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11/2 open thread


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

11/4 update: This morning, the Supreme Court heard argument in a case about whether a city can decline to contract with a foster care agency because the agency refuses to allow same-sex couples to participate. You can listen to the argument here and we’ll have more later.


  • 1. VIRick  |  November 2, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Montana Could Elect First Out Gay Statewide Official

    On Tuesday, 3 November 2020, one of the milestones reached in the election could well be Montana electing its first out gay statewide official. Bryce Bennett, a state senator and previously a Montana House member, is the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State. He’s no stranger to firsts, having been the first out gay man elected to the state legislature (two lesbian lawmakers preceded him).

    Montana is ready to elect a member of the LGBTQ community to a statewide position, he says, noting that the state isn’t as conservative as outsiders might think. “Montana is not like the states around us,” he says. “We are very much a purple state.” Indeed, Montana has one of the US Senate seats that may flip from red to blue, with Democrat Steve Bullock, currently the governor, in a close race with incumbent Republican Steve Daines.

    In the Secretary of State’s race, Bennett has a lot going for him. He’s raised more money than his Republican opponent, Christi Jacobsen, and has received the endorsement of several of Montana’s largest newspapers, including the "Billings Gazette" in the state’s biggest city, the "Montana Standard" in Butte, the "Missoulian," and the "Bozeman Daily Chronicle." He is also endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, Planned Parenthood, and environmental and labor groups.

    Bennett, 35, is a fifth-generation Montanan, having grown up in the town of Hysham, population 400. “When I was growing up, there weren’t a lot of people who looked and sounded and felt like I do,” he says. If he can be a role model for young LGBTQ people, he says, he’s happy to do so.….

  • 2. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 9, 2020 at 5:06 am

    Christi Jacobsen (R) defeats Bryce Bennett (D) in Montana secretary of state race

  • 3. VIRick  |  November 2, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Texas: Federal Suit Against Harris County Dismissed Due to Lack of "Standing"

    On Monday afternoon, 2 November 2020, a federal district court judge in Texas dismissed an effort by Republicans in the state to throw out about 127,000 ballots in Harris County cast via curbside voting. The judge, Andrew Hanen, ruled that the group of activists and candidates who brought the case do not have standing to sue.

    But the Republican-appointed judge also seemed irritated by the fact that they waited so long to bring the complaint before the court, asking the plaintiffs, “Why am I just getting this case?” He noted, too, that even if the plaintiffs had cleared the bar for standing (They didn't), he still would not have granted them the injunction for ballots already cast, although he did say that he would block Harris Country from offering drive-through voting on Election Day. (Again, this is all hypothetical since he ruled that the plaintiffs don’t have standing. Period.)

    Hanen did order the county to maintain all drive-through voting records and data in case his ruling is reversed by a higher court, so it is possible we have not heard the last of this. But the Texas Supreme Court rejected a similar case from the same plaintiffs yesterday, 1 November. Now that Hanen, who’s known as an especially conservative judge, also ruled against the GOP plaintiffs, matters are not looking good for them in this election saga.

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 2, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Absentee/Mail-In Ballot-Counting in Michigan

    In Michigan, beginning today, 2 November 2020, election officials in some cities will be able to start processing absentee ballots. The new law passed last month allows officials in cities with at least 25,000 people to begin getting absentee ballots ready to count, sorting them, and opening outer envelopes. But they can not start counting until tomorrow, 3 November, and can only process today from 10 AM until 8 PM. Previously, officials had to wait until Election Day to start processing absentee ballots. Still, even with a small head start, Michigan’s Secretary of State estimated that it could take until Friday, 6 November, for all the ballots to be counted.

    Each state sets its own rules for when to begin counting mail ballots. Many battleground states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, allow election officials to begin verifying voter information on mail ballot envelopes, opening those envelopes, and even counting the ballots before Election Day.

    But, in Michigan, counting cannot begin until Election Day, while in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, election officials cannot even begin verifying and opening envelopes until Election Day. Thus, even as election officials are following largely similar steps in each state to determine and verify the accuracy of results, these variations in state rules influence how fast they can release unofficial results to the public.

  • 5. VIRick  |  November 2, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Minnesota: Court Fight over Mail-In Ballots

    On 29 October 2020, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Minnesota cannot count ballots that arrive after 8 PM on 3 November. Earlier in October, a federal judge upheld a state court agreement, originally approved in August, that allowed the counting of absentee ballots received up to seven days after Election Day, but state Republicans quickly appealed the decision.

    In its ruling, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the state legislature, not the secretary of state, had the authority to set election law. It also instructed the state to segregate the late-arriving ballots; it remains to be seen whether they will be counted.

  • 6. VIRick  |  November 2, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Nevada: Mail-In Ballot Suit Dismissed Due to Lack of "Standing"

    On Monday, 2 November 2020, a Nevada judge rejected a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign and Nevada Republicans to stop the counting of mail-in votes. They “alleged that they could not observe all aspects of the ballot-counting process closely enough, and wanted to install cameras to record the process,” NPR reports. Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson, however, ruled that the plaintiffs did not have legal standing to sue and that there was no evidence that votes were being counted improperly.

  • 7. VIRick  |  November 2, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Estonia: Social Democrats Formally Announce Support for Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 2 November 2020, the parliamentary opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has formally announced its support of same-sex marriage. The SDE board found that given the importance of the issue of marriage equality and its support via opinion polls and popular initiatives, the issue has to go to the parliament, the Riigikogu. If the Riigikogu's board does not start to process a popular petition in support of same-sex marriage, then the SDE says it will present the bill itself. The SDE holds 11 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu.

    As of this morning, the recent petition initiated by the Estonian Greens has garnered over 34,000 signatures on the citizens' initiative website. The website itself states that petitions getting over 1,000 signatures in support should be debated at the Riigikogu, although ultimately it is up to the three-man Riigikogu board to decide this.

  • 8. VIRick  |  November 2, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Costa Rica: Ex-Vice-Minister of Justice Proposes to Same-Sex Partner

    Per Noticias LGBT:

    El Ex-Vice Ministro de Justicia de Costa Rica, Fabián Solano:

    "Es demasiado amor como para no compartirlo. Dieguito dijo 'sí.'"

    "It is way too much love as for not sharing it. Dieguito (affectionate diminutive) said 'yes.'"

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  November 4, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Please tell me we are going to win this. Even on knife's edge. Please.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  November 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Democratic failure to take the Senate scuppers any chance of packing Supreme Court to undermine appointment of Amy Comey Barrett

    As Senate leader, Mitch McConnell would control what comes to the chamber floor for a vote, a powerful position that would allow him to stymie Biden's agenda. … any move by Biden to expand the court to dilute its conservative bent would be stopped by McConnell, who would also be able to prevent any Biden appointments from getting a vote.

  • 11. Fortguy  |  November 4, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    It ain't over till it's over. The North Carolina and the regular Georgia elections are too close to call still with the margins narrowing with each vote dump as absentee ballots are counted. The Georgia special election will go to a January runoff between Warnock, the well respected pastor of MLK's Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Loeffler, the crazier of the two GOPers in contention.

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  November 4, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    2020 was Dems' big chance @ 20 Rep Senate seats

    In 2022, 22 Rep Senate seats will be on the chopping block, along with 12 Dem seats.

    In 2024, only 10 Rep Senate seats will be on the chopping block, along with 21 Dem seats & 2 Independent-but-caucusing-with-Dems seats

  • 13. Fortguy  |  November 4, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Both of winners of the Arizona and Georgia special elections will be on the 2022 ballot. Since Kelly won Arizona and Georgia still undecided, there will be at least 13 and maybe 14 Dem seats on the ballot barring some death or resignation causing another special election elsewhere in the interim.

    Since Biden in all likelihood will be the next president, I'm glad the Dems will have less exposure in 2022 as midterms generally go badly for a first-term president's party. As far as 2024 goes, that depends on who wins the presidency and whether the margin is big enough to have coattails.

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  November 4, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    House GOP celebrates unexpected gains

    House Republicans may not have taken back control of the lower chamber, but GOP lawmakers say they see the party's sizable gains as a promising sign they can take back the House in 2022.

    Political handicappers, in the days leading up to Nov. 3, projected GOP losses of between five and 20 seats, and the ultimate results left some within the GOP stunned by the unexpected success and with how the party significantly broadened the conference’s diversity and increased the number of female members.

    By Wednesday afternoon, Republicans had already flipped seven seats and top lawmakers projected they would take out additional Democratic frontliners as the races continue to be called.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  November 4, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    GOP holds line in state legislatures, dealing blow to Democrats

    Democratic hopes of claiming control of state legislative chambers across the nation crashed into an immovable Republican wall in key states on Tuesday, a substantial blow to the party’s chances of wielding more influence in the decennial redistricting process ahead.

    Outside analysts watching the races said the results represented a significant disappointment for Democrats, as Republicans beat even the most optimistic expectations.

    The results will have a substantial impact on the redistricting process that begins next year, after the Census Bureau finalizes its decennial count and Congress reapportions House seats based on new population figures. Democrats had hoped to flip legislative chambers in states like Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where Republican-led legislatures drew maps that heavily favored their side in the last redistricting cycle.

    After making steady gains throughout the decade, Democrats did not appear to make new inroads on Tuesday in any state that would give them more say in the redistricting process.

    “It’s an epic underperformance by Democrats. For all the money spent, Democrats aren’t going to be able to draw a single new congressional district as a result of this election that they hadn’t been able to draw before,” said Michael Behm, a Democratic lobbyist who keeps tabs on state legislative elections. “The Republicans have been able to protect every majority that they needed to that draws congressional lines.”

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  November 4, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Nevada Is First State to Protect Same-Sex Marriage in Constitution

    The majority of Nevadans voted to redefine marriage as "between couples, regardless of gender."

  • 17. DevilWearsZrada  |  November 4, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    When will Californians do the same to Proposition 8?

  • 18. Fortguy  |  November 4, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    The election results in Texas are a mixed bag. On the plus side, Trump appears to have a 5.6% lead which is an improvement over the 9-point margin he won four years ago. While the night was disappointing for Texas Dems, at least they lost no ground overall.

    National Dem groups opened their wallets and started showering TV ads in the final weeks of the campaign for Senate candidate MJ Hegar outspending John Cornyn. Too bad they waited until after early voting began. Similarly, not having Biden visit the state was political malpractice from his campaign whose Hispanic outreach in both Texas and Florida was pathetic.

    Dems were hoping to increase their seats in the state's congressional delegation while GOPers were hoping to unseat the two Dem freshmen who flipped seats in 2018. It was all a wash in the end with no seats changing hands. In my district, Gina Ortiz Jones who was hoping to be the first Filipina and first openly lesbian to represent the state lost narrowly.

    Other than the federal races, the only statewide nonjudicial race was for one of three seats on the Texas Railroad Commission. Despite the antiquated name, the TRC has nothing to do with railroads but instead is in charge of failing to regulate the oil and gas industry. Michael Bloomberg threw $2.6 million at the Dem candidate, Chrysta Castañeda, in what environmental groups called the most important climate race in the country to no avail. The Dems remain shut out of statewide office since 1994.

    On a bright note, the Dems won back a heavily blue state Senate seat they lost in a fluke special election last year. The win means that Lt. Gov. Potty Patrick will have to lower the three-fifths rule for bringing bills to the floor of the Senate to a simple majority just as he lowered it from two-thirds after 2018 Democratic gains.

    There was no net gain for either party in the Texas House. One Houston-area freshman Dem was defeated in a rematch against the GOPer she unseated in 2018. This loss was offset by the defeat of another Republican in a separate Houston district. The losing Republican, Rep. Sarah Davis, was the most moderate GOPer in the House and supported both LGBT and abortion rights. The winning Republican is more typically conservative, so that's really a step backward for us overall.

    After flipping 12 state House seats in 2018, Dems were hoping to flip nine more for a majority. Having control of the House would prevent Republicans from redistricting at will, but the alternatives aren't much better. If a split Legislature fails to agree on new maps, the congressional map would be drawn by a federal redistricting court with two district judges and one appellate judge from the awful 5th Circuit and packed with Trumpist jurists. State legislative and state Board of Education maps would be decided by the Legislative Redistricting Board, a 5-member body on which the House speaker would be the only Dem. The only recourse Dems would have would be to challenge maps with the same federal court. Justin Miller of The Texas Observer says the election results were a "catastrophe". I say the next ten years look a lot like the last ten, and the day after the election was just another Wednesday.

  • 19. VIRick  |  November 4, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    Indeed, it was just another Wednesday, but a Wednesday when I needed to re-group, re-think, re-assess, and re-calculate, and felt that I needed to do so in a very different environment.

    As a result, I flew cross-country to Houston on a half-empty plane, where I then changed planes and continued my extended journey on a second half-empty flight, continuing to fly south for another 7 hours until I finally reached my final destination, where I was then duly granted entry based on my possession of two key documents: Certified negative COVID-19 test results dated within 5 days of my travel date, plus proof of residency.

    Two observations: Not only is COVID-19 quite real, but also the surging up-tick in new cases in the USA is rapidly being met with increasingly heightened travel restrictions everywhere else in an effort to block its continuing spread. International Airport Houston (IAH) is a terrible facility for making connecting flights, but no other choice was on offer, and with these rapidly increasing restrictions as we approach the winter months, it became quite imperative that I flee the USA, and that I do so sooner rather than later.

    My friend from DC who works for Democratic congressional election campaigns will be joining me asap.

  • 20. Fortguy  |  November 4, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    Sarah McBride is elected to the Delaware state Senate and becomes the first state senator and most highly elected openly transgender officeholder anywhere in the country. She is a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. She first became known when she quit her position as student body president at American University while coming out in the student newspaper. While still a student, she was the only openly transgender person to work in the Obama White House. She was also the first openly transgender person to address a political convention of a major party when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    Dan Avery, NBC News: Sarah McBride to become first transgender state senator in U.S. history

  • 21. Fortguy  |  November 5, 2020 at 12:13 am

    Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones become the first gay Black men in Congress representing NY-15 and NY-17 respectively.

    Addy Baird, BuzzFeed News: Ritchie Torres And Mondaire Jones Make History As The First Openly Gay Black Members Of Congress

    There have been quite a number of other LGBT candidates winning races around the country.

    David Crary, Associated Press: In blue and red states, milestone wins for LGBTQ candidates

  • 22. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Ritchie Torres: El Primer Afrolatino Gay en el Congreso de los EEUU

    Per Adrián Urrutia, 3 de noviembre 2020:

    Celebramos que en Nueva York RitchieTorres, del partido Demócrata, pase a la historia por ser el primer afrolatino gay en ser elegido para el Congreso de los Estados Unidos.

    We celebrate that in New York Ritchie Torres (D) makes history by becoming the first gay Afro-Latino to be elected to the US Congress.

  • 23. Fortguy  |  November 5, 2020 at 12:45 am

    Puerto Rico voters approve statehood by 52% with 48% against while electing Pedro Perluisi as governor and Jenniffer González as Resident Commissioner, the island's nonvoting congressional delegate. Both Perluisi and González belong to the pro-statehood New Progressive Party although Perluisi identifies as a Democrat while González is a Trumpist Republican. The turnout was a low 51%, much below the territory's usual high turnout but still a majority of registered voters.

    Statehood supporters better hope that the Dems somehow take the Senate in the next four years as Hypocrite Mitch has already said any statehood consideration would be DOA.

    Dánica Coto, Associated Press: Puerto Rico awaits final result in tight gubernatorial race

  • 24. Fortguy  |  November 5, 2020 at 1:20 am

    In ballot measures allowing voters to reject intolerance, Mississippi voters approve a new state flag eliminating the Confederate Stars and Bars while featuring a magnolia blossom with the motto "In God We Trust". Rhode Islanders amended their state constitution to change the state's official name from "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to simply "Rhode Island".

    Dan Avery, NBC News: Mississippi voters decide to replace Confederate-themed state flag

    Tim Stelloh, NBC News: Rhode Island voters drop 'Providence Plantations' from state name

  • 25. ianbirmingham  |  November 5, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Alabama voters approve Constitutional amendment to delete racist language banning mixed-race marriage and mandating school segregation

    With more than 1.7 million votes cast, the amendment passed with 67 per cent support.

  • 26. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 10:14 am

    US Virgin Islands Voters Approve Pro-Statehood Measure

    A referendum for the Senate of the US Virgin Islands to enact legislation convening a constitutional convention (with the view toward applying for US statehood) received 8,320 votes in favor and 3,225 against.

  • 27. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Ohio: Hamilton County Elects First Woman, First LGBTQ Sheriff

    Democrat Charmaine McGuffey has won the race for sheriff of Hamilton County OH, making her the first woman and first member of the LGBTQ community to hold the post.

    McGuffey, a lesbian, beat her former boss who had fired her for being lesbian, Sheriff Jim Neil, in the Democratic primary in April, then defeated Republican Bruce Hoffbauer, a Cincinnati police lieutenant, in the general election on 3 November. Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, is the third-most populous county in the state.

  • 28. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Kansas: Indigenous Transgender Stephanie Byers Wins State Legislative Seat

    A recently retired teacher from Wichita, Stephanie Byers made history twice on election night, becoming Kansas’s first transgender elected official after winning her bid to represent the 86th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. A member of the Chickasaw Nation born in Oklahoma, Byers is also the first Indigenous trans person elected to any state legislature anywhere in the USA.

    Running for an open seat after running unopposed in the Democratic primary, Byers (D) had 54.4 percent of the vote compared to Cyndi Howerton's (R) 45.6 percent, the "Wichita Eagle" reports.

  • 29. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Oklahoma: Non-Binary Candidate, Mauree Turner, Elected to State Legislature

    Oklahoma saw a first for LGBTQ people when Mauree Turner won their race for election in District 88 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, making them the first openly non-binary person elected to a state legislature anywhere in the USA. Turner is also the first Muslim legislator to be elected in Oklahoma.

    The 27-year-old Democrat beat their Republican opponent, Kelly Barlean, with 71 percent of the vote, according to TV station KOCO. Turner had bested incumbent Jason Dunnington in the Democratic primary in June in a district covering part of Oklahoma City.

  • 30. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Florida: Two LGBT Election Wins, Shevrin Jones and Michele Rayner

    Florida elected its first out LGBTQ state senator, Shevrin Jones. He will represent District 35 in the State Senate, which includes the southern portion of Broward County and Miami Gardens/Opa-Locka in Miami-Dade. Jones will become one of only two out Black men serving in state senates; he will share that distinction with Jabari Brisport, who successfully ran in New York State. Jones, who came out as gay in 2018, previously served several terms in the Florida House.

    Additionally, Michele Rayner is the first Black queer woman to win a seat in the Florida legislature and will represent District 70 in the State House. District 70 is a disjointed, gerrymandered cross-bay district, linked by the Tampa Bay Skyway Bridge, that includes the SE corner of Pinellas County (St. Petersburg), a slice of the SW corner of Hillsborough County, and a vertical slice of Manatee County leading down into Bradenton. Raynor is a civil rights attorney and social justice advocate and lead counsel of Civil Liberty Law, her own law firm. In addition, Rayner is local counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

  • 31. ianbirmingham  |  November 5, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Democrats frustrated, GOP jubilant in Senate fight

    While it now appears Democratic nominee Joe Biden will probably eke out a victory in the presidential race, Democrats were hoping for a bigger night — especially after failing to flip the Senate in 2016 and 2018.

    Jarding also pointed out that the party’s exasperation extended to the House, where Democrats retained their majority but Republicans unexpectedly cut into it.

    One of the most eye-opening statistics of the election was that two Senate Democratic challengers, Amy McGrath and Jaime Harrison, raised $199 million for their respective campaigns against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and wound up losing by about 21 points and 14 points, respectively.

    Democrats will control at least 48 Senate seats next year — two short of the 50 they need to control the agenda. This means they have to win a Jan. 5 runoff for Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R-Ga.) seat, and also force Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) into the runoff by keeping him below 50 percent of the vote, and then defeat him in a Jan. 5 runoff as well.

    In other words, Senate Democrats’ path to the majority rests on big “ifs.”

    A second Senate Democratic aide said, “It’s going to be really hard to win two runoffs in Georgia.”

    The staffer noted that Collins’s win in Maine showed that independent voters stuck with her, despite their aversion to President Trump — who lost the state to Biden by an estimated 10 points — something that Democratic strategists didn’t foresee.

    “She’s won independents overwhelmingly,” the source added, citing her 50.3 percent share of the vote with an estimated 83 percent of ballots counted.

    Republicans, by contrast, were jubilant as it became increasingly clear Wednesday that Tillis and Collins would survive, just about ensuring that McConnell will serve another term as majority leader.

    McConnell appeared confident and pleased with the election results at a news conference Wednesday morning.

  • 32. ianbirmingham  |  November 5, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Democrats tend to be weak voters; Republicans fight harder

    Democratic registrants are more likely to be “low propensity voters,” while Republicans tend to dominate with super voter types. While those low-propensity voters can be turned out for hot-button elections such as the one just concluded, responding to “federalized” messaging, they are less likely to know what is happening for Democrats down ballot.

    This has real world consequences for candidates like Jimmy Midyette, the lawyer who ran for clerk of courts in a bid to bring back courthouse weddings shuttered when LGBT marriage became the law of the land under President Barack Obama. “A lot of voters may not know about that [clerk of courts] position,” Henry said, noting a “large influx of newer voters.”

    Midyette offered overt critiques of the city’s political establishment, and in turn they buried him under a barrage of negative ads that he called “toxic” and untrue, but that hurt his margins compared to the top of the ticket. Republican nominee Jody Phillips, meanwhile, was the beneficiary. “Republicans are more likely to vote the entire ballot,” Henry explained.

  • 33. ianbirmingham  |  November 5, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Counties with worst virus surges overwhelmingly voted Trump

    An Associated Press analysis reveals that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority — 93% of those counties — went for Trump, a rate above other less severely hit areas. Most were rural areas in the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa.

    Trump voters interviewed by AP reporters said they value individual freedom and believed the president was doing as well as anyone could in response to the coronavirus.

    "Stupid is as stupid does…" — Forrest Gump

  • 34. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Puerto Rico Elects Its First Out Senator, Ana Irma Rivera Lassén

    Previously, Puerto Rico’s LGBTQ community has never had LGBTQ representation in the territory’s congress. That changed on 3 November 2020, as Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, a feminist firebrand of Afro descent, won her bid for a seat in the Puerto Rico Senate, making her the first (and highest-ranking) out elected lawmaker in the island’s history. (But see below for 3 more election victories by out gay men.)

    Religious conservatism, anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and sexism are staples of Puerto Rican politics, particularly among the New Progressive Party, the pro-statehood party theoretically aligned with mainland Republicans who in turn shun them and want no part of them. But the other main party, the Popular Democratic Party, the out-of-date, status quo party theoretically aligned with mainland Democrats, but who mutually do not want anything from each other, has never pushed a proudly LGBTQ candidate through either.

    Rivera Lassén, however, made her way into the Senate via the Citizens’ Victory Movement, a brand-new party for which she is the spokesperson. The MVC (its Spanish-language abbreviation) broke new ground this year, earning multiple posts that might even include the San Juan mayor’s office, but which due to a tight margin, warranted a recount, now underway.

    Rivera Lassén is the first Black woman to have led the Bar Association of Puerto Rico. Rivera Lassén is also in favor of decolonization (meaning independence), a relatively small but perpetual movement that, despite its long history, remains in stark contrast to the position of pro-statehood Puerto Ricans, the growing majority.

  • 35. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Puerto Rico: Three More Out Gay Candidates Win Elections on 3 November

    Jorge Báez Pagán, a member of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, won his race for an at-large seat in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. Along the way, in the August primary, he defeated María Milagros “Tata” Charbonier, a hideously anti-LGBTQ representative who has been indicted on federal corruption charges.

    In addition, voters in Isabela, a municipality on Puerto Rico’s northwest coast, elected Miguel “Ricky” Méndez, a gay man who is a member of the Popular Democratic Party, which supports the island’s status quo as a US commonwealth, as its next mayor. Edgardo Cruz Vélez, a retired soldier who is also openly gay, won his write-in campaign for mayor of Guánica, a municipality on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast.

    On the same date, Puerto Rican voters again also narrowly approved a non-binding statehood referendum.

    In particular, the win by Jorge Báez Pagán was Puerto Rico's answer to Danica Roem's victory in northern Virginia over the most miserable, long-term, homophobe in the state legislature. After the "Obergefell" decision, Charbonier attempted to pass legislation which would have run contrary to said decision. In addition, with separate legislation, she later attempted to overturn the federal court ruling requiring Puerto Rican authorities to recognize gender identity, thus allowing individuals the ability to change their names/gender marker on government documents like birth certificates/driver's licenses.

  • 36. VIRick  |  November 5, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    Puebla State Congress Passes Marriage Equality Legislation

    Per Rex Wockner:

    On 3 November 2020, the Puebla State Congress finally passed the required marriage equality legislation by a vote of 31 in favor, 5 against, and 3 abstentions. The state already had marriage equality due to a Supreme Court ruling, but in Mexico, revised laws still need to be passed following such a court strikedown. Having passed, this initiative to reform the Civil Code has now been turned over to the executive for publication in the Official State Periodical (el Periódico Oficial del Estado de Puebla). Once published, the new law then becomes official.

    With the passage of this law in Puebla state, 11 states plus Mexico City (CDMX) now have such laws, while 7 more states have marriage equality via other pathways, leaving 13 states to go.

  • 37. VIRick  |  November 6, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    California: Gay POC, Todd Gloria, Elected Mayor of San Diego

    California Assemblymember Todd Gloria won his race for mayor of San Diego, becoming the first openly LGBTQ person and first person of color elected mayor of California's second-largest city and the nation's eighth-largest city.

    Gloria was part of a blue wave in San Diego, a city growing into another major Democratic stronghold in California, even with a sizable military presence and influence. Gloria, replacing a termed-out GOP mayor, was in a runoff election with another Democrat, Barbara Bry, who he defeated on 3 November. San Diego voters also ousted Republicans on their City Council, where Democrats will soon control eight of the nine council seats.

    As mayor of San Diego, Gloria will be the most powerful gay male mayor in the nation. Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, has a Black lesbian, Lori Lightfoot, running it.

  • 38. VIRick  |  November 6, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    South Carolina: Lesbian Running for Sheriff Beats Male Boss Who Demoted Her

    Kristin Graziano has been elected the first woman and first out gay sheriff in South Carolina, ousting an incumbent who had been in office since 1988.

    Graziano, a Democrat, beat Republican Al Cannon in the 3 November race for sheriff of Charleston County, which is the third-most populous county in the state and includes the city of Charleston. The vote was 52 percent to 48 percent, the "Post and Courier" reports.

    Graziano had the endorsement of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, South Carolina Equality, and several prominent individuals, including Jaime Harrison, who ran against Lindsey Graham for US Senator from South Carolina. Graziano is one of two lesbian sheriffs elected this year, the other being Charmaine McGuffey in Hamilton County OH.

  • 39. VIRick  |  November 6, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    New Mexico: Roger Montoya, Shamed by GOP for Gay Porn Past, Wins Election

    The GOP failed in its attempt to derail the campaign of Roger Montoya by dredging up his history in gay porn. The New Mexico Democrat triumphed in his race in House District 40, beating his Republican opponent, Justin Salazar-Torrez, 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent. The incumbent, Democrat Joseph Sanchez, did not seek re-election.

    Ultimately, the Democratic Party of New Mexico released its own statement rallying around Montoya and slamming the GOP for its attempts "to shame a gay man for a choice made in the distant past, while ignoring Donald Trump’s long record of illicit conduct."

  • 40. VIRick  |  November 6, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Hawaii: Out, Proud, and Gay, Adrian Tam Defeats Neo-Nazi to Win Seat in State House

    Hawaii’s Adrian Tam has not only been elected to become the only LGBTQ representative in the state, but he has also defeated Nicholas Ochs, a white supremacist and anti-LGBTQ leader of the neo-Nazi hate group, Hawaii Proud Boys.

    With a whopping 70% statewide voter turnout in Hawaii, Tam beat Ochs with 63% of his district’s vote, while Ochs received 29.7%, the "Honolulu Civil Beat" reported. Tam will represent Hawaii’s 22nd district in the State House. In August, he won the Democratic Primary against incumbent Tom Brower, who had held the seat since 2006.

    House District 22 encompasses that portion of the Honolulu waterfront known as Waikiki, Ala Wai, and Ala Moana.

  • 41. VIRick  |  November 6, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Mexican Embassy in Spain: First Same-Sex Marriage, First Registration of Births

    Per La Embajada de México en España:

    Las autoridades diplomáticas informaron que la pareja integrada por Alejandro y William constituyó el primer matrimonio igualitario en la embajada de México en España, el pasado 29 de octubre.

    Mientras que este miércoles, el 4 de noviembre, las madres Susana y Rosa María registraron el nacimiento de sus hijos Mario y Tenoch. Según el cuerpo diplomático, se trata de los primeros empadronamientos oficiales para descendientes de una familia homoparental, procreados mediante reproducción asistida.

    On 29 October 2020, diplomatic authorities reported that the couple comprised of Alejandro and William constituted the first equal marriage at the Mexican embassy in Spain.

    While this Wednesday, 4 November, the mothers Susana and Rosa María registered the birth of their children Mario and Tenoch. According to the diplomatic corps, these are the first official registrations for children of a homoparental family, procreated through assisted reproduction.

  • 42. ianbirmingham  |  November 6, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Chinese university defends ‘homophobic and sexist’ lecture from ‘campus safety expert’

    A Chinese “expert” on school security has been blasted online for “blatant homophobia and sexism” in his lectures — and yet Shenyang Normal University (SNU), one of his employers, has defended the specialist and refused to cut ties with him.

    Last week, “Campus information gentleman” (@校园咨询君), a Weibo account dedicated to sharing college news and student complaints about their schools, posted (in Chinese) a screenshot of a private message from an anonymous follower. “The new student orientation at SNU features homophobic and sexist material,” wrote the Weibo user.

    In a photo included in the tip-off, a giant projector screen can be seen displaying a slide intended to show bad behavior on campus. It reads: “Girls smoking — Homosexuality — Promiscuity — Drugs.” The “expert” said, “It baffles me that gay people are so open about their sexual orientation now. Do they really not care how they are perceived by parents, classmates, and teachers?”

  • 43. ianbirmingham  |  November 6, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Perdue, Ossoff head to runoff for Georgia Senate seat

    The two runoffs in the state — this race and the special election for the state’s other Senate seat — will decide control of the Senate on Jan. 5. Republicans hold a narrow edge in the race for a majority, but they are currently short, with several races still undecided. With Joe Biden appearing to be on track to win the presidency, victories in both Georgia races would likely hand Democrats control of an evenly split 50-50 Senate.

  • 44. VIRick  |  November 7, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Shortly After Noon on Saturday, 7 November 2020, Joe Biden Has Been Declared the President-Elect of the USA

    On his way to becoming President #46, Biden has garnered the 20 electoral votes of Pennsylvania, giving him 273 electoral votes, 3 more than the 270 necessary. In addition, Biden continues to lead in Nevada (6), Arizona (11), and Georgia (16), putting him on track to receive a total of 306.

    So far, in the popular vote, Biden has received 4,301,119 more votes than #45. To say the very least, there has also been a collective, worldwide sigh of relief.

    And now, about 1 1/2 hours later, Nevada has been called for Biden, lifting him up to 279 electoral votes. At the same time, #45 was last seen heading to his golf course in Sterling VA, where he currently remains. Unlike the past several days, he is not at the White House.

    The best sign spotted today among the jubilant crowds that have spontaneously gathered to celebrate in cities all across the USA read, "ByE Don." In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, people ritualistically stomped on orange cheetos, while in DC, someone I seem to recognize, proudly draped in the Puerto Rican flag, tossed rolls of paper towels over the newly-reinforced White House fence, while yelling, "Never forget," and did so between signs strapped to said fence proclaiming, "Your're fired!" and "Fuck Your Fence."

    But the voting results were hideously close, given the antiquated electoral college calculations. Biden won the following 5 states by the slimmest of margins, although only the results from Georgia fell within re-count territory:

    Georgia by 9,160 votes, or 49.47-49.27%
    Arizona by 18,610 votes, or 49.53-48.97%
    Nevada by 27,530 votes, or 49.97-47.84%
    Pennsylvania by 37,314 votes, or 49.70-49.15%
    Wisconsin by 20,558 votes, or 49.57-48.94%

    In total, he won those 5 by only 113,172 votes out of a grand total of 146,564,564 votes cast nationwide.

  • 45. ianbirmingham  |  November 7, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    There is an effort underway to bypass "the antiquated electoral college"' – the "National Popular Vote Interstate Compact".

    As of November 2020, it has been adopted by fifteen states and the District of Columbia. These states have 196 electoral votes, which is 36% of the Electoral College and 73% of the 270 votes needed to give the compact legal force.

  • 46. VIRick  |  November 7, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    These are the 16 jurisdictions (all solidly blue) that have already adopted the compact:

    CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, and WA (196 EV).

    According to Wikipedia, the compact is pending in OH, PA, SC, and VA (60 EV).

    Even if approved by those 4 additional states, that would still leave the measure 14 EV short, a matter which could be resolved if MN (10) or newly-blue AZ (11) plus NH (4) or ME (4) were to also approve. Or MI (16) could do it all by itself. But it needs to be done by whatever combination before 2024, as that entire roller-coaster we were on since Tuesday was way too prolonged and way too nerve-racking. If you will recall, I fled the USA during that time interval in order to remain sane and safe, or in a worst-case scenario, to prepare the way for accepting refugees.

  • 47. bayareajohn  |  November 8, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Nobody thought to change the locks at the whitehouse while Trump was out golfing?

  • 48. VIRick  |  November 8, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    As of 8 November 2020, here are some up-dated vote numbers showing Biden's lead:

    Georgia by 10,353 votes, or 49.48-49.28%
    Arizona by 19,348 votes, or 49.54-48.96%
    Nevada by 31,464 votes, or 50.09-47.69%
    Pennsylvania by 43,418 votes, or 49.75-49.10%
    Wisconsin by 20,558 votes, or 49.57-48.94% (unchanged)

    In total, he won those 5 states by only 125,141 votes out of a grand total of 146,722,887 votes cast nationwide. In the popular vote, Biden garnered 51.5% or 75,564,297 votes to Trump's 48.5% or 71,158,590 votes. In other words, Biden received 4,405,707 more votes, or 3% more.

    Arizona and its 11 electoral votes have now been called for Biden, bringing him up to 290 EV. Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), and Alaska (3) still remain.

    Gov. Newsom of California will soon be naming Harris' successor to the US Senate.

    In denial, angry, and refusing to concede, Trump takes on a new role: Lame Duck.

    In 2016, Clinton received over 3 million more votes, and still lost, due to this antiquated and arcane electoral college process. In 2020, Biden received over 4.4 million more votes, but really only won by a bit more than 125,000 voters due to this same arcane process.

  • 49. ianbirmingham  |  November 7, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    25-year-old Alex Lee is California's youngest state legislator, and the first openly bisexual state legislator

    History was made Tuesday in Santa Clara County where South Bay voters elected the youngest state legislator in eight decades. Democrat Alex Lee, 25, won the 25th District Assembly race and will also become California's first openly bisexual state lawmaker.

    "I have the distinction and responsibility to be a lot of firsts in California," Lee said. "I'm the first openly bisexual state legislator in California, the youngest Asian-American state legislator and first Gen-Z state legislator. That is an immense responsibility to make sure that more young people and more progressives are elected after me to break and shatter those records."

    Lee, a candidate endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, won Tuesday's vote by a landslide, receiving more than 72 percent of the vote, while his competitor, Republican Bob Brunton, took home just under 28 percent.

    The 25th Assembly District is comprised of several South Bay cities, including San Jose, Fremont and Santa Clara.

  • 50. ianbirmingham  |  November 7, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Biden plans immediate flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump policies

  • 51. VIRick  |  November 7, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    Immigrants Stuck on Mexican Side of Border Celebrate Biden's Win

    Thousands of immigrants sent back to Mexico by the Trump administration hope Joe Biden will make good on his promise to end the policy that has forced them to wait in dangerous border cities. Those forced to wait in a squalid outdoor camp on the Mexican side of the border rejoiced Saturday, 6 November, at the news that Joe Biden had won the US presidential election, hoping he keeps his promise to end the policy that has stranded them there for months, some for over a year.

    The Trump administration's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) has made more than 67,000 immigrants and asylum-seekers wait in Mexico while their cases are completed in the US. In 2019, the US changed the way it treated asylum-seekers seeking refuge at the border. Instead of their being allowed to fight their cases in the US, immigrants were handed documents with a future court date, often months away, and largely left to fend for themselves in dangerous border cities like Matamoros and Ciudad Juarez, despite assurances from the administration that Mexico would protect them.

    In the meantime, their hearings in the tent courts on the US side have been paused indefinitely during the pandemic. Biden has pledged to end MPP, also known as Remain in Mexico, within his first 100 days in office.

  • 52. ianbirmingham  |  November 8, 2020 at 4:01 am

    Even before Trump, and continuing today, the very same immigration policy applies to American families. When a US citizen marries a non-citizen outside the United States (thus forming a family), the non-citizen must then wait outside the United States while a CR-1 visa application is processed, which typically takes 7-10 months.

  • 53. ianbirmingham  |  November 7, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Joe Biden will be the first president to enter the White House supporting marriage equality

  • 54. ianbirmingham  |  November 8, 2020 at 3:47 am

    Parties surround the White House: Biden supporters celebrate in the D.C. streets, boo Trump's motorcade as he returns from his golf course and urge Jared and Ivanka to leave their family home

    [Click through to the article for PICTURES!]

  • 55. VIRick  |  November 8, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Picture #38, showing the woman wearing the message, "Trump-Pence, Fuera Ya!" means in Spanish, "Get Out Now!"

    Here are some additional feelings of relief and celebration from Latin America, as the USA, at the presidential level, does a "shed the red" and flips from red to blue. Needless to say, this video clip is completely over-the-top and totally fabulous, but just watch and enjoy, while wondering whatever happened to that all-enveloping red cape. After about the 10th time watching, I did notice that he broke the umbrella while dancing on it in those fab, rainbow-colored platform boots:

  • 56. VIRick  |  November 8, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Some Eye-Catching News Headlines from Around the World

    Per "Expressen" (Sweden):

    "Amerikanska Folket till Trump: You're Fired! Så Blir Trumps Liv som Pensionär. Så Blir Världen och Sverige med Biden."

    "American People to Trump: You're fired! So Starts Trump's Life as a Pensioner. Thus the World and Sweden Begin with Biden."

    Per "El País" (Uruguay):

    "EEUU Eligió a Joe Biden, 'La Nación Habló"'

    "USA Has Elected Joe Biden, 'The Nation Has Spoken'"

    Per "Haaretz" (Israel):

    "A Victory for the Good of America and Israel. Biden Frees Us from Trump's Sinister Soul."

    Per "Politiken" (Denmark):

    "Vinder" ("Winner"), plus full-page photo of Joe Biden (while entirely omitting the Loser)

    Per "Toronto Star" (Canada):

    "A New Hope," plus full-page photo of Kamala Harris and Joe Biden

    Per "The West Australian" (Australia):

    "America. Great Again.," plus full-page photo of Joe Biden

  • 57. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 9, 2020 at 4:59 am

    And so it begins badly.

    "In a call on Friday with administration officials, Mary Gibert, the head of the presidential transition team at the GSA, told colleagues the agency was in a holding pattern and not to host people from Biden teams until there is “ascertainment.” She gave no specific timeline on when it was expected.

    "The delay has already gummed up discussions on critical issues, including plans to distribute a possible coronavirus vaccine, this official said.

    "GSA has been part of transition planning since the Presidential Transition Act was signed in 1963. Since then, the agency has identified the winner within hours or a day of media projections, and weeks before the results were made official by the electoral college."

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