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Open thread 11/12

Conversion therapy cases

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


  • 1. VIRick  |  November 12, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Bolivia: Bordering on Chaos

    Per Ben Dangl and CNN Argentina:

    Jeanine Áñez Declares Herself (Interim) President; Evo Morales Arrives in Mexico

    "The Bible returns to the Palace," right-wing Senator Jeanine Áñez says after declaring herself (interim) President of Bolivia without the presence of the MAS Senators, who make up a 2/3 majority, and thus, no quorum. They did not attend because they feared for their safety, as the military roams the streets of La Paz.

    Jeanine Áñez se Declara Presidenta (Interina) y Evo Morales Llega a México

    "La Biblia vuelve a Palacio," dice Jeanine Áñez. La senadora, quien se declaró presidenta (interina) de Bolivia, se dirigió al antiguo Palacio de Gobierno levantando una Biblia.

    Áñez had been the second vice-president of the Senate. From the CNN film clip, one can readily see that during the self-declaration, most of the seats in the Senate were empty. Unfortunately, this is not the correct process by which a President of Bolivia is supposed to be selected, even for one with interim status. In the meantime, Evo Morales arrived in Mexico in an official Mexican aircraft, where he will be granted asylum.

  • 2. Randolph_Finder  |  November 18, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Does the Bible returns to the Palace indicate that the group which Jeanine Áñez belongs to is more overtly Religiously Christian and thus less likely to support LGBT rights?

  • 3. VIRick  |  November 18, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Absolutely. The Aymara Indigenous people, the group to which Evo Morales belongs, are extremely displeased with this ugly turn of events. The Aymara, who live in the central highlands, comprise about 25% of Bolivia's population. Together with the Quechua, who live in the western highlands and make up an additional 30%, they form the majority. In addition, in the east, there are Guarani (another 8%), plus multiple Amazonian groups in the north.

    The Euro population of Bolivia is definitely a minority, even if one adds in the mixed-race mestizos (Cholos). At best, the two together account for 30% of the population. So, the foolish, tone-deaf proclamation, "the Bible returns to the Palace," has been widely countered by charges of attempting to re-impose colonialism.

    There's a reason why Bolivia claims itself to be a Plurinational Republic.

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 13, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    South Korea: LGBT Activists File Mass Petition for Marriage Equality

    Per Rex Wockner and LGBT Marriage News:

    On Wednesday, 12 November 2019, South Korean LGBT activists filed a mass petition to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea calling for greater same-sex rights. A network of organizations called Gagoonet, or the Korean Network for Partnership and Marriage Rights of LGBT, submitted the mass complaint, which cites violations of numerous economic and social rights in Korea due to the lack of legal same-sex partnerships. The petition carried the signatures of 1,056 LGBT individuals, same-sex couples, and family members.

    Yi Ho-rim, an organizer with Gagoonet, said the group is pushing for the Human Rights Commission, a national advocacy institution, to make a recommendation to the government to introduce legislation for same-sex marriage and partnership rights.

    Same-sex marriage and other forms of legal partnership are not available in South Korea, and in the military, consensual sex between men is punishable by up to two years in prison, a policy that Amnesty International condemned earlier this year.

  • 5. VIRick  |  November 13, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Yucatán: State Judiciary Submits New Marriage Equality/Adoption Bill to Congress

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Enviarán nueva iniciativa al Congreso para aprobar matrimonio igualitario. La reforma también incluiría pautas para la adopción homoparental en Yucatán.

    Ayer, miércoles, 13 de noviembre, el Poder Judicial del Estado de Yucatán envió una iniciativa de reforma al Código de Familia del Estado que contempla cambios en la definición de matrimonio y concubinato, suprimiendo las referencias al hombre y la mujer, y en su lugar considera a las parejas sin distinción de sexo, entre otras modificaciones. Esta iniciativa reabre el tema del matrimonio igualitario que el Congreso yucateco ya rechazó en dos ocasiones con votación en secreto.

    "En ejercicio de una facultad constitucional, el Poder Judicial pretende la modernidad, adecuación jurisprudencial y social en reconocimiento de determinados derechos que establecemos como esenciales del ser humano, para que el Congreso del Estado haga el ejercicio que le corresponda, y así poder determinar lo que a derecho proceda," manifestó Jorge Rivero Evia, magistrado presidente de la Sala Colegiada Civil y Familiar del Tribunal Superior de Justicia (TSJ).

    Yesterday, Wednesday, 13 November, the Judiciary of the State of Yucatán sent a reform bill concerning the State Family Code contemplating changes in the definition of marriage and cohabitation, suppressing references to men and women, and instead considering couples without distinction of sex, among other modifications. This initiative reopens the issue of marriage equality that the Yucatán Congress has already twice rejected by secret ballot.

    "In the exercise of a constitutional power, the Judiciary (itself) seeks modernity, jurisprudential and social adaptation in recognition of certain rights that we establish as essential for human beings, in order that the State Congress can do the corresponding exercise, and thus is able to determine (for themselves) what is appropriate (for us)," said Jorge Rivero Evia, presiding judge of the Civil and Family Collegiate Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ).

    That quote was fairly difficult to translate, as the judge has been very careful with his wording, leaving several angles unstated, as this is not a court order. But, basically put, the state judiciary of Yucatán is telling the Yucatán Congress what to do,– and what they, as the collective judiciary, at the initiative of the highest-ranking state Family Court judge, want them to approve on the subjects of both marriage equality and adoption rights. This is not the first time that this has happened at the state level on the subject of marriage equality. Several years ago, the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court in Baja California Sur personally submitted his own legislation to that state's congress, telling them precisely what to do. In that state, they eventually complied.

  • 6. VIRick  |  November 13, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Armenia: Parliament Rejects (Redundant) Bill Banning Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Armenia's parliament has rejected consideration of a bill seeking to expressly outlaw same-sex marriages in the Caucasus nation. On 12 November 2019, a majority of lawmakers dismissed consideration of a draft law proposed by the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), saying it was redundant given that the country's constitution already defines marriage as a union between "a woman and a man."

    The bill's co-author, lawmaker Gevork Petrosian, who in the past has expressed anti-LGBT sentiments, demanded that lawmakers "simply put into the Family Code a provision expressly banning same-sex and transgender marriages." Lawmakers also rejected a proposal by Petrosian to add a provision in the Family Code banning adoption by homosexuals.

  • 7. VIRick  |  November 14, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Prince Edward Island: Bill Banning "Conversion Therapy" Passes Second Reading

    Per Dr. Kristopher Wells and LGBT Marriage News:

    Prince Edward Island is one step closer to banning "conversion therapy," a term which refers to any practice intended to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. On Wednesday, 13 November 2019, a bill that would ban said practice for minors, and prohibit the use of public funds to provide the practice, passed its second reading in the provincial legislature.

    The current bill, which would amend several health-care related acts, was introduced by Health Minister James Aylward.

  • 8. VIRick  |  November 14, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Oaxaca: Muxhe Activist Amaranta Gómez Obtains Legal Certainty before the SAT

    Per Sonora Pride:

    Oaxaca: Obtiene Activista Muxhe Amaranta Gómez Certeza Jurídica ante el SAT

    Este martes, el 12 de noviembre 2019, la activista muxhe Amaranta Gómez Regalado recibió la certeza jurídica por parte del Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT), después de años de luchar por sus derechos como persona transgénero.

    La activista originaria de Juchitán, quien hasta este martes era reconocida en el SAT como Jorge, logró su reconocimiento integral por parte de todas las instituciones de gobierno, con el apoyo de su abogado, Pedro Santiago Rasgado.

    En 2003 participara en las elecciones como candidata del partido político México Posible, siendo la primera ocasión que una candidata transgénero participó en unos comicios en el país.

    On Tuesday, 12 November 2019, Muxhe activist Amaranta Gómez Regalado received legal certainty from the Tax Administration Service (SAT), after years of fighting for her rights as a transgender person.

    The activist, originally from Juchitán, who until Tuesday was recognized by the SAT as Jorge, has achieved her full recognition at all government institutions, with the support of her lawyer, Pedro Santiago Rasgado.

    In 2003, she participated in the elections as a candidate of the Mexico Posible political party, it being the first time that a transgender candidate participated in elections in Mexico.

    Note: All the Zapoteca Muxe who wish to do so have been taking full advantage of the fact that the Oaxaca state congress recently passed a comprehensive, progressive Gender Identity Law, thus allowing transgender persons (after waiting more than 400 years) to finally change gender, based solely on their own self-identification.

  • 9. VIRick  |  November 14, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Baja California: Comprehensive Marriage Equality Bill Introduced to Congress

    Per UNE Ensenada Red:

    Baja California: Iniciativa para Legalizar Matrimonios Igualitarios

    En breve, presentará la diputada Miriam Cano Núñez la initiativa para legalizar los matrimonios igualitarios. La propuesta de Morena, propone derogar el segundo párrafo del Artículo 7 de la Constitución Política del Estado de Baja California, así como derogar el Artículo 144 y se reforman los Artículos 143, 145, 161, 169, 170, 174, 176, 177, 179, 181, 182, 184, 186, 205, 208, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 220, 224 y 291 del Código Civil del Estado de Baja California, relativo al matrimonio igualitario.

    Shortly, representative Miriam Cano Núñez will present the bill to legalize equal marriages. Morena's measure proposes to repeal the second paragraph of Article 7 of the Political Constitution of the State of Baja California, as well as repealing Article 144 and amending Articles 143, 145, 161, 169, 170, 174, 176, 177, 179, 181, 182, 184, 186, 205, 208, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 220, 224 and 291 of the Civil Code of the State of Baja California, all relating to marriage equality.

    Later today, 14 November 2019, the measure was duly introduced and then passed on to committee, despite the presence of noisy, placard-carrying "religious" nut-jobs.

    Note: Currently, 4 of the 5 municipalities in Baja California are following an executive directive allowing them to marry same-sex couples, despite the fact that state law itself has yet to be altered. Only Mexicali refuses to abide by this directive.

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 14, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Kentucky: It's Official. Andy Beshear (D) Is the New State Governor

    Today, 14 November 2019, Republican incumbent Matt Bevin finally conceded the Kentucky governor's race to the LGBTQ-supportive Democratic candidate, Andy Beshear. After Beshear's unofficial narrow win last week with 49.2% of the vote, compared to Bevin's 48.9%, or about 4600 more votes statewide, Bevin continued to fight for the office, with many believing he'd force a recount. However, the Republican governor with a long streak of anti-LGBTQ beliefs and actions has now officially bowed out of the race.

    The remaining 1.9% of the vote went to the Libertarian contender, John Hicks.

  • 11. VIRick  |  November 14, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Missouri: Kansas City Bans "Conversion Therapy" for Minors

    Per Matthew Shurka, Co-Founder of Born Perfect:

    On 14 November 2019, the Kansas City MO city council unanimously passed a city ordinance to protect LGBTQ youth from "conversion therapy."

  • 12. VIRick  |  November 15, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Illinois' Largest School District Votes to Allow Transgender Students Equal Access

    On Thursday night, 14 November 2019, Illinois’s largest high school district voted to allow transgender students equal access to locker rooms and bathrooms. The 5-2 board decision from Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 was years in the making, reported the local ABC affiliate.

    In 2015, the US Department of Education said that District 211, located in Chicago's northwest suburbs, was violating federal law when it banned a trans student from having unrestricted access to the girls’ locker room. School officials eventually said that she could use the locker room, prompting a separate lawsuit from two dozen students and parents, backed by the conservative hate-group litigation mill, Alliance Defending Freedom. That suit was finally dropped earlier this year.

    In 2017, Nova Maday, then a 17-year-old junior, filed a lawsuit asking Palatine High School to be able to change in the common area of the girls’ locker room rather than in the (compromise), separate, private stall. In 2018, Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas R. Allen denied Maday a preliminary injunction, continuing to block her access to the common area of the locker room while her case made its way through the courts.

    The new policy approved by the school board on Thursday night allows students who publicly identify as trans to use the locker room corresponding with their gender identity. It is consistent with that of nearby Chicago Public Schools, which states, “All students are allowed to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.”

  • 13. VIRick  |  November 15, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    El Salvador: Probable Marriage Equality Ruling before Year's End

    Per Rex Wockner:

    A Salvadoran journalist's tweet restates that Justice Aldo Cader of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice says that the court could rule in the marriage equality cases before the end of this year.

    Per Leo R,, Radio El Salvador:

    Magistrado Aldo Cader de la Sala Constitucional de El Salvador dice que antes que finalice este año podrían resolver demandas sobre matrimonio igualitario.

    Apparently, Justice Cader gave an interview to said journalist in which he mentioned the status of any number of pending cases presently before the Constitutional Court, including those concerning the demand for marriage equality. For example, a different case is to be decided in early December (en la primera quincena de diciembre), while a third case is in process (en trámite), as is a fourth. A fifth case is still being analyzed (aún están analizando la solicitud). Reading between the lines, it would thus appear as if the marriage equality cases are currently second-in-line for a decision.

  • 14. VIRick  |  November 16, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Barbados: Government Fails to Respond to IACHR Complaint

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    As of 15 November 2019, the Mia Mottley-administration of Barbados has yet to respond to a challenge lodged by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against the country’s sodomy and indecency laws, leaving a local activist disappointed and planning her next move. The end of October marked three months since the IACHR sent official correspondence to the Government of Barbados demanding a response to its petition which identified human rights violations inherent in the Barbados Sexual Offenses Act.

    In a recent interview, Alexa Hoffmann, who originally submitted the petition to the commission, told "Barbados Today" that after it was presented to the current administration in July, she expected the request would be acknowledged and some discussion would take place. However, Government has failed to address the matter, and according to Hoffmann, gave a clear indication that it did not intend to uphold the human rights of the entire population.

    The IACHR’s petition has been followed by the announcement by the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) regarding its intention to launch legal challenges to anti-gay laws in Barbados and four other Eastern Caribbean countries, Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua/Barbuda, and St. Kitts-Nevis.
    Sections 9 and 12 of the Barbados Sexual Offenses Act have been under the most scrutiny. According to the legislation, persons found guilty of "buggery" are subject to life imprisonment, and a 10-year sentence is prescribed for acts of “serious indecency.”

  • 15. VIRick  |  November 16, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    St. Vincent/Grenadines: "Christian" Coalition Seeks to Intervene in Anti-Sodomy Legal Challenge

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The lawsuit against the anti-sodomy and gross indecency laws in St. Vincent/Grenadines is a challenge against God, exhorted Mandella Peters, a lawyer for churches suing for the retention of the laws, while inciting the gathered church crowd at a public rally held in Kingstown on Thursday, 14 November 2019.

    Gay Vincentians Sean MacLeish and Javin Johnson are asking the court to declare unconstitutional, the two sections of the Criminal Code that criminalize sodomy and gross indecency. Seemingly in agreement, Peters also noted that the claimants are arguing that the sodomy and gross indecency laws are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid, and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalize any consensual conduct among persons above the age of consent.

    Under the current St. Vincent/Grenadines Criminal Code, any person who commits buggery with any other person, commits buggery with an animal, or permits any person to commit buggery with him or her is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for 10 years. The Criminal Code also says that any person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person of the same sex, or procures or attempts to procure another person of the same sex to commit an act of gross indecency with him or her, is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for five years.

    Mandella Peters is one of the attorneys representing the Christian Coalition, which has asked the court to allow them to join the government in defending the lawsuit. The court will rule on 20 November whether to allow the 10-church coalition to join the lawsuit.

    All of Peters' additional ranting at the rally, seemingly quoted verbatim, has been edited out, but if one wishes to read it, one can find it here:

    Note: The current Criminal Code of St. Vincent/Grenadines was enacted in 1988. However, in that revision, the "buggery" and "gross indecency" portions of it were merely copied and retained from earlier versions of the Code. This is immediately evident due to the continuing usage of extremely antiquated, colonial-era, hyper-British Victorian language, language in which neither term is actually defined. In fact, in addition to not defining either act, what is the difference between the two acts? That point is equally unclear.

  • 16. VIRick  |  November 16, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    IACHR Heard Petition Challenging Jamaica's Anti-Sodomy Laws

    Per LGBT Marriage News and Rex Wockner:

    On 11 November 2019, LGBTI rights activists pleaded for an end to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law in a hearing on Case 13.095 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The IACHR has the authority to at least advise member states about human rights issues.

    Per Sarah Botha and Maurice Tomlinson:

    In 2011, AIDS-Free World filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on behalf of two Jamaicans, a gay man and a transgender woman, who had suffered extreme abuses because of the anti-sodomy law and the homophobia that it engenders, which exacerbates the HIV epidemic in the region. Due to security threats, both petitioners were forced to flee Jamaica and seek asylum abroad.

    The Commission heard the petition on Monday, 11 November 2019, challenging Jamaica’s laws against sexual activity between consenting same-sex partners, and alleging Jamaica is in breach of the American Convention on Human Rights. A positive decision from the IACHR following this hearing would be welcome news for activists working in Jamaica and the Caribbean to end the criminalization of LGBTQ people that has resulted in stigma, discrimination and violence (including murder), and continues to hamper the fight against HIV. Currently, HIV services are virtually inaccessible to the LGBTQ community in Jamaica due to the homophobia endemic to the public health sector.

    The hearing of Case 13.095 is here:

  • 17. Fortguy  |  November 17, 2019 at 1:23 am

    In Louisiana's gubernatorial runoff, incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards has narrowly defeated his GOP challenger for reelection.

  • 18. JayJonson  |  November 17, 2019 at 9:52 am

    In his victory speech last night, Governor Edwards dismissed Trump by saying, "God bless him!" He has good reason to be grateful to Trump, whose repeated visits to Louisiana pushed him over the top. There is no way to read the election results except as a rebuke of Trump (though not of Republicans since the other Republican on the state-wide ballot won easily). Edwards received 46% of the votes in the first primary; he received 51% of the votes last night. That increased 5% of the vote came from greater Democratic turnout, which Trump's frequent visits inspired, and also from crossover Republican votes in Republican strongholds, especially in the Jefferson Parish suburbs of New Orleans, which ordinarily vote overwhelmingly Republican but which Edwards carried handily. Thank you, Trump, for so antagonizing the Republican matrons in Metairie that they voted for Edwards.

  • 19. scream4ever  |  November 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Indeed. I've never felt better about our prospects of defeating Trump next year.

    On a side note, "Bless his heart" is the Southern way of saying "fuck you" LOL

  • 20. Fortguy  |  November 17, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    As someone peripherally from the South, I'd translate the expression as meaning more along the lines of "what a dumbass!" rather than FU.

  • 21. ianbirmingham  |  November 17, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    It can mean either of those things, depending upon context, but the essence of it is that the expression is a means by which a person can be covertly criticized.

    It is a signal which asks the Southern recipient to analyze the context in order to identify the specific criticism intended by the speaker, while also disguising itself as a compliment in order to bamboozle any non-Southern recipient.

    It's similar to the concept of a "dog whistle" (which only Southerners are supposed to hear).

  • 22. VIRick  |  November 17, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Being from Louisiana, he could have said it in French:

    "Bénis son coeur et embrasse mon beignet (ou autre chose comme ça, peut-être gruau de maïs)."

    "Bless his heart and kiss my donut (or something like this, perhaps good old grits)."

    Although, seriously, "mon beignet," which is truly not translatable, should never be confused with an ordinary donut.

  • 23. VIRick  |  November 18, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    The final word on this subject, including a slight correction as to what Governor Edwards actually said, goes to an on-line friend from Florence AL who regularly reads my posts on the other website where I post, and always offers his very keen insight:

    Per Bamanudelover:

    Actually, he said, "As for the president…God bless his heart." In the South, that is a dismissive phrase usually indicating the person is mentally deficient or has some other personality deficiency that puts that person at a distinct disadvantage.

  • 24. VIRick  |  November 18, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Zimbabwe: Judge Issues Landmark Transgender Rights Ruling

    On 14 November 2019, a judge in Zimbabwe issued a landmark ruling in favor of a transgender woman who filed a lawsuit over the abuse she suffered after her arrest for using a women’s restroom. In January 2014, police in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo arrested Ricky “Rikki” Nathanson after she had used a women’s restroom in a hotel.

    Nathanson — who is the founder of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy, and Training (TREAT), a trans advocacy group in Zimbabwe — told the "Washington Blade" earlier this year that she was kept in jail for three days. In a press release, the Southern Africa Litigation Center, a South Africa-based group that supported Nathanson during her case, said she “was forced to undergo an invasive and humiliating medical/physical examination and was asked to remove her clothes in front of five male police officers in order to ‘verify her gender'” while in custody.

    In August 2014, Nathanson filed a lawsuit against Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs minister, the commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the assistant commissioner of the Bulawayo Central Police Station and the leader of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party’s Youth League who instigated her arrest. A three-day hearing in Nathanson’s lawsuit took place in the Bulawayo High Court in 2017.

    The judge who ruled in Nathanson’s favor awarded her $400,000 in damages for what the Southern Africa Litigation Center, described as “unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution, and emotional distress.” A Zimbabwean law firm represented Nathanson in court.

    In a press release, OutRight Action International, a global LGBTQ advocacy group, notes Nathanson’s case is the first time Zimbabwe’s “judiciary has recognized that gender does not have to be either male or female.” The judge ruled in Nathanson’s favor less than a year after the US granted her asylum because of persecution she suffered in Zimbabwe.

    Nathanson, who now lives in Rockville MD, is the assistant to the chief of staff at Casa Ruby (in DC). In September, OutRight Action International announced that Nathanson had been named to its board of directors.

  • 25. VIRick  |  November 18, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Cook Islands: Positive Pushback against Re-Criminalizing Same-Sex Sexual Relations

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    There is an increasing weight of expert opinion warning that reinstating a criminal ban on same-sex relations would breach the human rights protections of the Cook Islands Constitution. The Law Society and the Cook Islands Civil Society have both added their voices to representatives of the Te Tiare Association, led by Lady Tuaine Marsters, all highlighting the Constitution’s ban on discrimination on grounds of sex. They argue that imposing convictions and five-year prison sentences on gay men is a violation of human rights.

    There are new and growing hopes the Parliamentary select committee will reverse this month’s decision to reinstate a criminal ban, after the committee agreed to hear further submissions this week. Democratic Party and Opposition leader Tina Browne says the proposed legislation is “fraught with legal problems” and “hugely regressive for human rights here.” She says it is a regression that has thrown the country under a negative international spotlight, “contradicting our very laws and violating the UN Human Rights declaration to which we are party, by criminalizing male and female homosexuality.” Her words put pressure on the three Democratic members of the select committee that made the original decision: Selina Napa, William ‘Smiley’ Heather, and Tetangi Matapo.

    Cook Islands Tourism, too, issued a statement last week warning of a “detrimental” impact on the country’s reputation and tourism industry. Chief executive Halatoa Fua said he was proud that the Cook Islands were widely regarded as a friendly and safe Pacific tourism destination where all visitors are welcome.

    Same-sex relationships were decriminalized in the United Kingdom in 1967, in Canada in 1969, in New Zealand in 1986, and (nationwide) in Australia (and territories) in 1997. Many small Pacific Island countries have also decriminalized same-sex relationships, including the Marshall Islands in 2005, Niue, Tokelau, and Vanuatu in 2007, Fiji in 2010, and Nauru in 2016, (as have Micronesia, American Samoa since1980, Easter Island since 1999, Pitcairn since 2001, and Palau since 2014, to say nothing of the many nearby French Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis/Futuna which have never criminalized same-sex sexual relations, and where same-sex marriage is legal. One can also cite Hawai'i, Guam, and the Northern Marianas as currently being on par with the French Islands).

    This still leaves a number of former British possessions where (male) same-sex sexual activity is still criminalized: Papua-New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, (Western) Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu. All 6 claim that this antiquated law, still on the books, is no longer being enforced.

  • 26. VIRick  |  November 18, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Michigan: Transgender Inclusive State IDs

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 18 November 2019, the Michigan Secretary of State announced that it is streamlining the process for a person to change their sex designation on their state driver’s license or state identification card, basically, by allowing for self-identification at the time when an individual is selecting their gender.

    The ACLU of Michigan applauds this inclusive move that respects the transgender community, and enables members to match their IDs with how they live their lives.

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