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Department of Defense issues new memo on transgender military servicemembers set to take effect April 12

Transgender Rights

The Pentagon. Attribution: Wikipedia
The Pentagon. Attribution: Wikipedia
The AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Defense Department has approved a new policy that will largely bar transgender troops and military recruits from transitioning to another sex, and require most individuals to serve in their birth gender.

The memo outlining the new policy was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, and it comes after a lengthy and complicated legal battle. It falls short of the all-out transgender ban that was initially ordered by President Donald Trump. But it will likely force the military to eventually discharge transgender individuals who need hormone treatments or surgery and can’t or won’t serve in their birth gender.

The order says the military services must implement the new policy in 30 days, giving some individuals a short window of time to qualify for gender transition if needed. And it allows service secretaries to waive the policy on a case-by-case basis.

More here, including the memo.

(Thanks to Equality Case Files)


  • 1. VIRick  |  March 12, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Indiana Offers Gender-Neutral Licenses for Non-Binary Drivers

    In March 2019, Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles began offering licenses with an “X” option in addition to “M” and “F,” the "Indianapolis Star" reports. The move came “in response to constituents requesting a nonbinary marker,” BMV spokeswoman Susie Guyer told the paper.

    To receive a license with the X marker, “applicants must provide proof of a permanent gender change in the form of a certified, amended birth certificate or a signed and dated physician’s statement,” according to the Star. The state is going by standards recommended by the American Academy of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Guyer said.

    Indiana is the ninth state to offer the gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses and state identification cards, joining Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, Washington State, and DC.

    Indiana, not known for being supportive of its LGBT citizens, has no statewide law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, although some cities within the state have them. It also has no hate-crimes law at all. The driver’s license change represents about the only sign of any progress within the state.

  • 2. VIRick  |  March 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Botswana: High Court to Hear Case Decriminalizing Homosexuality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A year ago, an unknown gay man, under the pseudonym of LM, filed a petition stating that the persecution of LGBTI residents of Botswana, according to Section 164 of Botswana’s Penal Code, is unconstitutional. Section 164 stipulates that any person who has carnal knowledge of another going against the order of nature (engaging in non-heterosexual acts) is liable to imprisonment of up to seven years.

    Tomorrow, 14 March 2019, the High Court in Gaborone, capital city of Botswana, will hear arguments regarding LM's petition on the law criminalizing ‘acts against the order of nature.’

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 13, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    List of All African Countries where Homosexuality Is Criminalized, and its Punishment in Each (as per the same article from South Africa)

    Angola – Outdated. Homosexuality has just been decriminalized in early 2019, but previously, this was the punishment: Imposition of security measures on people who are not heteronormative, probation, or forced labor in a workhouse or agricultural colony.

    Botswana – Imprisonment of up to 7 years. (Court challenge under way.)

    Burundi – Imprisonment of up to three years, and a fine of up to R12000.

    Cameroon – Imprisonment of up to five years, and a fine of up to R5000.

    Comoros – Imprisonment of up to five years, and a fine of up to R32811,15.

    Egypt – While same sex relations in private are not prohibited, certain laws are used to imprison LGBTQ citizens. Imprisonment of up to five years, and a fine of R411,24.

    Eritrea – Imprisonment of up to three years.

    Ethiopia – Imprisonment of up to fifteen years.

    Gambia – Imprisonment for life.

    Ghana – Imprisonment up to twenty-five years.

    Guinea – Imprisonment of up to three years, and a fine of R1571,33.

    Kenya – Imprisonment of up to seven years. (Court challenge under way.)

    Liberia – Imprisonment of one year.

    Libya – Imprisonment up to five years.

    Malawi – Imprisonment of up to fourteen years (including corporal punishment).

    Mauritania – Adult Muslims to face public death by stoning, as specified by the Mauritanian Penal Code of 1984.

    Mauritius – Imprisonment of up to five years.

    Morocco – Imprisonment up to three years and a fine of up to R1491,45.

    Namibia – Common-law dictates precedent court verdicts; there is no codified anti-sodomy provision.

    Nigeria – Arrest without warrant, up to fourteen years imprisonment. A number of Northern Nigerian states (Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara) have adopted Islamic Sharia laws, dictating the death penalty for men, and public flagellation for women.

    Senegal – Imprisonment of up to five years, and a fine of up to R36436,91.

    Seychelles – Imprisonment of up to fourteen years.

    Sierra Leone – Life imprisonment.

    Somalia – Imprisonment of up to three years.

    South Sudan – Imprisonment of up to 10 years, liable for an undisclosed fine.

    Sudan – First time offenders: public flagellation of up to 40 lashes. Second time offenders: public flagellation of up to 100 lashes and five year imprisonment. Third time offenders: death penalty, or life imprisonment.

    Swaziland – Imprisonment for a minimum of two years, and an undisclosed fine.

    Tanzania – Imprisonment of no less than thirty years.

    Togo – Imprisonment of up to three years and a fine up to a R12145,64.

    Tunisia – Imprisonment for three years.

    Uganda – Life imprisonment. A newly drafted bill called “The Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill”, is thought to change this.

    Zambia – Imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years.

    Zimbabwe – A fine, or imprisonment not exceeding one year.

    Reportedly, Chad recently recriminalized homosexuality, but it was not mentioned in this listing. The figures for the fines have been re-calculated into South African Rands.

  • 4. VIRick  |  March 13, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Ohio: Bill to Prohibit LGBT Discrimination Receives First Hearing

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Wednesday, 13 March 2019, a bill that would prohibit discrimination in Ohio on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity had its first hearing in front of a Senate panel. Senate Bill 11, The Ohio Fairness Act, would update the state’s anti-discrimination laws to include employment, housing, and public-accommodation protections for members of the LGBTQ community. The bill has been introduced four previous times by sponsor Sen. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood; it gained little traction in past Republican-dominated legislatures.

    Antonio, the legislature’s only openly gay member, told the Senate Judiciary Committee: “It is a fair proposal that will simply give people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender the same freedom to work, the same freedom to live anywhere they choose, and the same full protection and participation in society, just as anyone else in Ohio.”

    Although a 2015 US Supreme Court decision legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Ohioans can still be denied housing, employment, or services based on sexual orientation or gender expression without repercussions to the employer, business, or landlord.

    However, 21 municipalities and two counties — Cuyahoga and Summit — have passed ordinances barring such discrimination, according to Antonio. SB 11, she said, would create blanket protections across the state, unifying these “patchwork laws,” one of which covers Columbus. Additionally, Antonio said the bill would bring business and qualified employees to Ohio, noting support for the bill from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and other statewide associations.

    Republican Gov. Mike DeWine extended a similar (but much more limited) executive order in January, protecting LGBTQ state employees from workplace discrimination.

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 13, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Utah House Passes Hate Crimes Bill

    The Utah state House has advanced a hate crimes bill after Republicans added right-wing conservatives as a protected class under the law. However, Maga-hatted Trump supporters are not historically a victim of hate crimes.

    Republicans added “political expression” as a protected class equal to racial minorities, LGBTQ people, and veterans. Republican Governor Gary Herbert praised the addition, saying it added “critical protections” for marginalized communities.

    State Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, the same anti-LGBTQ state legislator who tanked a proposed law to ban gay "conversion therapy" in the state earlier this month, was also behind the underhanded shenanigans to the hate crimes law. Lisonbee said after she gutted the conversion therapy bill, she was sent angry emails, and playing her "victim" card because her feelings were hurt, she cited that as the reason why she was adamant conservatives needed to be protected.

    The legislation passed on a vote of 64-9. It now moves to the Utah Senate where it is expected to pass.

    If the recent report on Georgia is accurate, there are only 5 states remaining without a hate crimes law: Georgia, Indiana, Utah, Wyoming, and one more, likely to be Idaho.

  • 6. VIRick  |  March 13, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Germany Extends Compensation to Gay Men Who Faced Criminal Prosecutions

    Germany has begun offering compensation to men who faced criminal investigations under historical anti-gay laws. Gay people were just one of many minority groups persecuted by the Nazis, but the law banning gay sex that was expanded under Nazi rule, Paragraph 175, remained in effect across Germany for years following the end of World War II.

    On Wednesday, 13 March 2019, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Justice announced it would begin paying compensation to men investigated under the laws for having consensual gay sex, prior to the law’s 1968 abolition in East Germany and in 1969 in West Germany.

    An estimated 70,000 people were convicted of consensual homosexual acts under the law, according to the ministry, but many more “were prosecuted, but ultimately not convicted” and suffered adverse effects. The government scheme now allows for anyone who was investigated under the historic law to apply for compensation, in addition to those convicted.

    People who were investigated under the law will now be entitled to payments of €500, while additional payments of €1,500 are available to those whose professional, financial, or personal well-being was significantly harmed by the law. Compensation was first made available in 2017 to men who were jailed under the law, and who were thus entitled to €3,000 plus €1,500 per year of time served.

    A statement clarifies that the payments are “not to be understood as damages” but are an important part of “symbolic recognition of impairments suffered.”

    The change comes after the German Parliament passed a bill in 2017 quashing the convictions of men under Paragraph 175 and setting out the compensation scheme. Around €30 million was originally set aside to cover the costs of the compensation scheme, but Associated Press reports that just 133 people applied under the existing scheme, with payments to date totalling €433,500.

    The first version of Paragraph 175 stems from 1872, criminalizing “unnatural fornication between persons of the male sex.” However, persecution under the law surged in 1935, when the Nazis significantly broadened its remit and redefined the crime as a felony. The maximum penalty under the law was also increased from six months to five years’ imprisonment.

  • 7. VIRick  |  March 13, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    Federal Equality Act Re-Introduced into US Congress

    On 13 March 2019, optimistic about the prospects of enshrining a prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination into federal law with a new Democratic majority in the US House, Democrats introduced legislation known as the Equality Act to make that long-sought goal a reality. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), chief sponsors of the Equality Act in their respective chambers of Congress, trumpeted the introduction of the legislation with great fanfare during a news conference at the US Capitol.

    Cicilline said the Equality Act is necessary because “millions of LGBTQ Americans are still less equal where they live. We are re-introducing the Equality Act in order to fix this,” Cicilline said. “Enacting and protecting civil rights laws is one of the most important things we can do in this building.”

    Merkley said the Equality Act would create a national rule amid a patchwork of protections for LGBT people across the states, 30 of which have insufficient legal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. “In over half our country, you can in fact stand and make a lifetime commitment in marriage to your partner, and yet be thrown out of your apartment and thrown out of your restaurant, fired from your job,” Merkley said. “It’s well past time to change this.

    The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs, and credit. The bill also seeks to update federal law to include sex in the list of protected classes in public accommodation, in addition to expanding the definition of public accommodations to include retail stores, banks, transportation services, and health care services. Further, the Equality Act would establish that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a 1994 law aimed at protecting religious liberty — can not be used to enable anti-LGBT discrimination.

    The legislation has more than 239 co-sponsors in the House and 47 co-sponsors in the Senate. Those numbers represent the strongest level of support the bill has ever enjoyed in Congress. In the House, the number of co-sponsors is well above the 218 needed for majority passage of the bill.

  • 8. VIRick  |  March 13, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Edomex: Naucalpan Initiates Process to Validate Equal Marriages

    Edomex: Naucalpan Inicia Proceso para Validar Matrimonios Igualitarios

    El municipio de Naucalpan se convertirá en el primero de los 125 en esa entidad de Edomex en oferecer el derecho de enlaces civiles a la comunidad LGBT.

    The municipality of Naucalpan is to become the first of the 125 in the state of Edomex to offer the right of civilly joining couples of the LGBT community.

    Naucalpan, officially Naucalpan de Juárez, is a city and municipality located just northwest of Mexico City (CDMX) in the adjoining State of Mexico (Edomex). It is immediately adjacent to the huge industrial city of Tlalnepantla, located to its north. Naucalpan, mostly suburban, has a population of 800,000, and includes the singular, planned-from-scratch suburban city of Ciudad Satélite, which was begun in 1957 and now occupies a major portion of the municipality.

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Edomex: More on Naucalpan's Decision to Move Forward on Marriage Equality

    Following the president of the municipality of Naucalpan commissioning the analysis of the accord that would allow Civil Registry officials to celebrate the marriages of same-sex couples, the fifth alderman (regidor), Rodrigo Gómez Orta (Morena), affirmed in a press conference, that the municipality has the corresponding authority to instruct the judges to facilitate the process without the need of an amparo, and that they do not need to depend upon the state legislature of Edomex for approval. Instead, they are basing their stance on Article 1 of the Mexican Constitution and on the Jurisprudence issued by the Supreme Court in 2015.

    Although Naucalpan will be the first municipality in Edomex to allow same-sex couples to marry without seeking an amparo, it will not be the first municipality within Mexico, following the same line of reasoning, to jump ahead of its own state law on this matter. Instead, it joins a growing list of municipalities to have done so, which include:

    Cuauhtémoc, Colima (from 2013, home base of the travelling judge from Colima)
    San Pedro Cholula, Puebla (from 2015, jurisprudence of Supreme Court)
    Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro (Ditto) (and later, 7 more in that state)
    Many in Guerrero, including Chilpancingo, Taxco, and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo (from 2016)
    Ciudad Oaxaca, Oaxaca (from 2017)
    All of Baja California (certainly Tijuana, Ensenada, and Tecate) (from 2017)
    Salina Cruz, Oaxaca (from 2019)
    Ciudad Zacatecas, Zacatecas (from 2019)

    However, Naucalpan's size and strategic location makes this move particularly important, as Naucalpan is home to 800,000 successful, upwardly-mobile, upper middle class suburbanites residing within shouting distance of CDMX, fed up with waiting, while watching the continuing idiocy and procrastination still current within the Edomex state legislature. In contrast, CDMX has had marriage equality now for 9 years. Previously, LGBT residents in Naucalpan (along with their neighbors in Tlalnepantla, Ecatepec, and Ciudad Neza) who wished to marry would simply take a short Metro ride into CDMX and do so there. These 4 Edomex municipalities alone contain over 4 million people, and are the 4 most-populous municipalities in the state. All 4 abut CDMX, and form a semi-circular ring along the border, from northwest to northeast.

  • 10. VIRick  |  March 14, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Massachusetts House Overwhelmingly Votes to Ban Gay "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Wednesday, 13 March 2019, the Massachusetts House overwhelmingly passed a bill to ban the practice of "conversion therapy" for minors, renewing an effort that lawmakers failed to complete last summer. By a vote of 147-8, the House approved legislation, H 140, that prevents state-licensed therapists from attempting to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity.

    The House and Senate passed a similar bill in 2018 but could not get it to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk before formal lawmaking session ended. Baker said this year that he is "inclined to support" the bill, which is expected to clear the state Senate. If the Senate approves the bill and Baker signs it into law, Massachusetts will join every other state in New England other than Maine in having a legal ban on conversion therapy for minors.

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 14, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Austria: Evangelical Lutheran Church Blesses Same-Sex Unions

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The General Synod of the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church in Austria (Evangelische Kirche Augsburgischen Bekenntnisses in Österreich, EKO) has voted in favor of allowing blessings for same-sex unions. Head bishop Michael Buenker said the measure, which passed by 45 votes to 18 last weekend, 10 March 2019, was a 'significant step towards equality for gay couples.'

    The final draft of the resolution allows for same-sex couples who are already in a civil union to receive a blessing in a church worship service. The Church said it would continue to hold fast to the biblical definition of marriage as a 'lifelong faithful, monogomous union between a man and a woman' but that the new blessing services would be viewed by the Church as 'on a par' with heterosexual marriage ceremonies.

    He said that conservative churches would not be forced to conduct a blessing service for gay couples if they held a conscientious objection and that it would be up to individual congregations to decide if they wanted to offer them.

    Note: In German, Evangelische = Lutheran Protestant

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  March 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Poland: Warsaw Mayor's LGBT Rights Declaration Sparks A Culture War

    WARSAW — Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has found an issue to fire up its right-wing backers ahead of this year’s European and national parliamentary elections — LGBTQ rights.

    The topic gained prominence thanks to last month’s signature by Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski of a 12-point LGBT+ rights declaration. It sets out the city’s policy on issues like finding shelter for children thrown out of their homes by homophobic parents, as well as bringing sexual and tolerance education into the Polish capital’s schools based on World Health Organization guidelines.

    Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of PiS and the country’s de facto ruler, seized on the issue during a party convention on Saturday, warning of its “great danger.”

    “This danger is an attack on the family, and an attack conducted in the worst possible way, because it’s essentially an attack on children,” he told party loyalists.

    His call was backed by party warriors. Krystyna Pawłowicz, one of the most outspoken PiS MPs, tweeted: “We MUST WIN this culture war.”

    The country’s powerful Roman Catholic Church also criticized Trzaskowski’s initiative. A bishops’ letter expressed “deep concern” over the WHO guidelines. “The declaration contradicts the constitutional right of parents to raise their children according to their own belief,” the bishops wrote.

    The government-appointed children’s ombudsman also raised questions about the LGBT+ declaration and its impact on children, saying “it imposes an ideology affirmed by only a narrow social group on all parents.”

    Trzaskowski fired back: “I’d rather the ombudsman occupy himself with children who are persecuted, who commit suicide because of widening intolerance.”

    PiS is using similar language against LGBTQ minorities to that seen in countries like Russia, Turkey and Hungary, where ruling nationalists have used the issue to strengthen their hold on traditional values.

    The issue poses a big dilemma for the opposition — most of which has united into an anti-PiS grouping for the European election called the European Coalition. The largest party in that coalition is Civic Platform, which ruled Poland from 2007 to 2015. Under the leadership of Donald Tusk, now president of the European Council, the party dodged and weaved on gay rights. It failed to pass a law on civil partnership rights for gay couples, let alone gay marriage — something outlawed by the Polish constitution.

    The bulk of Poland is still very religious and conservative, and Trzaskowski’s declaration could send them moving in the direction of Law and Justice.

    However, since its electoral defeat in 2015, Civic Platform — which was formed as a center-right Christian democratic party — has shifted left on social issues.

    That plays well in the big liberal cities that form the core of its electoral base, including Warsaw, where Trzaskowski trounced his PiS rival in a vote last year. The party is facing a threat on its left from the new Spring party, led by openly gay former MP Robert Biedroń, but both Civic Platform and the broader European Coalition still include many traditional conservatives.

    There are signs of a shift in public thinking on LGBTQ issues. A poll last month by the Ipsos research organization found that 56 percent of Poles support civil partnerships for same-sex couples and 41 percent back marriage rights — new highs for both issues.

  • 13. VIRick  |  March 14, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    US Congress Tells Trump F-U on Border Wall "National Emergency"

    On Thursday, 14 March 2019, the US Senate voted 59-41 in favor of a Democrat-led resolution aimed at rejecting the national emergency. Twelve Republicans joined the Democrats to push it over the edge, despite the lobbying effort in recent days from Trump, V-P Pence, and White House staff. In February, the Democrat-controlled House passed the same resolution with a vote of 245-182, with 13 Republicans jumping in to vote with Democrats.

    Not long after House Democrats announced their plan to try to block Trump’s unprecedented use of a national emergency to attempt to build a border wall, it became clear that the expansion of presidential power caused enough unease among Republicans that the resolution would pass even in the Senate, where its future was initially uncertain. Trump has said he will veto the resolution, and it’s unlikely there is a veto-proof majority in Congress to follow, but the vote will put some Republicans in a tough place nonetheless.

  • 14. VIRick  |  March 16, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Texas Landowners File Yet Another Federal Suit to Block Wall Construction

    Ramiro Ramirez, who owns property that covers two historic cemeteries along the US–Mexico border, is one of seven plaintiffs in a new lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon, 14 March 2019, in federal court in Washington, DC. The case is the latest in a series of lawsuits challenging Trump’s use of a national emergency declaration to free up billions of dollars in federal funds for the border wall construction.

    Other plaintiffs in the latest case include the Rio Grande International Study Center — an environmental group focused on the Rio Grande river — the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, a separate association of indigenous peoples who have lived around the Rio Grande, another landowner who lives near the Rio Grande, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the California Wilderness Coalition, and GreenLatinos. Juan Mancias, the council chair of the Carrizo/Comecrudo tribe, told BuzzFeed News that ancestors of tribal members are buried in the two cemeteries as well.

  • 15. VIRick  |  March 14, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    LGBT Title VII Employment Discrimination Claim Before 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In "Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management," a Missouri case wherein which a gay man is appealing a district court ruling dismissing his Title VII employment discrimination claim on to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, oral argument has been set for 17 April 2019 in St. Louis before Circuit Judges Loken, Wollman, and Stras.

  • 16. guitaristbl  |  March 14, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Dead on arrival, the 8th is a christian sharia court.

  • 17. allan120102  |  March 14, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Its even more conservative than the 5th and wirh the conservatives trump has appoint will likely put the bail in the coffin

  • 18. VIRick  |  March 14, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Slovakia: Presidential Election Saturday, 16 March 2019

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Liberal lawyer and community activist Zuzana Caputova was largely unknown before she skyrocketed in polls just weeks before the election. Gifted with powerful rhetoric, the 45-year-old has condemned widespread corruption and vowed to fight for justice for all. She is the deputy head of the non-parliamentary party Progressive Slovakia.

    In 2016, Caputova won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's top award for grassroots environmental activism. She is a member of the non-profit organisation Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide.

    Endorsed by outgoing President Andrej Kiska, the divorced mother of two teenagers is pro-choice and promotes more rights for same-sex couples, views that may spell trouble in conservative Slovakia.

    Her main rival is Marcos Sefcovic, an EU Commissioner who is backed by the ruling populist-left Smer-SD party. Also running is a Supreme Court judge, Stefan Harabin; a far-right neo-Nazi, Marian Kotleba; and an ethnic Hungarian parliamentarian, Bela Bugar.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  March 17, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Slovakia: Government critic Zuzana Caputova wins first round in presidential vote

    With results from 99.4 percent of polling stations counted, the 45-year-old was in pole position with 40.5 percent of votes, far ahead of her strongest challenger, Maros Sefcovic.

    Sefcovic, a 52-year-old career diplomat and European Commission vice president backed by the ruling Smer-Social Democracy party, had just 18.7 percent of the vote.

    As no single candidate won a majority on Saturday, a runoff will be held between Caputova and Sefcovic on March 30.

    The central European country of 5.4 million people spent decades behind the Iron Curtain before joining the European Union, the eurozone and NATO.

  • 20. VIRick  |  March 14, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Nevada: Legislature to Debate State Constitutional Amendment Deleting Anti-LGBT Marriage Clause

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Assembly Joint Resolution 2 from the 2017 session could ultimately change the Nevada Constitution. There is a three step, five-year process for the change to occur, and on 12 March 2019, Las Vegas Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D) presented the joint resolution with the measure’s co-sponsor Senator David Parks to the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections. The Joint Resolution is the second step in the effort to redefine marriage in the Nevada State Constitution by eliminating the language barring same-sex marriage. Section 21 of Article 1 of the Nevada State Constitution still currently defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    Joint Resolution 2 would replace that language with the following:

    “The State of Nevada and its political subdivisions shall recognize marriages and issue marriage licenses to couples regardless of gender.” And further, “All legally valid marriages must be treated equally under the law.”

    Step 1 – passed in 2017 legislative session.

    Step 2 – passage of the exact same measure in the 2019 legislative session.

    Step 3 – The resolution would then be on the 2020 statewide ballot, and if the resolution passes by a simple majority vote, the language in the Nevada State Constitution would be changed.

  • 21. scream4ever  |  March 14, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    I expect California will do the same, since they could simply place it on the ballot with a single legislative vote as Democrats hold super-majorities in both chambers.

  • 22. Deeelaaach  |  March 15, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    I've had that hope that the legislature would put it on the ballot so we could repeal it, but the legislature apparently went a different route.

    SB 1306 (2014)
    Introduced by Senator Mark Leno on February 21, 2014, SB 1306 repealed Sections 300 (AB 607, 1977), 308 (The Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act, author by Sen. Leno), 308.5 (Prop 22, California Defense of Marriage Act) of the Family Code, and amended Section 300 to be gender-neutral among other sections as well.[50] The legislation removed the statutory reference to marriage as a union "between a man and a woman" from the states' Family Code and updated the law with gender-neutral terms to apply to same-sex marriages as well as heterosexual ones.[51]

    During its passage, some concern was expressed that, by repealing the California Defense of Marriage Act, SB 1306 breached the separation of powers as the Legislature would be repealing an initiative passed by the voters. However, the consensus of the Assembly Judiciary Committee was that the voters are no more able to pass an unconstitutional, and subsequently enjoined, statute anymore than the Legislature can. In light of In Re Marriage Cases and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which collectively forbade the enforcement of any law which would prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, it was determined by the Assembly Judiciary Committee that the Legislature has the capacity to repeal enjoined statutes.

    SB 1306 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee 5-2 on April 8, 2014. On May 1, 2014, the California State Senate passed the bill on a 25-10 vote.[52] On June 30, SB 1306 passed the Assembly, in a 51-11 vote.[53] It was signed by the Governor on July 7, 2014 and took effect on January 1, 2015.[51][54] The statute definition of marriage in California is now the following:[55]

    Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary.

  • 23. VIRick  |  March 15, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Vermont to Offer Gender-Neutral State IDs

    Vermont is set to become the 10th state to provide gender-neutral driver’s licenses and identification cards to its residents, confirming plans announced in January 2018 to include “X” to their current “M” and “F” options. Those seeking the new designation will be asked to list their gender as “other” on applications sent to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Vermont joins nine other states, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington State, plus the District of Columbia, in offering a third-gender marker on their driver’s licenses. New York City also allows it on birth certificates issued in the city.

  • 24. VIRick  |  March 15, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Maryland General Assembly Passes Bill Allowing ‘Unspecified’ Gender Marker on Driver’s Licenses

    On Wednesday, 13 March 2019, the Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill that would allow Marylanders to obtain driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards with an “unspecified” gender marker. The 92-48 vote took place less than a month after the Maryland Senate passed the measure by a 32-14 vote margin.

    It remains unclear whether Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will sign or veto the bill or allow it to become law without his signature. (However, in both instances, it would appear that the measure passed with veto-proof majorities.) Ten other states and DC currently provide a third gender option for driver’s licenses or government-issued IDs.

  • 25. scream4ever  |  March 15, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    The House seems to be just shy of a 2/3 majority by 2 votes, but I'm sure if they need a veto override they could manage to do it.

  • 26. VIRick  |  March 15, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Argentina: Another New First; Sitting Congressman Marries Same-Sex Partner

    Deputy Leonardo Grosso Married

    Se Casó el Diputado Leonardo Grosso

    Es el primer legislador en ejercicio de la historia argentina en casarse bajo la figura del matrimonio igualitario. El diputado nacional y jefe del bloque del Movimiento Evita, Leonardo Grosso, se casó esta mañana, el 15 de marzo 2019, con Guillermo Castro, su pareja desde hace varios años, tras una ceremonia celebrada en el Registro Civil de José León Suárez (Municipalidad de San Martín, Buenos Aires).

    He is the first legislator in the history of Argentina to exercise his right to marry under the banner of equal marriage. This morning, 15 March 2019, the national deputy and head of the Evita Movement block, Leonardo Grosso, married Guillermo Castro, his partner for several years, after a ceremony celebrated in the Civil Registry of José León Suárez (Municipality of San Martín, Buenos Aires).

  • 27. VIRick  |  March 17, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Botswana High Court Delays Decision on Legalizing Homosexuality

    The High Court of Botswana has delayed its decision on whether to legalize homosexuality to 11 June 2019. The case, originally scheduled to begin in December 2018, only began being heard earlier this week (from 14 March 2019).

    Currently, Section 164 of Botswana’s penal code criminalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” and people convicted can face up to seven years in jail.

    Arguing in favor of the law being overturned, Gesego Lekgowe, the lawyer for the claimant, Letsweletse Motshidiemang, said: “When the laws were put in place… society was not ready to accept same-sex relations.” He argued that as homosexuality was becoming more accepted worldwide, Botswana should follow in its footsteps.

    Similarly, back in February, the High Court of Kenya delayed its ruling on whether homosexuality would be legalized. That ruling, which was supposed to be given on 22 February, will now be given on 24 May.

  • 28. ianbirmingham  |  March 17, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    llinois House votes to require LGBT history curriculum be taught in schools

    The measure, which now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's (D) desk for a signature, requires schools to include "the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State" in official [K-12] textbooks.

    Supporters of the rule say the measure is intended to reduce anti-LGBT bullying in schools by teaching students about the historical place of LGBT figures in American society.

    Republicans in the state's legislature opposed the bill's passage, questioning why it was relevant to include history about LGBT figures in children's textbooks.

    The bill was also opposed by some conservative Christian organizations who accused Democrats of trying to "normalize" LGBT Americans.

  • 29. ianbirmingham  |  March 17, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Turkey: Being gay could cost you your job: A Turkish police officer who identifies as homosexual has been suspended from duty in the city of Van. He was in the force for over 10 years. DW details his ordeal.

    Metin*, a 34-year-old Turkish police officer in eastern Anatolia, has been suspended from duty because he is gay. He can't believe what's happened.

    "When they found out, I thought, 'This will cost me my job,'" Metin remembers. He says he was distraught and did not know what to do. He was more concerned about what his superiors would think than about what he would do after being suspended from duty, saying he was scared they would humiliate him.

    Metin was put on leave and then reassigned to work in Zonguldak on the Black Sea coast in the summer of 2017. His Van colleagues did not even bid him farewell, Mertin recalls with disappointment.

    But Metin's ordeal was not over yet. In November 2018, the disciplinary committee ruled that "a civil servant can be suspended if he or she is in an unnatural relationship with another person." This is as much to say that people who are not in a relationship to have children are not allowed to work as public servants. So Metin was suspended from duty.

    He cannot believe the decision. "This is about my private life; I always took my job seriously and there were never any complaints about my work," he says. The situation has devastated him; he is quoted as saying, "If I'm not even allowed to lead my life as I want to, then why am I even alive?"

    Turkey's Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL) and Istanbul's Kadir Has University (KHU) have published a study on the situation of LGBTQI people working for the Turkish state. It has found that LGBTQI civil servants have come under increasing pressure and find themselves struggling with difficult working conditions since the foiled 2016 coup. A new law now even allows LGBTQI people working for the judiciary to be fired.

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