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Still no word from SCOTUS on LGBT employment discrimination cases


Equality Case Files reports on today’s order list from the Supreme Court: the Court has still taken no action in three cases involving employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Court has considered the cases at several private conferences at this point. It’s unclear if they’re taking the time to review the cases before granting them, or if someone is writing a dissent from denial of review. We’ll know more after their next private conference.

The Court did deny review in a case of a lesbian who was denied a teaching credential. According to Equality Case Files (in the link above) the case involved complicated procedural issues so it wasn’t likely a good case to resolve the issue.


  • 1. VIRick  |  February 19, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Botswana: High Court Set to Hear Homosexuality Decriminalization Suit

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Botswana High Court has set 14 March 2019 as the date upon which they will hear the case seeking to decriminalize homosexuality, specifically, the striking down of the following two sections of the Botswana Criminal Code:

    Section 164 outlaws ‘carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.’ Those convicted face a punishment of up to seven years in prison.

    Section 167 prohibits ‘indecent practices between persons’ with up to two years in jail.

    The group who posted this notice, NGLHRC, a group fighting for LGBT rights, is based in Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenya High Court is set to rule on their own suit against Section 162 of the Kenya Criminal Code on the same matter on 22 February 2019.

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 19, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Mexico: One Day's Summary of Marriage Equality Happenings

    In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court invalidated Articles 140, 147, and 148 of the Civil Code of Nuevo León, articles which had prevented marriage equality. It resolved:

    PRIMERO: Es procedente y fundada la presente acción de inconstitucionalidad, promovida por la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos.

    SEGUNDO: Se declara la invalidez de los artículos 140 y 148, en la porción normativa “el hombre y la mujer”, del Código Civil para el Estado de Nuevo León, y en vía de consecuencia, la del artículo 147, en la porciones normativas “un solo hombre y una sola mujer” y “perpetuar la especie”, del referido código civil; lo anterior, en la inteligencia de que las porciones normativas “entre un solo hombre y una sola mujer” y “como marido y mujer”, contenidas en diversos preceptos del código impugnado y en otros ordenamientos estatales vinculados tanto con el matrimonio como con el concubinato (comprendido en el Capítulo XI, Título Quinto, Libro Primero, del Código Civil local), deberán entenderse que estas instituciones involucran a dos personas del mismo o de diferente sexo.

    TERCERO: Las declaraciones de invalidez decretadas en este fallo, así como sus efectos, se surtirán a partir de la notificación de los puntos resolutivos de esta sentencia al Poder Legislativo del Estado de Nuevo León.

    CUARTO: Publíquese esta resolución en el Diario Oficial de la Federación, en el Periódico Oficial del Estado de Nuevo León, así como en el Semanario Judicial de la Federación y su Gaceta.

    In the Durango Congress, in their presentation of the PRD initiative to legalize marriage equality in Durango, the PRD deputies declared marriage equality to be an irrenunciable issue, and then called upon Morena to concur by joining with them to approve the bill.

    In the Yucatán Congress, nothing happened. Juan Lara was there in the meeting room of the Constitutional Points Commission, which was to have met to discuss marriage equality today, 19 February. Instead, he took a photo of the empty room, here:

    In Aguascalientes, Wilfrido Isamí Salazar Rule, legal advisor of the Observatorio de Violencia Social y de Género (OVSG) de Aguascalientes, unequivocally stated that any attempt to submit the marriage equality proposal to a popular referendum is constitutionally illegal.

    In Zacatecas, the governor, Alejandro Tello C, declared himself to be against marriage equality, in direct counterpoint to the president of the municipality of Ciudad Zacatecas, Ulises Mejía, who has stated that same-sex couples can marry in his city without resorting to an amparo. Of course, the bishop of Zacatecas has already condemned this advance.

    In Guerrero, LGBT rights groups pull out all the stops in their continuing push for marriage equality. Here's their latest ad:

  • 3. psicotraducciones  |  February 19, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Does this mean that SSM is immediately legal in Nuevo Leon or is there another step?

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    This is a general declaration of unconstitutionality, and will go into effect once steps 3 and 4 have been completed. In step 3, the Supreme Court must notify the Legislature of Nuevo León, who, in turn, must continue to hand down the notification to various and sundry state officials, first at the state level, and then at the municipal level. Most importantly, it must be officially communicated to the Civil Registrars of the various municipalities. Step 4 has to do with the publication of today's ruling in the several official gazettes, both federal and state. At the most, step 4 will be completed within two weeks, but step 3, the notification process, can drag on for a number of months.

    Also today, Rex Wockner has further updated his state-by-state marriage equality list for Mexico. Note that he has now included both Nuevo León (by Supreme Court ruling) and Oaxaca (by administrative decree):

    • Baja California (administrative)
    • Campeche (legislative)
    • Chiapas (SCJN ruling)
    • Chihuahua (administrative)
    • Coahuila (legislative)
    • Colima (legislative)
    • Jalisco (SCJN ruling)
    • Mexico City (CDMX) (legislative)
    • Michoacán (legislative)
    • Morelos (legislative)
    • Nayarit (legislative)
    • Nuevo León (SCJN ruling)
    • Oaxaca (administrative)
    • Puebla (SCJN ruling)
    • Quintana Roo (administrative)

    This gives us 15 jurisdictions of the 32 total. So, 17 states remain.

  • 5. allan120102  |  February 19, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    I am literally going to scream. I knew voting for morena was voting for a more central party. Morena continues to boycott same sex marriages bills in many states. Many are scare of the frente nacional for la familia. I will be literally pissed and fuming if they boycott Sinaloa 's ss vote in March. The only party that explicitly supports lgbt rights is PRD.

  • 6. Fortguy  |  February 20, 2019 at 12:41 am

    I'm sure the original founders of Morena are witnessing with complete consternation the takeover of their party by AMLOistas. These are people who obviously have no partisan loyalty nor fealty to Morena's original ideological foundations.

    Whatever AMLOism means can be construed differently in various regions of the country depending upon what the local concerns are and whether AMLO himself has given any such lip service to them. AMLO has no inherent interest in whipping his party in line to support LGBT issues if it would cause acrimony toward his bigger priorities such as the economy, PEMEX reform, the drug war, or whatever annoyance Trump causes this week.

    The true question is if the National Congress is willing to pass ME with a coalition of LGBT-allied Morena members with the PRD, PT, and maybe some PRI votes, or if this is going to be a state-by-state ordeal.

    Oh, and another real question, as I mentioned in a previous post, is whether Morena survives the end of the AMLO administration. AMLO may be a populist with a very enthusiastic base, but I don't think he's truly transformational to the political system by his popularity alone such as Juan Perón in Argentina. Furthermore, Morena is looking more like a personality cult rather than a traditional party representing an ideological philosophy. That we don't know how Morena deputies in the various states will support pro-LGBT measures speaks volumes. At least we can count on the PRD which has always been consistent in their stance in our support. We can also count on some PRIistas in the half of the country where they have to run from the left.

  • 7. VIRick  |  February 19, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Agreed, the legislative process seems almost hopeless, as long as those who disagree with marriage equality (or who are "afraid," due to re-election concerns) continue to boycott legislative sessions. Morena is proving to be nothing more than a catch-all for assorted opportunists and ex-priistas. And if the state congresses do absolutely nothing whatsoever, refusing to up-date any portion of their state's Family or Civil Code, we can not even catch them with an "Action of Unconstitutionality." And they seem to know it. However, the Supreme Court can still continue to plod along, and eventually catch them by the more difficult "5 Resolutions" method.

    So, we are forced to continue to rely on the courts and on the occasional administrative decree. Still, with Nuevo León's ban struck down, according to Wikipedia, we are now up to a point where 53.9 million (45.1%) of Mexico's 119.5 million people now live in a jurisdiction with marriage equality. If Oaxaca's 4 million people were also included (and they should be), we would be up to 48.5%.

    Somewhat like Guerrero, but much more extreme, Oaxaca is a world unto itself. It is divided into 570 municipalities, of which 418 (over 73%) are governed by the system of usos y costumbres (customs and traditions), with recognized local forms of self-governance. These 418 communes (ejidos) are home to 16 different indigenous peoples, the two most numerous being the Zapoteca and the Mixteca. This only leaves 152 municipalities who actually follow Mexican federal and Oaxaca state law. And same-sex marriages, without the need for an amparo, have already occurred in at least 3 of them.

    This dual system of governance can be quite confusing to outside observers, but it is actually quite common all over Mexico. When I lived in Sonora, most of the relatively inaccessible eastern Sierra Madre was comprised of indigenous ejido communities who governed themselves in whatever manner they chose, and included 8 different groups, the most numerous being the Mayo, Yaqui, Seri, and O'odham.

  • 8. VIRick  |  February 20, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Notice in the second step that the Supreme Court not only struck down any/all gender-based restrictions found in the Civil Code of Nuevo León pertaining to marriage, but also did likewise for "concubinato," as well as struck down all references about "perpetuating the species."

    "Concubinato" is a Mexican term for what most other Spanish-speaking nations refer to as "Unión de Hecho." Freely translated, both terms mean "De Facto Marriage," "Common-Law Marriage," or "cohabitation." In Mexico, a couple can claim the status of "concubinato" as soon as they begin living together. There is no minimum time-restraint nor any legal formality beyond the simple fact of their living together. Thus, same-sex couples already living together in Nuevo León are, in fact, in concubinato from 19 February 2019, the date of the Supreme Court ruling.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  February 19, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Xi: China Must Never Adopt Constitutionalism, Separation of Powers, or Judicial Independence

    “We must never follow the path of Western ‘constitutionalism,’ ‘separation of powers,’ or ‘judicial independence,’’’ Xi said. Under his rule, the Communist Party has been waging its toughest campaign against dissent and liberal values since the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests nearly 30 years ago. In 2015 police rounded up hundreds of lawyers and legal activists who had been trying to help citizens use the courts to reverse injustices perpetrated by officials… Many of the detainees have been released but banned from doing legal work and kept under surveillance. Some have been tried and imprisoned.

    Yet in terms of foreign affairs, Xi argued that China “should be apt at using law when participating in international affairs.” He explained: "In the struggle against foreign powers, we must take up legal weapons, occupy the high point of the rule of law, and say no to the saboteurs and spoilers. The global governance system is in a critical period of adjustment and change. We must actively participate in the formulation of international rules and act as participant, promoter, and leader during the changing process of global governance."

  • 10. psicotraducciones  |  February 19, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    basically saying, "let me be the Supreme Leader with no opposition or face the consequences"

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 20, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Georgia (the Country): Tbilisi Pride

    Per Tbilisi Pride:

    Time has come to announce the dates of the first-ever Tbilisi Pride, taking place on 18-23 June 2019. Mark the dates and support us in making queer history in Georgia.

  • 12. VIRick  |  February 20, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Taiwan: Cabinet Presents Draft Bill to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 20 February 2019, the Government unveiled its draft bill to legalize same-sex marriage. It is expected to pass by the 24 May deadline.

    Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said the draft bill covers issues such as inheritance rights, medical rights, adoption of children, and monogamy. It also details penalties for adultery and bigamy, Kolas said, adding that there are people who are spreading false information that legalizing same-sex marriages will promote the idea of polygamy, bestiality, and sexual promiscuity.

    The draft bill, officially called "The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748," is the first in Taiwan to be named after a constitutional interpretation, and was so named to avoid causing disputes between supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, she said, citing a consensus reached between the Cabinet and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers.

    The Cabinet is scheduled to approve the draft bill on Thursday, 21 February 2019, before submitting it to the Legislature for review.

  • 13. arturo547  |  February 20, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Misleading title, it’s not marriage, but civil partnership what they are proposing. I hope they drag the issue until the court deadline ends.

  • 14. arturo547  |  February 21, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Sorry, I have to correct myself. I have been reading about Taiwan’s new bill, and I’m a bit surprised.

    Let me explain it for everyone.

    The marriage bill refers to LGBT unions as same-sex marriage. It won’t amend the civil code so as to respect the referendum results, but it will create a new marriage law. So there will be two type of marriages in Taiwan. The only difference will be that same-sex marriages will only be able to adopt biological children of their partners and the age for getting married (those 18-20 will require permission from their parents).

    In conclusion, this is an actual marriage law, not a civil partnership law. The anti-LGBT groups have been trolled by Taiwan’s government!!! xD

    It might seem very strange for a country to have two marriages laws, but think about India and South Africa. They have different marriage laws for Christians and Muslims, and they are still referred to as a “marriage”. So, guys, we can be happy for Taiwan.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  February 22, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    India actually has many marriage laws. This is because India organizes its family laws according to religion:

    1] Indian Christian Marriage Act 1889: Indian Marriage law for Christians.

    2] Hindu Marriage Act, 1955: Indian Marriage law for Hindus, Jains, Buddhist and Sikhs.

    3] Muslim Marriage Acts – The Indian Muslim Marriage Act is based on Muslim Civil Law according to which “Nikah” (marriage) is a civil contract that is mutually agreed between bride and groom.

    4] Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act, 1936 (amended in 1988): Indian Marriage law for Parsees (Zorastians).

    5] Special Marriage Act, 1954: This law covers Indian marriages between different communities, religions and for those who do not want to marry in a religious ceremony.

  • 16. VIRick  |  February 22, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Point 5, Special Marriage Act, 1954, as quoted, correctly explains something (which I had previously misunderstood) relative to the first dual transgender marriage to have ever occurred in Kerala State in May 2018. To quote from the article:

    Surya and Ishaan K Shaan have just become the first trans pair to ever marry in Kerala, a state in southwestern India with more than 34 million people.  The couple was married in front of more than 500 people in a beautiful, splashy ceremony with a lot of media coverage at Mannam Hall in Thiruvananthapuram (formerly Trivandrum), after a recent change in Indian law allowed trans people to marry. As a result, this marriage has been duly registered at the sub-registrar’s office in Thiruvananthapuram under the Special Marriage Act.

    Then, as notes, I added:

    Note: This couple is apparently not gay, as same-sex marriage is still illegal in India. Instead, it appears that there was a dual transition, including gender re-assignment surgery, with both now self-identifying according to their corrected gender, and that that type of union is now allowed in India under the Special Marriage Act.

    Furthermore, although no religious rites were mentioned as having taken place at the wedding ceremony (a hallmark of Hindu weddings, which from the photos, this appears to be), the reference by the mother of Ishaan to "the local mosque authorities" suggests instead some family connection to Islam. Communally speaking, Kerala state is one of the most religiously diverse and cosmopolitan states in India. According to 2011 Census of India figures, 55% are Hindu, 27% are Muslim, and 18% are Christian (Eastern Rite Syrian Catholic).

    So, unless the Special Marriage Act had been recently amended to provide clarity regarding transgender status (which, as presented in the article, is the way I had originally interpreted it), the real reasons for invoking the Special Marriage Act in this instance apparently had to do with the mixed religious background of the pair who married in a non-religious ceremony, and was not due to the couple's dual transgender status (as originally reported).

  • 17. VIRick  |  February 21, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Do not blame yourself, as I also failed to understand that very point. As a result, I simply deleted that portion of the quoted article that discusses "two laws." The translation from Chinese to English probably needed some assistance to clarify that the current law (for heteros only) will remain untouched and unchanged. But, side-by-side, a second, brand-new marriage law, already drafted and presented, will give all the same rights (save for that one point about outside adoption) to same-sex couples.

    Actually, it is a clever maneuver, one which probably emanates from the Buddhist concept of parallel universes. If so, then the traditional Buddhist way will presumably triumph over the pseudo-westernized "christianist" evangelicals. In particular, I hope the traditional Buddhists in South Korea notice,– and then do the same thing,– as they, too, are plagued with a horde of pseudo-westernized "christianist" evangelicals.

  • 18. VIRick  |  February 20, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Colorado House Passes Two Pro-LGBT Bills

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 20 February 2019, HRC praised the Colorado House of Representatives for passing HB 1129, legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Last Friday, 15 February, the Colorado House also passed HB 1039, legislation that would allow transgender Coloradans to update the gender marker on their birth certificate without restrictive and unnecessary surgical requirements. Both bills now head to the Colorado Senate for consideration.

    If HB 1129 is enacted, Colorado would become the 16th state to adopt laws protecting youth from so-called “conversion therapy,” following Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and Wisconsin.

  • 19. VIRick  |  February 20, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Trump Unaware of His Own Global Initiative to Decriminalize Homosexuality

    On Wednesday, 20 February 2019, Trump seemed unaware of his own administration’s global initiative calling on nations to decriminalize homosexuality during a gaggle with news reporters in the Oval Office, along with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who is visiting the USA.

    A reporter asked Trump about the global initiative, which is being spearheaded by US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the administration. At first, Trump seemed not to understand the question, asking the reporter to repeat it. “Say it?” Trump queried.

    When the reporter referenced the push to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe, Trump professed unawareness, and said something about reports in his administration. “I don’t know which report you’re talking about,” Trump said. “We have many reports.” (No doubt, too, "bigly" reports, the best reports, but none of which he ever bothers to read, let alone even casually scan just out of idle curiosity.)

    The Washington Blade placed a request with the White House seeking clarification on whether Trump is even aware of his administration’s own initiative and whether he supports it.

    This second news article covering the same event is much less gracious in its assessment, correctly asserting, in the headline, "Trump has no clue." Continuing, the second paragraph further states, "He did not seem to be in the loop on the news." (Apparently, Fox News forgot to report on the Global Initiative).

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  February 20, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    In other news, a spokesperson for the Log Cabin Republicans was asked about Trump's initiative to pack the federal courts with the most homophobic judges imaginable. At first, the Log Cabin spokesperson seemed not to understand the question, asking the reporter to repeat it. "Say it?" the Log Cabin spokesperson queried.

    When the reporter referenced the extreme bigotry of Trump's judicial nominees, the Log Cabin spokesperson professed unawareness, and said something about LGBTs for Trump. "I don't know which bigot you're talking about", the Log Cabin spokesperson said. "We have many bigots, the best bigots!". "And we support them all! Bigly!"

  • 21. VIRick  |  February 20, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    South Carolina Discriminatory Adoption Agency Waiver Challenged in Federal Suit

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 15 February 2019, in the US District Court for South Carolina, Greenville Division, Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed suit to challenge the state and federal waivers granted to South Carolina foster/adoption agencies which allow the agencies to discriminate based on religion. The suit was filed in federal court on behalf of a Catholic woman turned away from Miracle Hill, the largest foster-care provider in the state.

    The complaint argues:
    • It is unconstitutional for government-funded agencies to discriminate against prospective foster parents and volunteers based on their religion.
    • South Carolina and HHS may not spend or provide tax dollars to faith-based foster care agencies that use discriminatory religious criteria.
    • HHS did not follow proper procedure when it excused South Carolina and its foster care agencies from following federal anti-discrimination law.

    The case has been assigned to Judge Timothy M Cain. The complaint is here:

    Note: The waiver also allows said agencies to discriminate against single parents and LGBT couples, but the woman in question is suing because of religious affiliation discrimination, given that she is neither a single mother nor LGBT. Still, her lawsuit will ultimately knock down the entire waiver.

  • 22. Fortguy  |  February 21, 2019 at 1:39 am

    We've got a couple more bad bills in the Texas Legislature. Lite Guv. Potty Patrick has allowed the following bills to receive first reading and thereby sent forward to committees.

    *SB 85 allows religious exemptions for professionals providing psychological services. Under this bill, if a mental health professional is contacted by someone who is LGBT or any other trait, such as being left-handed, that the professional feels violates their religious beliefs, the mental health professional may refuse to treat or counsel that individual regardless of whether the requested consultation was due to an unrelated substance abuse problem or whether the prospective patient were suicidal. The mental health professional is required to refer the prospective patient to another provider willing to provide counseling and treatment, but is not required to counsel the person under distress to please don't shoot yourself before someone else answers the phone. This bill is authored by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) and is assigned to the State Affairs Committee chaired by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston).

    *SB 444 would allow people who hold state licenses in their respective professions to discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs. While this bill likely poses no threat to people seeking services from, say, hairdressers, it could certainly be problematic for people who identify as LGBT or left-handed from buying a really nice home in a wonderful neighborhood if the home is listed with a bigoted realtor. This bill is authored by Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), and Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock). The bill is assigned to the Business and Commerce Committee chaired by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills).

    Previously, I've reported on another bill seeking to allow religion-based discrimination, HB 1035. So far in Speaker Dennis Bonnen's House, this bill remains languishing in limbo with no committee assignment. Since he is still an unknown factor, let's hope this is a positive sign that the House will not tolerate any crazy coming across the Pink Dome from Potty Patrick's Senate.

    No LGBT-specific issues have been declared emergency items by Gov. Greg Abbott, so none of these bills can be released from committee before the bill-filing deadline on March 8.

  • 23. VIRick  |  February 21, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Serbia: Prime Minister and Partner Welcome Newborn Son

    On Wednesday, 20 February 2019, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and her partner, Milica Djurdjic, made history as they welcomed a baby boy. The openly lesbian leader became the world’s first LGBTQ head of state to become a parent while in office after her wife gave birth. In a statement recognizing the momentous occasion, the prime minister’s office noted their son, reportedly named “Igor,” is “doing fine.”

    This is only the most-recent time the 43-year-old leader has broken Serbia’s glass ceiling. In 2017, Brnabić became the first LGBTQ person elected prime minister in Serbia. She’s only the fifth LGBTQ person tapped as any country’s head of state, following Iceland’s Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.

  • 24. VIRick  |  February 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Britain: Parliamentary Committee Report Upends Overseas Territories

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A UK parliamentary committee has called on the Theresa May-led administration to set a date for all Overseas Territories to legalize same-sex marriages. The report goes further to say that, if it’s not adhered to, it should be imposed by Order in Council, just as decriminalization of homosexuality was imposed by Order in Council in 2001.

    This is one of several sweeping recommendations handed down on 20 February 2019 by the UK parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee that looked into the future of the UK Overseas Territories relationship. Their report wants belongership (the special insular UK citizenship) removed, a date for legalizing same-sex marriages set, and the immediate implementation of public beneficial ownership registries (this latter deals with the off-shore banking/corporate registration scams and the secretive money laundering).

    Note: The elimination of "belongership" would positively affect one of the plaintiffs (the UK citizen non-belonger with dual Honduran citizenship) in the pending Cayman Islands same-sex marriage suit.

    The affected British Overseas Territories pertinent to the legalization of same-sex marriage would be : Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Turks/Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Montserrat.

  • 25. scream4ever  |  February 21, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Too bad Northern Ireland isn't included.

  • 26. Fortguy  |  February 22, 2019 at 1:57 am

    A lawsuit challenging Houston's policy of providing spousal benefits for municipal employees in same-sex marriages has been dumped by a state district judge that was elected in a blue wave that swept the judiciary in Harris County this past November. This case has been around since 2013 and was initially filed by a pastor and an accountant in the roles of taxpayers represented by notorious HERO Hater Jared Woodfill. The case was originally decided in favor of the city, but Woodfill argued before the Texas Supreme Court that Obergefell only provided for the right of same-sex couples to marry, but did not extend any such obligation for cities to provide same-sex spousal benefits.

    The Texas Supreme Court agreed in 2017 overturning the lower court decision and kicked the case back to state district court saying that the "reach and ramifications" of Obergefell needed to be explored by courts. In light of the latest lower court decision, Woodfill promises to appeal because of course he will. These people will never, ever stop in their efforts to deny people dignity and humanity.

    Emma Platoff, The Texas Tribune: Houston judge tosses same-sex marriage benefits challenge, but plaintiffs pledge to appeal

  • 27. Fortguy  |  February 22, 2019 at 2:05 am

    Christopher Weber, Associated Press: Judge grants citizenship to twin son of gay couple

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge in California ruled Thursday that a twin son of a gay married couple has been an American citizen since birth, handing a defeat to the U.S. government, which had only granted the status to his brother.

    The State Department was wrong to deny citizenship to 2-year-old Ethan Dvash-Banks because U.S. law does not require a child to show a biological relationship with their parents if their parents were married at the time of their birth, District Judge John F. Walter found.

    A lawsuit filed by the boys’ parents, Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, sought the same rights for Ethan that his brother, Aiden, has as a citizen.

    Each boy was conceived with donor eggs and the sperm from a different father — one an American, the other an Israeli citizen — but born by the same surrogate mother minutes apart.

    The government had only granted citizenship to Aiden, who DNA tests showed was the biological son of Andrew, a U.S. citizen. Ethan was conceived from the sperm of Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli citizen.

    The suit was one of two filed last year by an LGBTQ immigrant rights group that said the State Department is discriminating against same-sex binational couples by denying their children citizenship at birth. The cases filed in Los Angeles and Washington by Immigration Equality said the children of a U.S. citizen who marries abroad are entitled to U.S. citizenship at birth no matter where they are born, even if the other parent is a foreigner. Only the Los Angeles case was decided Thursday.

    The couple met when Andrew was studying in Israel and married in Canada in 2010 where their twins were born. The pending Washington case involves an American woman and her Italian wife who were married in London where each gave birth to a son. The State Department did not recognize their marriage and only provided citizenship to the boy born to the American spouse.

  • 28. VIRick  |  February 22, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    The Order in this case, "Dvash-Banks v. Pompeo," decided on 21 February 2019 in District Court for the Central District of California, is here:

  • 29. Mechatron12  |  February 22, 2019 at 2:38 am

    Homosexuality decriminalization decision in Kenya delayed until May. Apparently more time is needed to "consider the evidence". To put it mildly, I'm not holding my breath. The Muslim world and Sub-Saharan Africa (at least the English-speaking part) are for the most part lost causes.

  • 30. Randolph_Finder  |  February 25, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    You have more hope for the Portuguese or French speaking areas?

  • 31. VIRick  |  February 25, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Yes, I certainly do. As for ex-Portuguese areas, Angola just decriminalized homosexuality earlier in 2019, while Moçambique (in June 2015) and São Tomé e Principe (in 2011) did likewise several years ago, while Cabo Verde (in 2004) and Guinea-Bissau (in 1993) decriminalized quite a few years ago. So, now that Angola has finally caught up by up-dating and modernizing their criminal code, ALL ex-Portuguese areas in Africa have decriminalized.

    Cabo Verde is also the most likely of all of them to legalize same-sex marriage.

    French-speaking areas in Africa are somewhat more complicated. However, France itself decriminalized homosexuality in 1792, the first nation in the world to do so. They never imposed any sexual restrictions upon any of their colonial possessions anywhere in the world. However, since independence, some ex-French nations have slid backwards, and imposed their own post-independence criminalization of homosexuality, most notably in North Africa, namely: Tunisia, Algeria (which has a bad record), Morocco (which is worse), Mauretania (which is truly dreadful), Senegal, Guinea, Togo, Chad, Cameroon (another with a bad record), and Comoros. The rest do not and never have criminalized same-sex sexual activity (in private). Here's what the Wikipedia entry for Ivory Coast has to say:

    Same-sex sexual acts in private are legal and have never been criminalized within Ivory Coast, due in part to Ivory Coast being a former French colony and not inheriting sodomy laws from France, unlike many former British colonies around the world.

    Today, in addition, same-sex marriage is legal in any area in the world which is still part of France.

    Also, the Congo which was once Belgian (plus Rwanda) does not criminalize same-sex sexual activity, most likely because Belgium followed France in decriminalizing homosexuality in 1794. Nor does the ex-Spanish territory of Equatorial Guinea.

    As for ex-British areas, besides South Africa (which has also legalized same-sex marriage), the only other one which I could identify as having decriminalized homosexuality is Lesotho (in 2012).

  • 32. Mechatron12  |  February 26, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Yep, you just about covered it. It's not a language thing – it's that the English speaking countries had the Victorian sexual laws imposed on them by England.

    And as far as the French speaking countries you mention, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Chad, and the Comoros are Muslim nations. That explains their treatment of gays. Togo and Cameroon have good-sized Muslim minorities (or else they're just asswipes.)

    The Portuguese-speaking areas have definitely been a small breath of fresh air in Africa. Maybe at some point down the pike South Africa won't be the only member of the fairness club.

  • 33. Fortguy  |  February 26, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Asswipes? I believe the presidential term is shithole countries. With one exception, of course–the president has nothing but wonderful things to say about "Nambia".

  • 34. VIRick  |  February 26, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Prior to the end of WWI, both Togo and Cameroon were German colonies, as was Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and South-West Africa (now called Namibia).

    Following that war, the first two were mainly re-assigned to France, but with narrow portions of both re-assigned to Britain, and the latter two (minus Rwanda/Burundi) were re-assigned to Britain.

    It is entirely possible that Germany first imposed restrictions on same-sex sexual activity, laws which were never changed in any of them thereafter. I simply can not find the historic information to back up or contradict this speculation.

    Also, the ex-Italian colonies, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, are all somewhere between horrible and truly dreadful, so if anything, their overall legacy is worse than the British (Plus, all 3 are very high on the list as being most chaotic in many other areas of endeavor). Still, the British legacy is miserable.

  • 35. VIRick  |  February 26, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Cameroon Is a Member of the British Commonwealth of Nations

    Cameroon is the only ex-French territory worldwide to have become a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Thus, as a second opinion, Cameroon are asswipes. According to Wikipedia:

    Most of the country was the formerly French mandate territory (later UN trust territory) of Cameroun and gained independence from France on 1 January 1960, uniting with the much smaller former British mandate/trust territory of Southern Cameroons on its gaining independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1961.

    So, apparently, as a proud member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, they must have made certain to have criminalized homosexuality at some point in order to be in accord with all the other bigots and homophobes from the rest of the Commonwealth. Actually, I seem to remember that they did so in order placate the British-mandated Southern Cameroons shortly after the two merged.

  • 36. Fortguy  |  February 22, 2019 at 3:07 am

    The North Carolina elections board has finally called for a new election in NC-9 where November's election of GOP candidate Mark Harris has been called into question following allegations of absentee ballot fraud by a shady campaign operator. In testimony before the board, Harris' own son said he had repeatedly warned his father about the problematic operative. Apparently, it's now a trend that Republican politicians only listen to their stupid children.

    It's unclear if Harris will run again. He's recently suffered serious health concerns as well as being tainted by the scandal. Democrat Dan McCready, who narrowly lost in November, is already promoting the board's decision for fundraising.

    Andrew Hay and Gabriella Borter, Reuters: North Carolina orders new U.S. House election after 'tainted' vote

    The current partisan division in the House is a 235-197 Democratic majority. Other than NC-9, there are vacancies in NC-3 where Walter B. Jones Jr. (R) died on February 10, and PA-12 where Tom Marino (R) resigned in January. A special election for PA-12 will be held in May. No elections are yet scheduled for the North Carolina seats, but these will require a full cycle including party primaries.

  • 37. VIRick  |  February 22, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Judge Again Rules against State Department in Intersex Passport Applicant Case

    On Thursday, 21 February 2019, a federal judge denied the State Department’s request to stay his ruling in favor of an intersex person who was denied a passport because they do not identify as male or female. The State Department had requested Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Colorado in Denver to stay his 19 September 2018 ruling against the use of a “binary-only gender marker policy” to deny Dana Zzyym’s request for a passport that listed their sex as “X.” Jackson in an 8-page ruling denied the stay.

    Zzyym, who lives in Colorado, is a veteran who served in the US Navy. Zzyym is also the associate director of the US affiliate of Organization Intersex International. Zzyym applied for a passport in 2014 in order to attend a conference in Mexico City. The State Department told Zzyym their application was denied because it was “unable to fulfill your request to list your sex as ‘X.’"

    Jackson ruled in favor of Zzyym in 2016, but the State Department appealed. Zzyym’s case was reopened in 2017 after the State Department once again denied them a passport.

  • 38. VIRick  |  February 22, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Poland: One Step Closer to Banning "Conversion Therapy"

    Politicians in Poland have submitted a draft bill to the Parliament which bans the use of gay "conversion therapy." Lawmakers from the liberal Nowoczesna party drafted the bill with the Campaign Against Homophobia.
    "Conversion therapy," which can include hypnosis and electric shocks, is based on the mistaken belief that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is a mental illness that can be cured. It has been widely discredited by medical experts for risking causing emotional and psychological damage.

    Campaign Against Homophobia’s Mirosława Makuchowska announced the proposed bill, saying: “Forcefully persuading somebody that if they try hard enough, they will be able to change their sexual orientation is an act of violence.

  • 39. VIRick  |  February 22, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Zacatecas: First Same-Sex Marriage in the State (without Amparo) Scheduled

    Tomorrow, 23 February 2019, the very first same-sex marriage in the state of Zacatecas, without amparo, that of a lesbian couple, has been scheduled to take place in Ciudad Zacatecas, the state capital. According to the municipal president (mayor), Ulises Mejía Haro, the city administration (ayuntamiento) will be relying upon jurisprudence 43/2015 issued by the Supreme Court (relative to same-sex marriage), as well as on international treaties guaranteeing human rights, including that of the CIDH.

    The paragraph above is a summarized free translation, as this news source is copyrighted, making it impossible for me to do my usual copy-and-paste.

    Still, this is how we get things accomplished in Mexico. Someone in some position of authority simply has to take a strong stand, and then just do it. It is perfectly legal. This is how the law is supposed to be interpreted, and is in accord with my understanding of it, once the Supreme Court has issued its jurisprudence,– and it has,– since 2015. If we win this battle tomorrow, on top of the Supreme Court ruling against Nuevo León, I will have considered it a very good week.

    Zacatecas state is at the very geographic center of Mexico, so from that aspect, it is a good place to score a win.

  • 40. VIRick  |  February 24, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Zacatecas: Same-Sex Couple Marries in State Capital

    Per Luis Guzmán:

    Aún en contra de lo declarado por el gobernador Alejandro Tello C de Zacatecas que el congreso del estado no ha legislado y lo dicho por la iglesia católica, hoy 23 de febrero 2019, una pareja de dos mujeres se casó (sin amparo) en la capital del estado de Zacatecas por orden del presidente municipal Ulises Mejia Haro.

    Even against what was declared by Governor Alejandro Tello C of Zacatecas that the state congress has not legislated, plus what was said by the Catholic Church, today 23 February 2019, a pair of women were married (without amparo) in the capital of the state of Zacatecas by order of the municipal president, Ulises Mejía Haro.

    A video of the ceremony is attached.

    Citing Supreme Court jurisprudence and rulings from the CIDH, every municipal president in every municipality in all the remaining states of Mexico whose legislatures have yet to change the law to allow for same-sex marriage, could do exactly the same thing. And so far, some have, as assorted municipalities in Guerrero, Querétaro, Oaxaca, and now, in Zacatecas, have done just that, as did some in Puebla prior to the Supreme Court ruling specifically directed against that state. In fact, under the same circumstances, the state governors themselves can also issue statewide executive orders to the same effect, as was done in Chihuahua, or it can be accomplished through executive determination by the state's Secretary of State, as was done in Quintana Roo and Baja California.

    What makes the "legislature only" argument so ludicrous comes from the fact that despite marriage equality already having been ushered in by other means, the following states' legislatures still have yet to change the outdated, defunct law to bring it into accord with actual practice:

    Baja California
    Nuevo León

  • 41. VIRick  |  February 22, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Edomex: PRD to Try Again with Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption Legislation

    Omar Ortega Alvarez (PRD) informed that the Edomex Congress will return to the discussion of same-sex marriage and adoption during next week's session. He further stated that they, the PRD, are open to modifying their proposal, and that it is possible for them to separate the two issues, that of same-sex marriage from that of adoption rights for same-sex couples.

    Another summarized free translation, as this news source refused to co-operate in allowing me to copy-and-paste. However, much of the remaining portion of the article speculates about the distinct possibility that the adoption provision will disappear in order to allow passage of the marriage provision.

  • 42. VIRick  |  February 24, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Querétaro: Morena to Try Again with Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Néstor Domínguez Luna (Morena), diputado local, anunció que, en la primera o segunda semana de marzo, se realizarán mesas de trabajo con todos los legisladores para concientizarlos en el tema de los matrimonios igualitarios y evitar que la iniciativa, que ya está en Comisiones sin fecha para su discusión, se quede en la congeladora.

    Reiteró que lo urgente para la bancada de Morena, que presentó la iniciativa, es que salga de la Comisión y se lleve al pleno, para evitar que quede en la congeladora, pues hasta ahora la Ley Orgánica del Poder Legislativo del Estado no establece fecha límite para discutir alguna propuesta presentada.

    Reconoció que dentro de la iniciativa no se incluye el tema de las adopciones de parejas homoparentales, pues no se puede tocar el tema cuando todavía no está reconocido el matrimonio igualitario.

    Néstor Domínguez Luna (Morena), state deputy, announced that, in the first or second week of March, there will be workshops with all legislators to raise awareness on the issue of marriage equality and to prevent the initiative, which is already in the Commissions but without a date for its discussion, from staying in the freezer.

    He reiterated that this is an urgent issue for the Morena caucus, which presented the initiative, and that it should leave the Commission and be taken to the full legislative body, so as to prevent it from remaining in the freezer, since until now, the Organic Law of the Legislative Power of the State does not set any deadline for discussing any proposal presented.

    He acknowledged that the initiative does not include the issue of adoptions by homoparental couples because one can not touch this issue when marriage equality is still not recognized.

  • 43. KryptonKid  |  February 24, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    VIRick, you have identified something that the federal government of Mexico can do to speed up the advent of equality in the states. Mexico can sponsor workshops with the express purpose of educating legislators as to the necessities, benefits, and (lack of) dangers of marriage equality and LGBTQ rights in general. Other than a possible lack of will, is there any reason that the Mexican government couldn't do this? Are there other countries that this trickle-down awareness to mid-level jurisdictions might be effective in leading to positive national movement toward equality?

  • 44. VIRick  |  February 24, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Actually, we should thank the Morena deputy to the Querétaro state Congress, Néstor Domínguez Luna, who intends to interject this educational plan into the legislative discussions there in that state's Congress.

    Plus, this concept would be of great benefit all over Latin America, and likely, to places well beyond.

    Also, since we just finished ripping Morena apart for having engineered the boycott of the marriage equality debate/vote in the Edomex state Congress, it would now appear that we need to clarify and make some exceptions, as I can plainly see that there are certain Morena members who are adhering to Morena's national policy in favor of LGBT rights.

  • 45. VIRick  |  February 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Utah: GOP Reps Introduce Bill to Ban "Gay Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 21 February 2019, Republican state Reps. Dan McCay and Craig Hall introduced a bill to ban "gay conversion therapy" for minors. During a massive spike in Utah’s youth suicide rate, even the Mormon Church has chosen not to oppose the ban.

    “This is the Utah we want. This [is] the Utah we’re all going to fight for, for the rest of our time, so we deliver a place to you that you are welcome,” McCay said, while admitting he is an atypical sponsor.

    “Conversion therapy has been proven to be not effective, and is particularly harmful to youth,” said Republican chief sponsor Rep. Craig Hall. If it passes, Utah will become the 16th state to formally outlaw the practice (or the 17th state, if Colorado beats them, which seems likely).

    Utah State Sen. Derek Kitchen, an openly gay Democrat, made his support of the potential law public in a statement, saying, “It’s telling people that they are good the way they are, they are loved, and they don’t need to be changed. It acknowledges that conversion therapy is on par with other methods of torture, and tells state regulated medical professionals that this kind of ‘treatment’ is unacceptable.”

    Note: Derek Kitchen, now a state senator, was the lead plaintiff in the landmark Utah marriage equality lawsuit, "Kitchen v. Herbert."

  • 46. VIRick  |  February 24, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Cuban Government Blocks Access to Independent LGBT Website

    On Saturday, 23 February 2019, in Cuba, the publisher of the media partner of the "Washington Blade" said the country’s government has blocked access to his website within Cuba.

    Maykel González Vivero, co-founder of "Tremenda Nota," an independent online magazine in Cuba that covers the country’s LGBTI community and other minority groups, wrote on his Facebook page that authorities “just blocked access to Tremenda Nota in Cuba.” González in his post also notes "Tremenda Nota" was blocked on the eve of a referendum on the draft of the country’s new constitution.

    Acaban de bloquear el acceso a "Tremenda Nota" desde Cuba. Sucedió en vísperas del Referendo Constitucional.

    They just blocked access to "Tremenda Nota" within Cuba. They did so on the eve of the Constitutional Referendum.

    On 22 February, the day prior, "Tremenda Nota" published an article about the results of an official survey that indicate that 77 percent of Cubans between 15-74 said same-sex couples should receive the same rights as heterosexual couples. Evangelical church groups publicly objected to the inclusion of an amendment in Cuba’s new constitution that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. In December 2018, the Cuban government announced that that provision had been removed from the draft constitution now before voters today, 24 February.

    In the article, "Tremenda Nota" reported that Cuba’s National Office of Statistics and Education released the survey results on 15 February, nine days before today’s referendum. "Tremenda Nota" also reported that Mariela Castro, the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro who spearheads LGBTI issues in Cuba as director of the National Center for Sexual Education, and Luis Ángel Adán Roble, a member of the Cuban National Assembly who also advocates for LGBTI issues, told one of its reporters that they knew about the survey results before they were publicly released. (And yet, in the interval, no one in any official capacity said a word, let alone discussed it.)

    González noted other independent media outlets have also been blocked. These include "14ymedio," a website founded by Yoani Sánchez, a journalist who is a vocal critic of the Cuban government. Today, 24 February, Sánchez posted to her Twitter page a screenshot that shows she cannot access her website from Havana.

    The original offending article, critical of the Cuban government, "Las Cifras Que Nadie Mencionó" (The Figures That No One Mentioned), just summarized in English above, was published in Spanish in its entirety by the "Washington Blade" on the same date, 22 February, and can be found here:

    Or, as Francisco Rodríguez just interjected, while holding up a copy of the Referendum ballot:

    Secreto, no se lo digas a nadie! (Secret, do not tell it to anyone!)

  • 47. Fortguy  |  February 24, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    The General Conference of the United Methodist Church is meeting in St. Louis from February 24-27 and may result in severe disruption or complete schism within the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. Normally, the General Conference meets only every four years; however, this special meeting is in response to a deadlock at the 2016 General Conference over issues of LGBT marriage and ordination. At that time, the conference created the Commission on the Way Forward to consider proposals for resolving the disputes. The commission offered three proposals all requiring changing the The Book of Discipline, the church's canonical constitution.

    The One Church Plan would leave it up to individual churches or regional annual conferences whether or not to include LGBT people in marriage and ordination. This plan is endorsed by the UMC Council of Bishops.
    The Traditional Plan would provide greater enforcement against LGBT marriage and ordination and provide harsher language in the BoD which already states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
    The Connectional Conference Plan would replace the regional annual conferences with three non-regional groups one of which would embrace LGBT inclusion, another that would exclude LGBT rites because LGBT people are icky, and a third that presumably would be composed of congregations that really haven't thought enough about the issues after all these years and really don't give a shit. These groups would operate largely autonomously but be interconnected in matters such as pension management and some missions such as disaster relief.

    Since then, two more plans have come forward.

    The Simple Plan is favored by most LGBT Methodist advocacy groups. This plan would simply strike any language barring LGBT-inclusion from the BoD.
    The Modified Traditional Plan is favored by the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a conservative, hard-line group that includes 1,500 congregations and already has a working group planning on how to leave the UMC if they don't get their way.

    Portions of some of the plans have already been ruled unconstitutional by the church's Judicial Council meaning that they can't pass in their current form. Furthermore, the council allowed germane petitions to be submitted, and at least 78 have been received. Some of these seek to propose a more graceful way for congregations to leave the UMC with their properties intact and avoid lawsuits. Currently, congregational properties belong to their respective regional conferences. The inability to leave without taking the church building also is what has kept partisans from leaving the UMC so far due to the cost of lawsuits with at best uncertain outcomes.

    This may be the last chance for progressive delegates supporting LGBT inclusion to make a stand. Of the General Conferences' 864 delegates including both clergy and laity, 30% are from Africa alone. These and other international delegates combine with U.S. conservatives to form a strong and growing opposition to LGBT inclusion.

    David Crary, Associated Press: United Methodists confront possible split over LGBT issues
    Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service: The ‘Splainer: What’s the United Methodist special session all about?

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