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SCOTUS hears arguments in 303 Creative case about religious rights and wedding websites for same-sex couples


On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in 303 Creative v. Elenis, a free speech challenge to Colorado’s antidiscrimination law. 303 Creative is a public company that is considering making customized wedding websites, but its owner does not want to create websites for same-sex couples.

The case is a follow-up to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case which involved a similar issue, although it was a wedding cake in that case. The Court decided it on narrow grounds, only ruling that the commission had showed signs of anti-religious bias in the case.

Now, Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy have been replaced by Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh, and both are more conservative on LGBTQ rights. By the end of the argument it seemed that conservatives had at least five votes for a ruling in favor of the website designer.

Justices Gorsuch and Alito were the most hostile toward LGBTQ rights. Justice Gorsuch, referring to the baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop, suggested several times that he had gone through “re-education” when he was required to do a training program to ensure he knew Colorado law on accommodations. Justice Alito mocked a hypothetical made by Justice Jackson and Justice Sotomayor about photographs involving Black or interracial couples.

One recurring question was whether or not the proposed wedding websites actually sent a message. Several of the moderate-liberal Justices seemed to suggest that there was no message being sent, and certainly not by the website designer. The “standard” website, they said, allows sections to be filled in with information about the couple’s story and their wedding plans.

But that didn’t seem to change any other Justices’ minds. The Chief Justice asked a question about a case the state relied on throughout its brief, Rumsfeld v. FAIR, which upheld a federal law withholding some federal funding for law schools that don’t allow military recruiters on campus. The state argues that the speech by the schools was compelled but that it was incidental to the conduct the law was trying to protect. The Chief Justice questioned the reliance on that case, saying that it was really about “empty rooms” and letting recruiters in.

Justice Thomas asked two questions, one about whether the case is ripe, because the website designer has not even made wedding websites yet nor refused same-sex couples, and another one about the history of accommodations laws intersecting with speech issues. Both questions were fairly technical and at least the second one was esoteric. But his first question could mean that at least some Justices may not think the case is ripe for review.

Justice Barrett asked, if the couple wanted to put on their wedding website that “we are both cisgender and heterosexual, but that is irrelevant to our relationship which transcends such categories. We knew we were soulmates from the moment that we met,” would the owner make that website for the couple? She said no, because the opposite-sex aspect is important to her speech. Justice Barrett asked similar questions throughout the argument, seemingly to help the website designer.

Justice Kavanaugh’s questions were more difficult to categorize. He wanted to know the difference between several groups of people: bakers, hair stylists, caterers. He worried that once this is open to one group, several others might come into court to argue they’re indistinguishable. On the other hand, he cited a friend of the court brief from two law professors who are arguing that the website designer should win this case because it’s speech, unlike, say, the baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop.

The case likely won’t be decided until spring or summer of next year. But just based on the argument, it seems like there are five votes to cut back on antidiscrimination laws for LGBTQ people.

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  • 1. VIRick  |  December 6, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Indonesia: Lawmakers Criminalize Sex Outside of Marriage

    On 6 December 2022, lawmakers in Indonesia approved a bill that would revise the Criminal Code to criminalize sex outside of marriage.

    The Jakarta Post, an English newspaper in the country’s capital, noted that the marriage provision is part of a revised Criminal Code that would, among other things, also make it illegal to insult the president. The Jakarta Post said anyone, including foreigners, who have sex outside of marriage could face up to a year in jail.

    The newly-revised Criminal Code, which LGBTQ and intersex activists and other human rights groups have criticized, will take effect in three years.

    Consensual same-sex sexual relations are currently decriminalized in most of Indonesia, but in 2021, officials in Aceh province caned two men under Shariah law after their neighbors caught them having sex.

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In Indonesia, the Parliament passed a new Criminal Code that punishes all sex and cohabitation outside of marriage, including all LGBT sex. The legislation now goes to the president for his signature. Once signed, the new Criminal Code will take effect in 3 years. Activists are protesting the new code and may file a challenge in court.

  • 2. VIRick  |  December 6, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    Aruba/Curacao/Sint Maarten: Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Marriage Equality

    Same-sex partners in Aruba and Curaçao must be allowed to marry each other, according to rulings in two appellate cases delivered on Tuesday , 6 December 2022, by the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. Same-sex marriage is not currently possible in the group of countries and special municipalities making up the Caribbean portion of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

    The court ruled that same-sex partners are now denied the right to participate in marriage and all the rights and benefits ​​associated with it. "The court comes to the conclusion that the exclusion of same-sex marriage is in violation of the prohibition of discrimination and is incompatible with the constitution."

    The court's decision regards two cases that were filed in Aruba by equal rights organization Fundacion Orguyo Aruba and in Curaçao by Human Rights Caribbean on behalf of two women who want to get married. A lower court previously ruled in the latter case that there is no justification for refusing same-sex couples a civil marriage, and instructed the legislature to take measures to eliminate the unlawful discrimination.

    The Civil Code of Curaçao stipulates that a marriage can only be entered into between a man and a woman. According to the judge, this provision is contrary to the principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination as stated in Curaçao's constitution.

    In Aruba it has been possible since September 2021 to enter into a registered partnership with someone of the same sex. In June 2022, the Aruban political party Accion21 introduced a bill to formally introduce same-sex marriage on the island.

    This ruling does not necessarily mean that same-sex couples can immediately get married and be treated equally in those Caribbean countries. An appeal is possible, as is a ruling by a court of cassation.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  December 6, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    Warnock Whips Walker! Democrats Now Control The US Senate, 51-49

  • 4. ianbirmingham  |  December 6, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    Alito: Sexual orientation discrimination is OK even if racial discrimination is not

    Alito noted that in the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy had recognized that opponents of same-sex marriage could continue to oppose it and should enjoy First Amendment protection to do so. That recognition, Alito suggested, distinguishes opposition to same-sex marriage from, for example, opposition to interracial marriages.

  • 5. VIRick  |  December 6, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    Sonora: State Congress Bans "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Este martes, el 6 de diciembre 2022, el Congreso de Sonora aprobó prohibir las "terapias de conversión" en el estado, por lo que se sancionará con hasta seis años de prisión a quien las promueva o practique. La diputada estatal Rosa Elena Trujillo (MC), presentó el proyecto para prohibir los Esfuerzos para Corregir la Orientación Sexual e Identidad de Género (Ecosig).

    La iniciativa aprobada contempla sanciones de dos a seis años, así como multas de mil Unidades de Medida y Actualización (UMAS) “a quien realice, imparta, aplique, o financie cualquier tipo de terapia de conversión." También indicó que las sanciones se podrían duplicar cuando se ejerzan contra menores de 18 años, adultos mayores, o personas con discapacidad.

    This Tuesday, 6 December 2022, the Sonora Congress approved the prohibition of "conversion therapy" in the state, so that whoever promotes or practices it will be punished with up to six years in prison. State deputy Rosa Elena Trujillo (MC) presented the bill to prohibit Efforts to Correct Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Ecosig).

    The approved initiative contemplates sanctions of two to six years, as well as fines of one thousand Units of Up-Dated Measurement (UMAS) "for whoever performs, imparts, applies, or finances any type of conversion therapy." It also indicated that the sanctions could be doubled when exercised against minors under 18 years of age, older adults, or persons with disabilities.

  • 6. VIRick  |  December 7, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    Mexico: Federal Social Security Benefits Extended to Include Same-Sex Couples

    El 7 de diciembre 2022, de manera unánime, el Senado aprobó la minuta para garantizar el acceso a la protección social, servicios, y prestaciones a cónyuges y concubinos del mismo sexo.

    On 7 December 2022, the Senate unanimously approved the bill to guarantee access for same-sex spouses and cohabitants to social protection, services, and benefits.

    Having already passed in the Federal House in 2018, the federal IMSS and ISSSTE social security extension measures now move to the President of the Republic for his signature.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  December 8, 2022 at 10:22 am

    House passes landmark bill to protect same-sex marriages, sending it to Biden’s desk

    The Respect for Marriage Act formally repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. That bill denied same-sex couples federal benefits and permitted states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

  • 8. VIRick  |  December 8, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    US House Again Passes Respect for Marriage Act

    On Thursday, 8 December 2022, the US House of Representatives took a final vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, sending the landmark legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk where it will be signed into law. There were 258 votes in favor, 169 opposed, and one member voting “present.”

    Members in the lower chamber had already passed the Respect for Marriage Act this past summer, 267-167, with 47 Republicans voting “yes." The matter before the House today was whether to approve an amendment that was added to the original bill by the US Senate to enshrine protections for religious liberties.

    On 29 November, the Senate approved the Respect for Marriage Act with the added amendment, just barely clearing the 60-vote threshold to avert a filibuster, with 61 votes in favor of passage.

  • 9. VIRick  |  December 8, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    Guanajuato: Marriage Equality/Gender Identity Changes by the Numbers

    En el estado de Guanajuato se han concretado 752 matrimonios civiles entre personas del mismo sexo y 96 cambios de identidad de género en actas de nacimiento, informó la Secretaria de Gobierno, Libia García Muñoz Ledo. Del total de los matrimonios igualitarios, 523 fueron a través de un amparo y 229, a partir del 20 de diciembre del 2021, fueron cuando la Secretaría de Gobierno emitió el Oficio Circular 2261/2021 sobre la procedencia de los matrimonios igualitarios.

    La circular, dirigida al director General del Registro Civil, señala que “a partir de esta fecha y en lo subsecuente, se reconozca y materialice el derecho que tienen todas las personas, sin discriminación por su preferencia sexual, a contraer matrimonio en nuestras oficialías del Registro Civil, si así fuera solicitado, y sin necesidad de que medie recurso legal alguno."

    In Guanajuato state, 752 civil marriages between same-sex couples and 96 gender identity changes on birth certificates have been completed, reported the Government Secretary, Libia García Muñoz Ledo. Of the total equal marriages, 523 were through an amparo and 229, beginning from 20 December 2021, were after the Government Secretary issued Circular Letter 2261/2021 regarding the start of marriage equality.

    The circular, addressed to the Director-General of the Civil Registry, states that "as of this date and subsequently, the right of all persons to contract marriage in our Civil Registry offices, without discrimination based on their sexual preference, is recognized and materialized, if such were requested, and without the need for any legal recourse."

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  December 9, 2022 at 6:35 am

    Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema leaves Democratic Party to become independent

    Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has switched parties to become an independent, complicating the Democrats’ narrow control of the U.S. Senate.

    Sinema still intends to caucus with Democrats as an independent, like Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine do.

    Sinema, a 46-year-old and the first openly bisexual senator, started her career as a Green Party activist focusing on LGBTQ rights. She switched to the Democratic Party in 2004 and was elected to the U.S. House in 2012.

    Sinema utilized her friendliness with Republicans to be a key broker on several signature bills of President Joe Biden’s first term, aiding on issues including infrastructure, guns and same-sex marriage. But her views on increasing taxes on the wealthy and opposition to changing filibuster rules did not win her favors with her former party.

    She notably rejected a corporate tax increase as part of Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act passed earlier this year, instead opting for a 15% minimum tax.

    Long before her announcement Friday morning, some Arizona Democrats had already started trying to find a replacement to primary her. Groups like the Primary Sinema PAC emerged late last year after her reluctance to filibuster reform prevented Democrats from moving forward with an exception for voting rights legislation, leading to the central committee of the Arizona Democratic Party to issue a no-confidence vote in its senator.

    Primary Sinema PAC does not support a single candidate, but rather funds local Arizona groups to pressure Sinema and to lay the groundwork for the candidate that emerges. Speculation had already started that Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., would challenge her.

    Sinema’s decision to switch parties would prevent her from having to face a primary [challenger] from the left.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  December 9, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Florida State representative behind 'Don't Say Gay' resigns following federal indictment for allegedly illegally obtaining $150,000 in Covid-relief loans for fake businesses

    Florida Rep. Joe Harding resigned Thursday after being indicted for allegedly obtaining $150,000 in Covid small business relief loans for inactive companies.

  • 12. VIRick  |  December 10, 2022 at 4:50 am

    Chile: Marriage Equality by the Numbers

    Per Registro Civil Chile:

    Hoy, el 10 de diciembre 2022, se cumple un año de la promulgación de la ley de matrimonio igualitario la cual comenzó a funcionar el 10 de marzo de este año. Hasta el 30 de noviembre, se han inscrito 1.582 matrimonios de parejas del mismo sexo.

    Today, 10 December 2022, completes one year since the promulgation of the marriage equality law which began to function from 10 March 2022. Through 30 November, 1,582 marriages of same-sex couples have been registered.

  • 13. ianbirmingham  |  December 10, 2022 at 7:45 am

    This is a very low number, relative to Chile's 2022 population of 19.5 million people…

  • 14. VIRick  |  December 10, 2022 at 11:15 am

    That is because many Civil Registry offices, despite the 3-month lead-up to the commencement date, were simply not ready to promptly begin processing the changed procedure on the start-up date. They also relied too heavily on computerized technology for scheduling marriage appointment times and dates that proved to be inaccessible to the general public in many parts of Chile.

    In addition, also notice that the active time-frame only covers about 8.6 months, roughly 70% of a full calendar year.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  December 10, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Four years ago, [Adrian Vermeule, the Ralph S. Tyler Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School] was received into the Catholic faith, and has adopted a radically conservative posture toward law and society. His chosen philosophy is called “integralism,” which calls for subordinating the state to the principles of the Catholic Church.

    He is an authentic Christian nationalist to whom the Constitution is only an obstacle; to cite just one example, see an argument he recently made on a Christian legal-theory website that immigration rules should be changed to provide “lexical priority [in visas] to confirmed Catholics, all of whom will jump immediately to the head of the queue.”

    Vermeule’s philosophy (and to his credit, he essentially admits this) has absolutely nothing to do with the actual United States Constitution, and in many ways flatly contradicts it. A government that tends its people like sheep, remaking their desires and beliefs, has no basis in the Constitution itself. The structure of the Constitution embodies a distrust of “strong rule” so clear that no one with eyes could miss it; I can find no commitment there to “a powerful presidency ruling over a powerful bureaucracy.”

    In fact, the Constitution as such is not a binding text to Vermeule. What common-good judges must do, he says, is “read into the majestic generalities and ambiguities of the written Constitution” (italics mine) the principles he favors. “Reading into” is a technique of scriptural interpretation. It is called “eisegesis,” which the Oxford English Dictionary explains is “the interpretation of a word or passage (of the Scriptures) by reading into it one’s own ideas.”

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  December 10, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    Protestants are splitting up over LGBTQ issues

    Last weekend, over 400 Methodist churches in Texas voted to leave their parent denomination, the United Methodist Church (UMC). Their decision followed the mass exodus of Methodist congregations in other Southern states, including North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas and Florida.

    The departing congregations joined the more conservative Global Methodist Church over concerns that the UMC has grown too liberal on key cultural issues — most importantly, LGBTQ rights.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  December 10, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    Caging The Trumpanzee: Knife-carrying knuckle-walker gets 5-1/4 years in prison

  • 18. VIRick  |  December 12, 2022 at 11:53 am

    History of the Ottoman Empire and Same-Sex Sexual Relations

    From my Archives:

    Homosexuality was decriminalized in the Ottoman Empire in 1858, with the adoption of the Ottoman Penal Code, at a time when the Ottomans ruled most of the Arab world, and a law which still remains on the books in Turkey. In 1858, that empire included all of modern-day Turkey, plus Albania, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Thessaly, Romania, Bulgaria, East Rumelia, Thrace, Crete, Cyprus, Batum (Georgia), Kars (Armenian Kurdistan), Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Fezzan, Tripoli, Tunisia, Kurdistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Hejaz, Western Arabia, Eritrea, Somaliland, and Yemen. Many of these holdings outside of SE Europe have had homosexuality re-criminalized, with it often being colonially-imposed following World War I.

    For a handful of ex-Ottoman holdings, homosexuality was (again) legalized in Jordan (and Palestine) upon independence from Britain in 1951, and in Bahrain after independence from Britain in 1976. Iraq (applicable in Kurdistan, as well) claims to have (again) decriminalized homosexuality in 2003. Northern Cyprus, although not internationally recognized by most of the world, decriminalized homosexuality in 2014, finally dumping the British-imposed colonial law on that portion of the island.

    Since 1858, Egypt, like Turkey, has never re-criminalized homosexuality. In Lebanon, courts have overturned the colonially-imposed criminalization, while years ago, Israel has shed itself of its colonially-imposed law.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  December 13, 2022 at 6:53 am

    Workers and consumers say they’re likely to favor pro-LGBTQ businesses

    American workers and consumers are more likely to prefer brands that publicly align with LGBTQ causes, according to a new analysis.

    More than 51% of U.S. employees who responded to a global survey conducted by public relations firm Edelman from July to August said they were more likely to work for a pro-LGBTQ company, compared to 11% who said they were less likely.

    In a separate Edelman survey fielded in May, 34% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a brand that expressed support for LGBTQ rights, versus 19% who said they were less likely.

    The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation partnered with Edelman to analyze the survey data to gather LGBTQ-specific insights. The survey responses came from 1,000 consumers and 1,000 workers in the U.S.

    64% of non-LGBTQ people and 71% of LGBTQ people said they are more likely to purchase from companies that feature LGBTQ individuals in their ads, according to GLAAD surveys from 2022.

  • 20. VIRick  |  December 13, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Barbados: Colonial Era Sodomy Law Struck Down

    On Monday, 12 December 2022, the Barbados High Court struck down the colonial-era law that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations.The ruling specifically struck down Sections 9 and 12 of the Barbados Sexual Offenses Act.

    Men who were found guilty of engaging in consensual same-sex sexual relations under Section 9 could have faced up to life in prison. Men and women who were convicted of violating Section 12 could have faced up to 10 years in prison.

    In a press release, the London-based Human Rights Trust noted that Equals, an LGBTQ and intersex rights group based in Barbados, as well as the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality both challenged the law on behalf of two local activists.

    Judges earlier in 2022 struck down the colonial-era sodomy laws in St. Kitts-Nevis and in Antigua/Barbuda. In 2019, the Belize Court of Appeal upheld the ruling that struck down that country’s sodomy law. In 2018, a judge on the Trinidad/Tobago High Court struck down its statute that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations.

    Within the Caribbean, 4 more legal court challenges against colonial era sodomy laws remain pending, but could be ruled upon at any time: against Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent/Grenadines, and Jamaica. In addition, lawsuits need to be filed challenging similar sodomy laws still on the books in Grenada and Guyana, the last in the Americas.

  • 21. VIRick  |  December 13, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    President Biden Signs the Respect for Marriage Act into Law

    On Tuesday, 13 December 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. “Today’s a good day,” said Biden during the signing ceremony that took place on the White House’s Lawn. “Today America takes a big step towards equality.”

    The ceremony took place five days after the Respect for Marriage Act passed in the US House of Representatives, with 39 Republicans voting in favor. On 29 November, the bill passed in the US Senate by a 61-39 vote margin. The Respect for Marriage Act first passed in the House in July.

    Biden during the signing ceremony specifically thanked US Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and other lawmakers who helped secure the bill’s passage. Biden also reiterated calls for Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights law, and for an end to anti-LGBTQ violence in the wake of last month’s massacre at Club Q in Colorado Springs CO and the proliferation of anti-trans bills across the country.

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  December 13, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Recount confirms Lauren Boebert's narrow re-election for a 2nd term in Congress

    The results last month had Democrat Adam Frisch 550 votes behind Boebert. In the recount, he netted just four votes – far from enough to close the gap.

    Few gave Frisch much of a chance in the conservative 3rd Congressional District, which edges up against some famed, liberal ski towns but is dominated by vast, less glamorous and energy-rich swathes of rural Colorado.

  • 23. scream4ever  |  December 13, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    We have a blueprint for 2024 now, and she should be scared.

  • 24. VIRick  |  December 13, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    Japan: Plaintiffs Appeal Tokyo Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 13 December 2022, 7 of the 8 plaintiffs appealed a Tokyo court ruling that concluded that the government's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional. The Tokyo District Court rejected their damages claim but said in its 30 November ruling that the existing legal system of not allowing same-sex couples to marry and become a family is in a "state of unconstitutionality" that infringes upon their human rights.

    In the lawsuit filed in February 2019, the eight plaintiffs, including same-sex couples, argued that the ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution, which ensures the right to equality and guarantees the freedom to marry.

    Among the plaintiffs appealing are Haru Ono and Asami Nishikawa, a couple who have withheld their real names. They are raising three children together from their former marriages to men. "We want the court to clearly state that it is 'unconstitutional' so we can live as an ordinary family," Ono said at a news conference after filing the appeal.

    While Article 24 of the Constitution stipulates "Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes," the ruling said the lack of a legal framework for same-sex couples to constitute a family is "a grave threat and obstacle" to their right to live. But the court said that whatever system of marriage should be created is up to the legislature, and that because it is possible to envision approaches other than that of including same-sex marriage into the current framework, it could not state that the present circumstances are unconstitutional.

  • 25. VIRick  |  December 14, 2022 at 11:21 am

    India: Supreme Court Accepts another Same-Sex Marriage Case Seeking Recognition

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 14 December 2022, the Supreme Court of India accepted the case from a bi-national LGBT couple seeking recognition of their US marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act. The Indian Supreme Court is already hearing a case seeking the right to same-sex marriage under the country's secular Special Marriage Act.

    The Supreme Court has issued notice concerning a petition filed by a same-sex couple seeking legal recognition of their marriage in India. A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud issued notice on the plea.

    The plea, filed through advocate Nupur Kumar, said: "The present Petition has been filed praying that this court may be pleased to issue a declaration to the effect that the persons belonging to the LGBTQIA community have the same right to marriage as their heterosexual counterparts and a denial therefore is violative of the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of Part III of the Constitution of India, and upheld in various judgements of the Supreme Court including Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India..and NALSA v. Union of India."

    The petitioners in this case, an Indian national and a US citizen, got married and registered their marriage in the USA in 2014 and now seek to register their marriage in India under the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969.

  • 26. ianbirmingham  |  December 14, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    Pornhub reveals 2022's top porn-viewing trends

    Internationally the 'Transgender' category grew by 75 percent, making it the seventh most popular around the world and number one in Brazil.

    In the US users in Republican states remain on the website longer than those visiting from Democratic states and the term 'trans' was also searched disproportionally more in historically Republican state West Virginia.

    The most viewed category of 2022 was 'Lesbian'.

  • 27. ianbirmingham  |  December 16, 2022 at 6:14 am

    Florida Democrats keep trying to repeal unconstitutional anti-LBGTQ laws

    Voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2008 that banned same-sex marriage.

    The same week President Joe Biden signed landmark legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriages, Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky of Boca Raton filed a bill that would strip language out of state law that prohibits same-sex marriage.

    The 15-line bill (SB 80) would repeal laws that remain on the books despite the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Obergefell v. Hodges that required all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages.

    Polsky said she’s filed the same bill three, maybe four times before, but federal action could mean greater momentum, she said. Polsky filed the bill the day after Biden signed the “Respect for Marriage Act” on the South Lawn.

    “Now there are at least three bodies that are supreme to the Florida State Legislature that say gay marriage is legal,” she said. “It’s time for this unconstitutional, illegal statute (to come) off the books and say to the LGBTQ community that we support your marriages.”

    Polsky expects Rep. Michele Rayner, a St. Petersburg Democrat, to file the same bill in the House, she said.

  • 28. VIRick  |  December 16, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Connecticut: Federal Appeals Court Upholds State's Transgender Sports Policy

    On 16 December 2022, a federal appeals court dismissed a challenge to Connecticut's policy of allowing transgender girls to compete in girls high school sports, rejecting arguments by four cisgender runners who said that they were unfairly forced to race against transgender athletes.

    A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City upheld the lower court judge's dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the policy. The panel said that the four cisgender athletes lacked standing to sue, in part because their claims that they were deprived of wins, state titles, and athletic scholarship opportunities were speculative.

    “All four Plaintiffs regularly competed at state track championships as high school athletes, where Plaintiffs had the opportunity to compete for state titles in different events,” the decision said. “And, on numerous occasions, Plaintiffs were indeed 'champions,' finishing first in various events, even sometimes when competing against (transgender athletes).” The judges added, “Plaintiffs simply have not been deprived of a ‘chance to be champions.’”

    The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Council argued its policy is designed to comply with a state law that requires all high school students be treated according to their gender identity. It also said the policy is in accordance with Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal educational opportunities, including in athletics.

  • 29. VIRick  |  December 16, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    North Carolina: State Supreme Court Rejects Voter ID Law, Orders Senate Map Redrawn

    On 16 December 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court knocked down a 2018 voter-identification law that it said discriminated against Black voters and ordered a state Senate map be redrawn due to Republican partisan gerrymandering.

    Both were 4-3 decisions along party lines, with all the court's Democratic justices voting in the majority and all Republican justices dissenting. The decisions come just before the court flips to GOP control on 1 January 2023, when there will be five Republican justices and two Democrats.

    The court upheld a lower court's 2021 ruling that a 2018 law requiring voters to present a photo ID was unconstitutional. The majority opinion said that the lower court correctly found that the law "was motivated by a racially discriminatory purpose."

    Republican-led legislatures in several states have passed similar voter ID laws in recent years, arguing they are needed to prevent "voter fraud."

  • 30. VIRick  |  December 17, 2022 at 11:09 am

    Georgia: State Workers Sue over Denial of Trans Healthcare Coverage

    Georgia state employees and others are suing the state over its denial of insurance coverage for gender-affirming care for transgender workers and trans dependents.

    The federal suit, "Rich v. Georgia," was filed on 14 December 2022 in District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. It says that the exclusion of transition procedures under the Georgia State Health Benefit Plan is unlawful discrimination. It cites the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in "Bostock v. Clayton County," which held that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    The plaintiffs are represented by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and co-counsel Bondurant Mixson & Ellmore LLP. They include Micha Rich and Benjamin Johnson, who are both employees of Georgia government agencies and are being denied transgender-related health care; the Campaign for Southern Equality, a nonprofit LGBTQ civil rights organization; and Jane Doe, a state employee, and her young adult child, John Doe, who is transgender and is enrolled in the state health plan.

  • 31. VIRick  |  December 17, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Ukraine: Lawmakers Pass LGBTQI Non-Discrimination Bill

    On 13 December 2022, lawmakers in Ukraine unanimously approved a bill that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (in the media).

    “It’s a big step for Ukraine, to start adoption of our legislation to European values,” Olena Shevchenko, chair of Insight, a Ukrainian LGBTQ and intersex rights group, told the Washington Blade. “We hope our government will recognize LGBTQI people as equal as soon as possible."

    Per LGBT Marriage News and Insight_ngo (Lutsk):

    Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) unanimously passes (299 in favor of 331 members) a broadcasting law banning incitement of hatred against LGBT people.

    Although no one voted against the measure, 32 members either abstained or were not present for the vote.

  • 32. VIRick  |  December 17, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Poland: Courts Refuse to Recognize Same-Sex Overseas Marriage; Case to ECHR

    A Polish same-sex couple has lost their long-running effort to have their overseas marriage recognized by Poland’s legal system. They have now pledged to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

    Agata Kowalska, a journalist, and Emilia Barabasz, a lawyer, married in Germany in 2018. When they returned to Poland, they sought to register their marriage certificate in the Polish civil registry.

    However, the registry office refused, on the basis that same-sex marriage is not recognized in Poland. The couple appealed the decision but saw their case rejected, first by the governor of Masovia Province, a government appointee, and then by the provincial administrative court in Warsaw.

    Now, in mid-December 2022, they saw their final domestic route of appeal closed, after the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) decided to uphold the previous decisions to reject the registration of their marriage.

    In its justification for the ruling, the NSA pointed to the “unambiguous” content of Article 18 of Poland’s constitution. That article states that: “Marriage as a union between a man and a woman…[is] under the protection and care of the Republic of Poland.”

    At the same time, however, the court found that Article 18 does not prevent parliament from introducing the institution of same-sex civil partnerships in the future. A similar ruling was recently issued by the NSA when it rejected a bid by another same-sex couple to have their foreign marriage recognized.

    In the instant case, the pair now say that they will take their case to Strasbourg, as they believe their right to respect for private and family life – which is protected under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – has been violated.

  • 33. ianbirmingham  |  December 17, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    Self-hating 'Log Cabin Republicans' party at Mar-a-Lago, rimming duplicitous Donald

    Hundreds of guests in tuxedos of all styles — sequined, quilted, velvet — and colorful gowns sipped on Trump-branded champagne and martinis. Between courses of steak and bite-sized Key lime pie, they danced to “YMCA” and “Macho Man,” the disco anthems at Trump rallies. at Thursday night’s Log Cabin Republicans’ “Spirit of Lincoln” gala in the main ballroom of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago beachfront club.

    The long-planned event in honor of the conservative LGBTQ organization’s 45th anniversary brought in Republican notables like former Ambassador Ric Grenell, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, who emceed the evening in a feathered turquoise gown, and former GOP gubernatorial candidate from Arizona Kari Lake, who was swarmed by guests eager to meet her and take a photo.

    But the main attraction, obviously, was Trump. He received a standing ovation.

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  December 19, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Congress refers Orange Trumpanzee to DoJ on charges of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress, and conspiracy to make a false statement

    Forty years in prison, thousands in fines, and a prohibition on ever running for office again await the Orange Trumpanzee if / when convicted on these charges.

    No comment yet from the absurd 'Log Cabin Republicans'…

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  December 20, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    What The Criminal Referral Of Trump Means – A Constitutional Law Expert Explains The Jan. 6 Committee Action

    * It is now clear Trump was the architect of most of this conspiracy – and the committee is urging specific accountability for him and other people who played a part in it.

    * The magnitude of these recommended charges, particularly the insurrection one, is unprecedented. The charges, of trying to overthrow the government, essentially, go right to the heart of the Constitution.

    * The House can conduct its own investigations, but it cannot stop the Department of Justice and it cannot undo this report and its recommendations.

    * The House committee’s message of accountability – that if the nation is to consider itself to be a democracy that works there must be accountability for Trump and others – was made very powerfully. As committee member Adam Schiff said on Dec. 19, “I think the day we start giving passes to presidents or former presidents or people of power or influence is the day we can say that this was the beginning of the end of our democracy.”

  • 36. VIRick  |  December 21, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    Self-hating 'Log Cabin Republicans' party at Mar-a-Lago, rimming duplicitous Donald

    I enjoyed reading this headline, even as it simultaneously churned my stomach.

  • 37. ianbirmingham  |  December 17, 2022 at 11:00 pm

    Democrats slam FIFA over ban on LGBTQ armbands at World Cup

    A group of 30 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Friday slamming the organization’s ban on players wearing rainbow LGBTQ armbands at the World Cup in Qatar.

    The signers of the letter, led by Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Reps. Mark Pocan (Wis.), Mark Takano (Calif.) and Ritchie Torres (N.Y.), said they are concerned about FIFA’s decision to penalize players in the World Cup for wearing “OneLove” armbands and reports that spectators wearing clothing indicating support for the LGBTQ community have been confronted by officials at events.

    FIFA has faced controversy throughout the World Cup over its choice of Qatar, a country with strong anti-LGBTQ policies that has been criticized for a range of human rights abuses, to host the competition.

    The signers said reports have indicated that spectators wearing clothing to support the LGBTQ community have been detained, harassed, denied entry to events or had their apparel confiscated.

    They said these actions go against FIFA’s own commitments from its “No Discrimination” campaign and statements supporting the “OneLove” campaign.

    The lawmakers asked Infantino to answer questions about what extent FIFA considers a government’s track record on LGBTQ rights when determining future World Cup hosts, if the organization will commit to allowing players and spectators to show support for the LGBTQ community in the future and if FIFA will review its protocols for how it engages with host country governments.

  • 38. VIRick  |  December 19, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Wyoming: Casper City Council Passes Hate Crimes and Non-Discrimination Ordinance

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Despite the notoriety of the 1998 murder of Casper native Mathew Shepard on the outskirts of Laramie, today Wyoming is one of just two states considered by the Dept. of Justice to still have no hate crimes statutes whatsoever. The other is South Carolina.

    So, 24 years later, on 6 December 2022, the Casper City Council voted 8-1 in favor of its own hate crimes and anti-discrimination ordinance, joining the cities of Laramie, Jackson, and Cheyenne in doing so. The new Casper law has two key sections:

    The first gives municipal judges the ability to sentence people for assault, battery, and vandalism more harshly if those crimes were motivated by “hate or prejudice” toward another person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, or disability. The ordinance also makes it illegal to use speech to incite violence against people based on any of the above-mentioned protected characteristics, regardless of whether the instigator is successful.

    The second part of the new law bans discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations — like a bank, movie theater, or public park.

  • 39. VIRick  |  December 20, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Idaho: Anti-Sodomy "Sex Offender" Case Finally Settled; Costs State $275,000

    A $275,000 bill to settle a lawsuit involving Idaho’s enforcement of its former anti-sodomy law is heading to the state legislature. On Tuesday, 20 December 2022, Gov. Brad Little and the Board of Examiners chose to put state lawmakers on the hook for the legal fees in the case. This is the second time this year that the Board has directed the legislature to make such payments, the first coming in August concerning the settlement of the suit that knocked down the law passed in 2020 banning transgender persons from changing the sex on their birth certificates.

    The state settled the current case in November 2022, one that involved enforcing Idaho’s former anti-sodomy law by requiring those with prior convictions to continue to register as sex offenders. “This settlement provides a remedy not just for our two clients, but also for a third man who was also a victim of this decades-long, state-sanctioned homophobia,” Matthew Strugar, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys said. Idaho State Police, who oversee the registry, must remove those who qualify within 21 days of the settlement.

    In 2021, a federal judge permanently barred enforcement of the law against the suit’s plaintiffs, saying that the state had “no legitimate interest” in forcing the men to register as sex offenders. The Idaho Attorney-General’s office then appealed that injunction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, prior to finally settling the case in its entirety.

  • 40. VIRick  |  December 21, 2022 at 5:42 am

    Washington State: Blanket Exclusion of Gender-Affirming Care Violates ACA

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 19 December 2022, in "Pritchard v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois," a class-action lawsuit against a third-party claims administrator for a Catholic employer's health insurance plan, a federal judge for the Western District of Washington state in Tacoma has ruled that the blanket exclusion of gender-affirming care violates the ACA's non-discrimination provision.

    The Opinion on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment is here:

  • 41. VIRick  |  December 21, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Andorra: Tribunal Constitucional Rules All Marriage Is "Matrimoni"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Tribunal Constitucional ends the dispute in the new Family Code over the term used for same-sex marriage. According to their ruling, issued on 21 December 2022, the usage of two different terms, "matrimoni" and "casament," is unconstitutional. All marriage is “matrimoni” (or "casament," but only one term can be used, as there can not be any difference whatsoever).

    Per Ràdio SER Principat d'Andorra:

    Diferenciar casament civil de matrimoni canònic és inconstitucional.

    To differentiate "casament civil" (civil marriage) from "matrimoni canònic" (church marriage) is unconstitutional.

    The court's argument for unconstitutionality follows an interesting line of reasoning, one that was not fully anticipated beforehand: First, the court did not find fault with the non-discriminatory usage and definition of the term, "civil marriage," as everyone over a certain age is qualified. However, the court did find that the concept of differentiating and defining "church marriage" to be discriminatory, given that both same-sex couples, as well as those who do not profess to being Catholic, would not be qualified for such. Thus, the court found that this portion of the new Family Code, differentiating and defining "matrimoni canònic," to be unconstitutional (as well as being quite unnecessary, as the civil state does not perform "church marriage").

    This dual usage of the two terms, "casament/matrimoni," as found in both Catalan and Spanish, does not exist in English, thus compounding the translation problem and one's ability to attempt to explain it, particularly given the fact that the court clearly stated that there can not be any difference without that difference being discriminatory.

  • 42. Randolph_Finder  |  December 22, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    Sort of surprised that this was decided before the effective date. I wonder whether it would have passed if the split hadn't been in law proposed…

  • 43. VIRick  |  December 25, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    Probably not. There was a very long delay in time from when the proposed new Family Code was first introduced until it was finally approved, complete with all of that excess, unnecessary language having been added, describing and defining "church marriage" (now dumped as unconstitutional). Had they not gotten side-tracked over this dual usage of terminology, "casament/matrimoni," that essentially mean the same thing but which was apparently "needed" to assure the measure's initial passage, Andorra could have easily beaten both Chile and Switzerland in approving marriage for same-sex couples, along with the rest of those changes now found in this newly-revised Code.

  • 44. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 22, 2022 at 3:11 am

    As a retired health care provider, I believe that eliminating a step in protocol is inappropriate especially when it involves irreversible procedures used in gender care. For such care to be creditable, there must be a diagnosis of gender dysphoria by a health care provider that is qualified to make that diagnosis. This is why lawmakers need to stay out of the business overriding well thought out medical protocols. No professional organization, that I know of, has suggested dropping the diagnosis of gender dysphoria by a qualified health care professional before a plan of gender care is initiated.

  • 45. ianbirmingham  |  December 22, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Apparently, no medical procedures are involved here. Looks like this is just a right to update one's government documents (driver's license, etc.).

  • 46. ianbirmingham  |  December 22, 2022 at 10:18 am

    Gender self-determination is granted in both Spain & Scotland

    Spain's lower house of Parliament Thursday passed a law that allows people over 16 years of age to change their legally registered gender without any medical supervision.

    Under the Spanish law, drawn up by the center-left coalition government, minors ages 12and 13 will need a judge’s authorization to make the change, while those between 14 and 16 will have to be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.

    On the same day, the Scottish Parliament passed a bill to make it easier for people to change their legally recognized gender. The approval makes Scotland the first part of the U.K. to have endorsed allowing people to declare their gender on documents without the need for medical certification.

    The bill was introduced by the Scottish National Party-led government and allows people to transition by self-declaration, removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

    The new rules require anyone applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate to have lived full-time in their declared identity for three months – six months if they are ages 16-17 – as opposed to the previous period of two years. The bill lowered the minimum eligibility age from 18 to 16.

    The revised law also establishes a three-month “reflection period,” during which applicants can change their minds. The Scottish government has not yet decided when in 2023 it wants the new process to take effect.

    Attention will now turn to how the British government reacts. U.K. Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has voiced concerns about legal divergences between Scotland and the other constituent parts of the U.K.

    More than a dozen other countries have already adopted similar legislation.

  • 47. VIRick  |  December 22, 2022 at 4:32 pm

    Spain: Lawmakers Pass Transgender Rights Bill

    On 22 December 2022, Spanish lawmakers passed a bill allowing transgender people aged 14 and over to change their legal gender (auto-percibido) on government-issued documents without the need for psychological or other medical evaluation, though 14- to 16-year-olds would still need parental or guardians' agreement.

    The Spanish bill, which has been heavily criticized by the conservative opposition and some feminists, was approved in the lower house of parliament by 188-150 votes, with seven abstentions. It still must be endorsed by the Senate.

    Although Spain was well ahead of Latin America in legalizing same-sex marriage, Latin America overall is well ahead of Spain when it comes to the recognition of transgender rights, with the number currently standing at 15 nations, including all of the really populous ones. Only the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Venezuela have yet to authorize administrative name/gender change (auto-percibido) on government-issued documents, as required by the CIDH.

    This same listing for LGBT Rights in the Americas contains one major new advance from a South American country that had not been previously noted, namely: (see my next post below for details)

  • 48. VIRick  |  December 22, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    Suriname: Transgender Persons Can Now Change their Name/Legal Gender

    For Suriname, from January 2022, with court order, transgender persons can now change their name/legal gender. As per the following news report in Dutch from 11 months ago, dated 30 January 2022, it has become obvious that the Suriname government finally lost their appeal at the Court of Justice on this matter pertaining to transgender rights, one that originally stems from a 2017 case that the state Civil Registry first lost in a lower court.

    Per "Suriname Nieuws Centrale:"

    Grote Stap in Erkennen Mensenrechten Transgenders

    Het LGBT Platform Suriname feliciteert mejuffrouw Yvanna Paris Simpson en verwelkomt het vonnis van het Hof van Justitie betreffende, de officiële erkenning van geslachtsverandering van een persoon. Met de uitspraak van het vonnis, gedaan op 21 januari 2022 jongstleden, is de weg geopend voor andere transgenders om ook het proces in te zetten hun geslacht en naam dat in hun geboorteakte staat, te wijzigen.

    Big Step in Recognizing Transgender Human Rights

    The LGBT Platform Suriname congratulates Miss Yvanna Paris Simpson and welcomes the judgment of the Court of Justice regarding the official recognition of the gender reassignment of a person. With the issuance of this judgment, delivered on 21 January 2022, the way has been opened for other transgender persons to also start the process of changing their gender and name on their birth certificates.

    Within South America, only Guyana, Paraguay, and Venezuela have yet to recognize gender identity, while all of the other 10 nations do.

  • 49. VIRick  |  December 23, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    Scotland Expands Transgender Rights with Gender Recognition Reform Bill

    The Gender Recognition Reform bill introduced by the Scottish government this past spring was passed in the country’s Parliament in a final 86-39 vote on Thursday, 22 December 2022. The sweeping reform bill modifies the Gender Recognition Act, signed into law in 2004, by allowing transgender Scots to gain legal recognition without the need for a medical diagnosis. The measure further stipulates that the age limit for legal recognition is to be lowered to 16.

    Passage of the measure on which the Scottish Parliament commenced debate earlier this week was acrimonious and at times heated, as Tories opposed to the measure forced a vote on the timetable late Tuesday into the early morning hours of Wednesday (20-21 December) for considering the amendments to the legislation, and raised further motions as well as points of order, before the debate on the more than 150 amendments to the bill began. The measure in Scotland was introduced after years of delay by the UK government and its Parliament.

    At present, trans people in the UK must apply to a gender recognition panel and present a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a laborious process that can take years due to the incredibly long wait times at NHS gender clinics. People can only apply to be legally recognized as male or female. Non-binary gender is not legally recognized in the UK.

    In addition, applicants must provide two medical reports, and at least one needs to include details of any gender-affirming treatments or healthcare the individual plans to have. It also needs to confirm a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The individual must also prove that they have lived in their "acquired" gender for at least two years, and must swear that they intend to do so for the rest of their lives.

  • 50. VIRick  |  December 24, 2022 at 6:45 am

    Zacatecas Congress Approves Name/Gender Change on Official Documents

    Per Red Nacional de Juventudes Diversas:

    Un paso más en el reconocimiento de los ddhh de las personas de la diversidad en el estado de Zacatecas: Hoy, el 22 de diciembre 2022, con 14 votos a favor (y 7 en contra), se reforma su Código Familiar para permitir el cambio de nombre y género (auto-percibido) en los documentos oficiales.

    One more step in the recognition of the human rights of people of diversity in Zacatecas state: Today, 22 December 2022, with 14 votes in favor (and 7 against), its Family Code is reformed to allow the change of name and gender (self-perceived) on official documents.

    Based on the full list provided by "Homosensual," Zacatecas is state #20 in Mexico and the third to have revised its Family Code in 2022 to allow for self-identifying name/gender change on official documents. The other two are: Sinaloa in March 2022, and Baja California in January 2022 (by executive decree since 2019). Two other states continue to allow name/gender change by executive decree: Jalisco and Chihuahua. Wikipedia please note these additional revisions that should somehow by incorporated here:

  • 51. ianbirmingham  |  December 25, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Israel: Netanyahu rebukes far-right ally for anti-LGBTQ comments

    Orit Struck, a Religious Zionist member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, said her party seeks a change to the country’s anti-discrimination law that would include permitting people to avoid acts that go against their religious beliefs — including discriminating against LGBTQ people in hospitals.

    Struck said in an interview on Sunday with Kan public radio that “so long as there are enough other doctors to provide care,” religious healthcare providers should be able refuse to treat LGBTQ patients.

    Simcha Rotman, another member of the party, said that private business owners, such as hotel operators, should be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ “if it harms their religious feelings.”

    Netanyahu said that Struck’s remarks “are unacceptable to me and to members of Likud,” and that the coalition agreement “does not allow discrimination against LGBTQ or harming their right to receive services like all other Israeli citizens.”

    Members of the LGBTQ community serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament, and many popular artists and entertainers as well as several former government ministers are openly gay. But leaders of the LGBTQ community say Israel has a long way to go to promote equality.

  • 52. VIRick  |  December 28, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    Tamaulipas: Sixth Equal Marriage in State, First in the State Capital of Ciudad Victoria

    Per 4C News:

    El 28 de diciembre 2022, en la Oficialía Segunda del Registro Civil de Ciudad Victoria, se llevó a cabo el primer matrimonio igualitario en la capital del estado de Tamaulipas, entre dos hombres de 22 a 25 años, el sexto en el estado desde que se aprobó la reforma al Código Civil.

    On 28 December 2022, in the Second Office of the Civil Registry of Ciudad Victoria, the first equal marriage took place in the capital of the state of Tamaulipas, between two men 22 to 25 in age, the sixth in the state since the reform to the Civil Code was approved.

  • 53. ianbirmingham  |  December 28, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Florida: DeSantis investigates Fort Lauderdale performance of "A Drag Queen Christmas," a show that tours across the country, featuring drag performers doing off-color comedy and holiday-themed musical numbers such as "Tits in a Box."

    Governor Ron DeSantis' office announced that the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) opened the investigation after receiving "multiple complaints about a sexually explicit performance marketed to children held in Fort Lauderdale."

    "The department is actively investigating this matter, including video footage and photographs from the event," DeSantis' press secretary Bryan Griffin said in a statement.

    Part of a 36-city national tour, the show was hosted by Nina West and Trinity the Tuck at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts' Au-Rene Theater on December 26.

  • 54. ianbirmingham  |  December 29, 2022 at 3:29 am

    DeSantis threatens Orlando venue with loss of biz license re: "Drag Queen Xmas"

  • 55. VIRick  |  December 28, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    Costa Rica Has Eliminated "Sex" as a Category Listed on National ID Documents

    El 14 de mayo 2018, el Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) ha decidido que el sexo al que pertenece cada persona se mantenga en los registros, pero esa información no va a aparecer en el documento de identidad porque “resulta estigmatizante para quien haya readecuado su nombre a su identidad de género."

    Es decir, esta decisión representa un reconocimiento simbólico a la identidad de género, pero no significa que los costarricenses se puedan cambiar de sexo formalmente (pero pueden cambiar formalmente su nombre).

    On 14 May 2018, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) decided that the sex to which each person belongs be maintained in the registers, but that this information will no longer appear on the national identity document because "it is stigmatizing for those who have readjusted their name to their gender identity."

    In other words, this decision represents a symbolic recognition of gender identity, but it does not mean that Costa Ricans can formally change their sex (but they can formally change their name).

  • 56. Randolph_Finder  |  December 29, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Wikipedia may have missed updating, when did Marriage Equality become effective (due to publication in the Gazette) in Guerrero?

  • 57. VIRick  |  December 29, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    This post was current as of 29 December, but matters changed on 30 December 2022. See third post below for long-awaited up-date:

    Wikipedia has not missed a thing, as nothing has been published in the Official State Newspaper of Guerrero. Thus, by law, marriage equality is still not yet legal there.

    It is a long tale of woe, as the state governor did not sign the legislation into law, as passed by the state Congress on 25 October 2022. Instead, they referred the matter back to the state Congress with a number of proposed corrections and technical amendments. In return, Congress has yet to respond to those issues. The stalemate appears as if it will carry forward into 2023.

    In late October, all the celebration, anticipating that all 32 jurisdictions had now finally approved marriage equality, was premature. In the meantime, in Guerrero, same-sex couples can still marry in those municipalities that continue to adhere to the Supreme Court jurisprudence, just as they have been doing now for multiple years.

    Thus, Tamaulipas is no longer considered to be "last in line" in approving marriage equality, as its amended law, passed by its state Congress on 26 October 2022, has been in effect, without issue, since 19 November. At least 9 same-sex couples have since married, in Tampico, Reynosa, Ciudad Mante, and Ciudad Victoria. Instead, Guerrero has become the goat.

  • 58. VIRick  |  December 29, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Taiwan-Hong Kong Same-Sex Couple Wins Cross-National Marriage Lawsuit

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 29 December 2022, a Taiwanese woman and her female Hong Kong partner won their marriage lawsuit, as a court in Taipei ordered their household registration office to reinstate the marriage registration of the cross-national same-sex couple. In its ruling, the Taipei High Administrative Court revoked the decision to annul the marriage registration of the Taiwanese national, surnamed Liu (劉), and her partner, surnamed Tse (謝), by the Household Registration Office of Taipei's Xinyi District in June 2020.

    In effect, the ruling will see the couple's marriage registration, initially approved by the same office in August 2019, reinstated, barring an appeal lodged by the office within 20 days of receiving the verdict document. According to Liu, the office initially approved the couple's marriage registration in August 2019, shortly after they got married in the United States, because it decided that Tse, a British National (Overseas) (BNO) passport holder, should receive the same treatment as a British national.

    However, after Tse, 35, applied for a dependent visa from the National Immigration Agency (NIA) in January 2020, the household registration office, notified by the NIA that a BNO passport holder should be regarded as a Hong Kong resident, decided to invalidate the couple's marriage registration. Subsequently, Tse's application for the dependent visa was rejected by the NIA, and she is currently staying in Taipei on a student visa, which she had obtained after quitting her job in Hong Kong and applying to study in Taiwan.

    Since March 2021, the Taipei High Administrative Court has ruled in favor of four other cross-national same-sex couples involving partners from Malaysia, Macao, Singapore, and Japan in their marriage lawsuits.

  • 59. VIRick  |  December 30, 2022 at 6:04 am

    Nayarit Slashes Government Fees for 2023

    Since anyone with a birth certificate from anywhere in Mexico can apply to change their gender identity in any of the 20 jurisdictions that have legalized it, this notice from the liberal-leaning state of Nayarit, slashing government fees, ought to attract any number of individuals seeking to up-date their documents. Puerto Vallarta, the gay mecca, may be in Jalisco state, but Nuevo Vallarta, immediately adjacent, is in Nayarit state. Nayarit has allowed for legal gender change since 2017, the third jurisdiction in Mexico to do so.

    Per "Nayarit Noticias:"

    El costo de la (nueva) acta de nacimiento para el cambio de identidad de género, de valer 2 mil pesos, costará para el año 2023 en 470 pesos.

    The cost of the (new) birth certificate for the change in gender identity, currently costing 2000 pesos ($100.00 US), will cost 470 pesos ($23.50 US) in 2023.

  • 60. VIRick  |  December 30, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    Guerrero: Marriage Equality Amendments to Civil Code Published in Official Newspaper

    Per Jaime López Vela:

    Desde Guerrero, llegan las buenas noticias: se publica la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario en el periódico oficial del 30 de diciembre 2022.

    From Guerrero, the good news arrives: the law approving marriage equality is published in the official newspaper of 30 December 2022.

    The law will take effect from tomorrow, 31 December 2022, at which point, in all the grand splendor of New Year's Eve, the fat lady will proudly sing, "Dios Bendiga las Américas."

    Guerrero is #32 of 32 jurisdictions in Mexico with marriage equality, meaning that the entire country has finally achieved this goal, after years and years of struggle, north to south from Tijuana to Tapachula, and east to west from peninsula to peninsula.

    Per "Diario de México:"

    Para la comunidad LGBTQ en México, 2022 pasará a la historia como el año en el que el matrimonio igualitario se hizo realidad en todos los estados del país, más de una década (13 años) después de reconocerse por primera vez en la Ciudad de México.

    For the LGBTQ community in México, 2022 will pass into history as the year in which marriage equality became reality in every state in the country, more than a decade (13 years) after its recognition for the first time in CDMX.

  • 61. ianbirmingham  |  December 31, 2022 at 2:11 pm

    11th Circuit, en banc, upholds Florida high school’s transgender bathroom ban

    The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced its 7-4 decision on Friday, ruling that the St. Johns County School Board did not discriminate against transgender students based on sex, or violate federal civil rights law by requiring transgender students to use gender-neutral bathrooms or bathrooms matching their biological sex.

    The court’s decision was split down party lines, with seven justices appointed by Republican presidents siding with the school district and four justices appointed by Democratic presidents siding with Drew Adams, a former student who sued the district in 2017 because he wasn’t allowed to use the boys restroom.

    A three-judge panel from the appeals court previously sided with Adams in 2020, but the full appeals court decided to take up the case. Though his assigned gender was female at birth, Adams began the transition to become male before he enrolled in Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, just southeast of Jacksonville.

    Judge Barbara Lagoa wrote in the majority opinion that that the school board policy advances the important governmental objective of protecting students’ privacy in school bathrooms. She said the district’s policy does not violate the law because it’s based on biological sex, not gender identity.

    Judge Jill Pryor wrote in a dissenting opinion that the interest of protecting privacy is not absolute and must coexist alongside fundamental principles of equality, specifically where exclusion implies inferiority.

    Full text of ruling:

  • 62. ianbirmingham  |  December 31, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    US Courts Divided: 11th Circuit Breaks Precedent on Transgender Bathroom Access

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit became the first appellate court on Friday to rule in favor of a policy that limits transgender students’ bathroom access.

    The 150-page opinion stands in contrast to the U.S. Second, Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth circuits, which all found transgender students can access restrooms in line with their gender identity.

  • 63. ianbirmingham  |  December 31, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    11th Circuit Rejects Transgender Student’s Challenge to Bathroom Policy

    With the conflict with the Fourth Circuit, it would make for an ideal basis for the Court to consider the constitutional and statutory issues by granting a petition for writ of certiorari.

    The accommodation of the gender neutral bathroom makes this policy particularly interesting for review. While some would argue that this amounts to a gender version of “separation but equal,” the district sought a middle position on the controversy. However, much turns on the definition of “sex” under Title IX.

    Adams and others relied upon the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020). That case involved employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 701 et seq., as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq, and Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the 6-3 decision that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating based on sex. (Justices Thomas, Alito, and Kavanaugh dissented).

    However, the Court expressly stated that it was not ruling on this issue:

    “Under Title VII, . . . we do not purport to address bathrooms, locker rooms, or anything else of the kind. The only question before us is whether an employer who fires someone simply for being homosexual or transgender has discharged or otherwise discriminated against that individual “because of such individual’s sex.”

    The Biden Administration, however, has issued a Notice of Interpretation through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination based on gender identity.

  • 64. VIRick  |  December 31, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    11th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Florida High School Anti-Trans Bathroom Policy

    On 30 December 2022, a divided federal appeals court upheld a Florida high school's policy forbidding transgender students from using bathrooms that accord with their chosen gender identity. In an en banc 7-4 ruling, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said that the St Johns County FL school board did not violate the US Constitution's Equal Protection Clause nor federal civil rights law by requiring students to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex. The policy had been challenged by Drew Adams, a transgender man who was not allowed to use the boys' bathroom when he attended Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach FL.

    "This is an aberrant ruling that contradicts the rulings of every other circuit court to have considered the question across the country," Tara Borelli, a lawyer with Lambda Legal representing Adams, said in a statement. "We will be reviewing and evaluating this dangerous decision over the weekend." The 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have all found that transgender students can access restrooms in line with their gender identity.

    All seven judges in the majority were appointed by Republican presidents, including six by Trump, while the four dissenting judges were Democratic appointees. The Biden administration had urged the appeals court to strike down the school district's policy.

    The complete Opinion of the Court is here:

  • 65. VIRick  |  January 1, 2023 at 7:54 am

    US Virgin Islands Codifies Ban on Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Discrimination

    In a marathon session that began on Thursday, 30 December, and eventually extended into Friday, 31 December 2022, the US Virgin Islands Senate passed dozens of bills in anticipation of the conclusion of its current legislative term. Among them, one notes:

    "Another bill passed codifies the illegality of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

    US Virgin Islands Senate Legalizes Recreational Use of Cannabis

    Earlier, during this same marathon session of 30 December 2022, we note:

    The Senate, in a marathon session Thursday, debated funding a Sixth Constitutional Convention (it passed), suing the Government Employees Retirement System (it was withdrawn), and legalizing adult marijuana use (it was amended and sent to the governor).

    A bill that could be looked at as a companion bill to the cannabis bill because it would expunge the criminal records of persons convicted for marijuana-related crimes and offenses also passed during the legislative session.

    Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory’s office sent out a press release congratulating her colleagues for passing the cannabis legislation minutes before the final vote was taken. The press release said, “As a result of today’s vote, the Virgin Islands joins 21 states and the District of Columbia to legalize the adult use of cannabis for recreational purposes.” She said during the session, “The path to enacting adult-use cannabis legislation has been rocky and winding.”

    Assuming the governor will sign the marijuana bill into law, the US Virgin Islands will become the very first Caribbean jurisdiction to have legalized the recreational use of cannabis and to have expunged the criminal records of prior offenders.

  • 66. VIRick  |  January 1, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Brasil: Lula Sworn In as President

    Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was inaugurated for a third term on 1 January 2023, capping a triumphant return to the presidency of Brasil 12 years after leaving office at the end of 2010 and two years after the corruption convictions that sent him to prison were annulled.

    Lula, 77, would ordinarily have received the presidential sash from his predecessor, but outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro skipped the ceremony, telling supporters in a tearful farewell on Friday, 30 December, just before flying to Florida, that "we will not throw in the towel. We may have lost the battle but not the war." Bolsonaro did not acknowledge Lula's victory but did condemn an alleged plot by one of his own supporters to set off a bomb in the capital city, Brasilia.

    For Lula's supporters, hundreds of thousands of whom were expected to attend the inaugural festivities in Brasilia, Sunday, 1 January, was a day of celebration. Lula, who has declared that "Brasil is back" in the fight against climate change, is expected to immediately announce steps to protect the Amazon and to shift course on other issues, like imposing stricter gun controls.

    We should remember that Lula began his work career as a street vendor shoeshine boy, years before he vaulted to political prominence as a union activist.

    Meanwhile, based on family ancestry, Bolsonaro's sons applied for Italian citizenship.

  • 67. VIRick  |  January 1, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    Mexico: New Year's Greetings from the Ex-President of the Supreme Court

    Per Arturo Zaldívar, el 1 de enero 2023:

    Que en el 2023 la paz y el bienestar acompañen a todos las y los mexicanos. Que nos ilumine la esperanza de construir juntos un mejor país, más justo e igualitario, en el que todas las personas pueden disfrutar de todos los derechos. ¡Feliz 2023!

    May peace and well-being accompany all Mexicans in 2023. Let the hope of building together a better, more just and egalitarian country enlighten us, one in which all persons can enjoy all their rights. Happy 2023!

    As of 2 January 2023, Norma Lucía Piña Hernández became the new President of the Supreme Court, the first female to ever hold the position. On a rotating basis from among their own ranks, the Supreme Court President is elected by the 11 justices themselves.

  • 68. ianbirmingham  |  January 3, 2023 at 10:31 am

    The far-right fringe Noam Party leader Avi Maoz, a religious-nationalist settler known for his extreme anti-LGBTQ+ views, will now have control over all external curricula in Israel's education system

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government has officially been sworn into office.

    Packed with extremists, the government will be the most right-wing in the state’s history.

    The Maoz appointment has sparked a backlash from school principals, mayors, NGOs, and even outgoing politicians, given his anti-LGBTQ+ and sexist positions.

    Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced his party will open a hotline for parents who want to make sure Noam’s political agenda isn’t part of their children’s learning.

    “Maoz will be not allowed to instil the dark, homophobic, nationalist and violent teachings of his party into the schools of every child in Israel,” the party wrote on Facebook.

    More than 300 school principals signed a petition opposing Maoz’s “racist, homophobic, dark and extreme views that divide and harm entire communities and broad identities in Israeli society".

    And more than 50 municipal officials said they would not cooperate with Maoz and instead would self-fund plans affected by Maoz’s decisions.

  • 69. Randolph_Finder  |  January 3, 2023 at 10:49 pm

    OK. Semi-Random Guesses for nations will have Marriage Equality by the end of 2023 by Region.
    1) Americas. Most of these will be due to the IACHR decision. I'm going with Venezuela, Peru, Panama and the rest of the Dutch Caribbean.
    2) At least two of the nations along the border between the Marriage and non-Marriage Area. I'm going with Croatia, Liechtenstein and Estonia. (and some form of civil union in Ukraine)
    3) India (with either Vietnam or Japan following in Early 2024)
    4) Cape Verde as the second African Nation.

  • 70. scream4ever  |  January 4, 2023 at 9:49 am

    What about Namibia with their litigation? Also, I think the Czech Republic has a much greater chance of passing a bill than Croatia or Estonia, and Liechtenstein will no doubt have a referendum which will delay full implementation.

  • 71. VIRick  |  January 4, 2023 at 10:26 am

    Gay Peruvian Immigrant to Be Sworn into Congress on Superman #1 Comic Book

    Out Representative-elect Robert García (D-CA) may not have been able to get sworn in on 3 January 2023 due to the Republicans’ inability to elect a Speaker of the House, but he has plans for when he finally can be sworn in. When he does take the oath of office, he’ll swear on a copy of the US Constitution, and, beneath that, on an original Superman #1 comic from 1939 (borrowed for the occasion from the collection at the Library of Congress), a photo of his parents, and a copy of his US citizenship certificate.

    García came to the US from Perú with his family when he was five-years-old and has said that naturalization was “his proudest moment” and the reason he started a career in politics. His parents died in 2020 of COVID-19. He was the youngest and first out LGBTQ person elected as mayor of Long Beach, a position he served in from 2014 to 2022, until being elected to Congress.….

  • 72. VIRick  |  January 4, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Peru: Today, 4 January 2023, Congress Committee Discusses Marriage Equality Bill

    Per Alexander Reyna:

    Comisión de Justicia debatirá hoy, el 4 de enero 2023, el pre dictamen del proyecto de ley de matrimonio igualitario de coautoría de Susel Paredes.

    Today, 4 January 2023, the Justice Committee will discuss the preliminary draft of the marriage equality bill co-authored by Susel Paredes.

    Per Ruth Luque Ibarra:

    Se "archiva" en Comisión de Justicia, con votos en mayoría, el Proyecto de Ley 525/2021-CR de matrimonio igualitario. Tampoco procedió cuestión previa que presentamos. Pese a varias opiniones a favor, una mayoría sostuvo que el matrimonio no es un derecho. Que la lucha por más derechos siga, Susel Paredes.

    By a majority vote, the marriage equality bill, 525/2021-CR, is "archived" in the Justice Committee. Nor did the previous question that we presented proceed. Despite various opinions in favor, a majority held that marriage is not a right. May the fight for more rights continue, Susel Paredes.

    Ruth Luque Ibarra is also a co-author of the marriage equality bill.

    Legislatively speaking, in South American Spanish, "se archiva" (is "archived") means the same as "ponerlo en el congelador" (putting it in the freezer) in Mexican Spanish.

  • 73. VIRick  |  January 5, 2023 at 10:24 am

    Arizona: Governor Signs Employment Protections for LGBT State Employees/Contractors

    Arizona’s newly elected Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) signed an executive order extending employment protections to state employees and contractors who are LGBTQ.

    As the Human Rights Campaign reports, the executive order, signed on Tuesday, 3 January 2023, Hobbs’s first day in office, directs the state’s Department of Administration to update hiring, promotion, and compensation policies for all state agencies so as to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to include the same non-discrimination provisions in all new state contracts.

  • 74. VIRick  |  January 5, 2023 at 2:57 pm

    Perú: Civil Union Bill Still Being Analyzed by Congress Committee

    Per "Diario EP:"

    La Comisión de Justicia del Congreso "archivó" el proyecto de ley sobre el matrimonio igualitario. Doce legisladores se opusieron al proyecto, dos votaron a favor, y 4 que se abstuvieron. En el 5 de enero 2023, el proyecto de unión civil de dos personas del mismo sexo seguirá siendo analizado.

    The Justice Committee of the Congress "archived" the bill concerning marriage equality. Twelve legislators were opposed to the bill, two voted in favor, and 4 abstained. On 5 January 2023, the bill for the civil union of same-sex couples will continue being analyzed.

  • 75. ianbirmingham  |  January 5, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    Federal judge clears the way for West Virginia law restricting transgender athletes

    A federal judge on Thursday sided with West Virginia’s law that restricts transgender girls from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, finding that the state legislature’s definition of “girl” and “woman” is constitutional.

    The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson, a middle schooler looking to try out for her school’s girls cross-country team. Lawyers on behalf of Pepper-Jackson argued the West Virginia law discriminates on the “basis of sex” and “transgender status” — violating both the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and Title IX, a federal education law that prevents sex-based discrimination.

    Her lawyers also alleged that the law was “targeted at, and intended only to affect, girls who are transgender.”

    “The record does make clear that, in passing this law, the legislature intended to prevent transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams,” Southern District of West Virginia Judge Joseph R. Goodwin wrote in the ruling. “But acting to prevent transgender girls, along with all other biological males, from playing on girls’ teams is not unconstitutional if the classification is substantially related to an important government interest.”

    ACLU lawsuit here:

    Opinion here:

  • 76. ianbirmingham  |  January 5, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    Oklahoma: City councilor outspoken against drag shows didn't mind taking his son and his son's entire basketball team to Hooters

    Bartlesville City Councilor Trevor Dorsey, who led a city council effort to prevent drag shows in public venues, rewarded his son's basketball team in 2011 with a meal at Hooters, according to a Facebook post.

    Not only did Dorsey make the motion at this month's council meeting, but he also signed the petition presented to the council in October urging councilors to ban adult entertainment from public spaces − specifically citing a drag show at the Bartlesville Pride event at Unity Square in September.

    In the online post, Dorsey bragged that his son was "a total flirt" with the waitresses and "he had the Hooters ladies eating out of his hand the whole evening."

    "I find it hypocritical. While I 100% agree with people's rights to parent their children how they see fit, it absolutely is hypocritical coming from him that he felt it was appropriate to take nine underage boys to a restaurant with scantily clad waitresses," said Morgan Lawrence-Hayes of Oklahomans for Equality Bartlesville, who provided the 12-year-old post. "But then he wants to rail against adult entertainment and ban it for other citizens. So basically, he's free to have the choice to do it, but we aren't."

  • 77. VIRick  |  January 6, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    India: Supreme Court Consolidates under Its Purview all Marriage Equality Cases

    India's Supreme Court has set about gathering together all petitions by gay couples and activists seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage. On Friday, 6 January 2023, the top court ordered all other courts across the country to transfer any legal petitions seeking recognition of same-sex marriage, effectively taking collective ownership of all related cases. The Supreme Court also gave the federal government about five weeks to make its stand on the matter clear.

    A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court has given Prime Minister Narendra Modi's federal government until 15 February to make clear its stand on the question. After the government files a response, the court plans to hear the collective pleas by gay couples and activists on 13 March.

    The ninth among the recent petitioners is a gay couple from Hyderabad in the southern Indian state of Telangana, Supriyo Chakraborty and Abhay Dang, who have been together for 10 years and want to register their marriage under India's Special Marriages Act.

    Another petition was filed by Parth Phiroze Mehrotra and Uday Raj Anand, a couple who have been together for 17 years and who are now raising two children born via surrogacy, the tenth of the multiple cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear.

  • 78. scream4ever  |  January 7, 2023 at 2:54 am

    I guess this is a good sign?

  • 79. ianbirmingham  |  January 7, 2023 at 7:17 am

    Yes, good sign. India's Supreme Court will very likely legalize SSM this year.

    Importantly, India is home to one of the world's largest Muslim populations, surpassed only by Indonesia.

    Thus India's 172 million Muslims should soon gain access to same-sex marriage.

    This sets the stage for Muslim same-sex spouses to travel / relocate to other countries with significant Muslim populations, requesting recognition of their marriages upon arrival.

  • 80. VIRick  |  January 7, 2023 at 10:32 am

    Remember, though, that India has multiple marriage laws, laws that have been designed to cater to the multi-ethnic/multi-faith complexity of India's vast population.

    As best as can be determined, to date, these are the marriage laws challenged by same-sex couples/activists:
    1. Foreign Marriage Act – the law by which couples civilly married abroad can then register their marriage in India.
    2. Special Marriage Act – the law recognizing non-religious/inter-faith/civil marriages performed in India.
    3. Hindu Marriage Act – the law recognizing traditional Hindu religious marriages performed in India.

    To date, no one has challenged the Muslim Marriage Act, the Sikh Marriage Act, the Parsee Marriage Act, nor the several Christian Marriage Acts. Nor have any of the multiple, duplicating marriage acts governing Jammu and Kashmir been challenged. Without a specific legal challenge, these assorted marriage laws will most likely remain in place, even if all 3 that have been specifically challenged are overturned.

    Given these circumstances, Muslim, Sikh, and Christian same-sex couples would need to marry civilly, under the Special Marriage Act,– and subsequently, if they were to re-locate, "export" those marriages abroad, but as civil marriages.

  • 81. ianbirmingham  |  January 7, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    Let's not put the cart before the horse here.

    Any attempt to assess the scope of a pro-SSM decision by India's Supreme Court prior to actually seeing the ruling is mere speculation.

    The Court could rule narrowly that India's Constitution (which, incidentally, is the world's longest for a sovereign nation) requires that SSM be legally accepted only within the Foreign Marriage Act (FMA).

    Or the Court could require SSM in both FMA and Special Marriage Act (SMA) but only those, for a slightly broader ruling.

    Or the Court could issue a very broad ruling which legalizes SSM throughout the entirety of India's legal system.

    Or the Court could require only the specifically challenged Marriage Acts to include SSM, but via reasoning which leaves all of the other Marriage Acts constitutionally infirm (i.e., as dominos ready to be toppled with a very slight push).

    As most countries do not use the Indian paradigm of personal law (which primarily exists in the Middle East, North Africa, and East Africa), and since even civil-only countries vary widely in their conception of what marriage is (see, for example, Russia, in which Putin has recently legalized wife-beating), marriages normally are locally reinterpreted whenever they are being transferred into a new country. This reinterpretation process would occur regardless of how any given marriage is being interpreted within the Indian context.

    As I pointed out in my prior comment, if the Court does legalize SSM for all Indians (regardless of whether only via FMA, via FMA and SMA, via all personal laws, etc.), this gives 172 million Muslims access to legal SSM, creating what will very likely be dramatic consequences throughout the Muslim world.

  • 82. ianbirmingham  |  January 7, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    The Secret Gay History of Islam: In Muslim cultures, homosexuality was once considered the most normal thing in the world – so what changed?

    Islam once considered homosexuality to be one of the most normal things in the world.

    The Ottoman Empire, the seat of power in the Muslim world, didn’t view lesbian or gay sex as taboo for centuries. They formally ruled gay sex wasn’t a crime in 1858.

    But as Christians came over from the west to colonize, they infected Islam with homophobia.

    The truth is many Muslims alive today believe the prophet Muhammad supported and protected sexual and gender minorities.

    But go back to the beginning, and you’ll see there is far more homosexuality in Islam than you might have ever thought before….

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