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President Trump’s ban on transgender military servicemembers goes into effect today

Transgender Rights

The Pentagon. Attribution: Wikipedia
The Pentagon. Attribution: Wikipedia
The Washington Blade reports:

The Pentagon initiated Friday the transgender military ban in accordance with Trump administration plans for the policy, returning the U.S. military to restrictions on LGBT service that harken to the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Transgender service members — who had been able to serve openly and obtain transition-related health care since the final year of the Obama administration in 2016 — will now face significant impediments on their service and an outright ban for many of them seeking to enlist.

More information about the policy that takes effect today is here.


  • 1. VIRick  |  April 12, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    British Virgin Islands: Up-Date on Reverberations from Cayman Islands Marriage Equality Case

    I love this article from the weekly "BVI News" of 12 April 2019. Here's the opening sentence:

    "Activists believe the decision by a court in the Cayman Islands to legalize same-sex unions could have repercussions for other British Overseas Territories (OT’s), such as the British Virgin Islands."

    No, not exactly. The Deputy Premier of the British Virgin Islands himself, Dr. Natalio Wheatley, made that astutely accurate observation on 2 April 2019 to the competition, the "BVI Beacon," a comment that was then published by them a week ago, on 5 April 2019, in an extended, precisely-worded, original documentary feature article, one which I copied almost word-for-word, and disseminated far and wide. And this was certainly not the first time that the "BVI Beacon" has published such carefully-researched, original, pro-marriage-equality treatises, such that I am certain that said information has been shared and carefully studied in many other British Caribbean Territories (including the many independent ex-British countries which share the same judicial system, a series of dominos all waiting to fall),– and not just from its mere re-publication here at "Equality on Trial."

    In any case, here's their brief article, blaming mysterious, un-named "activists:"….

    Still, to be fair, the news must be disseminated to all levels of the general public that there is no law in the British Virgin Islands to prevent same-sex marriage,– only the customary day-to-day practice,– thus making it the British Overseas Territory next-in-line.

    If stating said facts is "activism," then so be it.

  • 2. FredDorner  |  April 13, 2019 at 11:22 am

    I loved this sentence: "In the meantime, a United Kingdom report released in February this year is pushing for the BVI and other OT’s to, among other things, impose same-sex marriages."

    As if equal rights for all is an imposition on anyone.

  • 3. VIRick  |  April 13, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Fred, you found another one! And that is such a brief article.

    That news source, the "BVI News," is not at all LGBT-friendly, quite unlike the "BVI Beacon," which has been pushing the inevitability of marriage equality being both the legal reality and the actual practice within the territory in the very near future, while subtlely dropping reminders that the legal reality is actually already there.

  • 4. VIRick  |  April 12, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Mississippi: US District Court Judge Carlton Reeves

    Per Mark Joseph Stern and Equality Case Files:

    Reeves, appointed by President Barack Obama to the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, has issued a series of pathbreaking decisions protecting the rights of women and minorities. He struck down Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban; invalidated a law banning abortions after 15 weeks, dismissing its ostensible goal of protecting women’s health as 'pure gaslighting'; and threw out a racial gerrymander designed to dilute black citizens’ votes.

    On Thursday, 11 April 2019, he delivered an extraordinary speech upon receiving the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law. The address is a powerful defense of diversity and equality, as well as a grave warning that, as Reeves put it: 'We are now eyewitnesses to the third great assault on our judiciary' — one led by Trump."….

  • 5. bayareajohn  |  April 13, 2019 at 11:56 am

    That link is 404, but Judge Reeves can be witnessed at this URL… and he should be. Powerful, a must see. This link is free but repeated views will trigger a paywall.

  • 6. bayareajohn  |  April 14, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Rick, Here's an attempt to get the link that didn't work in your post. A really filled-out story.

    And the whole HOUR LONG address can be heard here. An hour well spent with someone we can only hope to eventually be on the SCOTUS – after the Trump debacle pulls its walls in on itself.

  • 7. VIRick  |  April 12, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    US Trans Troops Return to "Dark Days" under New Policy

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The US military is returning to the era of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies, said troops and LGBT+ groups, as new rules that will ban most openly transgender people from serving came into effect today, Friday, 12 April 2019. They said the new policy would force trans military members to choose between transition and their job and result in increased stigma and mental health issues.

    "With the implementation of this transgender military ban, our nation is once again shamefully forcing brave American heroes to hide who they are in order to serve," said Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association. "By dragging us backward into the dark days of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' the Trump-Pence administration is inflicting tremendous harm on our service members, their families, and the military as a whole."

    The Department of Defense said not all trans military members would be affected.

    More than 10,000 transgender people may be serving in the U.S. military across active service and reserves, according to a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, a think tank. But they have rarely been able to be open about their identity or transition while serving.

    While the official "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prevented sexual minorities from serving openly was brought to an end in 2011, it was only in 2016 that former President Barack Obama lifted restrictions barring trans people. That policy was reversed by Trump, on the basis that trans people cause "tremendous medical costs and disruption" to the military.

    The new policy bars those who have transitioned or are openly transgender from enlisting after today, while troops who come out as trans while serving after today will be discharged. But it allows members of the armed forces who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria during the Obama policy to remain in the military and serve according to their gender identity.

    The litigation continues.….

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 12, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Perú: The Next Equal Marriage Recognition Challenge

    Per José García:

    Me estaré casando el 21 de mayo 2019 en UK, e inscribiré el matrimonio en RENIEC, todos por la causa del matrimonio igualitario.

    I will be getting married on 21 May 2019 in the UK, and I will inscribe the marriage with RENIEC, all for the cause of equal marriage.

  • 9. asteris222  |  April 12, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you for your work!<img src="; style="display: none !important;" width="1" hidden="">

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  April 13, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Vermont marriage equality turns ten

    On April 7, 2009, the House voted to override Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Vermont. The move made Vermont the first state to pass a marriage equality law, leading to similar measures in other New England states and eventually federal action.

    Beth Robinson (Vermont Supreme Court Justice, Vermont Freedom to Marry chair in 2009, co-counsel in Baker v. Vermont trial in 1999): "Although it was the most protective law then in the country for same sex couples and their families, it was also a compromise. Certainly many elected leaders took enormous political risks, and some lost their seats as a result of supporting that. But it also fell short of the goal we were seeking. For one, the separation created a sense of exclusion, a sense of stigma, sense that the civil unions were something less. And for two, I’ll never forget a friend of mine, who — his own father had declined to come to a civil union ceremony, and then in the mid-aughts, went to his brother’s marriage to another man in Massachusetts. I originally heard that story and I thought, Oh, that’s a real testament to the father’s evolution over the course of those years. And what my friend said was actually, no, that’s not what it was about. I asked my dad, and he said, Well, what you had was a civil union. And I don’t know what exactly that is. But I know it’s not for me. But your brother got married, and I’ve been married to your mom for the better part of my life. And I’ll be damned if I miss my son’s marriage. The story really drove home the ways in which creating something new, that didn’t plug into a sort of common understanding and language, really denied couples who wanted to be married something very important."

    Bill Lippert: "People forget, but the anti-civil union fervor in the House during the next four years was really difficult. It was downright nasty. During that period, we lost our majority. We lost the pro-civil union majority in the elections that fall in the House. I was at the time still the only openly gay member of the General Assembly, House or Senate. I asked to be seated still on the Judiciary Committee in the House, even though it had an anti-civil union majority. I think it was every Tuesday was testimony to repeal civil unions. The tension in that room was, at times, horrific. And in the Statehouse itself, “seminars” were occasionally running in Room 11, Room 10 downstairs, about why homosexuality was immoral. This place was palpably anti-gay. It’s important to note that many of my colleagues were very nervous. And I have to say I was as well to a degree. But many people had been defeated because they’d supported civil unions, Republicans and Democrats. So the idea of continuing to work toward yet another climactic engagement of this issue was, frankly, terrifying for numbers of our colleagues."

    (Continued in next comment)

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  April 13, 2019 at 3:51 am

    (Continued from prior comment)

    Beth Robinson: "The timetable was greatly compressed. It was all within several days. But there was an intervening weekend. And going into the intervening weekend, it looked like they were three votes shy of enough votes to override a veto. There wasn’t a lot of time to think. You can just imagine. The organization, the Freedom to Marry task force, got boatloads of Tracfones and was sending volunteers door to door, knocking on houses in the districts of the legislators who were sort of in the swing districts. They talked to people, and if people were supportive they’d dial the legislator’s number and hand them the phone and say, Tell your legislator. It was that kind of intensive outreach. When I went home Monday night, I didn’t think we had the votes. And I will confess that it was for me, the lowest moment in the entire 15 year saga. I was devastated."

    Bill Lippert: "We came into the chamber that day not knowing for certain that we had all the votes we needed. There were several particular members who were really wavering. There were several members who in one setting they would say they were going to vote for the override, and to others, they would say that they were not."

    (Continued in next comment)

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  April 13, 2019 at 3:52 am

    (Continued from prior comment)

    Shap Smith: "I remember when I knew that we had the vote. Floyd visited a particular member in Burlington who was at the airport, and was trying to convince him to switch his vote. I got a call from Floyd probably around 10 o’clock that night, and this was the night before the override, saying, I think we’ve got this vote. You need to talk to this guy tomorrow. And so the next day, the member came into my office and said that he was going to change his vote — he was going to vote to override — and we knew that we had it."

    "When did you know that the vote was going to come out in your favor?"

    "When David Zuckerman [the last person] cast the last vote."

    Bill Lippert: "So that roll call was incredibly tense. And the final vote was 100 to 49."

    Shap Smith: "It was just an incredible feeling. But it was also a tremendous amount of pressure. And I just remember I walked from the podium back to my office and and wept. Because I knew how important the moment was, but just how stressful it had all been. It was incredible, but it was an incredible amount of pressure. Because I think all of us felt that if we failed, we were going to fail history."

    Bill Lippert: "I choke up remembering it. I remember, it brought tears. I just remember seeing — and then subsequently seeing in the video — Beth Robinson and Susan Murray, sitting here in the Senate seats, just bursting into tears. After years, a decade, more than a decade of laying the groundwork. Fighting, strategizing. The personal toll that it took to stand in the face of what was prejudice and at times overt negative hatred. There were things said in this chamber that were just hard to hear."

    Beth Robinson: "There was a picture of me sobbing in the front page of the New York Times the next day. I didn’t plan that kind of emotional reaction. But it sort of bubbled out. Just a sense of relief, a tremendous relief and gratitude. Gratitude for so much hard work encouraged by so many people, and gratitude for the, I think, relative civility with which Vermonters had this debate the second time around. I appreciated folks, again, not just the folks who were working for the Freedom to Marry, but folks who were standing up respectfully, but sincerely, speaking their mind on the other side."

    Shap Smith: "I remember coming, going out to dinner that night, my wife came down to Montpelier and brought our two kids who were pretty young at that time, and coming into Positive Pie. And then just everybody there standing up and clapping. That was a pretty amazing thing for me to have my kids see."

    Patti Komline: "Everybody that retires from here says that was their most meaningful vote. That’s why, is because you really had an impact on people that deserved it."

  • 13. FredDorner  |  April 13, 2019 at 11:33 am

    It's a shame that equal treatment under the law has ever been a question in the US, but it seems to be the one thing Americans have repeatedly stumbled over and failed to fulfill……even though the end result is both inevitable and obvious. Here's a rather enlightening comparison which Freedom to Marry made many years ago for the 2000 debate in Vermont (it includes some of the bigoted rhetoric from the legislature):

    My own marriage would have been illegal throughout the south when I was growing up, and one of our daughters is now married thanks to this more recent civil rights battle. It's the exact same issue time and time again and the arguments against equal rights are always the exact same recycled and irrational bigotry.

  • 14. VIRick  |  April 13, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Aguascalientes: Another Same-Sex Marriage Has Occurred, Complete with Masonic Rite Ceremony

    Eduardo Altamira Martínez y Marco Antonio García Robles llevan once años juntos como pareja desde que se conocieron a través de un sitio de internet; el primero tiene 30 años y se dedica a la enfermería, mientras que el segundo con 44 años preside la asociación civil VIHDHA y realiza un doctorado en la Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes (UAA).

    Este sábado pasado, 6 de abril 2019, no sólo se convirtieron en unas de las ya más de 20 parejas (veintetantos) del mismo sexo que han logrado contraer matrimonio en el Registro Civil de Aguascalientes, sino que son probablemente la primera pareja de varones que será aceptada en un rito masónico.

    Eduardo Altamira Martínez and Marco Antonio García Robles have been together for eleven years as a couple, ever since they met through an internet site; the first is 30 years old and is dedicated to nursing, while the second, 44 years old, heads the civil association VIHDHA and holds a doctorate at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes (UAA).

    This past Saturday, 6 April 2019, not only did they became one of the more than 20 same-sex couples (twenty something) who have married in the Civil Registry of Aguascalientes, but they are probably the first male couple to be accepted in a Masonic rite.

    This is an extremely extended interview-type article explaining quite a bit of legal detail concerning the entire amparo process. To begin:

    Despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled on 2 April 2019 that the Aguascalientes Civil Code was unconstitutional in prohibiting same-sex marriage, and that amparos will soon no longer be needed by same-sex couples, the couple in question already had an approved amparo to marry, and thus went ahead with the ceremony at the Civil Registry, one which was then followed by a second ceremony in the Masonic Rite.

    They pointed out that the Civil Registry is no longer challenging judicially-granted amparos for same-sex couples, because to do so and inevitably lose on appeal, would only add to the jurisprudence which the Supreme Court will later be able to utilize against the state when forming a judgment to declare a "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality" against it, the main method by which we will finally win in the last of the recalcitrant states.

    They also noted that for the last several years, the town of La Chona (municipality of Encarnación de Díaz), Jalisco, which directly abuts against the state of Aguascalientes on the far northeastern edge of Jalisco, has been quickly processing and quietly marrying a steady stream of same-sex couples from both Aguascalientes and Zacatecas (as well as other states), given that Jalisco state has had marriage equality since 2016, while the other two states (and others in the immediate region) still do not. La Chona is yet one more example of an obscure town in the heart of Mexico taking positive advantage of its location while being quite accommodating to same-sex couples.

    The Civil Registry of Aguascalientes has lost count of precisely how many same-sex couples (with amparo) have already married within the state (but something over 20), because even more amparos have been judicially granted, any number of which have yet to be utilized (given that there is no expiration date) by the couples in question.

    VIHDHA = HIV Human Rights Aguascalientes

  • 15. VIRick  |  April 14, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    California National Guard Defies Trump Transgender Troop Ban

    The California National Guard will continue to welcome transgender troops despite a military-wide ban. On 12 April 2019, the Trump ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces went into effect. However, California’s National Guard has made clear that it will not be following suit in adopting the policy.

    Transgender soldiers will remain in the California National Guard. Major General Matthew Beevers told "The Hill" that the gender identity of soldiers is “the least of our concerns.” He said: “Every [transgender] soldier or airmen currently serving in the California National Guard will remain in our ranks. We will not treat any soldier or airmen any differently today than we did yesterday.” The general added that the guard “will explore every avenue to ensure that [transgender] people who want to serve in the California National Guard are afforded every opportunity to serve. Anybody who is willing and able to serve state and nation should have the opportunity to serve. It’s unconscionable in my mind that we would fundamentally discriminate against a certain class of people based on their gender identity."

  • 16. VIRick  |  April 14, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    It’s Official: Mayor Pete Buttigieg Declares 2020 Presidential Campaign

    On 14 April 2019, before a crowd of adoring supporters in South Bend who braved the rain to hear him speak, Pete Buttigieg made his 2020 presidential campaign official by declaring he would pursue the Democratic nomination to run for the White House.

    “I’m here to join you to make a little news,” Buttigieg said. “My name is Pete Buttigieg. I am a proud son of South Bend IN and I am running for president of the United States.”

    Previously, the South Bend mayor had formed an exploratory committee for a possible presidential run, but hadn’t yet declared his candidacy. His announcement changed that, making his campaign official.

    Prior to his announcement, campaign staffers warmed up the crowd at the rally with a chant holding up three separate signs guiding attendees in saying Buttigieg’s often mispronounced name: “Boot-Edge-Edge.”

    Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton OH, heaped praise on Buttigieg during the rally in a speech explaining her support for her fellow mayor.

    Note: I suspect that the correct syllabification for his surname is: BOO-te-dgedg, but BOOT-EDGE-EDGE is close enough, and makes for an excellent, repeating rally chant.

  • 17. JayJonson  |  April 15, 2019 at 7:11 am

    The best speech endorsing Mayor Pete before he appeared was that by Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas. The speech was well delivered and cogent, explaining how Mayor Pete provided leadership to other mayors. He noted the irony that he looks up to a man who is younger and shorter than he is and is mayor of a city that is considerably smaller than Austin. I can't help but think that the endorsement from the mayor of Texas's iconic liberal city is a rebuke of Beto O'Rourke.

  • 18. VIRick  |  April 14, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Yucatán: Possible "Action of Unconstitutionality" against State

    Ever since the Yucatán congress voted in the negative against the legalization of marriage equality, there has been much discussion about the filing of an "Action of Unconstitutionality" against the state.

    Per Carlos Escoffié:

    El titular de la CODHEY debe decidir si asumir en serio su papel y presentar una "Acción de Inconstitucionalidad" por el tema de matrimonio igualitario en Yucatán, o darle la espalda a su mandato y seguir los pasos de su antecesor, Jorge Victoria.

    Hay obstáculos legales para la procedencia de una "Acción de Inconstitucionalidad" contra el estado de Yucatán, pero no insalvables. En todo caso, el Presidente de la Comisión de los Derechos Humanos del Estado de Yucatán (CODHEY) debe pronunciar su postura sobre el tema de matrimonio igualitario y, en su caso, justificar su decisión de presentarla o no.

    The head of CODHEY must decide whether to take his role seriously and present an "Action of Unconstitutionality" concerning the issue of marriage equality in Yucatán, or turn his back on his mandate and follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Jorge Victoria.

    There are legal obstacles to the filing of an "Action of Unconstitutionality" against the state of Yucatán, but they are not insurmountable. In any case, the President of the Human Rights Commission of the State of Yucatán (CODHEY) must state his position on the issue of marriage equality, and then, as appropriate, justify his decision whether or not to present it (that is, whether or not to file an "Action of Unconstitutionality").

  • 19. VIRick  |  April 14, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Ecuador: Attorney-General's Office Pronounces on Marriage Equality

    Per Procuraduría General de Ecuador‏:

    El matrimonio está definido en el Artículo 67 de la Constitución de la República del Ecuador como la unión entre hombre y mujer, por lo que, para cambiar esta figura es necesaria una reforma de la norma constitucional.

    Per Attorney-General's Office Ecuador:

    Marriage is defined in Article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador as the union between a man and a woman, so, to change this wording, a reform of the constitution is necessary.

    Per Fredy Lobato:

    Vaya! El 14 de abril 2019, la Procuraduría se pronuncia antes que la Corte Constitucional del Ecuador emita una resolución sobre las demandas de matrimonio igualitario?
    1.- Las Opiniones Consultivas de la CIDH sí son vinculantes para los estados parte de la convención americana.
    2.- Los derechos no deben consultarse.

    Go away! On 14 April 2019, the Attorney-General's Office pronounces itself prior to the Constitutional Court of Ecuador issuing its resolution on the demands for marriage equality?
    1.- The Consultative Opinions of the CIDH are binding on the states that are party to the American Convention.
    2.- Rights should not be consulted (that is, not be voted upon).

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