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3/14 open thread


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  March 14, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Oklahoma: Federal Suit Filed against State for Refusing to Up-Date Gender Markers

    Three transgender Oklahomans are suing the state for refusing to allow them to update their birth certificates to accurately reflect their genders. The federal lawsuit, filed by Lambda Legal on 14 March 2022, alleges that Oklahoma’s current policy surrounding birth certificates “intentionally discriminates on the basis of transgender status,” according to NBC-affiliate KPVI.

    In November 2021, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued an executive order prohibiting Oklahomans from updating the gender on their birth certificates. He did so in response to a non-binary person’s successful attempt to have their gender identity reflected on their birth certificate in the state. Stitt’s order banned any ability to update one’s gender on their birth certificate and banned the existence of a non-binary option.

    The current lawsuit was filed by two transgender men and one transgender women who all recently had their requests to update their birth certificates denied by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.….

  • 2. scream4ever  |  March 14, 2022 at 7:39 pm

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 14, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Privy Council in UK Rules against Marriage Equality in Bermuda, Cayman Islands

    Per Rex Wockner:

    Bermuda had marriage equality in 2017 and again from 2018 to 2022. It was terminated on 14 March 2022, by the court of final appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. The judgment in "Attorney-General for Bermuda v. Ferguson" is here:

    The Cayman Islands had marriage equality for 13 days in 2019. It also was blocked with finality on 14 March 2022, by the court of final appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. The judgment in "Day v. Government of the Cayman Islands" is here:

    The six remaining UK overseas territorial jurisdictions can still achieve marriage equality if their legislatures pass it or if the UK government imposes it.

    The Bermuda ruling was 4-1 against marriage equality, Lord Sales dissented.

    The Cayman Islands ruling was dismissed, 5-0 against, with Lord Sales giving the judgment of the board. In summary, the Cayman Islands judgment states: It is a matter for the choice of the Legislative Assembly rather than a right laid down in the Constitution.

  • 4. Fortguy  |  March 14, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    In other words, the march for LGBT rights with ME at the forefront now requires the slow, hard slog island by island unless the UK Parliament or Dutch legislators intervene.

  • 5. Randolph_Finder  |  March 15, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    I'm not even sure which venezuelan currency they are quoting. The currency converter shows 400Bs as being less than one penny in USD. I know they've done some wierd things to combat inflation…

  • 6. VIRick  |  March 15, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    Bermuda: Opposition Leader in Parliament Supports Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Opposition Leader Cole Simons has responded to the 14 March 2022 Privy Council ruling on same-sex marriage which was decided in favor of the Government (and against the marriage equality appellants):

    Mr Simons said, “The One Bermuda Alliance was surprised by today’s decision by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. Here we are in 2022 and we are still lagging when it comes to protecting the rights of same-sex couples. The UK Court’s decision means the legality of same-sex marriage is firmly a matter for the elected members of Parliament to decide upon. At present, Bermuda’s laws do not impose on our state an obligation to give legal recognition to same-sex marriage.

    “Our constitution does not protect individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation, even though they are protected against discrimination based on race, place of origin, political opinion, color, and creed. The One Bermuda Alliance supports the comments previously made by Lord Pannick, QC, that Bermuda is a multi-cultural country with people of different beliefs and it would be unconstitutional for the government to create a hierarchy of beliefs by showing preference.

    “We would like to express our empathy for the Appellants, Mr Ferguson, OUTBermuda, Mary Ellen Jackson, and others, as surely they must feel that their desire for marriage equality has yet again been stymied. This needs to be addressed by the Government, and Parliament as we are one Bermuda."

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  March 15, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    Tenured Oklahoma Christian University professor is fired from his job of 41 years after he invited a gay man to speak at a presentation about overcoming struggles

    Michael O'Keefe, who had taught at Oklahoma Christian University for over 41 years, was fired last week after he invited a gay Christian man to speak to his class.

  • 8. Elihu_Bystander  |  March 16, 2022 at 5:38 am

    Firing a tenured professor brings great risk of unlawful dismissal litigation.

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 15, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    Russia Departs from Council of Europe

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Russia pulls out of the Council of Europe; it will no longer be bound by the European Convention on Human Rights, nor by the ECHR Court and its rulings requiring it to establish LGBT civil partnerships.

    On 15 March 2022, Russia said it would pull out of the Council of Europe after pressure mounted for Moscow to be expelled from the pan-European rights body over its invasion of Ukraine. Essentially, jumping before it was pushed from the Strasbourg-based body, the Russian foreign ministry said it had given notification of its departure to the Secretary-General, Marija Pejcinovic Buric.

    The decision draws the curtain on Russia's quarter-century membership in the Council of Europe (COE) and also opens the way for Moscow to reimpose the death penalty if the authorities so decide. The so-called "Ruxit" from the Council of Europe means that Russia will no longer be a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and its citizens will no longer be able to file applications to the European Court of Human Rights.

    Russia was suspended from all its rights of representation a day after tens of thousands of troops entered Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Russia's exit will mark a major change for the ECHR which acts as a court of final instance when all domestic avenues have been exhausted. Cases brought by Russian citizens have piled up at the ECHR, accounting for 24 percent of current cases, such as those concerning dissident prisoner Alexei Navalny.

    No member state has ever been expelled from the Council of Europe, which was created in 1949 and has 47 member states, including Russia, which joined in 1996.

  • 10. DevilWearsZrada  |  March 16, 2022 at 12:32 am

    But the European Court of Human Rights will still have jurisdiction over Russia in regards to human rights violations occurred before 15 March 2022. Of course, Russia stopped abiding the Court's rulings long before its withdrawal, but that will become important when post-Putin Russia will be readmitted to the Council, just like Greece was readmitted in 1974 after five years of withdrawal by the military junta.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  March 16, 2022 at 10:31 am

    Considering the number of Russian human rights violations that have already happened in Ukraine during this Russian invasion, that alone should keep the ECHR busy for about the next quadrillion years, with fines amounting to "any and all wealth remaining in Russia"…

  • 12. VIRick  |  March 16, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    DWZ, I am very relieved to realize that you are alive and well. Please stay safe.

    Personally, I continue to have unsettling flashbacks to the time when I was on the very tense Ruso-Finnish border near Imatra on the very date of Boris Yeltsin's counter-coup and the equally awe-inspiring reassertion of Estonian independence.

  • 13. VIRick  |  March 16, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    Durango: Federal Judge Orders Congress to Approve Marriage Equality

    El 15 de marzo 2022, a través de un juez a nivel federal, se ordenó al Congreso del Estado de Durango que se dé una respuesta inmediata para la resolución de aprobación al matrimonio igualitario en el estado.

    On 15 March 2022, through a federal judge, the Congress of the State of Durango was ordered to give an immediate response for the resolution of the approval of same-sex marriage in the state.

    Per Alejandro Aranda"

    Notifican un Juzgado Federal suspensión definitiva para que el Congreso de Durango de respuesta y explique por qué el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo “no es un tema prioritario en la agenda de este periodo.”

    A Federal Court notifies of a definitive suspension so that the Congress of Durango responds and explains why marriage equality "is not a priority issue on the agenda for this period."

  • 14. VIRick  |  March 16, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Guatemala: Facing a Presidential Veto, Congress "Archives" Law 5272

    Per Perú Legal:

    El Congreso de Guatemala "archivó" la Ley 5272 que penalizaba severamente el aborto, prohibía el matrimonio igualitario, y les impedía expresamente la posibilidad de adoptar. Tras su aprobación en el parlamento, el Presidente de Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, solicitó a la Presidenta del Congreso, Shirley Rivera, "archivar" la Ley 5272 por contravenir la Constitución y convenios internacionales suscritos por el Estado.

    The Guatemala Congress "archives" Law 5272 that severely penalizes abortion, prohibits marriage equality, and expressly blocks the possibility of their adopting. After its passage in parliament, the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, requested the President of Congress, Shirley Rivera, to "archive" Law 5272 for contravening the Constitution and international conventions subscribed to by the State.

    Today, 16 March 2022, the Guatemala Congress voted to rescind Law 5272, passed on 8 March 2022, and to file it away in the "archives." That gesture has the same meaning as in Mexico when a state congress there sticks some pending legislation "in the freezer" (en la congeladora) to let it "cool off" indefinitely.

  • 15. VIRick  |  March 16, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    Sweden: Thousands of Ukrainian Refugees Arrive Via Polferries Free-of-Charge

    By sea, thousands of Ukrainians have arrived in the towns of Trelleborg, Ystad, Karlskrona and Nynashamn since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine three weeks ago. There, with more than 500 passengers made up mostly of women and children on each and every crossing, the Polferries ships are greeted by volunteers at the ferry terminal, eager to give them basic necessities. More than three million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion, according to the UN migration agency IOM, with 1.8 million of them fleeing to Poland.

    So far, ferry company Polferries has transported 5,600 Ukrainians free of charge from Poland to Nynashamn. Other ferry lines have transported thousands more. Sweden's Migration Board estimated earlier this week that at least 4,000 Ukrainian refugees were arriving in Sweden per day, with the real number likely to be much higher, as not all were registered immediately on arrival.

    Long queues have formed outside the Migration Board's offices around Sweden, with some asking people to turn around and come back another day. Authorities are meanwhile scrambling to set up reception centers and accommodation for the tens of thousands more expected.

  • 16. VIRick  |  March 16, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    Another Recent Report from Finland Station

    This report, seemingly written several days ago (about 14/15 March 2022), again focused on the sold-out 350-passenger VR Allegro trains running twice daily between St. Pertersburg-Helsinki. Notice that most of the passengers now arriving on platform 9 in Helsinki station are dual-national Russian citizens. They are using their Russian passports to buy tickets and to first board the trains in St. Petersburg, and then, on arrival into Helsinki, are using their EU-issued passports or residency documents to gain entry into Finland. This would further indicate that the service is now operating "closed" trains, no longer stopping en route for any passengers in Kouvala or Lahti.

    Since only those holding Finnish or Russian passports are able to utilize the Allegro train service, notice that the sole US citizen mentioned was required to cross the Russian border into Finland by bus. A handful of bus lines are still operating from St. Petersburg to Finland through the Vainikkala crossing and into Estonia through the Narva crossing, apparently the only two vehicular entry points with bus service still currently open in either country. The Imatra crossing may also still be open, but only to private vehicles. On the other hand, a Latvian citizen returning home by bus had to walk the last mile from Russia into Estonia, crossing the Narva River bridge on foot. Both Latvia and Lithuania have closed their borders with Russia.

  • 17. VIRick  |  March 18, 2022 at 12:13 pm

    Chile: First Equal Marriage in Atacama; Others Encounter Frustration

    Per Registro Civil Atacama:

    El 18 de marzo 2022, en nuestra Oficina Diego de Almagro, se celebró el primer matrimonio igualitario de Atacama. Felicidades a Eugenio y José, quienes posaron junto a la oficial civil, Lorena Valencia.

    On 18 March 2022, in our Diego de Almargo Office, the first equal marriage of Atacama was celebrated. Congratulations to Eugenio and José, who posed together with the civil official, Lorena Valencia.

    But all is not going smoothly in many parts of Chile with the computerized appointment system, as there have been many, many complaints from couples who have been unable to find a single available date and time-slot, even months into the future.

    And then, there is this predicament: Like hundreds of others during the past 11-plus years, this same-sex couple from Chile was married across the border in Mendoza, Argentina, on 8 November 2014. Later, in 2017, said marriage was registered in Chile in a separate AUC registry as a civil union (AUC). According to the new marriage equality law, this AUC, upon request, and as was duly requested this morning, 18 March 2022, should have been automatically "up-graded" to that of a civil marriage in Chile. However, here is what actually happened (as explained in English, all the way to WTF!):

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  March 18, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    Same-Sex Kiss Restored in Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ Following Staff Uproar Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

    On March 9, LGBTQ employees and allies at Pixar Animation Studios sent a joint statement to Walt Disney Company leadership claiming that Disney executives had actively censored “overtly gay affection” in its feature films. The stunning allegation — made as part of a larger protest over the company’s lack of public response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill — did not include which Pixar films had weathered the censorship, nor which specific creative decisions were cut or altered.

    But in at least one case, the statement appears to have made a significant difference.

    According to a source close to the production, Pixar’s next feature film, “Lightyear” — starring Chris Evans as the putative real-life inspiration for the “Toy Story” character Buzz Lightyear — does feature a significant female character, Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), who is in a meaningful relationship with another woman. While the fact of that relationship was never in question at the studio, a kiss between the characters had been cut from the film. Following the uproar surrounding the Pixar employees’ statement and Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, however, the kiss was reinstated into the movie last week.

    The decision marks a possible major turning point for LGBTQ representation not just in Pixar films, but in feature animation in general, which has remained steadfastly circumspect about depicting same-sex affection in any meaningful light.

  • 19. VIRick  |  March 19, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Veracruz: "Action of Unconstitutionality" Up-Date

    The marriage equality case filed by the CNDH against the state of Veracruz, expediente 185/2020, is now case #203 of the 270 awaiting resolution, meaning that it is at least 75% through its wait-time, as cases are generally ruled upon on in sequential order. However, if we look ahead in the wait-list by just the tiniest amount, we will discover that all of the following expedientes have already been ruled upon, with the gaps between the unresolved cases becoming increasingly wide:

    Resolved: Expediente 91-101, 104-110, 113-124, 127-143, 145-154, 157-167, 169-171, 176, 178-180, 182, and 184.

    In other words, within that numerical sequence, between expedientes 90 and 185, there were once 95 additional "Actions of Unconstitutionality," of which only 18 still remain unresolved.

    Plus, a number of cases filed more recently than expediente 185 have already been ruled upon, including expedientes 186, 191-193, 195-196, 199, 201-202, 205, and 207-209.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  March 19, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    U.S. District Judge David Bunning rules that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage license to same sex-couples in 2015, violated their constitutional rights

    “Defendant Davis violated Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to marry by refusing to issue them marriage licenses, either personally or through the policy she established for the Rowan County Clerk’s office,” wrote Bunning, a George W. Bush nominee.

    Davis had argued to the court that she was entitled to immunity against the lawsuits because she was a government employee, but Bunning found that she was acting in her personal capacity and knowingly violated the constitutional rights of the couples.

    “The explicit holding in Obergefell was that states could not exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage. The logical next step is clear. Davis, an elected county official who was tasked by her constituents to manage marriage licensing in Rowan County, could not exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage,” Bunning wrote. “The question is simple—did Davis knowingly violate the law? The answer here is clear—yes. Davis is therefore not entitled to qualified immunity.”

    Bunning’s ruling now paves the way for a determination on what damages are owed to the plaintiffs, a decision that will be left up to a jury.

    Full text of ruling here:

  • 21. VIRick  |  March 20, 2022 at 1:10 am

    Ukraine: The Mexican "Underground;" A Mad-Dash Escape from Kharkiv to Romania

    Per "El País:"

    Here is a harrowing account from "El País," the leading Spanish newspaper, datelined 19 March 2022 from Bucharest, describing how a small group of Mexican citizens, led by Iliana Monárrez, banded together, relying heavily on assorted friends and acquaintances, one Ukrainian husband, the Mexican Embassy, two Mexican evangelical preachers, and a Mexican priest at a Catholic seminary, made their mad-dash escape out of Kharkiv on 4 March 2022 in someone's car that suddenly became available, and then via overnight rest-stops in Dnipro, Novoarjangelsk, and Kamenets-Podolski, finally crossed the border into Romania sometime on 7 March 2022, with the Ukrainian husband and the borrowed car staying behind. The others subsequently continued their journey down to Bucharest.

    Because of the linguistic similarity, it should be noted that almost all native-speakers of any of the Romance languages, including Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, who are fleeing from Ukraine are doing so via Romania. It was also impressive to note that the Mexican Embassy in Kiev was aware of this group's movement, and assisted by providing guidance remotely via Whatsapp.

    Furthermore, all faiths are participating in providing shelter to those in need, whether it be evangelical preachers, a Catholic seminary in western Ukraine, a serene Romanian Orthodox monastery near Suceava, or a Turkish mosque in the center of Mariupol.

  • 22. VIRick  |  March 20, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    US Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas Hospitalized since 18 March 2022

    Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized Friday evening, 18 March 2022, with flu-like symptoms and treated with intravenous antibiotics for an infection, the US Supreme Court said. The 73-year-old justice’s symptoms have eased, he is “resting comfortably,” and he expects to be released from Washington’s Sibley Hospital in a day or two, the court said in a statement issued Sunday, 20 March.

    Thomas will take part in any cases he misses using the briefs, audio, and transcripts, the court said. The justices hear arguments in four cases this week, starting Monday.

    Thomas is the second-oldest justice, behind only the retiring Stephen Breyer, 83. Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, Thomas is the longest-serving justice.

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