Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

2/8 open thread


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  February 8, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    Argentina: First Catholic Church Wedding of a Transgender (Same-Sex) Couple

    Needless to say, Ushuaia, Argentina, has done it again with yet another "first:"

    To begin, we start with some history and background. The very first state-sanctioned civil marriage of a same-sex couple in all of Latin America, one that occurred via judicial amparo prior to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriages in Argentina on 22 July 2010, took place in Ushuaia on 28 December 2009. Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego province, at the southern tip of South America.

    The couple in today's headlines, Victoria Castro (but prior to transitioning) and Pablo López Silva, government officials and residents of Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, were married by civil means as a same-sex couple in Ushuaia on 8 December 2011, about two years after the very first same-sex couple were married in the same location.

    In 2013, Victoria then transitioned and assumed her current name.

    On 6 February 2021, a bit over 9 years after their civil marriage, the couple had a church-sanctioned (approved by the bishop) wedding (boda) at la Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Merced, in the center of Ushuaia, presided over by Padre Fabián of the Salesian order of Catholic priests. The bride wore black in homage of her companions (compañeras) who were unable to accomplish this dream. Among the guests, the ceremony was attended by the current provincial governor, Gustavo Melilla, various members of his cabinet, and by the ex-governor, Fabiana Ríos, during whose tenure the very first civil marriage of a same-sex couple took place in Latin America, one that happened in the very same city.

    At the end of this extended news article, there is this additional note:

    El primer antecedente de una boda trans en el país (de Argentina) tuvo lugar en 2014 en Santiago del Estero, cuando el cura párroco Sergio Lamberti, de la Parroquia del Espíritu Santo, bendijo la pareja conformada por José Leonardo Coria y Luisa Lucía Paz, dirigente de la Asociación de Travestis, Transexuales, y Transgéneros de la Argentina (ATTTA), que llevaban 29 años de convivencia.

    The first antecedent of a transgender wedding in the country (of Argentina) took place in 2014 in Santiago del Estero, when the parish priest Sergio Lamberti of la Parroquia del Espíritu Santo, blessed the couple formed by José Leonardo Coria and Luisa Lucía Paz, leader of the Association of Travestis, Transexuales, y Transgéneros of Argentina (ATTTA), who had been living together for 29 years.

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 9, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    Veracruz: Up-Date on "Action of Unconstitutionality" Case at Supreme Court

    As of 9 February 2021, 8 months after the passage of the Veracruz civil unions law for same-sex couples, the "Action of Unconstitutionality" against the state of Veracruz is approaching the halfway point in its wait for a ruling by Mexico's Supreme Court. Said case, 144/2020, is presently case 144 (of 324) pending resolution. At this rate, Veracruz should have marriage equality in another 7-8 months, that is, by late 2021. Focusing on the definition of the terms utilized in the civil unions law passed on 10 June 2020, all of the following 21 articles of the state Civil Code have been challenged on the grounds that "separate" is not "equal:"

    "Artículos 47, 48, 77, la Fracción (sic) XI del Artículo 92, 98, 100, 132, 139, 139 TER, 141, 142, 144, 145, 148, 151, 241, 242 TER, 252 BIS, 254 SEPTIES, 687, y 725, en las porciones normativas que se detallan en los conceptos de invalidez, relativos a ‘matrimonio,’ ‘concubinato,’ ‘sociedad conyugal,’ ‘cónyuges’ y ‘cónyuge,’ ‘excónyuge’ y ‘excónyuges,’ y ‘divorcio,’ del Código Civil para el Estado de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, reformados y adicionados mediante Decreto número 569 publicado en la Gaceta Oficial del Estado de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, el día 10 de junio de 2020, en el Núm. Ext. 232 (sic) Tomo II."

    Most of the remaining 11 recalcitrant states face lawsuits for "Legislative Omission." Four such challenges have been accepted by the Supreme Court against the state of Yucatán alone. Similar "Legislative Omission" suits have also been accepted against Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, while others have been filed against Sonora, Guanajuato, Querétaro, and Edomex. Of the 4 remaining states, both Zacatecas and Guerrero already have marriage equality by municipal legislation (or by fiat based upon Supreme Court jurisprudence) within certain municipalities, including the most populous cities, even without statewide legislation, as does Querétaro. Seemingly, this only leaves the last 2 states, Durango and Tabasco, with little or no forward movement on marriage equality.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  February 10, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Angola Just Decriminalized Same-Sex Sexual Relationships

    A new law decriminalizing same-sex sexual relations has gone into effect today in Angola. The new law overturned a colonial-era “vice against nature” provision that was seen as a ban on homosexual relations. The changes were passed in January of 2019 by Angola’s parliament, but was not signed into law by the country’s president until November 2020. The new law also prohibits discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation.

    The move comes against a backdrop of continued violence against the LGBTQ+ community on the continent. In 2019, the leader of Uganda likened queer people to “terrorists” and last year police violently assaulted queer Nigerians peacefully protesting police violence against the community. Also last year, the government of Tunisia forcefully pushed back against efforts to recognize marriage equality after local officials had apparently recognized a marriage between two men conducted in France.

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 10, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    Michigan: Signature Drive for LGBT Anti-Discrimination Legal Rights Appears Successful

    LGBTQ advocates in Michigan have been trying to have civil rights protections passed in that state through a massive petition drive. They will likely actually succeed.

    A coalition of 37 organizations led by Fair and Equal Michigan say they have gathered 530,000 signatures for a petition to have the state legislature vote on a law that would define “sex” in state anti-discrimination legislation to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. To date, Michigan never passed a law that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Instead, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission decided in 2018 that it would treat anti-LGBTQ discrimination as a form of sex-based discrimination.

    But mere months later, the state’s then-Attorney-General Bill Schuette (R) issued a legal opinion that declared the commission’s decision “invalid.” So the organizations took matters into their own hands and put a petition together to add protections for LGBTQ people to the state’s anti-discrimination law. They needed 340,047 signatures. They obtained 530,000. They will be submitting 483,461.

    Once the petition has been certified, the state’s House and Senate will be required to vote on the measure within 40 days. They can not pass amendments; the legislature must either accept the entire proposal or send it to the ballot, where residents of the state will then be able to vote on it in 2022.

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 10, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Serbia: Law Regulating Same-Sex Unions and Marriage Being Drafted

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 9 February 2021, the first step toward legalizing same-sex marriages was made by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, which announced the starting points for drafting a law on same-sex unions. The public debate will last until 20 February, and the law should be adopted in Parliament by this summer.

    In Article 2, the draft law says the following: “A same-sex union is a family union of two adults of the same sex that is registered before the competent public authority in accordance with the provisions of this law. The terms used in this law and in the regulations adopted on the basis thereof shall have a gender meaning, regardless of whether they are listed in the male or female gender, and shall include without discrimination females and males.”

    According to the draft law, the partners in a same-sex union have the right to an inheritance which is equal to the rights of a heterosexual couple. In addition, the issue of inheritance of a pension is regulated.

  • 6. ianbirmingham  |  February 12, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Serbia making progress here is highly significant because "Serbia and Russia are both predominantly Slavic and Eastern Orthodox countries and share a strong mutual cultural affinity; this has been strongly maintained despite Serbia's attempt to integrate within the West" and because Russia is a notorious exemplar of homophobia. Serbia represents a cultural gateway into Russia. If Serbia legalizes same-sex marriage, this proves to Russians that a Slavic Eastern Orthodox culture need not be homophobic.

  • 7. VIRick  |  February 10, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    The Impeachment Trial; Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) Presents Film Footage of Insurrection

    The chilling, unseen footage of a riotous mob storming through the US Capitol intent on killing Vice-President Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was presented to senators by a non-voting member of Congress from the Virgin Islands. Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), a former prosecutor in the Bronx couldn’t even vote on the article of impeachment against Trump, but in her role as impeachment manager, she has emerged in the Senate trial as a commanding presence entrusted with the grave task of showing how dangerously close the rioters came to lawmakers and staff members on 6 January.

    “The vice president, the speaker of the House, the first and second in line to the presidency, were performing their constitutional duties presiding over the election certification, and they were put in danger,” Plaskett said. “Trump put a target on their backs, and his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down.” At the beginning of her evening presentation, Plaskett, 54, shared that she’d been in the Capitol on another harrowing day when all the lives of those working inside were in danger. On 11 September 2001, Plaskett was a staffer in the House, and she reflected on how she might be dead if Flight 93 had reached the Capitol as planned.

    “When I think of that and I think of these insurgents, these images, incited by our own president of the United States, attacking this Capitol to stop the certification of a presidential election,” she said, enunciating each syllable, then pausing before adding, “our democracy, our republic.”

    Before returning to her ancestral home in the Virgin Islands, Plaskett spent much of her career in Washington. She attended Georgetown University for her undergraduate degree and American University for law school. Then a Republican, she worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill and in the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration. She became a Democrat in 2008 ahead of her first unsuccessful run for delegate in the Virgin Islands in 2012. She won the seat in 2014. Her selection to the managers' team is a reunion of sorts with Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-MD), the lead House impeachment manager, an opportunity to learn again from her former law professor at American University.

    Plaskett presented previously unreleased police communication audio and security footage with a passionate stoicism. Like the skilled prosecutor that she is, she let the drama unfold and the facts tell the story. She showed surveillance video of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), moving unknowingly toward the mob when he encounters US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who turns him in the opposite direction, as Romney breaks into a run. It was the first time Romney had seen that footage and how close he had come to confronting the violent mob.

    Plaskett, citing an FBI affidavit, said the rioters would have killed anyone, “including Nancy Pelosi. And that, quote, ‘They would have killed Vice-President Mike Pence if given the chance.’ They were talking about assassinating the vice-president of the United States,” Plaskett said. She showed how the mob spread out through the Capitol searching for Pelosi, and that so grave was the threat to her life that she was taken to an off-site location away from the Capitol complex.

  • 8. VIRick  |  February 11, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    Biden Administration's Ban on Anti-LGBT Discrimination in Housing Implemented

    The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a memo on 11 February “stating that HUD interprets the Fair Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and directed HUD offices and recipients of HUD funds to enforce the Act accordingly,” says a HUD press release.

    HUD is the first agency to actually implement President Biden’s executive order directing federal government departments to follow the findings of the "Bostock v. Clayton County" Supreme Court decision, which held that existing law banning sex discrimination also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Biden signed that executive order on 20 January, his first day in office.

    The "Bostock" ruling dealt with employment discrimination, covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but HUD’s legal team determined “that the Fair Housing Act’s sex discrimination provisions are comparable in text and purpose to those of Title VII,” the press release states.

  • 9. VIRick  |  February 12, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Nebraska: Committee Advances Bill to Repeal State Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A proposed ballot measure that would remove Nebraska’s unenforceable same-sex marriage ban from the state constitution is headed to the full unicameral Legislature for debate. On 11 February 2021, the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee advanced the proposed constitutional amendment.

    The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, of Lincoln, argues that voters should have the chance to strip the ban out of the Nebraska state Constitution, even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that such restrictions violate the US Constitution and can not be enforced. Pansing Brooks says putting the issue on the ballot would allow voters to show that public attitudes toward same-sex marriage have changed in Nebraska.

    Nebraska is peculiar in several aspects, as Nebraska was the only state that ever enacted a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that never had a statutory ban on the same subject. It is also the only state with a unicameral legislature. So, once approved by the full legislature, this measure is off to the voters for their approval.

  • 10. Fortguy  |  February 12, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    There are other aspects that make Nebraska peculiar. It's unicameral lawmaking body is called the Legislature, but individual legislators are called senators. This is because the House of Representatives of the formerly bicameral Legislature was abolished in the 1930s. With only 49 senators, the state has the smallest legislative body of any state. Senators are elected to staggered, four-year terms.

    The Legislature is also unique in that the senators are elected on nonpartisan ballots in a jungle primary with the November election in even-numbered years serving as a runoff where necessary. The senators have no party conferences, and coalitions ebb and flow according to geography or issues involving specific legislation. Nevertheless, candidates proudly proclaim their partisan affiliations while campaigning, and the state parties commonly endorse candidates. Now you have all the "fun facts" you never wanted to know about Nebraska.

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 12, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Here are more obscure "fun-facts" that tie Nebraska to both Guam and the US Virgin Islands, as all three have unicameral Legislatures with elected members called Senators:

    The Legislature of Guam is the law-making body for the US territory of Guam. The unicameral legislative branch consists of 15 Senators, each serving for a two-year term without term limits. All members of the legislature are elected "at-large." Currently, 8 are Democrats and 7 are Republican.

    The Legislature of the Virgin Islands is the law-making body for the US territory of the US Virgin Islands. The unicameral legislative branch consists of 15 Senators, each serving for a two-year term without term limits. Seven members are elected from the St. Thomas-St. John district, seven from the St. Croix district, and one "at-large" (but resident on St. John). About half are non-partisan "independents," while the other half, usually the majority, are Democrats. There are no Republicans.

    The 13-member DC Council is also a unicameral elected body which serves as the legislature governing the District of Columbia, but it is difficult to compare it to any other jurisdiction.

  • 12. Fortguy  |  February 12, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    The populated territories can get away with these weird arrangements because they're unincorporated. Under the outdated insular cases, which are unfortunately still precedential, the territories belong to the United States but are not of the United States. If they should ever become incorporated and therefore become of the United States where the Constitution irrevocably follows the flag, the territorial legislatures would have to conform to the one-man-one-vote principles of the Reynolds v. Sims decision of 1964 which prohibits at-large districts.

  • 13. ianbirmingham  |  February 13, 2021 at 3:45 am

    The right to vote freely for the candidate of one's choice is of the essence of a democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government. And the right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen's vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the franchise. […] Undoubtedly, the right of suffrage is a fundamental matter in a free and democratic society. Especially since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil and political rights, any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized.

    –Chief Justice Earl Warren on the the right to vote as the foundation of democracy in Reynolds v. Sims (1964).

    Chief Justice Warren would be perfect for the many egregious gerrymandering cases that the current Justices have such a hard time deciding!

  • 14. Randolph_Finder  |  February 17, 2021 at 4:56 am

    DC's City Council's rules simply wouldn't fly in any state. DC has 8 wards each of which elect one representative, the other 5 seats are the Council Chairman and four other at-large seats (which are elected at offset elections, 2 in year 4N, 2 in year 4N+2). No more than three of the five seats elected citywide may be held by members of one party. What that means in practice for DC at this point is the 8 ward seats, the chairman and 2 of the at large seats are held by democrats and the two other at large seats are contested among the greens, independents, and DC Statehood party members. And yes, this does lead to occasions where politicians have been democrats since they first signed up to vote, holding a ward seat as a democrat and going independent because someone retired and they want to go for an at-large seat and there is already an incumbent democrat running for the other slot. No one here treats that as going rogue or anything, it just represents the intersection of political ambition and the wierd setup here.

    The last Republican on the City Council was Carol Schwartz, who served until 2009 and frankly would have been tossed out of the Republican party in half the states in the Country and burned at the stake in half a dozen more. (She went independent in 2014)

  • 15. VIRick  |  February 12, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Florida: Bill Introduced to Repeal State Statutory Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In Florida, state Democrats introduced a bill to repeal the defunct statutory ban on LGBT marriage/civil unions. However, do not expect state Republicans to allow a vote on it.

  • 16. VIRick  |  February 12, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    Virginia: Senate Passes Bill to Repeal Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in State Constitution

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Democratic state Sen. Adam Ebbin has sponsored SJ 270, a bill to replace language in the Virginia state Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman with an affirmative statement that the right to marry is fundamental “regardless of the sex or gender of the parties to the marriage.”

    On 5 February 2021, SJ 270 was passed by the Senate with a margin of 24 to 12. One day earlier, HJ 582, the House version, passed 60 to 33.

    In Virginia, though, overturning a state constitutional amendment is a two-year process, one that requires that two separate General Assembly sessions separated by a general election pass identical bills before a measure is put on the ballot for a public vote.

    So now, during the next session, the General Assembly will need to pass the exact same measure a second time, after which it will then be put before the voters. In Virginia, the statutory ban has already been repealed.

  • 17. VIRick  |  February 12, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    Several Important LGBT Thoughts Worth Remembering

    Per Daniel Berezowsky:

    Muchas personas LGBT crecemos con una duda permanente en la cabeza sobre si nuestra forma de hablar, caminar, vestir, o mostrar interés nos "delata" o pone en peligro. Es agotador. Como aliado, puedes hacer una gran diferencia si tomas consciencia de eso.

    También, las personas trans NO son personas que "sienten" que su género no corresponde con el sexo que les fue asignado al nacer. Mas bien, el sexo que se les asignó al nacer no corresponde con quienes son. Sutil pero importante distinción.

    Many LGBT people grow up with a permanent doubt in their heads about whether the way we talk, walk, dress, or show interest "gives us away" or places us in danger. Such is exhausting. As an ally, you can make a big difference if you become aware (are conscious) of that.

    Also, transgender individuals are NOT people who "feel" that their gender does not correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth. Rather, the sex they were assigned at birth does not correspond with who they are. A subtle but important distinction.

  • 18. VIRick  |  February 14, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    Para el Día de San Valentín (but be certain to unmute and enjoy):

    Per Robbye Oro:

    Demostremos en todo México que el amor siempre triunfa:

    Let's show throughout Mexico that love always triumphs:

    He throws in Baja California for extra measure, but otherwise correctly rattles off all 12 recalcitrant states in Mexico where same-sex marriages are still not performed statewide, in a well-choreographed, high-pitched, fast-paced, rhyming ditty, one that includes a map with which he simultaneously and quite rapidly pin-points each. The entire scolding video lasts all of 18 seconds. and contains 15 cuts.

  • 19. VIRick  |  February 14, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    New Jersey: Democrats Move to Codify Marriage Equality into State Statutes

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    “New Jersey does not have marriage equality as a right under our statutes,” Debra Guston, one of New Jersey's top family lawyers told InsiderNJ. “Our state right to marriage equality is by virtue of a lower court decision that stands because the state withdrew its appeal. This is the time to enshrine in our statutes the rights of same-sex couples to marry in order to make it more difficult for any court to interfere with those rights here in New Jersey.”

    “The proposed law will have a monumental impact that cuts across many areas including the obvious understanding of family law,” Tom Prol, the first gay president of the NJ Bar told InsiderNJ. “Court decisions can be reversed or overturned, subject to the determination of judges and justices. This proposed law cements marriage equality and the rights of committed same-sex couples and their families as a fixture in the Garden State’s statutory law books.”

  • 20. VIRick  |  February 14, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    New York State: Law Allowing Commercial Surrogacy Takes Effect 15 February 2021

    New York had been one of a handful of states outlawing commercial surrogacy. But now, the practice is about to become legal after years of activism by state Senator Brad Hoylman and his husband and a host of allies who finally overcame tenacious political opposition. The new law, passed in April 2020 and taking effect on Monday, 15 February 2021, has a surrogates’ bill of rights providing for the nation’s strongest protections for women serving as surrogates.

    The new law allows gestational surrogacy on a commercial basis, involving a surrogate who is not genetically related to the embryo. An egg is removed from the intended mother, fertilized with sperm, and then transferred to a surrogate — in contrast to so-called traditional surrogacy that involves an egg from the surrogate. The gestational option is welcomed by many LGBTQ people who want to be parents, as well as by couples struggling with infertility.

    With the change in New York, surrogacy advocates say only Louisiana and Michigan have laws explicitly prohibiting paid gestational surrogacy. Nebraska has no explicit ban, but a statute there says paid surrogacy contracts are unenforceable.

  • 21. VIRick  |  February 14, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Zacatecas State: 8 of 58 Municipalities Now Allow Same-Sex Couples to Marry

    (Daniela y Nallive), con cuna en el municipio de Guadalupe (estado de Zacatecas), ambas lograron dar certeza a su unión sin recurrir a amparos o viajar a otro estado, ya que efectuaron su matrimonio en el ayuntamiento de Zacatecas (estado de Zacatecas), uno de los ocho en el estado que han abierto sus puertas, sin restricción, a todas las parejas de la comunidad LGBTQ que deseen casarse.

    Born in the municipality of Guadalupe (Zacatecas state), both (Daniela and Nallive) managed to give certainty to their union without resorting to amparos or traveling to another state, since they have now given effect to their marriage at the Zacatecas municipal building (Zacatecas state), one of eight in the state that have opened their doors, without restriction, to all couples of the LGBTQ community who wish to marry.

    The most-recent previous report stated that 5 municipalities in Zacatecas state were allowing same-sex couples to marry based on Supreme Court jurisprudence, despite the fact that state law has yet to be modified. That number has since increased to 8. In Zacatecas state, the municipality of Guadaloupe, the third-largest city in the state, is a spill-over suburb abutting the state capital, Zacatecas city, on its eastern flank.

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  February 14, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Benny Gantz pushing to establish civil marriage in Israel

    Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White), who also serves as Israel’s Justice Minister, is pushing to recognize thousands of civil marriages of couples who do not meet the criteria for recognition by the chief rabbinate, Yediot Aharonot reported Monday morning.

    Last week, Gantz reportedly held a working meeting with senior Justice Ministry officials and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. With Mandelblit’s support, it was decided to draft a memorandum of law to permit couples who are unable to marry under the existing system to be registered by the State as married.

    The move would, if undertaken, would extend state recognition of marriages performed in Israel to same-sex marriages, as well as to interfaith couples.

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  February 15, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Texas Democrats push for statewide anti-discrimination law & against conversion therapy

    Democratic lawmakers and LGBTQ advocates acknowledge that the bills they’re pushing may not become law in the Republican-dominated state Legislature after Democrats underperformed their own expectations in November and made no gains in the House.

    Democrats also hoped the bipartisanship of having at least two Republicans sign on to the bill would increase its odds, but they lost one of their GOP allies in former state Rep. Sarah Davis of West University Place, who was ousted in the 2020 election.

    If Democrats can’t change the law, they hope to at least have hearings for bills that would amplify the voices of LGBTQ Texans to gather support and educate others in the state.

    “The Legislature is built not to be a very productive body. But if you can have a robust hearing, and have heartfelt testimony, that really resonates. That in it of itself is a victory,” said Israel, a founding member of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus. “It can be a reminder to the opposition that when you promote this kind of stuff, you're promoting hatred and division, and that's not the Texas that we all want.”

    While previous legislative sessions included heated disputes over bills that targeted LGBTQ people, members of the caucus are hopeful about future progress made in the Texas House under the leadership of the new House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont.

    Even if pro-LGBTQ bills get a hearing and pass the Texas House, they will likely face challenges in Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Senate. Patrick, whose spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, previously championed the battle in 2017 to pass the “bathroom bill.”

    While also trying to get bills over the finish line, LGBTQ advocates and caucus members are also turning their efforts to trying to prevent lawmakers from passing legislation that they say is discriminatory. One of the bills includes House Bill 1458 by State Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, which would ban transgender women from playing on single-sex sports teams designated for girls and women at public K-12 schools and universities.

  • 24. VIRick  |  February 15, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Yucatán: First Chamber of Supreme Court to Decide on Marriage Equality on 24 February

    La SCJN Decidirá el 24 de Febrero, Si el Congreso de Yucatán Debe Aprobar el Matrimonio Igualitario

    Esto caso abriría la puerta a que en otros estados en desacato reconozcan esta materia. El Colectivo por la Protección de Todas las Familias en Yucatán (Colectivo PTFY) informó que el próximo 24 de febrero la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) decidirá si el Congreso de Yucatán debe aprobar el matrimonio igualitario. Esta decisión se daría como producto de un amparo presentado por el colectivo en abril de 2019. De conceder el amparo, la Corte ordenaría al Congreso estatal corregir toda la legislación estatal en materia de matrimonio.

    "Corresponderá a las dos ministras y los tres ministros que conforman la Primera Sala de SCJN decidir si aprueban el proyecto de sentencia redactado por el ministro Juan Luis González Alcántara Carrancá, en el cual se declara que los Congresos estatales no pueden emitir normas que la jurisprudencia del Máximo Tribunal ya declaró incompatibles con la Constitución por discriminar a ciertos grupos históricamente excluidos," explicaron.

    Este amparo del caso del Colectivo PTFY contra el Congreso de Yucatán (Amparo en Revisión 413/2020) requiere al menos tres votos de los cinco ministros y ministras que conforman la Primera Sala de la SCJN para que se conceda el amparo. Con posterioridad a esta demanda, se presentaron similares en otros estados, como es el caso del amparo interpuesto el año pasado, 2020, por el Frente Queretano por el Derecho a la No Discriminación.

    This case would open the door for other states in contempt to recognize this matter. The Colectivo por la Protección de Todas las Familias en Yucatán (Colectivo PTFY) reported that on 24 February 2021 the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) will decide whether the Yucatán Congress must approve marriage equality. This decision would be given as a result of an amparo presented by the group in April 2019. By granting said amparo, the court would order the State Congress to correct all state legislation on marriage.

    "It will be up to the five justices who comprise the First Chamber of the SCJN to decide whether to approve the draft judgment drawn up by Justice Juan Luis González Alcántara Carrancá in which it is declared that state Congresses cannot issue laws that the jurisprudence of the Highest Court has already declared incompatible with the Constitution for discriminating against certain historically excluded groups," they explained.

    This protection in the case from the PTFY Collective against the Yucatán Congress (Amparo en Revisión 413/2020) requires at least three votes from the five justices who comprise the First Chamber of the SCJN in order for said amparo to be granted. Subsequent to this lawsuit, similar lawsuits were filed in other states, as is the case of the amparo filed in 2020 by the Queretano Front for the Right to Non-Discrimination.

  • 25. VIRick  |  February 15, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    "Action of Unconstitutionality" v. "Amparo en Revisión" for "Legislative Omission"

    Unlike the pending "Action of Unconstitutionality" already filed with the full Supreme Court (el Pleno) against the State of Veracruz, this "Amparo en Revisión" filed with the First Chamber of the Supreme Court against the State of Yucatán, and a series of similar lawsuits filed against most of the remaining recalcitrant states for "Legislative Omission," this decision will likely not automatically usher in marriage equality. But rather, said decision will order the state congress to make the required changes in law so as to allow for marriage equality. Otherwise, the State Congress will find itself in contempt of court.

    But here is the problem: the State Congresses of both Sinaloa and Tamaulipas have already been held to be in contempt of court for the same "legislative omission." Both were ordered to make the required changes in law to allow for marriage equality, and both were given a deadline date by which time they were to have completed said revisions. But to date, in both instances, nothing further has happened. No revised laws allowing marriage equality have materialized. All deadlines have come and gone. And no further penalties have yet been invoked. So two then becomes three when Yucatán is declared to be in contempt of court. And next will be Querétaro, followed by Edomex, Guanajuato, and Sonora, thus soon bringing the total number of states in contempt of court up to 7. And Alex filed suit against the Baja California Congress for the same reason, for that congress's failure to update their marriage laws, even though marriage equality has been allowed in that state by governmental decree, thus bringing the number in contempt to 8.

  • 26. VIRick  |  February 15, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    First Chamber May Set Jurisprudence Whereby States Must Authorize Marriage Equality

    However, if the jurisprudence is set by the upcoming Supreme Court decision against the State Congress of Yucatán for its "legislative omission," then we will have moved up to the next level, and may soon see a finish to the seemingly endless obfuscation, as all 12 of the last remaining states will then fall under the same strict contempt of court orders (as will 6 others, 4 who have had Supreme court decisions forcing marriage equality to become reality, but who have yet to change state law, and 2 others with gubernatorial or governmental decrees allowing marriage equality, but who have also yet to change state law to be in compliance).

    Per Matrimonio Igualitario BC Ya (Comite LGBT BC):

    SCJN podría sentar la jurisprudencia necesaria para que otros estados cuyos Congresos se han negado a legislar matrimonio igualitario deban concretarlo.

    SCJN could establish the necessary jurisprudence so that the other states whose Congresses have refused to legislate marriage equality must make it happen.

    Per Rex Wockner:

    In a possible "game over" ruling for marriage equality, the Supreme Court will rule on 24 February on forcing Yucatán's legislature to pass marriage equality. If so, 17 other states without actual marriage equality laws could then face identical lawsuits.

    Note: Quintana Roo does not need to do anything further in terms of up-dating its civil code, as its pre-existing marriage law has been deemed to be gender neutral, and thus it "accidentally" allowed for marriage equality from the time it was originally written into law.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!