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7/16 open thread


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


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  July 16, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Drag Queen Story Hour draws crowd after calls to cancel (Montpelier, Vermont)

    Calls poured into Kellogg-Hubbard Library after a conservative online commentator last month urged her nearly 700,000 Facebook followers to contact the organizers to “respectfully express your disgust” about a planned Drag Queen Story Hour. Many people did call to object, leaving sometimes lewd and threatening messages. But none showed up.

    Instead, well over 100 parents and children — many donning glitter and rainbow-themed apparel — converged on the Montpelier library Saturday morning to listen to popular Vermont drag queens Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne read books and lead singalongs. “This was solidly double or better what we would normally see,” said library co-director Carolyn Brennan of the event’s turnout.

    So-called “drag queen story hours” were started by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco four years ago. The idea has since caught on, with events taking place in big cities as well as rural towns across America. A nonprofit headquartered in New York even offers curricula, training, and resources to local chapters.

    But as the phenomenon has grown nationally, so has the backlash. The events have become a favorite rallying cry on the right, with conservative personalities urging their followers to protest the events. The Montpelier event was picked up by vlogger Elizabeth Johnston, a.k.a. “The Activist Mommy,” who called on her followers in early June to contact the Kellogg-Hubbard Library to get the event shut down.

    Brennan said a slew of angry and at times threatening phone calls did pour in from across the country. She checked in with Montpelier and Washington county police, she said, who assured her there was “no credible local threat.” The calls had mostly subsided by mid-June, she added, and by the time the event rolled around, she wasn’t particularly worried about whether anyone would come to disrupt the story time.

    Both of the queens, Justin Marsh (stage name Emoji Nightmare) and Taylor Small (Nikki Champagne) said this was par for the course — blowback from conservative corners of the internet has usually translated to bigger and more supportive in-person crowds. The two have been doing story time events in Vermont since 2017. “We’ve seen this happen when there is some publicity around the nay-sayers – that the community really rallies and comes to show their support,” Marsh said.

    Many of the books Marsh and Small read have explicitly queer plots. “This Day in June” by Gayle Pitman tells the story of Gay Pride celebrations. “King and King” by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland is about a same-sex royal wedding. But some don’t. “A Big Guy Took My Ball!” by Mo Willems, which the two queens say is one of their favorites — and included in every single one of their events — is about a pig and an elephant who learn a lesson about making assumptions. “It’s really focusing on inclusivity, diversity, forming relationships across difference. All of those wonderful themes that are mainly in children’s stories already,” Small said.

    Both said the events are mainly a way to have fun. But the performers, who have done work with Outright Vermont, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ youth in the state, also said it’s important to have positive queer representation for young people, especially in more rural areas.

    [Click through to the article for PICTURES!]

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  July 17, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Oglala Sioux Tribe Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage (South Dakota)

    Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, but not for the 573 federally recognized tribes, said Marcia Zug, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law who specializes in family and federal Indian law.

    As quasi-sovereign nations, tribes have control over certain rules that directly impact their tribal members even if they violate federal equal protection rules, Zug said. That principle was solidified in Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, a 1978 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that said the pueblo has the right to give tribal membership to the children of men who marry outside the tribe while preventing women who marry outside the tribe from passing on their tribal membership.

    Zug said there is no geographical or historical pattern that explains why some tribes allow same-sex marriage while others don't. For example, the Navajo Nation explicitly bans same-sex marriage despite two spirit individuals being traditional Diné (Navajo) culture and other Southwest tribes allowing such marriages.

    It's unclear how many tribes do allow same-sex marriage. Ones that do include the Cherokee Nation, the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, and the Northern Arapahoe and Eastern Shoshone tribes of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Mousseaux and De Leon said they believe the OST is the first tribe in South Dakota to legalize same-sex marriages.

  • 3. Randolph_Finder  |  July 17, 2019 at 10:37 am

    For anyone wanting to get more information which tribes, allow marriages, accept from elsewhere in the state, allow due to the fact that they follow the federal courts, have gender neutral marriage, *may* allow, or don't allow.

    The big remaining one that doesn't allow is the Navajo nation, but there things have shifted enough that a vote to change things is possible. ( and there was an LGBTQ pride event on June 28 ( The arguments there are somewhat different than they are among non-natives in that allowing Same Sex marriage is viewed as a return to the way things were before Whites/Chrisitianity.

  • 4. VIRick  |  July 17, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    "Allowing same-sex marriage is viewed as a return to the way things were before whites/Christianity."

    Indeed! This is also the same view that one notes in many parts of Latin America, but a view which is also strongly objected to by many mixed-race mestizos who are still in denial mode concerning their own partial Indigenous heritage. Thus, this issue continues to be an underlying sub-text in many areas. Here are 3 examples:

    In Oaxaca, despite the strong traditional cultural presence of the Zapoteca Muxe, that state's congress has never bothered with enabling legislation to allow same-sex marriage. Instead, it took the appointment of someone from Juchitán to be the state director of the Civil Registry before an administrative directive was issued to allow for the change.

    In Yucatán, despite the strong traditional cultural presence of the Yucateca Maya, the situation is worse. There, the strong denial/rejectionist attitude on the part of the Yucatán Congress has been on full display these past number of months (and without anyone there, on either side, ever stating that this is precisely why there is such inflamed negativity).

    In Bolivia, despite the strong traditional cultural presence of the modern-day descendants of the Inca, that country actually passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. (And so did Ecuador, but we see how that went, despite the loudest objections to same-sex marriage there coming from Indigenous evangelicals in total cultural denial). In addition, the current president of Bolivia (despite being Indigenous), and the former president of Ecuador, are both fully certified homophobes who have used this dichotomy for their own political gain.

    I am also fairly certain that this same reason can help explain some of the negative nastiness on display in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, but particularly in Guatemala, with its own strong Maya presence.

  • 5. VIRick  |  July 17, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Northern Ireland: UK House of Lords Passes Marriage Equality Bill

    Per Rex Wockner:

    On Wednesday, 17 July 2019, the UK House of Lords passed the same marriage equality legislation for Northern Ireland which has already passed the House of Commons. Said legislation will be enacted only if Northern Ireland still does not have its own functioning government on 21 October. Marriage equality in Northern Ireland would then begin from 13 January 2020.

    According to the BBC, the marriage equality legislation and the measure to legalize abortion in Northern Ireland, both under the same terms and the same dates, were passed by a vote of 182-37.

    Per Lord Hayward, "Pushing back the commencement date for these regulations will allow the government and the Northern Ireland civil service more time to make necessary changes to legislation as well as the essential operational changes, " he said. "Any less time than this would jeopardize the government's ability to extend the full set of rights and entitlements to both same-sex married couples and opposite-sex civil partnerships."

    The bill goes back to the House of Commons for its final reading tomorrow, 18 July 2019.

  • 6. VIRick  |  July 17, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Ecuador: First Same-Sex Marriage, Nationwide, Tomorrow, 18 July 2019, in Guayaquil

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Tras cumplir los requisitos de ley, y una vez publicada en el Registro Oficial la sentencia de la Corte Constitucional relativa al matrimonio igualitario, Alexandra y Michelle será la primera pareja del mismo sexo en casarse en el Ecuador. El matrimonio se realizará la mañana del jueves 18 de julio 2019, a las 09:00 horas en el Registro Civil de Guayaquil.

    After fulfilling the requirements of law, and with the ruling of the Constitutional Court regarding equal marriage having been published in the Official Registry, Alexandra and Michelle will be the first same-sex couple to marry in Ecuador. The marriage will take place on the morning of Thursday, 18 July 2019, at 09:00 in the Civil Registry of Guayaquil.

    Note: This is a different couple, and on a more immediate date, than what had previously been announced, as the 10 July announcement was for a male couple with a marriage date slated for later in July (but also at the same Civil Registry in Guayaquil).

  • 7. VIRick  |  July 17, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    South Dakota: Oglala Sioux Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Monique "Muffie" Mousseaux and Felipa DeLeon, who met in 2005, left the Pine Ridge Reservation in 2009, and who were married in 2015 at Mount Rushmore, have talked about returning to the Pine Ridge Reservation to renew their vows after the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council legalized same-sex marriage last week by a vote of 12-3, with one abstention, amending the marital and domestic law for the first time since 1935.

    As noted, the Oglala Sioux are the 8th-largest tribal nation in the USA.

  • 8. VIRick  |  July 17, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    John Paul Stevens, Longtime Leader of Supreme Court’s Liberal Wing, Dies at 99

    Per Equality Case Files:

    John Paul Stevens, a moderate Republican and former anti-trust lawyer from Chicago who evolved into a savvy and sometimes passionate leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, and who became the third-longest-serving justice on the court before he retired in 2010, after 35 years on the court, died on 16 July 2019 at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale FL. He was 99.

    The cause was complications from a stroke he suffered on Monday, the day prior, according to an announcement from the Supreme Court. The only justices who served longer were William O. Douglas, whom Justice Stevens replaced in 1975, and Stephen J. Field, a nominee of President Abraham Lincoln who served for much of the late 19th century.

    The full, lengthly obituary is here:

  • 9. VIRick  |  July 17, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Iowa: $1.5 Million Award in Anti-Gay Discrimination Suit

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On Monday, 15 July 2019, a jury found that former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and a staffer discriminated against the state's then-commissioner of workers' compensation in 2011 because he's gay, and as a result, that the ex-official is entitled to $1.5 million for emotional distress. Polk County jurors found that Chris Godfrey not only proved that the discrimination occurred, but also showed he was retaliated against in the form of a pay cut after refusing to quit.

    Bransted, a Republican, is now the US ambassador to China. The money being awarded to Godfrey will be paid by Iowa taxpayers.

  • 10. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Yucatán: Same-Sex Marriage Count Up-Date, Per Civil Registry

    En Yucatán, desde 2013 (cuando se produjo el primer matrimonio del mismo sexo), 92 parejas del mismo sexo se han casado. Las bodas se han llevado a cabo mediante la obtención de amparos federales.

    De acuerdo con información ofrecida por el Registro Civil del Estado, durante el 2014, se celebraron en total 11 bodas entre parejas del mismo sexo, de las cuales siete fueron entre hombres y cuatro entre mujeres; en 2015, la cifra alcanzó los 13 matrimonios, de ellos siete entre varones, seis entre damas; mientras que en 2016 fueron 18, la mitad de cada sexo.

    Fue en 2017 que los matrimonios sumaron en total 20 uniones, nueve fueron entre hombres y 11 entre mujeres; en tanto que en 2018, se realizaron 24 bodas, de las cuales 10 fueron de varones y 14 de damas. En lo que va del año, se han realizado cinco bodas, de las cuales dos han sido de hombres y tres entre mujeres.

    Es importante recalcar que actualmente hay 11 parejas con ejecutoria de sentencia pendiente de cumplimiento, por lo que el Registro Civil está en espera de la celebración en la fechas fijadas por las parejas. Asimismo, hay tres procesos pendientes de sentencia.

    In Yucatán, since 2013 (when the very first same-sex marriage occurred), 92 same-sex couples have been married. The marriages have been carried out by obtaining federal injunctions (amparos).

    According to information provided by the State Civil Registry, during 2014, a total of 11 marriages between same-sex couples were held, of which seven were between men and four between women; in 2015, the figure reached 13 marriages, seven between men, six between women; while in 2016, there were 18, evenly split.

    It was in 2017 that the marriages totaled 20 unions, nine between men and 11 between women; while in 2018, 24 marriages were held, of which 10 were for men and 14 for women. So far this year, five weddings have been held, of which two have been for men and three for women.

    It is important to emphasize that there are currently 11 couples with amparos already granted, pending compliance, so the Civil Registry is waiting to celebrate these marriages on the dates selected by the couples. In addition, there are three pending lawsuits in process of judgment.

    Note: These additional 11 marriages would bring the grand total up to 103, while the 3 pending cases would bring it to 106. By far, this is the highest number of same-sex marriages to occur in any state in Mexico still without marriage equality, almost double the number for second-place Guanajuato or for third-place Sonora.

  • 11. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

    ECHR Rules against Russia in Three LGBT Cases

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Tuesday, 16 July 2019, the ECHR ruled against Russia over its refusal to register three associations, stating it was "unacceptable" for them to do so simply because the groups were defending LGBT rights. Three associations, which promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, had taken Russia to the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting their legal options at home.

    Between 2006 and 2011, Rainbow House, the Movement for Marriage Equality, and Sochi Pride House had all tried to register as associations with the Russian authorities. One application was turned down on the grounds that the group would "destroy the moral values of society," lead to a decrease in the population, and violate the rights of Russians who find any display of same-sex relations offensive. Another was refused over various technical irregularities before being rejected on the grounds of "extremism." The Movement for Marriage Equality was turned down on the grounds that its aim — same-sex marriage — was incompatible with "established morality."

    "The decisive reason for refusing to register the applicant organisations had been because they promoted LGBT rights," the ECHR said. "That grounds could not be reasonably or objectively justified and had, moreover, amounted to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." Under the articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, the court found that the associations' rights were violated on several grounds including the right to freedom of association and freedom from discrimination.

    The court also found that three individual plaintiffs, who were all founders or directors of the same associations, had suffered discrimination.The court thus ordered Russia to pay a total of 36,000 euros ($40,000) in damages to the three individuals, as well as pay for their legal costs and expenses.

  • 12. davepCA  |  July 19, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    I wonder – Is there really any mechanism for enforcing these ECHR rulings?

  • 13. VIRick  |  July 19, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    This isn’t the first time Russia has lost a case in the European Court of Human Rights, with them also losing a case over the banning of Pride events and another that found its gay propaganda laws breached human rights. However, the court has little power in enforcing its ruling on Russia.

    Nevertheless, groups celebrated the judgment. “This judgment reaffirms the vital importance for individuals to be able to group together and organise themselves around shared causes,” said Joanne Sawyer, from the Human Rights Advocacy Centre. “States must act positively to ensure that this right is meaningful, particularly when people belong to vulnerable or marginalized minority groups or hold unpopular views.”

    Arpi Avetisyan, from ILGA-Europe also praised the ruling, saying: “We are very pleased with European Court’s pioneering judgment confirming the vital right to freedom of association for those promoting rights of LGBTI people. This judgment sends a key message to LGBTI activists in Russia and other countries across Europe who are facing similar discriminatory restrictions – refusal to register associations cannot be justified on the grounds of protection of morals.”

  • 14. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Ecuador: First Same-Sex Couple Marries in Guayaquil

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Ecuador is the first nation to implement the November 2017 marriage equality ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH). Fifteen other nations without marriage equality are bound by the same ruling, with Costa Rica slated to implement the same ruling in May 2020.

    Este 18 de julio, a las 9h00, ante la delegada del Registro Civil de esta ciudad de Guayaquil, la abogada Ester Sánchez, las oficinas del Registro Civil de Guayaquil recibieron a Michelle Avilés y Alexandra Chávez como la primera pareja LGBTI en casarse en el país.

    On 18 July 2019, at 9:00 AM, before the delegate of the Civil Registry of this city of Guayaquil, the lawyer Ester Sánchez, the office of the Civil Registry of Guayaquil received Michelle Avilés and Alexandra Chávez as the first LGBTI couple to marry in the country.


    Ecuador: First Same-Sex Marriage Already Performed Abroad Duly Recognized in Quito

    Per Karen Atala Riffo:

    María Francisca y Gladysmar se convirtieron en la primera pareja del mismo sexo en Ecuador en registrar un matrimonio contraído en el exterior. La boda fue reconocida en el Registro Civil de Quito el 17 de julio del 2019.

    María Francisca and Gladysmar became the first same-sex couple in Ecuador to register a marriage contracted abroad. The marriage was recognized in the Civil Registry of Quito on 17 July 2019.

  • 15. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Chile: Senate to Debate Marriage Equality Bill on Tuesday, 23 July

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Fundación Iguales‏: En el Senado, el proyecto de ley de matrimonio igualitario está en tabla para el próximo martes, 23 de julio. En esta sesión, estarán invitados dos profesores de derecho civil para exponer sobre el proyecto.

    Fundación Iguales‏: In the Senate, the marriage equality bill is on the agenda for next Tuesday, 23 July. In this session, two civil law professors will be invited to make presentations about the bill.

  • 16. davepCA  |  July 19, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Fingers crossed…

  • 17. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Edomex: Jucopo President Expects Marriage Equality Bill to Pass Early Next Week

    The president of Jucopo, Maurilio Hernández González, the Edomex state legislator in charge of the state congress, expects that the marriage equality bill will be voted upon by the full congress, and be passed, during the first or second day of the next session of the legislature, one that begins on Saturday, 20 July 2019.

    Jucopo = Junta de Coordinación Politica (Political Co-Ordination Board), the elite committee which sets the agenda for the full congress.

  • 18. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Northern Ireland: Same-Sex Marriage Amendments Pass UK House of Commons in Final Vote

    Per Ciaran Moynagh:

    Today, 18 July 2019, the Amendments to the Northern Ireland Formation Bill have passed the UK House of Commons on a final vote of 328 to 65. As a result, both abortion and same-sex marriage are coming. The Government has confirmed that they have no intention on pulling the bill!!

  • 19. davepCA  |  July 19, 2019 at 12:17 pm


  • 20. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Nebraska: New Federal Suit against State for Discriminatory Health Insurance Practices

    Per Equality Case Files:

    A transgender woman is suing the state and two of its directors over alleged discrimination on health insurance coverage for state employees. Kadence Krei is asking the US District Court of Nebraska to put a stop to the state's discriminatory health insurance practices and for compensatory and punitive damages for denying her treatment for gender dysphoria.

    The case, filed on 10 July 2019, is "Krei v. State of Nebraska," 4:19-cv-03068, D. Neb., and has been assigned to Chief Judge John M. Gerrard with referrals to Magistrate Judge Susan M. Bazis. The amended Complaint is here:

  • 21. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Cuba Allows Marriage of Two Transgender People

    Per Caribe Afirmativo:

    Cuba Permite el Casamiento de Dos Personas Transgénero

    Una pareja transexual en Cuba sorteó los prejuicios y contrajo matrimonio civil en La Habana, un hecho inédito en la isla.

    La unión de personas transgéneros en Cuba, abre de nuevo el debate sobre el concepto de familia y las uniones de personas LGBTI en Cuba! La lucha no cesa y el derecho por la igualdad tampoco.

    A transsexual couple in Cuba overcame prejudices and contracted civil marriage in Havana, an unprecedented event on the island.

    The union of a transgender couple in Cuba, once again opens the debate concerning the concept of family and unions of LGBTI people in Cuba! The fight does not stop, nor does the right for equality.

    Per ADN Cuba:

    Ramsés y Dunia, cubanos trans, lograron casarse en La Habana, Cuba, este martes, el 16 julio 2019, tras la intervención del CENESEX.

    Ramsés and Dunia, trans Cubans, managed to get married in Havana, Cuba, this Tuesday, 16 July 2019, after the intervention of CENESEX.

  • 22. VIRick  |  July 18, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Puerto Rico In an Uproar over Governor's Homophobic and Misogynistic Remarks

    Widespread protests in Puerto Rico's capital city of San Juan have continued for nearly a week amid calls for the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. The demonstrations come after Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of leaked text messages in which Rosselló engages in anti-gay and misogynistic language with his inner circle.

    The protests, which at times have been met with tear gas and force, come amid increasing pressure from the public to address government corruption, financial recession, and the emergency response following Hurricane Maria in 2017.

    On Thursday, 18 July 2019, the governor said in a statement that his commitment to Puerto Rico is “stronger than ever,” making clear his intention to remain in office. However, the protests against him show no sign of slowing down.

    Per David Begnaud:

    On Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Ricky Martin led protesters on a march to the Governor's mansion, demanding the immediate resignation of the governor of Puerto Rico, as 100,000 people marched that night through Old San Juan.

    Note: The slogan being chanted, "Ricky renuncia, ya!" (Ricky resign, now!) is being directed at the Governor, Ricardo Rosselló, not at Ricky Martin.

  • 23. VIRick  |  July 19, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Serbia: Lawsuit Filed Seeking Same-Sex Civil Partnership Recognition

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 18 July 2019, a lesbian couple launched a landmark bid to win legal recognition for same-sex partners in Serbia, saying they wanted to step out and stand up for LGBT+ rights in the Balkans. It is the first such legal challenge to be filed in Serbia, which has come under fire in the West over minority rights and widespread homophobia.

    Jelena Dubovi and Suncica Kopunovic, from the northern city of Novi Sad, tried to obtain a civil partnership at the municipal registrar’s office in April, but were told that only men and women can marry and were then turned away, their lawyer said.

    “As not many same-sex couples in Serbia are willing to step out, we decided to stand for all of us and try to fight and aim to win,” said Dubovi, 27, who began dating 29-year-old Kopunovic four years ago, and then proposed to her in 2016.

    The country legalized gay sex in 1994 and outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in education and employment in 2010.

  • 24. VIRick  |  July 19, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Zimbabwe: Draft Marriage Bill Is Discriminatory

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    GALZ, an association that represents the interests of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) people in Zimbabwe says the current proposed Draft Marriage Bill is discriminatory to people of different sexual orientations. Zimbabwe is in the process of crafting a consolidated marriage law which will harmonize the current Customary Marriages Act [Chapter 5:07] and the Marriages Act [Chapter 5:11] into a single Act of Parliament governing marriages in the country.

    GALZ director Chesterfield Samba said even though most LGBTI groups in Zimbabwe have never campaigned for marriage, the proposed Bill is not inclusive enough to pass the test of what is expected in a democratic society. A new democratic Zimbabwe requires a new way of doing things, which does not repeat the intolerance and discriminatory politics of the past. “We appeal to lawmakers to encourage a culture of tolerance towards those of a different political persuasion or sexual orientation,” he said. Samba added that “respect for the new Constitution requires that the past laws and policies of intolerance and discrimination against unpopular groups, including the LGBTI community, should be abandoned.”

  • 25. arturo547  |  July 19, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Cuba: 63,1% of Cubans in favour of same sex marriage.


  • 26. davepCA  |  July 19, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Wow, that's great news. I didn't realize public sentiment was already that positive in Cuba.

  • 27. ianbirmingham  |  July 19, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Same-Sex Couples In Romania Face Hostility As They Challenge Discrimination

    [W]hen it became clear that the request involved same-sex couples, the clerk yelled “Whaaaat!?” and accused them of plotting to have her lose her job, sue the town hall, and deliberately provoke a disturbance… A tense, three-hour encounter ensued in which the clerk accused the couples’ lawyer of willfully misleading the men and of not knowing the law.

    In the weeks following the incident, a total of seven Romanian couples joined in a lawsuit against the Romanian state that was filed at the European Court of Human Rights.

    Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2002, five years before it joined the European Union. Despite that action, same-sex couples still face widespread prejudice and discrimination in the socially conservative Eastern European nation of 19 million.

    Like EU members Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Latvia, Romania doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages or even civil partnerships that were established in other countries.

    A survey by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy done in November-December shows that homophobia in the country is rampant: three-fourths of those polled say they don’t trust homosexuals, 59 percent wouldn’t accept a gay relative, and 52 percent wouldn’t be friends with a homosexual.

    Although there are signs of growing public acceptance of same-sex couples in some quarters, Romanian authorities have done little to promote acceptance or debate and, in some cases, have moved in the opposite direction under the influence of the powerful Romanian Orthodox Church, which opposes same-sex relationships. More than 85 percent of the population belongs to the Romanian Orthodox Church. … The Romanian Orthodox Church is largely behind the reluctance by the government to grant more rights to same-sex couples.

    Openly gay couples like activist Buhuceanu and Ciobotaru, a gender and political science student, are extremely unusual in Romania, where most LGBT couples keep their relationship secret. … there is no recognition or protection of same-sex families. That means situations such as Ciobotaru being unable to pick up his partner’s mail at the post office, despite sharing the same address; or the couple not being able to get a joint mortgage. Equally frustrating is if one of the men is seriously ill, the other is barred from coming as a relative to visit in emergency care. And should one of them die, the partner would not be allowed to identify the body at the morgue or benefit from aid for a funeral because, by law, the couple is not a family.

    “I can’t pick up a parcel [for Buhuceanu] at the post office because we aren’t family, but they will give mail to someone’s mother-in-law,” said Ciobotaru, who is 31. "I heard [the mail clerk] say ‘that homosexual’ is asking for his partner’s mail," he said. "It was humiliating [for that to be said about me] in front of everyone else there."

    Only Buhuceanu and Ciobotaru have thus far agreed to have their names used as the other couples in the lawsuit want to remain anonymous for fear of being exposed as LGBT members.

  • 28. VIRick  |  July 20, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Russia Investigates Social Workers Who Let Gay Couple Adopt

    Russia’s national government has launched a criminal investigation of social workers who allowed a gay couple to adopt children, in a case that represents a new use of the country’s infamous “gay propaganda” law. The nation’s Investigative Committee, the primary investigating authority of the federal government, announced Wednesday, 17 July 2019, that it is looking into the case of Moscow social welfare officials who allowed a gay man “cohabiting with another man” to adopt two boys in 2010, according to "The Moscow Times," an independent (not state-run) Russian newspaper.

    The officials, who have not been publicly identified, did not “take appropriate measures to protect minors from information harmful to their health and development,” said a statement released by the committee. They could face fines and other penalties.

    Russia has no law banning adoption by same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals within the country, as there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships (it bans adoption by people from countries with marriage equality). But in this case, the nation has launched the investigation under the “gay propaganda” law, enacted in 2013, which prohibits exposing minors to any positive depiction of “non-traditional” sexuality.

    The man who adopted the children “promotes non-traditional relationships, forming distorted ideas about family values in children” and “harming their health and moral and spiritual development,” the Investigative Committee said. He and his partner are not yet under investigation, but they could face criminal charges as well.

    Also, if the social workers are found guilty, “it could give the state the opportunity to demand the annulment of the adoption,” Maksim Olenichev, a lawyer with Vykhod (Coming Out), a St. Petersburg-based LGBTQ support group, told Agence France-Presse. The case is “the next twist” in application of the propaganda law, which has been used primarily to cancel Pride events, noted Olenichev, who has been talking to the family about representing them. They are currently traveling outside Russia and not speaking to the media.

  • 29. VIRick  |  July 20, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Mexico: The 5 State-by-State Methods Utilized for Obtaining Marriage Equality

    Note: This extended article, written in Spanish by two law professors from Ibero-American University, presents the most precisely accurate and comprehensive overview of the entire marriage equality situation in Mexico as has yet been encountered. The following is a summary version of the 5 methods utilized so far:

    Por José Luis Caballero Ochoa y Daniel Antonio García Huerta, Profesores del Departamento de Derecho de la Universidad Iberoamericana:

    El primer modelo es el de su reconocimiento legal en los Códigos Civiles o Familiares de las jurisdicciones federativas. Nueve son los Estados que siguen este modelo. El primero en hacerlo fue la Ciudad de México (CDMX) en el año 2009. Posteriormente, le siguieron Morelos, Michoacán, Nayarit, Campeche, Colima, Coahuila, Hidalgo, y finalmente, San Luis Potosí. En los casos de Campeche y Colima, es importante considerar que la modificación de las leyes estatales derivó de sentencias emitidas por la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN).

    El segundo modelo de reconocimiento involucra a la Suprema Corte directamente. Nuevo León, Jalisco, Puebla, Aguascalientes, y Chiapas son los Estados de la República en los que la celebración de matrimonios igualitarios ha sido posible gracias a "Acciones de Inconstitucionalidad" promovidas por la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH) y resueltas por la SCJN. Si bien este modelo también ha permitido la celebración de matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo en las estados señalados, su despliegue no necesariamente ha generado una modificación en las legislaciones estatales. En el caso de Chiapas, donde los legisladores, en vez de modificar el Artículo 144 que considera la perpetuación de la especie como fin del matrimonio, únicamente incorporaron una nota que precisa la resolución, como adoptada por la Suprema Corte en la "Acción de Inconstitucionalidad," 32/2016.

    The first method is that of its legal recognition in the Civil or Family Codes of the various federal jurisdictions. Nine jurisdictions have followed this method. The first to do so was Mexico City (CDMX) in 2009. Later, the states of Morelos, Michoacán, Nayarit, Campeche, Colima, Coahuila, Hidalgo, and finally, San Luis Potosí followed suit. In the cases of Campeche and Colima, it is important to note that the modifications in state law derived from judgments issued by the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN).

    The second method of recognition directly involves the Supreme Court. Nuevo León, Jalisco, Puebla, Aguascalientes, and Chiapas are the States of the Republic in which the celebration of equal marriages has been possible thanks to "Acciones de Inconstitucionalidad" promoted by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and resolved by the SCJN. Although this method has allowed for the celebration of same-sex marriages in the states indicated, its implementation has not necessarily led to a change in state laws. In the case of Chiapas, instead of modifying Article 144 that considers the perpetuation of the species as the reason for marriage, the legislators only incorporated a note requiring the resolution, as adopted by the Supreme Court through the "Acción de Inconstitucionalidad," 32/2016.
    (to continue)

  • 30. VIRick  |  July 20, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Un tercer modelo es el que involucra la promoción de juicios de amparo. Este modelo abrió una brecha fundamental para el reconocimiento del matrimonio igualitario en México, particularmente, a partir de la resolución del Amparo 581/2012. Sin embargo, estas sentencias únicamente protegen a las personas que lo promovieron. La celebración de matrimonios igualitarios vía juicio de amparo es la estrategia con mayor representación a nivel nacional. Casi la mitad de los Estados de la República –catorce para ser precisos– permiten la celebración de matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo cuando ello deriva de una sentencia emitida por un juzgado federal.

    A diferencia de los modelos anteriores, en el cuarto modelo, el acceso al matrimonio igualitario no deriva de una sentencia ni de una modificación a las leyes estatales, sino de la emisión de una medida ordenada por alguna autoridad estatal o municipal. En este supuesto, cabe mencionar a los casos de Oaxaca, Chihuahua, y Baja California. En el primero de ellos, la posibilidad de celebrar matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo parte de un procedimiento abreviado que sigue el Registro Civil por medio de una resolución fundamentada en los criterios adoptados por la Suprema Corte, que le asegura la posibilidad de no aplicar en términos literales el Código Civil del Estado. En el caso de Chihuahua, los matrimonios igualitarios son una realidad gracias a la orden dirigida al Registro Civil por parte del titular del Gobierno del Estado (a través de orden ejecutiva). En el de Baja California, la participación de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos (CEDH) ha resultado fundamental, pues derivado de tres recomendaciones (emitido por el estado) y varios procesos de conciliación, los Registros Civiles locales se han sido obligados a llevar a cabo diversos matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo.

    El quinto y último modelo de reconocimiento es aquél en el que la ley no distingue entre el sexo de las personas para poder contraer matrimonio, siendo el caso particular de Quintana Roo y el Código Civil Federal.

    The third method is the one that involves the promotion of amparo rulings. This method opened the fundamental breach leading toward the recognition of equal marriage in Mexico, particularly, based on the resolution of Amparo 581/2012. However, these judgments only protect the people who promoted it. The celebration of equal marriages via the amparo ruling is the strategy with the greatest representation at the national level. Almost half of the States of the Republic – fourteen to be precise – allow for the celebration of same-sex marriages when derived from a judgment issued by a federal court.
    (to continue)

  • 31. VIRick  |  July 20, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Unlike the previous methods, in the fourth method, access to equal marriage does not derive from a judgment nor from a modification of state law, but from the issuance of a measure ordered by some state or municipal authority. In this instance, it is worth mentioning the cases of Oaxaca, Chihuahua, and Baja California. In the first of them, the possibility of celebrating same-sex marriages is based on an abbreviated procedure that follows the Civil Registry through to a resolution based on the criteria adopted by the Supreme Court, one which thus ensures the non-applicability of the literal terms the Civil Code of the State. In the case of Chihuahua, equal marriages are a reality thanks to the order addressed to the Civil Registry by the head of the State Government (through an executive order). In the case of Baja California, the participation of the State Commission of Human Rights (CEDH) has been fundamental because, derived from three (state-issued) recommendations and a number of conciliation processes, the local Civil Registries have been obligated to carry out many marriages between same-sex couples.

    The fifth and final recognition method is one in which the law does not distinguish between the sexes of the persons who are able to contract marriage, being the particular case of both Quintana Roo and the Federal Civil Code.

    So, as for the 33 jurisdictions of Mexico (31 states, 1 Federal District, and 1 Federal Civil Code), the number which currently adhere to each of the 5 individual methods are as follows: 9/5/14/3/2. The final effort is to shrink the 14 down to zero by pushing each of the remaining states into one of the other 4 categories.

  • 32. VIRick  |  July 20, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Tabasco: The Imperative for Obtaining Marriage Equality in Each and Every State

    Per Denisse Priego of Villahermosa, Tabasco:

    With very little recent movement toward marriage equality within the state of Tabasco (and with time running out), an elderly same-sex couple resident in Tabasco, Sara and Carmen, who have lived together for 30 years and who love each other and who wish to marry so as to be able to count upon each other's social security, need assistance in being able to travel across the state line into near-by Chiapas. They will marry in Chiapas, once there, if they can manage to get there, and then afterward, in Chiapas, make all the arrangements required for obtaining their several pension benefits (all of which, both marriage and access to the several benefits, must then be recognized as legal back home in Tabasco). However, one of them has a severe, chronic infirmity which seriously hinders their mobility.

    Note: For the most part, the area along the Tabasco-Chiapas state line is a sultry riverine backwater swamp, not the easiest region through which one need travel, particularly when compounded by a serious mobility issue. However, Denisse Priego, a radio personality host on station XEVA in Villahermosa, has taken it upon herself to highlight this couple's plight, and to raise the funds required for their special transportation needs.

  • 33. JayJonson  |  July 21, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Couldn't they just seek an amparo in Tabasco and marry there rather than undertake the difficult trip to Chiapas?

  • 34. VIRick  |  July 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Yes, but the filing for said amparo should have been done some time ago, as one never knows how long it will take to process the paperwork and have a decision rendered. Plus, there's the additional legal expense involved.

    I take it that this couple is not financially well-off, and has additional medical expenses which take priority. Plus, since Morena now has an absolute majority of the deputies in the Tabasco state congress, they probably had been hoping that there would have been quick approval of marriage equality legislation, something which has not actually happened. In the interval, from a medical angle, time is apparently running out for the couple in question. They need to be married now so that the social security paperwork can be processed, something that can be quickly done in Chiapas, but may not be so readily available in Tabasco.

    Many people within Mexico have long pointed out the discriminatory nature of same-sex couples having to file for an amparo in order to be able to marry (while hetero couples do not have to engage in this extra process). However, within the LGBT community, the entire amparo process further discriminates against the less financially able, those who can not afford the extra legal expense and who simply sit and wait.

    Furthermore, according to Denisse, until quite recently, this couple was not necessarily "out" to everyone in the world. Instead, they had been quietly living together as two "sisters" until the medical issue forced their hand, while the Tabasco state congress sat there and procrastinated. So, as a local radio personality and ally, Denisse, in addition to her fund-raising activity on the couple's behalf, has been simultaneously highlighting the matter in order to shame the state congress into acting positively,– and to act as soon as possible.

    I just checked on a map, and the distance between Villahermosa, Tabasco, and the municipality of Reforma, Chiapas, the adjacent town to the south-west which sits right on the state line, is not overly great. Both Reforma and Palenque (to the south-east) are reachable by road from Tabasco, and the civil registries in both municipalities have already married out-of-state same-sex couples without difficulty. So, it is not the distance, or the presence of the backwater swamps with the jaguars and the howler monkeys, or the uncertainty of their reception. It is the lack of mobility and their need for special transportation.

    Although Reforma is closer, Palenque might be more able to accommodate someone with special mobility needs. It is a large tourist town, "lost" in the sultry lowland rain forest (selva), and owes its livelihood to the presence of the near-by extensive Maya ruins (and National Park) of the same name.

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  July 20, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Polish Gay Pride Marchers Defy Stone-Throwing Hooligans

    The first-ever Gay Pride parade was held in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok on Saturday, but the march was marred by violence from soccer hooligans and conservative campaigners staged counter protests, local police said.

    Some 800 supporters of LGBT rights marched through the city some 200 kilometres (124 miles) northeast of Warsaw, waving rainbow-coloured flags and banners with slogans such as "love is not a sin".

    But soccer hooligans wearing ultra-nationalist T-shirts threw stones, firecrackers and bottles at the marchers and at the police officers protecting them, a spokesman for the security forces said.

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights have become one of the key issues in the upcoming elections this autumn in the devout Catholic country.

    The decision to allow a Gay Pride parade in Bialystok was highly contested by local religious groups.

    Homosexuality is a frequent topic of public debate in Poland, whose conservative ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski condemned gay rights as a "threat" in April.

    Earlier this month, a Polish campaign group said that around 30 communities, including villages and regional assemblies, had in recent months declared themselves to be "free of LGBT ideology".

    [Click Through To The Article For A Beautiful PICTURE!]

    [Update] Police detain 25 people after far-right attacks on LGBT activists at Bialystok, Poland's first LGBT Pride Parade

  • 36. ianbirmingham  |  July 20, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    Alan Turing, World War II code-breaker castrated for being gay, is [now] the face of Britain's £50 note

    Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced Monday that Turing, who killed himself in 1954 after he was subjected to chemical castration, will appear on the new polymer note by the end of 2021.

    In a statement, Carney lauded the Englishman as an "outstanding mathematician" and "a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand."

    "As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing's contributions were far ranging and path breaking," the central banker said.

    In 1937, he published a paper introducing an idea that came to be known as the Turing machine, which is considered to have formed the basis of modern computing. This was a hypothetical device that could come up with a solution to any problem that is computable.

    Supporters have long campaigned for Turing to receive greater recognition for his work and official acknowledgment that his conviction for homosexual activity was wrong.

    Two years after choosing castration to avoid a custodial sentence, he ended his life at the age of 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

    Sex between men over the age of 21 was decriminalized in England and Wales in 1967. However the law was not changed in Scotland until 1980 and in Northern Ireland until 1982.

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized for Turing's treatment by the justice system in the 1950s after thousands of people signed a petition in 2009.

    He received a royal pardon in 2014.

  • 37. VIRick  |  July 21, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Veracruz: Some Words from the Director-General of the State Civil Registry

    Así lo dio a conocer el Director-General del Registro Civil, Arturo Domínguez Galván: el Registro Civil del Estado está a la espera de que el Congreso del Estado apruebe la actualización del Código Civil de Veracruz para poder atender el tema del matrimonio igualitario. En tanto, señaló que actualmente se tienen en trámite un total de 70 amparos para que parejas del mismo sexo puedan contar matrimonio civil. “Son derechos universales de las personas para tener una familia, hacer un matrimonio."

    This was announced by the Director-General of the Civil Registry, Arturo Domínguez Galván: the State Civil Registry is awaiting the State Congress to approve the update of the Civil Code of Veracruz to address the issue of equal marriage. Meanwhile, he said that a total of 70 amparos are currently being processed in order for same-sex couples to be able to count upon civil marriage. “They are universal rights of people to have a family, to make a marriage."

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