages between homosexual couples and then retracted it, affirming that they are waiting for the Civil Registry to perform the appropriate procedure for the corresponding registration.

    As indicated by the public notary, Luis Roberto Zamora, he has full power to carry out the procedure and la Dirección Nacional de Notariado can not deny him of it. For now, this couple is awaiting registration, because to this day, they are not registered on the website of the Civil Registry. However, Zamora stressed that the marriage is completely valid and can only be annulled by the family court through a trial.

    Two days later, one of the contracting parties confirmed:

    San Pedro, Costa Rica, 23 May 2018 – José Zárate, one of the contracting parties, told "El Mundo" that they did not reveal it before because the country was in a political campaign, which revolved around this issue. The couple is waiting for the official registration in the Civil Registry, which has already said that it will receive all the documents but will not be able to process them until the competent authorities give their opinion.

    By 1 December 2018, we have this:

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

    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. (However, those of mixed nationality have just been recognized by yesterday's decree for purposes of immigration/residency/work permits.)

    So, couples are marrying, but the registration of said marriages at the Civil Registry is being held back until the final legalization is implemented in May 2020. And now, without any further threat of sanction or censure directed against notaries, one can expect the pace of marriages between same-sex couples to increase.

    Note: Civil marriage in Costa Rica is a two-step process. In the first step, the contracting parties sign the contract to marry before a public notary. This step is legal, and can be accomplished right now. In the second step, the marriage contract is then registered with the civil registry. The civil registries are currently accepting the paperwork, but are holding it for processing until after marriage equality has been implemented.

  • 24. VIRick  |  December 22, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Mexico: Legislative Marriage Equality Up-Date

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Within recent date, legislative proposals have been introduced into the following state congresses to legalize same-sex marriage:

    On 21 December 2018 in Baja California (by Morena):

    On 19 December 2018 in Querétaro (by Morena):

    On 8 December 2018 in Oaxaca (by Morena):

    On 6 December 2018 in Sinaloa (by Morena):

    On 15 November 2018 in Guerrero (by Morena):

    Similar measures are pending in Tlaxcala and Yucatán and have been called for in Durango and Zacatecas.

  • 25. VIRick  |  December 23, 2018 at 9:08 am

    To keep us all in the proper holiday spirit, I am joyfully forwarding Happy Holiday Greetings to all and sundry, courtesy of Tacos de Pastor from Zapopán, Jalisco:

    Hijo, van a venir tus abuelos a la cena navideña, por favor ponte algo discreto.

    Son, your grandparents are coming to Christmas dinner, please wear something discreet.
    (Now check the video, fifth one down the page, "Cuando me dicen que no tengo espíritu navideño," whenever it is said that I do not have the Christmas spirit.)

  • 26. VIRick  |  December 23, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Canada: Royal Mint To Issue $1 Coin Marking 50th Anniversary Of Decriminalization Of Homosexuality

    Per the CBC:

    The Royal Canadian Mint is releasing a new $1 coin design next year, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. Same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults was decriminalized in 1969, two years after then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau introduced amendments to the Criminal Code, famously declaring, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

    The new coin design was approved by the government of his son, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on 14 December 2018. Canada’s mint has declined to release an image of the coin or the name of its designer in order to “maximize the impact” of the formal launch.

    Thus, as a few commentators at JMG have already noted, the "loonie," the current $1 coin in regular circulation in Canada, will be proudly replaced by the "queerie."

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