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DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed to Supreme Court

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DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has just been confirmed to the Supreme Court by a vote of 53-47. Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski joined all 50 Democratic Senators. Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the vote.

She is the first Black woman ever confirmed to the Court and the first federal public defender.

Judge Jackson may not be sworn in for several months: Justice Breyer’s retirement letter stated that he would be stepping down after the current term ends in late June or early July. This means Jackson’s first actions on the Court will likely take place during the Court’s late September private conference known as the “long conference.” That’s when the Court decides whether to take up petitions that have piled up over their summer break.

Notably, after she’s sworn in, a majority of the Justices will consist of four women and Justice Thomas, and the remaining minority will consist of the four white men: Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice Roberts.


  • 1. VIRick  |  April 7, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Alabama: Senate Passes Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill with "Don’t Say Gay" Bill Attached.

    The Alabama House has already passed the bill banning transgender students from using the school bathrooms that corresponds with their gender identity, a measure that could put them at risk of bullying, harassment, and violence by their being forced to use the restroom not aligned with their gender identity.

    Said bill was subsequently sent to the Alabama Senate, which debated and voted on it today, 7 April 2022. But, at the last minute, Alabama Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R) added an amendment that bans discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools from grades K-5. This covers two additional grade levels than that as passed in Florida.

    The Alabama Senate cut off debate on the amendment after objections were raised and voted 26-5 to pass it. The state’s House will now have to approve it again because its bathroom bill did not contain a "Don’t Say Gay" amendment.

    The original bill requires students to use the restroom associated with the sex marked on their birth certificates. Currently, the state does not have a policy about what restrooms trans students should use.….

  • 2. VIRick  |  April 7, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Alabama: Bill to Criminalize Gender-Affirming Care as a Felony Has Passed

    On 7 April 2022, a day already marked by lawmakers working to pass two other anti-trans bills in the Alabama legislature, the body passed a bill that would criminalize gender-affirming health care to trans minors in the state. The House passed the bill on the likely last day of the legislative session, it having already passed in the Senate. The measure will now go to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) for her signature.

    If signed into law, the bill would prohibit doctors from prescribing puberty blockers or hormones or performing gender-affirming surgery on trans minors. Doing so would be a felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. notes that doctors have said that no such surgeries are done on minors in the state.

    Such attempts to restrict gender-affirming care access in Arkansas and Texas have been blocked by the courts. In addition, the US Department of Justice, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, have said that they plan to protect access to gender-affirming care for minors.

    Alabama: Bill Criminalizing Gender-Affirming Care Signed into Law

    This bill, SB 184, was signed into law on Friday, 8 April 2022, by Gov. Kay Ivey (R).

    At the same time, the governor also signed HB 322 into law, the anti-trans bathroom bill with the "Don't Say Gay" amendment.

  • 3. VIRick  |  April 7, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Chile: Former Presidential Candidate, Kast, Named as Head of Global Anti-LGBT Group

    A Hungary-based group that opposes LGBTQ rights around the world has named a former Chilean congressman and far-right presidential candidate as its next president. On 29 March 2022, the Political Network for Values announced that José Antonio Kast would become its next president.

    The announcement notes that Kast succeeds former Hungarian Family Minister Katalin Novák, who is the country’s current president. Kast, a prominent opponent of abortion and marriage rights for same-sex couples, was a member of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies from 2002-2014, after which he then became a Chilean Senator.

    President Gabriel Boric defeated Kast in the second round of Chile’s presidential election that took place on 19 December 2021. Boric, a vocal LGBTQ rights supporter, took office on 11 March 2022, a day after Chile’s marriage equality law took effect.

  • 4. VIRick  |  April 7, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    Mariupol, Ukraine, and the Russian Deportations

    All the bridges over the Kalmius River that connect the left bank (northside) of Mariupol with the rest of the city have been destroyed, making it impossible to cross. According to reliable Ukrainian sources, an estimated 45,000 residents from that area have already been rounded up by Russian military forces and forcibly deported to Russia.

    So far, at least three of the most fortunate deportees have managed to escape Russia, traveling the long distance across that country, and on into Estonia. Most appear to have first been taken to "processing" centers located in the Donetsk region, then to Novoazorvsk for the bus ride over the border, continuing on into Russia to either Taganrog or Rostov-on-Don. From either, the most direct route out is then by train to Moscow-St. Petersburg-Ivangorod, the latter being the last city in Russia before the Estonian border.

    No trains cross the border here. So, from Ivangorod, one needs to walk the last distance over the Narva River bridge crossing in order to reach Estonia. Here are the accounts of those lucky ones who have done so, including one who managed it without a passport:

    Here are the instructions on crossing the border from Russia to Estonia, as provided by the Russian FSB (essentially, the Russian Secret police):

    If one clicks on that link, one will instantly see why I could never travel to Russia. I am completely illiterate in the Cyrillic alphabet, and have absolutely no idea what those instructions might happen to say. Thus, I find it to be extremely frightening and quite disorienting to suddenly be absolutely illiterate while still trapped in enemy territory.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2022 at 10:41 am

    Early Elementary Students in New Jersey will learn about Gender Identities

    Starting in September, first-graders in New Jersey will be learning about gender identity with a new sex education curriculum which includes a lesson that teaches children that they can have 'boy parts' but 'feel like' a girl. A 30-minute lesson called 'Pink, Blue and Purple' teaches the students to define 'gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes'. The curriculum also includes instructions for teachers to tell students that their gender identity is up to them.

    Another lesson plan, this one for second-graders called 'Understanding Our Bodies,' tells teachers to instruct students that 'being a boy or a girl doesn't have to mean you have those parts, there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have. Most people have a vulva and a vagina or a penis and testicles, but some people's bodies can be different,' the plan states. 'Your body is exactly what is right for you.'

    The new curriculum has created butthurt among Republicans.

  • 6. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 11, 2022 at 4:51 am

    I am an old (85yr/o) progressive Democrat who happens to be openly gay. I have grave concerns that the Daily Mail article is hyperbole. If the article is partly true, and that's a big if, it only involves a single school board and not the state of New Jersey. Secondly, several statements in the article are blatantly untrue; e.g. "The curriculum also includes instructions for teachers to tell [their 1st grade] students that their gender identity is up to them." The entire point of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is that the individual does not have a choice. They have a sex assigned at birth that is different than the innate gender they perceive of themselves. Treatment of gender dysphoria at this age does not concentrate on body parts but on the outward appearance of clothing and hair styling. And "the plan states [for 2nd graders,] 'Your body is exactly what is right for you.'" With the onset of puberty (well after 2nd grade) in a person with gender dysphoria, their body is exactly not right for them. These lesson plans are not age appropriate.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  April 11, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    These lesson plans come from Advocates For Youth, a well known and respected activist organization in sex education:

    Children at this age may have a self-perceived gender that differs from what an outside observer might expect. Gender dysphoria is defined as "the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity—their personal sense of their own gender—and their sex assigned at birth". This curriculum is designed to explain that it's OK to have this difference so as to prevent or postpone the development of gender dysphoria, which is a good thing: since children in grades 1 or 2 are not going to be allowed to physically change genders, they need to accept (for now, at least) that their bodies are currently right for them. Gender dysphoria may arise during or after puberty, but that's another topic for another grade level's sex education curriculum.

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 9, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    A Bolivian/Argentinian Same-Sex Couple Marries in Argentina

    Per Andrés Mallo Sandoval:

    El 8 de abril 2022, nos casamos con Pablo Merino en el registro civil de Merlo, San Luis, Argentina. Siendo boliviano, todavía no tengo derecho a casarme en mi país, mientras que aquí en Argentina, se han cumplido 10 años del matrimonio igualitario.

    On 8 April 2022, we married with Pablo Merino in the civil registry of Merlo, San Luis, Argentina. Being Bolivian, I still do not have the right to marry in my own country, while here in Argentina, 10 years of marriage equality have been completed.

    La Ciudad Villa de Merlo, in central Argentina, is situated about midway between the cities of Mendoza and Córdoba.

  • 9. VIRick  |  April 9, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Colombia: 6th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Alejandro Michells, Abogado-Activista DDHH LGBTI:

    Hace 6 años, el 7 de abril 2016, logramos que la Corte Constitucional reconociera el matrimonio igualitario en Colombia.

    Six years ago, on 7 April 2016, we managed to have the Constitutional Court recognize marriage equality in Colombia.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  April 10, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    CDC issues health alert to gay and bi men in Florida about an outbreak of the meningococcal disease in Florida that’s mainly affecting gay and bisexual men

    State health officials are recommending all gay and bisexual men living in the state get vaccinated with one dose of a MenACWY vaccine to help protect against meningococcal disease. They also recommend gay men get a booster shot if they had the vaccine more than five years ago.

    The two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and bloodstream infection, both of which can quickly become deadly.

  • 11. VIRick  |  April 10, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Chile: 170 Equal Marriages Celebrated in First Month of Marriage Equality

    Per Fundación Iguales:

    Hoy, el 10 de abril 2022, Chile cumple un mes con matrimonio igualitario: 101 uniones de mujeres y 69 de hombres. Y más de 500 novias/novios con hora tomada.

    Today, 10 April 2022, Chile completes one month with marriage equality: 101 unions between women, 69 between men. And more than 500 couples with an appointment time.

    Per Registro Civil RM:

    A un mes de vigencia de matrimonio igualitario, en el Registro Civil de la Región Metropolitana se han efectuado 118 matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo, que representa el 70% de estas ceremonias en el país.

    One month into the validity of marriage equality, in the Civil Registry of the Metropolitan Region, 118 marriages of same-sex couples have been performed, which represents 70% of these ceremonies in the country.

  • 12. VIRick  |  April 10, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    Uruguay: 9th Anniversary of Marriage Equality

    Per Lic. Alejandra Piani:

    Hoy, el 10 de abril 2022, hace 9 años que en Uruguay se puede casar con quién quieras y con todos sus derechos.

    Today, 10 April 2022, it was from 9 years ago that in Uruguay you are able to marry with whomever you wish and with all your rights.

    Per Asamblea Uruguay:

    Hoy, hace 9 años que el matrimonio igualitario se convirtió en ley en Uruguay.

    Today, it was 9 years ago that marriage equality became law in Uruguay.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 11, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Perú: Constitutional Tribunal Now Hearing Paredes Marriage Equality Case, 11 April 2022

    Per Daniel Reyna Vargas:

    Inminentes pronunciamientos del Tribunal Constitucional peruano sobre el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo.

    Imminent pronouncements from the Peruvian Constitutional Tribunal about marriage between same-sex couples.

    Per Chiri Anagonye:

    Matrimonio igualitario ante el TC del Perú: audiencia en vivo del caso Susel Paredes.

    Marriage equality before the TC of Perú: live hearing in the Susel Paredes case.

    Exp. 02653-2021-PA/TC (Susel Paredes y Gracia Aljovín vs. RENIEC):

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