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4/18 open thread


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  April 18, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Serbia: Bomb Threats Do Not Stop Last European Airlink to/from Russia

    State-controlled Air Serbia will maintain its controversial flights to Russia “as a matter of principle,” even as frequent bomb threats make the routes unprofitable, President Aleksandar Vucic said on 18 April 2022. Virtually every outbound flight to Russia has received anonymous threats since most of Europe closed its airspace to Russian carriers, causing delays or requiring the plane to return to its airport of origin for security checks.

    Serbia is one of the few European countries that have not joined international sanctions against its traditional ally Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Its flagship carrier is also the sole European airline to continue flying daily flights to/from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

    Otherwise, airlines from Turkey, the UAE, and Qatar also continue to fly to/from Russia.….

  • 2. VIRick  |  April 18, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Kansas: Governor Again Vetoes Trans School Sports Ban

    Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has become the fourth state governor this year to veto a transgender school sports ban. Earlier in April, the Kansas legislature passed SB 160, a bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports as per their gender identity. The bill does not similarly restrict transgender boys.

    The bill also does not specify how sex will be determined, leaving it to school districts to decide how they will determine who is transgender and who is cisgender. If they fail, the bill allows for school districts to be sued by students or other districts.

    But this past Friday, 15 April 2022, Gov. Kelley rejected SB 160. She also vetoed a very similar bill in 2021, almost exactly a year ago.….

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  April 19, 2022 at 12:40 am

    6th Circuit: University Professors Have 1st Amendment Rights In The Classroon, So They Can't Be Required To Use Gender-Appropriate Pronouns In Class

    [But] “the First Amendment does not extend to the in-class curricular speech of teachers in primary and secondary schools.”

    If professors lacked free-speech protections when teaching, a university would wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity.

    The need for the free exchange of ideas in the college classroom is unlike that in other public workplace settings. And a professor’s in-class speech to his students is anything but speech by an ordinary government employee. Indeed, in the college classroom there are three critical interests at stake (all supporting robust speech protection): (1) the students’ interest in receiving informed opinion, (2) the professor’s right to disseminate his own opinion, and (3) the public’s interest in exposing our future leaders to different viewpoints.

  • 4. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 19, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Unfortunately, under the current court climate one persons "sincerely held religious beliefs" are always going to Trump (pun intended) another persons right to be free of such religious beliefs especially when those "sincerely held religious beliefs" concern the truth of the contemporary findings of the social and psychological sciences and modern medicine.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  April 19, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    Professors at public universities retain First Amendment protections at least when engaged in core academic functions, such as teaching and scholarship. See Hardy, 260 F.3d at 680. In reaffirming this conclusion, we join three of our sister circuits: the Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth. In Adams v. Trustees of the University of North Carolina–Wilmington, the Fourth Circuit held that Garcetti left open the question whether professors retained academic-freedom rights under the First Amendment. 640 F.3d at 562. It concluded that the rule announced in Garcetti does not apply “in the academic context of a public university.” Id.; see also Lee v. York Cnty. Sch. Div., 484 F.3d 687, 694 n.11 (4th Cir. 2007). The Fifth Circuit has also held that the speech of public university professors is constitutionally protected, reasoning that “academic freedom is a special concern of the First Amendment.” Buchanan v. Alexander, 919 F.3d 847, 852–53 (5th Cir. 2019) (quotation omitted) (analyzing the claim under the Pickering-Connick framework). Likewise, the Ninth Circuit has recognized that “if applied to teaching and academic writing, Garcetti would directly conflict with the important First Amendment values previously articulated by the Supreme Court.” Demers v. Austin, 746 F.3d 402, 411 (9th Cir. 2014). Thus, it held that “Garcetti does not—indeed, consistent with the First Amendment, cannot—apply to teaching and academic writing that are performed ‘pursuant to the official duties’ of a teacher and professor.”

    The very progressive 9th Circuit agrees with the others (4th, 5th & 6th) on this issue. First Amendment rights for university professors support the expression of all viewpoints (not just conservative and/or religious viewpoints). If a professor wanted to discuss bisexual polyfidelity or bear culture, that would also be First Amendment protected activity.

  • 6. VIRick  |  April 19, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Panamá: Second Equal Marriage; Same-Sex Couple Marry in Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé

    Per Fuerza Panameña LGBTIQ:

    En Panamá, aunque el matrimonio igualitario está pendiente de fallo, el 19 de abril 2022, el país reporta su segundo matrimonio igualitario, esta vez en la Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé.

    In Panamá, although marriage equality is pending a court ruling, on 19 April 2022, the country reports its second equal marriage, this time in the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé.

    According to this account, the first equal marriage to have taken place in Panamá occurred at the British Embassy in Panamá when the ambassador there married a Panamanian/British same-sex couple under British law. It has since become the lead case pending Panamanian recognition before the Supreme Court of Panamá.

    In extreme contrast, Ngäbe-Buglé (Guaymi), located in the west-central part of the country between Santiago and David, is the largest and most populous of the five comarcas indígenas of Panamá. It was created in 1997 from lands formerly belonging to the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, and Veraguas. The two separate irndigenous tribal groups, Ngäbe and Buglé, each speaking their own distinct language, with very limited knowledge of Spanish, are governed by their own tribal council. However, it is not clear as to what their tribal law has to say regarding marriage. Nevertheless, the male Ngäbe couple in question married according to their own indigenous tradition.

  • 7. VIRick  |  April 21, 2022 at 10:59 am

    British Antarctic Territory: First Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    This weekend, two stewards aboard the icebreaker RRS Sir David Attenborough, crew members Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter, are set to become the first same-sex couple ever married in the British Antarctic Territory. The longtime couple have been together for 20 years and have worked together aboard a variety of vessels, according to the British Antarctic Survey.

    The ceremony will be held with the 30 members of the Attenborough's crew this weekend, either Sunday or Monday, 24-25 April 2022, depending on the fickle weather on Adelaide Island. Capt. Will Whatley will perform the service, and the marriage will be registered with the government of the British Antarctic Territory. Since the BAT's laws mirror those of the United Kingdom, the marriage will be valid in Britain.

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 25, 2022 at 6:01 am

    Here are some photos of the ceremony from British Antarctica which took place, as planned, on Sunday, 24 April 2022:

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  April 21, 2022 at 4:28 pm

    Alabama Republican vilifying high school over drag show was himself part of a high school drag show… and there's a photo from his yearbook

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James' ad, called “Genesis,” attacks transgender rights by discussing University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas (who James calls a “man in a woman’s bathing suit) and Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson refusing to define the word “woman.”

    Then the ad shows pictures of students at the MCAA in Birmingham holding a drag fundraiser. MCAA is a charter school that promises an “LGBTQ-affirming learning environment” for students who “have dropped out, are not thriving at traditional schools.”

    James showed a picture of students’ faces at a drag show that students put together and called the school “the first transgender public school in the South” that is costing “millions of your tax dollars.” The school says that fewer than 10% of its students are transgender, and most students aren’t LGBTQ at all.

    James has previously run for the Republican nomination and lost. An ad from his failed 2010 campaign went viral for its awkward pauses and blatant racism.

  • 10. VIRick  |  April 21, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Baja California: State Congress Bans Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    El 21 de abril 2022, el Congreso del estado aprobó, con 20 votos a favor y sólo 4 en contra, la prohibición de las llamadas "terapias de conversión" que se aplican a menores con el propósito de "reorientar" la sexualidad de estos hacia el género biológico con el que nacieron.

    On 21 April 2022, with 20 votes in favor and only 4 against, the state Congress approved the prohibition of so-called "conversion therapies" that are applied to minors with the idea of "reorienting" their sexuality toward the biological gender with which they were born.

  • 11. Fortguy  |  April 21, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    So after so much obstinacy for so many years over ME, they finally have seen the light on the road to Damascus and renounced their former evil persecution.

  • 12. VIRick  |  April 22, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    Colombia: The Complete 2016 Marriage Equality Ruling, SU214-16

    As a refresher, the following link takes one to the complete 352-page ruling of the Constitutional Court of Colombia that was issued in April 2016 on the subject of marriage equality. There were 6 individual expedientes, 4-167-863 (Cali), 4-189-649 (Bogotá), 4-309-193 (Bogotá), 4-353-964 (Bogotá), 4-259-509 (Bogotá), and 4-488-250 (Caldas). Each one is handled separately, but with the first case, the one from Cali, being the most important. All are chronologically based according to their date of filing, all reach the same conclusions, and all are within one massive final ruling:

    Per H y M Abogados Asociados:

    In 2016, the ruling was originally issued orally, but with immediate nationwide effect. The printed version was not released for publication until many months afterward. Since then, I do not recall ever having previously encountered the entire 352-page printed document, only excerpts and analyses of it.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 22, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    South Korea: Supreme Court Overturns Convictions of Gay Soldiers

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 21 April 2022, South Korea’s Supreme Court threw out a military court ruling that convicted two gay soldiers for having sex outside their military facilities, saying it stretched the reading of the country’s widely criticized military sodomy law.

    The court’s decision to send the case back to the High Court for Armed Forces was welcomed by human rights advocates, who had long protested the country’s 1962 Military Criminal Act’s Article 92-6, which prohibits same-sex conduct among soldiers in the country’s predominantly male military.

    The article prescribes a maximum prison term of two years for “anal intercourse” and “any other indecent acts” between military personnel. Following the Supreme Court’s full panel deliberation of its 13 justices, Chief Justice Kim Myeong-su said they concluded the provisions should not be applied to consensual sex between male service members that take place outside military facilities during off-duty hours.

  • 14. VIRick  |  April 22, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    Guanajuato: Court Orders State Congress to Allocate State Funding to LGBTIQ Groups

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Guanajuato: Debe Congreso del Estado Destinar Recursos para la Comunidad LGBTIQ

    El Congreso del estado de Guanajuato deberá asignar recursos públicos para promover y garantizar los derechos de la comunidad LGBTIQ, lo anterior tras la resolución que el Juez Cuarto de Distrito (Federal), con sede en León, que concedió una demanda de amparo promovida por activistas estatales. La sentencia, dictada el 31 de marzo del 2022, se establece que el Congreso estatal deberá incluir una partida presupuestal en favor de la comunidad LGBTIQ a fin de que puedan acceder a dichos recursos.

    The state Congress of Guanajuato must allocate public funds to promote and guarantee the rights of the LGBTIQ community, the foregoing following the resolution that the Fourth (Federal) District Judge, based in León, granted per an amparo lawsuit filed by local activists. The ruling, issued on 31 March 2022, establishes that the state Congress must include a budget item in favor of the LGBTIQ community so they can access said funds.

    Matters are becoming more expensive for the state Congress of Guanajuato, as they are now being penalized by the courts for not passing marriage equality legislation. As a result, from now on, they must begin budgeting state funds in support of LGBTIQ groups, groups that will now have adequate legal funding to turn right around and sue them again.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  April 22, 2022 at 4:37 pm

    Rare Syrian NGO formed to defend LGBT community

    LGBT people in Syria, in particular, face daily discrimination and violations amid policies and legal provisions that incite hatred and violence against anyone who is different and not meeting the prevailing social standards and expectations.

    On March 24, Syrian activists and part of the LGBT community formed a Syrian organization, the Guardians of Equality Movement (GEM), concerned with defending the rights of LGBT people. This organization was the first step toward protecting and preventing the recurrence of violations against members of Syria's LGBT community.

    The emerging organization defines itself as one of the first nongovernmental organizations dedicated to all members of Syrian LGBTQIA+ people and throughout the global Syrian diaspora. “GEM works toward the protection and advocacy of human rights at social and diplomatic levels for all vulnerable Syrian LGBTQIA+ regardless of political affiliations, religion or ethnic background,” states GEM's website. “Our programs support Syrian LGBTQIA+ individuals’ basic needs, provide holistic protection services including in unsafe environments, document LGBTQIA+ rights violations, and conduct research and advocacy promoting Syrian LGBTQIA+ rights."

  • 16. VIRick  |  April 22, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    Montana State Court Blocks Anti-Trans Birth Certificate Law

    “The needless barrier to accurate documentation for transgender people enacted by the Montana legislature is unconstitutional.” On Thursday, 21 April 2022, a state district court granted a preliminary injunction in "Marquez v. State of Montana," holding that a law passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature likely violates the constitutional rights of transgender Montanans.

    The ACLU of Montana, the ACLU’s national office, and Nixon Peabody, LLP challenged Senate Bill 280 on behalf of two transgender plaintiffs who seek to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. In this case, they are representing Amelia Marquez, a transgender woman, and John Doe, a transgender man, in a lawsuit challenging the law that makes it virtually impossible to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates. Marquez and Doe’s case asserts that SB 280 violates their constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection of the law, and due process.

    Before the passage of SB 280, transgender Montanans needed only to provide an affidavit to DPHHS to change the gender marker on a birth certificate. This process was efficient and easy, and was administered without problem for years until the legislature decided to restrictively alter it.

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