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7/22 open thread and news updates

Community/Meta Transgender Rights

Equality Case Files has posted the trial transcripts for the two-day trial in Boyden v. Conlin, in which Wisconsin’s insurance exclusion for transgender health care was successfully challenged.

– Tomorrow, in G.G v. Gloucester County School Board, a district court in Virginia will hear arguments in motions for summary judgment. The case involves Gavin Grimm, a former student who was refused bathroom use in public school.

UPDATE: – A Catholic organization in Philadelphia is asking the Supreme Court to allow religious adoption agencies to refuse to place children in LGBT families’ homes.

UPDATE 7/23: A federal judge has blocked North Carolina from enforcing its anti-transgender bathroom use law. Edited to add: actually all parties stipulated to the order – the governor was not opposed.

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


  • 1. VIRick  |  July 22, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Motul, Yucatán: First Same-Sex Marriage in Municipality in Maya Heartland

    Motul, Yucatán, a 22 de julio de 2019: Este día, se llevó a cabo el primer matrimonio igualitario en el municipio, con la legalización de la unión de dos personas del mismo sexo. Ivan Avilés y Geovanni Pech Yam, unieron sus vidas ante la Ley, después de litigar sobre el derecho que tienen de vivir juntos con todos los derechos y obligaciones que la Ley establece, y lograr ganarlo, se convirtieron en la primera pareja que en el municipio logra éste propósito.

    Contrario a lo legislado por el Congreso del Estado en días pasados, en que legisladores con poca visión rechazaron éste derecho a las parejas que en muchos casos llevan viviendo juntos, y tienen el impedimento que la propia Ley no les permiten acceder a los beneficios y protección que la misma debe brindar a todo ciudadano.

    Motul, Yucatán, 22 July 2019: On this day, the first equal marriage was carried out in the municipality, with the legalization of the union of a same-sex couple. Ivan Avilés and Geovanni Pech Yam, joined their lives before the Law, after litigating about the right that they have to be able live together with all the rights and obligations established by the Law, and thus having won, became the first couple in the municipality to achieve this end.

    Contrary to what was legislated by the State Congress in recent days, when legislators with little vision rejected this right for couples who are in many cases already living together, and have the impediment that the Law itself does not allow them to access the benefits and protections that it must provide to every citizen.

    Note: Motul is a small city of Maya origin located 45 km. east of Mérida. The resentful tone noted in the write-up of this marriage report from this news source, "La Voz de Motul," is very revealing of the general Maya sentiment toward the Yucatán Congress and its negative vote concerning marriage equality. It is also very worth noting that Pech is an aristocratic Maya surname of the former rulers indigenous to Motul, while Yam is yet another indigenous Maya surname.,_Yucat&aacute

    In effect, this was a Maya wedding, but with the overlay of doing so within the Hispanic legal system. In traditional Maya society, same-sex couples simply lived together in informal relationships (a point alluded to in the second paragraph of the report).

  • 2. VIRick  |  July 22, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    Japan: Gay Politician Wins Upper House Seat

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A champion for the rights of LGBT people, Taiga Ishikawa was elected to the Upper House for the first time, winning a seat in the proportional representation system on 21 July 2019. Ishikawa, 45, who is openly gay, ran on the ticket of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ).

    He has been campaigning on recognizing same-sex marriages, aiming for a society in which diversity is respected. “I was calling for the acknowledgement of LGBT people in the election,” Ishikawa said at his campaign office in Tokyo after winning an Upper House seat. “A lot of people all over Japan had the courage to vote for me. This acknowledges that we are here.”

    His party is introducing a bill for eliminating discrimination against LGBT people, as well as a marriage equality bill. “I would like to do my best to enact both pieces of legislation,” Ishikawa said. “I want to support vulnerable people in this society as a politician.”….

  • 3. VIRick  |  July 22, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Mexican Embassy in Germany: First Same-Sex Marriage Celebrated

    Per Rogelio Granguillhome, Embajador de México en Alemania:

    El 22 de julio 2019, ocurrió el primer matrimonio igualitario en la Embajada Mexicana en Alemania, y para mi, el primero que celebro en mis años como Embajador de México. Un honor y un privilegio haber unido en matrimonio a esta pareja de mexicanos. Felicidades Martín y Miguel Angel!

    On 22 July 2019, the first equal marriage took place at the Mexican Embassy in Germany, and for me, the first one that I celebrated in my years as Ambassador of Mexico. An honor and a privilege to have united this Mexican couple in marriage. Congratulations Martín and Miguel Angel!

  • 4. ianbirmingham  |  July 23, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Russian LGBT Rights Campaigner Found Dead With Stab Wounds

    Yelena Grigoryeva, an LGBT rights campaigner in Russia’s second largest city of Saint Petersburg, has been killed, the local online newspaper Fontanka reported citing police.

    She was found dead with multiple stab wounds on July 20 near her house and apparently was strangled, according to Fontanka as well as a Facebook post by opposition campaigner Dinar Idrisov and the Russian LGBT Network. Idrisov said Grigoryeva had received multiple threats both online and offline.

    Aside from LGBT causes, Grigoryeva opposed Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and took part in rallies in support of political prisoners.

    "Recently she has frequently been a victim of violence and received murder threats," Idrisov said. Grigoryeva "filed complaints to the police regarding the violence and the threats, but there was no reaction."

  • 5. VIRick  |  July 23, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Philippines: Same-Sex Civil Partnership Bill Refiled

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Davao Del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez has refiled both the absolute divorce and the civil partnership bills in the 18th Congress, two measures he pushed during his term as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    In refiling the civil partnership bill as House Bill 2264, Alvarez stressed the right of all Filipinos to equal protection under the law and to freely associate themselves with others. "This bill… hereby proposes to allow couples to enter into a civil partnership, whether they are of the opposite or of the same sex," he said. "It aims to be a landmark effort to provide civil rights, benefits, and responsibilities to couples, previously unable to marry, by giving them due recognition and protection from the State," he added.

    Under the measure, all benefits and protections as granted to spouses in a marriage under existing laws, administrative orders, court rulings, or those derived as a matter of public policy will also be enjoyed by civil partnership couples. At the same time, laws on marital relations, including donations by reason of marriage, legal separation, adoption, child custody and support, property division and maintenance, and spousal support, will also apply to civil partnership couples. In the 17th Congress, the civil partnership bill failed to get passed committee deliberations.

  • 6. VIRick  |  July 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Chile: Marriage Equality Proceedings Reactivated in the Senate

    Chile: Matrimonio Igualitario Reactivó su Tramitación en el Senado

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Esta es la tercera vez que la Comisión de Constitución del Senado debate sobre la ley de matrimonio igualitario desde que ingresó a tramitación parlamentaria el 5 de septiembre del 2017 en el marco del cumplimiento del ASA, un acuerdo que el 9 de marzo del 2018 la Contraloría General de la República declaró como legal y vinculante.

    En tanto, en el primer semestre de este año, y en diversas ocasiones, los presidentes del Senado, Jaime Quintana (PPD), y de la Comisión de Constitución, Legislación, y Justicia, Felipe Harboe (PPD), señalaron en reuniones con el Movilh, y públicamente, que en el transcurso de este año la Sala votará la iniciativa legal.

    This is the third time that the Senate Constitution Commission debated over the law on marriage equality since it entered parliamentary proceedings on 5 September 2017 in the framework of compliance with the ASA, an agreement that on 9 March 2018 the Office of the Comptroller-General of the Republic declared as legal and binding.

    Meanwhile, in the first half of this year, and on several occasions, the presidents of the Senate, Jaime Quintana (PPD), and of the Commission on Constitution, Legislation, and Justice, Felipe Harboe (PPD), said in meetings with Movilh, and publicly, that during this year the Chamber will vote on the legal initiative.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  July 23, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Gay U.S. Couple Sues State Dept. for Denying Their Baby Citizenship

    Jonathan is a U.S. citizen, born to an American mother and British father in England. He moved to the U.S. to be with the love of his life, Derek, and the two married in May of 2015 in New York City. The couple knew early on that they wanted to have children, and their daughter, Simone, was born via surrogacy in England in July of 2018. The family now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Unfortunately, the first year of Simone’s life has not been easy on the family. In April, the U.S. State Department refused to recognize Simone’s citizenship. The U.S. government does not recognize Derek and Jonathan as a married couple and treats their daughter as if she was born out of wedlock. Simone was allowed to enter the United States on a tourist visa, but her visa status is about to expire.

    The law clearly states that because Derek and Jonathan are married U.S. citizens, their daughter has been a U.S. citizen since birth. However, the State Department’s cruel and unconstitutional policy treats Jonathan as if he were a single parent.

    The government is treating married same-sex couples like single parents, which requires them to demonstrate a biological relationship to their child and to have resided in the U.S. for five years prior to the birth of their child. Jonathan does not meet the five year residency requirement, but as a married U.S. citizen, he is not subject to that requirement.

    As the daughter of two married U.S. citizens, Simone is a citizen, plain and simple. That’s why in July of 2019, Immigration Equality and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department on behalf of the family.

  • 8. VIRick  |  July 25, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Georgia: Third Federal Suit Involving Citizenship of Child of Married Same-Sex Couple

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 23 July 2019, Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality, and pro bono counsel, Morgan Lewis, filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against the US State Department for refusing to recognize the citizenship of Simone Mize-Gregg, the daughter of US citizens, Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg. The State Department’s policy treats married same-sex couples as if their marriages did not exist, unconstitutionally stripping their children born abroad of their rightful US citizenship.

    The case is No. 1:19-cv-03331, filed in Georgia federal court and assigned to Judge Michael L. Brown.

    The Complaint, via Lambda Legal, is available here:

  • 9. VIRick  |  July 23, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Puerto Rico: Governor to Resign Tonight in Aftermath of His Homophobic Diatribe

    Per "El Nuevo Día:"

    Ricardo Rosselló Nevares anunciaría su renuncia a la gobernación en las próximas horas, esta noche, el 23 de julio 2019, según dijeron diversas fuentes a este medio. También señalaron que Rosselló habría grabado un mensaje de despedida, que será emitido antes del mediodía de mañana, miércoles, el 24 de julio 2019.

    De igual forma, se mencionó que a esta hora, Rosselló Nevares sería reemplazado por la Secretaria de Justicia, Wanda Vázquez, esto ante la ausencia de alguien en el cargo de Secretario de Estado.

    Ricardo Rosselló Nevares will announce his resignation as governor within the next few hours, tonight, 23 July 2019, according to various sources, as told to this media. They also pointed out that Rosselló will have recorded a farewell message, which will be issued before noon tomorrow, Wednesday, 24 July 2019.

    Similarly, it was mentioned that at this time, Rosselló Nevares would be replaced by the Secretary of Justice, Wanda Vázquez, this in the absence of someone in the position of Secretary of State.

    Note: By law, Puerto Rico does not have a Lt. Governor, so as a result, the vacant governor's position immediatly passes to the highest-ranking cabinet official, which in this instance, is the Secretary of Justice (Attorney-General), given that the position of Secretary of State is currently vacant.

    And thank you, Ricky Martin, who has come a long way from Menudo (and he knows what that means). The imagery here in this montage, of Ricky, boldly poised on the roof of the flat-bed truck, proudly waving that gigantic rainbow flag, while leading the protest, is absolutely iconic and totally stunning:

    The sad and pathetic thing is that this is the very same governor who, at the high-point in his career, signed the executive order in 2015 ushering in marriage equality in Puerto Rico. But since then . . . all down hill, particularly through the immediate post-hurricane chaos when he began his vain attempt to mollify and pacify Trump who already had a well-entrenched, and deeply bigoted bias against any and all matters Hispanic, and thus was not and could not be mollified nor pacified.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  July 23, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Russian LGBT activist stabbed and killed after being listed on 'Saw'-inspired website urging violence

    [Yelena] Grigoryeva became worried about her safety after discovering that her name was posted on a Russian website that advocated for vigilante action against LGBT activists. The site is inspired by the movie "Saw," a movie that portrays torture in many of its scenes, NBC News reported.

    "We don't know who is behind the project, but they collected personal information about LGBT activists like their names, photos and addresses, and published it online, and they called for people to hunt or to kill them," a spokeswoman for the Russian LGBT Network told CNN. "The situation is scary, especially for LGBT activists. People feel targeted and they feel that the police are not going to help."

    [Olga] Smirnova [a friend and fellow activist] noted that Grigoryeva had always kept the group informed about the threats she received, adding that not all the threats were anonymous.

    Grigoryeva last week shared a Facebook post about the website targeting her. She said that that the site had been launched in 2018 and had gone through phases of being shut down, NBC News noted, but always popped back up. “Law enforcement agencies have still not done anything to find the creators of this ‘game’ and bring them to justice,” Grigoryeva wrote on July 18. Her Facebook post detailed that the website posted personal data, “including photos and addresses,” of people presumed to be LGBT activists.

    St. Petersburg police said that Grigoryeva had reported being threatened multiple times, but that the reports didn't appear to be substantial risks to her life.

  • 11. VIRick  |  July 23, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    First Same-Sex Marriage in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Ecuador

    Per Babahoyo-Los Ríos‏:

    Hoy día, el 23 de julio 2019, tuvo lugar el primer matrimonio civil de mujeres en Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. Gina Nájera y Verónica Angulo se casaron.

    Today, 23 July 2019, the first same-sex marriage between women in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas took place. Gina Nájera and Verónica Angulo married.

    Note: Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas is the fourth-largest city in Ecuador, and lies 130 km. west of Quito, in the foothills to the west of the Andes. As a side-note, this was a particularly enthusiastic and attractive pair, only the second same-sex couple to yet marry in Ecuador.

  • 12. VIRick  |  July 23, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Edomex: Morena Introduces Gender Identity Bill

    Per Gonzalo Kinich‏:

    La bancada de Morena en el Congreso del Estado de México presentó hoy, el 23 de julio 2019, la iniciativa para la ley de identidad de género. Además, en unas semanas se votará matrimonio igualitario.

    Today, 23 July 2019, the Morena caucus in the Congress of the State of Mexico presented the initiative for the law of gender identity. In addition, equal marriage will be voted upon in a few weeks.

  • 13. VIRick  |  July 23, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    North Carolina: Anti-Trans "Bathroom" Law Unenforceable

    The state of North Carolina can not currently enforce a controversial law that prevents transgender people from using public bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities. On Monday, 22 July 2019, US Judge Thomas Schroeder, in "Carcaño v. Cooper," signed a consent decree submitted jointly by LGBT advocacy groups and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D).

    The decree says the state's executive branch is permanently prevented from using the law to "bar, prohibit, block, deter, or impede any transgender individuals from using public facilities under any Executive Branch Defendant’s control or supervision, in accordance with the transgender individual’s gender identity."

    The law, known as HB 142 replaced a previous law known as HB 2. The consent decree was specific to HB 142, and the part of the case challenging the legality of HB 2 when it was in effect, remains unresolved, according to the ACLU of North Carolina.

    "I am relieved that we finally have a court order to protect transgender people from being punished under these laws,” lead plaintiff Joaquin Carcaño, said in a statement.

  • 14. VIRick  |  July 24, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Certiorari Petition Filed in Federal Case Re: Refusal of Adoption Agency to Place Children with Same-Sex Couples

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In "Fulton v. City of Philadelphia," the federal case in which Catholic Social Services and individuals are suing the city over its decision to suspend their contract with CSS because the agency refuses to place children with same-sex couples, the Plaintiffs first lost in district court and then lost again at the federal appeals court, so they have now asked the Supreme Court to hear their case.

    Questions presented:
    1. Whether free exercise plaintiffs can only succeed by proving a particular type of discrimination claim—namely, that the government would allow the same conduct by someone who held different religious views—as two circuits have already held, or whether courts must consider other evidence that a law is not neutral and generally applicable, as six other circuits have held?

    2. Whether a government violates the First Amendment by conditioning a religious agency’s ability to participate in the foster care system on taking actions and making statements that directly contradict the agency’s religious beliefs?

    The petition for certiorari is here:

  • 15. Elihu_Bystander  |  July 25, 2019 at 5:02 am

    In Fulton v City of Philadelphia

    There are actually three (3) questions in the cert petition in this case. You correctly cite questions 1 & 3. The second question in this case is: “2. Whether Employment Division v. Smith should be revisited?”

    This is important because the Third Circuit used that case as controlling precedent when ruling for Philadelphia in the appeal process. The Third Circuit declined a motion from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to reconsider the case en banc.

    That leaves SCOTUS as the only appeal left. Becket Fund is a conservative anti LGBT right wing religious organization.

    Additional reading:

  • 16. VIRick  |  July 24, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Texas Perversely Bans Discrimination against Homophobes

    The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has signed a bill banning discrimination against businesses with anti-LGBT views, after Chick-fil-A faced boycotts over its donations to anti-LGBT causes. Abbott staged a public signing ceremony on Thursday, 18 July 2019, for the so-called Save Chick-fil-A bill, which bars government entities from taking “any adverse action” that is based “wholly or partly on a person’s belief or action in accordance with the person’s sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”

    The broadly-written law seeks to strip state and local government powers to “withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any grant, contract, license, registration, accreditation [or] employment” and to “withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny access to a property, educational institution, speech forum, or charitable fund-raising campaign” over religious anti-LGBT views.

    Despite Abbott’s claim that “discrimination is not tolerated in Texas,” Republicans in the state have repeatedly blocked efforts to pass basic laws outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  July 24, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Homophobia in Poland still deeply entrenched

    When Polish writer Jacek Dehnel was a still in school, there were officially no homosexuals in the country. "A few years ago," he tells DW "I returned and saw openly gay couples; everybody knew about them." Dehnel, born in 1980, last year married his partner, fellow writer and translator Piotr Tarczynski, in London – as same-sex marriages are not permitted in Poland. But Dehnel concedes that much has improved lately. Today, he says, there are openly gay and transsexual MPs and mayors in Poland.

    Even so, LGBT people are frequently insulted and attacked. Dehnel tells DW that "local lawmakers keep proclaiming that certain parts of Poland are now LGBT-free – just like areas were once declared Jew-free." The writer says this is extremely hurtful, even for those with particularly thick skin. Dehnel therefore urges LGBTs to support each other, and to publicly come out.

    At last week's first ever Pride Parade in the Polish town of Bialystok, Dehnel witnessed how deep-rooted and virulent anti-LGBT sentiments still are. Polish nationalists and hooligans insulted and spat at the protesters. They hurled rotten eggs, fireworks, stones and even urine-filled bottles at them.

    On his Facebook page, the author described the scenes unfolding before his eyes: "We can see how about 10 meters away a group is being attacked by thugs. A tall man wearing a red balaclava covering his entire head is kicking people, including teenage girls. Some run away, and other angry 'knights' show up."

    Poland's conservative politicians are partially to blame for homophobic incidents like these. These lawmakers "tap into their voters' prejudices to stoke fear of a supposed threat," explains Michal Bilewicz, the director of the Center for Research on Prejudice at Warsaw University. He says that in 2015, they engaged in fear-mongering against migrants. In 2018, they targeted Jews (in the context of a heated international debate over the controversial amendment of Poland's Institute of National Remembrance law), and most recently stoked hatred of the LGBT community.

    Bilewicz says that "in Poland, homophobia indicators are higher than in western Europe and even other parts of Eastern Europe – with the exception of Russia and the Caucasus." Bilewicz explains that "75% of Poles say they do not know any homosexuals." This is particularly true for Poland's Podlasie province, where the town of Bialystok is located. In this part of Poland, few LGBT people are open about their sexuality for fear of negative repercussions.

    Jacek Dehnel says Polish society has become more liberal in recent years – despite the electoral victory of the national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party four years ago. According to a recent survey, 56% of Poles say they approve of civil partnerships, while 41% back same-sex marriages. Dehnel recalls that "10 years ago, just 16% were in favor."

    And in spite of the violent clashes at last weekend's Bialystok Pride Parade, he is optimistic about the future: "There used to be just two or three such marches per year in Poland; this year there will be 25."

    He says Poland is at a crossroads: "Either there will be a liberalization, just as there was in deeply Catholic Malta, where after a political transition same-sex marriages are now legal." Or, he says, Poland will take the route of "Catholic fundamentalism akin to Islamist countries."

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  July 24, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Conservative Polish magazine issues 'LGBT-Free Zone' stickers

    A conservative magazine in Poland distributed "LGBT-free zone" stickers with its weekly edition on Wednesday, amid a mounting backlash against gay rights in central Europe's largest nation ahead of a parliamentary election this year.

    Diplomats and opposition politicians in Poland have criticized the Gazeta Polska's campaign and a major bookseller, Empik, as well as the Polish branch of British oil company BP, have said they would not carry the edition.

    Gazeta Polska's editor-in-chief, Tomasz Sakiewicz, said the campaign wasn't directed against any individual but against those who try to censor views that are critical of "LGBT ideology".

    "We wanted to prove that censorship in this case exists and we have proved it," Sakiewicz told Reuters, referring to criticism of the stickers. "What is happening is the best evidence that LGBT is a totalitarian ideology."

    The campaign includes stickers with a black "x" through a rainbow flag and was announced last week by Gazeta Polska.

    The move comes as PiS has made LGBTQ rights a central campaign issue, pegging the party against more liberal forces in the country.

    The magazine is largely loyal to the government line and receives significantly more advertising placements from state-run companies than other privately run media.

    Along with the stickers, gay pride marches have become a pressure point in Poland, with many ruling party politicians saying that they unnecessarily encourage public display of sexuality.

    "These kinds of marches, initiated by groups that are trying to force through their non-standard sexual behaviors, awaken resistance … it's worth considering if such events should be organized in the future," Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski told private broadcaster TVN on Sunday.

    Poland ranks second to last out of 28 European Union states when it comes to equality and non-discrimination, according to Rainbow Europe, an organization linked to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

    Gay marriage is illegal in Poland and homosexual partnerships are not legally recognized.

  • 19. VIRick  |  July 24, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Bulgaria Recognizes First Same-Sex Marriage

    Bulgarian Supreme Court Ratifies First Same-Sex Marriage Recognized in the Country

    Per "Dos Manzanas" and LGBT Marriage News:

    Tribunal Supremo de Bulgaria Ratifica el Primer Matrimonio Igualitario Reconocido en el País

    El Tribunal Supremo de Bulgaria ha ratificado el derecho de la chilena, Cristina Palma, y la francesa, Mariama Diallo, a residir como matrimonio reconocido en el país, ejerciendo el derecho de moverse libremente dentro de la Unión Europea, válido para todos los ciudadanos de la UE y miembros de sus familias. El Supremo ha dictaminado que el fallo del Tribunal Administrativo de Sofía tiene que cumplirse y respetarse.

    La decisión del alto tribunal, que confirma la decisión del Tribunal Administrativo de la ciudad de Sofía, también está en línea con la jurisprudencia del Tribunal de Justicia de la Unión Europea (TJUE) en un caso similar en Rumanía (caso Coman, C-673/2016), que sostuvo que los países de la UE deben respetar el derecho de residencia de las parejas del mismo sexo, casadas en otro país, que deseen vivir juntas en su territorio, ya que circular libremente dentro de la UE es un derecho fundamental garantizado a todos los ciudadanos comunitarios, que a menudo es utilizado por un gran número de búlgaros.

    The Bulgarian Supreme Court has ratified the right of a Chilean, Cristina Palma, and a French citizen, Mariama Diallo, to reside as a recognized married couple in the country, exercising their right to move freely within the European Union, valid for all EU citizens and members of their families The Supreme Court has ruled that the decision of the Administrative Court of Sofia has to be complied with and be respected.

    The decision of the high court, which confirms the decision of the Administrative Court of the city of Sofia, is also in line with the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in a similar case from Romania (Coman case, C-673 / 2016), which argued that EU countries must respect the right of residence of same-sex couples, married in another country, who wish to live together within their territory, since circulating freely within the EU is a fundamental right guaranteed to all community citizens, which is a right often used by a large number of Bulgarians.

  • 20. VIRick  |  July 24, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Sonora: First Same-Sex Marriage in Navojoa Finally Occurred

    Per TV Azteca Sonora:

    El 24 de julio 2019, después de luchar por más de un año, una pareja del sexo femenino logró que se aprobara su solicitud para contraer matrimonio y llevar a cabo el primer matrimonio igualitario en Navojoa.

    On 24 July 2019, after a fight lasting for more than a year, a female couple had their application to contract marriage approved, and became the first equal marriage couple in Navojoa.

    Note: When I lived in Sonora, because of its entrenched obstructionism, political cronyism, and rampant corruption, characteristics which have not yet been altered, Navojoa was the singular municipality in the southern part of the state which I detested the most.

    Even now, on this matter, it was the Civil Registrar of Navojoa, despite not having any requests from a same-sex couple at that time, who loudly refused to adhere to the statewide directive of the State Director of the Civil Registry which allowed for marriage equality after just 5 amparos had been issued statewide (a point which matches with my interpretation of current law, and one which was actually followed in places like Querétaro, Colima, and Nayarit), and then prevailed upon the Governor to block and rescind said directive, a situation which still remains in force. So, I am more than pleased to note that an anonymous same-sex couple finally did sue there, then won their suit after a long legal fight, and were subsequently duly married in Navojoa.

  • 21. VIRick  |  July 25, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Japan Federation of Bar Associations: Marriage Equality Ban Unconstitutional

    Per Rex Wockner:

    The Japan Federation of Bar Associations demands that the government bring in marriage equality immediately, saying that the current ban is unconstitutional.

    Per NHK:

    Lawyers in Japan have asked the government to swiftly legalize same-sex marriage, arguing that the current legal procedures go against the Constitution. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations submitted an opinion paper to the government on Thursday, 25 July 2019. It began compiling the document after a group of more than 450 people submitted a claim for human rights relief to the organization in 2015.

    The lawyers say the current legislation, which does not recognize same-sex marriage, ignores the freedom of marriage and equality for all people stipulated in the Constitution. They say banning same-sex marriage is a serious violation of human rights.

  • 22. VIRick  |  July 25, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Puerto Rico: The Revolt of the Gays

    In a breathtakingly stunning display of Gay Power, with loud, massive, non-stop street demonstrations, massive demonstrations which had grown in size and which have continued on unabated for several weeks, the Puerto Rico government has finally been successfully toppled in an unprecedented move which is sending shockwaves throughout the Americas.

    Puerto Rico Governor Quits over Leaked Anti-LGBT Messages

    Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló will resign after days of mass protests over a chain of derogatory leaked messages. Rosselló announced his resignation on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, stating that he will leave office on Friday, 2 August, after a short transition period. The governor will be replaced by Wanda Vázquez, the current Secretary of Justice (Attorney-General).

    Per Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan:‏

    ¡Se va Rosselló! El pueblo construyó su propio camino de justicia y dignidad. Lección #1: El poder está en la calle.

    Rosselló is leaving! The people have built their own path to justice and dignity. Lesson #1: The power is in the street.

    In addition to Ricky Martin and a wide assortment of opposition senators, most notably about PDP senator Eduardo Bhatia and his supposed sexual orientation, as well as that of an "El Nuevo Día" journalist, Benjamín Torres Gotay, Carmen was also the victim of Rosselló's viciously derogatory attacks, much of it being ugly, unnecessary innuendo, as Carmen has never fully divulged her precise sexual orientation. Samples can be found attached to the bottom of this article, where one can learn all about "fucking asshole," "historic cocksucker, "unprecedented cocksucker," as well as this item: "Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he fucks men because women don’t measure up," all of which was properly recorded and published in the self-same "El Nuevo Día" in the original Spanish. This is an abridged English-language version:

    Pedro Julio Serrano has posted a photo montage which clearly show the massive size of the crowds in the demonstrations against the governor, a montage which can be accessed here:

    The ones taken in the narrow streets of the Old City can only show portions of the tightly packed crowd, but the ones of the people, elbow-to-elbow, filling the full width of the entire expressway, as far as the eye can see, are truly amazing.

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  July 25, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Court orders Polish right-wing newspaper sold with "LGBT free zone" stickers to be pulled from the stores

    The District Court in Warsaw ordered the publisher of "Gazeta Polska" to withdraw from the distribution of stickers demonstrating opposition to the LGBT ideology. The editor-in-chief of "GP" Tomasz Sakiewicz is surprised by this decision.

  • 24. VIRick  |  July 25, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Trump, "45 Es un Títere," Spoke in Front of Russian-Inspired Parody of Presidential Seal

    At a recent conference for conservative youth, Trump spoke in front of a parody version of the presidential seal, one inspired by Russia's coat of arms, and featuring a wad of cash and golf clubs. Turning Point USA, which organized the Teen Student Action Summit earlier this week, has said the display was a mistake. In a video from Tuesday's event, it doesn't look like anyone immediately noticed. According to the "Washington Post," the audio/video aide who found it online and who, in a rush for time, included it in the day's visuals, has been fired.

    The actual presidential seal was displayed on a lectern where Trump spoke for about 80 minutes to enthusiastic young supporters. Behind him, however, a projection featured the parody seal, one in which the bald eagle was swapped for the double-headed eagle of the Russian Federation's coat of arms. Instead of the typical olive branch and arrows, the parody seal showed the eagle clutching a wad of cash and golf clubs. "E pluribus unum," the motto of the United States (in the banner above the double-headed Russian eagle), was very coyly replaced with "45 es un títere," Spanish for "45 is a puppet."

    One can view the parody seal here, with the oblivious Trump posed in front of it:

  • 25. ianbirmingham  |  July 25, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Trump administration: An immigrant’s HIV status is enough to justify family separation at the border

    When [Rep. Jamie] Raskin [(D-Md.)] asked the official if a mother or father having HIV positive status “is alone enough to justify separation from their child” Hastings affirmed that was the case. “It is because it’s a communicable disease under the guidance,” Hastings said.

    Raskin pointed out the flu is communicable and asked “would we separate parents from their kids if a mom or dad had the flu?” “We’re not, sir,” Hastings replied.

    Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, said the policy makes no sense because HIV “has not been considered a communicable disease of public health significance since 2010.” “We are appalled to learn that the U.S. government is again stigmatizing immigrants living with HIV,” Morris added. “Separating children from their parents because they are HIV-positive deeply misunderstands basic public health and will irreparably harm families and children.”

    Jennifer Kates, senior vice president of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the Trump administration policy makes no sense on either a scientific or legal basis. “If HIV is being treated as a communicable disease for the purposes of separating families at the border, that would be at odds with longstanding policy and science.”

  • 26. Elihu_Bystander  |  July 25, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    The only way we are going to get rid of Trump and Trumpism is to vote the bastards out of office. I'm concerned we are not working on getting out the vote in 2020. No matter who the Democratic candidate is in 2020 we have to all pledge to help get out the vote.

    Impeachment is a foil that will not be successful. It will give Trump another victory saying, see I have been vindicated; not guilty. I understand that this site is about marriage equality; however, if we are not victorious in removing Trump, there will be less and less equality.

    What are the plans to win in those must win swing states. I live in California a definitely blue state. However, I live in the red part of California and the Trumpsters are not going away.

  • 27. JayJonson  |  July 26, 2019 at 6:13 am

    I agree. I will also add that Democrats must stop attacking each other. That is doing Trump's work for him. A candidate must present themselves as worthy of the nomination because of their own accomplishments and ideas, not attack another candidate. I found Kamala Harris's attack on Biden (over an issue–forced bussing–that it turns out she shares his view on) disgraceful. Biden is not my first choice, but he is an honorable man with a long record of service to the nation. Anyone who tries to advance him or herself by distorting another candidate's record just shows themselves unworthy of the nomination. We must all rally around whoever gets the nomination, but we also need to be sure that the eventual nominee is someone who can win.

  • 28. VIRick  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Ecuador: First Equal Marriage Between Two Men

    Per "Diario Expreso:"

    Hoy, el 25 de julio 2019, en Guayaquil se realizó el primer matrimonio igualitario entre dos hombres, Giovanny Vareles y Borys Álvarez. Es el tercero a nivel nacional entre personas del mismo sexo.

    Today, 25 July 2019, the first equal marriage between two men, Giovanny Vareles and Borys Álvarez, took place in Guayaquil. Nationwide, it is the third one between people of the same sex.

  • 29. ianbirmingham  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Georgia's Culture War: The Push for LGBT Rights

    LGBT activists in the Republic of Georgia this summer have been looking for ways to hold a parade on the streets of the capital, Tbilisi. While pride parades are common across the West, activists in Georgia face strong opposition from the government and a deeply traditional society. In a report narrated by Steve Redisch, Ricardo Marquina in Tbilisi looks at the difficult road ahead for those promoting the rights of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people.

  • 30. allan120102  |  July 26, 2019 at 12:12 am

    Jamaica could soon see its ssm ban in trouble if Tomilson can convince the ICH to apply the same standards like it did with the CR advisory opinion.

  • 31. VIRick  |  July 26, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Jamaica: Activist Mounts Marriage Challenge to Constitution at IACHR (CIDH)

    On 17 July 2019, gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson petitioned the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), requesting that it rule that Section 18 (2) of the Jamaican Constitution, which does not recognize a union between persons of the same sex, contravenes various articles of the American Convention of Human Rights ratified by Jamaica 41 years ago.

    The American Convention on Human Rights, which came into effect in 1978, is an international human rights instrument aimed at establishing a system of personal liberty and social justice based on respect for the essential rights of man. In documents obtained by "The Gleaner," Tomlinson, who has also mounted a challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy laws in the local Constitutional Court, argued that because the Jamaican Constitution does not recognize same-sex marriage, he and his partner are unable to enjoy the benefits and protections afforded to them.

    Section 18 (2) of the Charter states, “No form of marriage or other relationship referred to in subsection (1), other than the voluntary union of one man and one woman, may be contracted or legally recognized in Jamaica.” Tomlinson, who holds both Jamaican and Canadian citizenship, wants to return to Jamaica, where he was born, with his Canadian husband in order to work and look after his ageing parents, who are in rapidly declining health.

    The petition, filed on Tomlinson’s behalf by attorneys-at-law Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle, also says that by virtue of this constitutional ban against non-heterosexual unions, there is neither an adequate nor effective domestic remedy available to him and/or his same-sex partner under Jamaican law. Tomlinson is, therefore, asking the IACHR (CIDH) to require Jamaica to fulfil its human-rights obligations under the convention.

    The gay-rights activist is also asking the commission to recommend that the Government repeal Section 18 (2) of the Constitution of Jamaica in order to comply with the country’s obligations under the convention. Furthermore, he wants the IACHR (CIDH) to recommend that the Government allow the naturalization of same-sex spouses of Jamaican citizens on the same conditions as heterosexual spouses of Jamaican citizens.

  • 32. arturo547  |  July 26, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Are the IACHR rulings directly and immediately binding on Jamaica, as it is the case with Guyana and the Caribbean Court of Justice?

  • 33. VIRick  |  July 26, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    That is a difficult question to answer, as we are in untested territory. According to Wikipedia, four Anglophone Caribbean countries have ratified the American Convention on Human Rights: Barbados (1981), Dominica (1993), Grenada (1978), and Jamaica (1978). However, of those, Rex Wockner only includes Barbados within his list of nations "bound" to adhere to the "Advisory Opinions" of the CIDH.

    The complete text of the American Convention on Human Rights, which all four have signed, is here:

    The first additional protocol, which none of them signed, is here:

    The complete marriage equality/gender identity ruling, OC24/17, is here:

    State parties to the American Convention on Human Rights:
    •Costa Rica
    •Dominican Republic
    •El Salvador
    •Trinidad and Tobago

    As signatories to this treaty, states accept obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the basic and fundamental human rights of all individuals, as outlined in the American Convention. Additionally, states parties to the American Convention also agree to be bound by the authority of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

    And here is the country-by-country list of declarations/reservations/denunciations/withdrawals:

    In looking through this list of reservations, I found this: Article 62. The Commonwealth of Dominica does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Court.

    and this: Trinidad and Tobago Denunciation (withdrawal) notified 26 May 1998.

  • 34. VIRick  |  July 27, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Of the 25 countries in that long list, only 5 had already legalized same-sex marriage prior to the CIDH ruling on the subject: Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Mexico (in the majority of its states), and Uruguay. Since then, two more, Costa Rica and Ecuador, have had their own court rulings requiring the implementation of the CIDH ruling within their respective national jurisdictions. On the other hand, Dominica specifically does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court, while Trinidad/Tobago has withdrawn itself from the court's jurisdiction.

    That leaves us with 16 additional nations on the list (and the remainder of Mexico's states) which do not yet have marriage equality, but which have bound themselves to adhere to the CIDH rulings. Undoubtedly, it will be years before the last of them finally comply, with the bulk of the Hispanic countries being quicker in their compliance (given that most already have pending marriage equality lawsuits in process) than the odd-lot of non-Hispanic countries which are also party to the same accord.

    Of the 11 remaining Hispanic countries, only four do not yet have at least one pending marriage equality lawsuit already in process within their own national court systems: Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

    Of the 5 non-Hispanic countries, none have a marriage equality lawsuit already filed within their own national court systems. Instead, an anti-sodomy case against Barbados and the Jamaica marriage equality case have been filed directly before the CIDH (along with the case from Bolivia specifically seeking marriage equality for transgender women).

    In addition, there is one Hispanic nation, Cuba, and 7 independent non-Hispanic nations, namely, Antigua, Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent/Grenadines, which are not party to the American Convention nor subject to the rulings of the CIDH (along with Dominica and Trinidad/Tobago which have both exempted themselves from the jurisdiction of the CIDH).

  • 35. Mechatron12  |  July 27, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Aside from Rick's excellent analysis of the legalities, does anyone here seriously think that gay marriage is going to be legal in Jamaica anytime soon? Jamaica is without question the most MURDEROUSLY homophobic country in the New World, and maybe the most homophobic outside the Muslim world. If it's ever safe for gay people to simply walk the streets in large parts of the country it will be a miracle, to say absolutely nothing about being able to get married. Frankly any sort of court-ordered marriage would just put a bunch of bulls-eyes on any place that hosted them.

  • 36. VIRick  |  July 27, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Mechatron, on the other hand, someone, sometime, sooner or later, had to sue the government of Jamaica. Maurice Tomlinson, as a dual Jamaican/Canadian citizen, currently resident in Canada, with a Canadian husband, but with elderly parents still resident in Jamaica, is in the perfect position to do so,– and has just done so. Is it premature? I doubt it, because many people would continue to argue that it would always be premature, from now until doomsday. Of course, no decision will be immediately rendered, but the matter certainly needed to be filed in order to begin what will probably be a long, drawn-out process.

    As a long-term resident in these kinds of countries, I have to tell you something that is difficult to explain to outsiders, but we instinctively protect each other. Everyone knows everyone else, including who is living with whom. It is unspoken, but respected, and is more obvious in the smaller islands with a tighter-knit population.

    However, some years ago, I had the same basic experience when visiting/working in the semi-bombed-out area of downtown Kingston. Perfect strangers of a certain class would instinctively attach themselves to me and escort me through potential problem areas, as I went about the business at the Institute of Jamaica which required my presence there. And since I needed to be there for a number of months, this protective pattern became more obvious as time moved along. By comparison, the UWI campus at Mona was "easy," as was New Kingston, while the gated communities of upper St. Andrews were a completely different world.

    Strangest of all, on repeat return visits, I found myself doing the same thing, like escorting a group of newcomers (from other Caribbean countries) on a visit to Bob Marley's house, or to a nyabinghi reggae performance at Government House. Jamaica is very complex on multiple levels.

    Needless to say, those nearer to the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are far more exposed and vulnerable to negativity and violence, especially in low-income places like Trench Town. That is why those nearer to the top have an obligation to provide for this same protective escort service through life, as already outlined.

    Note: I stopped going to Jamaica not because of any incident in Jamaica, but because on arrival into Miami International Airport, I was detained and falsely accused of being a citizen of Guatemala.

  • 37. VIRick  |  July 26, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Hong Kong: Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Begun Recognizing Same-Sex Couples

    A Hong Kong tax assessor told "Gay Star News" that individuals have been able to list a same-sex spouse when filing tax returns since mid-July 2019. But, the statement said, it applies only to "tax returns by taxpayers who have entered into a valid same-sex marriage in accordance with the law of the place where it was entered into."

    As Hong Kong does not allow same-sex unions, the new laws would apply only to same-sex couples married overseas. The move comes after Hong Kong’s top court last month ruled in favor of a gay senior civil servant.

    Angus Leung, an immigration officer who married his husband Scott Adams in New Zealand five years ago, sued the government in 2015. It had refused to recognize his marital status and grant his husband benefits such as medical insurance and tax reductions for couples. But, Court of Final Appeal judges ruled Hong Kong’s civil service and Inland Revenue Department must recognize the pair as a married couple.

  • 38. ianbirmingham  |  July 26, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    "Gay people exist because pregnant women enjoy anal sex" – Greek Orthodox Bishop

    Church of Cyprus bishop Neophytos Masouras of Morphou made the surreal claim in June while speaking at a primary school in Akaki, Cyprus.

    According to the Cyprus Mail, the Greek Orthodox religious leader claimed that homosexuality is “a problem, which is usually transmitted by parents to the child.”

    He explained: “It happens during the parent’s intercourse or pregnancy. It follows an unnatural sexual act between the parents.

    “To be more clear, anal sex. ‘[Saint Porfyrios] says that when the woman enjoys that, a desire is created, and then the desire is passed on to the child.”

  • 39. VIRick  |  July 28, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Thailand: New Gender Identity Proposal Introduced into Parliament

    This past week, transgender activists in Thailand proposed a new law to guarantee their rights, and presented their proposal to the parliament speaker. The activists, who plan to get 10,000 signatures in support of the law, want to be recognized as the correct gender following gender affirmation surgery.

    The proposed law covers their name and title, marriage rights, military conscription, and being treated as their gender in correctional facilities. The Transsexual Association of Thailand and The Life Inspired for Transsexuals Foundation led the campaign.

  • 40. VIRick  |  July 28, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Barbados: IACHR Gives Government 3 Months to Respond to Anti-Sodomy Challenge

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    As of 26 July 2019, the IACHR (CIDH) has given the government of Barbados three months to answer the challenge to its anti-same-sex laws, specifically to answer a petition to have its laws against same-sex intimacy struck down. The challenge to the laws, filed by a transgender woman, Alexa Hoffmann, and two other Barbadians, a lesbian and a gay man, has been reviewed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in the last year.

    The IACHR sent the Government a copy of the petition challenging sections 9 and 12 of the Sexual Offences Act. These sections effectively criminalize all forms of same-sex intimacy, and the Mia Mottley administration now has three months to respond to the petition.

    Section 9 outlaws “buggery,” which the courts have defined as anal sex between men, but also between a man and a woman. The maximum penalty is life in prison. Under Section 12, “serious indecency” is sweepingly defined as any act “involving the use of the genital organs for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.” The maximum penalty is ten years in prison if the act is committed on or towards a person aged 16 or older.

    The commission can issue a recommendation to the Government of Barbados to repeal the laws, and if the State refuses, it can refer the matter to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which can issue a binding decision mandating that Barbados repeal the laws.

    Barbados is the only Anglophone Caribbean country that recognizes the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as it is a signatory to the 1969 Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. Barbados signed the accord in 1981.

    Note: This latter statement claiming that Barbados is the sole Anglophone nation recognizing the jurisdiction of the IACHR is often repeated in the English language media. However, within the past two days, I just spent hours researching this very point relative to the new marriage equality challenge filed at the IACHR against the government of Jamaica. Like Barbados, both Grenada and Jamaica are parties to the IACHR (CIDH) accord. I could not find any specific denunciation from either nation. As already mentioned above, all I could find was this:

    Article 62. The Commonwealth of Dominica does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Court.

    and this: Trinidad/Tobago Denunciation (withdrawal) notified 26 May 1998.

  • 41. VIRick  |  July 28, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    St. Vincent/Grenadines: Court Challenge Filed against Anti-Sodomy Laws

    Per Rex Wockner:

    On 26 July 2019, two men, Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish, have filed court proceedings challenging St Vincent/Grenadines’ “buggery” and “gross indecency” laws, which criminalize homosexuality. The men, who are being advised by Queen’s Counsel Jeremy Johnson and British-based Peter Laverack, argue that the laws strip them of their dignity and autonomy. The challenges were filed by local lawyers, Zita Barnwell and Jomo Thomas, listing the two British attorneys as the intended trial advocates.

    According to their affidavits, as a result of said colonial-era legislation, both have been exiled from the Caribbean island due to the severely draconian and damaging effects of these laws. Javin Johnson, 22, successfully claimed asylum in the United Kingdom in 2017, having established that he could not live as a gay man in St Vincent, while 53-year-old Sean Macleish, who resides in Chicago, USA, has failed in his public advocacy to convince Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves for the removal of the laws so that he may return home with his partner.

    The two claimants are unknown to each other, having separately decided that now is the time for decriminalization. They say that these laws violate multiple and overlapping rights in the Constitution, which are there to protect all Vincentians, no matter who they are or who they love.

    These court challenges come in the wake of Jason Jones’ successful challenge to Trinidad/Tobago’s anti-gay laws, a week after a similar challenge was filed in Dominica (on 19 July 2019 by an anonymous gay man), and with other challenges already afoot in Jamaica and Barbados (see post immediately above for further details regarding both).

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