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12/1 open thread UPDATED 12/2 with news


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

UPDATE 12/2: The EEOC and Harris Funeral Homes have settled their case in a consent decree. More information and a link to the consent decree can be found at that link via Equality Case Files. The case is one of the consolidated cases decided by the Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the Court decided that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In Harris, Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman, was fired from her job at a funeral home when she began her transition. Stephens has since passed away, but her wife is handling her estate.


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  December 1, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Anti-gay Hungarian politician resigns after police catch him fleeing a 25-man Brussels orgy through a window

    Jozsef Szajer resigned on Sunday after he admitted to breaching Belgium's strict lockdown rules to attend a sex party, Politico reported on Tuesday. The police found 25 naked men at the gathering, including Szajer and some diplomats, the Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure reported. The newspaper quoted a local police source as saying, "We interrupted a gang bang."

  • 2. VIRick  |  December 1, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Homophobic Hungarian MEP Resigns after Being Caught at Gay Orgy

    Per Igualdad LGBT de Madrid, España:

    József Szájer, eurodiputado y fundador del partido homófobo del presidente de Hungría, Fidesz, ha dimitido hoy tras ser cazado en una orgia con 25 hombres en Bruselas.

    József Szájer, MEP and founder of the homophobic party of the president of Hungary, Fidesz, has resigned today after being caught in an orgy with 25 men in Brussels.

    Per Esteban Paulón de Rosario, Argentina:

    Así funciona el homo odio u homo fobia interiorizada: No se hace cargo de lo que le pasa y siente abiertamente, y hace sufrir persecución y violencia a quienes sí lo expresan.

    This is how homo hatred or internalized homo phobia works: He does not take charge of whatever happens to feel open about it, and makes those who do express themselves suffer persecution and violence.

    Per La Ventana Rosa:

    El político húngaro que reformó la constitución para prohibir el matrimonio igualitario, anti-LGBT Jozsef Szajer, renuncia al partido político conservador al que pertenecía tras ser descubierto en orgía con 25 hombres. ¡Ay, goloso ¿conservador?!

    The Hungarian politician who reformed the constitution to prohibit marriage equality, anti-LGBT Jozsef Szajer, resigns from the conservative political party to which he belonged after being discovered in an orgy with 25 men. What an amazing goal, ¿conservative?!

    "Goloso" is futbol-speak for when someone scores an absolutely impossible goal.

    In fact, here is a futbol website from Mexico, where this goloso is the top story:

  • 3. VIRick  |  December 3, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Hungarian Reaction to Szájer's Resignation (Polish and Estonian Diplomats Present at Gay Gang-Bang; Much More Fall-Out)

    Per Szabolcs Panyi from Budapest:

    1/ Why does it matter that Viktor Orbán’s close friend and ally, MEP József Szájer, was caught having an orgy with 20 men? Very simple. While he was enjoying himself in LGBT-friendly Brussels, he made life for LGBT people in Hungary miserable by rewriting the constitution.

    2/ After Viktor Orbán came to power in 2010, Szájer famously drafted a new constitution for Hungary on his iPad (yes, really), becoming the legal architect of Orbán’s regime. There was no consultation with the opposition or anyone outside the government.

    3/ Here’s the English version of Hungary’s (Szájer’s) constitution: 'Article L' on "protecting the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman" was inserted, essentially making it impossible for same-sex couples to get married.

    4/ It’s not just about marriage, as this part of the constitution on marriage and families became a reference point for future legislation aimed at restricting the rights and freedom of LGBT people. Moreover, it became the legal justification for Viktor Orbán’s culture war.

    5/ A constitutional amendment was introduced that "would ensure that only heterosexual married couples can adopt children.”

    6/ Orbán’s parliamentary majority has voted to end legal recognition for trans people. The new law defines gender as based on chromosomes at birth.

    Per Una Hajdari:

    Sources indicate that Polish diplomats were at the event as well. As someone who has reported on the anti-LGBT sentiments in Poland, I never thought pro-LGBT activists would be able to use the "you had a gay gang-bang in Brussels" argument against the right-wing PiS government.

    Per Szabolcs Panyi:

    The Bubble Bunga sex scandal isn’t over yet: Estonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that one of the diplomats partying naked with MEP József Szájer in Brussels was Estonian, from the right-wing EKRE.

    David Manzheley, the host of the Brussels gay sex orgy, states that Polish police are trying to discredit him with a ‘fake warrant’ because one of his guests was a high-ranking right-wing PiS official of Poland’s Ministry of Justice.

    According to Manzheley, 9 politicians from Orban's Fidesz have participated in orgies. He also said that 4 members of Poland's PiS attend 2-3 times per year "for specific orgies." According to him, they are not MEPs, but functionaries like MPs or hold government positions.

  • 4. VIRick  |  December 1, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    2020 Election Up-Date

    As of 1 December 2020, 38 states have already certified their election results, while 13 additional jurisdictions must still do so. In the popular vote for president, Biden has 80,938,322 votes (51.3%) to Trump's 74,084,117 votes (46.9%), meaning that Biden garnered 6,854,205 more votes than the petulant sore LOSER. As for electoral college votes, Biden is on track to receive 306 to the Orange Menace's 232.

    In the House of Representatives, two more races have been called, CA-21 and CA-25, both being narrow wins for the GOP. The Democrats have now secured 222 seats to the Republicans' 211, including the R v. R run-off in LA-5. Only 2 other races remain to be determined, IA-2 and NY-22.

    The results in IA-2 have been certified as a six-vote lead for Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, but Democrat Rita Hart’s campaign has stated that they will dispute the result.

    The results in NY-22 have not been certified, but Republican Claudia Tenney tentatively leads Democrat Anthony Brindisi by only 12 votes. However, there are still 2,500 disputed absentee and provisional ballots that may or may not be counted. A court will consider their fate starting on Monday, 7 December.

    And of course, there are still the two Senate seats from Georgia that will be determined in the 5 January 2021 run-off.

    More 2020 Election Up-Date

    As of 3 December 2020, 44 states and DC have certified their election results. Thus, according to Ballotpedia, only 6 states remain to certify: Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and California.

    In the popular vote, Biden has garnered 81,256,917 votes to Trump's 74,208,375 votes, pushing Biden ahead by 7,048,542 votes. With this up-dated tally, Biden crosses yet another milestone, having surpassed the Orange Menace by more than 7 million votes!

    Count-down – 47 days

  • 5. VIRick  |  December 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Consent Decree in "EEOC/Stephens v. Harris Funeral Homes"

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In light of the Supreme Court's ruling on the matter, the litigation between the EEOC and Harris Funeral Homes is concluded by a consent decree, pursuant to which Harris will pay $130,000 in back pay and compensatory damages to Aimee Stephens’ estate and an additional $120,000 in attorney fees to Stephens’ attorneys. The company will also pay a total of $3,705 in clothing benefits for the period of September 2012 to the present, to be divided among approximately 17 female front-facing employees (given that male front-facing employees were provided with suits free of charge, while female employees were required to fend for themselves). Harris will also pro­vide anti-discrimination training, revise its anti-discrimination policy, and implement new procedures for handling discrimination complaints.

    The Consent Decree of 30 November 2020 is here:

    The press release from the EEOC regarding the lawsuit and its final settlement is here:

  • 6. VIRick  |  December 3, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Netherlands: Government Apologizes/Compensates Trans/Intersex Individuals for Forced Sterilizations

    On Tuesday, 2 December 2020, the Dutch government issued a formal apology to transgender and intersex citizens who were required to undergo sterilization surgeries to legally change their gender and agreed to compensate some of those who underwent the procedures. The law, which was in place from 1985 to 2014, mandated that trans and intersex people had to undergo sterilization surgeries in order to change their official gender registration.

    The government agreed to pay 5,000 euros to about 2,000 trans people who had the sterilization surgeries. Specifically, Education, Culture, and Science Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven and Law Minister Sander Dekker issued the apology.

    Per ILGA-Europe:
    The Dutch government took the historic decision that trans people who were forcibly sterilized between 1985 and 2014 should be paid compensation. Worldwide, this action makes the Netherlands the second nation after Sweden to do so, and was the result of a long fight by trans activists.

    Several countries in the European Union, including Finland and the Czech Republic, still require sterilization surgeries for trans people who wish to change their legal gender. And in the Américas, so too does Cuba and Panamá.

  • 7. VIRick  |  December 4, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Switzerland Set to Be Next Country to Legalize Marriage Equality

    Both chambers of the Swiss legislature have now passed marriage equality bills. Today, 4 December 2020, the Council of States, the upper house of Switzerland’s legislature, passed the law that would legalize marriage equality in a 22-15 vote, with seven abstentions (and 2 absences). The lower house, the National Council, already passed the bill this past June.

    Importantly, the Council of States rejected a motion that would have required a nationwide constitutional referendum on marriage equality, one which would have significantly delayed the law. However, one of the major questions in the legislative process was whether the bill would allow lesbian women to use sperm banks in Switzerland, and the bills passed by both chambers allow for it, stirring opposition from the Christian Democratic Party. The wife of the parent who gives birth to the child will also be listed on the birth certificate as the child’s second mother, but only if a couple goes to an officially recognized sperm bank.

    The bill now goes back to the National Council for final approval and is expected to pass before the end of the current year.

    Enfin le «oui» du Conseil des États! La Chambre haute du Parlement suisse a approuvé aujourd’hui, par 22 voix contre 15, le projet de mariage égalitaire comprenant la PMA. Tandis qu’en Commission, une courte majorité s’était dégagée pour reprendre presque intégralement le texte approuvé en juin par le Conseil National (comprenant la PMA).

    Finally the "yes" of the Council of States! The upper house of the Swiss parliament today approved, by 22 votes to 15, the marriage equality proposal including PMA. While in Committee, a narrow majority had emerged to adopt almost the entire text approved in June by the National Council (including PMA).

    PMA = procréation médicalement assistée (medically assisted reproduction)

    Note: The vote in the 46-member Council of States was always considered to be the problematic vote. Each of the 20 full cantons have two members each, while each of the 6 half-cantons have one member each, giving excess weight to the low population, Catholic, German-speaking cantons of the central/eastern Alpine region of Switzerland. In some sense, this measure barely passed. But fortunately, 7 members abstained, and 2 more apparently were absent, as 22 voting in favor does not constitute a majority of the membership. If all members had been present and voting, one would have needed 24 votes to assure passage.

  • 8. scream4ever  |  December 4, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    It will likely eventually go to a referendum, and I have no doubt that it will pass.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  December 4, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler has been donating her Senate salary to an anti-LGBTQ group

    Her opponent in the special run-off election is Rev. Raphael Warnock. He is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ rights.

    Covenant Care Adoptions is a nonprofit adoption and counseling agency that compares loving gay relationships to bestiality and refuses to work with LGBTQ people.

    “The term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union,” the group’s Statement of Faith reads. All prospective clients must agree with the statement and “share these beliefs.”

    It adds that “any form of sexual immorality (including… homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God.”

    The statement also attacks transgender people, saying, “Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.”

    Last September, Loeffler sponsored a bill to ban trans girls from school sports. The bill, which served to signal Loeffler’s allegiance to the Trump base, could be interpreted to require genital exams for girls who want to compete in school sports.

    Rev. Warnock has a long track record in support of LGBTQ people. As the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor, he has carried on King’s tradition of advocating civil rights, while including the LGBTQ community.

    “There are gay sisters and brothers all around us,” Warnock told his congregation in 2012.“The church needs to be honest about human sexuality. Some of them are on the usher board, they greeted you this morning.”

    After the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016, Warnock noted how anti-LGBTQ rhetoric contributes to hate crimes. “This is a time to grieve, to mourn, and to consider what it means to stigmatize people,” Warnock said. “Religious communities have played a particular role in… marginalizing gay and lesbian and transgender people.”

  • 10. VIRick  |  December 4, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    California Certifies Election Results, Gives Biden Electoral College Majority

    California certified its election results on Friday, 4 December 2020, and appointed 55 electors pledged to vote for Democrat Joe Biden, officially providing him the Electoral College majority needed to win the White House.

    California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s formal approval of Biden’s win in the state brought his tally of pledged electors so far to 279, according to a tally by the Associated Press, pushing Biden over the 270-vote threshold for victory.

    According to this report, there are only 3 states still remaining to certify their election results: Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), and New Jersey (14), with all 27 electoral college votes slated for Biden. An earlier report, from Ballotpedia, was based on the various states' deadline dates for certification. However, it is also obvious that a number of states can and have certified their results prior to their own deadline date.

    In Colorado, 62 of 63 counties have certified their election results. The Gunnison County clerk's office was hit with a Covid-19 outbreak and will certify as soon as possible, after which the state can then certify all elections statewide.

    And here is Hawaii's story with its delay:

  • 11. Fortguy  |  December 5, 2020 at 12:51 am

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A 3 1/2-year ban on new local ordinances aimed at protecting LGBT rights in North Carolina expired Tuesday, prompting gay rights groups to urge the passage of such measures now.

    Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper agreed to the moratorium in March 2017 in exchange for GOP lawmakers agreeing to do away with several portions of a “bathroom bill” that Republicans had approved a year earlier.

    A key disputed section of House Bill 2 directed transgender people to use public bathrooms matching their biological sex instead of the gender they identify with. It drew national condemnation and prompted several large corporations and sports teams to relocate events to other states or reconsider expanding in North Carolina.

    As the moratorium ended, leaders of Equality North Carolina and the Campaign for Southern Equality on Tuesday urged North Carolina residents to contact leaders of cities and urge them to expand anti-discrimination laws for the LGBT community. The moratorium had barred new local ordinances related to private employment, hotels and restaurants.

    “We can finally begin writing a new chapter for LGBTQ North Carolinians, one where no one is left vulnerable to discrimination based on who they are or who they love,” Allison Scott, policy director for the Campaign for Southern Equality, said in a news release.

    Beau Mills, executive director of the North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition, said before the ban ended that he wasn’t aware of any city planning to pass new ordinances right away. “I am aware that cities, some municipalities, are certainly looking at it,” Mills told The News & Observer of Raleigh.

    Although the legislature that convenes in January will still be controlled by Republicans, the party lacks a veto-proof majority and will have limited options to cancel any local ordinances that might be passed. Cooper was reelected in November. The GOP has shown little interest in passing statewide protections for the LGBT community.

    Associated Press: North Carolina’s Ban On Cities Passing LGBTQ Rights Ordinances Expires

  • 12. VIRick  |  December 6, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Northern Ireland: LGBT Civil Unions Can Now Be Converted to Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 7 December 2020, the leading gay rights campaigner, Cara McCann, will go with her partner, Amanda McGurk, to Belfast City Hall and become one of the first same-sex couples in Northern Ireland to convert their civil partnership into marriage, as today is the date upon which the landmark legislation comes into effect that allows for said legal change, which many see as the "final hurdle" for marriage equality for the LGBT community.

    There are more than 1,300 couples in civil partnerships in the north who can now convert their status to that of marriage. Couples in Northern Ireland will have a three-year window during which they can convert to married status through an administrative process. Fees will be waived during the first year. In Belfast, seventeen couples are expected to convert their civil partnerships to marriages today, with a total of 32 planned for this week.

  • 13. JayJonson  |  December 7, 2020 at 8:37 am

    SCOTUS rejects appeal in Oregon case involving parents who objected to trans students using the bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.

    The Supreme Court declined Monday to take up an appeal from parents in Oregon who want to prevent transgender students from using locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender with which they identify, rather than their sex assigned at birth.

    The case came from a school district near Salem, Oregon’s capital city. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco had upheld a Dallas, Oregon, school district policy that allows transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.

    Parents sued over the policy in 2017, saying it caused embarrassment and stress.

    (I assume that Gorsuch and Roberts and Kavanaugh refused to join Thomas, Alioto, and Barnett in granting cert. In any case, I hope that at least 5 of the Justices believe in stare decisis.)

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