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Open thread and news update 3/21


– The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding its confirmation hearings for President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, this week. Today, the committee heard opening statements from the Senators and from Judge Jackson herself. Her opening statement can be viewed here. Starting tomorrow, 3/22, at 9AM Eastern, the Senators on the committee will question her. You can stream the hearing here on C-SPAN.

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


  • 1. VIRick  |  March 21, 2022 at 11:23 pm

    Argentina: 10th Anniversary of First Same-Sex Marriage of a Paraguayan Couple

    Per Esteban Paulón:

    El 23 de marzo de 2012 Simón Cazal y Sergio López (de Paraguay) se convirtieron en el primer matrimonio igualitario de turistas del país (de Argentina). Tras esa unión, más de 800 parejas extranjeras ya dieron el "Sí, quiero," permitiendo a Argentina exportar igualdad y derechos. A 10 años de aquel hecho histórico, ahora ambos van por el reconocimiento legal de su matrimonio por parte de la justicia paraguaya. Desde Rosario, lanzarán una campaña internacional para lograrlo.

    On 23 March 2012, Simón Cazal and Sergio López (of Paraguay) became the first tourist equal marriage in the country (of Argentina). After that union, more than 800 other foreign couples have now given their "Yes, I wish," allowing Argentina to thus export equality and rights. So, 10 years after that historic event, both are now pressing for the legal recognition of their marriage through the Paraguayan justice system. From Rosario, they will have launched an international campaign to achieve it.

    This, the first equal marriage of a foreign couple in Argentina, took place in the city of Rosario on 23 March 2012, exactly 10 years ago. Simultaneously, it was also the first equal marriage of a Paraguayan couple to have taken place anywhere in the world. Following the CIDH marriage equality ruling, OC24/17, this same couple also then filed suit in Paraguay to gain legal recognition of their marriage, the first such challenge to overturn current Paraguayan marriage law. To date, the court has yet to render a decision.

    Of the 800-plus equal marriages of foreign couples that have already taken place in Argentina, most have involved couples from other nearby South American countries, especially from Chile, Bolivia, and Perú. But there have been some involving couples from much further afield, like Venezuela and Cuba.

  • 2. VIRick  |  March 22, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    Ukraine: Brodsky Synagogue in Kyiv and Its Rabbi, Moshe Azman

    In a non-stop effort with no ending, this harrowing account of events that occurred on Friday-Saturday, 18-19 March 2022, details how the rabbi at the main synagogue in Kyiv, Rabbi Moshe Azman, has been rescuing untold numbers of vulnerable residents trapped in the embattled city of Chernihiv in the far north of Ukraine.

    Through donations, he has been hiring convoys of buses to shuttle many hundreds of people to the relative safety of Kyiv for a brief respite at the synagogue where they are housed and fed before they are then further transported over the border into Moldova.

    In the meantime, to take their place, the next rescued group of refugees from Chernihiv has arrived by bus for their own brief respite, before they too will move on, to make way for a third group. And then a fourth group, and on and on, with no end in sight.

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 22, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    Indiana: GOP Governor Vetoes Transgender Sports Ban Bill

    On 21 March 2022, the Republican governor of Indiana vetoed HB 1041, a bill that would have banned transgender girls and women from participating in school sports. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) stated in a letter that the legislation was too vague and broad, even suggesting that it was unconstitutional and addressed a non-existent issue in the state.

    Holcomb also cited lawsuits that have been filed against states that passed similar laws. The lawsuits have argued that such bills violate equal protection provisions of the US Constitution and Title IX, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex in all schools that receive federal funding. The Biden administration has said that Title IX applies to discrimination against LGBTQ students since it is impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity without taking sex into account.

    “In the two cases with initial rulings thus far, the courts have enjoined or prohibited laws with these same substantive provisions from taking effect based on equal protection grounds,” Holcomb wrote.

    He also noted that there is currently a transgender middle school student in Indiana suing the state in federal court for not being allowed to participate in school sports, likely referring to a transgender boy in Martinsville IN who filed suit in 2021 after he was forced to use the girls’ bathroom, was constantly misgendered by teachers, and was told that he couldn’t play on the boys’ sports teams.

  • 4. VIRick  |  March 22, 2022 at 11:17 pm

    Utah: GOP Governor Vetoes Transgender Sports Ban Bill

    On 22 March 2022, Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox vetoed House Bill 11, anti-transgender legislation that would have banned transgender youth from playing on school sports teams that correspond with their gender identity. He was the second Republican governor to veto an anti-trans school sports ban bill within a 24-hour period.

    The vetoed legislation would have prohibited “a student of the male sex from competing against another school on a team designated for female students” and defines “sex” as the “biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.”

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 23, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    Japan: More Prefectures/Municipalities Offering LGBT Partnership Registries/Certificates

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Starting from 23 March 2022, Fukaya City is the latest municipality to introduce an LGBT partnership registry.

    Then, from 1 April 2022, Akita Prefecture, Fukuoka Prefecture, and at least 27 additional municipalities will begin registering LGBT partnerships. In summary, throughout Japan, that will thus make 8 of the 47 prefectures, plus about another 176 municipalities, all offering the certificates.

  • 6. VIRick  |  March 24, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    Yucatán: First Equal Marriage without Amparo in Mérida

    Per "Con Acento Noticias:"

    El 24 de marzo 2022, se casa la primera pareja gay sin amparo en Mérida. Carlos Durán Rosado y Ricardo González Miranda se suman a las (dos) parejas (del mismo sexo) que recientemente contrajeron matrimonio en Progreso y en Conkal.

    La pareja dio el "Sí" antes el juez, Mario Herrera Tzuc, en la oficialía número 22 ubicada en la Colonia Xcumpich de la capital yucateca.

    On 24 March 2022, the first gay couple is married without amparo in Mérida. Carlos Durán Rosado and Ricardo González Miranda are added to the (two same-sex) couples who recently contracted marriage in Progreso and in Conkal.

    The pair said "Yes" before the judge, Mario Herrera Tzuc, in official office number 22 located in Colonia Xcumpich in the Yucateca capital.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Ukraine’s Gay Combat Volunteers Are Ready to Fight for Their Lives Against Anti-LGBTQ Putin

    The LGBTQ community in Ukraine believes it has even more reason than most to resist a Russian occupation after Putin’s troops poured into the country.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Ukrainian LGBT Military

    Union of the LGBT military, veterans and volunteers was established in 2018 by Viktor Pylypenko, an openly gay veteran of the Donbas Volunteer Battalion, after he made a coming out during Anton Shebetko's exhibition "We Were Here." The union now has more openly gay as well as closeted LGBT military. We unite in order to become equal with other citizens of Ukraine, have equal rights.

    In 2018, our association marched in a separate column during the March of Equality, organized by KyivPride. The column was led by Viktor Pylypenko and openly lesbian volunteer Nastya Konfederat.

    We are currently gaining strength, taking an active part not only in defending Ukraine from the Russian invasion on the frontline, but also defending democracy and equality for all citizens of Ukraine.

    Our goal is to achieve equality for the LGBT + community, the marriage right, a right to have a full-fledged family, and our right for non-discrimination. Along with upholding our rights, we also demand the same rights and inclusiveness for all: other minorities and social groups of the Ukrainian citizens. Struggle for equality will make our society more humane, inclusive, without prejudices and hatred. We want to help to make Ukraine a free European country.

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 25, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    Kentucky: Anti-Trans School Sports Ban Passes Legislature, Heads to Governor

    On 24 March 2022, the Kentucky state legislature passed an anti-trans sports bill that is now on its way to the desk of Gov. Andy Beshear (D). SB 83 seeks to ban trans girls in 6th grade through college from competing in school sports on women’s teams. Instead, they would be required to participate based on their sex assigned at birth, as shown on their birth certificate.

    The state of Kentucky already has policies in place that make it difficult for trans high school athletes to participate in sports in accordance with their gender identity. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association reportedly requires gender confirmation surgery before participation, despite the fact that this surgery is almost never provided to those under 18.

  • 10. VIRick  |  March 25, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    Arizona: Legislature Passes 2 Anti-Trans Bills, Plus Abortion Ban

    On 24 March 2022, Arizona’s legislature passed two anti-transgender bills and an abortion ban, leading equality advocates to denounce the discriminatory trifecta.

    The first bill Republicans passed, SB 1165, will prohibit transgender girls from participating in school sports, denying them an education equal to that which their cisgender peers receive. It applies to public schools K through 12 and colleges and universities, plus any private school whose students or teams compete against public schools.

    The state currently allows transgender girls to play on school teams if they meet certain requirements, and only 16 transgender student-athletes out of 170,000 high school athletes have gone through the process successfully, the Arizona Interscholastic Association said.

    The other anti-transgender bill, SB 1138, will ban doctors from performing gender-affirming surgery for people under the age of 18, something that does not happen. Gender affirming care for children involves social transitioning – being allowed to dress as they want, using a name and pronouns that they’re comfortable with. Treatment for teenagers may involve medications.The bill specifically says that doctors will be allowed to perform gender-affirming surgery on intersex youth.

    The third bill is a ban on abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Currently, "Roe v. Wade" protects the right to an abortion up to viability, which is around the twentieth week of pregnancy. This Arizona bill mirrors one that Mississippi passed that is presently being considered by the US Supreme Court.

    Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has not yet said whether he will sign either of the discriminatory transgender bans, nor about the one regarding abortion.

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 25, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    Oklahoma: Three Anti-Trans Bills Approved in State Senate

    In Oklahoma, on 24 March 2022, the Senate passed SB 2, which would prohibit transgender students from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity; SB 9, which would expand the definition of obscene materials to include certain depictions of the LGBTQ community; and SB 1100, which would eliminate nonbinary gender markers from official documents.

    SB 2 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives last year, so it heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt (R). If signed into law, Oklahoma would be the third state to pass an anti-transgender school sports ban in 2022.

    SB 9 and SB 1100 will head back to the Oklahoma House for consideration.

  • 12. VIRick  |  March 25, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    Navajo Nation: Bill Introduced to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Lawmakers of the Navajo Nation are seeking to repeal the tribe's law that prohibits same-sex marriage and to remove any provisions that discriminate against such unions.

    The current Diné Marriage Act has been law since 2005 and recognizes marriages between opposite-sex couples, regardless of where contracted, but voids and prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex.

    The newly-introduced bill of 22 March 2022 proposes that the tribe acknowledge and recognize marriage equality among all people on the Navajo Nation.The bill also calls on amending provisions within the Navajo Nation Code to conform with the repeal, including omitting gender references in common-law marriages and on marriage license forms.

  • 13. Randolph_Finder  |  March 26, 2022 at 10:06 pm

    Probably the largest remaining place in the USA where same sex marriages aren't recognized.

  • 14. VIRick  |  March 25, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Russia: Last Train Will Depart Finland Station on Sunday Afternoon, 27 March 2022

    Finland’s national railway company has announced that it will suspend services between Helsinki and the Russian city of St. Petersburg after this weekend, closing one of the very last public transport routes for Russians who want to reach the European Union.

    Finnish state-owned VR said that only the morning train from Helsinki to St Petersburg will be operated on Sunday, 27 March 2022. On the same date, both morning and afternoon services from St. Petersburg back to Helsinki will be operated. But then, after that, all trains will be suspended until further notice.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  March 26, 2022 at 10:28 am

    Utah bans transgender athletes from competing in girls sports despite governor's veto

    GOP lawmakers in Utah pushed through a ban on transgender youth athletes playing on girls teams Friday, overriding a veto and joining 11 other states with similar laws amid a nationwide culture war.

    The ban previously received support from a majority of Utah lawmakers, but fell short of the two-thirds needed to override it.

    Its sponsors on Friday flipped 10 Republicans in the House and five in the Senate who had previously voted against the proposal.

    A dozen states now have some sort of ban on transgender kids in school sports. Utah's law takes effect July 1.

  • 16. VIRick  |  March 26, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Utah: Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto, Anti-Trans School Sports Bill Passed

    On Friday, 25 March 2022, Utah lawmakers voted to override Republican Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto of anti-trans sports legislation that will ban trans youth from playing on girls’ school sports teams.

    Prior to Cox’s veto, the bill had received support from a simple majority of Utah lawmakers, but not the required two-thirds majority needed to override it. According to the Associated Press, sponsors of the bill were able to flip 10 GOP lawmakers in the House and five in the Senate who had previously voted against the ban to now vote in favor of it.

    With the override, Utah has become the 12th state to enact some type of ban on trans kids playing in school sports. The law will go into effect from 1 July 2022.

  • 17. VIRick  |  March 26, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Chile: First Equal Marriage in the Aysén Region

    Per Ximena Ordenes Neira, Senadora de la Región de Aysén:

    Ayer, el 25 de marzo 2022, fui testigo de matrimonio (igualitario) de mi compañero de ruta de toda la vida, mi hermano. Te quiero y gracias.

    Yesterday, 25 March 2022, I was a witness at the (equal) marriage of my lifelong traveling companion, my brother. I love you and thank you.

    Ximena and her brother, Jorge Neira, are from Coyhaique, Aysén, the heart of Chilean Patagonia.

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  March 27, 2022 at 1:16 am

    Anita Bryant is still alive today and has lived long enough to watch the homophobic laws she championed be overturned, and U.S. public opinion towards homosexual people dramatically change for the better. Her granddaughter is a lesbian.

  • 19. VIRick  |  March 27, 2022 at 8:00 am

    How an American Escaped Russia to Latvia via Bus-Van through Estonia

    This harrowing, yet poignant account was written by an American journalist for the "Moscow Times" who had lived the previous 44 years of their life in Moscow. With the passage of the new Russian law in early March that severely limited press freedom, the "Moscow Times" was closing down, and she was fleeing, leaving everything behind,– her apartment in Moscow, her books, her art, her car,– everything.

    She bought a ticket on a bus-van service that would take her on a 17-hour journey from Moscow to Riga in Latvia, by way of an undisclosed border entry crossing into Estonia. The vans never crossed the border. Instead, the service was done as a relay service. The first van, from Moscow, deposited the passengers at the Russian departure check-point near the Estonian border.

    There, one stands outside in below-freezing temperatures, while one's documents are scrutinized and one is questioned on a whole range of issues. She waited two hours to be cleared. Finally, she was allowed to proceed.

    But that meant that now she had to walk the last mile to actually reach the Estonian border, and had to do so on her own, through the ice and snow, already chilled to the bone, hauling 150 pounds of possessions,– suitcase, computer bag, travel bag, hand bag, and dog,– in the middle of the freezing night.

    By pausing every 100 yards to regain her composure, she eventually reached the Estonian entry check-point where she was welcomed, and was then ushered to the second van, waiting there to complete the journey on to Riga in Latvia. Once in Riga, the re-organized staff of the "Moscow Times" fully intends to continue publishing in both English and Russian.

  • 20. VIRick  |  March 27, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Sonora: An Equal Marriage in San Luis Río Colorado

    Per Miguel Angel Haro M.:

    El 26 de marzo 2022, se llevó a cabo una boda en San Luis Río Colorado, (el primer matrimonio igualitario de dos hombres,) ya sin amparo.

    On 26 March 2022, a wedding took place in San Luis Río Colorado, (the first equal marriage of two men,) now without amparo.

    According to "La Tribuna de SLRC," this was actually the fifth equal marriage to have taken place in SLRC without amparo, the first 4 all being between female couples.

  • 21. VIRick  |  March 28, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Florida: Governor Signs "Don't Say Gay" Bill into Law

    On 28 March 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed controversial legislation derided as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law. A representative from Lambda Legal has confirmed with "The Advocate" that the legislation is the first of its kind to bar discussions about a specific group of people in the state. Other topics have their appropriateness decided by state standards that are not typically enshrined in law.

    So, in response, the super PAC, Southern Progress, is putting up billboards denouncing the measure in Tallahassee, Orlando, and Jacksonville that say, “SAY GAY” in bold, capital letters. Another billboard design will just say, “GAY.”

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