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3/23 open thread


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

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  • 1. VIRick  |  March 23, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Bolivia: Marriage Between Same-Sex Couples Legalized (as Free Unions)

    Per Go Communication Bolivia:

    En Bolivia, la Sala Segunda del Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional (TCP) publicó la Sentencia Constitucional Nº 0577, que legaliza el matrimonio (como unión libre) entre personas del mismo sexo

    In Bolivia, the Second Chamber of the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (TCP) has published Constitutional Ruling No. 0577, one that legalizes marriage (as free unions) between same-sex couples.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  March 23, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    I'm amazed this hasn't yet seemed to be picked up by media outlets in the United States.

  • 3. VIRick  |  March 24, 2023 at 8:47 am

    So far, everything I have seen has been limited to the Spanish-language news media.

    Per Adrián Urrutia de Argentina:

    Bolivia le dijo SÍ al matrimonio igualitario. Felicitamos a nuestros compañeros de la red gay latino del hermano pais por este paso adelante en la ampliación de derechos.

    Bolivia said YES to marriage equality. We congratulate our colleagues from the gay Latin network of the neighboring country for this step forward in increasing rights.

  • 4. Randolph_Finder  |  March 27, 2023 at 8:43 am

    I found… , but at least when I translate it into English, it appears *quite* clear that Marriage Equality isn't there yet.

  • 5. VIRick  |  March 23, 2023 at 4:31 pm

    Arkansas: Huckabee Sanders Signs Trans Bathroom Ban Into Law

    Arkansas Republicans have proposed and passed some of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ legislation in the country, with the state’s governor enacting a transgender bathroom bill into law on 21 March 2023, while being unapologetic about the government-enforced bigotry.

    Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the bill that bars transgender people from using multiple-person restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity in public and charter schools within the state. The new Arkansas law will go into effect 90 days after this year’s session concludes, which isn’t expected until April.

    Arkansas is the fourth GOP-led state to institute such a restriction on access to restroom facilities. Oklahoma and Tennessee restrictions have been challenged in lawsuits, while Idaho and Iowa bills are awaiting signatures from their governors. However, similar regulations have already been passed in Alabama. Bathroom bans are resurfacing again, six years after North Carolina repealed its widely criticized bathroom law, one which was boycotted and heavily protested, causing the state to lose millions of dollars in lost revenue and investment.….

  • 6. Fortguy  |  March 23, 2023 at 10:22 pm

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders really needs to spend a long time facing her bathroom mirror in self-reflection. To most observers, her own gender presentation is quite ambiguous.

  • 7. VIRick  |  March 23, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    Utah: Governor Signs "Conversion Therapy" Ban Into Law

    On 22 March 2023, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill into law that bars licensed professionals in the state from subjecting minors to so-called "conversion therapy," designed to turn LGBTQ people straight and/or cisgender.

    In 2020, the state’s Division of Professional Licensing imposed rules against subjecting minors to the discredited practice, which has been denounced as unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful by major medical and mental health organizations. The law will make the ban on the practice stronger. Violation would be considered unprofessional conduct, which would come with a punishment of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. Both chambers of the legislature approved the measure unanimously.….

  • 8. Randolph_Finder  |  March 25, 2023 at 11:32 am

    LDS Family Services has been *greatly* reduced over the last few years. As far as I can tell, they got out of the adoption business (yes, they probably could legally still restrict to heterosexual couples, but apparently the church decided it wasn't worth it) and my *guess* is that if it passed in Utah, then the Church has already told LDSFS to stop being involved in it.

  • 9. VIRick  |  March 23, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    Iowa: Governor Signs Transphobic Gender-Affirming Care Ban and Bathroom Bill

    Iowa has joined the growing list of states banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth. On 22 March 2023, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill into law that prohibits the provision of gender-affirming surgeries, puberty blockers, and hormone treatment to trans minors.

    She also signed a bill that bars trans students in public schools from using the restrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity, and requires them to obtain parental consent before seeking other accommodations, such as single-user restrooms.

    Both measures take effect immediately. Iowans under 18 who are already on hormones or puberty blockers will have six months to taper off, and doctors will have that period to cease providing gender-affirming care. Violations will bring discipline by licensing boards, and patients and their parents or guardians can sue providers.

    Doctors can still refer patients to out-of-state providers for the care. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently signed an executive order protecting gender-affirming care, while another neighboring state, Illinois, is unlikely to enact such a ban.

  • 10. VIRick  |  March 23, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Healthcare Ban Targeting Trans and Non-Binary Youth

    On 23 March 2023, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a ban on guideline-directed gender-affirming healthcare for transgender and non-binary youth that was passed earlier this week by the GOP-controlled state legislature. The law threatens to revoke the medical licenses of physicians who administer treatments for gender dysphoria in minor patients that are overwhelmingly considered safe, effective, and medically necessary by every scientific and medical society with relevant clinical expertise.

    A previous version of SB 140 applied exclusively to surgical interventions, but the version signed into la also prohibits hormone replacement therapies, although treatment with puberty blockers is still allowed.

    Additionally, there are “limited exceptions” carved out for cases where patients are treated for conditions other than gender dysphoria, including those diagnosed with “a medically verifiable disorder of sex development,” provided the physician can attest they are medically necessary. These provisions were kept intact in the bill’s final iteration, which contains additional exceptions for the treatment of partial androgen insensitivity syndrome and in circumstances where the minor patient was being treated with hormone replacement therapies prior to 1 July 2023.

  • 11. VIRick  |  March 23, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    Florida: Families with Trans Kids Sue State over Trans Youth Healthcare Ban

    A lawsuit on behalf of four families with transgender children was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, challenging the state’s Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine’s ban on gender affirming healthcare for minors.

    The legal groups representing the four families, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Legal Counsel, Inc. (SLC) noted in the suit that the bans contradict guidelines established through years of clinical research and recommended by every major medical association including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

    The lawsuit also spells out that the policies unlawfully strips parents of the right to make informed decisions about their children’s medical treatment and violates the equal protection rights of transgender youth by denying them medically necessary, doctor-recommended healthcare to treat their gender dysphoria.

  • 12. VIRick  |  March 23, 2023 at 7:22 pm

    Sri Lanka: Bill to Decriminalize Homosexuality Introduced, Gazetted

    Per Sajini Wickramasinghe:

    The Bill to decriminalize homosexuality in Sri Lanka is gazetted. It is high time Sri Lanka gets rid of such archaic Victorian laws and ensures equal rights for all.

    The pertinent Penal Code amendments to Sections 365 and 365A to decriminalize homosexuality are attached to the tweet cited above.

  • 13. VIRick  |  March 24, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Kentucky: Governor Vetoes Anti-Trans, Anti-Gay Bill that Limits Healthcare, Bathroom Use, Classroom Discussion of LGBT Issues

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 24 March 2023, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) issued an election-year veto of a sweeping Republican bill aimed at regulating the lives of transgender youths that includes banning access to gender-affirming healthcare and restricting the school bathrooms they can use.

    The bill also bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and allows teachers to refuse to refer to transgender students by the pronouns they use. It easily passed the GOP-dominated legislature with veto-proof margins, and lawmakers will reconvene next week for the final two days of this year’s session, when they could vote to override the veto.

    Gov. Andy Beshear said in a written veto message that the bill allows “too much government interference in personal healthcare issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children.”

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    Idaho Republicans Call Free Tampons In Schools Too ‘Woke’ — And Block Them

    An Idaho bill aimed at providing students with free feminine hygiene products in school failed on Monday after Republicans slammed the prospect as “woke” and “liberal.” Ten of the nay votes came from conservative women on the floor.

    Twenty-three percent of U.S. students have limited access to menstrual products, according to a 2021 survey by Thinx and PERIOD. Yet, as of last October, just 15 states and Washington, D.C., had passed legislation securing students’ free access to menstrual products in schools, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies.

    State Rep. Barbara Ehardt said the phrases “period poverty” and “menstrual equity” used to discuss the bill were “woke terms.”

    “Period poverty” refers to the idea that some people, particularly low-income students and students of color, can have trouble accessing the menstrual products they need because they can’t afford them. Factors like sales taxes can make it even harder to obtain these necessary products, the American Civil Liberties Union notes. “Menstrual equity,” meanwhile, refers to the goal of making sure that anyone who needs access to menstrual products can access them.

    “It’s so shocking,” Avrey Hendrix, the founder of the Idaho Period Project, told The Daily Beast of female lawmakers denying free menstrual products to others, “because they know what it’s like to go into the bathroom and not have a tampon.”

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    Tallahassee charter school principal forced to resign after parents complained about a sixth grade art history lesson, claiming Michelangelo's statue of David, arguably the most famous sculpture in the world, was 'pornographic'

    The sculpture was among artworks being studied in a Renaissance art class for students aged 11 and 12. Created between 1501 and 1504, it is widely considered to be the world's greatest sculpture.

    School board president Barney Bishop admitted giving Tallahassee Classical School Principal Hope Carrasquilla an ultimatum, telling her she had to either hand in her resignation or would be fired.

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    A Utah school district is considering banning students from reading the Bible after a complaint was made about the holy book containing 'inappropriate and pornographic' content

    While it is not clear exactly which passages the complainant flagged up, there are several mentions of violence throughout the Holy Bible.

    Some have previously said a section in the text from Deuteronomy 25:11 is violent, with the message reading: 'If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her.'

    Another is in Luke 10:30 where Jesus says: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.'

  • 17. VIRick  |  March 25, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Who knew???? The Bible approvingly features donkey dicks and horse dicks???

    Still, in addition to the Songs of Solomon, do not forget the gayest passages in the Bible, Acts 16: 1-5, wherein which Paul personally takes the uncircumcised Timothy and circumcises him so as to be with him among the "inner circle."

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    Republican senators could be stuck in the minority 'for the rest of the decade' if GOP doesn't flip chamber in 2024

    In an appearance on the conservative "Ruthless" podcast, Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana said that it was crucial for Republicans to win Senate elections next year in Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia, which he described as "red states" with Democratic senators.

    He noted that there were no "red states" with Democratic senators up for re-election in 2026 or 2028, making this year a particularly ripe opportunity for the party.

    "We either deliver a majority in '24, or we are in the minority as Republican Senate for the rest of the decade," said Daines. "That has profound consequences."

    In 2024, a series of Democratic senators — including Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — are facing re-election in states that former President Donald Trump won handily in 2016 and 2020.

    "It is a generational moment," Daines later added.

    In addition to those states, the GOP has potential pick-up opportunities in swing states like Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Democrats currently hold a 51-49 majority, meaning Republicans must pick up at least 2 seats to regain the majority.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    DeSantis shuts down Orlando high school's 'Drag & Donuts' event featuring drag queen 'Momma' Ashley Rose

    The event, originally scheduled to take place at Boone High School in Orlando, Florida, was set to feature drag queen "Momma" Ashley Rose," according to a flyer from the school’s Queer and Ally Alliance Club.

    The Rose Dynasty Foundation holds a "family friendly, charity based drag queen pageant" called the "Miss Rose Dynasty" annually, according to the organization's website.

    A spokesperson for Orange County Public Schools told Fox News Digital that the event was "not a drag show."

    "The event Donuts & Drag was not a drag show, but an opportunity for the students to hear a positive message of acceptance and love. This was to be the third year the speaker has addressed this club. As a result of a call from the Florida Department of Education yesterday, the event has been canceled. The Department questioned whether the event was age and developmentally appropriate and indicated any administrator, teacher, or staff member in attendance may be investigated and jeopardize their professional license."

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  March 24, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    US Congressman: Let's replace all public libraries with church-owned taxpayer-funded libraries

    “Over time, American communities will build beautiful, church owned public-access libraries. I’m going to help these churches get funding. We will change the whole public library paradigm. The libraries regular Americans recall are gone. They’ve become liberal grooming centers.” — Tweeted by Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana (3rd District)

  • 21. VIRick  |  March 25, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    Minnesota to Become Trans Refuge State

    A bill to turn Minnesota into a sort of refuge state for transgender youths passed the state House in the early hours of Friday morning, 24 March 2023, bucking the trend of states clamping down on transgender rights. Democrats have a trifecta in Minnesota, controlling the state House, the Senate and the Governor’s office, making full passage likely.

    To all those families across the United States who are afraid and wondering where they can go for help, Minnesota is saying, "We see you, we love you, and you belong here,” said state Rep. Leigh Finke (D). Finke is transgender herself.

    Gov. Tim Walz already signed an executive order earlier this month preserving the right of LGBTQ people in the state to receive gender-affirming healthcare.

  • 22. scream4ever  |  March 25, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    Seriously the best thing my state will have done for LGBTQ people since passing same-sex marriage ten years ago.

  • 23. VIRick  |  March 25, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    CIDH Issues Reminder: Marriage Equality Ruling Is Binding on All Member States

    Per Canal 26 de Argentina:

    La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) instó a los países de América Latina a que autoricen el matrimonio igualitario en aquellas naciones donde todavía no lo está.

    The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) urged the countries of Latin America to authorize marriage equality in all those nations that still do not yet have it.

  • 24. scream4ever  |  March 26, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    What countries are left that still haven't legalized?

  • 25. VIRick  |  March 26, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    As member states to the CIDH, these are the12 nations that must still act:

    Perú, Venezuela, Paraguay, Suriname, Panamá, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Barbados.

    The remaining 9 member states to the CIDH all have marriage equality. That number includes all 4 of the "Big 4" in terms of population: Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, and Mexico. So, too, does Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Bolivia. All together, these 9 nations represent well over 80% of Latin America's population. In addition, a 10th non-member nation, Cuba, also has marriage equality, as does the USA, which includes Puerto Rico.

    However, we have begun to run into some difficulty, as the highest courts in Perú, Suriname, and Panamá have all recently ruled against marriage equality. The latter ruling, in particular, is what has provoked the CIDH to re-issue its strong reminder. On the other hand, the highest court in Bolivia has just ratified the lower court ruling in favor of marriage equality (but as "free unions" for same-sex and other gender non-conforming couples).

  • 26. VIRick  |  March 26, 2023 at 8:17 am

    New Mexico: LGBTQ Protections Added to State Human Rights Act

    On 24 March 2023, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 207 into law, one that expands protections for LGBTQ New Mexicans under the state’s Human Rights Act.

    On the same date, for transgender residents, Grisham also signed House Bill 31, a measure that removes the requirement that name changes be published in a newspaper. HB 31 also allows people 14 and older to petition a district court for a name change, and prohibits the court from requiring notice to the applicants’ parents if it finds notice would jeopardize the applicant’s safety.

    On 16 March, Grisham also signed into law House Bill 7, the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act, one which prohibits public bodies, including local municipalities, from denying, restricting, or discriminating against an individual’s right to use or refuse reproductive health care or health care related to gender.

  • 27. ianbirmingham  |  March 27, 2023 at 10:17 am

    Workers from a range of sectors in Israel launched a nationwide strike on Monday, threatening to paralyse the economy as they joined a surging protest movement against Netanyahu's plan to overhaul the judiciary

    Departing flights from the country's main international hub, Ben Gurion Airport, were grounded, large mall chains and universities shut their doors, and Israel's largest trade union group called for its 800,000 members – in health, transit, banking and other fields – to stop work.

    Local governments were expected to close the preschools they run and cut other services, and the main doctors union announced its members would also walk off the job.

    The growing resistance to Netanyahu's plan came hours after tens of thousands of people burst into the streets around the country in a spontaneous show of anger at the prime minister's decision to fire his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, after he called for a pause to the overhaul.

    Chanting 'the country is on fire,' they lit bonfires on Tel Aviv's main highway, closing the thoroughfare and many others throughout the country for hours.

    Thousands of protesters gathered Monday outside the Knesset parliament building to keep up the pressure.

    The plan to hand more control to politicians and diminish the role of the Supreme Court has ignited months of protests and sparked concern from Israel's top allies, including the United States.

    The overhaul – driven by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, and his allies in Israel's most right-wing government ever – has plunged Israel into one of its worst domestic crises. Protest signs included "CRIMINALS WILL NOT APPOINT JUDGES!!!"

    It has sparked sustained protests that have galvanised nearly all sectors of society, including its military, where reservists have increasingly come out publicly to say they will not serve a country veering toward autocracy.

  • 28. ianbirmingham  |  March 27, 2023 at 10:20 am

    Israelis Zoom to Utah in search of civil marriage

    Since civil marriage does not exist in Israel, mixed-faith couples and people who do not want a religious marriage are now opting for online weddings performed in the US state of Utah.

    Israel’s High Court rejected an appeal by the state against allowing civil marriages performed online in the US state of Utah to be registered in Israel. The March 7 ruling opened the way for civil marriages via Zoom.

    The non-religious option also provides a solution for hundreds of thousands of Israelis, mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union, whose Jewish descent is not recognized by rabbinical authorities.

    Its popularity explains the intense efforts over the years by the religious parties and rabbinical authorities to invalidate it. But they could get their way after all if the current right-wing, religious government is successful in pushing through its judicial overhaul designed to weaken the country’s top court.

    Under the proposed laws, a Knesset majority could override High Court rulings, thus invalidating the civilian wedding avenue, whether via Zoom or travel abroad. Judging by the response of Shas Knesset member Moshe Arbel, that seems likely. In a statement, Arbel described the ruling as “meddling” in political affairs, arguing that it proved the necessity of the proposed judicial reform limiting the court’s purview.

    “The recognition … of civil marriages performed on the Zoom app is a sad joke at the expense of all citizens of Israel — religious, traditional and secular alike — and expresses more than anything a desire to promote the values of the 'State of All its Citizens' and erase the Jewish identity of the state,” said Arbel.

  • 29. VIRick  |  March 27, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Idaho: Governor Signs Anti-Trans "Bathroom" Bill into Law

    Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed an anti-transgender “bathroom" bill into law on 23 March 2023, along with a bill that could force school personnel to out LGBTQ students to parents.

    Senate Bill 100 bars trans students in public schools from using multi-occupancy restrooms, changing rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. Every such facility is to be designated for “male persons only or female persons only.” Anyone who encounters a person of what the bill calls the “opposite sex” in one of these facilities can sue the school district and, if successful, receive $5,000 for each instance.

    Little also signed House Bill 163, a “parents’ rights” measure that requires public schools to notify parents or guardians of any changes in students’ mental health. It could lead to outing of LGBTQ students, the Human Rights Campaign notes.

  • 30. ianbirmingham  |  March 29, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    Caitlin Berg infiltrates right-wing dating app, IDs Trumpanzee fugitives, informs FBI

    Caitlin Berg, an ostensibly liberal woman on TikTok, said she ran a scam where she played a 'yeehaw'd version' of herself to get an invitation to use the app.

    She said the goal was to talk to some of her Republican suitors about sex in an attempt to 'scare them.'

    Berg discovered something a little more nefarious: ''There were so many men on that app who were at January 6 and had pictures of it that I started screenshotting their profiles, matching, asking their last name, and then sending their information to the FBI,' she said, in the end having reported '7 or 8 guys.'

    Berg described the men on The Right Stuff as 'rodents from the depths of hell,' citing their answers to various prompts.

    Eventually, she connected with men who had said in their profiles that they'd been at the Capitol on January 6 and she asked them for an Instagram or LinkedIn account to prove they were real.

    When they acquiesced, Berg screenshotted their entire profile, unmatched with them and gave their information to the FBI.

  • 31. VIRick  |  March 29, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    West Virginia: Governor Signs Bill Banning Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

    On 29 March 2023, West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors, joining at least 13 other states that have enacted laws restricting or outlawing medically supported treatments for transgender youth.

    The bill outlaws those under 18 from being prescribed hormone therapy and fully reversible puberty blockers. It also bans minors from receiving gender-affirming surgery, something physicians say doesn’t even happen in West Virginia.

    Unlike measures passed in other states, however, West Virginia’s law contains a unique exemption: It permits doctors to prescribe medical therapy if a teenager is considered at risk for self-harm or suicide. Under the new law, which will take effect in January 2024, a patient can be prescribed puberty blockers and hormone therapy after receiving parental consent and a diagnosis of severe gender dysphoria from two doctors, including a mental health provider.

    At least 14 states have now enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, South Dakota, and now, West Virginia. Similar bills are headed to the governor's desk for their signatures in both Indiana and Montana, while yet a third such bill is in process in South Carolina.

  • 32. VIRick  |  March 29, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    Kentucky: Republicans Override Veto of Transgender Healthcare Ban/Bathroom Bill

    On 29 March 2023, Republican lawmakers in Kentucky swept aside the Democratic governor’s veto of a bill regulating some of the most personal aspects of life for transgender young people — from banning access to gender-affirming healthcare to restricting the bathrooms they can use.

    The votes to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto were lopsided in both legislative chambers — where the GOP wields super-majorities — and came on the next-to-last day of this year’s legislative session. The Senate voted 29-8 to override Beshear’s veto. A short time later, the House completed the override on a vote of 76-23.

  • 33. VIRick  |  March 30, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    North Dakota: Governor Vetoes Anti-Transgender Parent Notification Bill

    North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) vetoed a bill that would have barred school districts from adopting any transgender-inclusive policies without first notifying parents. The state’s Republican-led legislature may not have enough votes to override Burgum’s veto.

    S.B. 2231 would have forbidden any school from accommodating trans students in any way, including not allowing them to use facilities and pronouns matching their gender identities, without first notifying and receiving permission from the students’ families.

  • 34. VIRick  |  March 30, 2023 at 7:24 pm

    Trump Was Criminally Indicted on 30 March 2023 by Manhattan Grand Jury on 34 Counts

    Next events: surrender, arrest, fingerprints, mug shots.

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  March 31, 2023 at 5:31 pm

    No more gilded cages or golden toilets for the Orange Trumpanzee

  • 36. VIRick  |  March 31, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    Maryland: Last of the State's Sodomy Bans Repealed

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 31 March 2023, the bill to repeal the state's last remaining sodomy law banning oral sex, HB0131/SB0054, passed its final readings in both the state House and Senate, and was sent to the Governor for approval. The new law will take effect from 1 October 2023.

    Next: Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Michigan are all quite likely to soon repeal their own defunct sodomy bans. At that point, there will still be 10 states with unenforceable sodomy bans still on the books: Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

  • 37. Randolph_Finder  |  April 1, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    As a Marylander, I (and most of the Political Establishment) would be completely shocked if Governor Moore didn't sign it. His campaign had an active reach out to the LGBTQ and frankly he could have simply said "I support the LGBTQ Marylanders right to *exist*" and that would have made him more LGBTQ friendly that his Republican opponent Cox. The repeal was proposed in the last session (this time of year in 2021), but frankly COVID-19 did more to block it than the Republicans did.

  • 38. ianbirmingham  |  April 1, 2023 at 10:15 am

    Gay and Orthodox: Book charts the rise of a once unthinkable dual identity in Israel

  • 39. ianbirmingham  |  April 2, 2023 at 5:52 am

    Federal judge blocks Tennessee law restricting drag shows

    A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked Tennessee's first-in-the-nation law placing strict limits on drag shows just hours before it was set to go into effect, siding with a group that filed a lawsuit claiming the statute violates the First Amendment.

    U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker wrote that the state has failed to make a compelling argument as to why Tennessee needed the new law, adding that the court also agrees the statute is likely vague and overly broad.

    Parker also listed concerns aligning with the group's argument that the law was overly broad, questioning the location specifications of a cabaret entertainment venue that might be viewed by a minor.

    "Does a citizen's private residence count? How about a camping ground at a national park?" Parker wrote. "Ultimately, the Statute's broad language clashes with the First Amendment's tight constraints."

  • 40. ianbirmingham  |  April 2, 2023 at 6:07 am

    FBI: Member of pro-Nazi group used Molotov cocktails in attempt to burn down Ohio church planning to host a drag event

    Aimenn D. Penny, 20, of Alliance, Ohio, has been charged in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland with one count of malicious use of explosive materials and one count of possessing a destructive device, according to a criminal complaint.

    Authorities claim Penny used "Molotov cocktails against the Community Church of Chesterland in Chesterland, Ohio, in an attempt to burn the church to the ground," the Department of Justice said in a news release.

    "As alleged in the charging documents, the defendant used an explosive device to cause harm to a church he found objectionable," Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said in the release. "It is the solemn duty of the Department of Justice to safeguard the right of all Americans to free expression, and I commend the work of law enforcement in this matter."

  • 41. ianbirmingham  |  April 3, 2023 at 2:57 pm

    In Morocco, YouTube is one tool to attack LGBTQ, vulnerable communities

    Ghali, 28, has always been open about his journey as a transgender man originally from Morocco, a country that neither criminalizes nor recognizes the transgender community, leaving them in a dangerous limbo. For Ghali, putting his story out there is a way of helping like-minded individuals to feel less alone.

    Negative and hateful comments are not new to Ghali, but a vicious online attack about two weeks ago by Abdelouahed Benomar and his millions of followers pushed him to the limit.

    The Moroccan content creator — better known by his online name, B3a9li (“My Brain” in Darija) — posted three videos targeting Ghali and the transgender community. In the videos, B3a9li compared gay people to dirt and stated people like Ghali who identify or support the LGBTQIA community “are against Muslim and Moroccan values” and are part of a conspiracy aimed at destroying society.

    B3a9li accompanied his content with screenshots of Ghali’s social accounts, prompting his viewers to start a boycott and flooding Ghali and his supporters with messages of hate.

    Ghali used his social media profile to rally loyal allies. People posted pictures and reshared his story under #Ghali, and more than 1,000 people signed a petition to get B3a9li’s videos taken down. YouTube took two weeks to respond to the reports and eventually removed three videos from B3a9li’s account. But the content had already taken its toll on Ghali and others involved.

    A 2022 study by Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) specifically ranked platforms on the safety they provide to their LGBTQ users, and YouTube ranked at 45%.

  • 42. ianbirmingham  |  April 4, 2023 at 11:35 am

    Bigots On Parade: Transphobic 'Kid Rock' opens fire on Bud Light cases

    Kid Rock has been left so furious with Bud Light's new choice of influencer that he took out several cases with an automatic gun.

    The pro-Trump singer, wearing a MAGA hat, said he wanted to send a 'clear and concise' message after discovering trans content creator Dylan Mulvaney was working with the beer company.

    Mulvaney, 26, announced the partnership in a series of videos posted to social media at the weekend to coincide with the NCAA March Madness tournament.

    She was even given a beer can with her face printed on it to celebrate her 365 days of being a woman – something which angered the singer.

    The 52-year-old right-wing conservative posted the footage online and said after shooting the cans: 'F*** Bud Light, and f*** Anheuser-Busch. Have a terrific day.'

    But some fans of Mulvaney said that they 'loved' the direction Bud Light was going to be more progressive.

    The Bud Light partnership is the second that Mulvaney has signed up for within a week, announcing that she was working with women's designer fashion company Kate Spade.

    Each time Mulvaney endorses a cosmetic, credit card or fashion brand, she earns $75,000 — and perhaps double that when posted on Instagram as well, said Assil Dayri, a social media expert and founder of AMD Consulting Group.

    That adds up to as much as $1 million a year for Mulvaney, who is represented by Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA), according to estimates provided by industry insiders.

    The University of Pittsburgh reportedly paid $26,250 for a Mulvaney speaking appearance this month, according to the campus newspaper.

  • 43. ianbirmingham  |  April 4, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    Liberals Gain Control of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court

    A Democratic-backed Milwaukee judge won the high stakes Wisconsin Supreme Court race Tuesday, ensuring liberals will take over majority control of the court for the first time in 15 years with the fate of the state’s abortion ban pending.

    Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz defeated former Justice Dan Kelly, who previously worked for Republicans and had support from the state’s leading anti-abortion groups. It’s his second loss in a race for Supreme Court in three years.

    The new court controlled 4-3 by liberals is expected to decide a pending lawsuit challenging the state’s 1849 law banning abortion. Protasiewicz made the issue a focus of her campaign and won the support of Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups.

    The court is also expected to hear a new challenge to Republican-drawn legislative maps. Protasiewicz ran as a critic of the current maps, calling them “rigged.”

  • 44. VIRick  |  April 4, 2023 at 9:12 pm

    Wisconsin: Liberals Gain Control of State Supreme Court

    Janet Protasiewicz, a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, has won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, giving liberals their first majority on the state’s highest court in 15 years. On 4 April 2023, Protasiewicz defeated conservative Dan Kelly, a former state Supreme Court justice, in what became the most expensive state Supreme Court race in US history and one of the most closely watched elections of 2023.

    Protasiewicz was elected to a 10-year term, and her victory will allow the court’s new liberal majority to determine the future of several pivotal issues the bench is likely to decide in the coming years, including abortion rights, the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps, and election administration, including, possibly, the outcome of the 2024 presidential race in the battleground state.

    Conservative-leaning justices currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court. Protasiewicz will fill the seat being vacated by retiring conservative Justice Patience Roggensack, giving liberals the majority for the first time since 2008.

  • 45. ianbirmingham  |  April 5, 2023 at 3:58 am

    Kansas's legislature passes USA's broadest bathroom bill by a veto-proof majority

    A Kansas bill has been passed that ruled people must use the bathroom corresponding with the sex, either male or female, that they were born with.

    It also included a ban on transgender people changing the name or gender on their driver's licenses. The bill cleared the Legislature Tuesday.

    The Kansas Senate voted 28-12 with one vote more than a two-thirds majority needed to overturn any veto, giving final passage to an earlier House-passed version and sending it to Gov. Laura Kelly. Both chambers have Republican supermajorities.

    The wave of legislation has angered and vexed LGBTQ-rights activists, transgender people and parents of transgender children. This bill came on the same day that Florida's Senate passed a ban on gender reassignment surgery for minors.

    Republican lawmakers in Kansas also are pursuing a bill aimed at stopping gender-affirming care for minors, something at least 11 states have done.

    Transgender rights have been pushed to the forefront of the U.S. culture wars and political standoffs between Republicans and Democrats. At least 18 states have passed or enacted legislation preventing transgender students from playing on school sports teams matching their gender identity.

  • 46. VIRick  |  April 5, 2023 at 10:12 am

    New Jersey: Governor Declares State "Safe Haven" for Gender-Affirming Care

    New Jersey’s Democratic governor has a positive message for the LGBTQ community. On 4 April 2023, Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order indicating that, unlike many Republican-controlled states, New Jersey is open and welcoming to everybody regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, he says New Jersey is a “safe haven” for those seeking gender-affirming care.

    In issuing Executive Order 326, Gov. Murphy directed all state departments and agencies to implement protective measures to safeguard gender-affirming healthcare providers and their recipients. As a result of this order, LGBTQ youth in New Jersey, including all transgender and non-binary youth, will have equal access to quality healthcare services regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or whether they even live in New Jersey.

    According to the order, individuals who provide, receive, or otherwise facilitate gender-affirming healthcare services legal in New Jersey cannot be extradited to another state. In addition, departments and agencies of the executive branch are prohibited from co-operating with investigations seeking to hold anyone liable for civil or criminal penalties due to such care. Moreover, the order prohibits New Jersey officials from co-operating with other states’ investigations into whether someone even sought medical care in New Jersey at all.

    This follows similar action already taken by the Democratic governor of Minnesota.

  • 47. VIRick  |  April 5, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    Idaho: Governor Signs Bill that Makes Providing Gender-Affirming Care a Crime

    Idaho has made it a crime to provide gender-affirming care to transgender minors. On 4 April 2023, Gov. Brad Little (R) signed House Bill 71 into law, deeming any such care a felony punishable with up to 10 years in prison. Said measure covers not only surgery, but also, puberty blockers and hormone therapy. It takes effect from 1 January 2024.

    The bill passed even though genital surgery is almost never performed on minors, and is definitely not performed in Idaho. The other treatments are endorsed by the American Medical Association and other major healthcare groups.

    On 4 April 2023, Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed one of the nation’s most punitive bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth, Idaho HB 71. The bill would make providing such care to a trans person under the age of 18 a felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

    Only one other state — Alabama — has made it a felony to provide gender-affirming care. The other 12 states that ban such healthcare, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia have imposed administrative penalties like the loss of a license. South Carolina and Texas are on the verge of joining this latter group, as may Kansas.

  • 48. VIRick  |  April 5, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    Indiana: Governor Signs Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Minors; ACLU Sues

    Indiana has joined the parade of states banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors — but the American Civil Liberties Union is already suing to block the ban. On 5 April 2023, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed Senate Bill 480 into law, banning surgeries, hormone treatment, and puberty blockers for the purpose of gender transition for anyone under the age of 18.

    The law is scheduled to go into effect from 1 July 2023, but young people already taking medication for transition will have until the end of the year to cease the treatment. Unlike a bill signed into law in Idaho, the Indiana measure does not subject health care professionals to criminal penalties. Instead, it provides for discipline by licensing bodies, and allows those who have received the care to sue.

    The ACLU, however, has already sued Indiana over the new law. The national ACLU and its Indiana affiliate are representing four trans youth and their families, plus a doctor and a health care clinic. They filed the suit on 5 April 2023 in US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, naming various state officials and members of Indiana’s medical licensing board as defendants.

  • 49. ianbirmingham  |  April 6, 2023 at 9:47 am

    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been accepting private jet flights, yacht trips and stays at a luxury resort from a Republican billionaire for the past 20 years

    In late June 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef.

    If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.

    For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe. He flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.

    The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    These trips appeared nowhere on Thomas’ financial disclosures. His failure to report the flights appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose most gifts, two ethics law experts said. He also should have disclosed his trips on the yacht, these experts said.

  • 50. ianbirmingham  |  April 6, 2023 at 10:24 am

    Bigots On Parade II: Country singer Travis Tritt drops all Anheuser-Busch beers from his tour in fury at Bud Light signing up trans activist Dylan Mulvaney

  • 51. VIRick  |  April 6, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    Kansas Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto, Passes Anti-Trans Sports Ban

    On 4 April 2023, Kansas legislators overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of an anti-transgender school sports bill, making it law.

    Last month, Kelly vetoed House Bill 2238, marking the third consecutive year she had vetoed anti-trans sports legislation. Override attempts in the Republican-dominated legislature failed in 2021 and 2022, as some moderate Republicans supported Kelly. But this year, Republicans mustered the two-thirds majority needed for the override because one Democrat joined them, as both the House and Senate approved the override.

    The law bars trans girls and women from competing on female sports teams in schools and clubs K-12, and in public colleges. It takes effect from 1 July 2023.

  • 52. ianbirmingham  |  April 6, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    US Supreme Court rules 12-year-old transgender girl CAN compete in middle school girls' sports teams in West Virginia while lawsuit over state bans continues

    The justices refused to disturb an appeals court order that made it possible for Becky Pepper-Jackson to continue playing on her school's track and cross-country teams. Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.

    A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1, without issuing any opinion, to put the law on hold while it considers the case.

    The two appeals court judges who voted to put the law on hold were Pamela A. Harris, an appointee of former President Barack Obama´s, and Toby J. Heytens, an appointee of President Joe Biden´s. Judge G. Steven Agee, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, dissented.

  • 53. VIRick  |  April 6, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    Bolivia: First Officially-Recognized Same-Sex Marriage Performed In-Country in Bolivia

    Cuba: First Officially-Recognized Same-Sex Marriage of Cubans Performed Overseas

    Per Consulado-General de Cuba en Santa Cruz, Bolivia:

    Sin duda, lo mejor de nuestro trabajo es poder ayudar a nuestros connacionales a materializar expectativas y deseos. Hoy, el 5 de abril 2023, oficializamos en el Consulado (cubano en Bolivia) la unión de estos jóvenes cubanos, muestra de los logros de nuestro país en materia de derechos. Gracias por confiar en nosotros!

    Without doubt, the best part of our work is being able to help our compatriots realize their expectations and desires. Today, 5 April 2023, we formalized the union of these young Cubans at the Consulate (of Cuba in Bolivia), an example of the achievements of our country in terms of rights. Thanks for trusting in us!

    Not only was this the first officially-recognized marriage of a same-sex couple to have taken place within Bolivia (and performed as a Marriage, not as a registered "Free Union," as Cuba has civil marriage, not "free union"), but this event was also the first instance of the marriage of a same-sex couple, under the official auspices of Cuba, to have occurred overseas, outside of Cuba itself.

  • 54. VIRick  |  April 6, 2023 at 9:06 pm

    US Virgin Islands: Moko-Jumbie Stilt-Walking Dancers, the Drag "Guardians of Culture"

    As part of our annual Carnival celebration, the iconic, taller-than-life, fast-paced moko-jumbie stilt-walking dancers will be performing on 8 April in their usual, glittery, highly colorful, androgynous costuming in an event sponsored by the traditional "Guardians of Culture" Carnival troupe and the Virgin Islands Children's Museum.

    Take a close look at the assembled dancers, and then tell me which ones are male and which are female, because in real life, the actual performers are about half-and-half. But everyone in the troupe is costumed alike, in loud iridescent colors that scream "gay." However, collectively, they depict the spirits of the West African ancestors coming back to life to the beat of the steel pan, and the individual gender of any one specific person in the troupe is irrelevant, as is the gender of the spirit of the ancestor that they represent.

    But it is still a drag show performance, iconic or otherwise, albeit of androgynous ancestral West African spirits, yet one that happens to be sponsored by the "Guardians of Culture" and the VI Children's Museum. Since the event is to occur tomorrow, 8 April, and thus, is quite current, I wanted to illustrate the vast difference in cultural perception and cultural acceptance, as illustrated by this cherished performance group, especially when compared to states like Tennessee and Florida that have "banned" all drag performances.

    Although our iconic Moko-Jumbies have performed at a number of venues on the US mainland, most notably at the annual Caribbean Carnival in Brooklyn and at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, they have no plans for performing in either Tennessee or Florida.

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