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8/2 open thread


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


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  August 2, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    Court Rejects Appeal of Web Designer who Refused To Design Gay Couples’ Websites

    A Colorado based homophobic web designer lost her challenge to Colorado’s anti-discrimination law last week in a suit she filed against the state because she didn’t want to design wedding websites for gay couples.

    Last Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled 2 – 1 the state can force Lorie Smith of studio 303 Creative to design and publish websites promoting messages that go against her personal religious beliefs.

    The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling said that Smith’s arguments do not supersede Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

  • 2. VIRick  |  August 2, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Cayman Islands: First-Ever Pride Parade

    Upwards of 600 people participated in the first-ever Pride parade in the Cayman Islands that took place on Saturday, 31 July 2021.

    Caymanian Gov. Martyn Roper, Premier Wayne Panton, and opposition MP Barbara Conolly were among those who participated in the (rather tame, somewhat politically-focused) parade that the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, a local advocacy group, had organized, one that even included speeches at its conclusion.

    But this is the "small island" Caribbean where everyone knows everyone else. Our own first-ever Pride Walk was even tamer, and quite unlike the raucous, anonymous events that typically pass as Pride in the USA or in most parts of Latin America. Still, in both instances, as a previously untested public "first," there was no negativity on display at either event from any of the on-lookers toward any of the participants.

    Even so, not everyone was in full accord with every aspect of such a very mild-mannered presentation:

    Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush, who have legally challenged the Cayman Islands government to legalize same-sex marriage, said they had found out on Friday night, 30 July, that they had been removed from the parade’s participation list because they had queried about the ban on displays of affection such as hand-holding and kissing. Advocacy group Colours Cayman had also challenged the organizers’ rules regarding no displays of public affection.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  August 2, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Catholic Bishops spend nearly $240,000 to fight Michigan group’s goal of expanding protections for LGBTQ people

    Catholic Bishops in Michigan have spent over $238,000 – nearly a quarter of a million dollars – to fight a civil rights group's goal of expanding protections for the state's LGBTQ people via a proposed 2022 ballot initiative.

    "Campaign finance reports filed on Monday show the Lansing-based Michigan Catholic Conference, which bills itself as 'the official voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan on matters of public policy,' has made $238,874.80 in direct and in-kind contributions to Citizens for Equality, Fairness and Justice, an organization formed in April that has actively opposed the LGBTQ initiative," MiBiz's Andy Balaskovitz reports. "The MCC made up nearly all of the committee's $204,175 in direct contributions this funding cycle."

    Currently, the ballot initiative is stalled. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers says Fair and Equal Michigan has not secured enough valid signatures to get the issue on the ballot.

  • 4. ianbirmingham  |  August 2, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Anita Bryant’s granddaughter is marrying a woman. Grandma isn’t happy for the bride-to-be.

    The granddaughter of arch anti-LGBTQ activist Anita Bryant is getting married to another woman, and she doesn’t know whether to invite her homophobic grandmother to her wedding.

    Bryant’s granddaughter Sarah Green said that her grandmother refused to even believe that she’s gay after she came out on her 21st birthday. The 81-year-old Christian conservative activist is still praying for Green to find a husband.

    Now Green is getting married. Like many queer people, she’s not sure whether to invite her grandmother. But unlike most people, her grandmother organized one of the first major anti-LGBTQ campaigns in the country, accusing gay people of being pedophiles.

    Bryant won the 1958 Miss Oklahoma pageant and was a brand ambassador for the Florida Citrus Commission, but she’s best known for mounting the infamous “Save Our Children” campaign in the 1970s to repeal a local ordinance in Dade County, Florida, that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Bryant focused on gay teachers, saying that gay people are child molesters who go into teaching to hurt kids.

    “Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit,” she said, also saying that gay people were “human garbage.”

  • 5. VIRick  |  August 2, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Sonora: Federal Court Orders Marriage Equality Be Law, 2 August 2021

    Per Dinorah Vega, one of the legal team who filed and won the suit:

    Hoy, el 2 de agosto 2021, el juzgado décimo tercero (de districto) concedió uno de los amparos indirectos que interpusimos por la omisión legislativa de no regular el matrimonio igualitario en Sonora, donde ordena que el Congreso de Sonora o el gobierno de sonora concreten el proceso de reforma de los Artículos 2, 11, y 102 del Código de Familia de Sonora.

    Today, 2 August 2021, the thirteenth (federal district) court granted one of the indirect amparos that we filed against the legislative omission of not regulating marriage equality in Sonora, one where it orders the Congress of Sonora or the government of Sonora to concretely specify the process of reform for Articles 2, 11, and 102 of the Sonora Family Code.

    Per Jesús Manuel Herrera, another member of the same legal team:

    El matrimonio igualitario en Sonora será un hecho. Hoy conseguimos una sentencia histórica.

    Marriage equality in Sonora will be a fact. Today, we secured an historic judgment.

    Per Jessica Estefanía Román, the third member of the legal team:

    El matrimonio igualitario estará en el Código de Familia para el Estado de Sonora.

    Marriage equality will be in the Family Code for the State of Sonora.

  • 6. VIRick  |  August 4, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Sonora: Federal Judge Gives Congress Until December to Enact Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 2 August 2021, a federal judge has given authorities in Sonora a deadline to approve marriage equality. At the latest, it will need to be done by the end of the next regular congress session, or mid-December 2021, according to the ruling. What needs to be changed are several elements of the Sonora Family Code, (that is, Articles 2, 11, and 102,) which currently state that marriages between same-sex couples are “legally impossible."

    In his ruling, federal Judge Antonio Mora noted that these laws, and the inaction of the Sonora Congress on the matter to date, “perpetuate the notion that same-sex couples are less deserving of recognition than straight couples, thereby offending their human dignity and integrity.”

    “It’s an historic ruling,” said Jesús Manuel Herrera, whose law firm brought the case. There is a small window for appeals, but Herrera said he thinks that that is very unlikely. Once finalized, the court’s deadline will be set, and officials could face serious legal consequences if they do not meet it, (just as happened in Sinaloa state before it).

  • 7. VIRick  |  August 4, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Sonora: The Complete District Court Ruling Against the State on Marriage Equality

    Per Jessica Estefanía Román:

    The entire district court marriage equality ruling, resolving El Juicio de Amparo 300/2021 against the state of Sonora, its congress, and its executive, is here:

    The important part is found on page 51, "Efectos del amparo," numbers 223, 224, and 225. Basically put, the state Congress and Executive of the State of Sonora are ordered to reform Articles 2, 11, and 102 of the Sonora Family Code, and have until the end of the next congress session (mid-December 2021) to do so, or face unspecified, dire, legal and financial penalties.

    This is the part that I love about the Mexican judicial system. Many view it as weak, useless, and corrupt, and impossibly difficult to understand. But piss off the judges, whose patience and toleration has finally worn quite thin on the subject of marriage equality, and one will find a very different judicial system at work, one where judges are authorized to order almost any type of punishment, without limit. According to La Ley de Amparo, the parties should have only 3 days to be in compliance of said court order, but Judge Mora has graciously given the Sonora state authorities an "exception," until mid-December, given whatever "complexities" there might be to their being in compliance before this date.

    This 3-day rule matches perfectly with the federal judicial decree issued in Sinaloa ordering marriage equality in that state, but where no "exception" was granted, after 7 long years of mindless obfuscation.

  • 8. VIRick  |  August 2, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    Durango: Summary Petition Granted for Marriage Equality, 2 August 2021

    Per Horacio Aranda, human rights lawyer pushing for marriage equality in Durango:

    Suma petitoria se otorgue dispensa de requisitos y registro de matrimonio.

    Summary petition is granted waiver of requirements and registration of marriage.

    This summary court judgment headline is actually copied from a screen-capture of a message on Horacio's cell phone, one that has been directed from the court to the Director-General of the Civil Registry of the State of Durango, Roberto Benito Hernández Andrade, located in Victoria de Durango.

    Since Horacio adds "¡Vamos por más!" (Let's go for more!), this court ruling in Durango may have been for a singular case, unlike the blanket federal court ruling rendered against Sonora, immediately above, on the same date.

    Or very likely not, given that the word "amparo" was not utilized (an injunction indicating that a singular exception to the law has been allowed by the court), and instead, the phrase, "Suma petitoria se otorgue" (Summary petition is granted) appears in its place.

    And then there is this, as on the day following, Horacio Aranda has been invited to participate in conference with the state civil registry officials regarding the implementation of the court orders:

  • 9. VIRick  |  August 3, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    Durango: State Civil Registry Sets Plan for Allowing Same-Sex Couples to Marry

    Per Tadeo Campagne:

    Mesa de trabajo del Registro Civil de Durango:
    • Coordinación permanente.
    • Que las oficialías de todo el estado y sus oficiales estén preparados para ejecutar los matrimonios LGBTTTI.
    • Utilizar lenguaje correcto a la hora de oficiar el acto jurídico.

    Durango Civil Registry work group:
    • Permanent coordination.
    • That the government offices of the entire state and their officials be prepared to complete LGBTTTI marriages.
    • Use correct language at the time of officiating the legal act.

    To which we have Horacio's absolutely exquisite reply to the gracious invitation to participate as a working member in co-ordination with the other members of the Durango Civil Registry:

    Se agradece y se honra la disposición, sensibilidad, y compromiso del personal de la Dirección General del Registro Civil de Durango para atender las inquietudes del equipo social y jurídico para emprender las acciones de matrimonio igualitario en el Estado.

    The willingness, sensitivity, and commitment of the staff of the General Directorate of the Civil Registry of Durango to address the concerns of the social and legal team to undertake marriage equality actions in the State are appreciated and honored.

    As a further note, Horacio copied and directed that the two messages cited above also be sent to Héctor Flores, Secretario-General de Gobierno en el Estado de Durango (General Secretary of the Government of Durango State, the chief administrator of all statewide functions).

    Horacio's full name is Horacio Alejandro Aranda Guereca. He uses both of his given names interchangeably.

  • 10. VIRick  |  August 3, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    Edoméx: Marriage Equality and Abortion Rights Delayed Until Next Congress

    Per "Heraldo del Estado de México:"

    El presidente de la CODHEM (el ombudsman), Jorge Olvera García, afirmó que entre los retos que deberá enfrentar el próximo comisionado están el seguir luchando por la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario y la despenalización del aborto.

    The president of CODHEM (the ombudsman), Jorge Olvera García, affirmed that among the challenges that the next commissioner will have to face are that of continuing to fight for the approval of marriage equality and for the decriminalization of abortion.

    CODHEM = Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Estado de México (Human Rights Commission of the State of México)

    Although the current Edoméx Congress did not pass marriage equality into law, they did successfully approve the recognition of gender identity and the banning of anti-LGBT "conversion therapy."

    This Wikipedia gender identity listing still needs up-dating to reflect the fact that Edoméx (2021) did indeed rather recently approve the recognition of gender identity:

  • 11. VIRick  |  August 3, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Charleston WV Bans Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 2 August 2021, in a 14-9 vote, the Charleston WV city council passed an ordinance banning anti-LGBT "conversion therapy," the first jurisdiction anywhere in West Virginia to do so.

  • 12. VIRick  |  August 4, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Tennessee Is Sued in Federal Court over a Second Anti-Transgender Law

    The state of Tennessee is being sued again over one of the anti-LGBTQ bills it passed earlier in 2021, now by parents who say that allowing cisgender students to sue school districts if they encounter a transgender student in the restroom will make life more difficult for their own children. The LGBTQ organization HRC filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn HB 1233, which requires schools to provide transgender-free restrooms for cisgender students or risk being sued by their families or even by school employees.

    HRC’s lawsuit argues that HB 1233 violates federal law, including Title IX, which bans discrimination in education, as well as the Equal Protection Clause in the US Constitution. It also cites President Biden’s executive order from earlier this year that says that Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination also bans discrimination against LGBTQ people because it is impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity without taking sex into account.

    This is the second lawsuit over an anti-LGBTQ law that Tennessee is facing in 2021 after it passed at least four anti-LGBTQ laws in just the first few months of the year. In July, the ACLU succeeded in obtaining a temporary injunction against HB 1182, a law that requires businesses to post signs warning customers that their business treats transgender people equally, or else face up to six months in prison for not posting such "warning" signage.

  • 13. VIRick  |  August 5, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    USCIS Recognizes US Citizenship of Married Same-Sex Couples' Children Born Abroad

    On Thursday, 5 August 2021, the Biden administration announced that children of married same-sex couples who are born overseas via surrogate, or other form of assisted reproductive technology, are now eligible for US citizenship (without their parents having to file a federal lawsuit, and waste a lot of time, money, and effort arguing over the matter in federal court, before obtaining a favorable ruling).

    A US Citizenship and Immigration Services press release notes that henceforth it “will allow a non-genetic, non-gestational legal parent of a child to transmit US citizenship to the child if the parent is married to the child’s genetic or gestational parent at the time of the child’s birth, and the relevant jurisdiction (where the child was born) recognizes both parents as the child’s legal parents.”

    A number of married same-sex couples have won federal lawsuits after the US government refused to recognize the US citizenship of their children who were born abroad. Thus, in May 2021, after having lost yet another federal discrimination suit, the US State Department announced, for purposes of US passport issuance, that it will recognize the US citizenship of a married couple’s child who is born outside the country if either one of their parents is a US citizen. Now, several months later, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service is finally also playing catch-up, in terms of adjusting its own standard policy, by doing the same.

  • 14. VIRick  |  August 5, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    First Same-Sex Marriage in Texmelucan, Puebla

    Per Fernando Maldonado:

    Un matrimonio igualitario hoy, el 5 de agosto 2021, en Texmelucan, Puebla. Roxana Rivera y Martha Mathilde Morales consiguieron unir sus vidas ante un juez civil.

    An equal marriage today, 5 August 2021, in Texmelucan, Puebla. Roxana Rivera and Martha Mathilde Morales were able to unite their lives before a civil judge.

    San Martín Texmelucan de Labastida is the fifth-most-populous municipality in Puebla state, and abuts the southwest edge of Tlaxcala state.

  • 15. VIRick  |  August 7, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    First Same-Sex Marriage in Mazatlán, Sinaloa

    Per "Noroeste:"

    El 6 de agosto 2021, Martín, de 26 años, e Idán, de 23, acudieron al Registro Civil para formalizar su unión por firmando el acta, y registrarse como matrimonio bajo la presencia de la oficial del Registro Civil 10, Ana Yamilé Calderón Tirado. Se trata de la primera pareja del mismo sexo que se une en Mazatlán después de las reformas que reconocen el matrimonio igualitario en Sinaloa.

    On 6 August 2021, Martín, 26, and Idán, 23, went to the Civil Registry to formalize their union by signing the document, and to register as married under the presence of the official at Civil Registry 10, Ana Yamilé Calderón Tirado. They became the first same-sex couple to be united in Mazatlán after the reforms recognizing marriage equality in Sinaloa.

    Mazatlán is the second-most-populous municipality in Sinaloa state.

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  August 8, 2021 at 6:00 am

    Congressional candidate’s campaign ad shows him being kicked out of the navy for being gay

    The newly-released campaign video from a Congressional candidate in California looks back at his early life and career. This includes being forced to leave home for being gay and then being chucked out of the navy for the same reason.

    Joseph C. Rocha, 35, of Escondido, is standing as a Democrat challenger for California’s 50th Congressional District in 2022. He released his first campaign video on Monday.

    When he left the navy, Rocha publicly spoke out against ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell‘. He also vowed that if openly gay people were allowed to serve, he would re-enlist. In the meantime, he went to college and then to law school.

    He eventually rejoined the military, becoming a Marine Corps. Captain and prosecutor in 2014.

    Rocha’s now running for Congress against the sitting congressman, Darrell Issa (R).

    Issa was elected in 2020. This particular congressional seat, which covers suburbs to the north and east of San Diego, is in one of California’s more conservative areas, and Republicans have held it since 2002. Issa won it in 2020 with 54% of the vote.

    In January, Rocha was still in uniform as a Marine Corps captain. “I watched Issa vote against the certification of the election.”

    He also noted Issa, formerly a Representative before a Congressman, voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, something so personal to Rocha and his career.

    Issa also voted against the 1/6 commission: “That’s not patriotism,” says Rocha.

  • 17. Elihu_Bystander  |  August 9, 2021 at 4:49 am

    This story is very close to home for me. As a gay man, I managed to complete 26 years of active duty as a dental officer in the U.S. Navy. I think I lucked out by never running into anyone who cared about my sexuality.

  • 18. VIRick  |  August 8, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Ghana: Court Drops Charges against 21 LGBTQ Activists

    On Thursday, 5 August 2021, a court in the Ghanaian city of Ho dropped charges against 21 LGBTQ activists who were arrested in May at a training for activists and paralegals. The training was geared at equipping them on how to better advocate for LGBTQ individuals and record human rights infringements. Ghanaian authorities deemed the event an “unlawful assembly,” and immediately arrested 16 men and five women.

    In response to the recent court ruling, Chief Superintendent Akologo Yakubu Ayamga told Reuters the ruling means “they cannot be brought back to court on the same charges. So they have been freed.”

    Albeit this positive ruling, Ghana is still embroiled in anti-LGBTQ sentiment including the recent introduction of the “Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” which aims to criminalize any form of public LGBTQ identity and advocacy. This bill, if passed, would subject LGBTQ individuals and allies to up to 10 years imprisonment.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  August 8, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    Hungary slaps restrictions on LGBTQ+ books

    Hungarian authorities have ordered shops to wrap children’s books that depict homosexuality in a positive light in closed packaging as the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán doubles down on his fight with civil rights campaigners and the European Union.

    Under a decree published Friday, stores will also be forbidden to sell books seen as containing explicit depictions of sexuality or narratives around gender change within a 200 meter radius of schools or churches. The rules similarly outlaw displays of products that depict gender roles that are different from an individual’s gender at birth.

  • 20. VIRick  |  August 9, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Baja California: Marriage Equality Amendments Published in Official Gazette

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Go get married Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada, Rosarito Beach, Tecate, and San Quintín. On 8 August 2021, the marriage equality state constitutional reforms and amended state laws have been published in the Official Newspaper of the State of Baja California.

    Per "El Imparcial:"

    Ya Es Oficial Matrimonio Igualitario en Baja California

    La publicación, el Periódico Oficial del Estado, se emitió el pasado 8 de agosto en un número especial, con el único punto del Poder Legislativo Estatal sobre el Decreto Número 275 mediante el cual se reformó el Artículo 7 y 104 de la Constitución Política de Baja California.

    Marriage Equality Is Now Official in Baja California

    On 8 August 2021, the publication, El Periódico Oficial del Estado,.emitted a special issue, with the sole point being the State Legislative Power pertaining to Decree Number 275 through which Articles 7 and 104 of the Political Constitution of Baja California were amended.

    Same-sex couples have been able to marry in certain municipalities in Baja California ever since a statewide decree was issued on 3 November 2017, in adherence with Supreme Court jurisprudence, that allowed the civil registries to process the required paperwork to facilitate such marriages. At a minimum, both Tijuana (in the hundreds) and Ensenada followed this statewide 2017 decree, while Mexicali definitely did not. It is not clear what the remaining 3 municipalities did or did not do. However, San Quintín was only officially split off from Ensenada in mid-2020. Still, as of today, 9 August 2021, same-sex couples can now marry statewide without impediment or delay.

  • 21. VIRick  |  August 9, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    4th Circuit Court of Appeals: Title IX Bans Discrimination in School Dress Codes

    Per Ria Tabacco Mar:

    The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejects the view that dress codes are categorically exempt from anti-discrimination law and remands our case.

    Per ACLU Press Release:

    On 9 August 2021, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination in schools, prohibits discriminatory dress codes in a case involving a K-8 public charter school that requires girls to wear skirts as a condition of attending school. The appeals court sent the case back to the trial court to decide if the skirts requirement in fact violates the law. At the same time, the court found that North Carolina public charter schools are not required to comply with the Constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the law firm of Ellis & Winters LLP originally filed a challenge to the skirts requirement on behalf of three North Carolina students.

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  August 9, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Judge suggests feds are too lenient toward Jan. 6 Trumpanzee defendants

    Beryl Howell, the chief judge of the federal court in Washington deluged with more than 550 prosecutions from the Capitol riot, raised questions about why some defendants were being permitted to resolve their criminal cases by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and why the amount of money prosecutors are seeking to recover through those plea deals was based on a relatively paltry estimate of about $1.5 million in damages caused by the rioters.

    In response, [prosecutor Clayton] O’Connor laid bare aspects of prosecutors’ decision-making that have rarely been discussed publicly: why some defendants who went into the Capitol but aren’t accused of violence against others or damaging property are facing a felony obstruction-of-Congress charge that can carry a maximum of 20 years in prison, while others who appear to have acted similarly that day have escaped with misdemeanors.

    Cases where defendants posted on social media about trying to stop the vote have generally produced more serious charges, while those lacking such evidence seem to have been treated more leniently, even if the acts allegedly committed were similar. Yet, Howell didn’t seem to be buying it, and repeatedly suggested it could be inferred that those who entered the Capitol were not just there on a lark.

    Howell also said she was puzzled why prosecutors are using a sum of about $1.5 million to calculate restitution in the cases, while Congress agreed last month to appropriate $521 million to the National Guard for costs incurred in providing security for the Capitol for four months after the Jan. 6 assault.

  • 23. VIRick  |  August 9, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    El Presidente Joseph Biden en Español

    Per Embajada USA en RD:

    "Todos los seres humanos deben ser tratados con respeto y dignidad y deben de poder vivir sin miedo, sin importar quiénes son o a quién amen."

    Per US Embassy in Dominican Republic:

    "All human beings must be treated with respect and dignity and must be able to live without fear, regardless of who they are or who they love."

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