Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

4/6 No new SCOTUS news, again


This morning, the Supreme Court issued orders and two decisions in argued cases, but didn’t take any actions in any of the LGBT cases we’re following. Their next private conference is on April 17, so they’ll be releasing the order from that conference on Monday, April 20, and it’s possible they could issue decisions as well. We won’t find out until the 17th.


  • 1. VIRick  |  April 6, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Florida: Gay Deputy Sheriff, First Line-of-Duty COVID-19 Casualty in State

    Deputy Shannon Bennett, a gay man who had been with the Broward Sheriff's Office in Florida for nearly 12 years, has died of complications from COVID-19. Bennett, 39, died Friday night, 3 April 2020, the sheriff's office announced over the weekend.

    He had left work on 23 March after not feeling well. He went to the hospital the following day and was tested for COVID-19. The results came back positive on 27 March, and he died a week later. His death from COVID-19 was the first of two in the department and is believed to be the first such line-of-duty death in Florida. Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, subsequently died of complications related to COVID-19.

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  April 12, 2020 at 7:38 am

    Davie police chief: BSO deputy died of COVID-19 because he was gay

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  April 12, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Florida police chief is suspended for 'saying one of his deputies who died from coronavirus got it because he's gay and attended "homosexual sexual events"'

    'As of April 11, 2020, Police Chief Dale Engle was placed on Administrative leave pending further review of allegations brought forward by the Fraternal Order of Police,' Davie's Town Administrator Richard J. Lemack said in a statement Saturday night. 'The allegations will be investigated in accordance with the Town's Equal Employment Opportunity compliance policy by outside counsel.'

  • 4. VIRick  |  April 12, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Police Chief Dale Engle of Davie FL does not have jurisdiction over matters beyond the town limits of Davie FL. Shannon Bennett, the gay man who died of COVID-19, and about whom said police chief expressed his blatant homophobia in a matter over which he has no direct interest or authority, was a deputy working for the Broward County Sheriff's Office, and was assigned to Deerfield Beach FL. Thus, the second quoted headline is not entirely correct, as Bennett was not Engle's deputy.

    Davie FL lies to the southwest of Ft. Lauderdale, while Deerfield Beach FL is on the coast, way to the northeast, the only connection being that both are within the same Broward County. A whole host of other municipalities lie in between, including Plantation, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Ft. Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, Oakland Park, and Pompano Beach, among others. See county map here for details:,_Flo

  • 5. VIRick  |  April 6, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    UK: PM Boris Johnson's Condition Worsens, Now in Intensive Care Due to COVID-19

    The prime minister, Boris Johnson, who has COVID-19, was moved to the intensive care unit at St Thomas' hospital at around 7pm on Monday night, 6 April 2020. He remains conscious at this time and has been moved as a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery, his office said.

    "Since Sunday evening, the prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus," a Number 10 spokesperson said. "Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital."

    Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, will deputize for the prime minister in leading the UK's response to the coronavirus.

  • 6. VIRick  |  April 6, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Wisconsin Supreme Court: In-Person Voting Must Proceed Tomorrow Despite Pandemic

    On Monday, 6 April 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared that in-person voting in the swing state must proceed as planned despite the coronavirus pandemic, blocking an executive order issued earlier the same day by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers that attempted to delay Tuesday’s scheduled primary election until June.

    Wisconsin’s election was the last April in-person primary that had not yet been delayed. At least 15 states have postponed primary voting dates due to the pandemic — and Evers and other Democrats pleaded to do the same in Wisconsin — but Republicans who control the state legislature balked.

    It was not immediately clear if the governor would try to appeal to the US Supreme Court, which was already contemplating another case involving the counting of absentee ballots in Wisconsin. In that case, on Thursday, 2 April 2020, ruling largely in favor of Democrats, US district court judge William Conley ruled that ballots received by 13 April must be counted regardless of when they are postmarked — issuing said ruling six days after the original deadline for officials to receive ballots. On Friday, 3 April, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Republicans’ request to block that lower court ruling. The US Supreme Court has not issued an order on the case.

  • 7. Fortguy  |  April 7, 2020 at 3:22 am

    The U.S. Supremes have ruled that mail ballots must be postmarked no later than April 7. This election, which is not just party primaries but a general election for judicial and local offices, is going to be a complete clusterf*ck. The following article lays out in detail what a nightmare it will be.

    Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight: What The Heck Is Going On With Wisconsin’s Primary?

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 7, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Wisconsin: People Wait in Line for Hours to Exercise Their Right to Vote

    Here's an early-morning first-person account from one voter at the Riverside High School polling station in Milwaukee, one of only 5 polling places open in a city where there are normally 180 polling stations. Arriving at 7:00 AM, as the polls opened, it "only" took her 2 hours to cast her vote.

    Wisconsin is the only state to hold in-person voting in April, a month that public health experts say is crucial to flattening the curve on COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Several states, including Wisconsin, are expecting to hit their peak in COVID-19 cases in April.

    After the Republican-led state legislature decided to forge ahead with the primary — sparking condemnation from two members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission — Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order Monday afternoon, 6 April, to postpone in-person voting and extend the deadline for absentee ballots. But the state Supreme Court struck down the order just hours later, and on Monday evening, the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 against extending the absentee voting deadline. And all of this has occured despite the governor's stay-at-home order, which has been in effect statewide in Wisconsin since 25 March, and despite the fact that the votes that are cast will not be counted until 13 April, the whole point to the mail-in extension.

  • 9. VIRick  |  April 7, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Perú: CIDH Concludes that the Peruvian State Tortured Trans Citizen

    Perú: CIDH Concluye que el Estado Peruano Torturó a Ciudadana Trans

    La Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) encontró al Estado peruano como responsable de discriminación, tortura, y violación sexual de la ciudadana trans, Azul Rojas. Esta sentencia marca un precedente histórico de reconocimiento a los derechos de las personas trans en el país al ser el primer caso de discriminación hacia una persona LGBTI en llegar a la Corte IDH.

    Azul fue insultada, golpeada, y desnudada a la fuerza por agentes de la policía en la comisaría de Casa Grande (La Libertad) en febrero de 2008. Incluso le introdujeron una vara de reglamento por el recto para torturarla. Once años después, ninguno de sus agresores ha sido sancionado aún.

    La sentencia de la CIDH, emitida el 12 de marzo de 2020, fue por unanimidad y dispone una serie de medidas concretas para reparar el daño causado a Azul Rojas, y que el Estado debe cumplir, para garantizar la protección de las personas trans en el Perú.

    Entre las medidas dispuestas resaltan: Investigar y sancionar a los responsables de la tortura perpetrada contra Azul, pedir disculpas públicas a la agraviada, y en este mismo acto, reconocer que se ejerció tortura y se vulneraron los derechos humanos de la ciudadana trans.

    Además, el Estado deberá crear un protocolo de investigación y administración de justicia para los casos de personas LGBTI que sean víctimas de violencia, e implementar un plan de capacitación y sensibilización de la Policía Nacional del Perú, el Ministerio Público, el Poder Judicial, y el Serenazgo.

    The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) found the Peruvian State responsible for discrimination, torture, and rape of the trans citizen, Azul Rojas. This ruling marks an historic precedent in the recognition of the rights of trans persons in the country, as it was the first case of discrimination against an LGBTI person to reach the Inter-American Court.

    Azul was insulted, beaten, and forcibly stripped by police officers at the Casa Grande police station (La Libertad) in February 2008. They even introduced a regulation baton into her rectum to torture her. Eleven years later, none of her assailants have yet been punished.

    The IACHR ruling, issued on 12 March 2020, was unanimous and provides for a series of concrete measures to repair the damage caused to Azul Rojas, and with which the State must comply, in order to guarantee the protection of trans persons in Perú.

    Among the measures ordered are the following: Investigate and punish those responsible for the torture perpetrated against Azul, ask for public apologies to the victim, and at the same time, acknowledge that torture was carried out and that the human rights of the trans citizen were violated.

    In addition, the State must create a protocol for the investigation and administration of justice for cases of LGBTI persons who are victims of violence, and implement a training and awareness plan for the Peruvian National Police, the Public Ministry, the Judiciary, and the Urban Municipal Police.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  April 7, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Israeli health minister Yaakov Litzman, who claims coronavirus is ‘divine punishment’ for homosexuality, tests positive for COVID-19

    Last month, speaking about the origins of COVID-19, the health minister said: “It’s a divine punishment against homosexuality.” In 2016, Yaakov Litzman voted against allowing same-sex civil unions, same-sex couples adopting, educating health professionals about gender identity and sexual orientation, prohibiting conversion therapy and giving same-sex partners of killed soldiers the same the benefits as opposite-sex couples. On the same day he said that LGBT people were “sinners”.

    The Israeli health minister has now added his name to a ridiculously long list of bigots who have capitalised on the coronavirus crisis by blaming it on LGBT+ people, including an Iraqi cleric, an Israeli rabbi, several Muslim leaders of Ghana, an evangelical preacher, another evangelical preacher, yet another preacher, and Trump’s own bible studies teacher.

  • 11. VIRick  |  April 7, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Colombia: 4th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Hoy, hace 4 años, el 7 de abril 2016, se aprobó el matrimonio igualitario en Colombia. Colombia fue el país número 23 en aprobarlo en el mundo.

    Today, 4 years ago, on 7 April 2016, marriage equality was approved in Colombia. Colombia was country number 23 in approving it worldwide.

    Due to COVID-19, Colombia has also extended its mandatory nationwide quarantine (Aislamiento Preventivo Obligatorio) until midnight on 26 April.

  • 12. VIRick  |  April 7, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Panamá: Covid-19 Gendered Quarantine Orders Exclude Trans Individuals

    Panamá is allowing men and women to leave their homes on separate days in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, a policy that is making some transgender individuals afraid to leave their homes at all. Last week, the country implemented a measure whereby only men are allowed out on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and only women are allowed out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. No one is allowed out on Sunday.

    Panamá had already restricted travel, banned people from going out for non-essential reasons, closed the border, and instituted a curfew. But too many people were still in the streets, leading the national government to take more severe measures. One of those more severe measures has been the alternating-days gendered policy. However, LGBTQ organizations were quick to point out that restrictions based on gender would take away rights from transgender individuals.

    Panamá only allows someone to update their legal gender if they have undergone gender confirmation surgery, something that not all transgender people want to have done, or are able to afford.

    In addition, Perú has now implemented a similar policy of only allowing men and women to go out on separate, alternating days.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 7, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Texas: Woman Claimed COVID-19 a Media Hoax, Stoppable by "Faith;" She Dies from It

    A Texas woman who mocked the coronavirus pandemic as a media hoax has died from COVID-19 just two weeks later. The pandemic is “controlled by radical people in powerful places,” Karen Kolbe Sehlke posted. She also added that cross stitching accidents have “probably” killed more people than the virus that is currently killing thousands of people worldwide.

    Sehlke was a Trump supporter who bought into the GOP messaging that the pandemic was being politicized and overblown in an effort to hurt the president’s re-election chances. “If you think for one second this ‘pandemic’ is not media driven, and controlled by the radical people in powerful places… well… go back to sleep under the rock you crawled out from,” she wrote. “Wake up!!! This is what the beginning of socialism looks like! They are crashing the stock market to run on a failing economy, because it’s all they have left,” she added. “You don’t need hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and Lysol. You need common sense, a sense of direction, faith, a will to fight, and of course guns!”

    Karen Kolb Sehlke of Tomball TX died of COVID-19 on 2 April 2020. After news of her death spread, the family edited their GoFundMe appeal for covering burial costs to remove the fact that she had died from COVID-19, and then later removed their request for food donations. There has been no up-date on the health status of her husband and two sons.

    Tomball TX is on the northwest edge of Harris County, in the greater Houston metro area.

  • 14. JayJonson  |  April 8, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Her cause of death was Covid-19 with an underlying condition of stupidity.

  • 15. bayareajohn  |  April 8, 2020 at 10:39 am

    As stupidity is a widespread pre-existing condition, Texas insurance plans don't cover it. That would be socialism. Guns save lives. MAGA.

  • 16. Fortguy  |  April 8, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    Words such as stupidity and idiocy have such negative, demeaning connotations. That is why so many people in the South, the Plains, and the Northern Mountains prefer more positive, uplifting words such as conservatism and freedom. Because she followed her stupid, idiotic, moronic ^conservative principles, she is now forever blessed with the full range of freedom she can possibly enjoy in a pine box six feet under especially if she was buried with her gun.

  • 17. VIRick  |  April 7, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Ireland: PM Leo Varadkar Resumes Medical Practice

    Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is resuming his career as a doctor while continuing as head of government on a rotating basis. Varadkar, the nation’s first openly gay prime minister, re-registered as a physician last month to help out during the COVID-19 crisis, a spokesperson confirmed to national broadcaster RTE this week. He will take one shift a week, assessing patients by phone to free up others for in-person work.

    Varadkar worked as a doctor for seven years but gave up his practice to go into politics. His name was removed from the medical registry in 2013.

    He submitted his resignation as prime minister in February after his party, Fine Gael, failed to win a majority in parliamentary elections that month. Still, no other party did either, and Varadkar planned to continue as a caretaker PM until a new government could be formed.

    However, he and Michéal Martin of the Fianna Fáil party are negotiating an agreement under which they would take turns serving as prime minister, "Irish Central" reports. The agreement, which is unprecedented in Irish politics, could be finalized as early as this week, and in any case, Varadkar is remaining in the office during the COVID-19 pandemic. Support for him has increased during the outbreak, according to Irish media.

  • 18. VIRick  |  April 7, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Virginia: Gov. Northam Signs Non-Binary Driver's License Bill into Law

    Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a law requiring the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to offer a non-binary option on driver’s licenses. The governor signed Senate Bill 246 on 31 March 2020, which now offers driver’s license applicants the option to mark “male,” “female,” or “non-binary” when designating their sex.

    The measure, introduced by state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County), passed in the Virginia House of Delegates on 25 February and in the Virginia Senate on 2 March.

    “Historically, transgender and non-binary Virginians have experienced challenges obtaining accurate identity documents due to unnecessary barriers,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck. “This law helps to change that, and we are proud that Virginia has now joined the ranks of 16 other states and DC who already offer a third gender marker option on state driver’s licenses and IDs.”

    Maryland and DC have each offered gender-neutral "X" identifiers on state-issued driver's licenses and IDs since 2017 and 2019, respectively. The new Virginia law goes into effect from 1 July 2020.

  • 19. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Hopefully he will sign the Virginia Values Act into law soon as well.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  April 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    "Yoga Does Not Make Inmates Gay", Says Russian Prison Chief, As Classes Are Reinstated

    Valery Maximenko, deputy head of the Federal Prison Service (FSIN) told a Russian radio station that the sessions had a "very positive" effect on inmates. "The whole world is engaged in it [yoga], and no one is harmed by it and no one will be drawn to homosexuality. Even if it did, we live in a democracy and everyone has the right to choose their own way," he added, pointing out that homosexuality was not illegal in Russia. He said that Dvorkin had "outdated concepts" and added that "people of non-traditional orientation can occupy high positions, so we do not have the right to condemn anyone."

  • 21. VIRick  |  April 8, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    Puebla: Marriage Equality "Action of Unconstitutionality" Status Report

    Essentially put, there are two cases filed with the Supreme Court of Justice against the state of Puebla for the failure of their state congress to up-date the unconstitutional portion of Article 294 of their Civil Code, expediente 143/2019 and expediente 1/2020, both of which are challenging the outdated definition of marriage as being a civil contract solely between one man and one woman, as stated here:

    … Artículo 294 del Código Civil para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla en la porción normativa “El matrimonio es un contrato civil, por el cual un sólo hombre y una sola mujer,” publicado en el Periódico Oficial del Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla, Tomo DXXXVI, número 5 Quinta Sección, de fecha 6 de diciembre de 2019 …

    As of 8 April 2020, the earlier challenge filed is now case #128, and the second is case #126, of 281 cases currently pending before the SCJN, indicating that we are now about 45% of the way through the waiting process before a ruling is issued, striking down this language yet again, as published in the Official Newspaper of the State of Puebla on 6 December 2019.

  • 22. VIRick  |  April 9, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Kentucky v. Tennessee; COVID-19 and Pro-Active Social Distancing

    A natural experiment in stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus is playing out on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, where an early start to social distancing is pitted against a late one. As of Tuesday, 7 April 2020, Kentucky is now reporting 1,008 cases and 59 deaths, while Tennessee is reporting 3,802 cases and 65 deaths.

    Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) declared a state of emergency on 6 March, while neighboring Tennessee’s Bill Lee (R) waited until 12 March, and then took until the end of March to suggest that people stay at home. The two approaches have led to two drastically different outcomes playing out on the national stage.

    The accompanying chart, prepared by Stephanie Jolly, complete with footnotes detailing the dates when each governor took the actions they did, shows the startling difference between the two adjacent states. The peak in Kentucky's cases is now projected to be in mid-May, roughly a month after Tennessee’s, a sign that that state took more effective measures to “flatten the curve” and spread out serious hospitalizations.

    View the chart here:

  • 23. VIRick  |  April 9, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Dutch Sint Maarten, COVID-19, Social Distancing, and Only Two ICU Beds

    Silveria Jacobs, the prime minister of Dutch Sint Maarten, isn't accepting any excuses for leaving one's house. In the wake of the threat posed by the global coronavirus pandemic, Jacobs ordered a halt to all non-essential movement in the small Caribbean island nation of just 41,000 people.

    On 1 April 2020, at the end of an hour-long briefing by officials, Jacobs had a simple message for her people about the importance of social distancing. "We can stop [the spread of the virus]," she said. "Stop moving. Simply stop moving. If you do not have the type of bread you like in your house, eat crackers. If you do not have bread, eat cereal, eat oats, sardines," she said.

    Jacobs told residents of the small island, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017, to treat the pandemic like a natural disaster. "You're supposed to have a two-week supply for hurricanes, and at the beginning of this I said, 'Prepare your disaster kit as if you would for a hurricane.'"

    She told people not to buy water or toilet paper, but rather, two weeks of food in the event of a full lockdown, which would mean grocery stores would close. The prime minister said she doesn't want to order such a full lockdown, so she is urging people to practice social distancing and remain at home as much as possible. "If the people of Sint Maarten do not adhere to the measures that the government of Sint Maarten is putting in place for your own safety, then I will have no other choice," she said bluntly.

    Under more normal conditions, Sint Maarten welcomes a steady stream of tourists from around the world, boosting its exposure risk to the virus — but at the same time, the island nation can only provide limited health care for its citizens. "We only have two ICU beds," Jacobs explained. "That means two beds where a patient can be isolated and ventilated."

    And therein lies the problem posed by the COVID-19 threat to all small, relatively isolated Caribbean territories,– the very limited number of beds and the limited capacity for providing any treatment. Dutch/French Sint Maarten/St-Martin is the next island east of the Virgin Islands, and lies about 80 miles away from us. All air service between the islands has been suspended since early March.

    As officially announced on 8 April 2020, all public schools in the USVI will remain closed for the remainder of the current school year.

  • 24. VIRick  |  April 9, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Colombia in Quarantine: Even Days, Odd Days Restriction Due to COVID-19

    Per Claudia López, Primera Alcaldesa de Bogotá:

    Habrá restricción para que las mujeres puedan circular los días pares y hombres en días impares para realizar las actividades de adquisición de bienes de primera necesidad: alimentos, bebidas, y aseo, y para ir a bancos. Las personas trans podrán circular según su identidad de género.

    There will be a restriction so that women can go out on even days and men on odd days to carry out the activities of acquiring basic necessities: food, drink, and cleaning supplies, and to go to banks. Trans individuals may circulate according to their gender identity.

    This restriction, announced on 8 April 2020, will be in force from Monday, 13 April, through until Sunday, 27 April.

  • 25. VIRick  |  April 9, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Costa Rica: Despite COVID-19, Marriage Equality Countdown Continues

    Per Esteban en Costa Rica:

    Que se nos viene el matrimonio igualitario en Costa Rica. Estamos a 45 días a tenerlo.

    Marriage equality is coming to us in Costa Rica. We are 45 days away from having it.

    Esteban also wins the gay "Quote of the Day" with this bluntly basic COVID-19 reminder, one which will remain untranslated. But yes, definitely wash those hands. Enjoy:

    Así como nos lavamos culo para coger, nos podemos lavar las manos.

  • 26. ianbirmingham  |  April 11, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Per Google Translate: "Just as we wash our asses to fuck, we can wash our hands."

  • 27. VIRick  |  April 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Uruguay: 7th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Lucas López:‏

    El 10 de Abril de 2013, se aprueba el matrimonio igualitario en Uruguay bajo la presidencia de José Mujica, Ley Nº 19.075.

    On 10 April 2013, marriage equality was approved in Uruguay under the presidency of José Mujica, Law Nº 19.075.

  • 28. VIRick  |  April 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Florida: Tallahassee City Commission Passes Ban on Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Wednesday, 8 April 2020, the Tallahassee FL city commission unanimously passed an ordinance banning anti-LGBT "conversion therapy," the 23rd local government in Florida to do so — even as federal courts weigh whether such bans are constitutional.

    The new Tallahassee ordinance goes beyond outlawing conversion therapy for minors, as it also forbids city funds from going toward the debunked practice.

  • 29. VIRick  |  April 11, 2020 at 11:03 am

    California, LGBT History: Lesbian Icon Phyllis Lyon Dies at 95

    Phyllis Lyon, 95, died peacefully of natural causes on the morning of 9 April 2020. In the mid-1950s, Phyllis Lyon and her longtime partner and fellow journalist Del Martin co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB). They subsequently published the DOB newsletter, "The Ladder," and in 1972, their book “Lesbian/Woman” became exceedingly influential in the lesbian feminist movement.

    In 2004, the pair came to national prominence in the LGBT civil rights movement when Kate Kendell, the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), working in conjunction with Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California, and the new mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, asked the lesbian couple, already together in an almost 50-year relationship, if they would become an example of marriage equality by getting married on Valentine’s Day of that year.

    That move changed history, helping to catapult the fight for marriage equality onto the front pages then, and again in 2008, while effectively launching Newsom, who as mayor presided over their marriage ceremony and who is now the governor of California, onto the national scene.

    Here is what Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, said with regard to Phyllis Lyon at his coronavirus press briefing on 10 April 2020:

    "I just learned a few hours ago that one of my heroes, Phyllis Lyon, 95 years young, has passed. Phyllis, as you may know, I had the privilege of being involved with in a marriage ceremony between Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin. The couple had been together for almost a half a century, the manifestation of faith, love, and devotion, and yet they were denied on the basis of their sexual orientation the right to say two extraordinary words: I do. The power and potency of those two words is profoundly significant.”

    And continuing the narrative, moving on through Proposition 8 and its subsequent lawsuits, we are right at the door as to the very reason why this instant website, Equality on Trial, was launched.

  • 30. scream4ever  |  April 11, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Governor Northam signs the Virginia Values Act into law, outlawing discrimination against LGBTQ+ people:

  • 31. Randolph_Finder  |  April 11, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    I don't think that the Virginia Legislature will pass enough changes to the laws on LGBTQ+ to get where California is, but it does seem to be trying in this session.

  • 32. scream4ever  |  April 11, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    I mean they have a Democratic trifecta.

  • 33. Randolph_Finder  |  April 12, 2020 at 6:05 am

    True, but unlike California, it isn't a bullet proof trifecta. a 2% shift statewide would be more than enough to give the Republicans control of one of the houses. I think that shift would have to be closer to 20% in California.

  • 34. VIRick  |  April 11, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Virginia: LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill Signed into Law

    On Saturday, 11 April 2020, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination law.

    “This legislation sends a strong, clear message — Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family,” said Northam in a statement. “We are building an inclusive commonwealth where there is opportunity for everyone, and everyone is treated fairly. No longer will LGBTQ Virginians have to fear being fired, evicted, or denied service in public places because of who they are.”

    The General Assembly approved the Virginia Values Act earlier this year. Republicans, who lost control of the General Assembly last November, had previously blocked efforts to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Virginia.

    The Virginia Values Act will take effect from 1 July 2020, at which time, Virginia will join 20 other states, DC, and Puerto Rico that explicitly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  April 13, 2020 at 4:20 am

    Virginia also needs to finish passing the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact!

    HB 177 passed Virgina's lower house 51-46, but consideration of HB 177 in the upper house has been postponed until 2021.

    We need HB 177 passed and signed into law ASAP!

    The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact is designed to ensure that the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide is elected president, and it would come into effect only when it would guarantee that outcome. As of March 2020, it has been adopted by fifteen states and the District of Columbia, although it is suspended in Colorado. Together, they have 196 electoral votes counting Colorado, which is 36% of the Electoral College and 73% of the 270 votes needed to give the compact legal force.

  • 36. VIRick  |  April 12, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    Sark: Marriage Equality to Be in Effect from 23 April 2020

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Chief Pleas of Sark is to give final approval to the marriage equality ordinance on 22 April 2020, thus allowing LGBT marriages to begin from the following day.

    See point #4 on the upcoming agenda:

  • 37. VIRick  |  April 12, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Andorra: Marriage Equality Proposal Presently before the Parliament

    The two previous news articles detailing the current marriage equality proposal before the Andorra parliament were both written in Catalan, the national language of Andorra. Here is what "Dos Manzanas," the leading LGBT news source from Spain, has to say about the same proposal, as written in standard Spanish:

    Per "Dos Manzanas:"

    El gobierno de Andorra tiene intención de eliminar la diferencia "terminológica" entre el matrimonio civil entre personas de distinto sexo y la unión civil entre personas del mismo sexo. Así lo contempla la proposición de ley de la persona y la familia, que han presentado en días pasados representantes de los tres partidos que componen el gobierno andorrano.

    El Consell General (parlamento unicameral del Principado de Andorra) aprobó en noviembre 2014 la ley que hacía posible las uniones civiles entre personas del mismo sexo y concedía a estas los mismos derechos que los de los matrimonios, incluida la adopción conjunta. Ahora, más de seis años después, el gobierno andorrano ha decidido dar un paso más y suprimir esta diferencia.

    No obstante, hoy día Andorra es una democracia constitucional en la que el papel de los copríncipes está muy limitado. Así, la actual Constitución andorrana prevé mecanismos para que algunas leyes entren en vigor pese a ser sancionadas por un único copríncipe.

    The Andorra government intends to eliminate the "terminological" difference between civil marriage between opposite-sex couples and civil union between same-sex couples. This is as contemplated in the proposal for a law of the person and the family, which was recently presented by representatives of the three parties that constitute the Andorra government.

    In November 2014, the Consell General (unicameral Parliament of the Principality of Andorra) approved the law that made civil unions between same-sex couples possible and granted to them the same rights as those of marriages, including joint adoption. Now, more than six years later, the Andorra government has decided to go one step further and eliminate this difference.

    Furthermore, today Andorra is a constitutional democracy in which the role of the co-princes is very limited. Thus, the current Andorra Constitution provides mechanisms by which some laws enter into force despite being sanctioned by one of the co-princes.

    Note: According to the proposal, the Catalan word, "casament," will henceforth be utilized to denote all civil marriages, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, while the previously utilized Catalan word for marriage, "matrimoni," will only apply to the ceremony as performed for religious purposes. This word game is being employed to deliberately avoid any argument with the Catholic Church, given that one of the co-princes of Andorra is a Catholic bishop in Spain, the other being the president of France.

    In general, Google Translate does not have a full grasp of Catalan, let alone of this subtle word game currently being utilized here by the Andorra Parliament. In effect, they are clarifying and re-defining "casament" by giving it specific legal status, and applying the term to all marriages across-the-board, while simultaneously dumping the traditional legal term, "matrimoni civil," and telling the church that they can have "matrimoni" for themselves as a religious thing.

  • 38. VIRick  |  April 13, 2020 at 8:42 am

    As a further note, the Andorra Parliament is also indirectly providing a linguistic suggestion to all Spanish-speaking countries, as Spanish also contains that alternate word, "casamiento," for marriage, but a word I never use, as it presently has no legal status in any Spanish-speaking country. However, legally clarifying and re-defining all civil marriages as "casamiento" would move it away from the confusingly church-based meaning of "matrimonio," and likely eliminate some of the obstinate obfuscation on the part of those who refuse to understand the difference between "matrimonio civil" and "matrimonio religioso," despite the fact that at present, the majority of couples in Latin America do not bother with the first, and only a tiny fraction then bother with the second.

  • 39. heywill  |  April 13, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Hi, i really thank you all for the updates. This is a very good source of equality news.

    I hope i can contribute a bit.

    The distinction between "casament" and "matrimoni" is like the distinction between "wedding" and "marriage". Same thing in spanish, with "casamiento" and "matrimonio". The first word indicates the ceremony; the second word indicates the institution (marriage).
    See wikipedia links:

    In Andorra, the current law states that marriage (matrimoni) can be secular (matrimoni civil) or religious (matrimoni canònic). There's no legal confusion.
    Same-sex couples have a civil union (uniòn civil) with the same rights. When the current law talkes about the civil union it uses the verb "casar-se" ("to wed"): "Dues persones del mateix sexe tenen també dret a casar-se, mitjançant la formalització d’una unió civil…".

    If politicians want equality, they can and should end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, without forcing the church to marry anyone of course. If they do something else, it means that they want to find a way to deprive same-sex couples of the word "marriage" and the dignity that this word provides, reserving it to straight couples.
    In Andorra, there could be this scenario if that new law is approved:
    – casament for both same-sex and different-sex couples;
    – matrimoni for straight couples.
    To me this is not equality. It's legal humiliation.

  • 40. VIRick  |  April 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    "In Andorra, there could be this scenario if that new law is approved:
    – casament for both same-sex and different-sex couples;
    – matrimoni for straight couples."

    Point #1, casament – As I understand it, applied equally in a clarified and re-defined, non-traditional, legal definition, this term is to be utilized as far as both the government and the civil law is concerned. Thus, that is as far as we need to be. To my knowledge, "casament/casamiento" have never previously been legally defined in civil law.

    Point #2, matrimoni – As I understand it, this term is to be reserved for the church. It will be for them to decide what to do with it. Currently, in a religious sense, only straight couples can "matrimoni." Under the new law, I suspect it will remain the same. However, that is their decision to make. I have no intention of defending whatever they decide.

    Where I am from in Mexico, the word for a wedding ceremony, especially for the wedding reception/party/dinner afterward, but including the simple ceremony of registering at the Civil Registry, is "boda." I am not overly familiar with the usage of the term, "casamiento," as we never utilized it. Perhaps this is why:

    I do not recall ever seeing or hearing about, let alone participating in, any wedding (boda) having any connection with a church. Thus, I have never completely understood why other people in other places waste their time, effort, and money to bother with it, and all its unnecessary excess.

    One or two more questions: Did "Dos Manzanas" provide an accurate analysis and explanation of the proposed Andorra law? I thought they did an excellent job of it, and since I am not fully fluent in Catalan, I appreciated their effort. Or was I being too clever in my interpretation of what I sensed to be a word game? The re-application of the word game to the Spanish language is all my own interpretation. Perhaps I went too far, because, as I have already stated, "casamiento" was never in my vocabulary.

  • 41. heywill  |  April 13, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    The word "marriage" is fundamental for a true equality. It provides a level of dignity, of respect, that no other word provides. And that's why those politicians are trying to approve a law like that.. they're trying to find a way to deprive same-sex couples of this recognition. We have just seen the civil union vs marriage debates. Here's the same story. How we call things matter.

    You write: "Currently, in a religious sense, only straight couples can 'matrimoni.' Under the new law, I suspect it will remain the same". That's exactly why they're trying to give same-sex couples 'casament civil' instead of letting them have 'matrimoni civil'. The purpose of all this is to keep same-sex couples out of 'matrimoni' (marriage).

    "The bill's absolute prohibition of the use of the word "marriage" by "spouses" who are the same sex is more than semantic. The dissimilitude between the terms "civil marriage" and "civil union" is not innocuous; it is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status […] The bill would have the effect of maintaining and fostering a stigma of exclusion that the Constitution prohibits. It would deny to same-sex "spouses" only a status that is specially recognized in society and has significant social and other advantages."
    (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts – Opinions of the Justices to the Senate)

  • 42. heywill  |  April 14, 2020 at 4:48 am

    Yes, i think that Dos Manzanas provided a good description of it. To be 100 % sure, we should read the text of the bill, but it seems unavailable at the moment. I couldn't find it. And i think that you got it right when you talked about the proposed changes as a word game. It is in fact a word game, designed to keep same-sex couples out of marriage. I think that after all these millennia of discrimination it's very cruel to make these games. Same-sex couples should finally be able to get married, not just to wed.

  • 43. VIRick  |  April 14, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Limiting our discussion strictly to the specific circumstances of Andorra, please remember its peculiar history and the excessive medieval baggage they have inherited as the continuing price for their independence as the sole Catalan-speaking nation in the world. This medieval baggage still weighs upon any/all decisions made by the three political parties which currently govern Andorra through its unicameral Parliament, in particular, the fact that one of its co-princes is a Catholic bishop in Spain who can veto whatever legislation they might pass. Here is a very brief history:

    In 1278, the conflict over control of the mountain pass was resolved by the signing of a pareage (pariatges), which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the Comte de Foix in France and the Bishop of La Seu d'Urgell in Catalunya. (Foix abuts Andorra to the north, while Urgell abuts it to the south.) This pareage, a feudal institution recognizing the principle of equality of rights shared by two rulers, gave the small state its territory and political form. In return, Andorra pays an annual tribute or questia to the co-rulers consisting of four hams, forty loaves of bread, and some wine. Andorra's borders have remained unchanged ever since.

    By an edict of 1607, the Comte de Foix transferred his role as co-prince of Andorra to the head of the French state. The role of the other co-prince has never changed, and remains the Catholic Bishop of Urgell, a position he has held since 1133.

    Under the current Constitution of Andorra, approved in May of 1993, Andorra finally became a parliamentary democracy. However, this new constitution still retains the medieval concept of the two co-princes as a shared executive, while limiting their powers to some degree.

    As President of France, Emmanuel Macron is not the co-prince who might threaten the Parliament of Andorra with a veto of their proposed legislation. But then, what about the Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain, the other co-prince? The word game to which I alluded was one designed by the several political parties in Parliament to circumvent a possible/likely veto by said bishop.

  • 44. heywill  |  April 14, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Of course, I understand the history of Andorra. I just think that it is not an excuse for the politicians. We're in 2020 now, so i think that they should do their job, not hiding behind the past to prolong injustice.

    Regarding the veto power, I've just downloaded the Constitution of Andorra from the website of the General Council (the Andorran Parliament), and I've found no veto power on ordinary laws by the Co-Princes.
    See articles 45 and 63.


    Wikipedia english confirms:
    "They have no veto power over legislation passed by the General Council, though they do retain a veto over certain international treaties".

    I'm not an expert, but i don't see a real reason for this (cruel) word game.

    The situation is very simple. The Andorran law says that marriage (matrimoni) can be state-sanctioned (matrimoni civil) or religious (matrimoni canònic).
    The State has no role in religious marriage, it simply registers and gives legal effect to the catholic nuptial vows.
    So… There is no confusion whatsoever.
    And the end of marriage exclusion would not impose anything on the Church.
    To me, there is absolutely no excuse.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!