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Pre-inauguration news update

Community/Meta Discrimination

President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated tomorrow, January 20, but there is already important breaking LGBT news:

– The Washington Blade reports that Biden’s pick for Secretary of Defense supports lifting the ban on servicemembers who are transgender.

– Biden’s pick for Secretary of State said that US embassies will be able to fly the pride flag and that he will “reaffirm that the international principles of nondiscrimination should apply to gender identity and sexual orientation.”

We will post more updates on the new administration’s policies in the coming days.


  • 1. VIRick  |  January 19, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Dominican Republic and the Likelihood of Marriage Equality

    As one understands current law in the Dominican Republic and its legal interpretation, the High Court has a green light to render the following rulings, and is being pushed there by the need to comply with the marriage equality ruling, OC24/17 of the CIDH, and by their own internal evaluations.

    Per MiTVHD:

    Alta Corte pudiera tutelar el derecho al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, así como adoptar hijos y constituirse en una familia. Se abordó el matrimonio LGBT en evaluaciones CNM (Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura).

    The High Court could protect the right to marriage between same-sex couples, as well as to adopt children and to form a family. LGBT marriage was addressed in the evaluations of the CNM (National Council of the Magistracy).

    The National Council of the Magistracy (Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura-CNM) is the Dominican constitutional body responsible for appointing judges of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, and the Superior Electoral Court of the Dominican Republic. The CNM is also the organ called upon to conduct performance evaluations of judges of the Supreme Court.

  • 2. VIRick  |  January 21, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Maryland/Virginia: Bills to Ban LGBTQ "Panic" Defense Introduced

    Lawmakers in both Maryland and Virginia have introduced bills that would ban the so-called LGBTQ "panic" defense in their respective states.

    Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) last week introduced House Bill 2132, which states that a victim’s actual or perceived personal characteristics that include gender identity or sexual orientation is not a defense to murder or other violent acts. On Monday, 18 January 2021, the Manassas Democrat, the first openly trans person elected to a state legislature in the US, presented a budget amendment for the bill, as required by state law. The bill is expected to come up in sub-committee this week.

    On Tuesday, 19 January 2021, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on House Bill 231, sponsored by Del. Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Montgomery County) and state Sen. Clarence Lam (D-Baltimore and Howard Counties.)

    “As one of the members of the LGBT Caucus here in Maryland, this is a bill that is long overdue,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) told the Washington Blade. “And I certainly look forward to moving it out of my committee.” Clippinger said he expects the bill to pass in the House of Delegates again and at least reach the state Senate, where it died last session due to an early closure because of the pandemic.

    On 11 January 2021, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation that bans the so-called LGBTQ "panic" defense in the nation’s capital. According to the National LGBT Bar Association, DC and 11 states currently ban the use of this legal strategy; which it defines as defendants blaming a victim’s perceived gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation for the violence committed against them, often in exchange for a reduction in charges.

  • 3. VIRick  |  January 22, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    New York: Bill to Repeal "Walking While Trans" Law

    The New York state legislature will consider repealing a law that has become known as the “Walking While Trans” ban. A bill proposed in the state senate would repeal an archaic loitering law that was meant to limit prostitution, but has instead been widely used against transgender individuals.

    Out gay state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D), who introduced this proposal, said that “we need to get rid of the overly broad and archaic statute that allows transgender women of color, immigrants, and LGBT youth to be profiled just because of the way they look.”

    The law was passed in 1976, and is currently codified as Section 240.37 of the state Penal Law. Under the rule, also known as the Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution law, law enforcement in the Empire State can “arbitrarily arrest and detain” anyone walking or standing on the street under the justification that they are “suspicious” or appear to be “loitering for the purpose of prostitution.”

  • 4. VIRick  |  January 22, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    Pete Buttigieg's Senate Confirmation Hearing for Transportation Secretary

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 21 January 2021, the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee held a confirmation hearing for Pete Buttigieg as the next Transportation Secretary. "I would like to take a moment to introduce my husband Chasten who is here with me today."

    The video of the hearing is here:

  • 5. VIRick  |  January 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Taiwan: Draft Bill Recognizes International Marriages between Same-Sex Couples

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Judicial Yuan approved law changes that would allow bi-national LGBT couples to marry, except for those wherein which the non-Taiwanese partner is from China; the changes must still be approved by both the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan:

    On 22 January 2021, the Judicial Yuan approved draft revisions to a law that would grant recognition to all international same-sex marriages, except for those involving a partner from China (but which would include those from both Hong Kong and Macau, as their relationship to Taiwan is governed by a separate law), and stated that it would send said revisions to the Legislative Yuan for review. The changes would apply to Article 46 of the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements (涉外民事法律適用法), which presently notes that “the formation of a marriage is governed by the national law of each party.”

    In practice, this has meant that same-sex couples involving a partner from a country in which same-sex marriage is not recognized are not allowed to marry in Taiwan, nor have a marriage conducted in a third country be legally recognized (in Taiwan).

  • 6. VIRick  |  January 22, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Honduras: Congress Votes to Lock in Bans on Abortion, Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Lawmakers voted to amend the Honduran constitution to require a 3/4 vote, (instead of the current 2/3 vote,) in order to remove constitutional bans on both abortion and marriage equality. Said amendment requires a second 2/3 vote next year in order to pass:

    On Thursday, 21 January 2021, members of the Honduran Congress voted to amend the constitution, making it much more difficult to reverse existing hard-line bans on abortion and same-sex marriage, as lawmakers doubled down on socially conservative priorities. Lawmakers voted to require a three-quarters super-majority to change a constitutional article that already gives a fetus the same legal status as that of a person, and for another that currently states that civil marriage in the Central American nation can only be between a man and a woman.

    With 88 legislators in favor, 28 opposed, 7 abstentions, (and 5 absent), the proposal will still need a second vote in the unicameral legislature next year before it is enacted into law. Currently, all constitutional changes require a two-thirds majority vote of the 128-member body (twice, two years in succession).

    For a 2/3 majority, 86 members must approve. For a 3/4 majority, 96 must do so.

  • 7. VIRick  |  January 22, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Lawyers Representing Capitol Insurrectionists Building Damning Case against Trump

    Attorneys representing people arrested in connection with the Capitol riot and insurrection are focusing on Trump, blaming him for inciting the deadly siege with his spread of disinformation about the election. Said allegations bolster House Democrats' impeachment case against Trump and expose him to more legal risk.

    The rioters were adamant when they stormed the US Capitol: Joe Biden and the Democrats had stolen the 2020 election from Trump. Congress was not doing anything to stop it, so it was up to patriotic Americans like themselves to "save" the country.

    Now, many of the insurrectionists, facing a multitude of federal charges and lacking the protection of a presidential pardon, are changing their tune and laying the blame for their actions squarely at the former president's feet. It's an inconvenient development for Trump, who is not only staring down a looming Senate impeachment trial, but also may face criminal liability for his actions.

  • 8. davepCA  |  January 22, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    …and it's a "lose-lose" for all of them. It makes Trump look worse and provides a ton of evidence against him and his actions, and at the same time results in the 'arguments' from the individual rioters stink like a steaming pile of "I vas only following orduhs!". I don't think it's going to pay off well for any of them. Good.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  January 22, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    Hungary imposes 'traditional values' disclaimer for LGBT books

    In Hungary, authorities have decided to force a disclaimer onto a book launched by a sexual minority rights publisher. Prime minister Viktor Orban, whose right-wing Fidesz party has adopted increasingly hostile rhetoric and policies towards LGBT groups, called it “homosexual propaganda.” The disclaimer states that the fairytale conveys values that are different from the original, traditional, familial, values of Hungary.

    Luca Dudits thinks this ruling is discriminatory. She is the Communications Officer at Háttér Society, a non-governmental LGBT organisation in Hungary. "The whole ruling is completely discriminatory and unconstitutional because to just slam a book that depicts characters from marginalised social groups is just completely discriminatory. Our issue is that you cannot just say that consumers need to be warned that the book is depicting behavior deviating from traditional gender rules as the ruling says – because this is not something a democracy can do."

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  January 22, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Seoul education office’s push to protect LGBT students and eradicate discrimination at schools is facing opposition

    The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education’s inclusion of protecting “LGBT students” in the 2021-23 draft plan to protect the human rights of students has become a source of contention, with opponents claiming that such a clause would “encourage homosexuality” in schools.

    To better protect minority students under the policy goal of “ensuring students’ safety and welfare,” the SMOE pledged to raise awareness of minority students through education and set out guidelines to prevent discrimination and hate speech. In the section for sexual-minority students, the education office said it will develop and distribute educational materials aimed at improving gender equality and awareness at schools. It also plans to dispatch inspectors to investigate human rights violations facing LGBT students and consult them.

    A petition against the draft plan for human rights protection was uploaded on the SMOE’s website on Jan. 12, on which more than 31,000 people signed as of Friday noon. This is the largest number of signatures a petition on the website has ever garnered. The Seoul education office gives an official response to any petition with more than 10,000 signatures.

    In the face of strong opposition, the Seoul education office removed the word “sexual minorities” from its 2018-20 plan for students’ rights protection.

    Sexual-minority students appear to be more vulnerable to hate speech and discrimination at schools in Korea, which largely remains intolerant of LGBT people, a 2014 survey by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea showed. According to a survey of 200 adolescent sexual minorities aged 13 to 18, 92 percent of the respondents said they had experienced hate speech, 80 percent of whom said it was from their teachers.

  • 11. VIRick  |  January 23, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Japan: More Municipalities Issuing LGBT Partnership Certificates

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A number of additional municipalities in Japan have begun issuing LGBT partnership certificates to couples during this current month, January 2021, including: Higashikagawa, Miura, Yoshinogawa, Hiroshima, and Akashi, while another 22 municipalities are scheduled to begin issuing them in the next several months.

    There are 1719 municipalities in Japan, 812 of which are cities, and the remaining 907 being towns and villages. About 100 individual municipalities, most being cities with massive populations, now offer LGBT partnership certificates, as do 3 entire prefectures (of 47). The complete list, as compiled in November 2020, is here:

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  January 24, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    Son of homophobic Nigerian politician comes out as "gay AF"

  • 13. VIRick  |  January 24, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    Mexico: AMLO Diagnosed with COVID-19

    On 24 January 2021, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is presently undergoing treatment. In the meantime, the Secretaría de Gobernación, Olga Sánchez Cordero, has been designated to govern in his stead.

    Olga Sánchez Cordero is a former justice of Mexico's Supreme Court who issued multiple pro-marriage-equality rulings, most importantly, the June 2015 jurisprudence, during her 21 years on the court (January 1995 – November 2015).

    Earlier on the same date, in separate news from Zimbabwe, it has been reported that 4 cabinet ministers have died from the effects of COVID-19.

  • 14. Fortguy  |  January 25, 2021 at 2:25 am

    The cabinet post "Secretaría de Gobernación" roughly corresponds to the Secretary of the Interior in U.S. governance.

    I am so very disappointed in AMLO. I had so much hope in him and MORENA for demonstrating such huge support, even in the conservative North, for the party's progressive platform including LGBT rights. While the party has largely delivered on the LGBT front, it has squandered it's chance to transform Mexico on other issues due to AMLO's reliance on populist, Trumpist methods. AMLO, like Trump, has refused to recognize the seriousness of the pandemic believing that acknowledging it would suppress the economy when just the opposite has proven true. Like Trump, he is incapable of leadership but rather professes his privilege to lead merely out of his self-perceived awesomeness. Worst of all, he is effectively paying for Trump's wall through the deployment of the country's military on the northern and southern borders to perform civil immigration duties. He has chosen to be as much of a poodle to Trump as Trump has been to Putin. All reports are that he's worried about Biden even though the Democrats are less ideologically hostile to his own party's platform.

    I'm just glad that basic LGBT rights will be chiseled into stone before the PRI or PAN inevitably wins the next election.

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