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Still no action in LGBT SCOTUS cases


Today, 1/27, the Supreme Court released its orders from last week’s private conference. The Court took no action in the flower shop case or the Philadelphia Catholic Social Services case about LGBT adoption and foster parenting. The Court’s next private conference isn’t until February 21.

The Court didn’t release any new decisions in argued cases, and it’s assumed they won’t until at least next month.

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


  • 1. VIRick  |  January 28, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Connecticut DMV Now Offers Non-Binary Gender Marker on Driver's Licenses

    Per Equality Case Files:

    The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles now offers residents a non-binary gender designation on drivers’ licenses and non-driver identification cards, joining at least a dozen other states in doing so. The policy, which went into effect on Monday, 27 January 2020, allows residents to select their gender designation, choosing between female (F), male (M) and non-binary (X).

    The new form, which allows applicants to update the gender on their current driver’s license or identification card, does not require medical documentation. There is a $30 fee to complete the process outside of a renewal period. The policy change also applies to learner’s permits for new drivers.

  • 2. VIRick  |  January 28, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Mexico: Supreme Court: The Right to Social Security

    Mexico: Suprema Corte: Derecho a la Seguridad Social

    Per SCJN:

    Parejas del mismo sexo que viven en concubinato tienen derecho a recibir una pensión de viudez. Limitar el goce de esta pensión solo para parejas de hombre y mujer viola el derecho a la seguridad social y el de protección a la familia. Amparo en Revisión 750/2018

    Cohabiting same-sex couples are entitled to receive a widowhood pension. Limiting the enjoyment of this pension to only hetero couples violates the right to social security and the protection of the family. Amparo en Revisión 750/2018

  • 3. VIRick  |  January 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Kentucky: Kim Davis Refuses to Go Away

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In August 2019, in "Ermold/Yates v. Davis," two consolidated federal lawsuits seeking damages from former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court ruling that Kim Davis can be sued in her individual capacity.

    In a petition for rehearing en banc, Davis's Liberty Counsel lawyers then asked the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider their decision. In October 2019, that request was denied.

    Now, Liberty Counsel is asking the Supreme Court to review the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision. On 24 January 2020, the certiorari petition requesting review was docketed as 19-926, and can be found here:

    Ironically, Kim Davis's singular mistake was in following the poor example set by a number of Alabama county probate judges who shut down their entire marriage licensing bureau "lest they be accused of discrimination" in the aftermath of the "Obergefell" decision. She, of course, did the same thing "lest she be accused of discriminating against same-sex couples seeking to marry." In Alabama, they may have gotten away with it due to an inventive mis-interpretation of the wording, "may marry," as found in the Alabama state statute, but in Kentucky, the state law is worded quite differently. There, one is "required" to carry out one's enumerated duties.

    Thus, setting aside the "Obergefell" decision and her rather dubious "religious belief" objections to it, county clerks in Kentucky have a sworn duty to uphold state law. Pure and simple. By shutting down her entire marriage licensing bureau, thus denying marriage licenses to everyone, straight, gay, and in between, she was in clear, blatant violation of her own sworn duty to uphold state law.

  • 4. FredDorner  |  February 5, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Note that Alabama revised its marital statutes in the early 1960s to allow county probate judges to refuse to marry mixed-race couples if their anti-miscegenation law was ever overturned.

    No surprise at all that Kentucky was also one of the states impacted by Loving v Virginia.

  • 5. VIRick  |  January 28, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Virginia: Values Act Banning Anti-LGBT Discrimination Passes House Committee

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Values Act passed out of the House General Laws Committee with bipartisan support, in a 16-6 vote, the first time an LGBTQ non-discrimination bill has ever passed a Virginia House committee.

    Virginia House Approves Bill to Repeal Statutory Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

    On Tuesday, 28 January 2020, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 63-34 to repeal the state’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage.

    House Bill 1490, introduced by state Del. Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), would officially repeal Virginia’s prohibition which the US Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional in its 2015 ruling in the "Obergefell" case.

    The Virginia Senate passed the companion version of the bill on 21 January, after which state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), the bill's sponsor, tweeted, “After several years of fighting, it’s time for our code to finally reflect the law of the land.”

  • 6. VIRick  |  January 29, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Córdoba, Veracruz: 5 Same-Sex Couples Request to Be Married at Civil Registry

    A raíz (del ruido sobre) la reforma al Código Civil que aborda el tema de los matrimonios igualitarios, al menos cinco parejas del mismo sexo, tres de hombres y dos de mujeres, se han acercado al Registro Civil de Córdoba interesados en legalizar su relación sentimental, aseveró el titular de esa oficialía, Norman Jiménez Ramírez.

    Debido a que se trata de un tema en discusión que ha generado polémica, sobre todo de parte del sector religioso y de organizaciones "pro-familia," el funcionario a cargo del Registro Civil admitió que también ha provocado mayor interés de la comunidad lésbico-gay porque se aterrice la reforma y entre en vigor, al considerar que es su derecho.

    Following (upon the noise surrounding) the reform of the Civil Code addressing the issue of marriage equality, at least five same-sex couples, three of men and two of women, have approached the Civil Registry of Córdoba interested in legalizing their sentimental relationships, the head of that office, Norman Jiménez Ramírez, asserted.

    Because it is a topic under discussion that has generated controversy, especially from the religious sector and organizations "pro-familia," the official in charge of the Civil Registry admitted that it has also provoked greater interest from the lesbian-gay community because once the reform is completed and enters into force, it will be considered one's right.

    Note: Córdoba (pop. 140,000), a modern, progressive city, shares the same "eternal spring" rain forest valley with Orizaba (pop. 120,000), high in the mountains in the middle of Mexico's "coffee country," off the main expressway linking the port of Veracruz with Puebla and Mexico City.

  • 7. VIRick  |  January 30, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Guatemala: Personal Story of Gay Couple, Married in Mexico 5 Years Ago Today

    Un día como hoy, hace 5 años, (el 30 de enero 2015), nos casamos con mi esposo en México. Ya veníamos acompañándonos en la vida desde 2003, pero queríamos el reconocimiento de un Estado a nuestra unión. Nunca imaginamos que ese paso tan importante en nuestra relación nos causaría tanto problema.

    La Universidad donde trabajábamos nos dijo un día que a causa de estar casados, uno de los dos sería despedido. La organización gay que ayudamos a construir nos dio la espalda, y la organización holandesa que nos financiaba amenazó a la asociación por conflicto de afectividad.

    Nos quedamos sin chance. Bueno, uno de los dos. Nunca más pudimos trabajar juntos, ni cerca, ni en este medio tan lleno de derechos humanos y de protección de las poblaciones clave. Hasta organismos de salud importantísimos nos cerraron las puertas.

    Pensamos muchas veces en separarnos, para asegurar de alguna forma el pan a la mesa. Nos quedamos realmente solos. Un día, las cosas serán distintas y las nuevas generaciones realmente gozarán de ese derecho.

    Five years ago today, (on 30 January 2015), I married my husband in Mexico. We had already been together since 2003, but we wanted a State recognition to our union. We never imagined that such an important step in our relationship would cause us so much trouble.

    One day, the University where we were working told us that because of our being married, one of the two would be fired. The gay organization we helped build turned its back on us, and the Dutch organization that financed us threatened the association because of a conflict of affection.

    We did not have a chance. Well, one of the two. Never again could we work together, neither close-by, nor in this environment so full of human rights and protection of key populations. Even the most important health agencies closed their doors to us.

    We often think of separating ourselves, in order to somehow secure bread for the table. We remain really alone. One day, things will be different and new generations will really enjoy that right.

  • 8. VIRick  |  January 30, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    South Dakota: House Passes Bill Criminalizing Transition Care for Minors

    On Wednesday, 29 January 2020, the South Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill that would make it a crime for doctors to give gender-transition treatment to minors. It would criminalize not only gender-affirmation surgeries, which in accord with accepted medical protocols, are not usually performed on minors anyway, but would also criminalize hormone treatment and puberty blockers. Doctors could receive up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,000.

    The bill now goes to the state Senate, where a committee could consider it as early as next week. Gov. Kristi Noem, also a Republican, has “expressed concern” about the legislation, the "Sioux Falls Argus Leader" notes, but has not said whether she will sign it. “When you take public policy and try to fill parenting gaps with more government, you have to be very careful about the precedent you’re setting,” she told reporters last week.

    This week, a similar bill was introduced in Kentucky, while legislation criminalizing such care has already been introduced in Florida. Bills have also been introduced in South Carolina and Missouri to ban transition-related care for minors, but neither would impose criminal penalties on doctors.

  • 9. Fortguy  |  January 31, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    This is why we should rejoice that the Texas Legislature meets for only 140 days every two years.

  • 10. VIRick  |  January 31, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    South Dakota Governor's Phone Number

    Per Lambda Legal:

    The phone number for the Governor of South Dakota is: 1-605-773-3212, while the above-cited House bill is HB-1057, and the governor's name is Kristi Noem.

  • 11. VIRick  |  January 31, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    South Dakota: HB-1215, Because One Insane Anti-LGBT Hate Bill Is Not Enough

    Per Lambda Legal:

    On Thursday, 30 January 2020, Rep. Tony Randolph, a newly-elected Republican from Rapid City, introduced a bill, HB-1215, that would prohibit the state from enforcing, endorsing, or favoring policies that cover a range of activities that involve members of the LGBTQ community.

    In short, the bill wants the state to not enforce, endorse, or favor policies that allow same-sex marriage, policies that allow counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and policies that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    At the same time, the bill would also enshrine "conversion therapy" by permanently legalizing it, while prohibiting same-sex couples from receiving state benefits.

  • 12. VIRick  |  January 30, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Kentucky: Bill to Ban "Conversion Therapy" on Minors Introduced in State Senate

    A second bill to ban the use of "conversion therapy" on minors in Kentucky is coming from a surprising source, given that the lead sponsor of the measure is a conservative Christian Republican. Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington, who has a gay son, says the horrors of the practice were driven home when she saw the movie, "Boy Erased."

    Kerr introduced her legislation, Senate Bill 85, this month, with co-sponsors Sen. Julie Raque Adams (R) and Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D). It would bar mental health professionals from performing "conversion therapy," which is supposedly designed to turn LGBTQ people straight, on minors under 18, or on adults who have a “mental or physical dysfunction” that prevents them from managing their own affairs. Those who violate the law would be subject to discipline, and the legislation would also keep public funds from going to conversion therapy.

    Regarding the first bill, two Kentucky legislators, State Reps. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green, and Lisa Willner, D-Louisville, introduced similar legislation into the Kentucky House of Representatives on Tuesday, 7 January 2020, that would also effectively ban the controversial practice of "conversion therapy" for minors in the commonwealth.

  • 13. VIRick  |  January 30, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Venezuela: 6th Anniversary of Introduction of Marriage Equality Bill into National Assembly

    Per Venezuela Igualitaria:

    El 31.1.2014 era un hito para el movimiento LGBTI venezolano. Por la primera vez, se entrega a la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela un Proyecto de Ley, redactado por las bases y difundido en casi todo el país, cohesionando 47 movimientos y organizaciones por una sola causa: matrimonio igualitario.

    31 January 2014 was a milestone for the Venezuelan LGBTI movement. For the first time, a Bill was delivered to the Venezuelan National Assembly, drafted by the grass-roots and disseminated throughout most of the country, bringing together 47 movements and organizations for a single cause: marriage equality.

    And 6 years later, this bill still remains pending.

  • 14. VIRick  |  January 31, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Tijuana: Massive Valentine's Day 2020 Collective Marriage Event Planned

    Per Rex Wockner:

    For the first time, same-sex couples will marry during Tijuana's free Valentine's Day collective marriage event. Amid legislative inaction, (but adhering to the statewide executive directive to follow Supreme Court jurisprudence), some months ago, Tijuana completely stopped enforcing the state's ban on marriage equality. So far, for the up-coming event, 30 same-sex couples have signed up, of the more than 700 couples total:

    700 Parejas se Casarán el 14 de Febrero; 30 Son del Mismo Sexo

    Hasta el momento, se tiene un total de 700 solicitudes de matrimonios, las cuales se han realizado en las once oficialías del Registro Civil de Tijuana; de las cuales 30 matrimonios se darán entre personas del mismo sexo, expresó la oficial 01 del Registro Civil de Tijuana, Magaly Ronquillo Palacios. Se cierra el registro el 8 de febrero. "Los trámites son absolutamente gratuitos,” comentó. Además aclaró que Tijuana es el único de los municipios (en Baja California) que lo realiza.

    La oficial mencionó que esperan que más personas se acerquen a aprovechar este beneficio durante los próximos días. La ceremonia de Matrimonios Colectivos se realizará el 14 de febrero en el Auditorio Municipal de Tijuana.

    On 14 February, 700 Couples Will Marry; 30 Are Same-Sex

    So far, a total of 700 applications for marriage have been made in the eleven offices of the Civil Registry of Tijuana; of which 30 marriages will occur between same-sex couples, as expressed by official 01 of the Civil Registry of Tijuana, Magaly Ronquillo Palacios. Registration closes on 8 February. She commented, "The procedures are absolutely free." She also clarified that Tijuana is the only municipality (in Baja California) that is doing it.

    The official mentioned that they expect more people to come to take advantage of this benefit during the next few days. The Collective Marriage ceremony will be held on 14 February at the Municipal Auditorium of Tijuana.

  • 15. VIRick  |  January 31, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Ciudad Juárez: Massive Collective Marriage Event Planned for 17 February

    Per Rex Wockner:

    The state of Chihuahua has also not passed marriage equality legislation, but instead, since mid-2015, has not been enforcing its ban due to the issuance of a gubernatorial decree (based on Supreme Court jurisprudence). The Civil Registry of Cuidad Juárez, across the border from El Paso TX, has again invited same-sex couples to marry at their free, up-coming collective marriage event:

    Parejas del Mismo Sexo Sí se Pueden Casar en Matrimonios Colectivos

    Las parejas del mismo sexo que busquen ser parte del programa de Matrimonios Colectivos 2020, pueden inscribirse sin necesidad de interponer algún amparo con el propósito de evitar discriminaciones por derechos humanos, de acuerdo con Margarita Guardado, oficial del Registro Civil. Las parejas que deseen participar en los matrimonios colectivos tendrán un ahorro de 806 pesos. Acude de inmediato. El trámite es gratuito.

    Reiteró que en esta semana se ha tenido una gran recepción de solicitantes, estando a punto de registrar a 500 parejas en estas dos primeras semanas. Para este año, en Ciudad Juárez, buscan superar las mil 200 parejas.

    El 17 de febrero es la fecha que se realizará la boda colectiva, por lo que el cierre de aceptación de documentación será el próximo 12 de febrero.

    Same-Sex Couples Can Marry in the Collective Marriage Event

    Same-sex couples seeking to be part of the 2020 Collective Marriages program can register without needing to file for an amparo in order to avoid human rights discrimination, according to Margarita Guardado, Civil Registry officer. Couples who desire to participate in the collective marriage event will save 806 pesos ($US 43.00). Go immediately. The procedure is free.

    She reiterated that this week there has been a large turn-out of applicants, there being at least 500 couples registered during these first two weeks. For this year, in Ciudad Juárez, they are looking to surpass 1,200 couples.

    The date on which the collective marriage event will be held is 17 February, so the closing date for acceptance of documentation will be 12 February.

  • 16. VIRick  |  January 31, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    USA: Federal Judge: Same-Sex Partners Have A Right to Social Security Survivor's Benefits

    Per Lambda Legal:

    On 31 January 2020, a federal magistrate judge recommended striking down as unconstitutional the US Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) categorical denial of survivor’s benefits to surviving same-sex partners who were barred from marrying due to discriminatory state marriage bans. While several states began allowing same-sex couples to marry beginning in 2003, and the US Supreme Court struck down all remaining state bans in 2015, for many couples that freedom came too late.

    Today’s development came in "Thornton v. Saul" (formerly "Thornton v. Berryhill"), the lawsuit Lambda Legal filed in US District Court for the Western District of Washington State in September 2018, against SSA on behalf of Helen Thornton, a 64-year-old lesbian seeking spousal survivor’s benefits based on her relationship with her partner of 27 years, Marge Brown, who died in 2006 before same-sex couples in the State of Washington were able to marry.

    The recommendation by the federal magistrate judge now goes before a federal district judge, who may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation. The magistrate judge also recommended the certification of a class action, ordering SSA to provide surviving same-sex partners barred from marriage across the country with a pathway to qualify for benefits.

    Ms. Thornton, 64, applied for survivor’s benefits in 2015, shortly before she would have otherwise been eligible to begin receiving survivor’s benefits at age 60, based on Ms. Brown’s work record. SSA denied her application given the fact that she and Ms. Brown were not married at the time of Ms. Brown’s death in 2006, even though that was impossible in the State of Washington, which did not permit same-sex couples to marry until 2012.

    Lambda Legal’s attorneys working on the case are: Peter Renn, Tara Borelli, and Karen Loewy. They are joined by Robert Thornton and Linda Larson with Nossaman LLP.

  • 17. VIRick  |  January 31, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Arizona: Statewide LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Bills Earn Bipartisan Support

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In the wake of a 2019 Arizona Supreme Court ruling striking down a Phoenix requirement that companies cannot discriminate against LGBTQ customers, there is a bipartisan push at the Arizona Capitol to protect LGBTQ Arizonans. Legislation introduced in both the state House of Representatives and Senate would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes, and bar discrimination against them in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

    “Our current non-discrimination law protects people based on a wide variety of characteristics; race, age, disability, national origin, gender, and religion, but it does not include sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, who sponsored Senate Bill 1321. In the House, Rep. Daniel Hernández, D-Tucson, a founding member of Arizona’s LGBTQ legislative caucus, introduced House Bill 2716.

    On Thursday, 30 January 2020, at a Capitol press conference to announce the bills, Brophy McGee and Hernández were joined by faith, civic, and business leaders who collectively agreed that it was time for Arizona to join 23 other states and the District of Columbia in providing full protections to the LGBTQ community. There are current laws in Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe, Flagstaff, Sedona, and Winslow that prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, but there are no statewide laws.

  • 18. VIRick  |  February 1, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    Mexico: Supreme Court Jurisprudence on Gender Identity Has Been Issued

    Per México Igualitario y Cheros AC:

    El 30 de enero 2020, ya salió la jurisprudencia por Contradicción de Tesis que denunciamos. Esto permitirá un critério uniforme sobre el Derecho a la Identidad de las personas trans para los juicios de amparo que se tramiten en donde no se haya cambiado la legislación.

    On 30 January 2020, the jurisprudence pertaining to the Contradiction of Thesis that we challenged has been issued. This will allow for a uniform criterion covering the Right to Identity for trans persons in amparo judgments that are processed where the legislation has not yet been changed.


    The 5 consecutive amparo judgments from the Full Court of the 17th Circuit, all stating the same thing on the same matter, are: AR.- 42/2017, AR.- 313/2016, AR.- 80/2017, AR.- 35/2017 y AR.- 40/2018.

    The 17th Circuit Court covers Chihuahua, where the federal judges repeatedly ruled in favor of multiple plaintiffs' right to change name/gender, and where the transgender women of Chihuahua (Cheros, AC) kept up a constant court challenge, one case after the other, after the next.

    In contradiction, federal courts in Guanajuato were ruling against the right of individuals to change name/gender. In resolving the contradiction between the courts in Chihuahua and those in Guanajuato, the Supreme Court sided with the positive rulings coming from Chihuahua. Henceforth, given this new jurisprudence, all federal judges throughout Mexico must now rule the same way, as in Chihuahua. Included in their jurisprudence, the Supreme Court also stated that the states must allow for self-declaring (auto-percebido) name/gender change by simple administrative means.

    The Supreme Court ruling was first announced in late November 2019. Chihuahua changed its policy, per said Supreme Court ruling, on the very same date, making it jurisdiction 11 to be in compliance with the gender identity jurisprudence which was finally officially issued on 30 January 2020.

  • 19. VIRick  |  February 2, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Veracruz: Marriage Equality Vote Delayed in State Congress

    Reforma al Código Civil de Veracruz va más allá del matrimonio igualitario; Lamentable, que estén en contra: Hipólito Rodríguez Herrero, el alcalde de Xalapa.

    Reform to the Civil Code of Veracruz goes well beyond marriage equality; It is lamentable that they would be against: Hipólito Rodríguez Herrero, the mayor of Xalapa.

    We will now see if he does anything about it, because as mayor of Xalapa, he has the power to issue an executive directive to the Civil Registry officials of Xalapa to begin marrying same-sex couples within that one municipality, and/or to direct the city council to do likewise.

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