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10/22 open thread


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


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  October 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Tennessee: Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst: 'We got a queer running for president, if that ain't about as ugly as you can get'

    Hurst did not mention anyone by name, but Indiana native Buttigieg, who is Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the first openly gay presidential candidate.

    'I’m not prejudiced, but by golly as a white male in this country has very few rights and they’re getting took more every day,' Hurst then added to even louder shows of support in the room.

    The commissioner later stood by his comments when contacted by WVLT and told them that some of his best friends are African-American.

    On its Twitter account later, Sevier County said it did not stand by Warren Hursts' comments.

    Knoxville Representative Gloria Johnson told Knox News that the remarks made by Hurst in Sevierville were 'embarrassing.'

    Mary Mancini, current Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, called on Warren Hurst to resign. She said on Twitter: 'The ugliness of bigotry and divisiveness was on full display in Sevier County last night. As a Tennessean, it was painful to watch elected Commissioner and community leader Warren Hurst use his platform to broadcast and sow hate.'

    Social media users called on Hurst to resign and called for people to reconsider visiting the area, which is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sevier County also includes Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, which host dozens of tourist attractions, including Dollywood.

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  October 22, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    Transgender community: Lahore embraces its pariahs

    In Pakistan, Punjab has the highest number of transgender persons, followed by Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan.

    Speaking about the gradual acceptance of transgender individuals in the workforce, Asif Shahzad said that the change is very slow, but unlike the past, people have started treating them in a better way. As a result, members of the transgender community have started feeling more comfortable about revealing their identity.

    “Having said that, the general attitude of the masses towards the transgender community is still far from satisfactory as there is still a long way to go when it comes to acceptance and equality, especially in smaller cities and villages.”

  • 3. VIRick  |  October 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Switzerland: Left/Center-Left Win in Federal Elections

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Big wins in the federal elections of 20 October 2019 for both the Greens and the Green Liberals, alongside a decrease in support for the Swiss People's Party (SVP), have reshaped the Swiss political landscape. Here are some of the new policies that are set to be put in place under the new Swiss government:

    With the two 'greenest' parties winning big at the ballot box this time around — along with big losses for the climate-sceptic SVP — it's safe to say that the environment was a massive issue for voters. A suite of new environmental laws are set to be put in place. This includes the imposition of a flight surcharge of between 30 to 120 francs per flight, a gasoline surcharge of 12 cents per litre, tighter CO2 limits for newly-built cars, and stricter controls on oil heating systems in old buildings.

    The leftward turn of the Swiss parliament will also very likely end Switzerland's relatively unique status in Western Europe when it comes to same-sex marriage. While almost all of the rest have already put in place same-sex marriage permissions, in Switzerland only civil unions are available. And this has less to do with any underlying religious conservatism in Switzerland, unlike in the other laggard, neighboring Italy, than it does with the ridiculously slow-moving nature of the Swiss political process.

    The new parliament, led by left and centre-left representatives, is quite likely to pass full marriage rights in the upcoming term. Similarly, support for allowing lesbian women to receive semen donations is also likely to be obtained, given that a vote in the previous parliament on this initiative only narrowly failed.

    However, despite their diminished numbers, the SVP said they would use what remains of their influence in the Swiss parliament to block any changes, and would push for referenda on the several issues.

  • 4. VIRick  |  October 23, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Northern Ireland: DUP Now Wants "Religious" Protections Written into Law

    The DUP has stated that it remains opposed to same-sex marriage and will be seeking legal protections for churches that do not want to perform the ceremonies by having said religious exemptions against same-sex marriage written into law. The party will also be bringing forward a Private Member’s Bill to stop what they call the “extreme liberalization of abortion legislation.”

    Same-sex marriage and abortion became legal in Northern Ireland at midnight on 21 October 2019, after the country’s devolved government was unable to re-form itself in time to block the legislation.

    Meanwhile, Sinn Fein deputy leader, Michelle O’Neill, said her party welcomed the end of the “denial of the right of our LGBT brothers and sisters to marry the person they love.”

    All Souls Church, a Presbyterian Church based in south Belfast, also confirmed that it will provide the opportunity for same-sex couples to have their marriage solemnized. The church’s moderator, Reverend Chris Hudson, warmly welcomed the new legislation on same-sex marriages and confirmed that he personally will host the weddings.

    Of course, we are discussing civil marriage, while Arlene Foster and the DUP are mixing apples with oranges. Churches will continue to have the ability to set their own standards as to which weddings they choose to solemnize and what their own procedures are to be in terms of ceremonies to be performed, just as is currently the case, regardless of whatever she might do with writing down into law her unnecessary, so-called "religious" protections. Meanwhile, civil law will allow all to marry by civil means, regardless of any church.

    It is quite simple: If one is not into same-sex marriage, then do not marry someone of the same sex. Likewise, if one is against abortion, then do not have one.

  • 5. VIRick  |  October 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Canada: Northern Alberta Bans Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A Northern Alberta council has approved a ban on anti-LGBT “conversion therapy.” Meanwhile, the recently re-elected Trudeau government has pledged to place a federal ban on the practice in the criminal code.

    Fort McMurray, Alberta – Council Unanimously Approves Banning "Conversion Therapy" in Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality

    The administration has been given until the end of the year to come up with a plan to enforce a ban on conversion therapy in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo, after a motion calling for the ban was unanimously approved by council on Tuesday, 22 October 2019. Mayor Don Scott first proposed a ban on "conversion therapy" this past August at the beginning of Pride Week.

    The motion asks the administration to prepare a bylaw prohibiting licensing, practicing, and promoting "conversion therapy" within the municipality. Violators could be hit with a $10,000 fine. Scott is also asking the administration to find ways to enforce the bylaw.

    In Alberta, the municipal governments of St. Albert, Spruce Grove, and Edmonton have also begun steps to ban the practice within their jurisdictions.

    In Alberta, the "Texas" of Canada, the provincial government has consistently refused to ban the spurious practice of "conversion therapy," despite repeated claims from many reliable sources, including numerous survivors, that the practice is quite alive and well, albeit mostly "underground." As a result, various municipalities within the province have now begun banning it within their own jurisdictions. Fort McMurray is the population center within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, located in the middle of the oil-rich Athabasca oil sands in the northeastern part of the province. In area, it is the second-largest municipality in Alberta.

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 23, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Meanwhile, in Temuco, Chile . . .

    taunting armed riot police with a hot posterior, we have this amazingly adept break-dance demonstration, complete with unabashed cheers from the assembled crowd:

    Of late, Chile has been rocked by serious anti-government riots, now spreading outward from Santiago. Temuco is the capital of the Araucanía Region in south-central Chile.

  • 7. Chiara Ballon  |  October 24, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Meanwhile in Peru, a landmark marriage equality decision will probably be issued soon by the Constitutional Court. Since President Martin Vizcarra dissolved the majority led homophobic "fujimorista" Congress, the liberal bloc in the court has solidified by rejecting the irregular imposition of a new magistrate by "fujimoristas" (worse than Trumps supreme court justices) and will probably reject the demand against the dissolution of Congress since the liberal bloc choosed one of their own to redact the ruling.

    Yesterday the "Defensoria del Pueblo", an institution that looks out for human and citizen rights urged the Constitutional Court to rule in favour of fully recognizing same sex weddings performed abroad, it cited previous rulings from lower courts and the OC 24 from the CIDH. This case is definitely nearing its end and its extremely likely that the liberal bloc will vote together 4-3 to recognize marriage equality in Peru. Here are the links:

  • 8. VIRick  |  October 25, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Perú: Ombudsman Request: TC Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

    Perú: TC Debe Reconocer Matrimonio entre Personas del Mismo Sexo, Pide Defensoría del Pueblo

    En el documento titulado '‘Protección constitucional y convencional del matrimonio celebrado por personas del mismo sexo en el extranjero,’’ la Defensoría se refiere al proceso de amparo interpuesto por Óscar Ugarteche Galarza contra el Registro Nacional de Identificación y Estado Civil (Reniec) a causa del rechazo de inscripción de su matrimonio con Fidel Aroche Reyes en México.

    El informe, elaborado por la Adjuntía de Asuntos Constitucionales, señala que el reconocimiento de este matrimonio celebrado en el extranjero se encuentra protegido por estándares constitucionales y convencionales, que garantizan los derechos a formar una familia sin distinción, a la igualdad y no discriminación por razón de orientación sexual, y al libre desarrollo de la personalidad.

    In the document entitled "Constitutional and conventional protection of marriage celebrated by persons of the same sex abroad," the Ombudsman (Defender of the People) refers to the amparo process brought by Óscar Ugarteche Galarza against the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status (Reniec) due to their rejection of the registration of his marriage with Fidel Aroche Reyes in Mexico.

    The report, prepared by the Adjunct of Constitutional Affairs, indicates that the recognition of this marriage celebrated abroad is protected by constitutional and conventional standards, ones which guarantee the rights to form a family without distinction, to equality and non-discrimination by reason of sexual orientation, and to the free development of personality.

  • 9. VIRick  |  October 24, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Indiana: Another LGBT Discrimination Case Filed against Indianapolis Archdiocese

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In "Fitzgerald v. Roncalli High School," filed in federal court on 21 October 2019, a former guidance counselor at an Indianapolis Catholic high school who was fired after marrying another woman is suing the school and the city's archdiocese. The case has been assigned to Judge Richard L. Young, the same federal judge who overturned Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage.

    The Complaint for Damages is here:

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  October 24, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    This case is unlikely to be successful. As I understand the "ministerial exception", the court is likely to have little or no difficulty reaching the conclusion that a guidance counselor at a Catholic high school is a ministerial employee who cannot counsel students that they would be well suited for careers at Planned Parenthood, Backdoor Video, Bacardi, or Sherri's Cathouse.

  • 11. VIRick  |  October 24, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Pennsylvania: LGBT Discrimination Case Filed against Comcast Corp.

    Per Equality Case Files:

    A Comcast Corp. executive who served as the media giant’s “key contact” to LGBTQ groups claims he was discriminated against for being gay, alleging he was called derogatory names, passed over for promotions, denied equal pay, and encouraged to leave the Philadelphia headquarters — all while being asked to publicly represent Comcast’s diversity efforts.

    In a federal lawsuit filed this month, Klayton Fennell, a senior vice president of government affairs and principal for LGBTQ external affairs, claims that Comcast and some of its leaders demonstrated bias against him over his 18 years with the company “because of his sexual orientation and because he does not conform to gender-based stereotypes."

    When Fennell took his claims of discrimination to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations in 2018, the complaint alleges, he was met with “intensified” discriminatory treatment, including exclusion from meetings, increased workload, and being told his management style was under investigation. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including back-pay, front-pay, compensatory damages, and lawyer’s fees.

    The case, "Fennell v. Comcast," No. 2:19-cv-04750, was filed on 14 October 2019 in federal court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and has been assigned to Judge Michael M. Baylson. There is a copy of the complaint available in the news article.

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 25, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Bolivia: "Tu Me Manques," a Film about Gay Suicide

    Bolivia has only submitted 11 films for Oscars consideration under the category of Foreign Language Film — and two of them have been directed by Rodrigo Bellott, the gay director of "Tu Me Manques," ("I Miss You in Me," in French) this year's selection from the South American country. His 2004 film, "Sexual Dependency," previously received this honor.

    "Tu Me Manques" might seem a surprising choice for a country that has not yet recognized marriage equality and where homophobia and transphobia remain a deadly issue; at least 64 LGBTQ people were killed in the past decade, according to a 2017 report, in a country of around 11 million.

    The bilingual film takes aim at this stigma. It centers on Jorge (Oscar Martínez), a conservative Bolivian man who travels to New York to meet Sebastián (Fernando Barbosa), the former partner of his son Gabriel, after Gabriel's death by suicide. Jorge is homophobic at the beginning of the story, and his quest to learn more about his dead son turns into a journey of confronting his own prejudices.

    "Tu Me Manques" may have played some role in this change. This 2019 film was adapted from Bellott's 2015 play of the same name. Bellott penned the screenplay in response to the real-life horror of losing a partner with an unaccepting father to suicide, an experience that is mirrored in the film through Sebastián.

    The need for the acknowledgment of existence — and the pain caused by its denial — is reflected in a poignant exchange in "Tu Me Manques" between Jorge and a friend of his late son, Rosaura (Rossy de Palma), which gives meaning to the film's title. "In French, they don't say 'I miss you.' They say 'Tu me manques.' I miss you in me," Rosaura tells the grieving father. "As if an essential part of the other is missing in you."

    Originally meant to be a one-night production, the play was extended for months due to its popularity. Its message inspired hundreds to share coming-out stories in a phenomenon referred to as the "Tu Me Manques effect," reminiscent of the "It Gets Better" movement. It excelled at the Bolivian box office as well.

  • 13. VIRick  |  October 26, 2019 at 9:14 am

    South Korea: Gay New Zealand Ambassador Visits Blue House with Husband

    The gay New Zealand ambassador to South Korea has made history as the first foreign diplomat to visit Blue House with a same-sex partner. Blue House is the official residence of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and his wife Kim Jung-sook, and ambassador Philip Turner visited with his husband, Hiroshi Ikeda, to attend a reception for diplomats.

    Turner posted pictures of the historic moment on Twitter, and wrote: “A great honour to meet President Moon and First Lady today (18 October 2019) with my husband Hiroshi. Thanks to President Moon, this is the first time this has been possible in Korea.”

  • 14. VIRick  |  October 26, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Missouri: Discrimination against "Too Gay" Cop Costs St. Louis County $19.8 Million

    On Friday, 25 October 2019, despite the police chief’s efforts, a jury in state court determined that Sgt. Keith Wildhaber was denied his "white shirt" (or a promotion to lieutenant) due to his being "too gay." Now, the St. Louis County Police Department owes him $19.8 million in damages, according to "St. Louis Today."

    Wildhaber has been with the department since 1994, receiving top marks on all the tests and reviews needed to secure a promotion to lieutenant. A member of the police civilian review board allegedly told him that if he wanted to go any further in the department, “The command staff has a problem with your sexuality… you should tone down your gayness.”

    Wildhaber was reportedly passed up for 23 promotions. He was transferred across the county once he filed his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016, claiming his civil rights were violated. He subsequently filed more claims based on the department’s actions. Jurors found in favor of Wildhaber on both the discrimination and retaliation counts. They determined that $2.8 million in damages and $17 million in punitive damages were owed to him. The jury foreman said after the case that they wanted to send a message” with their ruling. “If you discriminate you are going to pay a big price.… You can’t defend the indefensible,” he said, according to "St. Louis Today."

    Sgt. Wildhaber claimed that homophobia was rampant in the police force, and specifically named police chief Jon Belmar as the enforcer of this culture. It appears to be another major hit toward Belmar’s career and tenure as chief, as he has previously been disciplined for his poor departmental oversight during the Ferguson protests. He also has several other EEOC complaints and lawsuits to deal with, including one from Nikki Brown, a Black women police officer who wrote her doctoral dissertation on the culture in the St. Louis Police, and the lack of accountability there.

  • 15. Elihu_Bystander  |  October 27, 2019 at 6:00 am

    You have correctly identified this case as St. Louis County. As a former resident of the City of St. Louis, this has nothing to do with the City of St. Louis which is an independent city and not part of St. Louis County.

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 28, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The Judgment and Order of 25 October 2019 in "Wildhaber v. St. Louis County, Missouri," is here:

  • 17. EricKoszyk  |  October 26, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Oregon: On Friday Governor Kate Brown signed and executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity at all state agencies.

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 27, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Argentina: One Member of First Legally Married Female Couple Dies

    Per Graciela Romanelli:

    Ramona “Cachita” Arévalo, una de las integrantes de la primera pareja de mujeres en casarse legalmente en Argentina, murió a los 75 años, tras sufrir problemas cardíacos. Vivía con su esposa, Norma Castillo, de 76 años, en la casa de Parque Chas donde durante años planearon y abrieron un centro cultural.

    En 2009, cuando tenían treinta años de vida como pareja, habían firmado la unión civil, pero pocos meses después, se sumaron a la campaña por el matrimonio igualitario que llevaron adelante las ONG de la diversidad sexual; por lo que presentaron un amparo para pedir que el Estado reconociera su pareja como un matrimonio. El 9 de abril de 2010, la jueza Elena Liberatori las casó en el Registro Civil de la Calle Uruguay. El suyo fue el tercer matrimonio celebrado entre personas del mismo sexo en Argentina – antes de la sanción y la entrada en vigencia de la ley – el segundo en la ciudad de Buenos Aires y el primero entre mujeres.

    Ramona “Cachita” Arévalo, one of the members of the first female couple to legally marry in Argentina, died at age 75, after suffering heart problems. She lived with her wife, Norma Castillo, 76, in the house in Parque Chas where for years they planned and then opened a cultural center.

    In 2009, when they had lived together thirty years as a couple, they signed a civil union, but a few months later, they joined the campaign for marriage equality carried forth by NGOs for sexual diversity. As a result, they presented an amparo to request that the State recognize their partnership as a marriage. On 9 April 2010, Judge Elena Liberatori married them in the Civil Registry on Calle Uruguay. Theirs was the third marriage celebrated in Argentina between people of the same sex – before the sanction and the validation of the law – the second in the city of Buenos Aires and the first between women.

    Theirs was also a complicated affair, as Arévalo was from Uruguay while Castillo was from Argentina. However, both women had originally married husbands who were cousins. Because of political reasons stemming from the dictatorships of the 1970s, both couples relocated to Colombia, where Castillo's husband then died, while Arévalo had separated from hers. Eventually, they returned to Argentina and married each other.

  • 19. VIRick  |  October 27, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    Colombia: LGBT Icon Elected Mayor of Bogotá

    Per Caribe Afirmativo y Luis Carlos Vélez:

    Bogotá elige la primera lesbiana alcaldesa en Colombia, y la primera de una ciudad capital de país en las Américas y el Caribe.

    Felicitamos a Claudia Nayibe López, la nueva alcaldesa electa de Bogotá, y a su compañera, Angélica Lozano Correa, senadora de la República, ambas han dado muestra de un gran compromiso con los derechos y La Paz, haciendo política de manera decente.

    Bogotá elects the first lesbian mayor in Colombia, and the first of a capital city in any country in the Americas and the Caribbean.

    Congratulations to Claudia Nayibe López, the newly-elected mayor of Bogotá, and her partner, Angélica Lozano Correa, senator of the Republic, both have shown a great commitment to rights and Peace, doing politics in a decent manner.

    Note: This is the first time Bogotá will have a popularly-elected female mayor, let alone one from the LGBT community, let alone that she won the office by the widest margin ever, with 1,015,629 votes. The mayor of Bogotá (pop. 7 million) holds the second-most important political position in Colombia.

    As a bonus, per Esteban Hernández:

    Marco Fidel Ramírez Cabrera (de Concejal de la Familia) sale (fue votado afuera) del Concejo de Bogotá.

    Marco Fidel Ramírez Cabrera (from the Council for the Family) leaves (was voted off) the Bogotá Council.

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 27, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Colombia: More LGBT Election Wins

    Per Caribe Afirmativo:

    El joven gay en Putumayo, Andrés Cancimance, ocupó segundo lugar a la gobernación (29.356 votos) y será diputado; y la candidata lesbiana de Mosquera, Ivonne Tapia, obtuvo segundo lugar a la alcaldía (5262 votos), y va al Concejo de ese municipio. Ambos del Partido Verde.

    In Putumayo, the young gay man, Andrés Cancimance, took second place in the governorate (29,356 votes) and will be a deputy; and the lesbian candidate in Mosquera, Ivonne Tapia, obtained second place in the mayoral race (5262 votes), taking a seat on the Council of that municipality. Both of the Green Party.

  • 21. VIRick  |  October 27, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Meanwhile, in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay:

    Per Somosgay:

    Presidente de la Junta Municipal CDE, Celso "Kelembu" Miranda y grupos anti-derechos "provida," incidentaron el Festival por la Igualdad y la Libertad. Gracias a las personas y organizaciones presentes por los derechos y el amor para todas las familias en Paraguay.

    President of the Municipal Board CDE, Celso "Kelembu" Miranda and anti-rights groups "pro-vida," provokingly up-ended the Festival for Equality and Freedom. Thank you to the people and organizations present for the rights and love for all families in Paraguay.

    Ciudad del Este (pop. 301,000), which has become the second-largest city in population in Paraguay, sits directly on the border with Brasil, adjacent to Foz do Iguaçu (pop. 265,000), and a short distance downstream from the Itaipú Dam. The roadway bridge over the Río Paraná at this location, CDE, has become a main conduit for "whatever." This same city was once called Puerto Presidente Stroessner, but with the dictator now gone, the city has been re-named. In addition to being somewhat less than perfectly reputable, given recent multiple negative incidents, Ciudad del Este and environs (including Hernandarias) also appear to be homophobically toxic.

    When I lived in Brasil, this area of Paraguay was referred to as "o cu da América do Sul" (el culo de América del Sur).

  • 22. Elihu_Bystander  |  October 27, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Off topic, but related. I had the pleasure to spend eight days in this area of Brasil. I stayed in the hotel in the National Park. I had a wonderful experience; however, I never felt free to reveal my sexuality. As for my getting around, it didn't hurt that I live in the San Joaquin Valley California where the third language is Portuguese. Your post gave me great memories.

  • 23. VIRick  |  October 27, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    The area has changed quite a bit, as the city of Foz do Iguaçu in Brasil has grown rather rapidly, primarily due to the presence of the near-by waterfalls of the same name located on the Río Iguaçu, straddling the border with Argentina. Most of the tourism traffic is focused on experiencing this multiple, cascading waterfall and the National Park from Brasil, as the view and access from Argentina is not the best.

    All of this was before the construction of the massive hydroelectric power dam at Itaipú on the Paraguay-Brasil border on the near-by Río Paraná. That is when thousands of construction workers relocated to the area, and when Paraguay muscled in on the action by declaring Puerto Presidente Stroessner (now Ciudad del Este) a duty-free shopping haven, a city which has grown even faster, but one which devolved down into a somewhat disreputable nest of thieves, smugglers, and scam artists, some supposedly "legal," but many not-so. And strange incidents occurred. When I was there, an entire busload of tourists from Argentina arrived,– completely naked,– even the bus driver. They had been robbed of everything, including all undergarments.

    I never crossed the border into Paraguay. Thus, I never saw their own waterfalls, el Salto de Monday. But I also was never robbed.

  • 24. ianbirmingham  |  October 27, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Celebrating SSM Legalization, Thousands March in Taiwan's Pride Parade

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