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SCOTUS LGBT Title VII cases: reaction thread and transcripts UPDATED


We’ll post the transcripts from today’s two arguments in the Supreme Court in the Title VII LGBT employment discrimination cases when they’re available, but we’re also seeing initial reactions to the argument.

Here’s one Twitter thread from Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News. Mark Joseph Stern from Slate also posted a Twitter reaction. Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade has a thread here. Amy Howe from SCOTUSBlog has a thread here. Zoe Tillman from Buzzfeed News has a thread here. Law professor Leah Litman has a post here.

SCOTUSBlog’s analysis is here.

UPDATE: Here’s the transcript in the two consolidated Title VII sexual orientation cases.

UPDATE 2: Transcript in the Harris Funeral Homes (Title VII transgender discrimination case.) Note that this is the first trans rights case SCOTUS has ever heard: here. Also note that we’d been reporting the ACLU’s John Knight would be arguing the case but according to the transcript it’s actually David Cole.


  • 1. guitaristbl  |  October 8, 2019 at 10:45 am

    The hopes of some of those people on Gorsuch siding with the liberals are well intended but hilariously unfounded. Things went as expected, it will be a 5-4 ruling against LGBTQ protections under title VII (meaning both for sexual orientation and gender identity cases). Anyone thinking differently is either an unrealistic optimist or clings on minor things said today

  • 2. VIRick  |  October 8, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Macau SAR Resident Has Sued for Equal Marriage Recognition

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A local Macau resident who is fighting to have his same-sex marriage legalized in Taiwan has told the Macau News Agency (MNA) that legal precedent gives him hope that his attempts will be successful. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan in May 2019, making it the first Asian jurisdiction to do so. However, marriage with Taiwanese nationals is not allowed for residents of jurisdictions that do not recognize same-sex marriage, and the Macau SAR is one of those jurisdictions.

    Leong Chin Fai, a 31-year-old local resident of Macau, studied clinical psychology at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, after which he met his partner, Shin Chi Ting. The couple have been dating since 2015. “During the first two years of dating, we had a long-distance relationship, flying back and forth to meet one to two times per month. After that, I moved to Taiwan in 2017,” Leong told MNA. Leong gave up his job as a psychologist in Macau and moved to Taiwan. The couple have been living together ever since.

    Leong stated the couple first attempted to register their union on the day same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan on 24 May, but the application was refused due to his nationality. This led the couple to start a legal action to see their marriage recognized, utilizing the help of their voluntary lawyers and the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights. Since 2009, this Taiwanese organization has been fighting for LGBTIQ people in Taiwan to have the right to marry and to have systematic legal protections, just like their heterosexual fellow citizens do. “We will have an ‘administrative appeal’ to the administrative government; a procedure to ask the administrative department to clarify the reasons in law why it rejects the registration,” Leong told MNA.

    Under the 46th article of the Taiwanese Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements, it is mandated that the “formation of a marriage is governed by the national law of each party.” However, the 8th article of the same act also notes that “if the result of such application leads to a violation of the public order or 'boni mores' of the Republic of China [Taiwan], that law of the foreign State is not applied.” On 1 October, the couple again tried to see their union officialized at the civil registry in the Taiwanese city of Hsinchu as part of its administrative appeal to the authorities, with the request again being rejected.

    Leong stated to MNA that the couple hopes that a previous legal interpretation concerning marriage between a Cambodian woman and a Taiwanese man could provide the necessary legal precedent to see their union recognized. Cambodia has a ban on marriages between its citizens and those of several countries, including Taiwan, as part of an effort to prevent human trafficking; however, in October 2016 the Taiwanese Ministry of the Interior exempted Taiwanese and Cambodian couples from the marriage law of Cambodia under certain conditions. "Cambodian law forbade this situation, but the Taiwanese government made an administrative interpretation of the 8th article of the Act and accepted their marriage,” Leong told MNA.

    The Macau SAR (special administrative region) is an ex-Portuguese territory near Hong Kong, and like Hong Kong, another SAR, Macau continues to have special rights as a separate entity from mainland China.

  • 3. VIRick  |  October 8, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Guam: Lt. Governor Sharply Criticizes Trans Military Ban

    On 4 October 2019, Joshua Tenorio, the openly gay lieutenant governor of Guam sharply criticized Trump over his ban on openly transgender servicemembers. “I especially get offended and protective of them because they … have volunteered to place their lives on the line for freedom, and they are not going to be protected by our country,” Tenorio told the "Washington Blade" during an interview in Dupont Circle. “It’s unacceptable. It’s opportunistic,” added Tenorio. “It was a group that was targeted to maintain a base of support that doesn’t tolerate that group of people.”

    Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam are located on Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean that is at the southern end of the Mariana Islands. The Pentagon earlier this year announced that it will move roughly 5,000 Marines to Guam from Okinawa in the coming years.

    Guam bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but Tenorio noted to the "Blade" that these protections do not apply to the island’s military bases. Tenorio also said Guam’s “pretty active LGBT servicemember community” participates in the territory’s annual Pride events.

    “In many ways, our constitution, including the legislative process, protects the rights of the minority to express their viewpoints,” he said. In reference to the trans service ban and Trump’s overall LGBT rights record, “It is inconsistent with what the US should be.”

    He, along with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, took office in January. Tenorio is the first openly gay man elected to executive office in Guam, and the first out person to become lieutenant governor within the USA.

  • 4. ianbirmingham  |  October 8, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Strong oral argument by Karlan in the two consolidated Title VII sexual orientation cases. She really hit a home run with her final point (page 70, PDF page 71). I think we win this one.

    Amusingly, the first plaintiff is named "Gerald Bostock", who may well have been named after the famously controversial eight-year-old poetic genius accused of impregnating his 14-year-old friend Julia Fealey in a 7 January 1972 front-page story in England's St. Cleve Chronicle and Linwell Advertiser:

  • 5. allan120102  |  October 8, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Base from the oral arguments I actually believe we can win this cases. Might be a narrow ruling in our favor but its better than one against.

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 8, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Puebla: Deputy Seeks "Action of Unconstitutionality" against Modified Article 294

    Per Dip. Rocío García Olmedo (PRI)‏:

    Tras la votación de la mayoría en el Congreso de Puebla que se niega a reconocer el matrimonio igualitario como lo mandata la SCJN, solicito públicamente a la CEDH Puebla y la CNDH inicie la "Acción de Inconstitucionalidad" de este Artículo (294).

    After the majority vote in the Puebla Congress refusing to recognize marriage equality as mandated by the SCJN, I publicly request that the CEDH Puebla and the CNDH initiate the "Action of Unconstitutionality" against this Article (294).

    Today, 8 October 2019, there were 3 initiatives before the full Congress of Puebla, two of which were pro-marriage-equality, one having been submitted by Chelo García (Sin Partido) and the other by Rocío García Olmedo (PRI), plus the unconstitutional one from the governor, Miguel Barbosa Huerta (Morena), which was not. They voted against the two pro measures and in favor of that from the governor. Essentially, the vote was the same, but with the numbers reversed, when it came to approving the governor's proposal. For Morena, as a progressive, liberal party, this was a disaster, as 13 of 14 of their deputies voted against marriage equality, and in favor of the governor's unconstitutional modification. Those from Chelo and Rocío received:

    08 – a favor (of which 01 was Morena)
    29 – en contra (of which 13 were Morena)
    02 – abstenciones

    Basically put, the governor's proposal, now approved as law (but unenforceable), eliminates the current wording in Article 294 claiming that the purpose of marriage is to perpetuate the species, while leaving the other unconstitutional man-woman portion intact.

    Since the Congress actually voted, and voted to modify a portion of the marriage law, there is no question that Rocío, particularly as a deputy within the same congress, has sufficient grounds for filing an "Action of Unconstitutionality." And she/we will win. In the meantime, marriage equality will actually continue in Puebla, as the Supreme Court ruling which already struck down the ban can not be over-ridden.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  October 9, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Iran charges famous Kurdish singer with being gay, faces execution – Well known Iranian Kurdish singer Mohsen Lorestani was charged with ‘corruption on earth’ by a court in Tehran for posting ‘immoral’ content on social media.

    Volker Beck, a German Green Party politician and LGBTQ activist , told The Jerusalem Post that "It is a perversion of unjust states like Iran and Saudi Arabia that alleged or actual homosexuality is presented as an accusation that can cost you your life. It is time for the international community to outlaw states punishing homosexuals."

    The Kurdistan Human Rights Network tweeted that “Mohsen Lorestani, a Kurdish singer from Kermanshah, has been charged with ‘corruption on earth’ in a public complaint. His lawyer told Kurdistan Human Rights Network, ‘The alleged incidents happened in a private chat.’ If convicted, this charge could result in death sentence.”

    According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks dispatch, Iran’s mullah regime has executed “between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians” since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

  • 8. MichGuy  |  October 13, 2019 at 12:47 am


  • 9. VIRick  |  October 9, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Alabama: Montgomery Elects Its First Black Mayor, Probate Judge Steven Reed

    Steven Reed was the first probate judge in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of an order by homophobe Roy Moore, and will now be the first Black mayor of Montgomery. On Tuesday, 8 October 2019, Judge Steven Reed won a runoff election over local TV station owner David Woods, the "Montgomery Advertiser" reports. Unofficial final results show a landslide victory of 32,918 to 16,010.

    It’s a landmark moment in a major Southern city and the birthplace of the civil rights movement. The majority of residents in Montgomery are Black.

    In 2012, Reed also became the first Black man elected as a Montgomery County probate judge, who among other duties, are in charge of issuing marriage licenses. In that position, he made LGBTQ history in Alabama. Reed issued the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples after federal Judge Ginny Grenade struck down Alabama's ban, as well as the first after the Supreme Court ruled marriage equality the law of the land in 2015, there being about a 7-month hiatus in between when marriage equality in Alabama was put on hold.

    The second time around, he notably did so in defiance of a court order by then-Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who ordered judges not to issue licenses. Moore was ultimately removed from the bench over the order. Reed at the time said he knew Moore was stepping outside his state judicial role in the order, so he ignored the directive.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  October 9, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    During Obergefell v. Hodges, I predicted that Alabama would be the last state to accept marriage equality after SCOTUS issued its mandate. Today there are STILL counties in Alabama which just totally refuse to issue marriage licenses because then "teh gayz" might get one… Is there even any competition at this point? Can we all agree that Alabama is the worst?

  • 11. VIRick  |  October 9, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Oaxaca: First Same-Sex Marriage since Legalization by Law, 9 October 2019

    Per Registro Civil del Estado de Oaxaca:

    El amor es universal y la igualdad es un derecho que por muchos años les fue arrebatado. Oaxaca y nuestra familia está orgullosa de trabajar, con el espíritu de legalidad, que protege a José e Iván Roberto ¡Felicidades!

    Per Oaxaca State Civil Registry:

    Love is universal and equality is a right that for many years was held back from them. Oaxaca and our family are proud to work, within the spirit of legality, to protect José and Iván Roberto. Congratulations!

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 9, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Puebla: La Novena Marcha de las Putas

    This will be extremely difficult to translate properly, as one really must live in Mexico and be fully fluent in Spanish to grasp the several meanings behind the self-mocking double-entendres inherent in "The Ninth March of the Whores." For example, those who have a Roman Catholic background may recognize the word "novena" used in a completely different context, a religious context which is also present in Hispanic countries, but without need for translation. Still, to use "novena" and "puta" together in the same phrase is akin to the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence:"

    El próximo 13 de octubre se llevará a cabo en Puebla la novena Marcha de las Putas, en la que organizaciones civiles se unirán para pedir frenar las agresiones que hoy sufren las mujeres poblanas, y denunciar las iniciativas "retrógradas" de este gobierno sobre los temas de despenalización del aborto y matrimonio igualitario.

    On 13 October, the ninth March of the Whores will be held in Puebla, in which civil organizations will unite to request a stop to the current aggressions suffered by Poblano women, and to denounce the "retrograde" initiatives of this government on the issues of decriminalization of abortion and of marriage equality.

    And yes, in addition, sex workers will be present and will be marching in force against the government, as all levels of feminist and LGBT society will turn out.

  • 13. ianbirmingham  |  October 10, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Uganda announces 'Kill the Gays' bill that will bring in the death penalty for homosexuals

    Uganda has announced plans to reintroduce a bill which would bring in the death penalty for homosexuals in the East African nation. The legislation – known as the 'Kill the Gays' bill – was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government now has plans to resurrect it within weeks.

    [Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon] Lokodo said Uganda's bill, which is supported by President Yoweri Museveni, will be reintroduced in parliament in the coming weeks, and it is expected to be voted on before the end of the year. He was optimistic it would pass with the necessary two-thirds of members present – a shortfall in numbers killed a similar bill in 2014 – as the government had lobbied legislators ahead of its re-introduction. 'We have been talking to the MPs and we have mobilised them in big numbers,' said Lokodo. 'Many are supportive.'

    Uganda's constitutional court overturned the law – formerly known as the 'Kill the Gays' bill because it includes the death penalty – on a technicality in 2014. Even without it, under British colonial law, gay sex is punishable with up to life imprisonment…

  • 14. VIRick  |  October 10, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    Sonora: State Deputy Comes Out as Gay on Floor of Full Congress

    Per Maria Luisa Alatorre:

    El 10 de octubre 2019, miembros de la comunidad LGBT irrumpieron en el Congreso de Sonora para exigir que se discuta la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario; recibieron el apoyo inesperado de Rodolfo Lizárraga Arellano (PT) de Guaymas, un legislador que se declaró gay.

    On 10 October 2019, members of the LGBT community stormed the Sonora Congress to demand that the approval of marriage equality be discussed; They received unexpected support from Rodolfo Lizárraga Arellano (PT) from Guaymas, a legislator who declared himself gay.

    Per XEVA Tabasco:

    Diputado del PT se declara abiertamente gay; se suma a favor del matrimonio igualitario en Sonora.

    PT deputy declares himself to be openly gay; He joins in favor of marriage equality in Sonora.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  October 11, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Democratic presidential candidates took questions on LGBTQ issues at a CNN town hall Thursday night

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren

    Her big picture: "I'm willing to continue to push Mitch McConnell right now but my number one goal is to make sure he is not the majority leader come January 2020," she said.

    Details: She would decriminalize HIV transmission and lower the cost of PrEP, which reduces the risk of HIV. She emphasized her plan to make a LGBTQ prevention program inside the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and said she would be open to treating crimes against transgender people as hate crimes. On trade, Warren said the U.S. should put more pressure on countries with documented human rights violations against LGBTQ people.

    Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg

    His big picture: “I’m very mindful of the fact that my experience … as a white cisgender gay man means that there are dimensions, for example, of what it’s like to be a black trans woman, that I do not understand," he said.

    Details: He acknowledged what the American Medical Association has identified as an "epidemic" of murders of transgender people, after town hall protestors called attention to it. He endorsed the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from employment and housing discrimination. He agreed that the criminalization of potential HIV exposure should be changed.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden

    His big picture: “The American people are better than we give them credit for. But we allow the homophobes to be able to control the agenda," he said.

    Details: Biden said he would have an office in his administration's State Department that would promote LGBTQ rights globally. He also pledged to cut aid to countries that persecute gay people, including Saudi Arabia. When asked what he would do as president if the Supreme Court doesn't rule to protect LGBTQ workers' rights, Biden said he would support passage of the Equality Act.

    Sen. Cory Booker

    His big picture: Booker referred to his own experience with discrimination as the background for his passion for the issue, saying he was "a kid who was raised to understand that my rights and privileges are not enshrined in the Constitution originally. African Americans were fractions of human beings."

    Details: When asked what he would do as president if the Supreme Court doesn't rule to protect LGBTQ workers' rights, Booker emphasized the importance of passing the Equality Act. He did not say whether he believes religious schools should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose LGBTQ rights.

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 11, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Edith Windsor’s Posthumous Memoir Released

    When Edith Windsor died at age 88 in 2017, the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court case "United States V. Windsor," which overturned a key part of DOMA, left behind a memoir. Completed with help from Joshua Lyon, “A Wild and Precious Life” is now available.

    However, this book is not a legal treatise about that Supreme Court case, but rather, is a narrative about Edie's personal life, which in retrospect, is truly about everything in her personal life which ultimately culminated in her suing for marriage recognition.

    In her words here, which Lyon indicates that she edited herself, Windsor also woos readers with breezy wit, racy love stories, and seemingly casual/not-casual, semi-nonchalant depictions of being a lesbian in the mid-20th century, and what it was like living in the shadows but flirting hard with the light.

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 11, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Adam Rippon: "Beautiful on the Outside: A Memoir"

    The Olympic medalist's coming out story is featured in this excerpt from his memoir, "Beautiful on the Outside," by Adam Rippon, quoted here:

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  October 11, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    'Just marry one woman … assuming you can find one!' Elizabeth Warren wows gay-rights town hall with answer to evangelicals who say marriage is 'between one man and one woman'

    Warren answered: 'I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that, and I’m just going to say: then just marry one woman,' she said, to laughs. "I'm cool with that,' she added, to sustained applause from the crowd.

    Warren shrugged her shoulders, then came in with a smack-down: 'Assuming you can find one,' she said.

    The clip immediately drew posts on Twitter and other platforms, with some commentators pointing to the viral moment and others saying it could show a lack of attentiveness to socially conservative voters who hold sway in some battleground states.

    Warren, who has surged in the polls, released a new plan where she vowed to use 'every legal tool' to ensure equal LGBT rights.

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