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2/25: Still no action from SCOTUS on employment discrimination cases

Discrimination Transgender Rights

This morning, the Supreme Court issued its orders from last week’s private conference. The Court was considering whether or not to review several cases involving LGBT employment discrimination, as they have for several weeks now. No action has been taken in any of the cases yet. The Court had added another case to its conference, Doe v. Boyertown, challenging a school board’s pro-transgender policy allowing people to use the correct restrooms, but Friday the case was rescheduled without explanation.

We’ll report news from the Court’s next conference on March 1.

UPDATE: Lawrence Hurley from Reuters reports that, in addition to LGBT employment discrimination and bathroom use, the Court will also consider cases related to wedding cakes for same-sex couples and a dispute over civil unions.

UPDATE 2: The Doe v. Boyertown case has been relisted for the 3/1 conference.


  • 1. VIRick  |  February 25, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Cuba: Constitutional Referendum Passes

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Yesterday, 24 February 2019, Cubans islandwide had a choice of voing "Yes" or "No" on whether to accept Cuba's new constitution, as is, in its entirety.

    For our purposes, the new document eliminates the old definition of marriage as "between one man and one woman." It simply omits that phrase, and does not substitute a redefinition. Thus, it does not automatically legalize same-sex marriage, as was the original plan, a plan which was dropped following loud protestations from evangelical groups. Instead, the new document is now neutral, and merely opens the way for the possible eventual legalization through future revisions to the Family Code.

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 26, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    In terms of the voting percentages in the Cuban Constitutional Referendum, 86.85% voted in favor, and 9.39% voted against, while the remaining 3.76% were either blank abstentions or were spoiled and not counted. (And 73.3% of all registered voters in Cuba turned out for the referendum to cast their ballot one way or the other.)

    In Cuba, according to the new constitution, marriage is no longer defined as the “union between a man and a woman,” but rather, in utilizing gender-neutral language, it now simply refers to marriage as “a social and legal institution.” No gender designation has been included within said definition.

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 25, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Sinaloa: Same-Sex Marriage Summary

    Per Carlos F. Montenegro:

    Desde 2016 a la fecha, en el estado de Sinaloa se han realizado 10 matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo (todos por amparo judicial), todos ellos debidamente acreditados en las oficinas del Gobierno que encabeza Quirino Ordaz Coppel (PRI).

    From 2016 to date, in the state of Sinaloa, 10 marriages have been made between same-sex couples (all by judicial amparo), all of them duly accredited in the offices of the Government headed by Quirino Ordaz Coppel (PRI).

    Otherwise, a large number of same-sex couples from Sinaloa, fed up with the slowness and the intransigence encountered in that state, have married in neighboring Nayarit.

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 25, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Yucatán: Know the Story of Juan Lara and His Partner, Ricardo

    El Colectivo por la Protección de Todas las Familias en Yucatán se estrena hoy, el 25 de febrero 2019, con una carta a los legisladores del Congreso pidiéndoles igualdad para todas las familias del estado porque la discriminación mata, dicen. Conoce también la historia de Juan y su pareja, Ricardo, quienes esperan estrenar la ley del Matrimonio Igualitario.

    Today, 25 February 2019, the Collective for the Protection of All Families in Yucatán starts with a letter to congressional legislators calling for equality for all families in the state because discrimination kills. Also know the story of Juan and his partner, Ricardo, who are hopefully expecting the law of Equal Marriage to be passed.

    Employing a tactic first developed by Evan Wolfson (Freedom to Marry), LGBT couples in Yucatán are now putting a human face on marriage equality by publicly telling their stories. This couple, Juan and Ricardo, want to marry in Yucatán. They refuse to travel to a neighboring state to marry, whether to Campeche or to Quintana Roo. They also refuse to file for a judicial amparo to marry in Yucatán. Instead, they want the law to be changed in Yucatán so that they can marry there, just like any other couple, and have big plans for a traditional yucateca boda (Yucatán wedding).

    Note: In the photo, Juan is the broadly smiling figure up front, while Ricardo is the cute, shy one hiding behind.

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 26, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Missouri: State Supreme Court Issues Two Big LGBT Wins

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Two big wins from the Missouri Supreme Court:

    • On 26 February 2019, in "R.M.A. v. Blue Springs School District," an appeal wherein which a trans student was denied access to boys' facilities at his school, the Missouri state Supreme Court (en banc) issued the following ruling:

    – The lower court should not have dismissed the student's lawsuit. "R.M.A. is only required to allege he was discriminated against on the grounds of his sex − which he did. The judgment of the circuit court is vacated, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings."
    – The Opinion is linked here:

    • On 26 February 2019, in "Harold Lampley and Rene Frost v. The Missouri Commission on Human Rights and Alisa Warren," a case wherein which the plaintiffs were appealing an adverse judgment in a lawsuit alleging sex discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation, the Missouri state Supreme Court (en banc) issued the following ruling:

    – The lower court should not have granted summary judgment to the state's commission on human rights. "The commission should have allowed Lampley and Frost to demonstrate whether the sexual stereotyping they allege motivated their employer’s alleged discriminatory conduct. The circuit court's judgment is reversed and the case is remanded. Upon remand, the circuit court is directed to remand to the Commission with instructions to issue Lampley and Frost right-to-sue letters."
    – The Opinion is here:

    The summary of the case is here:

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 26, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Durango: PRD Presents Bill to Congress to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

    Per Diversidad Sexual PRD:

    On 26 February 2019, for the third time, a PRD deputy, David Ramos Zepeda, introduced legislation into the Durango Congress to modify Article 142 of the Durango Civil Code so as to allow for same-sex marriage. The current Durango Congress consists of a majority of Morena members.

    The first attempt to change the law in Durango occurred in 2013, while the second happened in 2016.

  • 7. Fortguy  |  February 26, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    The General Conference of the United Methodist Church has voted to reject LGBT marriage and ordination and double-down on enforcement efforts against LGBT-inclusive ministers, congregations, and regional conferences. The margin was 438-384 and was in defiance of church bishops who recommended local autonomy on LGBT inclusion. It is now expected that many progressive churches and perhaps even some regional conferences will leave the UMC altogether though some may wait until next year's more normal quadrennial meeting of the General Conference.

    David Crary and Jim Salter, Associated Press: United Methodist delegates reject recognizing gay marriage
    Emma Green, The Atlantic: Conservative Christians Just Retook the United Methodist Church

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  February 26, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Indiana tax preparer turns away same-sex couple, thanks to law signed by Mike Pence

    Bailey Brazzel told the Washington Post that Carter Tax Service owner Nancy Fivecoate had prepared her taxes for the last four years, but refused to serve her when Brazzel brought her new wife, Samantha. The couple intended to file a joint tax return for the first time after getting married last year, but Fivecoate refused to prepare their taxes.

    In 2015, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which activist groups said was an effort to permit discrimination against the LGBTQ community. The bill allowed businesses that discriminated against LGBTQ people to cite religious reasons if they are sued. The bill was later amended to say that it could not be used for the purpose of discrimination by companies but many advocates say anti-LGBTQ discrimination has been rampant in the state. “You can get married one day and fired the next” with no legal recourse, Indiana University law professor Steve Sanders told the Post. The only thing those affected can do is “publicize the fact they were discriminated against,” he said.

    Since taking office, the Trump administration has continued Pence’s efforts to deny LGBTQ Americans basic protections under the guise of religious freedom. Last year, Trump signed an executive order that the Center for American Progress said gave a “license to discriminate against LGBTQ people.” The CAP report called the guidance an “extreme rewriting of the concept of religious liberty” that allows “religious beliefs to be used as a weapon against minority groups.”

    “We’d believe that the Trump administration will work to protect LGBTQ people around the world," said the advocacy group GLAAD in a statement, “if they had not attacked LGBTQ people in the U.S. over 90 times since taking office.”

  • 9. Fortguy  |  February 27, 2019 at 2:16 am

    The Senate has confirmed Eric Miller to the Ninth Circuit in a 53-46 party-line vote. Miller is a Seattle attorney who was previously a Supreme Court clerk for Clarabell. The confirmation was a shameless breach of senatorial courtesy as no judicial nominee has been confirmed over the objection of both home-state senators in a century. Those senators, in this case, are Washington's Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. The confirmation hearing was conducted last October during a Senate recess and was attended by just two GOP senators.

    “It is a dangerous road for the Senate to go down,” Murray said. “The hearing included less than five minutes of questioning — less questioning for a lifetime appointment than most students face for a book report in school.”

    Lisa Mascaro and Gene Johnson, Associated Press: Senate confirms circuit court nominee over Dem objections

  • 10. VIRick  |  February 27, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Sonora: To Date, 43 Same-Sex Marriages Have Occurred in the State

    Per Sonora Pride:

    Beginning from February 2015 and continuing through September 2018, according to the Director-General of the Sonora state Civil Registry, there have been 43 marriages, so far, between same-sex couples in Sonora, presumably all accomplished through the amparo process. Of these, a total of 28 have taken place in the state capital, Hermosillo. In addition, other municipal civil registries reported the following numbers: 4 in Nogales, 3 in Agua Prieta, 2 in Puerto Peñasco, and one each in Poblado Luis B. Sánchez, San Luis Río Colorado, Ciudad Obregón, Bahía de Kino, Guaymas, and Cananea.

    Thus, 8 of Sonora's 72 municipalities have had at least one same-sex marriage. The complete official list, from the state Civil Registry office, showing dates, locations, ages, and sex of the couples, is included within the article itself:

    Note: Along the Gulf of California, Sonora's municipalities can be huge in area. As a result, some have multiple civil registry locations. Poblado Luis B. Sánchez is a second built-up area within San Luis Río Colorado, while Bahía de Kino is a second town within the municipality of Hermosillo.

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 27, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Hidalgo: To Date, 5 Same-Sex Marriages Have Occurred in the State

    Per Sonora Pride:

    De 2015 a 2018, cinco parejas del mismo sexo contrajeron matrimonio en Hidalgo a través de amparos, ya que hasta el momento permanece sin reforma la Ley de la Familia, la cual permite nupcias entre un hombre y una mujer. Así lo informó Yolanda Molina Reyes, coordinadora estatal de Matrimonio Igualitario México, quien ha acompañado a las cinco parejas del mismo sexo a ejercer su derecho de libre matrimonio.

    From 2015 to 2018, five same-sex couples have married in Hidalgo through amparos, since the Law of the Family, which only allows marriage between a man and a woman, remains without reform. Such was reported by Yolanda Molina Reyes, state coordinator of Matrimonio Igualitario México, who has accompanied all five same-sex couples to exercise their right to marriage.

    In addition, many other same-sex couples from Hidalgo, fed up waiting for the law there to be changed, have travelled to other near-by jurisdictions to marry, most particularly to CDMX and Morelos.

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  February 27, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    China to Release ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ Despite Censoring Rami Malek’s Oscar Speech

    It still remains unclear whether the film will run uncensored. The most popular user comments under Fox’s announcement of the news on Weibo expressed concern that homosexual content would be cut. “Could you please not cut anything?” one begged with rows of pleading-eyed emojis.

    The news comes just as one of the only two sites that live-streamed the Oscars in China is under fire for censoring star Rami Malek’s best-actor acceptance speech. Mango TV, one of China’s most popular channels, substituted the words “special group” for “gay man” in its translated subtitles.

    Mango TV faced intense criticism last year for censoring gay content out of its broadcast of the Eurovision singing competition by refusing to air an Irish music video in which male dancers held hands and blurring out rainbow flags. The European Broadcasting Union ultimately barred it from airing the show.

    China has no clear, comprehensive policy on gay content, but it is deemed sensitive and is inconsistently but regularly removed from different media. Gay themes are specifically banned from appearing on TV and, since 2017, in online streaming content.

    Last year’s Beijing International Film Festival scheduled a screening of the Oscar-winning gay love story and coming-of-age tale “Call Me by Your Name,” only later to cancel it. And in 2016, LeTV’s viral online drama “Go Princess Go,” which depicted bisexuality and issues of gender identity, was abruptly pulled from the web.

    China last year drastically increased its policing of the web, deleting “vulgar” material from social media and shuttering “illegal” websites. The crackdown has made streaming platforms extremely cautious. Last month, streaming platform iQiyi took heat for censoring images of men with earrings by blurring out their earlobes, a move the public found ridiculous.

  • 13. Fortguy  |  February 28, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Transgender troops testified against the Trump administration's transgender military ban in a hearing before a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. The ban, so far sidelined by federal courts, was defended by the administration because covfefe or something like that.

    Julie Watson, Associated Press: Transgender troops tell Congress they excel in military

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