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3/3 open thread


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  March 3, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    Mississippi Passes First-in-2021 Anti-Transgender Sports Bill

    Per Chase Strangio:

    As of 3 March 2021, Mississippi has passed SB 2536 through both chambers. The bill is intended to target transgender girls in sports by limiting girls’ sports to “biological females," making it the first anti-transgender bill to pass and become law in 2021. However, it is so poorly drafted that I believe it is unenforceable.

  • 2. VIRick  |  March 3, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    House Passes Landmark Voting Rights Bill

    On Wednesday night, 3 March 2021, House Democrats pushed through a sweeping expansion of federal voting rights over unified Republican opposition, opening a new front in a raging national debate about elections, one aimed at countering GOP attempts to clamp down on ballot access. The bill, adopted 220 to 210 mostly along party lines, would constitute the most significant enhancement of federal voting protections since the 1960s if it became law. It aims to impose new national requirements weakening restrictive state voter ID laws, mandate automatic voter registration, expand early and mail-in voting, make it harder to purge voter rolls, and restore voting rights to former felons — changes that studies suggest would increase voter participation, especially by racial minorities.

    The vote was the latest bid by Democrats to beat back Republican efforts in statehouses across the country to enact new barriers to voting that would consolidate power for the Republican Party amid false claims of rampant election fraud heralded by Trump and many of his allies in Congress. But the measure, which is supported by President Biden, appears to be doomed for now in the Senate, where Republican opposition would make it all but impossible to draw the 60 votes needed to advance. Democratic leaders have vowed to put it up for a vote anyway, and progressives were already plotting to use Republican obstruction of the bill to build their case for jettisoning the legislative filibuster in the months ahead.

    The 791-page bill, designated HR 1 by Democrats to reflect its importance to their agenda, would also eliminate partisan gerrymandering, impose new transparency on dark money used to finance campaigns, tighten government ethics standards, and create a public financing option for congressional campaigns. The prominence of the debate demonstrated the immense stakes of the fight over election laws, both for how Americans exercise their right to vote and how both parties aggregate political power.

    All told, state lawmakers have introduced more than 250 bills in 43 states that would tighten voting rules, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. The most prominent may be Georgia, where Republican leaders reeling from Democrats’ unexpected statewide victories have unabashedly sought to clamp down on ballot access by advancing sharp limits to voting by mail and early voting on Sundays, when many Black voters cast ballots after church services.

    HR 1’s voting provisions were originally drafted by Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon who died last year. If the bill were to become law, states would be required to automatically register eligible voters, hold at least 15 consecutive days of early voting for federal elections, and provide drop boxes for absentee ballots like the ones Trump falsely claimed led to fraud. It would make it far easier to vote by mail and far harder to purge voters from the rolls.

    The legislation also targets partisan gerrymandering of House seats, requiring states to use independent commissions to draw districts based on apolitical metrics rather than ones that would maximize the influence of one party over another. Both parties gerrymander, but the practice has benefited Republicans more over the past decade. With new districts set to be drawn this fall, Republicans are expected to make even greater gains. Democrats intend to hold a separate vote in the coming months on legislation to restore the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down.

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 3, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    South Korea's First Transgender Soldier Found Dead

    South Korea's first transgender soldier, who was discharged from the military last year for having gender reassignment surgery, was found dead in her home on Wednesday, 3 March 2021, authorities said.

    Byun Hui-su, 23, who was a staff sergeant before being discharged after she had the operation in Thailand while on leave, was found by emergency officials at her home in the city of Cheongju, south of Seoul. It appeared she had been dead for several days.

    Byun, who had expressed hope of continuing to serve in the military's female corps, had been pursuing a lawsuit contesting her dismissal, with a hearing expected in April, according to a spokeswoman for military advocacy group Center for Military Human Rights Korea that had worked with her.

  • 4. VIRick  |  March 4, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Largest Protestant Adoption Agency in USA Opens to LGBTQ Parents Nationwide

    As of Monday, 1 March 2021, the largest Protestant adoption and foster agency in the USA has decided to open up its services to LGBTQ parents nationwide, a win for same-sex couples as several other "religious" agencies have declined said services in the past.

    Chris Palusky, the president and chief executive of Michigan-based Bethany Christian Services, informed staff of the evangelical organization that the change would go into effect immediately, according to an email obtained by "The New York Times." The adjustment comes as any number of cities and states have mandated that adoption agencies accept same-sex parents in order to receive government funding.

    In 2018, a Philadelphia lesbian couple's story of being referred to a different agency sparked outrage, leading the city to suspend its contracts with Bethany's local branch and with another agency, Catholic Social Services. Bethany later complied with Philadelphia's requirements, while Catholic Social Services took the case to court, prompting the Supreme Court to hear arguments in "CSS v. City of Philadelphia" in November 2020.

    In 2019, Bethany Christian Services took a similar position of compliance in Michigan after that state declared it would not fund agencies that did not open up adoptions to LGBTQ parents. As of late 2020, Bethany branches in 12 states have already allowed LGBTQ families to adopt, according to the "Times."

    Bethany's national board voted in January 2021 to approve an inclusivity resolution that removed its previous statement from 2007 that "God's design for the family is a covenant and lifelong marriage of one man and one woman."

    The Mississippi chapter of Bethany Christian Services has broken away from the national organization over this matter, and is no longer affiliated with Bethany Christian Services.

  • 5. Elihu_Bystander  |  March 4, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Rick, can you provide a better citation about the Mississippi Chapter of Bethany. The one you provided does not say anything about the Mississippi chapter. Thank you, I need it for a post to the Catholic Blog New Ways Ministry about Bethany.

  • 6. Elihu_Bystander  |  March 4, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    If you would like to verify New Ways Ministry here us the link

  • 7. VIRick  |  March 4, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    I saw that point mentioned in a different news report several days ago, but failed to do a copy-and-paste of it at that time. Just now, in Googling "Bethany Christian Services Mississippi," the top response that turned up referred me to their adoption facility located in Memphis TN, undoubtedly the closest location to the state of Mississippi, although the one in Mobile AL is also relatively close to the state line. BCS provides their services in 31 states plus DC. As shown here, Mississippi is not one of them:

    Wait! I found the reference, near the end of the "New York Times" report, dated 1 March 2021: "Bethany’s Mississippi branch parted ways with the national organization over objections to the policy change in Philadelphia." This indicates to me that the split must have occurred in 2018 or 2019, rather than within the last few days.

    Here is a list of the 7 adoption agencies licensed by the state of Mississippi. Notice that the first 3 are named Bethany Christian Services, one each in Jackson, Columbus, and Hattiesburg. So, apparently they have retained their pre-existing name, but not their national affiliation:

  • 8. VIRick  |  March 4, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Taiwan: Court Finds Grounds to Allow International Same-Sex Marriages

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 4 March 2021, the Taipei High Administrative Court revoked a decision by a household registration office not to permit a same-sex marriage involving a foreign national from a country in which such marriages are illegal, and proposed alternate legal grounds upon which the marriage could be performed.

    In the case in question, Taipei's Daan District Household Registration Office refused to permit the marriage of Taiwanese gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威) and his Malaysian partner when they attempted to do so on 24 May 2019. The office based its decision on Article 46 of the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements, which states 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 gay marriage is illegal, such as Malaysia, are not allowed to marry in Taiwan nor have a marriage conducted in a third country be legally recognized.

    However, in its ruling, the administrative court revoked the office's refusal, and ordered it to use a superior clause in the same law to conduct such marriages in the future. The clause it cited, Article 8, states that the laws of foreign states should not be applied if doing so leads to the violation of "the public order or boni mores (good morals) of the Republic of China." More broadly, the court found that the restrictions in Article 46 run contrary to the Constitutional Court's Interpretation No. 748, which established the constitutional right to marriage equality.

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 4, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Baja California: Candidate for Governor, Lupita Jones in Favor of Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    La ex Miss Universo y ex modelo, la mexicalense Lupita Jones confirmó esta tarde, 4 de marzo 2021, que buscará la gubernatura del estado de Baja California como candidata de la coalición “Va por Baja California,” que integran PAN-PRI-PRD. Asimismo, se declaró a favor del matrimonio igualitario o parejas del mismo género y rechazó que se criminalicen a las mujeres por aborto pues "la interrupción de un embarazo no es una decisión fácil."

    The former Miss Universe and former model from Mexicali, Lupita Jones confirmed this afternoon, 4 March 2021, that she will seek the governorship of the state of Baja California as a candidate of the coalition "Va por Baja California," one that brings together PAN-PRI-PRD. Likewise, she declared herself in favor of marriage equality and rejected the criminalization of women for abortion because "the interruption of a pregnancy is not an easy decision."

  • 10. Fortguy  |  March 4, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    Wow! A PAN-PRI-PRD coalition of the nation's three traditionally largest parties spanning left and right would have been unthinkable even just a couple of years ago. The upstart MORENA party under the leadership of AMLO, the PRD-apostate who was their presidential nominee, shocked the country by winning the presidency and scoring stunning federal and state victories throughout the country on a progressive platform.

    In a way, MORENA has been good for LGBT rights in that many state legislatures under their leadership have passed marriage equality, adoption rights, and easy gender-change procedures for identity documents. The party has also been effective at expelling or disciplining legislators who defy the party's pro-equality positions on these measures. However, under AMLO's leadership, there has been no movement on the federal level to enact these changes nationally that would render unnecessary the state-by-state board game we are currently witnessing.

    Worse, AMLO's appeasement of Trump and his embrace of Trumpist populism is appalling. AMLO stands accused from his own leftist base of capitulating to Trump in abandoning NAFTA and Mexican workers in his support for the new USCMA trade agreement. He has effectively helped fulfill Trump's promise that Mexico would pay for the border wall by using state coffers to mobilize the Mexican army to intimidate Central American asylum seekers on Mexico's northern and southern borders while also supporting Trump's remain in Mexico policy for those refugees. He has also been just as horrible of a Covidiot in refusing to implement common-sense mandates regarding social distancing and masks.

    Yes, MORENA has been helpful in speeding along adoption of LGBT rights in states across the country. However, these reforms were already inevitable everywhere due to existing court precedence. On the whole, AMLO has been bad for his country and for his party. He has squandered this rare opportunity to implement progressive reform, and his party will suffer accordingly.

    Like the right in the U.S., the Mexican left has a propensity of falling for personality cults around dear leaders. MORENA needs to be crushed and go back to the PRD with the newfound understanding that success comes from championing popular policies that improve peoples lives rather than swooning over candidates like AMLO, Cuahutémoc Cárdenas, or whatever "savior" may emerge.

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