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8/17 open thread and news updates UPDATED 8/19 with SCOTUS news

Discrimination Transgender Rights

– A federal district court judge blocked the Trump administration’s anti-transgender healthcare rule from going into effect. The rule was issued just before the Supreme Court ruled in the Bostock case that “because of… sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

– Another federal judge blocked Idaho’s law that prevents women who are transgender from playing on women’s sports teams.

UPDATE 8/19 the Supreme Court will hear a religion-based challenge to Philadelphia’s decision to end its contract with a religious organization over their refusal to allow same-sex parents to foster or adopt kids.

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


  • 1. VIRick  |  August 17, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of Anti-Transgender Healthcare Rule

    On Monday, 17 August 2020, a federal judge issued an order blocking the Trump administration from enforcing a rule allowing health care providers to discriminate against transgender patients, just one day before the regulation was set to go into effect. US District Judge Frederic Block, a Clinton appointee, draws heavily in his decision on the US Supreme Court’s recent landmark decision in "Bostock v. Clayton County" which determined anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

    “The Court reiterates the same practical concern it raised at oral argument. When the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact,” Block writes. “Since HHS has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the Court now imposes it.” The Department of Health & Human Services rule, made final in June 2020, vacated an Obama-era regulation interpreting the ban on sex discrimination in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to apply to cases of anti-transgender discrimination.

    Block takes a swipe at the Trump administration for vacating the rule both before the Supreme Court had a chance to render a decision in the "Bostock" case, and then, for refusing to change course after it had been handed down. “By its own admission, HHS knew that the case was pending and would have ‘ramifications;" it must also have known that a decision would be handed down before the end of the Supreme Court’s term,” Block writes. “It then had an (admittedly brief) opportunity to re-evaluate its proposed rules after the case was decided contrary to its expectations.”

    The lawsuit was filed in June by the Human Rights Campaign in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of two transgender women of color, Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentili, both with long histories of discrimination in health care.

    The current order stands in marked contrast to a 2016 decision from US District Judge Reed O’Conner barring the US government from enforcing the Obama-era rule against anti-transgender discrimination in health care. Given the earlier order barring HHS from enforcing the law, as well as this second prohibiting anti-transgender discrimination, it wasn’t immediately clear how the department would implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

    The 2016 order, however, predates the "Bostock" decision, which Block indicates is the correct guide in reaching the conclusion that the Trump administration’s anti-transgender exclusion is, in fact, inconsistent with the law and should be reversed.….

    Per Equality Case Files, the Memorandum and Order is here:

    Note: The above-cited case, "Walker and Gentili v. HHS," was the second of three lawsuits filed against HHS for its anti-transgender healthcare rule, but the first wherein which an order blocking it has been issued.

  • 2. VIRick  |  August 17, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Idaho: Federal Judge Rules against State Law Barring Trans Girls from Women's Sports

    On Monday, 17 August 2020, a federal judge has issued a ruling blocking Idaho from enforcing a recently-enacted law, HB 500, barring transgender girl athletes from participating in women's school sports. US District Judge David Nye, appointed by Trump in 2017, determined in an 87-page decision that said law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, conceding his decision “is likely to be controversial.” The lawsuit against HB 500, "Hecox v. Little," was filed by the ACLU on behalf of Lindsay Hecox.

    “It is the court’s role, as part of the third branch of government, to interpret the law,” Nye said. “At this juncture, that means looking at the act, as enacted by the Idaho Legislature, and determining if it may violate the Constitution. In making this determination, it is not just the constitutional rights of transgender girls and women athletes at issue but, as explained above, the constitutional rights of every girl and woman athlete in Idaho.”

    Applying heightened scrutiny to the Idaho law, Nye draws on the Supreme Court’s recent in decision in "Bostock v. Clayton County," which determined anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, as well as on the 2015 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. “The proponents’ argument that Lindsay and other transgender women are not excluded from school sports because they can simply play on the men’s team is analogous to claiming homosexual individuals are not prevented from marrying under statutes preventing same-sex marriage because lesbians and gays could marry someone of a different sex,” Nye said.

    The Idaho law required college and public school sports teams to be designed as male, female, and co-ed, and any female athletic team “shall not be open to students of the male sex.” In the event of a dispute, a student would have been required to produce a physician’s statement to affirm her biological sex based on reproductive anatomy, normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone, and an analysis of the student’s genetic makeup. (Under HB 500, it should further be noted that no one, not even transgender men, were required to prove their "maleness" in order to compete on a men's team.)

    Prior to the enactment of HB 500, Idaho High School Activities Association already had in its rules a requirement that transgender girls “complete one year of hormone treatment related to the gender transition before competing on a girls team.”

    Per Equality Case Files, the Memorandum Decision and Order is here:

  • 3. VIRick  |  August 18, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Maryland: US State Department Appeals Birthright Citizenship Case

    The US State Department has appealed a federal judge’s ruling that said it must recognize the US citizenship of a gay Maryland couple’s daughter, Kessem Kiviti, who was born in Canada via surrogate in 2019. On 17 June 2020, US District Judge Theodore D. Chuang ruled in favor of Roee Kiviti and Adiel Kiviti of Chevy Chase MD, who legally married in California in 2013. On 13 August 2020, the US State Department appealed Chuang’s decision to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond VA.

    Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality, and Morgan Lewis, a private law firm, represent the Kivitis. The two advocacy groups also represent Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, a gay couple from Atlanta who sued the State Department after it refused to recognize the US citizenship of their daughter, Simone Mize-Gregg, who was born in England via surrogate.

    Both couples maintain their children are US citizens under Section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that states, “A baby born abroad to married parents is a US citizen at birth when both parents are US citizens and one of them has resided in the United States at any point prior to the baby’s birth.”

    Lambda Legal has the full particulars on this case, "Kiviti v. Pompeo," here:

    Per Equality Case Files, "Kiviti v. Pompeo" is now docketed at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals as No. 20-1882.

    Details pertaining to the second case cited, "Mize and Gregg v. Pompeo," filed on 29 July 2019 in District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, are here:

    Note: This is the self-same retrograde US State Department that supposedly is charged with advocating for increased LGBT rights abroad, a department that still refuses to recognize legal marriages between same-sex couples among its own US citizens, and presents us with a perfect example as to why Costa Rica currently has more positive influence regarding LGBT rights within the rest of Latin America than does the USA (in addition to the fact that Costa Rica took the headquarters location of the CIDH (IACHR) out of downtown Washington DC, practically adjacent to "Foggy Bottom," and re-located the court to its own brand-new, purpose-built building in its own capital city).

  • 4. ianbirmingham  |  August 18, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Polish 'LGBT-free' town gets state financing after EU funds cut

    A Polish town that lost European Union funding after it set up a zone free of “LGBT ideology” will receive government financial support, Poland’s justice minister said on Tuesday.

    Tuchow had its application for a European twinning programme rejected after it passed a motion rejecting “LGBT ideology”. Under the programme the town could have applied for a grant of up to 25,000 euros. [$29,866]

    The town of Tuchow in southern Poland will now receive 250,000 zlotys ($67,800) from the ministry’s Justice Fund. [that's more than double the maximum amount from the EU]

  • 5. guitaristbl  |  August 18, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    The polish justice minister announced he will look into funding more such towns in Poland as well. The dark ages are proceeding rapidly.

  • 6. VIRick  |  August 19, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Dominican Republic: A "Marriage" of a Same-Sex Couple

    Someone named Alice Polanco from the Dominican Republic has posted her wedding photo, dated 19 August 2020, along with the following comment in English:

    Yes, and she is my wife now, not legally because the law here sucks, but yeah.

    That comment is then followed by over 70 congratulatory wishes and greetings, a few in English, most in Spanish, many by friends and acquaintances of the couple, but a fair number (all positive) by Dominicans who do not personally know them, but who simply wished to offer congratulations.

    Alice is not specific as to whether they had a symbolic wedding ceremony somewhere in the Dominican Republic, which seems somewhat likely, or whether she and her wife travelled abroad, to be married in Puerto Rico, the mainland USA, or some other third country, like Mexico. Nor does she iterate whether they will now be pressing the Dominican government to recognize said marriage. If said couple did legally marry abroad, we would now have excellent grounds for a court case in the DR to press for its legal recognition there. Rather tantalizingly, several people made this reference:

    Per César Augusto:

    Que Rico…Amor a la Mexicana !!!

    The next comment seems to summarize the general feeling in the Dominican Republic:

    Per Javier A. Freites Capitán:

    Ojalá un día no muy lejano, el heterocentrismo de la República Dominicana deje de sentirse que son los únicos normales en el mundo y le permita a las parejas con otras preferencias y quieran formalizar su unión, hacerlo. Que puedan disfrutar del mismo Estado de Igualdad.

    Hopefully one day not too distant, the heterocentrism of the Dominican Republic quits its feeling as if they are the only normal ones in the world and allows couples with other preferences and who wish to formalize their union, to do so. Thus they can enjoy the same State of Equality.

  • 7. VIRick  |  August 19, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    Morelos: Cuernavaca Civil Registry Delivers Birth Certificate to Child of Equal Marriage

    Morelos: Entrega Registro Civil de Cuernavaca, Acta de Nacimiento A Hijo de Matrimonio Igualitario

    La Oficialía 01 del Registro Civil del Ayuntamiento de Cuernavaca, llevó a cabo la mañana de este miércoles, el 19 de agosto 2020, el primer registro y entrega de copia certificada de acta nacimiento a un menor, hijo de un matrimonio igualitario, en cumplimiento a una resolución emitida por el Juzgado Primero de Distrito.

    Luz María Zagal Guzmán, titular de la Oficialía del Registro Civil 01, explicó que, en noviembre del año pasado, se presentaron ante esta instancia Carla Sofia González Herrera y Yaneli Barrea, solicitando el registro de su hijo. Éste les fue negado porque la legislación vigente en la materia impedía el trámite, proponiéndoles lo registraran la madre o el padre, previa exhibición de su certificado de nacimiento. Las personas interesadas no estuvieron conformes con la respuesta y recurrieron al amparo de la justicia federal, mismo que les fue concedido.

    La Oficialía 01 del Registro Civil cumplió este día la resolución judicial que permite salvaguardar los derechos humanos y ciudadanos del infante, emitiendo y entregando la copia certificada de registro de nacimiento a la pareja lesbomaternal.

    This Wednesday morning, 19 August 2020, Office 01 of the Civil Registry of the City of Cuernavaca, carried out the first registration and delivery of a certified copy of a birth certificate to a minor, son of an equal marriage, in compliance with a ruling issued by the First District Court.

    Luz María Zagal Guzmán, head of the Civil Registry Office 01, explained that, in November 2019, Carla Sofia González Herrera and Yaneli Barrea appeared before this office, requesting the registration of their son. This was denied to them because the current legislation on the matter impeded the process, proposing to them that they would only register the mother or the father, after showing their birth certificate. The interested parties were not satisfied with the answer and appealed for an amparo from the federal justice system, which was granted to them.

    The Civil Registry Office 01 this day complied with the judicial ruling that permits safeguarding the human rights and citizenship of the infant, issuing and delivering the certified copy of the birth record to the lesbo-maternal couple.

  • 8. VIRick  |  August 19, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Andorra: Marriage Equality by October 2020

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    El notari públic d'Andorra Isidre Bartumeu va apuntar que el pròxim pas serà escriure un tercer volum que tracti la persona física i va posar en relleu que a l'octubre es preveu que la Llei Qualificada de la Persona i la Família s'ha d'aprovar: "És una llei molt important perquè la família és una institució que ha canviat molt, i la llei s'hi ha d'adaptar, especialment si es té en compte que la regulació actual data de l'any 1975."

    The notary public of Andorra Isidre Bartumeu points out that the next step will be to write a third volume that deals with the physical person and highlights that in October it is expected that the Qualified Law of the Person and the Family be approved: "It is a most important law because the family is an institution that has changed much, and the law must be adapted to it, especially if it is taken into account that the current regulation dates back to 1975."

    Note: Andorra will be the next western European nation to approve marriage equality, well ahead of Switzerland, becoming nation #30 worldwide. Once the Andorra General Council has given its approval, French President Macron will sign the legislation, the only other signatory necessary.

  • 9. Randolph_Finder  |  August 24, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Feels like this is taking time not because of particular resistance to the idea (not counting the other prince) but just because these things take time. With Sark having granted ME in April, Andorra was the farthest west place in Europe without ME. Now, that "honor" belongs to Switzerland. After Switzerland, then Italy (which inland actually goes farther west that Monaco)

  • 10. VIRick  |  August 19, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Yucatán: Main Issues in Case against Yucatán Congress before the SCJN

    Per Kalycho Escoffié:

    Los temas principales del caso 86/2020 de la SCJN son:
    1️. Si la jurisprudencia temática sobre matrimonio igualitario genera obligación a Congresos estatales;
    2️. Si la OC-24/17 de la CIDH obliga a legislar al Congreso de Yucatán.

    The main issues of case 86/2020 before the SCJN are:
    1️. If the thematic jurisprudence on marriage equality generates obligation upon state Congresses;
    2️. If OC-24/17 of the IACHR obliges the Congress of Yucatán to legislate.

    If the answer to either or both questions is "Yes," one will then automatically see, across-the-board, an enormous increase in judicial power over the various state congresses in Mexico, an increase in oversight which is long overdue, given that many state congresses have heretofore acted with utter impunity and total disregard on a whole range of matters, not just marriage equality.

  • 11. VIRick  |  August 20, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Bermuda: UK Privy Council to Hear Marriage Equality Appeal, 3-4 February 2021

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Rod Attride-Stirling, who represents the gay rights organization, OutBermuda, along with four other litigants on the issue, said that the marriage equality case would go before the Privy Council, Britain’s top court, on 3 and 4 February 2021. The matter was sent on to this final court of appeal in London after the Bermuda Government appealed a Bermuda Court of Appeal ruling that opened the way for same-sex marriages in 2018. Attride-Stirling said the Privy Council case had initially been set for this December, but had to be moved for “a variety of scheduling issues.” Marriages between same-sex couples have been allowed to continue while the matter has worked its way through the courts.

    The Registry General’s office released the island’s latest numbers of marriages and domestic partnerships. In 2019, Bermuda recorded four same-sex marriages on-island, as well as two more on Bermudian-registered ships. There was one same-sex domestic partnership, plus three opposite-sex domestic partnerships, recorded last year. There were 386 opposite-sex marriages carried out locally, as well as 440 opposite-sex marriages logged on Bermudian-registered ships.

    For 2020, through 6 August, there have been four same-sex marriages on-island, but none recorded on Bermudian-registered ships. There have been no same-sex domestic partnerships, but four opposite-sex couples have availed themselves of this option. So far, there were 102 opposite-sex marriages on-island this year, plus 70 opposite-sex marriages on Bermudian-registered ships. Domestic partnerships have been offered in Bermuda since 2018.

  • 12. VIRick  |  August 21, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Mexican Consulate, Detroit: First Marriage of a Same-Sex Couple Celebrated

    Per Consulmex Detroit:

    El Consulado de México en Detroit, de acuerdo con la modernización consular y conforme a los principios de no discriminación, se enorgullece de haber celebrado hoy, el 21 de agosto 2020, el primer matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en sus 100 años de historia.

    The Consulate of Mexico in Detroit, in accord with consular modernization and conforming to the principles of non-discrimination, is proud to have celebrated today, 21 August 2020, the first marriage between persons of the same sex in its 100-year history.

  • 13. VIRick  |  August 21, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    El Salvador: Transgender Woman Running for Seat in Central American Parliament

    Alejandra Menjívar es una mujer trans que comenzó su trabajo en el movimiento social en 2008, en algunas acciones que tenían vinculación directa con el Frente Farabundo Martín para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), un partido de izquierda en El Salvador. Desde el 19 de enero 2020, fue electa secretaria de diversidad sexual y género dentro del FMLN. Ahora ella es una candidata para el Parlamento Centroaméricano.

    La finalidad de su candidatura al PARLACEN, es poder incidir en este espacio de deliberación de las normativas internacionales, poder generar acciones de incidencia para que los Estados hagan vinculantes las resoluciones, como una la Ley de Identidad de Género, el fallo de la CIDH sobre el matrimonio igualitario en Costa Rica, sobre el derecho de las mujeres a decidir sobre su cuerpo, la salud sexual y reproductiva, y el derecho a migrar, entre otras.

    Alejandra Menjívar is a transgender woman who began her work in the social movement in 2008, in a variety of actions that were directly linked to the Farabundo Martín National Liberation Front (FMLN), a left-wing political party in El Salvador. Since 19 January 2020, she was elected secretary of sexual diversity and gender within the FMLN. Now she is a candidate for the Central American Parliament.

    The purpose of her candidacy for PARLACEN is to be able to influence this space for deliberation of international norms, to be able to generate advocacy actions so that the States make binding resolutions, such as the Gender Identity Law, the ruling of the IACHR on marriage equality in Costa Rica, on the right of women to decide about their bodies, sexual and reproductive health, and the right to migrate, among others.

  • 14. VIRick  |  August 22, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Perú: Ministry of Justice Recognizes Same-Sex Couples

    Per Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos:

    Hoy, el 21 de agosto 2020, se aprobaron los lineamientos para el reconocimiento de los convivientes del mismo sexo del personal de salud, fallecido por COVID-19, a fin de que accedan a la entrega económica.

    Today, 21 August 2020, the guidelines for the recognition of same-sex cohabitants of health personnel who died from COVID-19 were approved in order for them to access the economic assistance.

    Per Jorge Apolaya:

    Por primera vez en la historia de nuestro pais, se reconoce a las parejas del mismo sexo en medio de esta pandemia. Es un pequeño avance que nos debe seguir impulsando a conseguir el matrimonio igualitario.

    For the first time in the history of our country, same-sex couples are recognized in the midst of this pandemic. It is a small advance that must continue driving us to secure marriage equality.

    Here is the "Noticia Legal" publicada en "La Ley del Perú," domingo, el 23 de agosto 2020, giving legal effect to the above:

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  August 23, 2020 at 3:10 am

    Once taboo, LGBTQ rights take center stage in Palestinian society

    The back-and-forth on LGBTQ rights taking place within Palestinian society, and between voters and their representatives, is creating the kind of movement that is bound to bear fruit.

    Several developments have made this transformational and historic moment possible, not the least of which is the unyielding and stubborn work of Palestinian LGBTQ organizations, such as al-Qaws and Aswat, and independent activists who have shown up and confronted the conservative forces who seek to deny our existence and legitimacy. These efforts have also been greatly aided by the ubiquity of social media, not only for bringing together those who would not have otherwise met, but also — and more importantly — for disrupting the political elites’ monopoly on certain types of speech and on access to politics-making, which had historically screened out subaltern and marginalized voices and rendered impossible their chances of being heard.

    This, of course, does not mean that the issue of LGBTQ rights has been settled within Palestinian society. Our path toward acceptance is still full of challenges, and the struggle for equality is far from being won. But this recent episode, accompanied by others from recent years, marks a qualitative change that signals a paradigm shift in how we have been operating. Queer Palestinians are no longer taboo or “simply not on the agenda.”

  • 16. VIRick  |  August 24, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Denmark: Government Launches Series of Gender Initiatives

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 22 August 2020, the Minister for Equal Opportunities Mogens Jensen (SocDem) presented a number of far-reaching initiatives regarding LGBTI-related legislation. These initiatives will be turned to Bills to be passed by the Folketinget, the Danish parliament.

    Among them are the removal of the age limit regarding legal gender recognition, i.e., children and young people will have access to self-determined legal gender at any age.

    As to non-discrimination and hate crimes, gender identity, gender expression, and gender characteristics are to be added to the list of protected grounds, while sexual orientation protections will also be extended across-the-board, no longer limited to only protecting in terms of employment.

    Trans persons becoming parents will be recognized as parents according to their gender. Thus, a trans man will become a father, a trans woman will become a mother.

    Access to having gender "X" marked in the passport is extended to accommodate intersex persons and those who do not rigidly identify as male or female, i.e., gender-fluid persons.

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