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4/25 open thread


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  April 25, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Uruguay: First Openly Transgender Lawmaker Has Died

    The first openly transgender lawmaker in Uruguay, Michelle Suárez, 39, passed away on Friday, 22 April 2022. She first won a seat in the Uruguayan Senate as an alternate senator in 2014. She did not obtain full voting privileges until October 2017.

    Prior to that, she was the first trans woman to graduate from an Uruguayan university, and became the first trans lawyer in the country. However, Suárez is most noted for having written the marriage equality law of Uruguay, one that took effect 9 years ago in 2013.

    She was extremely heavy-set, and Uruguayan media reports indicate Suárez had been in the hospital with a “cardiac problem” when she died.….

    Per Sergio Miranda:

    Lamento profundamente la noticia del fallecimiento de Michelle Suárez, activista trans fundamental en la lucha por los derechos LGBTIQ, y redactora de la Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario en Uruguay.

    I profoundly lament the news of the death of Michelle Suárez, trans activist fundamental in the fight for LGBTIQ rights, and author of the Marriage Equality Law in Uruguay.

  • 2. VIRick  |  April 27, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Baja California: Governor Vetoes Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy" Ban

    The governor of Mexico’s Baja California state has vetoed a bill that would ban so-called "conversion therapy." The bill, which passed in the Baja California Congress on 21 April 2022 by a 20-4 vote margin, would specifically amend the state’s Penal Code and non-discrimination law to ban the discredited practice. Anyone convicted of conversion therapy would be fined and receive a sentence of between 2-6 years in prison.

    Media reports indicate Gov. Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda vetoed the bill in order to send it back to lawmakers “to be able to strengthen this initiative from our points of view.” Eduardo Arredondo, an activist and member of the Congress’ Youth Parliament who pushed for the measure told, the "Los Angeles Blade" that Ávila made her decision in response “to the pressure that conservative groups put on her.”

    “The approval of the (conversion therapy) bill in Baja California represents a big step forward in the recognition of the rights of the LGBT+ community in the state,” he said. “The delay in the publication of the law on the part of the governor represents a setback in the guarantee of these rights. As long as this law is not published, therapies will continue to take place and many young people and children will continue to be subjected to these practices.”

    Seven other jurisdictions (of 32) in Mexico have already banned "conversion therapy."

  • 3. VIRick  |  April 27, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Durango: Federal Judge: Congress Has June Deadline for Passing Marriage Equality

    El mes de junio es la fecha límite para avanzar en los trabajos para el desahogo del tema de matrimonio igualitario, luego de la instrucción que giró un juez federal al Congreso de Durango, indicó el activista Tadeo Campagne.

    Al mismo tiempo, reveló que interpusieron un amparo contra la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos (CEDH) porque se le había solicitado por muchos años que hiciera una recomendación al Congreso del Estado para legislar el matrimonio igualitario. Pero solo nos dio pretextos, por lo que incurrió en un acto de discriminación e incumplió con sus facultades. Ahora, un juez les ha indicado que hagan esa recomendación, explicó.

    The activist, Tadeo Campagne, indicated that the month of June is the deadline for advancing the work so as to approve the issue of marriage equality, following instructions that a federal judge gave to the Congress of Durango.

    At the same time, he revealed that they had filed an amparo against the State Human Rights Commission (CEDH) because it had been asked repeatedly to make a recommendation to the State Congress to legislate in favor of marriage equality. But they only provided excuses, thus incurring an act of discrimination and a breach of their powers. Now, a judge has directed them to make that recommendation, he explained.

    Tadeo is quoted as saying something very double-entendre Mexican: "Incumplió con sus facultades," quite literally, "incompleted with their faculties," that is, that they were demented. I laughed, and then translated the phrase somewhat differently, despite the fact that the CEDH, as stated, was probably truly demented for never taking any action for all these years.

  • 4. scream4ever  |  April 27, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    Thus they will likely be the next Mexican state to legalize same-sex marriage, unless Veracruz beats them to it.

  • 5. VIRick  |  April 27, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    Both states, Veracruz and Durango, now have definitive deadlines closing in on them. Given the imminent ruling on the "Action of Unconstitutionality" pending before the Supreme Court, the Veracruz Congress, in an effort to beat said ruling, has given itself a mid-May deadline to pass their marriage equality legislation.

    In Durango, the "month of June" deadline undoubtedly means the "end of June." This fairly well matches the time-frame handed down in 2021 by a different federal judge against Sonora state and its ridiculously homophobic outgoing governor.

    We can safely argue that those are the next two states, leaving Edomex, Guerrero, Tabasco, and Tamaulipas to fight for the dubious prize of being "last in line."

  • 6. Randolph_Finder  |  May 2, 2022 at 5:48 am

    There would be something both sad and bookendish if Edomex was last.

  • 7. VIRick  |  April 27, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    Biden Nominates Hispanic Lesbian Immigrant to Federal Judiciary

    On 27 April 2022, President Biden nominated Ana Reyes, an attorney at the DC-based law firm, Williams & Connolly LLP, for a seat on the federal District Court in DC, making her the first Hispanic woman and the first out lesbian to ever serve on that court. Reyes was among the 5 picks in the latest round of judicial nominees, bringing the total number of announced federal judicial nominees so far during the Biden Administration to 95.

    Reyes, born in Uruguay, immigrated to the United States as a child. She has worked as an attorney at Williams & Connolly LLP since 2001 and has been partner at that law firm since 2009. She served as a law clerk for Judge Amalya Kearse on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals from 2000 to 2001. Much of Reyes’s work is pro bono, as she frequently represents refugee organizations and challenges anti-asylum regulations.

    Reyes obtained her law degree in 2000 from Harvard Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude, and obtained her master’s degree in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, with honors, in 2014.

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 28, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Cuba: 61% Approve New Family Code in Public Consultations

    El 61% de los cubanos consultados está de acuerdo con el proyecto de Código de las acuerdo a un informe del Consejo Electoral Nacional.. El dato fue revelado durante el IV Pleno del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba, donde se conoció que ya finalizaron todas las reuniones de consulta popular planificadas.

    La iglesia cubana, independientemente de su denominación, es uno de los principales grupos sociales que se manifiesta en contra de la propuesta del gobierno, ya que el matrimonio igualitario y los derechos para familias homoparentales como la adopción, generan fuertes discusiones en sectores profundamente conservadores.

    Como parte del cronograma elaborado por el Consejo Electoral Nacional, órgano del Estado encargado del proceso, se entregará a la Comisión Redactora del Código de las Familias las propuestas que se obtuvieron durante el proceso de consulta popular. Posteriormente esa comisión trabajará en el cuerpo legal del documento que se someterá a la aprobación de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular.

  • 9. VIRick  |  April 28, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    British Virgin Islands: Elected Head of Government Arrested on Drug Smuggling Charges

    The Premier of the British Virgin Islands and the director of the Caribbean territory’s ports were both arrested on Thursday, 28 April 2022, on drug smuggling charges in South Florida, federal authorities said. Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie and Managing Director of Ports Oleanvine Maynard were taken into custody by US Drug Enforcement Admin. (DEA) agents at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport and charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to launder money, according to the criminal complaint. Maynard’s son, Kadeem Maynard, faces the same changes in the alleged scheme.

    Fahie and Oleanvine Maynard had been at the airport to meet Mexican drug traffickers, who in reality were undercover DEA agents, to see a shipment of $700,000 in cash that the BVI officials expected to receive for helping to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Miami and New York, the complaint said. A confidential DEA source had previously met with Maynard and her son after being introduced by a group of self-proclaimed Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, according to the complaint. After Fahie became involved, the BVI officials agreed to to let the smugglers bring the cocaine through the port at Tortola before continuing on to the USA with it.

  • 10. Randolph_Finder  |  May 2, 2022 at 5:48 am

    Actually sort of surprised that Fahie doesn't have diplomatic immunity.

  • 11. VIRick  |  May 2, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    British Virgin Islands: Premier Claims Immunity from Prosecution

    On Monday, 2 May 2022, in a court filing made in Miami federal court, an attorney for Andrew Fahie, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, demanded his immediate release from US custody, arguing he is immune from prosecution on cocaine-smuggling charges because he is the elected, constitutional head of government of the British Overseas Territory.

    Fahie, 51, was arrested last week during a US Drug Enforcement Administration sting as he was preparing to board a private jet in Miami. Fahie’s attorney declined to comment, and in her two-page filing, did not provide details about her client’s immunity claim. Fahie, who also serves as the Finance Minister, was said to have traveled to Miami to attend a conference for the cruise industry, and ahead of his departure from the BVI, had appointed a deputy to act as Premier in his absence.

    But any battle to assert immunity is likely to face numerous obstacles.“Immunity does not protect you if you are on your own private boondoggle,” said Dick Gregorie, a former federal prosecutor in Miami who in the 1980s indicted the Prime Minister of Turks/Caicos, another British Overseas Territory, on drug charges, and then likewise, Panamanian strongman Gen. Manuel Noriega.

  • 12. VIRick  |  April 29, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    Alabama: DOJ Files Suit against State Law Criminalizing Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    On 29 April 2022, the Justice Department challenged an Alabama law that makes it a felony for a doctor to administer gender-affirming health care to minors.The complaint, filed in federal District Court, alleges that "the new law's felony ban on providing certain medically necessary care to transgender minors violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause."

    The Justice Department is asking the court to issue an immediate order blocking the law, otherwise set to go into effect on 8 May. Alabama's SB 184, which Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed into law earlier this month, states that medical professionals who provide gender-affirming care to people 18 and under could face up to 10 years in prison.

    Separately, two families with transgender teenagers and two doctors sued the state of Alabama over the law earlier this month, also arguing it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

    "The Transgender Plaintiffs are currently receiving medical care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, for gender dysphoria," that lawsuit stated. "If allowed to take effect, the Act will interrupt these medically necessary treatments, prevent them from obtaining future medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria, and cause them to experience irreparable physical and psychological harm."

  • 13. ianbirmingham  |  May 2, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

    The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.

    A person familiar with the court’s deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December, and that line-up remains unchanged as of this week.

    The three Democratic-appointed justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – are working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, is unclear.

    Alito’s draft argues that rights protected by the Constitution but not explicitly mentioned in it – so-called unenumerated rights – must be strongly rooted in U.S. history and tradition. That form of analysis seems at odds with several of the court’s recent decisions, including many of its rulings backing gay rights.

    Liberal justices seem likely to take issue with Alito’s assertion in the draft opinion that overturning Roe would not jeopardize other rights the courts have grounded in privacy, such as the right to contraception, to engage in private consensual sexual activity and to marry someone of the same sex.

  • 14. VIRick  |  May 2, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    US Supreme Court: Ready to Overturn "Roe:" Leaked Report

    An apparent draft Supreme Court opinion obtained by Politico shows the panel's conservative majority of justices is ready to overturn nearly 50 years of established abortion rights precedent since "Roe v. Wade." The document, which Politico said it obtained from a "person familiar with the court's proceedings," is marked "first draft" and dated 10 February 2022 — two months after oral arguments were heard in the case, "Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization."

    "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," writes Justice Samuel Alito, the opinion's apparent author, in a copy of the draft posted online.

    The leak is an extraordinary breach of Supreme Court protocol and tradition. Never before has such a consequential draft opinion been leaked to the public before publication.

    The Dobbs case involves Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — well before fetal viability, the longstanding dividing line established by the court before which states cannot restrict a woman's access to the procedure.

    During arguments in December, five of the justices hinted that they were ready to do away with the "viability standard" established by Roe and a subsequent 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

    An unnamed source familiar with the deliberations told Politico that Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett all initially supported a ruling siding with Mississippi and "that line-up remains unchanged as of this week."

    The drafting of Supreme Court opinions, however, is a fluid and dynamic process, sources familiar with the internal operations have told ABC News. The document posted suggests a majority of justices is likely to side with Mississippi, but how broad a ruling will ultimately come down remains unclear.

  • 15. guitaristbl  |  May 3, 2022 at 10:11 am

    Next stop after Roe and Casey : Obergefell. What stops them from going all the way back to Loving even?

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  May 3, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    Democrats hope draft abortion opinion will jolt midterm elections

    Democrats privately predicted that the potential decision by its five-conservative majority to repeal the landmark abortion-rights ruling would energize their base and drive up turnout in November.

    Privately, however, several Democrats acknowledged that campaigning on the court’s potential rejection of abortion rights would likely require them to do something they’ve typically struggled with in election years — challenge the GOP on an issue that galvanizes its base.

    Rep. Elissa Slotkin sounded a louder alarm: “If tonight’s news is true, Michigan’s 1931 state law banning abortion would snap back into effect, making any abortion illegal in our state — even if the mom will die, or if she was raped by a family member. No exceptions,” she tweeted. “My poor mother is turning over in her grave.”

    The House already passed legislation in the fall that codified Roe v. Wade and prohibited states from enacting abortion restrictions both later and earlier in pregnancy. But the bill stalled in the Senate in February.

    That vote’s 46-48 tally highlighted the uphill challenge in the Senate of even getting a simple majority on legislation to codify Roe. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) opposes abortion and voted with Republicans.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  May 3, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Draft opinion is authentic. But Trump's SCOTUS nominees? Not so much…

    The Supreme Court said in a statement that the draft opinion from Justice SAMUEL ALITO is “authentic,” though it doesn’t constitute a final decision and could still change.

    Sen. SUSAN COLLINS (R-Maine), who supports abortion rights but voted to confirm two of DONALD TRUMP’s Supreme Court picks: “If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice [NEIL] GORSUCH and Justice [BRETT] KAVANAUGH said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office.”

    Sen. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-Mass.) told CNN’s Manu Raju that the focus should not be on the breach: “This is about five extremist justices … at least two of them swore up and down that they cared about the rule of law and Roe v Wade is settled law.”

  • 18. VIRick  |  May 3, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    Tamaulipas State Congress Says "No" to Marriage Equality

    El 3 de mayo 2022, Comisiones del Congreso del Estado rechazaron la iniciativa de reformas al Código Civil del Estado para establecer los matrimonios entre personas de un mismo sexo. Con nueve votos en contra, cinco a favor, y cinco abstenciones, así como dos inasistencias, las Comisiones Unidas Igualdad de Género, Derechos Humanos, y Estudios Legislativos del Congreso desecharon una iniciativa en tal sentido.

    La iniciativa presentada por el grupo parlamentario de Morena en el Congreso del Estado pretendía reformar 12 artículos del Código Civil, entre estos los Artículos 124, 132, 150, 165, 201, 242, 261, y 344, entre otros con lo que se pretendía además de los matrimonios igualitarios que estas parejas pudieran adoptar hijos.

    El diputado Félix Fernando García Aguiar, presidente de la Junta de Coordinación Política (Jucopo), indicó que el dictamen sobre la reforma será presentado al pleno en los términos en que fue aprobado, pero será el pleno del Congreso el cual tenga la última palabra.

  • 19. VIRick  |  May 3, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    Edomex: Nothing Happening on Marriage Equality in the State Congress

    Concluirá el segundo periodo ordinario de sesiones el 15 de mayo 2022, y en la Junta de Coordinación Politica (Jucopo), adelantaron que no saldrá el dictamen ni la aprobación de los matrimonios igualitarios.

    The second ordinary period of sessions will conclude on 15 May 2022, and in the Political Coordination Board (Jucopo), they advanced that neither the drafting nor the approval of marriage equality will occur.

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