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10/18 open thread and some news


– According to SCOTUSBlog, the Supreme Court has still taken no action in the rehearing request in the Arlene’s Flowers case. We’ll be watching for any new developments.

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


  • 1. VIRick  |  October 18, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    Lesbian Rejected as Foster Parent for Refugee Child Sues Federal Government

    On 13 October 2021, a Tennessee woman sued the federal government because a child services agency with a US government contract rejected her as a foster parent simply because she is lesbian. Given the federal contract, Kelly Easter of Nashville filed her suit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

    It names as defendants the US Department of Health and Human Services, along with several HHS officials and programs. She is represented by Lambda Legal, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the law firm of Orrick, Herrington, and Sutcliffe.

    In 2020, Easter expressed interest in becoming a foster parent to a refugee child through a federal program. Her inquiry to the US Office of Refugee Resettlement was forwarded to Bethany Christian Services, the only agency handling the program in her area. Bethany turned her down because she is a lesbian, citing its policy against placing children with LGBTQ people.

    She complained about the discrimination and asked if there might be an exception because the program is federally funded, but Bethany officials said they were bound by the policy of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, for which it is a sub-contractor. She again contacted the Office of Refugee Resettlement, where staffers said they would look into the matter.

    Bethany announced earlier in 2021 that it was lifting its discriminatory policy, and Easter then made inquiries again. After some back-and-forth, she was told that the Bethany office most convenient to her home would still not allow her to foster a refugee child because of the contract with the bishops’ conference. Bethany officials referred her to another location that is not connected with the Catholic group, but that did not work out for her because the necessary travel was incompatible with her work schedule as a real estate agent. So, as a direct result, she has now filed the federal lawsuit.

  • 2. VIRick  |  October 18, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Veracruz: New Congress to Be Installed on 5 November 2021

    All 50 state deputies to the new Veracruz state congress are slated to be installed on 5 November 2021. With its allies, Morena will hold a majority of the seats, likely even a qualified (2/3) majority, or 34 seats, a number that also includes one Morena deputy from the sexual diversity community. In addition, Morena will be presiding over the Jucopo (the junta setting the agenda) and all of the most important committees.

    As a result, the marriage equality legislation is expected to pass, in part also because the Supreme Court is due to soon rule upon the pending "Action of Unconstitutionality" filed by the CNDH in June 2020 against the state. In addition, the original sponsor of the very comprehensive legislation, Mónica Robles (Morena), has been duly re-elected to again represent Coatzacoalcos, and will oversee the completion of the task.

    By party designation, the 50 deputies have been allocated as follows:

    25 Morena
    05 PT
    04 Verde
    02 PRD
    02 MC
    04 PRI
    08 PAN

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  October 20, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Vermont: Performers in Drag Shine at Burlington High School's Halftime Ball

    Burlington High School's Gender-Sexuality Alliance club planned the event — a striking juxtaposition to the robust masculinity typically on display during football games — as a creative way to show support for the LGBTQ community.

    The halftime entertainment started in dramatic fashion. Performers, partially obscured by a swath of blue fabric held up by volunteers, made their way down the track that circles the football field as a techno beat pulsed. The fabric dropped to reveal a lineup of students and teachers decked out in an array of over-the-top outfits.

    English teacher Andrew LeValley, an adviser to the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, channeled Marie Antoinette, with a ruffled taffeta frock and a voluminous blonde pouf wig embellished with jaunty peacock feathers. Another performer shined bright in a head-to-toe gold ensemble, including a lamé cape and bell-bottomed body suit. A first-year student rollerbladed down the track wearing a full-length, pumpkin-colored gown.

    Fans erupted into full-throated screams as each performer camped it up — with a twirl, shimmy or beauty-queen wave — at the end of the runway. As the show came to an end, Burlington superintendent Tom Flanagan joined the performers on the track, wearing a rainbow cape and holding up a mini rainbow flag.

    Spectators were encouraged to wear rainbow clothing, and they did. The student section of the stadium was an explosion of color and sparkle — featuring multihued tutus and boas, bright tie-dye T-shirts and fedoras, and lots of glittery face and body paint.

    Ezra Totten, a BHS senior and student leader of the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, said the club hopes the drag ball will become an annual event, and that other high schools around the country will be encouraged to put on similar events.

  • 4. VIRick  |  October 20, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    West Virginia: Morgantown City Council Bans "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Tuesday, 19 October 2021, by a unanimous 7-0 vote, the Morgantown city council passed an ordinance that bans the practice of youth "conversion therapy" by any medical or mental health professional within the city limits.

    Morgantown, home to West Virginia University, is the second city in the state to approve a ban on "conversion therapy," with the state capital, Charleston, being the first.

  • 5. VIRick  |  October 20, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Kansas: Prairie Village City Council Bans "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Monday evening, 18 October 2021, the city council of Prairie Village voted to ban "conversion therapy," becoming the second Johnson County city after Roeland Park to do so. After discussing it at the council committee of the whole twice in recent weeks, by an 11-1 vote, the city council formally adopted a "conversion therapy" ban ordinance at its latest meeting.

    As a result of the ordinance, violators can be charged up to $1,000. The ban, however, does not apply to churches or other religious entities that may offer such practices.

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 20, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Querétaro:: Up-Date on Marriage Equality Law as of 20 October 2021

    Per "Diario de Querétaro:"

    Aunque la reforma del matrimonio igualitario no fue vetada, aún está en proceso de revisión para su publicación en el periódico oficial, "La Sombra de Arteaga." Ya debe publicarse y ser vigente desde el 1 de noviembre.

    Although the marriage equality reform was not vetoed, it is still under review for its publication in the official newspaper, "La Sombra de Arteaga." Now, it must be published and be effective from 1 November.

    Despite the fact that the new state governor of Querétaro, Mauricio Kuri González, has not signed the recently-passed marriage equality legislation into law, the constitutionally allowed time-frame during which he could have vetoed it has now passed. So, by default, the legislation must now be published in the official newspaper, after which it will then automatically become state law, even without his signature.

    This is the same drawn-out process that occurred in Hidalgo state in 2019, when the governor there refused to sign the legislation, but then also failed to veto it within the prescribed time-frame, thus passively allowing the measure to become law by default.

    And by tomorrow, 21 October, the same will have occurred in Sonora state, where the marriage equality legislation there was passed just one day after that in Querétaro. The new governor of Sonora has not signed the measure into law, but the time-frame for his vetoing it will have expired. Thus, once published, marriage equality in Sonora will also become law by default.

  • 7. Randolph_Finder  |  October 21, 2021 at 2:42 am

    Still waiting to see who will be the last…

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  October 21, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    For the entire North American continent, the answer to that is obvious: The bigoted counties in Alabama that are still refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone, due to their extreme homophobia, will certainly be the very last to accept same-sex marriage.

  • 9. Randolph_Finder  |  October 21, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    None of Alabama's counties offer Marriage Licenses anymore. The state passed a law in 2019 where "Probate judges will instead accept notarized forms completed by couples as official records of marriage."


  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  October 21, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    I stand corrected!

    After Obergefell v. Hodges, several Alabama counties initially would not issue marriage licenses to any couples in order to avoid issuing them to same-sex couples. A year after the Supreme Court ruling, only twelve counties would either issue licenses to no one or only to opposite-sex couples. By 2017, this number had dropped to only eight counties, with all eight refusing to issue licenses to anyone. In May 2019, the Alabama Legislature passed a bill replacing marriage licenses with marriage certificates in order to keep probate judges from violating their consciences and so that the remaining counties would resume marrying couples. These final eight counties began issuing marriage certificates to all couples on August 29, 2019.

  • 11. Randolph_Finder  |  October 22, 2021 at 5:21 am

    I'm actually surprised that a copy of this law wasn't instituted in more US states.

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  October 22, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    No other states needed to appease 8 deeply homophobic counties where nobody could even get married for 4 years while local bigots, led by Chief Wacko Roy Moore, blarantly refused to do their jobs.

    Chief Wacko Roy Moore was in the news again just a few weeks ago, when a Trump-appointed federal judge laughed out of court Roy Moore's lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen (widely known as 'Borat') for luring Moore to a fake interview in which Cohen's fake pedophile detector kept issuing alarms whenever Cohen moved the device next to Roy Moore's body. Click through to Law & Crime for this very special legal entertainment!

  • 13. scream4ever  |  October 22, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    Also of note, the lone Texas county that refused to issue them has since started doing so, so same sex couples can marry in every county in America.

  • 14. Fortguy  |  October 23, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    That's because the petulant county clerk at the time, Molly Criner, is now the county judge in Irion County choosing to seek higher office as the position of county judge is the chief executive in Texas counties. Her replacement as county clerk, Shirley Graham, has no objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Presumably, couples seeking a same-sex marriage in Irion County in a civil ceremony conducted by a local official must do so through a justice-of-the-peace since the county judge will likely remain obstinate until someone with standing sues her ass.

    This is not likely to happen soon since last year's census gives the county a population of 1,513. It is not a particularly scenic place, and it is certainly no gay destination nor any kind of marriage or honeymoon destination, either. It sits under the geographic armpit of much more populated Tom Green County where the city of San Angelo has more than 100,000 people and more tolerant attitudes.

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 21, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Texas: Lt. Gov. Pays Out First Bounty for Voter Fraud,– to a Progressive PA Poll Worker

    In November 2020, in a foolish act of braggadocio, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick set a minimum $25,000 bounty for proof of voter fraud. Eleven months later, to date, the first and only recipient has finally received their reward for turning in a case. The winner was a progressive Pennsylvania poll worker who turned in a Republican stalwart for voting twice.

    One week after the 2020 presidential election in which President Joe Biden toppled Trump, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick set a bounty of up to $1 million for anyone who could find instances of voter fraud in the US. Eleven months later, Patrick finally doled out his first reward: the minimum amount of $25,000 to a progressive poll worker in Pennsylvania who turned in a man who voted twice, according to "The Dallas Morning News."

    Eric Frank was the original poll worker to submit a violation by Ralph Thurman, a 72-year-old Republican man who pleaded guilty in September 2021 to voting twice: once under his name, and once using the name of his Democratic-aligned son.

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 21, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    Nevada: Second Candidate for Texas Lt. Gov.'s Bounty for Proof of Voter Fraud

    Per Associated Press:

    A Las Vegas businessman is facing criminal charges of voting twice in the November 2020 election, including with his dead wife’s ballot, Nevada state Attorney-General Aaron Ford announced on Thursday, 21 October 2021.

    Donald “Kirk” Hartle, 55, faces two felony charges in a criminal complaint filed on 6 October and made public today, 21 October, three days after Hartle’s initial appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court, according to court records. He is again due in court on 18 November. Hartle is the only person currently being prosecuted for allegations of voter fraud in Nevada, said John Sadler, spokesman for the attorney-general. Hartle’s wife, Rosemarie Hartle, died in 2017 at age 52 from breast cancer, yet was still "able to submit a ballot to vote" in November 2020.

    It should come as no great surprise that Hartle is an executive at Ahern Rentals Inc., a company that was fined $3,000 for violations of COVID-19 mask and crowd-size restrictions while hosting a Trump campaign event in September 2020. The rally drew thousands of people to a sprawling indoor facility in suburban Henderson.

    Company owner, Donald Ahern, also owns a Las Vegas hotel at which a national group espousing fringe QAnon conspiracy theories planned a gathering this coming weekend, billed as a “Great Awakening Weekend.” The event promised speakers featured on Fox TV, News Max, The Victory Channel, One America Network, and other sites favored by Trump.

    Does anyone still hold any doubt as to which presidential candidate Rosemary Hartle "preferred" on her posthumously-submitted ballot?

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 21, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Sonora: Marriage Equality Reform Published; Now State Law

    Per Coalición LGBTTTIQ Sonora, Rosa Elena Trujillo (MC), Tirso Amante, y María Luisa Alatorre Castañeda:

    El 21 de octubre 2021, ya se publicó en el Boletin Oficial la reforma al Código de Familia, y con ello, el matrimonio igualitario es una realidad en Sonora.

    As of 21 October 2021, the reform to the Family Code has now been published in the Official Gazette, and with that, marriage equality is a reality in Sonora.

    Per Franko Montijo:

    Es oficial. Mañana (el 22 de octubre 2021) entra en vigor la reforma en el Código de Familia en Sonora.

    It is official. Tomorrow (22 October 2021) the reform to the Family Code in Sonora enters into force.

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 21, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    Meanwhile, the Scene in Querétaro:

    Since the state governor has still not authorized the publication of the marriage equality reform in the official gazette, there were competing marches in favor of and against marriage equality, with both simultaneously parading through the historic district of the state capital, Santiago de Querétaro. Here is a video of the street scene I most enjoyed:

    La Resistencia Voguera Queretana, que vogueando y resistiendo, defienden el derecho al amor y al matrimonio igualitario en Querétaro.

    La Resistencia Voguera Queretana, who vogueing and resisting, defend the right to love and for marriage equality in Querétaro.

  • 19. Randolph_Finder  |  October 22, 2021 at 5:24 am

    So does that mean that Querétaro should be removed from lists of states allowing Equal Marriage? And how long can the governor fail to authorize it?

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 22, 2021 at 8:07 am

    No. Leave it alone, as the expired time-frame has pushed the matter out of the current governor's hands. He can no longer veto the legislation. There is no other choice remaining except for the state to publish the reform in the Official Gazette, without the governor's signature, as per the passage of the law by the state congress.

    See the previous post, higher up in this thread, quoting from the "Diario de Querétaro" as of 20 October 2021, to the effect that the legislation must be published within the next few days, to come into force by 1 November. Yesterday's useless opposing marches do nothing but add confusion and unnecessary uncertainty to the entire process.

    Compare the two states. Sonora just complied within the standard deadline. Querétaro did not. From the date the state congress passes legislation, the state governor has a 10-15 day window (depending on the wording in the state's constitution) within which he can veto the measure. The Querétaro congress passed marriage equality on 22 September 2021. The Sonora congress did likewise on 23 September. In both instances, that time-frame for a veto has expired. Thus, after that time, even without the governor's signature of approval, the state authorities have no other choice except to publish the legislation, thus making it official.

    In general, after the veto power has expired, the state has a maximum of 15 days within which it must publish the measure. In Sonora, the legislation was passed on 23 September and published on 21 October, to take effect from today, 22 October, all neatly done just within the conventional overall 30-day window, even without the governor's signature. At a minimum, this is what one should expect in each instance.

    In Querétaro, the legislation was passed on 22 September. It can no longer be vetoed, and is now overdue for publication. Perhaps the government secretary (a PAN stalwart) is erroneously thinking that they have a 30-day window to publish, commencing from the expiration date of the governor's ability to veto, when in fact, it is a 30-day window overall, from the date the congress acts.

  • 21. VIRick  |  October 22, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Querétaro Up-Date, as of 22 October 2021

    Per "Tribuna de Querétaro:"

    El gobernador de Querétaro, Mauricio Kuri González, aún no publicado la reforma de matrimonio igualitario en "La Sombra de Arteaga." Ha pasado un mes desde su aprobación en el pleno del congreso, y el gobernador sigue atendiendo consultas al respecto.

    The governor of Querétaro, Mauricio Kuri González, has not yet published the marriage equality reform in "La Sombra de Arteaga." A month has passed since its approval by the full congress, and the governor continues attending to inquiries regarding it.

    Per "Presencia Universitaria," quoting Walter López, vocero del Frente Queretano:

    Ya se pidió una reunión con Guadalupe Murguía, la Secretaría de Gobierno, para que la iniciativa de matrimonio igualitario no se publique en el “último minuto.”

    A meeting with Guadalupe Murguía, the Government Secretary, has already been requested so that the marriage equality initiative is not published at the "last minute."

    Although he is new to the job, the governor must also have his head fully up his ass. Whether he understands the correct procedure or not, he already allowed the veto deadline date to pass, and has no further say in the matter. It is now completely up to the government secretary, a full-time civil servant, and who (even as a PAN stalwart) must know the correct process, to move on publishing the measure so that it becomes law.

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  October 22, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Shades of Alabama…

  • 23. VIRick  |  October 22, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    I have extreme difficulty comparing Querétaro with Alabama. On the one side of the equation, I can not envision a horde of rosary-praying, mantilla-wearing, pro-vida and pro-familia mamacitas and abuelas overly concerned about "la matriz" (or its absence), led by the usual raving evangelical nut-jobs, all parading through downtown Montgomery for any cause, with or without their typical excess signage, banners, and slogans, completely in Spanish. And on the opposite side, I also can not envision a large group of vogueing LGBT Mexicans, as epitomized by La Resistencia Voguera Queretana, flaunting their smooth, suave moves in such rhythmic unison as seen in that video filmed in Querétaro during the counter-march, making the same flaunting moves in unison through downtown Montgomery.

    Querétaro is one of the states comprising the Bajío, the economically-contented, relatively well-to-do heart-of-Mexico and is simply too totally Mexican to be compared to a non-Latino entity. Of the other states of the Bajío, namely Jalisco, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosí, only the latter has marriage equality as a result of its state congress passing such legislation.

    Still, just for more eye candy, here is additional coverage relating to the vogueras, per Homosensual:

  • 24. ianbirmingham  |  October 23, 2021 at 8:55 am

    The governor and the government secretary are, like the bigoted judges of Alabama, openly refusing to do their jobs because of their own homophobia.

  • 25. VIRick  |  October 23, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    Ian, now I see your point. And to follow through on that comparison, note the very contrasting, positive role played by the Government Secretary of the state of Sonora, Álvaro Bracamontes, who even attended the marriage of the very first same-sex couple married according to the legislation he directly oversaw in its official publication, as documented in this very next post:

  • 26. VIRick  |  October 22, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Sonora: First Marriage of a Same-Sex Couple, First Day of Legalization, 22 October 2021

    Per Gobierno del Estado de Sonora:

    Los matrimonios igualitarios en Sonora ahora son una realidad. Acércate a las Oficialías del Registro Civil para iniciar tu trámite de matrimonio. Sonora avanza en la consolidación del respeto de los derechos de todas y todos.

    Equal marriages in Sonora are now a reality. Approach the Civil Registry Offices to start your marriage process. Sonora advances in the consolidation of the respect for the rights of everyone.

    Per Luis Jaloma, with accompanying wedding photo:

    Frente al juez, haciendo que la igualdad sea realidad. ¡Muchas felicidades! El primero de muchos.

    In front of the judge, making equality be a reality. Congratulations! The first of many.

  • 27. VIRick  |  October 22, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Perú: Marriage Equality Bill Presented in Congress, 22 October 2021

    Per Lima Gay Net:

    Las y los ocho congresistas Susel Paredes, Ruth Luque Ibarra, Flor Pablo, Kira Alcarraz, Ed Málaga-Trillo, Isabel Cortez, Edgard Reymundo, y Sigrid Bazan presentaron hoy ante el Congreso el proyecto de Ley N° 525/2021-CR para reconocer el matrimonio igualitario.

    The eight congressmembers Susel Paredes, Ruth Luque Ibarra, Flor Pablo, Kira Alcarraz, Ed Málaga-Trillo, Isabel Cortez, Edgard Reymundo, and Sigrid Bazan today presented before Congress bill No. 525/2021-CR to recognize marriage equality.

    Per Diario La República:

    La norma implica la modificatoria del Artículo 234 del Código Civil, donde se menciona que el matrimonio es la unión de un varón y una mujer.

    The new standard involves the modification of Article 234 of the Civil Code, where it is mentioned that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

    Per Lima Gay Net:

    According to this newly-introduced marriage equality proposal, the new language for Article 234 of the Civil Code is to read:

    "El matrimonio es la unión voluntariamente concertada por dos personas legalmente aptas para ella, y formalizada con sujeción a las disposiciones de este código, a fin de hacer vida común."

    "Marriage is the union voluntarily arranged by two persons legally suitable for it, and formalized subject to the provisions of this code, in order to make a common life together."

  • 28. VIRick  |  October 23, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Oklahoma Issues Non-Binary Birth Certificate

    Oklahoma's State Department of Health issued a birth certificate earlier this year with a non-binary gender label after reaching a settlement with a state resident who sued, the Associated Press reported. The move drew outrage from some of the state's Republican leaders on Thursday, 21 October 2021, including Governor Kevin Stitt who said that there is "no such thing" as a non-binary identity.

    Kit Lorelied, who was born in Oklahoma but now lives in Oregon, identified as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. Lorelied sued the State Department of Health after the agency denied a request to provide a non-binary designation on their birth certificate. The Office of the Attorney-General represented the department in the suit, and both parties were able to reach a settlement in May. Lorelied was issued the new birth certificate that same month, and the department agreed to add a non-binary option for the documents.

  • 29. ianbirmingham  |  October 23, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Republicans Freak Out Over New Bisexual Superman

    DC Comics announced Monday that Jon Kent, the son of original Superman Clark Kent and journalist Lois Lane, will be shown as bisexual in the latest iteration of the comic book series. The character will come out in the Nov. 9 issue of “Superman: Son of Kal-El #5,” when he kisses his love interest Jay Nakamura.

    “Superman loves Louis [sic] Lane. Period. Hollywood is trying to make Superman gay and he is not. Just rename the new version Thooperman so we can all know the difference and avoid seeing it,” tweeted Rep. Wendy Rogers, an Arizona state Republican who has persistently spread election disinformation.

    “Say no to Woke Thooperman!!!” she added in a separate tweet.

    Josh Mandel, a Republican running for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, opted for a more dramatic complaint.

    “Bisexual comic books for kids. They are literally trying to destroy America,” he tweeted.

  • 30. ianbirmingham  |  October 23, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    Texas Lawmaker Argues Same-Sex Marriage Is Still Illegal in the State

    In a tweet, the Lincoln Project wrote, “Marriage equality is the law of the land — except in Texas, argues the state GOP. Legislative leaders in TX issued an opinion stating legalized gay marriage shouldn’t be permitted in the Lone Star State because they feel state law trumps the SCOTUS ruling in Obergefell v Hodges.”

    Texas state Rep. James White, a Republican from District 19 in southeast Texas, wrote in his letter that Texas's state laws continues to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. He also referred to parts of the state’s legislation that forbid the recognition of anything like marriages, such as civil unions.

    “The State of Texas has not amended or repealed its marriage laws in response to Obergefell v. Hodges … . And the Supreme Court has no power to amend formally or revoke a state statute or constitutional provision — even after opining that the state law violates the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution,” White wrote.

    Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy wrote in a Twitter thread that Texas lawmakers have also never repealed a state statute that makes “homosexual conduct” a misdemeanor.

    Earlier this week, the Texas legislature passed a bill barring transgender students in public schools from participating on the sports teams comporting with their gender identity, and Gov. Greg Abbott, a far-right Republican, is likely to sign it into law. Abbott's office has also come under fire for allegedly taking down a resource page for LGBTQ+ youth that included a suicide and crisis hotline.

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