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House of Representatives passes Equality Act


The Washington Blade reports:

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“This long overdue legislation will provide millions of LGBTQ Americans explicit protections from being denied medical care, fired from their jobs, or thrown out of their homes simply because of who they are,” said U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) as he spoke in favor of the Equality Act. Republican U.S. Reps. John Katko and Brian Fitzpatrick of New York and Pennsylvania are among those who also backed the bill.

The bill’s prospects in the Senate are uncertain at the moment. As the story notes, President Biden will sign it if it passes both chambers. The vote was 224-206.


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Jurors can be rejected for being gay. The Equality Act could change that: The Equality Act and the complementary Juror Non-Discrimination Act seek to bar attorneys from rejecting prospective jurors simply because they are LGBTQ

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    Senator Rand Paul compares gender change surgery for minors to genital mutilation in furious exchange with Biden's transgender pick for assistant HHS secretary

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Targeted by Erdoğan, Turkey’s LGBT community face ‘tsunami of hate’

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 25, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    Malaysia: Federal Court Unanimously Declares Selangor Shariah Law Criminalizing "Unnatural" Sex Void/Unconstitutional

    Today, 25 February 2021, the Federal Court's nine-judge panel unanimously declared that a Selangor state law's provision which made "unnatural" sex a Shariah offense is invalid as having gone against the Federal Constitution, as such offenses fall under the federal Parliament's powers to make laws, and not under state legislatures' law-making powers.

    Reading out a summary of the unanimous judgment, Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the Federal Court granted the order sought by a Malaysian Muslim man who was challenging the constitutionality and validity of Section 28 of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995.

    Section 28 makes it a Shariah offense for “any person” performing “sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal,” with the punishment being a maximum fine of RM5,000, or a maximum three-year jail term, or a maximum whipping of six strokes, or any combination.

    The order sought by the man, and granted by the Federal Court today, is for a declaration that Section 28 is invalid on the grounds that it makes provision with respect to a matter which the Selangor state legislature has no power to make, and is therefore null and void.

    Comment: Malaysian federal law still bans same-sex sexual relations within Malaysia, but today's court ruling puts an end to all state laws which sought to inflict even harsher punishment, in particular, as state-enacted Shariah law (which, within Malaysia, only applies to those who profess being Muslim, and does not apply to anyone else).

    Today's ruling is massively important in reining in these out-of-control state-enacted Shariah laws by simply abolishing the various states' ability to do so, and quite frankly, was very unexpected, particularly as a 9-0 unanimous ruling. Thus, it gives some hope for Malaysia's future prospects in increasing LGBT civil rights.

    I still have extreme difficulty understanding the precise legal meaning of these antiquated British colonial-era euphemisms. What exactly does this entail? The law that was declared unconstitutional stated: "Sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal.” Does this mean anal sex? And if so, apparently only the "doer" was subject to punishment, not the "doee."

    As I understand Shariah law as followed in Aceh Province in neighboring Indonesia, whenever a couple is "caught in the act," both parties are subject to the same punishment.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    What is carnal intercourse against the order of nature? Well, [Malaysia's] s.377A defines it…"Any person who has sexual connection with another person by the introduction of the penis into the anus or mouth of the other person is said to commit carnal intercourse against the order of nature.". In short, when it comes to sexual or carnal intercourse – the only thing that is permissible in law is the introduction of the male penis into the vagina….

    And according to the law, the act of kissing the penis…or the sucking of the penis…or licking the penis is AGAINST THE LAW. The explanation to s.377A makes it most clear when it states that "Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual connection necessary to the offence described in this section." – and would include the slightest penetration…

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 25, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    Malaysia: Federal Court Rules Selangor Law Criminalizing "Unnatural Sex" Is Void

    The Federal Court has ruled that a Selangor state law which criminalizes "unnatural sex" is void, as the state legislature had no power to make such laws. On 25 February 2021, in a unanimous decision, Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said it was the court's view that Section 28 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 was enacted in contravention of a state list that stipulated that state legislatures have no power to make law in regard to matters included in the Federal list. "To that extent, Section 28 is inconsistent with the Federal Constitution and is therefore void," she said in delivering the decision through an online proceeding.

    The ruling came in light of a 36-year-old man's challenge at the apex court in seeking a declaration that Section 28 is invalid, on the grounds that it makes provisions with respect to a matter with which the Selangor State Legislature has no power to make laws upon, and is thus null and void. Tengku Maimun, who chaired the nine-person bench, said the primary power of legislation in criminal law resides in Parliament. State legislatures throughout Malaysia, however, do have the power to enact offenses against the precepts of Islam and the range of offenses is wide. "Having said that, the power to enact such range of offenses is subject to a constitutional limit," she added. The court then allowed the man's prayer and made no order as to costs.

    On 21 August 2019, the 36-year-old man was charged under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 at the Selangor Syariah High Court. He was accused of attempting to commit sexual intercourse against the order of nature with other male persons at a house in Bandar Baru Bangi on 9 November 2018. The man claimed trial to the charge and subsequently obtained leave from the Federal Court to commence proceedings by way of a petition against the Selangor government in his bid to seek a declaration that Section 28 of the Enactment is invalid. The Syariah High Court proceedings were stayed pending the outcome of his constitutional challenge at the Federal Court.

    In an immediate statement, lawyers Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Surendra Ananth who represented the man said the Federal Court's decision has clarified that the state legislative assembly could only enact purely religious offenses. "In this way, the court has addressed the misconception that there are, in effect, two parallel systems of criminal law of equal standing. The court has clarified that there is one system of general criminal law, applicable to all persons, and another system of purely religious law in which offenses can only relate to matters of religion," they said.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Bigot Marjorie Taylor Greene puts up a sign outside her office – 'there are TWO genders' – after her congressional hall mate Marie Newman, who has a trans daughter, puts up a trans pride flag

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Log Cabin Republicans Denounce Equality Act

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Florida Congressman Charlie Crist is "PROUD to fly the trans flag outside your Congressional Office in Washington DC [throughout] the past two years"

  • 10. Randolph_Finder  |  February 25, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    Three republicans ended up voting for the Equality Act. Katko and Reed of NY, and Fitzpatrick of PA.

  • 11. scream4ever  |  February 25, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Meanwhile Diaz-Balart, Stefanik, and Van Drew flipped their votes from two years ago to no.

  • 12. VIRick  |  February 26, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Ban LGBTQ "Panic" Defense

    On Thursday, 25 February 2021, the Virginia Senate approved a bill that would ban the so-called LGBTQ "panic" defense in the state. The bill, sponsored by state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), was approved by the Senate by a 23-15 vote margin. The Senate version of the bill now heads back to the House of Delegates for consideration.

    According to the LGBT Bar Association, the LGBTQ "panic" defense has already been banned in 11 states and DC. Similar measures have been introduced in Maryland, Virginia, 10 other states, and the US Congress.

  • 13. VIRick  |  February 26, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Puebla State Passes Gender Identity Law

    Aprueban Ley de Identidad de Género en Puebla

    El 25 de febrero 2021, el Congreso de Puebla aprobó la llamada Ley Agnes con la cual las personas podrán cambiar sus documentos oficiales, auto-percibido, sin mayor problema.

    On 25 February 2021, the Puebla Congress approved the so-called Agnes Law by which people can change their official documents, self-declared, without further problem.

    With today's passage, Puebla becomes the 15th jurisdiction (of 32) within Mexico to have enacted self-declaring gender identity legislation or to have allowed for it by strictly following Supreme Court jurisprudence. The vote in the Puebla Congress was 34 in favor, with 6 abstentions and one absence. No deputy voted against the measure.

    Ahora, en el estado se permitirá la enmienda, modificación, cambio de nombre, y el reconocimiento de la identidad de género autopercibida de una persona.

    Now, the state will allow for the amendment, modification, change of name, and the recognition of the self-perceived gender identity of a person.

    By law, these 13 jurisdictions allow for the administrative adjustment of official documents, including name and gender change, by self-perceived declaration: CDMX (Mexico City), Michoacán, Nayarit, Coahuila, Colima, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Sonora, Jalisco, Quintana Roo, and now Puebla. In addition, both Baja California and Chihuahua are allowing the same changes to be made by simple administrative means through their adherence to Supreme Court jurisprudence. Once any of the above-named 15 jurisdictions make the requested name/gender change to any birth certificate or other official personal document originally issued anywhere in Mexico, all jurisdictions within Mexico must then recognize said changes as legally valid.

  • 14. VIRick  |  February 26, 2021 at 11:37 am

    Concentrated Attack on Trans Rights in Various State Legislatures

    Per Chase Strangio:

    Montana – Passed trans health care and sports bans out of the House. Also moving on a trans birth certificate ban.

    South Carolina – Still hearing trans sports ban in Senate committee.

    Mississippi – Passed trans sports ban out of the House.

    Arkansas – Has multiple trans health care and sports bans moving.

    Missouri – Has multiple trans sports bans moving. Hearing next week.

    North Dakota – Passed trans sports ban out of the House.

    Georgia – Has multiple trans sports and health care bans being heard in committee.

    West Virginia – Has multiple trans sports bans moving.

    Kansas – Had a hearing on a trans sports ban. Need to keep up pressure to kill it.

    Utah – Killed their proposed trans health care and sports bans (yay!).

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  February 27, 2021 at 9:20 am

    [ACLU] The Coordinated Attack On Trans Student Athletes

    The organizations leading these attacks on trans athletes’ rights are the same organizations that pushed false myths about trans people in restrooms. Just like it was never about restrooms, today’s fight is not about sports. It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life.

  • 16. VIRick  |  February 26, 2021 at 11:47 am

    South Dakota House Passes Anti-Trans Sports Bill

    On Wednesday, 24 February 2021, the South Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill that would prevent transgender girls and women from competing with cisgender females in public school and college sports. Representatives passed House Bill 1217 by a vote of 50-17 and sent it on to the state Senate, the "Grand Forks Herald" reports. The House has a Republican super-majority, and 10 Republicans joined seven of its eight Democratic members in opposing the bill; one Democrat was excused from the vote.

    The bill mandates that school sports teams be classified as male, female, or co-educational — which is usually the case — but says participation on female teams must be based on an athlete’s “biological sex, as ascertained at or before birth in accordance with the student’s genetics and reproductive biology.” That excludes trans girls and women.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  February 26, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Ruling By Top Chinese Provincial Court In Jiangsu: Calling Homosexuality A “Psychological Disorder” Is Not An Error

    The case has quickly garnered an immense amount of attention nationwide. A related hashtag quickly attracted attention on social media platform Weibo, becoming one of the top trending topics and amassing over 220 million views in a matter of hours.

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  February 27, 2021 at 9:23 am

    Republicans roll out “tidal wave of voter suppression” – 253 restrictive bills in 43 states

    Many of these measures are in response to a "rash of baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities" that former President Trump and his Republican allies promoted for months without any evidence.

    The proposed measures largely aim to limit mail voting access, impose stricter voter ID requirements, "slash voter registration opportunities" and "enable more aggressive voter roll purges,"

  • 19. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 28, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    Text of a letter that I sent to my representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) on the occasion of his no vote on the Equality Act of 2021.

    As a gay man, I am incensed at your atrocious disregard for the civil rights and liberties of the queer residents of the United States of America. Your vote against the Equality Act of 2021 exposes your unsavory behaviors of bigotry, homophobia, and transphobia and your disgusting loyalty to the disgraced former president, Donald John Trump. Actually, all 206 Republican Representatives who opposed the Equality Act of 2021are spalpeens that are nothing but rascals and pillagers of equal civil rights for all.

    Don E. Siegal

  • 20. bayareajohn  |  February 28, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Wow, I had to look up "spalpeens" only to find it also means rascals.

  • 21. ianbirmingham  |  February 28, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    Fifth Circuit Says Tasing A Person Soaked In Gasoline And Setting Them On Fire Isn’t An Unreasonable Use Of Force

  • 22. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 28, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    I have no response other than appropriate anger to this decision. Would they support being a heterosexual person okay to be ignited by a homosexual person?


  • 23. VIRick  |  February 28, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    This is precisely why one should never call the cops, particularly if someone has threatened to commit suicide, as far too frequently, the cops' arrival escalates the matter and results in their provoking a self-fulfilling suicidal "death-by-cop." Too many of them are ex-military who view the general public as the "enemy," and have no training or understanding in how best to handle a suicide threat. And why 6 of them would be needed in response to a single suicide call (which is not even a criminal matter, but rather, is a mental health crisis) is beyond all comprehension.

    If the family thought that a phone call might be necessary, they would have been much better advised to have called the fire department, the EMTs, and/or the suicide prevention hot-line. In general, the cops are not trained to de-escalate a potential suicide, nor do they have the equipment to put out a potential fire. Instead, they view their "mission" as capturing and/or wiping out all the criminals, and thus, should not be called upon to intervene in a non-criminal matter, let alone one where there is also imminent danger of fire.

    As for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi), one is best advised not to live within its jurisdiction, nor to have any other physical interaction with those 3 states (and as stated by someone who has been physically present within Texas on 6 different occasions within the past 12 months). Their ruling in this particular case proves the point. Plus, that court of appeals has already built up way too much precedent defending even the most ridiculous cops for there to be any hope of seeing some eventual change in their rulings.

  • 24. VIRick  |  March 2, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    CEO of Goya Foods Repeats Trump Election Win Lies at CPAC

    Goya Foods is facing renewed calls to boycott the company's products after CEO Robert Unanue falsely claimed Trump to be "the real, the legitimate, and the still actual president of the United States." The executive made his unfounded assertion at CPAC on Sunday, 28 February 2021, despite the fact that Goya's board in January reportedly voted to censure him, telling him he could no longer talk to the press without its approval, according to a "New York Post" report.

    Unanue's words also prompted condemnation by the non-profit Hispanic Federation, which called on "the corporate governance structures at Goya Foods to act" against its CEO. In a Monday statement signed by more than a dozen Latino advocacy groups, the federation called Unanue's assertions "an affront to the millions of Latino voters in this nation who, despite significant voter suppression efforts, mustered the courage and conviction to cast their ballots."

    Goya Foods was founded by Prudencio Unanue Ortiz, a Spanish immigrant to Puerto Rico who later moved a portion of the business to New York City. Goya Foods, now headquartered in Jersey City NJ, has become the single largest family-operated Hispanic-owned food business in the USA, and is still privately-owned and operated by the 3rd generation of the Unanue family. Goya de Puerto Rico, its largest subsidiary, manufactures most of its product in Puerto Rico, along with a new facility located in San Cristóbal, RD.

    In checking my own pantry shelf, I see the words "Goya Foods" on a whole host of food items, from cooking oil and pasta, to olives, tomato products, salt, assorted condiments and spices, plus beans and rice. Basically put, Goya Foods has saturated the local market with its popular Spanish-style line of basic foodstuff. To begin my own boycott, I see that I already have other brands of staples on the same shelves, like Café Rico, Pampa, Café Santo Domingo, Baldom, and Badia, the latter 3 all from the Dominican Republic, and on into the future, will focus on purchasing these other brands. Or, as AOC wryly observed, "We can all re-learn how to pound our own adobo," the "secret" ingredient that makes Puerto Rican cuisine distinctly Puerto Rican.

  • 25. VIRick  |  March 2, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    Lawmakers Introduce New Proposal for Puerto Rico Statehood

    On Tuesday, 2 March 2021, Democratic lawmakers lay the groundwork for Puerto Rico to become a state, introducing a bill that would set up a vote for residents to decide on statehood and the election of its own senators and representatives.

    The bill, introduced by Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Representative Darren Soto of Florida, has the backing of Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi and Delegate Jenniffer González-Colón, the island's resident commissioner. Its supporters argue that the federal government doesn't treat Puerto Rican citizens equally, something statehood would help rectify.

    Soto says the bill has about 50 co-sponsors. At a news conference Tuesday, he pointed to the hardships the island has endured, including the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017, and he argued residents deserve the same representation as all Americans. "They have finally decided that enough is enough, that their territorial status and second class citizenship isn't working and it's time for change," Soto told reporters.

    In November 2020, Puerto Rico residents voted 52 to 48% in favor of immediate statehood on a ballot referendum. But congressional passage of Puerto Rico statehood is far from guaranteed. In the Senate, the measure would need 60 votes, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared that statehood for the island would result in the election of two more Democratic senators, though there's no guarantee that this would be the case.

    In Puerto Rico, the pro-statehood political party nominally backs the mainland Republicans, while the pro-status-quo political party nominally supports the mainland Democrats. On the mainland, the sentiment is reversed: there, Democrats generally support statehood for Puerto Rico, while Republicans prefer to throw them under the bus.

  • 26. Fortguy  |  March 2, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Statehood for either PR or DC may not require a supermajority to overcome a legislative filibuster in the Senate as admitting states is technically not a legislative act. New states are admitted through joint resolutions rather than legislative bills, and their admission requires no new law to be published as part of the U.S. Code. Similarly, Article IV of the Constitution says that admitting new states is a prerogative of Congress providing no constitutional role for the president who has no authority to sign or veto any such resolution. Here is a compelling argument for that position.

    Jon Walker, The Week: Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico only needs 50 votes

  • 27. JayJonson  |  March 3, 2021 at 7:32 am

    Glad to know this. I wish I was certain that Manchin and Synema would do the right thing.

  • 28. VIRick  |  March 2, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Tennessee: Anti-Transgender Sports Bill Advances

    Yet another bill restricting transgender athletes’ participation in school sports is advancing, this time in Tennessee.

    On Monday night, 1 March 2021, the Tennessee Senate voted 27-6 to approve legislation that would require transgender student athletes to compete under the gender they were assigned at birth, "The Tennessean" reports. “The bill includes no exception for transgender athletes receiving gender-affirming care, such as hormone blockers,” the paper notes. The state’s House of Representatives has not scheduled a final vote on it.

    The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has never encountered a transgender student seeking to play school sports, according to "The Tennessean." But the bill’s supporters said this is a “problem” the state’s schools will face at some point.

  • 29. VIRick  |  March 2, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    Alabama Senate Votes to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

    On Tuesday, 2 March 2021, the Alabama Senate approved a bill that would ban gender-affirming health care for transgender minors, amid protests against the measure at the state capitol in Montgomery. Senate Bill 10, dubbed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, passed by a vote of 23-4, the "Montgomery Advertiser" reports.

    A companion bill is under consideration in the state’s House of Representatives. Similar pieces of legislation have been proposed in several other states over the past few years, but not one has become law. The Alabama bill would bar medical professionals from administering hormones or puberty blockers to anyone under the age of 19, in addition to prohibiting gender-affirming surgeries for this age group. Doctors could face prison time for violations.

    Several people testified that genital surgeries are not performed on minors, in keeping with widely accepted medical standards. Others testified that drug treatments greatly improve the lives of young trans people, but lawmakers were not swayed.

    Per Chris Johnson:

    Today, 3 March 2021, a separate bill, HB391, is being considered by the Alabama House that would restrict transgender students from participating in school athletics.

  • 30. VIRick  |  March 3, 2021 at 6:48 am

    Tamaulipas: First Transgender Minor to Successfully Change their Gender Identity

    Arantza Es la Primera Menor de Edad Trans en Cambiar de Identidad en Tamaulipas

    Con el respaldo de sus padres y el apoyo del abogado, Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, así como de la Asociación "México Igualitario," la joven interpuso una demanda de amparo ante jueces federales en Tampico para que su acta de nacimiento sea modificada en los rubros de nombre y sexo, con la intención de que sea un acta nueva acorde a su identidad de género.

    Hay que señalar que la asociación "México Igualitario" es la que ha conseguido que se lleven a cabo los primeros matrimonios igualitarios y cambios de identidad en el estado.

    With the support of her parents and the help of the lawyer, Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, as well as the Association "México Igualitario," the young woman filed an amparo claim for protection before federal judges in Tampico in order that her birth certificate be modified in the name and sex fields, with the intention that it become a new certificate in accord with her gender identity.

    It should be noted that the association "México Igualitario" is the one that has managed to carry out the first equal marriages and gender identity changes in the state.

    The news article discussing this gender identity amparo case in Tamaulipas state is dated 27 February 2021.

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