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7/7 open thread


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  July 7, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Baja California Congress: Marriage Equality Passes in Committee

    Aprueba Comisión Matrimonio Igualitario en Baja California

    La propuesta para permitir el matrimonio igualitario en Baja California pasó la primera aduana, y ahora se espera la presentación al pleno el 15 de julio 2020 para saber si será una realidad. La Comisión de Gobernación, Legislación, y Puntos Constitucionales aprobó el proyecto de dictamen con 5 votos a favor, cero en contra, y una abstención.

    Morena, PT, y PAN a favor; el PRD se abstiene en voto por el matrimonio igualitario en Baja California.

    The proposal to allow marriage equality in Baja California passed the first hurdle, and now one must await its presentation to the full congress on 15 July 2020 in order to know if it will become reality. The Committee on Domestic Affairs, Legislation, and Constitutional Points approved the final draft with 5 votes in favor, zero against, and one abstention.

    Morena, PT, and PAN in favor; PRD abstains in the vote for marriage equality in Baja California.

  • 2. VIRick  |  July 7, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    Kosovo: New Civil Code, Same-Sex Civil Unions a Possibility

    Per Justice Minister, Selim Selimi:

    On 7 July 2020, we are at a press conference on the finalization of the Civil Code of Kosovo, a massive work, which we conceptualize to contain 5 books. Various civil principles have been compiled and advanced. As in the practice of Slovenia, Hungary, Montenegro, (Croatia, Greece, and Cyprus), we have opened a path for same-sex civil unions in a specific law, while preserving the traditional.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  July 7, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Kosovo is a secular state with no state religion; freedom of belief, conscience and religion is explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution of Kosovo. The society of Kosovo is strongly secularised and is ranked first in Southern Europe and ninth in the world as free and equal for tolerance towards religion and atheism.

    In the 2011 census, 95.6% of the population of Kosovo was counted as Muslim.

  • 4. VIRick  |  July 8, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Not only is Kosovo 96% Muslim, but by ethnicity, its population is Albanian, a decidedly non-Slavic ethnic minority within the ex-Yugoslavia. Furthermore, its population remains 92% Albanian-speaking, unlike most other ethnicities who had been lumped into the mostly Slavic former Federation of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Although there is a large minority of Albanians extant in North Macedonia and smaller minorities in Montenegro, Croatia, Greece, and southern Italy, Kosovo itself is said to be more Albanian than Albania. (By religion, Albania is 42% Muslim, 28% Roman Catholic, 11% Orthodox, and 18% irreligious. Neighboring Montenegro is 72% Orthodox, 19% Muslim, 4% Roman Catholic, and 5% other/irreligious.)

    Unlike the Bosniaks of Bosnia who are ethnically Slavic and speak the dominant Serbo-Croatian, but who incidentally happen to be Muslim by religion, the Kosovars do not identify with any of this. About their only common ground lies in the fact that extreme Serb nationalists have attempted to isolate and exterminate both groups.

    In the dying years of the Ottoman Empire leading up to WWI, as various extremities were gradually cut away, the Turkish authorities continued to control an unbroken, but shrinking finger of territory extending westward from Istanbul through southern Bulgaria, northern Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo, all the way to the northwest corner of Bosnia. This finger encompassed most of the area in Europe inhabited by the several predominately Muslim ethnicities (but, in turn, also included many non-Muslim elements).

    Albanian, as a language, is a linguistic isolate, meaning that it is unrelated to any other language anywhere. No one knows its origins, and there is no history of migration.

  • 5. VIRick  |  July 8, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Thailand: Cabinet Again Approves LGBT Civil Partnership Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Cabinet of Thailand has approved an LGBT civil partnership bill which includes adoption rights. The measure now heads to the parliament. The Cabinet had previously approved the same legislation in 2018, but at that time, the parliament had not voted on it before elections.

    On Wednesday, 8 July 2020, Thailand’s cabinet approved a civil partnership bill that would recognise same-sex unions with almost the same legal rights as married couples. If passed by parliament, the legislation would make Thailand only the second nation in Asia, behind Taiwan, to allow for the registration of same-sex unions, with said couples also able to adopt a child, while being afforded rights to inheritance and to joint property ownership. The bill further stipulates that at least one party in any same-sex union must be Thai.

    Kittinan Daramadhaj, president of Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, said the bill essentially allows same-sex couples to marry but stops short of calling it a “marriage,” which is legally defined as being between a man and woman. "'Civil partnership’ should not distract from the fact that it’s about the legal registration of unions.”

    Several years ago, Vietnam decriminalized the holding of same-sex weddings, but to date, does not legally recognize unions of the same sex.

  • 6. ianbirmingham  |  July 10, 2020 at 1:59 am

    A Thai lawmaker representing LGBT groups is pushing separately for marriage to be redefined as being between “two persons”.

  • 7. VIRick  |  July 8, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Gabon Formally Decriminalizes Same-Sex Sexual Relations

    On Tuesday, 7 July 2020, Gabon decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations when President Ali Bongo Ondimba signed the pending repeal measure into law.

    Previously, on 29 June 2020, the Gabonese Senate had approved a bill to repeal the 2019 law that criminalized same-sex relationships by a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a 5 million Central African CFA franc ($8,561) fine.

  • 8. Elihu_Bystander  |  July 9, 2020 at 5:21 am

    SCOTUS on Religious Exemption to Title VII

    “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel not to protect workers at religious institutions from employment discrimination leaves many people, especially LGBTQ people, vulnerable to being fired by institutions that should be the model of fairness and equality, not bigotry and exclusion. This decision is a sad and contradictory follow-up to the Court’s June 15th Title VII decision which sought to protect LGBTQ people from employment discrimination.


    “Even though the U.S. Supreme Court did not provide justice for LGBTQ employees in Catholic agencies, Catholic people in the pews will demand that their bishops and other leaders do so. The struggle is not over. It has simply moved to another venue.”

    (Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling about religious exemptions in employment law.)

    Here is Alito's majority opinion, Thomans' & Gorsuch's concurrence, and Sotomayor's descent joined by RBG:

  • 9. JayJonson  |  July 9, 2020 at 9:53 am

    The dissenting opinion by Sotomayer (joined by Ginsberg) is excellent in every way. Alito's majority opinion lacks any integrity. It just gives religious organizations carte blanche to ignore federal and state law. It is hard to see any religious justification for firing someone because she has breast cancer or has grown old. But religious organizations according to the majority on this court need no justifications at all. A disgraceful ruling that distorts the meaning of freedom of religion.

  • 10. VIRick  |  July 9, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Brasil: The Anti-Gay Trumpian President Has COVID-19

    The President of Brasil, Jair Bolsonaro, nicknamed “The Trump of the Tropics,” has replicated his political idol’s response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic with similarly disastrous results. Bolsonaro reportedly told staff and visitors to his office that “wearing masks is a f**got thing,” according to journalist Mônica Bergamo. Within days, he tested positive for COVID-19.

    Taking another cue from Trump, Bolsonaro has touted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. The drug has not been proven effective against the virus and has dangerous side effects. “I’m doing much better than I was. It’s working,” Bolsonaro said during a video posted on social media from quarantine. “I’m one more person it’s working on. I trust hydroxychloroquine.” Trump has also claimed to have taken the drug and refuses to wear a mask because that is the "sissy" thing to do.

    Worldwide, Brasil is the second-most ravaged country during the pandemic, as Bolsonaro has refused to follow or institute procedures to curb the spread of the virus. To date, over 68,000 people have died and 1.7 million have been infected. Only the USA has a higher death count and infection count.

    Known for his cruelty to indigenous people, Bolsonaro took that a step further on Wednesday, 8 July, when he vetoed part of a law that required the government to provide drinking water, disinfectants, and a guarantee of hospital beds for the population. The indigenous people of Brasil live in remote areas of the country with little access to modern medical facilities and their style of living doesn’t make social distancing possible. The population is at particular risk from the virus.

  • 11. VIRick  |  July 9, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Supreme Court: Trump Loses Fight over Tax Returns, New York State Wins

    On Thursday, 9 July 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that state prosecutors in New York can subpoena years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns. The decision is a blow to Trump, who argued that as president he should be completely immune from a grand jury subpoena, as well as to the Justice Department, which did not embrace Trump’s immunity argument, but which pushed for a higher standard for state prosecutors to meet before they could obtain the president’s records.

    However, today’s decision does not mean the public will get to see Trump’s tax returns. By law, documents subpoenaed as part of grand jury investigations are secret, though they could later become public if used as evidence in trial. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, first as a candidate and later as president.

    The New York case centered on a grand jury subpoena for eight years of Trump's tax returns as part of an investigation by New York District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. into Trump's role in hush-money payments made to two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had affairs with Trump before he took office.

    The majority decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who was joined by the justices from the court’s liberal arm. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, Trump's two nominees to the court, also agreed that Trump was not absolutely immune from the subpoena.

    In a separate decision also released on Thursday, the court revived a fight between Trump and House Democrats over congressional subpoenas for Trump’s financial records — a majority of the court ruled that the lower courts, which had sided with the congressional committees, failed to fully consider the separation of powers issues at play, and kicked the cases back down for more proceedings.

    Although the court did not rule out the possibility that the committees could win in the end, it’s still something of a victory for Trump because it at least delays the issue. Democrats have been trying to obtain his financial records for more than a year. Roberts also wrote the 7–2 opinion in the congressional subpoenas case, again joined by the court’s liberal wing, as well as by Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.

    Still, in response, Trump whined and whimpered like a spoiled baby.

  • 12. VIRick  |  July 9, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Slovenia: Hometown Melania Statue Torched, Torn Down on 4 July

    A wooden statue of Melania Trump was torched on the Fourth of July in her native Slovenia. The statue was carved from a living tree and was located in a field on the outskirts of her hometown of Sevnica.

    Her husband, the Donald, has repeatedly criticized the removal of statues of slave owners and Confederate military leaders, as racial justice protestors have repeatedly vandalized or torn down such statues around the world.

    The statue of Melania Trump was hewn out of wood with a chainsaw by a local folk artist near her hometown. The face is not recognizable as that of the First Lady, but the outfit she wears – a blue wraparound coat with matching shoes – mimics the one she wore to Trump’s inauguration.

    The remarkably unflattering statue that sat atop a large stump was met with mixed reviews when it was revealed, but one woman summed up the general feeling in the town. “You know what makes her resemble Melania?” she asked a reporter. “Look at how high she climbed to the top, just like the real Melania.”

    The charred remains of the statue have already been removed. In January, a large wooden statue of the Donald, also designed by a local artist, was similarly destroyed in the Slovenian city of Moravce.

  • 13. Fortguy  |  July 9, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Since the real Melania already looks wooden, we can send her home when she dies where they can spread some shellac on her and stand her upright as a replacement statue.

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