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10/28 news round-up and open thread

Discrimination Transgender Rights

– A jury in Missouri awarded a police sergeant nearly $20 million in a job discrimination case.

– A guidance counselor who was fired from a Catholic high school in Indianapolis is suing the school and archdiocese in federal court.

– A Comcast executive in charge of LGBT outreach is suing in federal court for anti-LGBT job discrimination.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  October 28, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Perú: Explosive "De Facto Union" Estate Case Has Potential to Overturn Everything

    Today, 28 October 2019, this story was front page headlines in "El Comercio," Lima's leading news publication. Most commentaries are already conceding that Perú must soon recognize same-sex marriages already legally performed abroad, even though that ruling has not yet been publicly disclosed. This slightly newer case is seeking legal recognition of a 25-year-long "de facto" same-sex union in a matter concerning the settlement of an estate totally within Perú, one pitting the surviving partner against the adult children of the deceased. The following is a summary:

    Per Fernando Alayo Orbegozo‏:

    Hoy en "El Comercio Perú:" Un peruano busca en el Poder Judicial que se reconozca su unión de hecho homosexual con quien vivió por 25 años. En proceso cuestionable, el juez acaba de pedirle un "examen psicológico" para que demuestre su orientación sexual. Esta es la historia:

    Today in "El Comercio Perú:" A Peruvian is seeking in court to have his "de facto" same-sex union recognized with a party with whom he has lived for 25 years. In a questionable process, the judge has just asked for a "psychological test" to prove his sexual orientation. This is the story:

    Armando y Alejandro se conocieron en 1989. Al poco tiempo, se mudaron a Arequipa y luego a Puno, ciudades donde formaron una empresa. El negocio prosperó y se hicieron de un capital que les permitió comprar varias propiedades como pareja. Adquirieron un departamento en Miraflores, donde convivieron desde 1999, que fue registrado a nombre de Armando (el hoy demandante), y años después, en el 2007, un mini-depa en el mismo distrito, registrado por Alejandro (el fallecido). También compraron un vehículo en el 2012.

    Pero, Alejandro enfermó a fines del 2014. Estuvo internado durante 45 días, hasta que falleció en enero del 2015. Armando fue la única persona que estuvo a su lado: quien firmó los papeles, quien decidió la cremación, y quien escogió el sitio donde echar sus cenizas. Esto, pese a que el fallecido tenía hijos. Años antes de conocer a Armando, en la década de 1980, Alejandro estuvo casado y tuvo dos hijos. Tras su muerte, ellos se convirtieron en los herederos directos, a pesar de que – como dice Armando – nunca estuvieron junto a su padre.

    Armando and Alejandro met in 1989. Soon after, they moved to Arequipa and then to Puno, cities where they formed a company. The business prospered and they made considerable money that allowed them to buy several properties as a couple. They acquired an apartment in Miraflores, where they lived since 1999, which was registered in the name of Armando (the plaintiff today), and years later, in 2007, a mini-apartment in the same district, registered to Alejandro (the deceased). They also bought a vehicle in 2012.

    But Alejandro became ill at the end of 2014. He was hospitalized for 45 days, until he died in January 2015. Armando was the only person who was at his side: who signed the papers, who decided the cremation, and who chose the place to lay his ashes. This, despite the fact that the deceased had children. Years before meeting Armando, in the 1980s, Alejandro was married and had two children. After his death, they became the direct heirs, although – as Armando says – they were never with their father.
    (to continue below)

  • 2. VIRick  |  October 28, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    (continued from above)
    Perú: Explosive "De Facto Union" Estate Case Has Potential to Overturn Everything

    Per Fernando Alayo Orbegozo‏:

    Armando igual buscó a los hijos de Alejandro para informarles sobre los bienes que él había dejado. Sin embargo, como dice su defensa, buscaron quedarse con todo, ya que por ley Armando no tiene derecho a propiedades que están inscritas a nombre de Alejandro, como el mini-depa. Por esa razón, Armando decidió presentar una demanda ante el PJ para que se reconozca su unión de hecho con Alejandro, es decir, la convivencia de más de 25 años y los derechos que esta acarrea, como la sucesión de bienes y sociedad de gananciales.

    No obstante, el juez Erick Veramendi del Primer Juzgado de Familia de Lima declaró improcedente su demanda 2 veces, argumentando que la Constitución (Art. 5) y el Código Civil establecen que la unión de hecho solo puede darse entre "un varón y una mujer," no entre dos varones. La defensa de Armando, a cargo de Promsex, apeló, y la Sala de Familia le dio la razón. El juez se vio obligado a admitir la demanda en 2018, es decir, tres años después de presentada. Los hijos de Alejandro contestaron que no sabían de la relación y que deben heredar todo.

    Admitida la demanda el 14 de octubre pasado, el juez Erick Veramendi dispuso que Armando fuera sometido a un "examen psicológico" para determinar su orientación sexual, un hecho que su defensa ha calificado de discriminatorio. Promsex ya apeló y esperan respuesta del PJ.

    Armando looked for Alejandro's children to inform them about the assets that he had left behind. However, as his defense says, they sought to keep everything, since by law Armando has no right to properties that are registered in Alejandro's name, such as the mini-apartment. For that reason, Armando decided to file a lawsuit with the courts in order that his "de facto" union with Alejandro be recognized, that is, the cohabitation of more than 25 years and all the rights that it entails, such as the succession of property and the business gains.

    However, Judge Erick Veramendi of the First Family Court of Lima twice declared his claim inadmissible, arguing that the Constitution (Art. 5) and the Civil Code establish that a "de facto" union can only occur between "a male and a female," not between two men. Armando's defense, handled by Promsex, appealed, and the higher Family Court proved him correct. The judge was forced to admit the claim in 2018, that is, three years after filing. Alejandro's children replied that they did not know about the relationship and that they should inherit everything.

    Admitted to the lawsuit on 14 October 2019, Judge Erick Veramendi ordered that Armando be subjected to a "psychological test" to determine his sexual orientation, a fact that his defense has described as discriminatory. Promsex has already appealed and awaits a response from the same higher court.

    The case is that of Armando Zorrilla Vergara in a succession matter before Judge Erick Veramendi Flores of the Primer Juzgado de Familia de Lima on the matter of the Reconocimiento de Unión de Hecho. Fernando Alayo Orbegozo‏ is a journalist at "El Comercio."

    This case has strong overtones reminiscent of the "Greedy Mother-in-Law" estate case in Alabama from about 5 years ago.

  • 3. Chiara Ballon  |  October 28, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Rick, the Ugarteche case is more important than this one, this one just concerns de facto unions while the former concerns same sex marriage. Still, when the Tribunal Constitucional rules favourably on the Ugarteche case this new case will be a slam dunk by courts

  • 4. VIRick  |  October 28, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Actually, I hope you are correct, because so far, all of the prominent cases of which I am aware have involved the refusal by Reniec to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed abroad:

    The Ugarteche/Aroche marriage case, with the couple having married in Mexico in 2010, is the first case, with a positive ruling from the Seventh Constitutional Court of the Superior Court of Lima. The Paredes/Aljovín marriage case, with the couple having married in Miami in 2016, is the second case, with a positive ruling from the Eleventh Constitutional Court of the Superior Court of Lima.

    In the third case, a judicial ruling of 6 August 2019 has ordered Reniec to register another same-sex marriage which took place in the USA. In this first instance ruling, the Sixth Constitutional Court of the Superior Court of Lima has recognized the marriage between Peruvians with initials of A.A.M.S. and D.A.U.F. who married in New York in 2015.

    The succession case of Armando Zorrilla Vergara, as detailed immediately above, is quite different. The news article in question seems to place heavy significance on the fact that this case is entirely Peruvian. Both men were/are Peruvian who have lived their entire lives in Perú. Their businesses were/are Peruvian, and the money they made and the properties they purchased were all within Perú. Thus, the estate, and its settlement, is a matter that is entirely Peruvian. Unlike the marriage recognition cases above, no other country's laws are involved. Thus, within Perú, the recognition of a same-sex "de facto" union, based strictly on Peruvian law (with court interpretation), should finally force the matter to allow for the performance of same-sex marriages within Perú.

    Otherwise, I am fearful (perhaps unnecessarily so) that Peruvian same-sex couples will still be required to travel to Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, or the USA in order to be married, after which their marriage will then be recognized as legally valid by the Peruvian government (Reniec).

  • 5. Chiara Ballon  |  October 28, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    I get what you mean, but I would hope the case you mentioned above doesnt legalize just de facto unions but full marriage equality, and honestly marriage equality recognition performed abroad is better than just civil unions, its too little now

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 29, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Tamaulipas: PAN Deputies Will Provide Greater Legal Certainty to Families (But Not Marriage Equality)

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Tamaulipas: Brindarán Diputados del PAN Mayor Certeza Jurídica a las Familias (Pero No Matrimonio Igualitario)

    El 28 de octubre 2019, a nombre del grupo parlamentario del PAN en el Congreso del Estado, el diputado estatal Mon Marón presento una iniciativa de reformas al Código Civil de Tamaulipas en las que incluye diversos temas, como cambio de apellido, con el objetivo de adecuar a la realidad social y dotar de coherencia a la legislación vigente en esta materia.

    Finalmente, índicó el legislador tampiqueño que esta iniciativa, presentada en el pleno del Congreso del Estado, incluye siete puntos fundamentales, con temas relativos al Divorcio, Registro Civil, Matrimonio Infantil, y Presunción de Muerte por Ausencia, entre otras.

    On 28 October 2019, in the name of the PAN parliamentary group, state deputy Mon Marón presented an initiative in the state congress to reform the Civil Code of Tamaulipas in which various topics, such as a change of surname, are included, with the aim of adapting to social reality and provide coherence to current legislation in this area.

    Finally, the legislator from Tampico indicated that this initiative, presented at the plenary session of the State Congress, includes seven fundamental points, with issues related to Divorce, Civil Registry, Child Marriage, and Presumption of Death by Absence, among others.

    But not marriage equality, despite specific orders from the Supreme Court to do so within a given time-frame which has already elapsed. Thus, if this measure were to pass, touching as it does on both marriage and divorce, activists in Tamaulipas will then have 30 days in which to file an "Action of Unconstitutionality" to force the state to begin allowing equal marriage.

  • 7. VIRick  |  October 29, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Panamá: First Constitutional Step to Prohibit Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    La Asamblea Nacional de Panamá, legislativo unicameral de mayoría oficialista, dio el primer paso este lunes, el 28 de octubre 2019, para impedir a través de una reforma constitucional el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo. Los diputados aprobaron un proyecto para reformar la Constitución donde en uno de sus artículos dice que "el Estado reconoce solamente el matrimonio entre un hombre y una mujer."

    La legislación de Panamá no reconoce el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, aunque la Corte Suprema de Justicia debe resolver dos recursos presentados por dos panameños para que sus matrimonios con parejas homosexuales sean reconocidos legalmente.

    El proyecto aprobado este lunes volverá a ser discutido en un nuevo período legislativo en 2020 para luego pasar a un referéndum.

    The National Assembly of Panamá, a unicameral legislature with an officialist majority, took the first step this Monday, 28 October 2019, to prevent same-sex marriage through a constitutional reform. The deputies approved a bill to reform the Constitution whereby one of its articles will say that "the State recognizes only marriage between a man and a woman."

    Legislation in Panamá does not currently recognize same-sex marriage, although the Supreme Court of Justice must resolve two appeals filed by two Panamanians in order that their marriages with a same-sex partner be legally recognized.

    The bill approved on Monday will return to be discussed again in a new legislative period in 2020 and then move on to a referendum.

    To correct one detail in this news article from Colombia, there are actually 4 pending cases in Panamá, two seeking recognition for legal marriages already performed abroad, and two more seeking the right to marry same-sex partners in Panamá. The court itself has already consolidated the two matters, and now simply needs to issue its ruling, a ruling encompassing both. It would be wisest if they were to do so before this extremely retrograde legislative measure, just passed on its first step, and which flies in the face of OC-24/17 issued by the CIDH and a ruling which is binding upon Panamá, moves too far along in its process.

  • 8. VIRick  |  October 29, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Jamaica: Government Must Respond to CIDH by 19 November on Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Jamaican government has until 19 November 2019 to respond to a challenge to the country’s constitutional ban on the legal recognition of any form of same-sex unions, including marriage.

    The challenge was filed before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by Jamaican lawyer and LGBT human rights activist, Maurice Tomlinson. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) has held that the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Jamaica is a signatory, guarantees the right to same-sex marriage.

  • 9. VIRick  |  October 30, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Nigeria: First-Ever LGBT Event Successfully Held in Lagos

    PerLGBT Marriage News:

    Nigerian gay rights activist Bisi Alimi organized the first-ever LGBT event in Nigeria. The event, tagged “Night of Diversity 2019,” was organised by his foundation The Bisi Alimi Foundation, and was held last night in Lagos, Tuesday, 29 October 2019. The event was made possible in partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

    Alimi was forced to flee Nigeria in 2007, following threats to his life. He was granted asylum in 2009 by the UK, where he has been resident ever since.

    The Nigerian LGBT community has been a target for discrimination, hostility, and rejection. This intensified with the criminalization of sexual relationships between people of the same sex in January 2014.

    The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) was signed into law in 2014 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, and was enacted on the ridiculous premise that the Nigerian culture is antithetical to homosexuality.

  • 10. VIRick  |  October 30, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Durango: Marriage Equality Bill Advances

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Durango state congressional Human Rights Committee is expected to advance the marriage equality bill today, 30 October 2019, with the final vote before the full state congress expected in two weeks.

    Empero, se sabe que el veredicto va en positivo; es decir, que tres diputados, dos del Morena y otro del PRD, votarán a favor de la iniciativa, mientras que lo harán en contra los otros dos integrantes de esta comisión legislativa, uno del PRI y el otro del PT. Una vez concluido el trabajo de discusión y aprobación en comisiones, el dictamen por parte del Pleno del Congreso, los 25 diputados estatales, sería emitido en unas dos semanas, tentativamente.

    However, it is known that the verdict is positive; that is, three deputies, two from Morena and another from PRD, will vote in favor of the initiative, while they will do so against the other two members of this legislative committee, one from PRI and the other from PT. Once the work of discussion and approval in commissions is finished, the final decision by the Plenary Session of the full Congress, the 25 state deputies, will be issued in about two weeks, tentatively.

    Note: Durango has a very macho image and reputation as being Mexico's quintessential "cowboy" (vaquero) state. But, politically, it is also rather left-leaning. It would be as if Wyoming were to vote blue.

  • 11. VIRick  |  October 30, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    New York: Governor Signs Up-Dated Marriage Equality Act into Law

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    New York's Marriage Equality Act is extending its reach. Effective immediately, from 30 October 2019, same-sex marriages will be recognized in estate planning and surrogacy court procedures. Previously, neither the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law nor the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act recognized couples of the same gender.

    The original 2011 Marriage Equality Act provides that marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples are to be treated equally in all respects under the law. Thus, this new law updates the language in these other laws, removing phrases such as "husband/wife" and replacing them with phrases that recognize both same-sex and different-sex marriages, such as "spouses, husbands or wives."

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 30, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Mapo Wins Latest Court Suit, Gaining an Amparo to Marry in Edomex

    Per MAPO:

    Y con esta sentencia (del 29 de octubre 2019) oficialmente quedo amparado y protegido para contraer matrimonio igualitario en Edomex. Buscar y acceder a la justicia es el medio eficaz e idóneo para alcanzar la paz y protección a los ddhh.

    And with this ruling (of 29 October 2019) I am officially "amparoed" and protected to enter into equal marriage in Edomex. Seeking and accessing justice is the effective and appropriate means for achieving peace and protection of human rights.

    Mapo is a pseudonym for a law student at UNAM who has been diligently filing and winning lawsuits against the remaining recalcitrant states in Mexico, seeking the right, via amparo, to enter into an equal marriage in each. Some time ago, he won his case against the state of Querétaro. Now, he has won his suit against the state of México (Edomex), specifically, winning before the 11th District Court located in the municipality of Naucalpan (Juzgado Decimoprimero de Distrito en el Estado de México, con Residencia en Naucalpan).

    As I understand his motives and plans, he intends to pursue these cases all the way to the Supreme Court of Justice. The appeal of his suit against Querétaro has already been launched. Presumably, in due course, this one against Edomex will follow under appeal, as he is seeking binding plenary statewide judgments against these states, as issued from the Supreme Court itself.

    It should also be noted that Mapo has undertaken this task completely on his own, without any outside assistance from any legal teams or LGBT organizations. So, which state is next? Guanajuato? Tabasco? Tlaxcala?

  • 13. Fortguy  |  October 30, 2019 at 5:12 pm


  • 14. VIRick  |  October 30, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Fortguy, if you were to send Alabama back to Mexico, I am certain that Mapo would diligently win his lawsuit in that state, as well.

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 30, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Colombia: All 19 Openly LGBT Election Winners

    Per Caribe Afirmativo y Manuel Velandia Mora:

    Claudia López, Alcaldesa de Bogotá
    Andrés Cancimance, Diputado de Putumayo
    Oriana Zambrano, Diputada de La Guajira
    Esteban Gañan, Concejal de Pereira
    Paola Pastrana, Concejala de Caimito
    Luis Leal, Concejal de Bogotá
    Juan David Sánchez, Concejal de Cajica
    Mario Ospina, Concejal de Toro Valle
    Jorge Giraldo Ospina, Concejal de Bello
    Ivonne Tapia, Concejala de Mosquera
    Andrés Felipe González, Concejal de Amaga
    Jhon Jairo Botero, Concejal de San Rafael
    Luis Emilio Agudelo, Concejal de San Rafael
    Bernardo Tamayo, Concejal de El Carmen de Viboral
    Natalia Goyeneche, Edila de Teusaquillo de Bogotá (district 13)
    Elkin Calvo, Edil de Bosa de Bogotá (district 7)
    Paulina Chavarro, Edila de Comuna 13 de Cali
    Fausto Arroyave, Edil de Comuna 2 de Medellín
    Taliana Gómez, Edila de Loc. 2 de Santa Marta

    Taliana Gómez, the last-named, is the first transgender person to be elected by popular vote in both Santa Marta and in Colombia.

    The two elected LGBT deputies will represent opposite ends of the country, La Guajira, in the far northeast on the border with Venezuela, and Putumayo, in the far southwest on the border with Ecuador.

    Bogotá elected 4 LGBT candidates, the head mayor, a city council member, and two urban district mayors. Claudia López, Alcaldesa de Bogotá, is the first popularly-elected female head mayor of Bogotá, and the first lesbian head mayor elected in any city in Colombia.

    Alcaldesa = Head Executive Mayor
    Diputado/a = Deputy (to Departmental Assembly)
    Concejal/a = Council Member
    Edil/a = Urban District Mayor

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 31, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Philippines: Supreme Court Ponencia against Marriage Equality Finally Issued

    LGBT Marriage News:

    On 31 October 2019, the detailed Supreme Court ruling against marriage equality has finally been issued, and details the hundreds of laws linked to marriage that would need amendment, implicitly calling on Congress to act. It further states that LGBT marriage is not unconstitutional.

    The 113-page ponencia (the full written text of the actual ruling) of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, in the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling, dismissed a same-sex marriage petition based on procedural flaws. These include violating the hierarchy of courts and the lack of legal standing by the petitioner. The ponencia further lists a barrage of gender-specific laws that may be disturbed by ruling same-sex marriage as legal, and says these may be matters of policy better left to legislation. "The task of devising an arrangement where same-sex relations will earn state recognition is better left to Congress in order that it may thresh out the many issues that may arise," said the ruling.

    Leonen's ponencia made it clear that it recognized the rights of LGBTQs, but that invalidating Family Code provisions on who can marry may disturb a barrage of gender-specific laws in many Philippine statutes, such as taxation, family relations, labor, and even penal laws. Those issues, the ponencia said, are "matters of policy…properly left to government organs that are better equipped in framing them. The litany of provisions that we have just recounted are not even the entirety of laws relating to marriage. Petitioner would have this Court implicitly amend all such laws, through a mere declaration of unconstitutionality of only 2 articles in a single statute," said the ponencia.

    In the ponencia, Leonen said that the Constitution did not explicitly limit marriage as being only between a man and a woman. As it passes the buck to Congress, the ponencia also slightly advocates for "accommodation" of LGBTQ interests. "Lacking a manifestly restrictive textual definition of marriage, the Constitution is capable of accommodating a contemporaneous understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). The plain text and meaning of our constitutional provisions do not prohibit SOGIESC," read the ponencia.

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 31, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Antigua/Barbuda: Government Remains Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Despite the push by international countries such as the United States, and even several local groups, over the matter of legalizing gay marriages, the Government of Antigua/Barbuda has refused to budge from its stance that it will not pass any laws to accommodate same-sex marriages. Also, in the face of international organizations, including the United Nations, which have issued resolutions in support of LGBT rights, Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin cemented points made in Parliament this week by Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph in opposing the matter.

    In Antigua/Barbuda, the offense of “buggery” is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The act is still illegal in nine Caribbean countries, including Barbados, where it carries a punishment of 10 years in prison.

    It is also illegal in Dominica where, in 2012, two American men were arrested for having sex on the balcony of a cruise ship docked in Roseau. They were initially charged with buggery, but plea-bargained the offense down to indecent exposure. (This case involved a matter about which I had not been previously aware. As a result, this 2012 court case trashes the government argument in the pending lawsuit, cited as part of its "defense," that Dominica no longer prosecutes sodomy violations.)

    While Jamaica advertises that it is “welcoming to all,” sex between homosexuals is considered an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison, which can include hard labor. In the meantime, in 2018, Trinidad/Tobago decriminalized consensual gay sex, which was previously punishable with to 25 years in prison.

    Note: The other 5 Caribbean nations where gay sex is still illegal are: Guyana, Grenada, St. Vincent/Grenadines, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts-Nevis.

    Lawsuits to overturn the archaic colonial-era sodomy laws have already been filed in 4 of them: Barbados, Jamaica, Dominica, and St. Vincent/Grenadines.

    In reading through this news article from Antigua, dated 31 October 2019, I found it quite odd that no mention was made of the extremely contrasting situation current in the French islands, particularly considering that the much larger French island of Guadeloupe is one of Antigua's closest neighbors, visible to its immediate south. Not only have the French islands never criminalized sodomy, but since 2013, they have also pushed forward by legalizing marriage equality. From an even earlier date, they have also allowed public nudity on certain designated beaches. Throughout the Eastern Caribbean, these French islands are mixed in between the extremely retrograde British/ex-British ones: St-Martin, St-Barthélemy, Guadeloupe, Marie Galante, La Désirade, Les Iles des Saintes, and Martinique, as well as Guyane Français in South America.

    Of further note, Antigua A-G "Cutie" Benjamin's smirking remarks (which I refused to quote) have proven to be very short-lived. See next post in new thread.

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