Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

5/25 open thread


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


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  May 25, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Libyan LGBTQ+ activists speak out on violence by extremist militias

    In Libya, amid the ongoing conflict and chaos, the country's first LGBTQ+ platform is fighting for a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals.

  • 2. VIRick  |  May 25, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    India: Marriage Equality Hearing in Delhi High Court, 25 May 2021

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    At today's hearing, 25 May 2021, before justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Amit Bansal, the Delhi High Court eventually adjourned the three marriage equality cases until 6 July, after the government complained that COVID and other cases have a higher priority than does LGBT rights. The three petitions for legalization of same-sex marriages, challenging the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act, and the Foreign Marriage Act as matters of Public Interest Litigation (PIL), are as follows:

    The first petition was filed by Abhijit Iyer Mitra, Gopi Shankar, Giti Thadani, and G Oorvasi and contends that the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) does not distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual marriages if one were to go precisely by how it is worded. The 1955 act clearly states that marriages could be solemnized between “any two Hindus,” the petition argued..

    The second petition was filed by two women, Kavita Arora, 47, and Ankita Khanna, 36, and seeks legal recognition of their marriage under two different civil laws, the Special Marriage Act (SMA) and the Foreign Marriage Act (FMA),

    The third plea was filed by two men, Vaibhav Jain, an Indian citizen, and Parag Vijay Mehta, an overseas citizen of India, who were married in the United States in 2017 where same-sex marriage is legal. They also sought the same relief as Arora and Khanna, stating that an Indian consulate had refused to register their union this year under the FMA.

    The Special Marriage Act governs civil, non-religious marriages and mixed-faith marriages. Otherwise, India has a whole collection of faith-based marriage laws, each one separately governing a different religious tradition in addition to the Hindu Marriage Act, namely Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Parsee, Buddhist, and Jewish, plus several governing a number of Eastern Rite Catholic and Roman Catholic denominations.

  • 3. VIRick  |  May 25, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Lithuania: LGBT Civil Partnership Bill Narrowly Blocked from Being Debated

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 25 May 2021, in a 63-58-7 vote, the Lithuanian Parliament narrowly rejected the matter of debating an LGBT civil partnership bill; Its sponsor vows to resubmit it this autumn:

    A bill that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples in Lithuania failed to clear its first parliamentary hurdle. The bill, dubbed the Partnership Law, needed 65 votes (a majority) to move forward. In a narrow defeat, 63 MPs voted in favor, while 58 voted against, and seven abstained.

    "The vote illustrates that ensuring human rights is a long-term process which needs much more work," Tomas Raskevicius, an openly gay MP who sponsored the bill, told Reuters following the vote. Raskevicius, a member of the liberal Freedom Party, vowed to introduce the bill again in the fall, but said he would likely be making changes in a bid to gain more support for the legislation.

  • 4. VIRick  |  May 27, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Lithuania: Seimas Votes to Reconsider Gender-Neutral Partnership Bill

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    After the first vote, MPs decided today, 27 May 2021, that rather than outright rejecting the Partnership bill, it should be sent back to its authors for improvements. The motion was passed in the Seimas by a vote of 75 in favor and 52 against.

    The rejected gender-neutral bill defined a civil partnership as «the fact of cohabitation of two persons (partners), registered in accordance with the procedure established by legal acts, for the purpose of establishing and (or) developing, and protecting the relationship of the partners.» Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples could enter into civil partnership.

    If the bill had been passed, partners would have been able to formally register their partnership with the Civil Registry Office and would be permitted to adopt each other’s last name. Crucially, same-sex partners would have not been allowed to adopt children, even with the bill in effect. The bill also stipulated that all assets acquired by either partner after entering into partnership would be considered common property.

    It also envisioned that ending a partnership would be easier than ending a civil marriage. (Married) spouses must turn to court to get divorced even if they have no children. A registered partnership, the bill foresaw, could be dissolved by a notary as long as there are no children involved.

    There are approximately 600,000 unmarried adults in Lithuania and many of them wait for policymakers to fulfill expectations born 20 years ago when the institution of civil partnership was established in the Civil Code (but never implemented). Until now, only marriage exists, and only heteros are allowed to marry. No one at all in Lithuania can yet enter into a civil partnership.

  • 5. VIRick  |  May 25, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Namibia: Proposals to Scrap Obsolete Sodomy Law

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Proposals to scrap Namibia’s sodomy law are being considered. Namibia’s Minister of Justice, Yvonne Dausab, stated that she would be submitting two reports assembled by the Law Reform and Development Committee (LRDC) to the justice ministry. The proposals call for “the abolition of 34 obsolete laws, including the law criminalizing sex between consenting adult men,” as reported by local outlet "Windhoek Observer."

    The second of the two reports calls for repeal of Namibia’s sodomy and unnatural sexual offenses laws which contribute to “unconstitutional discrimination.” Moreover, the compiled report suggests that the law reduces gay men to “criminals.” While arrests and persecution under the law are rare, the existence of the legislation stands to promote a culture of sexuality-based fear. The LRDC has also warned that the sodomy law has led to the reinforcement of damaging regulation impacting the gay community, such as banning the use of condoms in prisons.

    “The sodomy law's very existence violates the fundamental rights of the individuals who could be affected, as well as creating and reinforcing a culture of homophobia and intolerance against LGBTQ people,” the report reads. “The continued existence of this law cannot be justified,” the report notes, adding that it “interferes with the constitutional and international law rights of individuals in Namibia.”

    Dausab will present the two reports to her Justice cabinet in the next few weeks for consideration.

  • 6. VIRick  |  May 25, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Spain: Lawmakers Reject Progressive Transgender Rights Bill

    Lawmakers in Spain last week voted against a bill that would have allowed transgender people to legally change their gender without medical or psychological intervention. On 18 May 2021, the Congress of Deputies by a 143-78 vote margin, with 120 abstentions, rejected the “Proposed Law for Real and Effective Equality of Transgender People,” that Human Rights Watch in a press release notes “would also have allowed non-binary and blank gender markers on identity documents, acknowledging the rights and dignity of people who do not identify with a rigid gender binary.”

  • 7. VIRick  |  May 25, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    ACLU Sues State of Arkansas in Federal Court for Banning Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    Per ACLU:

    We are suing the state of Arkansas for their unconstitutional ban on gender-affirming care. Four families and two doctors are a part of this lawsuit, the first of many we will file in response to anti-transgender laws passed this year.

    Per "Advocate:"

    On Tuesday, 25 May 2021, on behalf of four trans young people and their families, as well as two doctors, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit, "Brandt v. Rutledge," in US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against the new Arkansas law banning gender-affirming health care for transgender minors.

    Arkansas legislators overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto last month to pass House Bill 1570 into law. It bars doctors from providing gender-affirming care to people under 18 or even referring them for such care. It also bans the use of state funds or insurance coverage for gender-affirming health care for trans minors and allows private insurers to refuse coverage for gender-affirming care for people of any age. It is scheduled to take effect on 28 July.

    The families in the suit are Dylan Brandt and his mother, Joanna Brandt; Brooke Dennis and her parents, Amanda and Shayne Dennis; Sabrina Jennen and her parents, Lacey and Aaron Jennen; and Parker Saxton and his father, Donnie Saxton. Dr. Michelle Hutchison and Dr. Kathryn Stambough are also challenging the law on behalf of themselves and their patients. Their lawyers are from the national ACLU, the ACLU of Arkansas, and the law firms of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Gill Ragon Owen, and the Walas Law Firm. The Dennis family may move out of state if the law takes effect.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  May 25, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    Researchers: One in ten people have been in a polyamorous relationship and nearly 20% say they want to be in one

    Researchers at Chapman University and the University of Indiana Bloomington surveyed adults about polyamory, which is when partners agree to have more than one partner at a time. Unlike an open relationship, or swinging, polyamorous relationships are also emotional relationships with others, not just based on sex.

    For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the team surveyed 3,438 single Americans on their thoughts and experiences with polyamory.

    About 11 percent of those surveyed said they have previously been involved in a polyamorous relationship.

    Almost one-fifth, 17 percent, of respondents said they have some desire for that type of relationship.

    Of those who had previously been in this type of relationship, nearly one-third, 30 percent, said they would be willing to enter another polyamorous relationship.

    Another third of respondents said they could not handle the emotional factors of being in a relationship with multiple partners.

    More than 20 percent of those who had previously been in a polyamorous relationship said they were too possessive of their partners to do it again.

    Those who had taken part in or were more willing to take part in polyamorous relationships were often younger, more likely to be a Democrat and more likely to be non-heterosexual.

  • 9. VIRick  |  May 26, 2021 at 8:07 am

    Texas: All 13 Anti-Trans Legislative Bills Have Been Defeated

    Per Chase Strangio:

    Just a huge shout-out to all the trans organizers in Texas who showed up for months and defeated ALL 13 anti-trans bills that were moving through the legislature this session. It was so scary and painful and you are all so incredible.

  • 10. VIRick  |  May 26, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Costa Rica: First Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A year ago today, on 26 May 2020, Costa Rica became the first country in Central America, the seventh in Latin America, and the 29th worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage.

    At 12:01 AM on Tuesday, 26 May 2020, Costa Rica’s Family Code was automatically modified to remove the sixth item of article 14, which said marriage between people of the same sex was “legally impossible.” While this moment was years in the making, the most significant progress occurred in January 2018, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) ruled that all of its signatory members must allow same-sex marriage. The court’s verdict is binding for most Latin American states, including Costa Rica.

    Then in August 2018, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court of Justice ruled that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. It gave the Legislative Assembly 18 months to overturn it, or the ban would be overturned by default. Thus, on Tuesday morning, 26 May 2020, the ban was officially overturned. Marriage equality is now law in Costa Rica.

  • 11. VIRick  |  May 26, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    West Virginia: Federal Suit Filed Challenging Transgender Sports Ban

    On Wednesday, 26 May 2021, a federal lawsuit, "Pepper-Jackson v. West Virginia," was filed challenging West Virginia’s new ban against transgender athletes competing in female sports in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and its West Virginia chapter filed the lawsuit on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender girl who had hoped to compete in cross country in middle school in Harrison County (Clarksburg). The lawsuit names both the state and the Harrison County boards of education and their superintendents as defendants. “I just want to run. I come from a family of runners,” the student, Becky Pepper-Jackson, said in a statement released by the ACLU.

    Bills dealing with school sports participation bans have also been enacted this year in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Montana, while South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem implemented the move there by executive order.

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  May 26, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    Gsllup Poll: Mixed Views Among Americans on Transgender Issues

    A solid majority of the public (66%) continues to favor allowing openly transgender men and women to serve in the U.S. military, though this figure is down slightly from Gallup's previous measure in 2019, when 71% were in favor.

    At the same time a solid majority of Americans endorse transgender military service, they favor restrictions on transgender athletes' ability to play on teams that correspond with their gender identity. The issue is being debated in dozens of state legislatures, and five U.S. states have banned transgender girls, who were born male, from playing on girls' sports teams.

    A majority of Americans (62%) say trans athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that correspond with their birth gender, while 34% say they should be able to play on teams that match their gender identity.

    Among party, gender and age subgroups, only Democrats (55%) express majority support for transgender athletes' ability to play on teams matching their gender identity.

    About three in 10 Americans (31%) report having a friend, relative or colleague who is transgender.

    Fully half of adults younger than 30 have a transgender person in their lives, but the rate falls with each older age cohort. Adults aged 65 and older (19%) are the least likely to know a transgender person.

  • 13. VIRick  |  May 26, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Matrimonio Igualitario en Latinoamérica: Decir “Sí, Quiero” Fuera de una Capital

    Marriage Equality in Latin America: To Say "Yes, I Do" Outside a Capital

    This extended report in Spanish provides excellent, detailed, step-by-step summary historic reviews leading up to the legalization of marriage equality in 5 separate Latin nations, and then, from each, focuses on one specific same-sex couple and their marriage, living as they do in the following places, all well outside the capital/major urban metropolis of the country in question, a reality that to date still remains less-than-common:

    Santa Fe, Argentina (northern provincial city near Paraguay)
    Rivera, Uruguay (interior border city abutting Santana do Livramento, Brasil)
    Campo Bom, Brasil (small town near Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul)
    Neiva, Colombia (capital of Huila department, south-central Colombia)
    Siquirres, Costa Rica (Limón province, Caribbean coast)

  • 14. VIRick  |  May 27, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Chile: Another Famous Same-Sex Couple Refuses to Sign a Chilean AUC

    Per Biobío Chile and Partido Liberal:

    Fernanda Urrejola contraerá matrimonio con su novia Francisca Alegría y revela que quieren ser mamás. Desecharon la opción de firmar un Acuerdo de Unión Civil (AUC) en Chile porque no les permitiría vivir la maternidad de la forma que ellas desean. “No asegura la familia, los niños,” afirmó Francisca.

    Fernanda Urrejola will marry her girlfriend Francisca Alegría and reveals that they wish to be mothers. They rejected the option of signing a Civil Union Agreement (AUC) in Chile because it would not permit them to live as mothers in the way that they desire. "It does not secure the family, the children," affirmed Francisca.

    Fernanda is a Chilean actress and Francisca is a film maker, while the Partido Liberal is a Chilean political party advocating for the rights of same-sex couples and Biobío Chile is an LGBT advocacy group focused on that south-central region, one that includes the cities of Los Angeles and Concepción.

    Today, 28 May 2021, this couple announced that they intend to marry in the USA.

  • 15. VIRick  |  May 27, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Andorra: Family Code Amendments to Now Allow for Gender Identity

    Andorra: Diversand Celebra les Modificacions (d’Identitat de Gènere) del Codi de Família

    L’entitat Diversand, que defensa els drets de les persones transsexuals i transgènere, va celebrar que els partits polítics estiguin impulsant un canvi en el Codi de Família per tal que de facilitar el canvi de nom al Registre civil. Així doncs, la seva presidenta, Rocio Soler, va dir que “Hem vist la notícia i ens ha fet moltíssima il·lusió. És cert que és un tema que anem reivindicant, fins i tot abans de posar en marxa Diversand. El col·lectiu trans sempre ha dit que hi havia aquesta mancança.” Soler va recordar que “Al final això, és un dret que hauria d’estar garantit perquè ho diu el Tribunal Europeu de Drets Humans.”

    Andorra: Diversand Welcomes (Gender Identity) Modifications to the Family Code

    The organization Diversand, which defends the rights of transgender persons, celebrated that the political parties are pushing for a change in the Family Code in order to facilitate the change of one's name at the Civil Registry. Accordingly, its president, Rocio Soler, said that “We have seen the news and are very excited. It is certain that it is an issue that we have long advocated, even before launching Diversand. The trans community has always said that this process was missing." Soler recalled that "In the end, this is a right that should be guaranteed because the European Court of Human Rights has said so."

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  May 28, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Miami-Dade police unveil LGBTQ Pride-themed patrol vehicle

    The vehicle — which is decorated with the colors of the Pride flag and the words “hope,” “love,” “equality,” “inclusion,” “kindness,” “peace,” and also the phrase “strength through unity” — will be used “to establish a more trusting relationship within our communities,” MDPD Sergeant Orlando Lopez said during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday in Doral.

    “What better way to assist in educating the public about Pride and in promoting engagement between law enforcement and the community we serve?,” Lopez asked, when introducing the “MDPD Pride Vehicle.”

    On the side of the vehicle, a police awareness ribbon represents members of the force who identify as LGBTQ and who “proudly serve all communities across the nation.”

    An anti-hate symbol is displayed on the vehicle’s rear cargo window, while the back shows an American flag, as well as two stickers of rainbow-colored hands giving the peace sign.

    (Click through to view photo!)

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  May 29, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Chinese viewers have been left outraged after three of their country's streaming services censored the highly-anticipated Friends reunion, removing references to the LGBTQ community etc.

    While fans in other markets were treated to the full 104 minute show, the editions released in China were all significantly shorter. Cameos by Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and South Korean pop group BTS were censored, and all references to LGBTQ communities disappeared.

    The show is beloved by Chinese millennials – many of whom used the show to learn English, according to The Times.

    Many of them took to Chinese social media to blast the streaming services for the censorship, with one writing: 'This is insane, if you introduce the show to China, don't cut the scene. If you have to cut it, then don't introduce it. What's the point of eating this castrated content?'

  • 18. VIRick  |  May 29, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    Kentucky: State Contract Dispute with Adoption Agency over LGBT Placements

    A contract dispute between Sunrise Children’s Services, a Kentucky Baptist Convention-affiliated adoption agency, and the administration of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear over Sunrise’s refusal to sign a clause intended to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ couples looking to adopt or to foster children in the state has advocates, state lawmakers, and others fully engaged in the dispute.

    The state has set a 30 June 2021 deadline for Sunrise to sign. If it refuses, the state has threatened to stop placing children with the agency. Formerly called Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children, Sunrise’s history dates to caring for Civil War orphans. It has contracted with the state for 50-plus years, becoming one of Kentucky’s largest service providers for abused or neglected children, the Associated Press reports.

    The "Lexington Courier-Journal" first reported that the dispute is over a single sentence in the contract. On Monday, 24 May, the Governor confirmed that the issue was over a clause that aims to prevent discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Republican state lawmakers are calling on the Governor to respect the agency's position, given that a provision was added to state law this year that they say now protects the Baptist agency’s “religious rights.” Said provision states that no contract for children’s services “shall interfere with the contractor’s freedom of religion.” It also requires the state to allow the contractor to hire a sub-contractor to deliver any services it can not provide because of “religiously held beliefs.”

  • 19. VIRick  |  May 30, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette County Bans Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy" for Minors

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 27 May 2021, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted unanimously to ban "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ minors.

    The vote made Lexington the third city in Kentucky, along with Louisville and Covington, to ban the controversial practice that aims to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • 20. VIRick  |  May 30, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Wisconsin: Sun Prairie City Council Bans Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy" for Minors

    On Tuesday, 18 May 2021, Sun Prairie city councilors banned so-called "conversion therapy" for LGBT minors, becoming the 13th municipality in Wisconsin to do so.

    Sun Prairie in Dane County is the most-populous suburb adjacent to Madison.

    Other Wisconsin cities to have already banned anti-LGBT "conversion therapy" for minors include Milwaukee, Madison, Eau Claire, Racine, Sheboygan, Cudahy, Shorewood, West Allis, Appleton, Glendale, Kenosha, and Superior.

  • 21. ianbirmingham  |  May 31, 2021 at 7:36 am

    Coming Supreme Court decision in major LGBT rights case seen as bellwether of conservative court

    Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first pick, authored the court’s last major opinion expanding LGBT rights, last June, in a decision that prohibited discrimination against gay or transgender workers. Gorsuch was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberals.

    Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second appointee, dissented from that opinion. And, in the time since it was handed down, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s third appointee, replaced former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. Importantly, Gorsuch left open the possibility in his opinion that religious employers could be allowed to discriminate, but said such a question was a matter for “future cases.”

  • 22. VIRick  |  May 31, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    . . . Except that "Fulton v. City of Philadelphia" is not a case involving a "religious" employer discriminating against one or more of its employees. Thus, the question cited from Gorsuch's opinion regarding "religious" employers will continue to be reserved as a matter for "future cases."

    Instead, "Fulton" involves a "religious" organization, Catholic Social Services, denying services to, and thus discriminating against, certain of its clients and/or potential clients resident within the city's service area, in direct violation of its pre-existing contract with the city, a service contract which was subsequently revoked by the city due to said violation of the specific, written terms of the contract.

    From the viewpoint of simple contract law, the lead plaintiff, Fulton, who is not a signatory to said contract, but rather, is merely another after-the-fact "aggrieved" non-LGBT client of CSS suffering from acute butt-hurt (as is her side-kick, the second plaintiff, with both of them having been conned into filing said suit in their names and then into utilizing the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty as their legal counsel), does not have standing to pursue this matter. Utilizing "Hollingsworth" as precedent, this case should simply be tossed for lack of standing. Besides, with or without an extant contract, neither Fulton nor her sidekick were denied services by CSS.

    CSS never initiated this suit, but rather, piggy-backed onto it after the Becket Fund had already filed it. Had CSS been serious, they should have filed their own separate lawsuit against the city, divorced from the "Fulton" mess. But, they never did.

    There is a fair chance that SCOTUS will issue its ruling in "Fulton" tomorrow, Tuesday, 1 June 2021. (Such did not happen. The issuance of the decision remains pending.)

  • 23. VIRick  |  June 1, 2021 at 7:14 am

    More on "Fulton v. City of Philadelphia"

    Sticking closer to the main point in contract law, here is what Kathleen at Equality Case Files has to say regarding "Fulton v. City of Philadelphia:"

    "Fulton" is not about telling the Catholic Church how it should define marriage. It's not about telling churches and church-affiliated organizations which couples they deem to be married or which couples/individuals they deem to be "proper" parents with whom to place children.

    What it IS about is this: If you want to take public money in the form of contracts to stand in the place of the government for services the government provides, you have to abide by the same non-discrimination laws the government itself must follow. Your organization's religious tenets don't allow you to pick and choose what laws to follow when you're taking public money to contract to provide these services.

  • 24. VIRick  |  May 31, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Durango, Sinaloa: Two State Congresses Moving Forward on Marriage Equality Bills

    Although 22 of Mexico's 32 jurisdictions are currently distracted with state and local elections slated to be held later in June, the remaining 10 are not involved. Of these latter, both Durango and Sinaloa claim to be moving forward on long over-due marriage equality legislation:

    Per LGBT Marriage News:


    Now that the latest regular session has been completed, the JCP (La Junta de Gobierno y Coordinación Política) of the Durango state congress is scheduling itself to hold up to 10 extraordinary sessions, in part to debate the marriage equality bill.


    The Sinaloa state legislator, Francisca Avelló (Morena), the chairperson of the Committee on Gender Equity and Family, states that they will be sending the marriage equality bill to the full congress and that she believes that said bill will pass in June.

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