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  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  January 9, 2023 at 11:17 am

    India: Over 2,000 join LGBTQ march in New Delhi

    More than 2,000 members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters returned to New Delhi streets on Sunday after a three-year break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to press for equal marriage rights.

    Dancing to drumbeats, they carried rainbow flags, balloons and placards as they walked for more than an hour to the Jantar Mantar area near India’s Parliament.

    “It’s good, it’s fabulous. Because we are here to celebrate ourselves, and after three years,” said Vishal Rai, a 23-year-old participant.

    Their hopes have been raised by India’s Supreme Court hearing petitions on granting legal recognition to same-sex marriage.

    The Supreme Court in 2018 struck down a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

    Most Hindu nationalist leaders say same-sex marriage is against India's culture. Although there are openly gay celebrities, and some high-profile Bollywood films have dealt with gay issues, many in the community still face isolation and persecution.

  • 2. VIRick  |  January 9, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    "Most Hindu nationalist leaders say same-sex marriage is against India's culture."

    Quite to the contrary, the Hindu Vedic tradition clearly states that marriage is the union of two "souls," and according to the Vedas, "souls" are gender neutral. Reflecting this precise point, the Hindu Marriage Act of India is itself gender neutral, and is specifically the reason why it is one of the three marriage laws (and the only one reflecting a religious tradition) currently under challenge before the Supreme Court of India.

    Let us hope that the Court ignores the vacuous Hindu nationalist politicians, and instead, in its ruling, actually follows the concepts found in the Vedas:

    By Definition, Hindu Marriage Act Is Gender-Neutral, a Union of "Two Souls"

    Per Paras Sharma, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India:

    Same-sex marriages are not a new phenomenon in India, as homosexuality has an ancient history. The history of homosexuality can be traced to the "Rig-Veda," which dates from around 1500 BC. The remarkably sexually-explicit "Kamasutra" also describes the Harems of young boys kept by Hindu aristocrats and Muslim Nawabs. However, with the advent of Brahmanism and later of British Colonialism, these experiences started to be seen as a matter of hatred.

    Hindu scriptures (called Vedas) define marriage as the union of "two souls," and the same scriptures also define that a soul has no gender. It is only the human bodies that possess a gender. These scriptures are a major source of Hindu Law, including the Hindu Marriage Act. The Act merely codifies the Hindu Law and does not try to erode the values within the Holy Scriptures.….

    This gender neutrality present in Hinduism is also found in Buddhism, in large part because the Gautama Buddha was Indian, and his teachings simply spread this concept of gender neutrality (among others) further to the east into Southeast Asia and over the Himalayas into China and beyond.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  January 10, 2023 at 10:48 am

    From VIRick's very good link:

    In March 2018, the Supreme Court of India has held that an adult has a fundamental right to marry a person of their own choice. The collective reading of this case with Navtej Singh Johar (September 2018) can be taken as a tacit recognition of same-sex marriage.

  • 4. VIRick  |  January 9, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    Plus, we already have this ruling of 12 June 2020 from the Uttarakhand High Court:

    Uttarakhand High Court Rules Same-Sex Cohabitation Is a Fundamental Right

    Consensual cohabitation between two adults of the same sex is not illegal or a crime, the Uttarakhand High Court observed recently while hearing a petition. Individuals from the same sex might not be competent to enter into wedlock since the law does not recognize such marriages, but they still have a right to live together even outside of wedlock, Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma stated in an order issued on 12 June 2020.

    “It is a fundamental right which is guaranteed to every person under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which is wide enough to protect an inherent right of self-determination with regard to one’s identity and freedom of choice with regard to the sexual orientation of choice of partner,” the court said.….

    Uttarakhand state, in northern India, abuts both Nepal and Tibet, and likely reflects both Hinduism and Buddhism. Its Court has been one of the most progressive on the assertion of LGBT rights. Its capital city, Dehradun, the largest Himalayan city wholly within the Union of India, is the site of the Sikh temple, Gurdwara Nanaksar, as well as its being a major Tibetan Buddhist monastery/temple center, the central hub-point for the Hindu Himalayan pilgrimage circuit to the source of the Ganges, and the location of the Muslim royal family of Afghanistan-in-exile.

    Sikhism and Hinduism share three central concepts: that of "atma" or gender neutral "souls," "samsara" or rebirth, and "karma" or reaping what one sows, be it good or bad.

    Buddhism and Hinduism share the concepts of "samsara," "karma," and "dharma" or moral order, leading to enlightenment.

    Buddhism and Sikhism, as "reform" movements that both split off from Hinduism, share the concept of the universal equality of all persons.

  • 5. VIRick  |  January 11, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Tabasco: Emiliano Citlali, the First Non-Binary Person Registered in the State

    Tabasco: Emiliano Citlali, la Primera Persona No Binaria Registrada en el Estado

    Per "El Heraldo de Tabasco:"

    El 11 de enero 2023, la Oficialía del Registro Civil No. 2 expidió la primera acta de nacimiento para una persona no binaria en Tabasco.

    On 11 January 2023, the Civil Registry Office #2 issued the first birth certificate for a non-binary person in Tabasco.

    The process was accomplished through the filing of an amparo in August 2022, the judgment of which was only granted now, in January 2023, the first such non-binary birth certificate issued for Tabasco, and only the second such nationwide in all of Mexico (the first being issued in Aguascalientes several months ago).

  • 6. VIRick  |  January 11, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    Tabasco: First Equal Marriage in the State without Amparo

    Tabasco: Primer Matrimonio Igualitario en el Estado sin Amparo

    El 23 diciembre 2022, se realizó el primer matrimonio igualitario en el estado sin amparo, el de Karla Ivette Hernández Félix y Cecilia Guadalupe Morales Zamarrón en Villahermosa.

    On 23 December 2022, the first equal marriage in the state without amparo was realized, that of Karla Ivette Hernández Félix and Cecilia Guadalupe Morales Zamarrón in Villahermosa.

    This was the first same-sex couple to marry in Tabasco after the state law was changed, effective from 27 October 2022, following its publication legalizing marriage equality. This 23 December marriage date also makes Tabasco the very last state in Mexico where a same-sex couple was finally able to marry without their requiring an amparo to do so.

    The Tamaulipas Congress was the last to act legislatively in changing state law legalizing marriage equality. However, the new law there was quickly published, effective from 19 November 2022, and numerous same-sex couples in at least 5 different municipalities married immediately thereafter.

    Due to technical difficulties, Guerrero was the last state in Mexico to publish its new marriage equality legislation, only managing to do so on 30 December 2022. However, numerous same-sex couples in multiple municipalities have married in that state without needing an amparo (based solely on Supreme Court jurisprudence) since early 2016.

  • 7. VIRick  |  January 13, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    Paraguay: A Paraguayan Same-Sex Marriage,– in Rosario, Argentina

    Per Esteban Paulon:

    Hoy, el 13 de enero 2023, se casaron en Rosario los queridos Paloma y Totoro quienes llegaron desde Paraguay para acceder al derecho al matrimonio igualitario que su país les niega.

    Today, 13 January 2023, the beloved Paloma and Totoro, who arrived from Paraguay to access the right to marriage equality that their country denies to them, were married in Rosario.

    Per SOMOSGAY de Paraguay:

    Felicitamos de todo corazón a Paloma Vera (Dirección Ejecutiva SOMOSGAY) y Manuel Delgado que celebraron su matrimonio en el Registro Civil del Distrito Central de Rosario.

    We wholeheartedly congratulate Paloma Vera (SOMOSGAY Executive Director) and Manuel Delgado who celebrated their marriage in the Civil Registry of the Central District of Rosario.

    This is at least the third same-sex couple from Paraguay to marry in near-by Santa Fe province in Argentina.

  • 8. VIRick  |  January 15, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Czech Republic: Marriage Equality Supporter Wins First Round in Presidential Election

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A supporter of marriage equality, Petr Pavel, wins in the first round of the Presidential election. The second round in this election will take place in two weeks.

    Pavel will face off against ex-PM Babis whose party once supported LGBT marriage, but who is now calling for enhanced civil unions.

  • 9. Randolph_Finder  |  January 16, 2023 at 6:09 am

    The most pro-LGBT candidate in the race was apparently Danuše Nerudová who came in third. (expected to come in very close to the top two, but fell back quite a bit) As a note, even though the top two candidates are very close in percentage, Danuše who finished third, as well as those who finished 4th, 6th and 7th have endorsed Petr Pavel. (I haven't been able to find endorsements of those who finished 5th or 8th). Most of the polling has Petr getting about 58-60% to Babis's 40-42%.

    Note, I have seen information indicating that Pavel is politically to the Right of Babis, but it hasn't been viewed as *that* significant and by US Standards, both are Left of Center. The closest equivalence that I could give in recent US politics would have been if the US Presidential election had been Colin Powell vs. Steve Forbes (One rich guy, one Army General, but neither particularly driven to the end of the Political spectrum)

  • 10. VIRick  |  January 15, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    Namibia: Marriage Equality Case Heads ro Supreme Court

    Per Namibia Equal Rights Movement:

    We’re heading to the Supreme Court to put an end to Namibia's discriminatory practices at the cost to the taxpayers.

    The case in question involves Daniel Digashu and Johann Potgeiter and the non-recognition of their South African marriage, as well as the non-recognition of Potgeiter's adoption of Digashu's nephew, an orphaned minor, by the state. Digashu is a citizen of South Africa, while Potgeiter is a citizen of Namibia.

    Actually, the case really began with Namibian Immigration, as Digashu has been fighting the Namibian government to be granted a work permit since 2017. As a result, he has yet to be able to work in Namibia.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  January 15, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    Florida: Gay-friendly curriculum draws complaints at Nassau County legislative delegation meeting

    JASMYN, an organization in Jacksonville, lost $45,000 in funding because they had allegedly been displaying cartoon figures of dancing penises to children as part of a health program.

    “This was brought before the school district, and the school district cut the funding.”

    The issue involved a card game meant to educate people older than 18 on HIV prevention and shared on Instagram, though online misrepresentations have led to a kind of telephone game effect on what people believe JASMYN is doing or has done in the past.

    “Schools have a lot of resources, but they’re not always easy to access for students, and in particular, LGBTQ students don’t always feel safe,” JASMYN CEO Cindy Watson told Jacksonville television affiliate WTLV at the time.

  • 12. VIRick  |  January 16, 2023 at 7:31 am

    A Current List of All 67 Countries Worldwide Where Homosexuality Is Illegal

    Per "Stars Insider:"

    This is a reasonably accurate country-by-country listing of all 67 nations worldwide where homosexuality is de jure illegal, what the maximum penalty by law happens to be in each, and whether or not such penalty is actively enforced.

    The listing also makes special mention of Iraq and Egypt where homosexuality is de jure legal, but where other laws and factors are utilized to discriminate and punish. It also draws special attention to the specific, negative on-the-ground circumstances found in Chechnya, Indonesia (Aceh Province/Palembang), and Palestine (Gaza). And although Bhutan and Singapore are still cited, both have recently decriminalized homosexuality.

  • 13. VIRick  |  January 17, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    ECHR Orders Russia to Recognize Same-Sex Unions

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 17 January 2023, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to provide recognition of same-sex unions, but not necessarily as marriage equality. The Russian Federation is unlikely to obey the decision, given that it is no longer a member of the European Court of Human Rights, a direct result of its invasion of Ukraine.

    The ECHR sided with three gay couples who had asked for the recognition of their relationships but who were denied by Russian authorities, ruling that countries have an obligation to make the legal protections of marriage available to same-sex couples.

    “The court holds … that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention,” Judge Síofra O’Leary, president of the court, said when reading out the ruling, referring to the court's founding charter. The Grand Chamber found that the convention changes as society does. “The Convention is a living instrument which must be interpreted in the light of present-day conditions,” the judges wrote. Moreover, the judges found protections for minorities do not rely on the acceptance of the majority.

    Less than 15 years ago, the Strasbourg-based court concluded in another landmark ruling that the European Convention of Human Rights allows for gay marriage but does not require it. Now, however, consensus on the issue has shifted sufficiently so that it is no longer optional.

    Two lesbian couples and one gay couple had applied at various times between 2009 and 2013 for marriage licenses in Russia. All three couples were denied, with courts citing the Russian constitution as well as various family law statutes as prohibiting all forms of same-sex unions.

  • 14. VIRick  |  January 17, 2023 at 8:05 pm

    Albania: Lesbian Couple Seeking Parental Recognition of Twins at the ECHR

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 13 January 2023, a lesbian couple in Albania began the long legal battle to be recognized as the parents of their twin children. They expect to fight all the way to the European Court of Human Rights because, even now, Edlira Mara and Alba Ahmetaj know that their case will end up there in Strasbourg, as the odds are totally stacked against them in Albania.

    Ever since Mara, 42, gave birth to twin girls almost two years ago, the couple has been fighting in the courts in Albania to register the children under both Mara and Ahmetaj's names as being the parents. But since they are both women, this is impossible under current Albanian law.

  • 15. VIRick  |  January 19, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    Netherlands: Constitutional Amendment Bans Anti-Gay Discrimination

    On 18 January 2023, the Upper House of the States General of the Netherlands, the supreme bicameral legislature of the kingdom, voted to amend Article 1 of the Constitution of the Netherlands, expanding it to prohibit discrimination against someone because of a disability or because of their sexual orientation.

    In a 56­–15 vote in the Dutch Senate, the proposal for amendment passed and is now headed to King Willem-Alexander for his royal assent and that of the Dutch government. Once approved, it will be published in the Staatscourant, the official government publication that formally announces new laws in the kingdom.

    Dutch media outlet "NL Times" noted that Article 1 states that everyone in the Netherlands “shall be treated equally in equal circumstances.” The following sentence then goes on to explicitly mention several examples, including “religion, belief, political opinion, race, or sex.” That list will now be expanded to include "disability and sexual orientation."

    The procedure for such an adjustment takes years because it has to be voted upon several times. With the Senate’s recent vote, that process has now been completed.

    As of 2020, there were 11 other nations with similar constitutional bans against LGBT discrimination: Sweden, Portugal, Malta, San Marino, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, Nepal, Fiji, and South Africa.

  • 16. VIRick  |  January 19, 2023 at 5:42 pm

    Durango: Federal Circuit Court Rules in Favor of Gender Identity

    Per "México Igualitario:"

    On 9 December 2022, in a stunning court ruling, the first of its kind in Mexico, the First Collegiate Tribunal of the 25th Circuit, based in Durango, resolved "Amparo en Revisión 127/2020" in favor of México Igualitario so that trans persons who they accompany can request the recognition of their gender identity from the State Civil Registry without the need of presenting an amparo.

    As of today, 19 January 2023, said court ruling in favor of self-declared gender identity, without amparo, has gone into effect statewide in Durango.

    Per "México Igualitario:"

    Nosotros continuaremos acompañando de forma gratuita a todas las personas que hayan sido registradas en Durango para que puedan tener acceso a su derecho, en lo que las autoridades deciden atender sus obligaciones.

    We will continue to accompany all persons who have been registered in Durango free of charge so that they can have access to their right, while the authorities decide what to do to attend to their obligations.

    This latter comment is a snide reference to the fact that, to date, the Durango state Congress has not lifted a finger to pass gender identity legislation, nor has the Durango state Executive bothered to issue any executive decree pertaining to the same subject. Instead, Alex Ali Diaz Méndez (of México Igualitario), by federal circuit court order, will accompany all those who wish so as to ensure their rights.

    Alex is truly amazing, literally being granted by the federal circuit court the right to take the law into his own hands to ensure that Supreme Court jurisprudence is followed.

  • 17. VIRick  |  January 20, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    Guerrero: First Equal Marriage under New Marriage Equality Law

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    El 14 de enero 2023, Alex Abarca y Francisco Zúñiga se casaron en Acapulco, convirtiéndose en la primera pareja en unirse en matrimonio igualitario tras la aprobación de la reforma en el estado de Guerrero. Llevaban 40 años como pareja, desde que decidieron unir sus vidas viviendo juntos.

    On 14 January 2023, Alex Abarca and Francisco Zúñiga were married in Acapulco, becoming the first couple to unite in an equal marriage after the approval of the reform in Guerrero state. They have been a couple for 40 years, ever since they decided to unite their lives by living together.

  • 18. VIRick  |  January 20, 2023 at 5:55 pm

    Taiwan: All Bi-National Same-Sex Marriages Now Permitted, Except for Mainland China

    On 19 January 2023, in a sudden policy reversal that is effective immediately, the government of Taiwan said it would allow same-sex couples with one Taiwanese and one foreign national to register their marriage even if the foreign partner is from a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex unions. In a directive to all local governments, the Ministry of the Interior said the previous practice that excluded such couples discriminated against them and contradicted the law on which same-sex marriage is based.

    However, one exception will remain, as mainland China is still excluded because cross-strait marriages are governed by separate laws that stipulate that such couples must first register their marriage in China before they can apply in Taiwan.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  January 22, 2023 at 1:43 am

    And since China doesn't permit or recognize SSM…. :O

  • 20. Randolph_Finder  |  January 22, 2023 at 6:19 am

    Sort of reminds me of Israel or India. There are categories of Marriage far more significant than whether the participants are the same sex or not.

  • 21. VIRick  |  January 22, 2023 at 7:25 pm

    Hot from Brasil! Everyone's Favorite Congressman

    Say hello to Kitara Ravache from Niterói:

    After this CNN news article was written, George Santos, or Anthony Devolder, or whatever his actual name(s) might happen to be, has admitted that he is also the Kitara Ravache in said photo, but with the caveat that he is NOT a Drag Queen. Of course not. He lost the beauty contest at Praia de Icaraí and was not crowned as the Queen!

  • 22. Fortguy  |  January 22, 2023 at 8:56 pm

    Good, or else the local library would have the worst drag queen story hour ever.

  • 23. VIRick  |  January 23, 2023 at 7:36 am

    . . . but a fact that opens him up to the worst bi-lingual pun(-ish-ment) ever.

    So, if he's not a Drag Queen, then he must be a "Travestí." Especially in Brasil, where the term is widely used, a "travestí" (transvestite) is someone, especially a man, who enjoys dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex.

    And, of course, "travestí," when pronounced, sounds exactly like "travesty" in English (but with the emphasis on the third syllable). To say the very least, "travesty" accurately summarizes every aspect of this entire mess.

    Furthermore, one should never confuse the trampish Euro-centric "travestís" of Brasil with the Indigenous cultural inheritance displayed by the Inca "transformistas" of Bolivia or by the third-gender Zapoteca "Muxes" of Oaxaca.

  • 24. ianbirmingham  |  January 23, 2023 at 10:00 am

    We are now at 202 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this session and we are not even through January. Nearly all of them directly target trans people.

    Click the link below for a USA map & spreadsheet documenting all of these

  • 25. VIRick  |  January 23, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    Washington State: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds "Conversion Therapy" Ban

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 23 January 2023, in "Tingley v. Ferguson," the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the en banc review of a licensed counselor's challenge to Washington State's prohibition on "conversion therapy" for minors, thus leaving in place the earlier panel decision upholding the district court's ruling in favor of the state.

    The Order is here:

  • 26. ianbirmingham  |  January 23, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    How the ACLU Tracks Anti-LGBTQ Bills, and How We’re Fighting Back

    The ACLU has launched a nationwide tracking system to publicly document and categorize anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures, and guide users to learn more about efforts to protect LGBTQ people and the right to safe, inclusive schools and communities.

    The goal of this page is to help advocates, organizers, and allies take action against these bills while also revealing these proposals for what they are: a coordinated and political attack on LGBTQ people nationwide.

    Our legal and advocacy team uses a bill-tracking service and works with ACLU affiliates and local organizations across the country to monitor state legislatures for bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ people. Each bill is reviewed by legal staff at the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project before being categorized on this site.

    You can use our tracking system to see what’s happening in your state, and sign this legislative action petition to stay up to date on state legislative attacks on trans rights, reproductive freedom, and more.

  • 27. VIRick  |  January 25, 2023 at 6:25 am

    Virginia: Senate Passes Marriage Equality Affirmation Bill

    On 24 January 2023, the Virginia Senate approved a bill that would affirm marriage equality in state law. Senate Bill 1096, sponsored by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (Alexandria-D), passed by a 25-12-3 vote margin.

    “My bill ensuring that Virginians have the right to marry who they love regardless of their sex, has passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote,” tweeted the openly gay Senator.

    SB 1096 now goes to the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates.

  • 28. VIRick  |  January 25, 2023 at 9:05 am

    How George Santos Learned to Sashay in 4-Inch Heels Before Losing Miss Gay Rio de Janeiro Drag Queen Pageant

    Per "Footwear News:"

    Eula Rochard said George Santos’ introduction to drag began at her house in Niterói, a suburb north of Rio de Janeiro where the GOP congressman used to live with his mother in 2005. Santos was then known as Anthony Devolder — or Kitara Ravache in drag.

    “He was an extremely delusional gay boy, completely broke,” she recalls. During this time, Santos would reportedly wear dresses, wigs, lashes, and over-the-top makeup to party with his friends. “He never performed as a drag queen, not on a professional level, simply because he wasn’t good enough. But he would go out in full drag.” Rochard questions his taste in fashion but gives him credit for his catwalk. “He was great in heels. He sashayed really well, but he could only handle 4-inch heels. More than that was too much for him,” she said.

    Niterói is the capital of Rio de Janeiro state, while the city of Rio de Janeiro itself is the capital of Guanabara state. Guanabara state conforms to the boundaries of the old Federal District (before its being moved to Brasilia), while Rio de Janeiro state comprises the area surrounding it. Both cities are located on opposite sides of Guanabara Bay.

  • 29. VIRick  |  January 25, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    New York State Assembly Passes Expanded Equal Protection Constitutional Amendment

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 24 January 2023, the New York State Assembly passed the constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights and ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The measure will now go before the voters in 2024, and does not need the governor's signature.

    The New York Constitution currently bans discrimination based on “race, color, creed or religion.” The amendment would expand that list to include ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and “reproductive healthcare and autonomy.”

  • 30. VIRick  |  January 25, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    Mexico: Social Security Law Recognizes Same-Sex Marriages for Benefits

    Per CNDH en Mexico:

    Celebramos la publicación del 20 de enero 2023 del Decreto que reforma la Ley del IMSS e ISSSTE a fin de reconocer las uniones civiles de parejas del mismo sexo.

    We celebrate the publication on 20 January 2023 of the Decree that reforms the IMSS and ISSSTE Law to finally recognize the civil unions of same-sex couples.

    Mexico has two social security systems, one for state workers and one for everyone else.

  • 31. ianbirmingham  |  January 25, 2023 at 8:17 pm

    US Senate 2024: 23 Ds are up for reelection — and just 11 Rs.

    After last year's midterm fail, Republicans are licking their chops at an enviable outlook for snatching the Senate majority in '24.

    West Virginia: This is the GOP's best pickup opportunity, since it's the second-most Trump-friendly state on the map.

    Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat who can win in this red state — but he's no guarantee to run for a third term.

    Popular Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.), a former Democrat, is strongly considering a run. He'd be the toughest GOP opponent Manchin faced in his long political career.

    Ohio: Ohio, a one-time battleground, is fast becoming Republican turf, with the GOP scoring a clean sweep in last year's midterms. But Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has an enviable brand as a labor-friendly Democrat who has won over blue-collar voters that drifted to Trump.

    He has already announced he's all-in for a tough campaign.

    Republicans expect a crowded primary to challenge him.

    Montana: The GOP's ability to pick up the seat held by Sen. Jon Tester (D) comes down to candidate recruitment — and whether the popular red-state senator runs for re-election.

    Republicans are worried that two prospective challengers have serious political baggage: Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) lost to Tester in 2018, and hails from the hard-right wing of the House GOP caucus. Rep. Ryan Zinke resigned as Interior Secretary amid ethics investigations.

    Arizona: Democrats fear that a potential three-way race, with Democratic voters split between Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), could hand the seat to Republicans.

    Most of the rumored GOP candidates hail from the MAGA wing of the party — including losing 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

  • 32. VIRick  |  January 26, 2023 at 3:33 pm


    A so-called "Christian" baker who has spent years fighting for the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people has lost his appeal in his latest case about his refusal to make a cake for someone celebrating their gender transition.

    In 2021, a Colorado state judge in Denver ruled that Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop illegally discriminated against Autumn Scardina when he refused to make her a birthday cake because she is transgender, arguing that baking the cake would violate his religious beliefs.

    The Colorado Court of Appeals announced its decision that the cake is not a form of speech and that Phillips’s refusal to serve someone because she’s trans violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. The court stated: “We conclude that creating a pink cake with blue frosting is not inherently expressive and any message or symbolism it provides to an observer would not be attributed to the baker.”

    Scardina said that Phillips was fine with her order when she requested it in June 2017, that is, until she mentioned that she is transgender and the meaning that the colors have for her. Phillips allegedly told her that he “did not make cakes for ‘sex changes.’”

    She filed a discrimination complaint and later sued Masterpiece Cakeshop.

    In 2021, Phillips said that the cake would celebrate “somebody who thinks that they can” live differently than the sex they were assigned at birth. But the Denver judge disagreed. Phillips was fine with making the cake and selling it to Scardina before he knew she was trans, but changed his mind when he found out, showing that his issue was with her identity and not the product itself. If a cake that’s blue on the outside and pink on the inside is an act of speech, it should not have mattered that Scardina is trans.

  • 33. VIRick  |  January 26, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    Philippines: Quezon City to Hold 2nd Annual LGBT Commitment Ceremony

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In February 2023, the Quezon City government, officiated by the mayor, Joy Belmonte, will be sponsoring its second annual commitment ceremony for LGBT couples. Quezon City residents interested in taking part in the ceremony may register in their respective districts’ action offices or “mini city halls."

    To date, Quezon City, the official national capital of the Philippines between 1949-76 and immediately adjacent to Manila to the northeast, is the only city in the country to host such an event. Quezon City is a modern planned city with a population of 3 million, making it the most populous city in the Philippines.

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  January 26, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    FDA will ease ban on monogamous gay and bisexual men donating blood

    Men who had sex with another man (MSM) in the past three months, or women who had sex with one of those men, are not allowed to donate blood under current rules. This is because those men were struck hardest by America's AIDS outbreak decades ago.

    These rules have widely been panned as homophobic by critics. The UK and Canada lifted similar bans in recent years.

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  January 27, 2023 at 8:34 am

    FDA proposes new guidelines for blood donations

    In response to a blood donor shortage during the Covid pandemic, the FDA further eased restrictions in April 2020 to allow gay and bisexual men who had not had sex in the past three months to donate.

    Under the guidelines proposed on Friday, gay and bisexual men who are in monogamous relationships would be allowed to donate blood. But individuals, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, who have recently had anal sex with a new or multiple partners would have to wait three months before donating.

    The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, said the FDA proposal is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to to remove restrictions.

    “We urge the Biden administration to prioritize removing remaining barriers and ask the FDA to move expeditiously while ensuring the safety of the blood supply and a blood donation policy in-line with the science,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson in a statement.

    People who are taking oral medications to prevent HIV infection would not be allowed to donate blood for the three months following their most recent dose. Those taking injections to prevent HIV would not be allowed to donate blood for two years following their most recent injection.

    These medications, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, can result in false negatives on HIV tests, according to the FDA.

    Under the proposed FDA policy, anyone who has tested positive for HIV or taken medicine to treat an HIV infection would be banned from donating blood. People who have engaged in sex work or used illicit intravenous drugs recently would have to wait three months to donate.

    Blood banks would still be required to test all donations for HIV as well hepatitis C and B, according to FDA.

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