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5/4 open thread


This is an open thread. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments over the next two weeks and streaming them live. None of the cases are specifically related to LGBT issues, but two of them will involve the intersection of religious issues and employment issues so they could potentially be relevant. C-SPAN, NPR, and others are live streaming the arguments.

On Thursday, the Court will issue more decisions. There’s no way to know which ones or how many, but the two Title VII LGBT employment discrimination cases are now the cases that were argued earliest in the term and yet still awaiting decisions.


  • 1. VIRick  |  May 5, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Edomex: 5 More Same-Sex Couples Gain Amparos to Marry

    Per Neto Montes de Oca‏:

    En marzo 2020, ganamos 5 amparos para que parejas del mismo sexo se puedan casar en Edomex con apoyo de CODHEM, frente a omisión del Congreso mexiquense de reconocer el matrimonio igualitario.

    In March 2020, in view of the failure of the Edomex Congress to recognize marriage equality, we gained 5 amparos so that same-sex couples can marry in Edomex with the help of CODHEM.

    CODHEM = Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Estado de México (Human Rights Commission of the State of México)

  • 2. VIRick  |  May 5, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Costa Rica Marriage Equality Count-Down Continues

    Per LGBTQ LATAM y España:

    El 4 de mayo 2020, el presidente de Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, anuncia en su rendición anual de cuentas que en 21 días entrará en vigor el matrimonio igualitario.

    On 4 May 2020, the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, announced in his annual address that in 21 days marriage equality will enter into force.

  • 3. VIRick  |  May 6, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Costa Rica Civil Registry Confirms 26 May Start-Up Date for Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Costa Rica Civil Registry confirms that it will begin processing LGBT marriages on 26 May 2020. It already has 54 applications pending, many of which were filed over a year ago, shortly after the Sala IV marriage equality court ruling.

    Registro Civil Listo

    Matrimonios homosexuales se podrán inscribir a partir del 26 de mayo. A este martes, el 5 de mayo, la institución tenía 54 solicitudes en espera; trámite se concretaría en un plazo de 10 a 15 días para determinar cumplimiento de requisitos.

    Civil Registry Ready

    Gay marriages may be registered from 26 May. As of this Tuesday, 5 May, the institution had 54 pending applications; Their processing would take place within a period of 10 to 15 days in order to determine compliance with requirements.

  • 4. VIRick  |  May 6, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Ohio: Gambier Passes LGBTQ Protections Via Zoom Conference Call

    On Monday, 4 May 2020, the Gambier Village Council made their town the 29th municipality in Ohio to pass its own version of the Ohio Fairness Act, legislation that adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to anti-discrimination laws. Gambier also happened to be the first to do so via Zoom.

    The Ohio Fairness Act is the name given to bills pending in both houses of the state legislature that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The Senate version of the bill, SB 11, was introduced by lesbian Sen. Nickie J. Antonio and Sen. Michael Rulli, both Democrats.

    Gambier, which is home to Kenyon College, and the other towns and cities that have adopted LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights laws are the exception to the rule in Ohio. But their actions mean that over a quarter of the state's population is covered by such laws.

  • 5. VIRick  |  May 8, 2020 at 11:38 am

    German Parliament Approves Ban on "Conversion Therapy" for Minors.

    On Thursday, 7 May 2020, the Bundestag, the elected House of the German Parliament, passed the legislation banning "conversion therapy" for minors, according to activist group OutRight Action International. The measure will now go to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for his signature, a matter that is considered largely a formality. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Cabinet had endorsed the legislation in December 2019.

    The law bans the use of "conversion therapy," designed to turn LGBTQ people straight or cisgender, on anyone under 18. It also bans the use of the discredited practice on people age 18 to 26 if they are subjected to coercion, threats, or deception. Advertising of the practice is prohibited as well.

  • 6. DevilWearsZrada  |  May 8, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    So if you are at least 27 years old and are subjected to coercion, threats or deception "conversion therapy" will still be legal to perform? Or will coercion, threats or deception be illegal regardless of that?..

  • 7. bayareajohn  |  May 11, 2020 at 10:55 am

    While this is a bit obscurely drafted as you point out, I'd read it as there is legal prohibition (state penalties) for coercion, threats, and deception of 18-26 year-olds, while for those over 26, they would be left with normal civil remedies for such things = lawsuits for damages, civil actions with private party proofs.

  • 8. VIRick  |  May 10, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    I do not understand the negative questioning of a very positive step forward, as Germany is only the second country (behind Malta) in all of Europe to ban the discredited practice of "conversion therapy" for minors. Thus, rather than questioning Germany and its motivations, I would suggest questioning all of the other European nations as to why they have not done anything whatsoever to ban the same discredited practice within their own borders. Even worse, assorted others in Eastern Europe seem to be headed in the opposite direction, as they actively engage in banning what they deem to be "gay propaganda."

    One also presumes that at some stage in life one is legally considered to be an adult, and thus to be responsible for one's own actions and choices, however stupid and harmful those choices might be. "Older than age 26" is certainly being generous in determining "adulthood."

    Furthermore, I do not understand the subsequent downvoting of my own post, once your negative questioning appeared. Any and all "doubters" are thus urged to read the actual law itself, as it was proposed by the gay German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, and pushes Germany way ahead of most of the rest of Europe in this regard.

  • 9. DevilWearsZrada  |  May 11, 2020 at 12:12 am

    I am sorry for making my comment look negative, anyway that certainly was not me who downvoted your post. I just pointed out that the "coercion, threats or deception" clause looked strange, as if it would be legal to coerce a 27+ years old person to undergo "conversion therapy".
    Undoubtedly this law will be of a great significance for German LGBT youth and for advancing similar laws in other European countries. But I am afraid that such minors only ban is not going to eradicate the discredited practice of "conversion therapy", but only to limit it as it leaves some legal space to perform it to adults.

  • 10. VIRick  |  May 11, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Agreed. However, I now understand what you were originally attempting to say. Still, from a legal point of view, adults are generally considered to be able and responsible for determining their own decisions and actions, regardless of how stupid or foolish those decisions might appear to us. On the other hand, and again from a legal point of view, a minor is not responsible. In most places, one is no longer considered to be a minor upon turning 18 years old. Suddenly, one now becomes legally responsible.

    In the past, and continuing into the present in many places, minors have been forced into enduring such unwanted "treatment" by others, including parents, church authorities, and even the state. In most jurisdictions, parents are the ones who are legally responsible for their minor children, but are frequently encouraged and abetted into making stupid decisions for their children by church authorities and others. This new German law makes that forced "conversion therapy" for minors illegal, punishable by up to one year in jail for offenders.

    I am not completely certain why this new German law will also cover those adult individuals between ages 18-26 who have also been subjected to coercion and deception, as in most other jurisdictions with which I am familiar, the law only protects legal minors (ages 17 and below). As a result, Germany has actually taken the matter one step further, and is certainly way ahead of the rest of Europe. Malta's law only protects minors. The rest of Europe offers no protections whatsoever.

    Seriously,– not a single Scandinavian nation (usually at the forefront on progressive issues) has even begun to think about banning the discredited practice. At the moment, and thanks to Justin Trudeau, the only other country worldwide with pending national legislation banning "conversion therapy" is Canada.

    Here is a Spanglish linguistic anecdote which highlights the continuing problem: When I was still of school age, Catholic high schools and universities liked to throw around a certain Latin phrase to show who was really in charge of the legal minors attending their institutions: "In loco parentis" (in lieu of parents). However, in modern Spanish, "loco" means "crazy," so I always deliberately mis-read the church expression to make it say, more appropriately, "In lieu of crazy parents," given that they were definitely far more crazy than most parents.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  May 8, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Forced exorcisms touted as 'cure' for LGBT Indonesians

    Forced exorcism is a common story for gay and transgender people in the world's biggest Muslim majority nation, where a conservative shift has seen the community increasingly targeted in recent years. [Among the 260 million people of Indonesia,] it is still widely believed that being gay or transgender is the result of a person being possessed by evil spirits — and that these can be expelled by religious ceremony and prayer.

    Now, conservative Islamic lawmakers have tabled a so-called "Family Resilience" bill, which critics decry as sexist and anti-LGBT. Gay and transgender people would be forced to undergo "rehabilitation" — an umbrella term likely to include exorcisms and other "conversion treatments" — to purge what bill advocates say is a sexual deviancy.

    Surveys in recent years indicate intolerance and radicalism is on the rise, with one 2017 study suggesting more than 80% of Indonesians support the country adopting strict Islamic law.

  • 12. VIRick  |  May 8, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Composition of Indonesia's Six Official Religions

    Percentage share (of total population) | Absolute numbers (in millions)
    87.2 | 207.2 Muslim
    06.9 | 16.5 Protestant
    02.9 | 6.9 Catholic
    01.7 | 4.0 Hindu
    00.7 | 1.7 Buddhist
    00.05 | 0.1 Confucian

    Note that every Indonesian citizen must select one of the six recognized choices and to have it listed on their identity card. For an interval under Suharto, "Confucian" was de-listed, but was re-instated in 2006. In the meantime, most ethnic Chinese who had previously claimed to be Confucian, switched the listing on their identity cards to either Buddhist or Christian. In reality, most Chinese are Taoist, a choice that has never been recognized. Confucianism is also not a religion, despite Indonesia's claim to the contrary, but rather, is a philosophy of life.

    Atheism and animism are also not choices, despite the fact that the native Dayak people of Kalimantan (Borneo) and almost everyone in West Irian (New Guinea) follow some sort of animist tradition.

    The largest concentration of Catholics in Indonesia can be found in the eastern islands of the Moluccas (Spice Islands), and tends to co-exist with Protestantism in the same eastern area.. The entire island of Bali is majority Hindu (85%). Buddhism is concentrated in the Riau Islands, North Sumatra, and among urban Chinese.

    In addition to attacks on ethnic Chinese and Christians, radical Islamists have also attacked adherents of the Ahmadiyya tradition of Islam itself. At the time of independence, ethnic Chinese once constituted 3% of Indonesia's population. However, because of sustained intolerance and the resulting mass exodus, their numbers remaining in Indonesia have been greatly reduced. However, the capital city of the Riau Islands province, Tanjung Pinang on Bintan Island, 40 miles ESE of Singapore, remains 60% "Buddhist" Chinese.

    The majority-Catholic (98%) ex-Portuguese territory of Timor-Leste has been recognized as an independent nation by Indonesia. Thus, statistically, its population is no longer counted as being within Indonesia. However, majority-Catholic (97%) West Timor and nearby majority-Catholic Flores both remain within Indonesia.

  • 13. VIRick  |  May 8, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Switzerland: Parliamentary Debate on Marriage Equality Bill Suspended

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Parliamentary debate on the marriage equality bill has been suspended until June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the end of business on 8 May 2020, Parliament has adjourned after wrapping up its one-week-long special session.

    Meanwhile, parliamentary committees will continue their work so that they can prepare for June’s regular parliamentary session, which will take place in Bern. On the agenda then will be issues arising from the coronavirus crisis, as well as “normal” parliamentary business that had to be postponed. The big issues currently suspended: the revision of the CO2 law, the responsible business initiative, and same-sex marriage.

  • 14. Randolph_Finder  |  May 11, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    It feels like for Switzerland, that it isn't even the *anti*-Marriage people on the political spectrum trying to slow things down but simply a general acceptance that SSM like many other things simply need to be studied by *everyone*.

  • 15. scream4ever  |  May 11, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Well there was that tax referendum which would've defined marriage as one man, one woman. Also, a referendum will likely follow suit after the legislation is approved.

  • 16. VIRick  |  May 9, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    "Tom of Finland" Turns 100 Years Old

    Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen) has long been recognized as one of the 20th century’s great visual innovators. As he confronted the stigmas and stereotypes that long burdened homosexual desire, his depictions of empowered gay men fully enjoying their sexuality proved liberating on social and aesthetic levels alike. The sheer range of his influence on the culture at large is immeasurable.

    Today, 8 May 2020, Tom would have turned 100. Tom devoted his life, his artistic career that spanned over five decades, to the vision of homosexuals being free to be happy in loving whomever they desired – and in turn, for all of society to be supportive of his view.

    "Tom of Finland defied homophobic censorship. He affirmed and glamourized our sexuality; giving hope and confidence to gay men at a time when many had internalized homophobia and sexual guilt. His imagery turned upside down the stereotype that we were weak and disgusting. It portrayed gay men as strong and desirable, which was refreshing and empowering. What Tom of Finland gave us was an antidote to the negative, demeaning heterosexual supremacist representations of homosexuality" — Peter Tatchell, British LGBT human rights activist

    One of Tom's empowering drawings, as depicted on a Finnish postage stamp issued as one of a series in 2014, and banned as "gay propaganda" on mail entering Russia, can be viewed here:

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  May 9, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    The stamp drawing seems rather unempowering to me, as it consists of a male figure who is slouching back and letting a cigarette droop from his mouth, which to me seems both lazy and reckless (apparently inviting lung cancer).

    However, I will counter your image with another Tom of Finland image which to me does seem empowering (it's also NSFW):

  • 18. VIRick  |  May 9, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    I understand that the Finnish postal authorities had themselves a very difficult time selecting images from Tom's work that could be "safely" exhibited on Finnish postage stamps. Ultimately, they went with the leather and uniforms theme. Still, I like the clever play on words, one that only the Finnish post office could conjure. The abbreviation "lk 1 kl" is a bi-lingual short-cut for "first class mail (male)" or "förstklassig post (hane)" in Swedish. In Finnish, the "lk" refers to "ensimmäisen luokan posti (uros)."

    Your illustration is an excellent example of the more typical "in your face" theme that tended to dominate much of Tom's work.

    We also have to remember that many of his illustrations are from the '50s through the '80s and seem to have a somewhat dated Germanic/Eastern European "feel" to them. However, they do accurately reflect that era and that setting, cigarette smoking included, while paying homage to working-class gay men.

  • 19. VIRick  |  May 9, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    Brasil: Supreme Court Throws Out All Restrictions on Gay Blood Donations

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Friday, 8 May 2020, the Supreme Court of Brasil overturned rules that limited gay and bisexual men from donating blood in a decision considered a human rights victory for LGBT people in the country. After almost four years in court, seven of 11 Supreme Court justices voted in favor of overthrowing guidelines that barred men who had sex with other men from giving blood for 12 months, ending any waiting time.

    The Supreme Court said the ban was unconstitutional as it imposed restrictions on gay and bisexual men, backing Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin who argued that this offended the basic human dignity of gay and bisexual men. “Instead of the state enabling these people to promote good by donating blood, it unduly restricts solidarity based on prejudice and discrimination,” Fachin wrote in his vote.

    Note: Jair Bolsonaro, the hyper-right-wing nut-job who claims to be president of Brasil, and who at times makes Trump appear to be almost semi-reasonable (but still incoherent), may have some influence over matters within the federal executive branch of government. However, unlike Trump, Bolsonaro only has about 10% support within the federal Congress and close to zero support from the federal courts and the various state governors.

    The complex balancing act deliberately installed in both Chile and Brasil to prevent the rise of any future dictatorship, while currently stymying any further LGBT progress in Chile, is quite literally saving us in Brasil.

  • 20. Fortguy  |  May 10, 2020 at 12:53 am

    There have been two significant deaths among gay men in the past day or so.

    Rock and roller Little Richard has died at age 87 from bone cancer. Born as Richard Wayne Penniman, the singer, songwriter, and pianist was famous over his seven-decade career for works such as "Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally", and "Good Golly Miss Molly". Little Richard led a tortured and conflicted life alternating back and forth between embracing his gay identity and rejecting it due to his evangelical faith. He had a five-year marriage during which he adopted a son who would later serve as a bodyguard. He would later claim that his marriage and a previous, longer relationship with another woman included multiple partners and voyeurism.

    The other is Roy Horn, born Uwe Ludwig Horn, who died at the age of 75 from complications due to Covid-19. He and his partner Siegfried Fischbacher, both naturalized U.S. citizens of German birth, formed the longtime Vegas musician and exotic animal act Siegfried & Roy. Their popular and highly attended performances came to an end in 2003 when Horn was attacked on stage by one of their white tigers severing his spine in addition to other serious injuries. Horn would eventually regain the ability to walk, but retained motor and verbal impairments. Horn and Fischbacher were romantically involved during part of their career, but rarely discussed their private lives. Following his death, Fischbacher said that "the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend".

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