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First briefs filed in upcoming Title VII LGBT employment discrimination case in SCOTUS


Yesterday, the groups representing plaintiffs who faced employment discrimination based on being LGBT filed their briefs in the Supreme Court.

The brief in Bostock v. Clayton County, GA, is here.

The brief in Altitude Express v. Zarda, which is consolidated with Bostock, is here.

The brief in R.G. v. G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC and Aimee Stephens is here.

Altitude Express and Bostock involve employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Funeral Homes case involves employment discrimination based on gender identity and asks two questions: 1) whether discrimination based on transgender status violates Title VII, and 2) whether the same discrimination is “sex stereotyping” under the Supreme Court’s decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins.

The first link in this piece is to the Equality Case Files page and they have more information there as well. Response briefs are due August 16.


  • 1. VIRick  |  June 28, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Hawaii: Governor Signs 3 pro-LGBTQ Bills into Law

    On 26 June 2019, the governor of Hawaii signed three LGBTQ bills into law:

    1. a ban on the "gay panic" and "transgender panic" defenses,
    2. a "conversion therapy" ban, specifically to include gender identity,
    3. a measure allowing non-binary gender markers on state IDs.

    Governor David Ige (D) signed a law giving applicants a third option in addition to male and female for drivers’ licenses: an “X.” The new option will be available starting in July 2020. Hawaii will be the 16th state to allow non-binary gender markers on state IDs.

    “This measure returns us closer to the inclusive society of Native Hawaiians, who celebrated expressions of gender beyond masculinity and femininity,” said Khara Jabola-Carolus of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.

    As for banning the "gay panic' and "transgender panic" defenses, this measure now makes Hawaii the 7th state to specifically do so.

    As for banning "conversion therapy," the bill just signed into law clarifies that the original "conversion therapy" ban refers to attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation OR gender identity, not just sexual orientation, as some had interpreted the original law to mean.

  • 2. VIRick  |  June 28, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Baja California Sur: Same-Sex Marriages Begin from Tomorrow, 29 June 2019

    Per Rex Wockner:

    That was fast! The passage on 27 June 2019 of the marriage equality law by the Baja California Sur state congress has already been published in the Official Bulletin as Decreto 2624, and was issued today, 28 June. Thus, it will officially take effect from tomorrow, 29 June. Go get married starting tomorrow, folks.

    The official notice is here, published in the "Boletín Oficial," dated 28 June 2019, and marked as an "extraordinario:"

    Late last night, when Gonzalo Kinnich presented a tally showing which BCS deputies had voted in favor, and who voted against, he claimed that the PRD deputy was one of the 5 against. At the time, I assumed this had to be an error, and thus, did not quote him on this point. However, quite amazingly, I was wrong, and he was correct:

    Per "El Sudcaliforniano:"

    PRD Mexico expulsará a la diputada estatal de BCS, Maricela Pineda, PRD, quien votó en contra del matrimonio igualitario.

    PRD Mexico will expel the state deputy from BCS, Maricela Pineda, PRD, who voted against equal marriage.

    And just for fun, but this time without translating it, starting from tomorrow, and quite a bit quicker than anyone could have imagined, those not in accord, like Maricela, can follow these precise instructions, "Per Yisus:"

    Per Yisus (Jesús Balderas of Los Cabos, BCS):

    Hoy se aprobó el matrimonio igualitario en BCS y a quien no esté de acuerdo, pues que no vaya a las bodas gays y ya que vaya la chingada.

  • 3. VIRick  |  June 28, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Zacatecas: Committee Vote on Marriage Equality Is Pushed Back/Delayed

    Per Rodolfo Márquez‏:

    Ayer, 27 de junio 2019, se rechazó en comisiones del Congreso de Zacatecas discutir la iniciativa de matrimonio igualitario. La postura del PRI de Zacatecas no sorprende, ellos tienen línea de Dra Cris Rodríguez de Tello (la esposa del gobernador). El voto que mato está discusión fue del diputado de Movimiento Ciudadano (MC).

    Yesterday, 27 June 2019, the united committees of the Zacatecas Congress rejected discussing the equal marriage initiative. The position of the PRI of Zacatecas is not surprising, they towed the line of Dra Cris Rodríguez de Tello (the governor's wife). The vote that killed this discussion was from the deputy of Movimiento Ciudadano (MC).

    Per Raymundo Moreno:

    Desafortunadamente las Comisiones Unidas de la legislatura de Zacatecas, después de una larga jornada, mandaron la votación del Dictamen sobre matrimonio igualitario al siguiente periodo ordinario.

    Unfortunately, the United Commissions of the legislature of Zacatecas, after a long day, voted to delay the vote on the draft bill on equal marriage until the next ordinary period.

  • 4. VIRick  |  June 28, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Oaxaca: Congress Analyzing Marriage Equality Bill

    Per "Diario El Fortín:"

    El Congreso del Estado de Oaxaca analiza la modificación al Artículo 143 del Código Civil, para reconocer el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo. La diputada Magaly López Domínguez, Morena, aseguró que "la iniciativa es una prioridad para vivir en una sociedad igualitaria."

    The Congress of the State of Oaxaca is analyzing the modification to Article 143 of the Civil Code in order to recognize marriage between same-sex couples. Deputy Magaly López Domínguez, Morena, said that "the initiative is a priority for living in an egalitarian society."

    Even though the State Director of the Civil Registry has authorized that same-sex marriages can occur statewide, the law in Oaxaca still needs to be changed. Since Morena holds an absolute majority of seats in the 42-member Oaxaca state congress, one expects fairly quick action on this matter.

    These 30 deputies should be in favor:
    26 Morena
    03 PT
    01 PRD

    These 7 will likely be against:
    01 PAN
    06 PRI

    These 5 are uncertain/unknown:
    03 PES
    02 Verde

  • 5. VIRick  |  June 29, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Utah Governor Takes Action to Regulate "Conversion Therapy"

    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has taken action that could lead to the regulation of “ex-gay conversion therapy" in a state with a history of widespread use of the discredited practice. In a letter dated 17 June 2019 and made public on Thursday, 27 June, Herbert ordered Utah’s Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing to establish rules to regulate psychological interventions with LGBT youth and prevent unethical practices.

    “This needs to be done in an area that should be governed by the best available science rather than left unregulated or regulated in a manner that is colored by politics,” Herbert writes. “Specifically, I want the state to ethically regulate psychological interventions for minor children regarding their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

    Herbert, a Republican, ordered the proposed rules to be available for public comment no later than 16 September.

  • 6. davepCA  |  June 29, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Well, fine, but if he genuinely wants it to be "governed by the best available science", he will work to abolish the practice of conversion "therapy", since the best available science has long had the consensus that it is nothing but harmful quackery and serves no purpose other than to indulge the ignorance and homophobia of parents at the expense of the welfare of their own children.

  • 7. FredDorner  |  July 2, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Herbert supported the bill to ban the practice but it didn't pass, so "regulating" it out of existence is a good interim strategy since it's not supported by any medical organization.

    I must say that Herbert has evolved a lot given his record as a really dumb bigot who opposed basic civil rights for LGBT folks.

  • 8. VIRick  |  June 30, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    California: 6th Anniversary of Marriage Equaity

    Per Kamala Harris:

    It's been six years this week since marriage equality became the law of the land in California. The fight continues.

  • 9. scream4ever  |  June 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    You mean for the second time lol

  • 10. VIRick  |  June 30, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    LGBT Pride Quotes of the Day

    This past weekend, we have had Pride marches and celebrations everywhere. The best rhyming double-entendre Spanglish "pancarta" (placard) seen so far was that carried by Marcos Alba L., of Valencia, Spain, which he claims his mother helped him make:

    Estoy hasta el culo de tanto machirulo

    I have had it up the ass from too much macho rule
    (I am up to my ass with so much macho rule)

    And this pancarta, noted by Fredy Lobato in the Pride March in Quito, was timely and quite apropos:

    Querido Dios, protégeme del odio de los cristianos

    P.D. Consígueles una vida

    Dear God, protect me from the hatred of the christians

    P.S. Get/find them a life

    And this iconic image of a take-off on "Our Lady of Whoever/Whatever of the Virgin Mary," complete with stabbed heart, by Alicia Dorada in Quito, is worth more than a thousand words, as it brutally mocks that Hazte anti-gay "christian" right-wing group and their disgusting double-entendre slogan:

    The pancarta reads:

    Con mis hijos, no te metas

    Do not get involved with my children
    (With my sons, do not insert yourself)

    Definitely notice that the "o," to signify "sons" and not just the generic "children," is colored in the rainbow colors. That throws their ugly slogan right back at them, in effect, stating, "Do not mess with the LBGT kids through 'conversion therapy.'" The accompanying costuming is brilliant.

  • 11. VIRick  |  June 30, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Germany: 2nd Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    On 30 June 2017, the German Parliament, with 393 votes in favor, approved marriage equality and LGBT adoption rights.

    Spain: 14th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    On 30 June 2005, the Spanish Congress of Deputies approved the draft proposal to modify the Civil Code to allow for marriage equality.

  • 12. VIRick  |  June 30, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    I know for some that Mexico seems like an endless story, but we are gaining, slowly but surely, and now have marriage equality in 19 of the 32 jurisdictions, a 5-state increase since the beginning of the year, with two Supreme Court rulings adding in Nuevo León and Aguascalientes, followed by three state congresses passing the required legislation, all in quick succession, in Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí, and Baja California Sur. This latter follows a 3-year "drought" sine May-June 2016, during which time not a single state congress approved any marriage equality bill. However, more are on the way, as we could gain as many as 6 or 7 additional states of the remaining 13 before 2019 is finished:

    Tabasco: In progress now
    Oaxaca: In progress now
    Veracruz: Passed committees; Final vote not determined, could be soon
    Edomex: Introduced 3 times; To be taken up in September
    Guerrero: Working in it; To be taken up in September
    Sonora: To be debated in September
    Zacatecas: Delayed until September/October
    Tlaxcala: Introduced and working on it
    Durango: Introduced but not much action
    Querétaro: Introduced but not much action
    Guanajuato: No word, no action
    Tamaulipas: No word, no action

    These following two are fighting to be "last in line," although both could be surprised by fresh Supreme Court rulings, as could Tamaulipas:
    Sinaloa: Voted against
    Yucatán: Voted against

  • 13. allan120102  |  June 30, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    I would add that Mexicali in Baja California is still not allowing ssm. Once its done every municipality in BC would have comply. I add Mexicali as its the second most populous municipality in the state just a little back from Tijuana , so a chunk of the population cannot marry in the state unless they travel to other municipality.

  • 14. VIRick  |  June 30, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you, as you are correct, and I forgot.

    Ironically, local officials in the state capital of Baja California, Mexicali, refuse to adhere to their own statewide directive as issued by the state's Secretary of State. That is why die-hard "purists" claim that the congress of each and every last state must pass the required legislation so as to prevent another Mexicali. These states are in that situation:

    Baja California

    The five that had the Supreme Court declare their old law unconstitutional basically ended up with the Supreme Court re-writing their law for them. Since the respective rulings, none of the five have done anything to up-date the unconstitutional portions of their state codes, although Puebla has introduced corrective legislation which has yet to pass.

    At present, same-sex couples resident in Mexicali actually have two options:

    1. They can travel to another municipality in Baja California, and marry there.
    2. They can walk across the border and marry in the Mexican Consulate in Calexico, California.

    Mexicali/Calexico are really one city, with the international border cutting between, just like with Nogales, Sonora/Nogales, Arizona, where same-sex couples can do the same, or with the whole series along the Tamaulipas/Texas border.

    Still, of this entire grouping, I found the story of the same-sex couple who successfully arranged a Texas marriage in the middle of the Reynosa/Hidalgo International Bridge to be quite poignant.

  • 15. davepCA  |  July 1, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    I still don't understand the process or the current situation in Mexico – The 2015 Mexican Supreme Court ruling concluded that 'all state bans on same sex marriage were unconstitutional', and that the approval of all applications for legal marriage by a same sex couple are "mandatory".
    So how and why are any states in Mexico STILL allowed to not approve marriage applications of same sex couples in 2019? Why hasn't the Supreme Court 'dropped the hammer' on these states that continue to ignore the 2015 ruling?

  • 16. Randolph_Finder  |  July 1, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Short answer, the SJCN is much less powerful in the short term with blanket changes than the US Supreme Court.

  • 17. VIRick  |  July 1, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Mexico is a federal republic, just like the USA or Brasil. However, unlike those two, Mexico's Supreme Court can only issue binding nationwide blanket rulings (with teeth) concerning certain subjects and under certain circumstances.

    The performance of marriages is a state function. As such, the Supreme Court can not alter that function. They can pronounce against, as you have cited, even issuing a jurisprudence to that effect, but they can only rule against it (with teeth) by coming at it indirectly. If the performance of marriage were federalized, that would solve the problem. But it has not been. So, in the meantime, federal law has been utilized to enforce as much as can be enforced by that means, the most important being that of recognition. A valid marriage performed in one state must be recognized in all the rest. No exceptions. That is why thousands of same-sex couples from all over Mexico have travelled to those states which allow same-sex marriage so as to be married there. Their marriage must be recognized back home.

    The Supreme Court can, and has, issued orders (jurisprudence) to the lower courts of the federal judiciary mandating that they automatically issue amparos to same-sex couples to allow them to be married in whatever state from which they applied. That is why, long ago, we were keeping track of the state-by-state amparo count.

    The Supreme Court can also enforce various aspects of federal law. Since social security and health insurance are already federalized, they can insist (with teeth) that IMSS and ISSSTE treat married same-sex couples equally to opposite-sex couples. The latest to comply is Infoavit, the federal agency which provides federally-subsidized home loans. This is also why Mexican Consulates abroad (including those right on the border in California, Arizona, and Texas) must marry same-sex couples, if requested.

    With teeth, the Supreme Court of Mexico can only overturn bans on same-sex marriage one state at a time, and only under certain circumstances. So far, we have won 5 states that way, by the filing of an "Action of Unconstitutionality" within 30 days of the specific state making some other change in law to their Family Code, while leaving the ban on same-sex marriage in place. The CNDH has been very diligent in the timely filing of such "Actions" whenever the opportunity strikes.

    And there is another means: by the Supreme Court declaring a "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality" against the specific state in question. We have not yet seen this happen, but there are 3 such in count-down mode at this very moment. This process is all done within the federal judiciary. Lower courts, on appeal, accumulate their amparos, and whenever 5 in a row, using the same language on the same matter, have occurred, the accumulation is then presented to the Supreme Court for a final judgment. We anticipate such final judgments to be rendered against the state congresses of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas, to then be followed by that of Sonora, Yucatán, and Guanajuato.

  • 18. davepCA  |  July 1, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks. I guess I had been assuming that accumulating the amparos within each state and presenting that to the SC to get resolution for that state would have happened much, much faster than it is apparently happening. I'm surprised that it could take more than four years to accumulate the amparos in any of these states.

  • 19. VIRick  |  July 1, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I am surprised by the slowness of it, as well. The best I can say is that the Supreme Court is giving each of these recalcitrant state congresses "ample opportunity" to make the required legal changes and that they are saving the "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality" to be used as a last resort. Such final judgments could be quite harsh, and include fines against the state, fines against the individual legislators, even removal from office. I know that the congresses of both Sinaloa and Tamaulipas have been served with these dire warnings, as has the Chihuahua congress. And yet, in spite of this, the Sinaloa Congress actually voted against, while the one in Tamaulipas has done absolutely nothing.

    To those two in particular, there are no more additional warnings forthcoming. In fact, since this process is an internal one conducted exclusively within the federal judiciary, no one will see it coming until it suddenly happens. The one against Sinaloa could happen as quickly as tomorrow morning. I am not saying that it will,– but that it could. Sinaloa is that far past the "sell by" date, and their recent negative vote against marriage equality must be considered the last straw and a direct slap in the Supreme Court's face.

  • 20. VIRick  |  July 1, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Ironically, there are several states, where the matter concerning the performance of same-sex marriages is still murky, but where a "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality" may not work. I am thinking of Querétaro and Guerrero, where same-sex marriages were allowed, even though the law had not been changed. In most instances, amparos were not needed, and thus never really accumulated. And of the handful of amparos that did happen (Querétaro had 5 and Guerrero may have had 1), I do not believe that either state ever appealed a single one of them, so the accumulated appealed score against both states is zero.

    Tlaxcala (2), Durango (at least 1), and Zacatecas (3) probably fall into this category, as well, but with a slightly different twist. Even though they did not allow marriages to occur without amparo (that is, until recently, in Zacatecas), like the two states already mentioned, they simply never had enough amparos granted to accumulate the minimum of 5 needed to establish jurisprudence.

    The "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality" works best against those states which were particularly stridently opposed, but had many amparos granted (at least 5, all the way up to Yucatán's 90), and repeatedly appealed everything in sight. In addition to the 6 states already mentioned in the previous post, where the process is further along, this "General Declaration" also ought to be able to successfully work against Baja California, Veracruz, Tabasco, Oaxaca, and Edomex, that is, in 11 of the 16 states whose laws have yet to be modified (only 13 of which still prohibit same-sex marriages from actually taking place within the state, as Chihuahua, Baja California, and Oaxaca have all utilized executive orders/administrative directives to circumvent their unchanged laws).

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