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Short SCOTUS update 3/11

Community/Meta Discrimination Transgender Rights

At Friday’s private conference, the Supreme Court is scheduled to decide whether to take up several LGBT rights cases:

The Justices have already considered several of these cases at previous conferences without taking any action. Some will be taken up for the first time on Friday. We could get an order on Friday or, more likely, next week.


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  March 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    'Last frontier' of civil rights: Alaska weighs statewide LGBTQ bill – The bill's introduction comes just days after the city of Fairbanks vetoed a measure that would have added LGBTQ people to the city’s civil rights ordinance.

    Co-sponsored by Reps. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, and Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks, House Bill 82 would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations. After filing the bill last week, Josephson said equality for LGBTQ people is “the last frontier of the civil rights movement.”

    The bill was introduced five days after Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly vetoed an LGBTQ ordinance in the city of 33,000. On Feb. 25, the Fairbanks City Council voted 4-2 in favor of the measure following hours of public comment. Hundreds of locals wrote emails and gave testimony weighing in, with the majority voicing support.

    Progress on an LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill is likely to be incremental in 2019 as well. While Josephson claimed the first committee referral on HB 82 has been “very favorable,” newly elected Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy could be likely to follow in Matherly’s footsteps by vetoing the measure. Given that both houses of the Alaska State Legislature are controlled by conservatives, it may never get to his desk.

    Currently, three Alaska cities have civil rights ordinances on the books banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: Anchorage, Juneau and Sitka. A campaign to repeal Anchorage’s ordinance was ultimately unsuccessful after voters upheld the law in a 53-to-47 vote last year.

    If HB 82 passes, Alaska would be the 22nd state in the U.S. with laws on the books explicitly banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing and employment, and the 21st to ban this type of discrimination in public accommodations.

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  March 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Senate Confirms Three Trump Judicial Nominees with Anti-LGBTQ Records

    The Senate confirmed Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit, Chad Readler of Ohio to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit and Eric Murphy of Ohio as U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.

    Rushing, who at 37 is now the youngest federal circuit judge in the United States, once had an internship at the anti-LGBT legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    ADF has filed lawsuits seeking to bar transgender people from using restroom consistent with their gender identity and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who sought a First Amendment right to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex couple based on religious objections.

    Rushing, who also clerked for U.S. Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, also spoke in favor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage, when it was litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. The Supreme Court ended up striking down the anti-gay statute.

    Despite Rushing’s record, all three Republican senators on the record in support of same-sex marriage — Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska) — voted for Rushing’s confirmation.

    Readler penned his name to legal briefs defending President Trump’s transgender military ban as well as voluntarily briefs arguing gay workers aren’t protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars sex discrimination in employment, and Phillips in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

    Collins broke with her caucus and voted against Reader’s confirmation, citing his legal work against protections for pre-existing conditions, but she did vote to invoke cloture on his confirmation. Portman and Murkowski both voted to confirm Readler.

    Murphy, who until recently was solicitor general of Ohio, defended in court the state’s ban same-sex marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which despite his efforts led the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality nationwide in 2015.

    Collins, Portman and Murkowski each voted for Murphy’s confirmation. In the case of Portman, who has a gay son, the senator voted for a nominee that would have deprived his son of right to marry had Murphy’s argument succeeded before the Supreme Court.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  March 11, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    In Malaysia, the visibility of LGBTs is "a misuse of democratic space"

    KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian minister has decried the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups at a march celebrating International Women's Day on Saturday, calling it "a misuse of democratic space".

    The statement comes amid concerns over growing persecution of the LGBTQ community in the Muslim-majority country, where same-sex acts are outlawed.

    Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in September last year that Malaysia could not accept same-sex marriage or LGBTQ rights.

  • 4. VIRick  |  March 11, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    North Carolina: State Sued for Denying Gender-Confirming Health Care for State Employees

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 11 March 2019, Lambda Legal and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) filed a federal lawsuit against North Carolina officials for discrimination in state employee health care. The North Carolina State Health Plan (NCSHP), the state employee health plan, categorically excludes coverage for gender-confirming health care. Lambda Legal and TLDEF are representing several current and former state employees and their children who were denied coverage under the plan for medically necessary health care because they are transgender.

    Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Taylor Brown: "In 2017, NCSHP covered medically necessary gender-confirming health care, but then State Treasurer Dale Folwell took office and revoked the coverage."

    The complaint is here:

    Note to North Carolina: Wisconsin and Iowa both lost in lawsuits filed for the exact same cause (in state Medicaid denials), while the case against Georgia (directly for state employees) is in progress, but does not look good for the state, particularly since the insurer behind the group plan is willing to cover the procedures (and does so in other group plans it covers).

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 11, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Nuevo León: First Same-Sex Marriage in the State (Without Amparo) Just Occurred

    Per CEDH Nuevo León:

    El día de hoy, el 11 de marzo 2019, se celebró el primer matrimonio igualitario en Nuevo León, sin interponer un amparo legal de por medio, en la Oficialía No. 1 del Registro Civil de San Nicolás de los Garza, NL. La CEDHNL atestiguó el evento, en el que dos mujeres hicieron uso de sus derechos civiles para contraer matrimonio.

    Today, 11 March 2019, the first equal marriage was celebrated in Nuevo León, without the need for filing for an amparo, in Office No. 1 of the Civil Registry of San Nicolás de los Garza, NL. The CEDHNL witnessed the event, in which two women utilized their civil right to marry.

    With this first event, marriage equality, per Supreme Court ruling, has now been duly implemented in Nuevo León (and much quicker than what one might have otherwise anticipated).

    CEDHNL = Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos Nuevo León (State Human Rights Commission Nuevo León)

    San Nicolás de los Garza is a separate urban municipality which is part of the greater Monterrey metropolitan area. With a population of 500,000, it is the 3rd largest city in the state, and one of the chief beneficiaries of Monterrey's heavy industrialization.

  • 6. VIRick  |  March 11, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Mexico: CDMX Ninth Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Lol Kin Castañeda Ba‏:

    Hace 9 años, el 11 de marzo 2010, Judith Vázquez Arreola y yo seríamos el primer matrimonio igualitario de lesbianas en América Latina (y la primera pareja del mismo sexo en México). Seguimos construyendo los sueños.

    Nine years ago, on 11 March 2010, Judith Vázquez Arreola and I became the first lesbian couple to marry in Latin America (and the first same-sex couple in México). We continue to build dreams.

    Note: Today, Lol Kin Castañeda Ba‏ is a member of the CDMX Legislature. Today is also the 102nd anniversary of Mexico's 1917 Constitution, the constitution still in use.

  • 7. allan120102  |  March 12, 2019 at 7:11 am

    The third court of appeals looks to be the first to be modify from a democrat court majority to a republican court majority.

  • 8. allan120102  |  March 12, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Looks like Trump trans ban will take effect in April 12. Sad day for lgbr rights.

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