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Open thread 4/9


This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Taylor Swift Donates $113K to Fight Anti-LGBTQ Bills in Tennessee

    “Taylor Swift has been a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community,” [the group’s executive director, Chris] Sanders wrote… “She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders, who are speaking out for love in the face of fear. Tennessee Equality Project is honored and grateful to reveal Taylor Swift has made a donation of $113,000 to support our efforts at this critical moment.”

    Tennessee lawmakers are considering several homophobic and transphobic bills. The House of Representatives last week approved one that would allow faith-based adoption and foster care agencies, even those that receive state funding, to turn away prospective parents who somehow offend their religious beliefs, which would result in many LGBTQ applicants being rejected. It awaits action in the Senate.

    The House also recently OK’d a measure that would prevent state or local governments from taking a company’s internal policies into consideration when making contracts or grants, or changing tax treatment. It means that these governments could not require that companies they do business with have LGBTQ-inclusive antidiscrimination policies — or offer health insurance or family leave or any number of other policies or benefits. It likewise awaits Senate action.

    And Monday the House approved an update of the state’s indecent exposure law, which “clarifies what constitutes a ‘public place’” under the law and lists restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and showers “designated for multi-person, single-sex use,” The Tennessean reports. The bill, which now moves to the Senate, originally was written to target transgender people. While the anti-trans portions of the bill have been excised, “concerns remain about the impact on the transgender community if it becomes law, given the long history of harassment of transgender people in restrooms,” Sanders told the newspaper.

    Another measure addressing restroom use is pending; it would require the attorney general to defend local education agencies or their employees when they implement anti-transgender bathroom and locker room policies. It is scheduled to be heard in a House committee Wednesday.

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Activists in Azerbaijan Fear Statewide Crackdown as LGBTQ Imprisonment Increases

    Activists are calling for a full investigation following a wave of arrests targeting LGBTQ people in Azerbaijan. At least 14 people were rounded up on April 1 as authorities targeted LGBTQ individuals—primarily transgender sex workers—in the capital of Baku.

    In 2016, the advocacy group ILGA ranked Azerbaijan as the worst European country for LGBTQ people. Ismaylov says queer and transgender people are forced to essentially live a “double life,” hiding who they are from friends, coworkers, and family members in fear of violence or even death. Police allegedly exploit the lack of support for LGBTQ people to extort members of the community. Recent reports suggest authorities have begun hunting down trans people through the internet.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Russian Prisons Reportedly Ban Yoga After Claims It Makes Inmates Gay

    Many might see yoga as a calming escape from the pressures of modern life. But some believe it’s a dangerous, homosexuality-inducing practice that could cause hunger strikes and prison riots.

    A spirited debate erupted after the introduction of yoga classes at two Moscow prisons prompted a lawmaker to make Russian officials aware of a theologian's conclusions on the matter.

    Yoga "provokes uncontrollable sexual arousal that can lead to homosexuality," read the findings included in a letter sent to the Prosecutor-General's Office by Yelena Mizulina, a member of the Federal Council, Russia's upper house of parliament.

    According to the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, which described the letter as an appeal to Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika to investigate the legality of the initiative, it warned of unrest across the prison system if the practice of offering yoga classes spread.

    The reasoning, according to the newspaper, which had obtained a copy of the letter, was that because yoga classes were offered mainly to inmates working in catering, fellow prisoners unwilling to "take slop from the hands of gays" could unleash hunger strikes and riots.

  • 4. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    SCOTUS to consider constitutionality of banning trademark registration for immoral and scandalous marks

    In 2017, the Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on registration of disparaging trademarks on the basis that the provision constituted viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. Now, in Iancu v. Brunetti, the court will consider whether the prohibition on registration of scandalous and immoral marks is unconstitutional.

    This case arose when Erik Brunetti applied to register his trademark FUCT for use as a brand for clothing. Brunetti started a streetwear company in 1990 with professional skateboarder Natas Kaupas, and later applied to register the trademark with the USPTO. The examining attorney rejected Brunetti’s trademark application on the basis that the mark is a phonetic equivalent of a vulgar word. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the refusal, finding that the examiner had provided sufficient evidence that a substantial composite of the general public would find the mark vulgar. The TTAB stressed that consideration of the constitutionality of Section 2(a) was beyond the scope of jurisdiction of the TTAB.

    On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed that substantial evidence supported the board’s findings that the FUCT mark is vulgar and was therefore unregistrable under Section 2(a). However, it ultimately reversed the board’s holding. The Federal Circuit found that the bar on registering scandalous and immoral trademarks is a content-based restriction on free speech in violation of the First Amendment.

    This case arises in the aftermath of, and perhaps as a natural consequence of, Matal v. Tam, which struck down the registration bar for the other type of offensive trademarks — those deemed disparaging. In Tam, the Supreme Court held that trademarks are private, not government, speech, and an examiner may not refuse to register trademarks based on the particular viewpoint the trademarks express.

    The government argues that, in contrast to Tam, the immoral/scandalous-marks provision is viewpoint-neutral because the refusal to register these marks is based not on the views or ideas expressed, but on the particularly offensive mode of expression. The government draws on the extensive body of case law surrounding obscenity to support this premise. Although it has always been clear that the threshold for immorality and scandalousness is lower than that for obscenity, the government argues, generally speaking, that regulation of content offensive to contemporary moral standards is viewpoint-neutral. Brunetti, on the other hand, insists that determining what is offensive to the general public necessarily prefers some viewpoints over others.

    The only published empirical study of scandalous/immoral-marks rejections demonstrates that there is significant inconsistency in its application. Marks containing the same salient terms are both approved and denied, and there is little predictability in the decisions. (For example, trademark examiners have approved some marks with the following terms, and yet denied others: “ass,” “bitch,” “cock,” “pothead,” “s__t,” “slut,” and “whore.”) Even for the term at issue in Brunetti, the study shows inconsistency: For example, FCUK, THE F WORD, FVCK STREET WEAR, and F’D passed through, but not F U, EFFU, or FVCKED.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Can You Actually Get Married With a Non-Binary ID? Multiple states with non-binary IDs have failed to update their marriage license applications to account for those IDs.

    Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Utah, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., all offer non-binary IDs. Vermont will make them available to residents this summer. But just California, Oregon, Vermont, and D.C. provide forms that either don’t ask applicants to specify a gender or offer an option beyond the binary. In Utah, the forms vary by county.

    Colorado, which has issued gender-neutral IDs since fall 2018, still asks applicants to specify if they are male or female. The state, home to the country’s first gay male Governor Jared Polis, will update those forms by this summer, says Jessica Bralish, director of communications for Department of Health and Environment.

    Some states erroneously claim that their marriage forms are gender-neutral because they specify applicants as “spouses” instead of “bride” and “groom,” a change that was made when marriage equality became the law of the land in 2015. But in some instances, those states continue to ask spouses for their gender and offer just two options.

    Kathryn Dolan, Chief Public Information Officer of the Indiana Supreme Court, notes that the state’s forms only “designates Applicant 1 and Applicant 2.” But Indiana, which quietly began issuing non-binary IDs earlier this month, has also failed to keep pace by updating its marriage application. It asks those applicants to state if they are male or female. Officials there did not respond to multiple requests from NewNowNext to clarify if those with “X” gender markers could marry in the state.

    Minnesota is another example where officials did not respond to a multiple requests to comment on its binary marriage applications.

    Gillian Branstetter, media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality, says the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling should have removed gender from the marriage regulations altogether.

  • 6. FredDorner  |  April 9, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    A number of the Confederate states (like Alabama) still ask about the race of the applicants, supposedly for demographic reasons. I suspect the same excuse will be used to leave the gender boxes on the form despite it being an anachronism.

  • 7. scream4ever  |  April 9, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Czech Prime Minister voices support for same sex marriage:

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 9, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    México: Yucatán: Marriage Equality Bill Is Approved in Committee

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Today, 9 April 2019, by a majority vote, Yucatán's marriage-equality bill (dictamen) passed in the legislative committee (la Comisión de Puntos Constitucionales), and is expected to see a vote in the full state congress tomorrow, 10 April. In committee, the two PAN deputies voted against it.

    Per Juan Pablo Galicia:

    In the full congress, of the 25 members, there are 6 PAN deputies, all of whom are expected to vote against. Since passage requires una Mayoría Calificada (qualified 2/3 majority), we will need 17 votes in favor to assure passage. Of the remaining deputies, there are 4 Morena, 10 PRI, 2 Movimiento Ciudadano, and one each of Nueva Alianza, Verde, and PRD. Out of all of that, we can only afford 2 defections.

    Per Carlos Escoffié‏:

    It should also be noted that PAN's recent distractive move to place the issue on-line as a public web consultation proved to be counter-productive (from their perspective), as the majority of the comments posted were in favor of marriage equality.

  • 9. VIRick  |  April 9, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, Addressed the Senate of Mexico to Legislate for Marriage Equality

    Primer Ministro de Luxemburgo, Xavier Bettel, Llama al Senado de México a Legislar Matrimonio Igualitario

  • 10. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Tasmania Passes Landmark Transgender Rights Reforms

    On Wednesday, 10 April 2019, the Australian state’s parliament passed a bill to permit people 16 or older to change their registered gender and removed requirements for transgender people to undergo surgery in order to have their legal gender recognized. The landmark reforms also boost anti-discrimination protections for trans people, and give new parents the option to leave gender off of birth certificates.

    The bill passed by a vote of 13-12, after Liberal Party of Australia speaker Sue Hickey sided with opposition Labor and Greens MPs in backing reforms against the wishes of the Liberal government.

    Tasmania was the last Australian state to decriminalize gay sex, only doing so in 1997. Prior to that, gay sex could be punished with up to 21 years in jail. Today, it moved to the very forefront on transgender rights.

  • 11. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Cayman Islands: Appeal Court Blocks Same-Sex Wedding, Government Stay Granted

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Today, Wednesday, 10 April 2019, the Court of Appeal blocked Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s same-sex marriage ruling from taking effect, effectively stopping same-sex couple, Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden-Bush, from getting married.

    The Appeal panel, consisting of Appeal Court President Hon. Sir John Goldring and Justices of Appeal Hon. Sir Richard Field and Hon. C. Dennis Morrison, ruled in favor of the Government this afternoon, thus preventing the judgment from taking effect until Government’s appeal of the Chief Justice’s ruling is completed. That appeal will be heard in August.

    In the meantime, Ms. Day and her partner cannot get married in the Cayman Islands.

  • 12. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Chile: Court of Appeals to Hear Marriage Equality Case

    Per Rex Wockner:

    The Santiago Court of Appeals will hear a marriage-equality case on Thursday, 11 April 2018, after the Chilean Supreme Court sent the case back to them after the lower court had dismissed it. The Supreme Court said the Civil Registry's refusal to let a gay couple marry may be unconstitutional:

    This Thursday Arguments in Favor of Equal Marriage Will Be Made

    Este Jueves se Realizarán los Alegatos en Favor del Matrimonio Igualitario

    Este jueves, 11 de abril, a partir de las 08:30 horas, se llevarán a cabo en la Octava Sala de la Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago los alegatos a favor del matrimonio igualitario, luego de que Ramón Gómez Roa y Gonzalo Velásquez presentaran un recurso de protección en donde acusan al Estado de Chile de vulnerar sus derechos humanos al prohibirles el vínculo. En la ocasión, la pareja con 19 años de relación, irá acompañada de la abogada del Movilh, Mónica Arias, quien representa legalmente a los recurrentes.

    This Thursday, 11 April 2019, from 08:30 AM, the Eighth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago will hear the arguments in favor of equal marriage, after Ramón Gómez Roa and Gonzalo Velásquez presented a protection order in which they accuse the State of Chile of violating their human rights by forbidding them to marry. At that time, the couple, who are in a 19-year relationship, will be accompanied by Movilh's lawyer, Monica Arias, who legally represents the appellants.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Yucatán: Full State Congress Rejects Marriage Equality, 15-9

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Yucatán: Rechaza el Pleno del Congreso de Yucatán Matrimonio Igualitario, 15-9

  • 14. Mechatron12  |  April 10, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Sigh. Hateful to the very end. So when do we think Mexico may have full equality? 2030?

  • 15. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    The name to remember from the negative, secret vote taken today, 10 April 2019, in the Yucatán state congress is that of the hateful Rosa Adriana Díaz Lizama, the leader of the PAN bloc of deputies, the individual responsible for engineering much of it, everything from the recent, distracting "web consultation," which ultimately backfired on her, to today's secret vote.

    One PAN deputy, Kathia Bolio, was absent from today's vote, so at maximum, PAN could only provide 5 of the negative votes. Thus, all of the remaining 10 votes against came from the 10 PRI deputies, despite the fact that the present measure being voted upon came from the PRI governor.

    Based on discussion prior to the vote, 7 of the 9 votes in favor were thus: 4 Morena, 2 MC, and 1 PRD. Although neither of the others spoke, the 2 remaining favorable votes came from the sole Nueva Alianza and the sole Verde deputies.

    Thanks to Cindy Aparicio, who was present for the vote, we have a very accurate understanding of the direction in which the deputies voted, despite this being a supposed "secret" vote done with ballots.

    Note: Today, 11 April 2019, as confirmation, the Nueva Alianza deputy spoke to state that they had indeed voted in favor of marriage equality. Also, although without a single deputy in the state congress, the Partido del Trabajo Yucatán (PT) blasted yesterday's negative vote against marriage equality.

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  April 10, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Russian court sides with transgender woman who sued employer

    ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — A court in St. Petersburg has sided with a transgender woman who has sued her employer over discrimination.

    The ruling marks the first time that a Russian court has recognized workplace discrimination against a transgender person.

    The court on Tuesday ordered a printing company to hire back the woman, whom it fired after she changed her ID from male to female in 2017, and pay her damages.

    Her lawyer Maks Olenichev said the woman has been reinstated at her job and awarded 10,000 rubles ($155) for emotional distress and 1.85 million rubles ($28,500) for lost income. Olenichev said the verdict “will give a confidence boost to transgender people to defend their rights in Russia.”

  • 17. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Uruguay: 6th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Matias Ponce:

    Hace 6 años, nuestro país del Uruguay abrió más derechos, permitió más libertad y mejor calidad de vida con la aprobación de matrimonio igualitario. Para muchas/os, esto nos permitió soñar con un futuro más humano y diverso. Todo esto sin cercenar ningún derecho a nadie.

    Six years ago, our country of Uruguay opened more rights, allowed more freedom and a better quality of life with the approval of equal marriage. For many, this allowed us to dream of a more human and diverse future. All this without cutting off any rights to anyone else.

  • 18. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Ecuador: Ombudsman's Office in Favor of Marriage Equality

    Per Defensoría del Pueblo (Ombudsman's Office):‏

    Pancho Hurtado C, Adjunto DDHH y la Naturaleza, brinda una entrevista a "Día a Día Ecuador" para subrayar la posición institucional en referencia al matrimonio igualitario y la tutela de derechos de las parejas de la comunidad LGTBI en el territorio nacional.

    Pancho Hurtado C, Deputy Director of Human Rights and Nature (the Environment), provides an interview to "Día a Día Ecuador" to highlight the institutional position in reference to equal marriage and the protection of the rights of couples in the LGTBI community within the national territory.

    Note: In Ecuador, the same governmental department in charge of defending human rights is also in charge of protecting the environment.

    Note to Arturo: In legal matters, "la Defensoría" (the defense) is on the opposite side from "la Procuraduría" (the prosecution).

  • 19. VIRick  |  April 10, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Aguascalientes: SCJN to Notify Congress about Changes in the Civil Code on Equal Marriage

    Aguascalientes: SCJN Notificará al Congreso sobre Cambios en el Código Civil sobre Matrimonio Igualitario

    Per "La Jornada Aguascalientes," 10 April 2019:

    Será en unos días cuando la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) notificará oficialmente al Congreso del Estado de Aguascalientes respecto a la resolución que emitió hace unos días en el sentido de que en los Artículos 143, 144, y 113 bis se anulan, los párrafos que señalan que el matrimonio es posible solamente entre un hombre y una mujer con fines de procreación, lo que abre la posibilidad de que parejas del mismo sexo accedan al enlace matrimonial por esta vía.

    Una vez que sea participado el Poder Legislativo local, será posible que las personas del mismo sexo contraigan matrimonio sin necesidad de recurrir a la figura legal del amparo.

    In a few days, the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) will officially notify the Aguascalientes State Congress regarding the ruling issued a few days ago annulling Articles 143, 144, and 113 bis, the paragraphs that indicate that marriage is possible only between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation, which opens the possibility for same-sex couples to access marriage in this way.

    Once the state Legislative Branch is involved, it will be possible for same-sex couples to marry without having to resort to the legal process of obtaining an amparo.

    Per "El Heraldo Aguascalientes," 10 April 2019:

    El matrimonio igualitario ya es válido en Aguascalientes y la reforma que hagan los diputados al Código Civil será mero trámite, señaló la presidenta del Poder Judicial Estatal, Gabriela Espinosa Castorena.

    Marriage equality is already valid in Aguascalientes, so the reform made by the deputies to the Civil Code will be a mere formality, said the president of the State Judicial Branch, Gabriela Espinosa Castorena.

  • 20. VIRick  |  April 11, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Aguascalientes: State Congress Awaits the Ruling from the Supreme Court

    Per "La Jornada Aguascalientes," 11 April 2019:

    El Congreso de Aguascalientes Espera la Resolución de la SCJN

    El Congreso del Estado se encuentra en espera de ser notificado por parte de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) respecto al dictamen que pide sean anulados varios párrafos del Código Civil del Estado que abre las puertas al matrimonio igualitario.

    La notificación que habrá de emitir al Legislativo local no habrá de ser tema para discutir en comisiones, sino que se deberá acatar la decisión de la SCJN.

    El presidente de la bancada del PAN, Juan Guillermo Alaniz de León, aseveró que una vez que se reciba de manera oficial el documento, se le dará seguimiento de manera puntual, ya que por el momento lo que se analizó fue la controversia de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) respecto a la inconstitucionalidad de Ley del Isssspea y el tema de las pensiones; lo que hizo evidente que desconoce aún la resolución de la SCJN que va más allá de este tema.

    The State Congress is waiting to be notified by the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) regarding the ruling that calls for several paragraphs of the State Civil Code to be annulled, opening the way for marriage equality.

    The notification that will be issued to the state legislature will not be subject to discussion in committee, but rather, the decision of the SCJN must be implemented.

    The chairman of the PAN caucus, Juan Guillermo Alaniz de León, said that once the document is officially received, it will be followed up in a timely manner, since for the moment what was analyzed was the challenge from the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) regarding the unconstitutionality of the Isssspea Law and the issue of pensions; which made it evident that he still does not know that the ruling from the SCJN goes well beyond this topic.

  • 21. VIRick  |  April 11, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Netherlands: Government Expands Transgender Rights

    Transgender children in the Netherlands are now able to change their gender on passports before the age of 16, while trans adults can self-identify without a doctor’s statement. Children seeking to have their gender legally recognized will be able to do so by requesting a court date.

    The path to legal recognition has also been made easier for people aged 16 and above, who can now change their gender marker without a statement from a doctor or psychologist. Under the new process, individuals will be given four weeks to cancel a change in legal gender before it becomes permanent.

    Intersex and non-binary people in the Netherlands can apply for the gender marker X, but must do so through the courts without any guarantees. Leonne Zeegers became the first Dutch person to receive a gender-neutral passport in October 2018, following a two-year legal battle.

    In addition, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Pakistan, India, and Nepal have also introduced gender-neutral passports.

  • 22. VIRick  |  April 11, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Arizona: Attorney-General Refuses to Defend "No Promo Homo" Law

    The attorney-general of Arizona said that he will not defend the state’s anti-LGBTQ curriculum law. Arizona has a law that bans schools from portraying “homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle” and from teaching safer sex methods for gay people.

    Last month, Equality Arizona and others sued Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman in federal court, arguing that the anti-LGBTQ curriculum law violates LGBTQ students’ Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights. Now, Arizona Attorney-General Mark Brnovich says that he won’t defend the law in court. Normally, the state attorney-general represents state agencies in court.

    Brnovich sent a letter to state House Speaker Rusty Bowers and state Senate President Karen Fann to inform them of his decision and to give them “adequate time and information to make an informed decision” about whether the state legislature will defend the law with its own attorneys. The state attorney-general’s office said that the anti-LGBTQ curriculum law “is probably susceptible to being struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,” even if it could be defended in court. A spokesperson for Bowers said that the state house is more focused on repealing the law than on defending it in court.

    While Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman is a named defendant in the suit because of her elected office, she too has called for the state legislature to repeal the law.

  • 23. JayJonson  |  April 12, 2019 at 7:02 am

    Isn't this the law that the legislature and the governor have just repealed? If so, the lawsuit is moot. It may be, however, that the lawsuit has prompted the repeal.

  • 24. VIRick  |  April 12, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Jay, "Yes" and "Yes" on both points. The lawsuit is now moot, but it definitely would appear as if it forced the repeal of a very antiquated, anti-LGBT law that was still on the books, much to the trepidation of teachers and instructors. I know because I once worked in that capacity in that state.

    Arizona: "No Promo Homo" Law Repealed

    Arizona’s controversial “no promo homo” law is gone. On Thursday, 11 April 2019, Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation repealing sections of the state sex-education law that prohibited teachers from "promoting homosexuality as a positive lifestyle." The same law also spelled out that if schools teach about “safe sex” they cannot say there is any such possibility when it involves homosexual conduct.

    His action came less than an hour after a 19-10 vote by the Senate; the House approved the same measure on Wednesday, 10 April, with a 55-5 margin.

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Six other states still maintain such laws: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina.

  • 25. VIRick  |  April 11, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Alabama: Up-Date on Anti-LGBT Effort to End Marriage Licenses

    Under a bill approved 26-0 by the Alabama Senate last month, all couples who want to marry would obtain and fill out a form at their county courthouse, but it would not be called a marriage license. Probate judges, the county officials who have traditionally granted licenses, would simply record the form rather than issue a license.

    The bill, approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, 10 April 2019, now goes to the full House of Representatives. The legislation is an accommodation to bigoted probate judges, some of whom have ceased issuing marriage licenses to all couples in order to avoid approving them for same-sex couples.

  • 26. VIRick  |  April 11, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Nuevo León: Two Municipal Civil Registries Deny Same-Sex Couples Their Right to Marry

    According to this report, on two separate occasions within recent weeks (since marriage equality has become legalized in Nuevo León), the State Director-General of the Civil Registry, Fernando Marín, has had to intervene, once in the municipality of Apodaca, and even more recently in the municipality of Pesquería, in order for two different same-sex couples, one male, and the other female, to be able to exercise their right to marry.

    Both adjacent municipalities are within the greater Monterrey metro area.

    Turning this report around, it does prove that marriage equality is now being implemented in Nuevo León, even if certain local officials there are too timid to carry out the simple civil procedure on their own initiative. It is also reassuring to learn that the state director-general of the civil registry is actively supervising and insisting that they proceed.

  • 27. JayJonson  |  April 12, 2019 at 11:29 am

    I am glad that sometimes discrimination has consequences. Does anyone remember this case? A town clerk in Root, New York refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple. They sued and, it seems, received a $25,000 settlement and a public apology from the clerk. The apology was recently delivered, as described in the link below. Do any of you remember more about this incident and the lawsuit?

    I found an earlier news item about the incident. It seems that Lambda Legal was going to represent the couple if the town didn't settle. The town refused, and then presumably Lambda sued. The matter apparently is still pending at the New York Human Rights commission.

    I hope the outcome makes clear that city and town officials are not allowed to discriminate against gay couples seeking marriage licenses whatever their religious beliefs.

  • 28. VIRick  |  April 12, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    New York: Small Town Clerk Apologizes for Refusing Marriage License to Gay Couple

    Sherrie Eriksen, the clerk for the small town of Root, New York, made national news when she refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple in late 2018. Now she’s done something no other anti-gay clerk has ever done, by publicly apologizing for her bigoted actions and the hurt they caused the community.

    When Thomas Hurd and Dylan Toften applied for a license, Eriksen turned them away. She said they didn’t have an appointment and that she opposed same-sex marriages based on her religious beliefs. The denial ricocheted around the internet after Toften posted about it on social media. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered to perform their wedding ceremony and launched an investigation into the matter.

    Eriksen “didn’t process the two men’s marriage license application because they failed to make an appointment with her, as everyone is required by her office to do,” town attorney, Robert Subik, stated to the "Daily Gazette." Still, he admitted that her religious beliefs also played a major role in her refusal. “She has a religious objection and has referred the matter to her deputy clerk, who has no such objection and who will issue the license when they make an appointment,” Subik said. “The clerks are both part-time and don’t man the office Monday through Friday. Of course, the two men are free to go to another jurisdiction to obtain their license.”

    However, the town settled a lawsuit brought by the men for $25,000, plus a public apology from Eriksen, an apology which was made on 10 April 2019. “It is my responsibility to provide marriage licenses to all couples, regardless of sex or sexual orientation,” said Eriksen during her apology. She stressed that no more licenses would be denied.

    “She did acknowledge that there was an injustice done, and she’s vowed to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and that’s what this was all about,” Hurd said. Toften and Hurd got a license in a different city. They are now married.

    Note: This article contains an imbedded video of the clerk making her public apology.

    Root, New Tork, is located upstate in rural Montgomery county, southwest of Amsterdam, quite some distance from Rye, New York, located in Westchester County, right on Long Island Sound, directly abutting the Connecticut state line. Rye, New York, is innocent.

  • 29. FredDorner  |  April 12, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    While the apology was no doubt part of the settlement it's still nice to see that she did it. In the long run that apology is worth more than the $25K. Other bigoted theocrats like Kim Davis have refused to issue any apology at all for the harm they caused.

  • 30. JayJonson  |  April 12, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Is the dispute really over? Isn't the clerk subject to discipline from the New York Commission on Human Rights? Or will her apology and the $25,000 paid to the couple end the dispute. Did they withdraw their complaint in response to the settlement?

    I agree that the apology (and, more important, the pledge to no longer discriminate) is valuable, but I am glad that the town had to pay out real money. I hope that the voters consider that when the Town Clerk comes up for reelection, and also when the council members who supported her come up for reelection.

    Does anyone know whether Governor Cuomo officiated the marriage of Toften and Hurd?

  • 31. FredDorner  |  April 12, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    I agree completely.

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