Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

SCOTUS won’t allow West Virginia anti-trans law to go into effect for now

Transgender Rights

From NPR:

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Thursday to intervene in an ongoing case involving West Virginia’s law banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports teams at school. Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.

The court’s action came on its emergency docket, sometimes dubbed the shadow docket because decisions are made without full briefing or argument, and decided with little or no explanation.

The order is here. As noted, Justices Alito and Thomas dissented. They would have allowed the state law to take effect while the case is ongoing. Cases addressing this issue will likely reach the Court soon.

86 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. VIRick  |  April 7, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    Jalisco: 1st Anniversary of Marriage Equality/Gender Identity Approved by State Congress

    Per Andrés Treviño:

    Hace un año, el 7 de abril 2022, se aprobaron en el Congreso de Jalisco iniciativas que reconocen nuestros derechos:
    1. Matrimonio igualitario.
    2. Reconocimiento de la identidad de género de personas trans.
    3. Prohibición de los ECOSIG (mal llamadas “terapias de conversión”).

    One year ago, on 7 April 2022, the initiatives that recognize our rights were approved in the Jalisco Congress:
    1. Marriage equality.
    2. Recognition of the gender identity of trans persons.
    3. Prohibition of ECOSIG (so-called "conversion therapy" banned).

    Previously, since 2016, Jalisco had had marriage equality due to a ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico, after which the Jalisco Congress then took an additional 6 years before it legislatively approved the same basic measure as state law. However, the gender identity recognition law and the prohibition of "conversion therapy" were both newly enacted laws.

  • 2. VIRick  |  April 7, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Japan: 49 More Municipalities Offering Same-Sex Partnership Registrations

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 1 April 2023, an additional 49 municipalities began offering partnership registration to LGBT couples, bringing the current total to 309 municipalities out of 1719. At the same time, 12 of 47 prefectures also offer same-sex couple registration, with 2 more prefectures slated to begin doing so later this year.

  • 3. ianbirmingham  |  April 8, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    GOP megadonor and benefactor of SCOTUS judge Clarence Thomas is prolific collector of Hitler memorabilia and dictator statues at his $50M mansion

    A Republican megadonor who showered Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with luxury holidays and gifts for over two decades…

    …reportedly has a disturbing collection of Nazi memorabilia inside his lavish $55 million mansion.

    Harlan Crow, a billionaire Texas real estate developer who is routinely one of the most generous GOP donors, is under mounting scrutiny after a stockpile of Nazi artefacts was spotted in his home.

    Among the troubling items is a copy of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler, a large Swastika-embossed medal, and a collection of napkins imprinted with the Nazi 'Reichsadler' eagle.

    Also found inside his striking Texas property, which is one of the most expensive in the state according to DMagazine, are several of the Nazi despot's hand-painted cityscapes and statues of notorious 20th century dictators.

    A photograph of a selection of Nazi napkins was reportedly taken by an attendee at an event at Crow's home some years ago.

    The unnamed individual also captured an image of a collection of stamps with Adolf Hitler's visage inside a glass case, joined by a large black swastika-forged medallion.

  • 4. VIRick  |  April 8, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    Estonia: New Coalition Government Set to Approve Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Following the recent national elections in Estonia, the newly-formed coalition partners, Reform-Eesti 200-SDE, have agreed to advance marriage equality and LGBT civil unions in their new government agreement of 8 April 2023.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2023 at 12:39 pm

    Nebraska hasn't passed a single bill this session, amid filibusters over trans rights

  • 6. VIRick  |  April 9, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Oaxaca: Indigenous Zapoteca Muxe of Juchitán

    In the town of Juchitán de Zaragoza, located on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico's southern state of Oaxaca, one variation of a local legend goes something like this.

    San Vicente Ferrer, the patron saint of Juchitán, was carrying three bags of seeds meant to be distributed around the world. The first contained male seeds, the second contained female seeds and a third bag contained a mixture of the two. But as San Vicente was passing through Juchitán, the third bag ruptured — and from it sprang the town's famed community of muxes.

    Muxes, a group long recognized within the indigenous Zapoteca people of Mexico, are often referred to as a third gender. Embodying characteristics of both men and women, their very existence challenges the gender binary that is so deeply entrenched in Western society. "We are people of two spirits," Felina Santiago says in the Oaxaca episode of "Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico." "We are the duality, neither man nor woman. You are neither less nor more."

    Indigenous communities in Mexico have recognized a third gender since before Spanish colonization and its ensuing influence of Catholicism, with anthropologists pointing to Aztec priests who wore clothing associated with another gender and Mayan gods who were both male and female. Today, the muxes of Juchitán are just one of several communities around the world who do not fit into the gender binary, such as hijras in India, bakla in the Philippines and fa'afafine in Samoa.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  April 10, 2023 at 4:00 am

    What are your thoughts on the widespread violent criminality in Mexico? What factor(s) prevent Mexico from becoming safe and peaceful?

  • 8. VIRick  |  April 10, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    Much of the most appalling violence appears to center around the illicit drug trade, whenever one gang is attempting to intimidate the local authorities, or most especially, whenever two cartels are fighting for dominance within a given "territory" or "trade route." The violence will continue until the end-user demand slackens.

    However, this is not just a "Mexican" problem, as we have much of the same, with drug smuggling and murders, throughout the Caribbean, as does most of Latin America. I suspect that the focus on Mexico is being purposefully done by certain media outlets in order to "prove" how "unsafe" the US southern border has become, and that they are doing so for their own cheap political purposes.

    Personally, I have never felt unsafe crossing the US-Mexico border, nor have I ever felt unsafe in Mexico. For comparison, in addition to anything pertaining to Haiti (a country to which I will never return), I have also felt far less secure on the Colombia-Venezuela border (despite being rescued by the Spanish ambassador to Colombia), and even more so on the very tense Costa Rica-Nicaragua border (despite being escorted by armed Costa Rica national police). I will never venture to Guatemala,– ever.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  April 11, 2023 at 3:53 am

    It's not just news outlets (which IMO are simply responding to cases of violence against US citizens); the US State Department advises prospective Mexico travelers as follows:

    Country Summary: Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities.

    U.S. citizens are advised to adhere to restrictions on U.S. government employee travel. State-specific restrictions are included in the individual state advisories below. U.S. government employees may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including app-based services like Uber, and regulated taxi stands. U.S. government employees should avoid traveling alone, especially in remote areas. U.S. government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, except daytime travel within Baja California and between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D.

    Do Not Travel To:

    Colima state due to crime and kidnapping.
    Guerrero state due to crime.
    Michoacan state due to crime and kidnapping.
    Sinaloa state due to crime and kidnapping
    Tamaulipas state due to crime and kidnapping.
    Zacatecas state due to crime and kidnapping.

    Reconsider Travel To:

    Baja California state due to crime and kidnapping.
    Chihuahua state due to crime and kidnapping.
    Durango state due to crime.
    Guanajuato state due to crime and kidnapping.
    Jalisco state due to crime and kidnapping.
    Morelos state due to crime.
    Sonora state due to crime and kidnapping.

  • 10. VIRick  |  April 10, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    New Mexico: Governor Signs Reproductive and Gender-Affrrming Protection Act into Law

    Per Erin Reed:

    On 10 April 2023, the Governor of New Mexico signed SB 13, the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare Protection Act, a safe state/refuge bill protecting transgender individuals and those seeking abortions and other reproductive healthcare, as well as their various healthcare providers. As a result, New Mexico will NOT comply with nor respond to any potential out-of-state subpoenas pertaining to gender-affirming care or to abortion.

  • 11. VIRick  |  April 10, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    Pennsylvania: Bill to Codify Marriage Equality into State Law Introduced

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 10 April 2023, Democrats in the state House of Representatives introduced a bill to codify marriage equality into state law. Although Pennsylvania has never had a state constitutional ban on LGBT marriages, the current state statutes only recognize hetero marriage. Thus, said statutes are in need of up-dating.

    Previously, on 31 March 2023, Democrats also introduced a bill to protect minors statewide from so-called "conversion therapy."

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  April 10, 2023 at 11:57 pm

    Anheuser-Busch stock recently hit new 52-week highs despite controversy surrounding its Bud Light brand

    With all the controversy surrounding Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), the parent of Bud Light, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the stock price.

    The recent rally comes amid controversy about the company’s latest LGBTQ initiatives.

    Anheuser-Busch stock continues to outperform the shares of its peers, like Molson Coors and Boston Beer.

    Given BUD's recent headlines, as well as the price actions of its peers, the bulls have to be impressed with the way Anheuser-Busch stock has been trading.

  • 13. VIRick  |  April 11, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    North Dakota: Governor Signs Anti-Trans Sports Ban into Law

    On 11 April 2023, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law a pair of bills that prohibit trans students from participating in girls' and women's sports from kindergarten through college, joining 19 other states that have already adopted similar bans on transgender student-athletes.

    The laws require schools to designate teams by the "biological state of being female or male based on an individual's non-ambiguous sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profile at birth," language that advocates say leads to the legal erasure of transgender, gender-non-conforming, and intersex people.

    Both bills were passed by veto-proof majorities in the state legislature. If not blocked by the courts, the laws will take effect from 1 August 2023.

  • 14. VIRick  |  April 11, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    Quintana Roo: 175 Same-Sex Couples Marry in Cancún in 2022

    Marcos Basilio Saldívar, director del Registro Civil, informó que el matrimonio igualitario va en aumento en Cancún. Tan solo el año pasado, se llevaron a cabo 175 matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo.

    Marcos Basilio Saldívar, director of the Civil Registry, reported that equal marriage is on the increase in Cancún. Just last year alone, 175 same-sex marriages took place.

  • 15. VIRick  |  April 11, 2023 at 9:12 pm

    Viet Nam: Proposed Law to Allow for Change of Gender Identity

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Lawmaker Nguyễn Anh Trí proposed the law that would allow people to change their gender identity, request a different gender identity from the one assigned at birth, and obtain gender-affirming surgery. Currently, there are no regulations on gender identity in Vietnam and no laws that prohibit same-sex relationships or activities, but LGBTQ rights still remain controversial.

    Trí said the law would ensure that legislators are "leaving no one behind" with their policies. The National Assembly, Vietnam's legislative body, was receptive to the suggested legislation, "Việt Nam News" reported.

    In 2015, the country eliminated its ban on same-sex marriage, (but then, subsequently, has never passed up-dated enabling legislation that would actually allow same-sex couples to legally marry).

    In 2022, Vietnam's Ministry of Health stated that homosexuality is "not a disease," and outlawed so-called "conversion therapy," according to "Al Jazeera."

  • 16. VIRick  |  April 11, 2023 at 9:43 pm

    Lithuania: 3 Same-Sex Couples File Suit against the State, Seek Legal Recognition

    Three couples are taking the Lithuanian state to court over its failure to legally recognize same-sex partnerships and marriages. In the cases, the same-sex couples are seeking the registration of a civil partnership, entry of a marriage concluded abroad into the civil register, and recognition and registration of a same-sex marriage in Lithuania. Initiated by the Youth Tolerance Association, the cases are aimed at removing obstacles to the recognition and regulation of the couples' relationships.

    "For a long time, it has been misinterpreted that the Lithuanian Constitution prohibits same-sex marriages. But this is a myth that we will try to dispel in court, especially since more than half of EU member countries have already legalized same-sex marriages," Aivaras Zilvinskas, the lawyer leading the case, said in a press release on 11 April 2023. "The court is being asked to recognize the same-sex couples as families and to order the civil registry office to register a civil partnership in one case and a marriage in another case," he added.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  April 12, 2023 at 5:44 am

    11th Circuit rejects request for en banc rehearing; a three-judge panel had ruled in 2020 that conversion therapy bans violate the First Amendment.

    Wednesday’s decision was effectively a victory for marriage and family therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, who challenged ordinances that barred therapists from providing treatment or counseling designed to change minors’ sexual orientation or gender identity. Critics of such therapy say it harms LGBTQ youths.

    While the overall court did not explain its reasons for declining to rehear the case, the decision drew heated concurring and dissenting opinions. Judge Britt Grant, in a concurring opinion joined by Judges Elizabeth Branch and Barbara Lagoa, said the ordinances violated the First Amendment, describing them as “content-based restrictions of speech, not conduct.”

    “The perspective enforced by these local policies is extremely popular in many communities,” Grant wrote. “And the speech barred by these ordinances is rejected by many as wrong, and even dangerous. But the First Amendment applies even to — especially to — speech that is widely unpopular.”

    Judge Robin Rosenbaum, however, wrote a 77-page dissent that said the government has the authority to regulate standards of health care, including what she described as “talk therapy” provided by mental-health professionals.

    As is common, the order Wednesday denying a rehearing did not detail how all of the judges voted on the issue. But concurring and dissenting opinions made clear that Grant, Branch and Lagoa were in the majority, while Rosenbaum, Pryor and Judges Adalberto Jordan and Charles Wilson were in the minority.

    The concurring and dissenting opinions offered a glimpse of sharp disagreements…

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  April 12, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    “Don’t Say Period”: Now Florida wants to ban students from discussing menstruation

    House Bill 1069, also known as the "Don't Say Period" bill, which passed in Florida's Republican-controlled House at the end of March, means what you think it means.

    The bill proposes banning any form of health education until sixth grade and would prohibit students from asking questions about menstruation, including about their own first periods, which frequently occur before the sixth grade. If passed by Florida's Senate and signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, the ban will be effective July 1.

    As the editor of two educational anthologies about menstruation, I've talked with people around the world about periods —first periods, last periods, missing periods, transitioning genders and menstruation, miscarriage, and menopause—for over 20 years. We are finally at an inflection point where we are talking about menstruation across ages and genders, and beyond just the private sphere. This is a blood awakening.

    My work as an oral historian was inspired by hearing a story from my great aunt, who got her first period while fleeing Nazi-occupied Poland. Her account — the image of a trail of blood running down her legs while being strip-searched by an SS officer — allowed me to relate to her history in an embodied way, one that I'd never experienced from a textbook.

    We need to talk about menstruation — from an early age, and for the rest of our lives — because these early conversations are foundational for all our later conversations about our bodies, gender, sex, desire, consent, and the ways we physically evolve as we age. And because if we don't talk about menstruation, this silence leads to, someday, a room full of people who pass unimaginably harmful legislation.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  April 12, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    Florida Politician Supports Eradication of LGBTQ+ Community

    During a state legislative committee hearing, Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican, made disturbing comments in a speech where he attempted to rebuke anyone not on board with his legislation, HB 1423.

    The bill seeks to ban drag performances in public, similar to a law passed in Tennessee recently. That law was enjoined by a state judge who halted its implementation.

    “If it means ‘erasing a community’ because you have to target children – then, damn right, we ought to do it!” Fine said during a vigorous defense of his measure.

    “This is a disgusting bill and is designed to target parents like me. It will – like everything – be selectively enforced by the state to target members of the LGBTQ community, as we’ve already seen, with DPBR taking away licenses of venues that host drag shows – that were not lewd and that were very family-friendly,” Democratic Rep. Angela Nixon said, Florida’s Voice reports.

    The bill passed the State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee with a 10-5 vote.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  April 13, 2023 at 4:23 pm

    Billionaire Harlan Crow Bought Property from US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his relatives

    In 2014, one of Texas billionaire Harlan Crow’s companies purchased a string of properties on a quiet residential street in Savannah, Georgia. It wasn’t a marquee acquisition for the real estate magnate, just an old single-story home and two vacant lots down the road. What made it noteworthy were the people on the other side of the deal: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his relatives.

    The transaction marks the first known instance of money flowing from the Republican megadonor to the Supreme Court justice. The Crow company bought the properties for $133,363 from three co-owners — Thomas, his mother and the family of Thomas’ late brother, according to a state tax document and a deed dated Oct. 15, 2014, filed at the Chatham County courthouse.

    The purchase put Crow in an unusual position: He now owned the house where the justice’s elderly mother was living. Soon after the sale was completed, contractors began work on tens of thousands of dollars of improvements on the two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, which looks out onto a patch of orange trees. The renovations included a carport, a repaired roof and a new fence and gates, according to city permit records and blueprints.

    A federal disclosure law passed after Watergate requires justices and other officials to disclose the details of most real estate sales over $1,000. Thomas never disclosed his sale of the Savannah properties. That appears to be a violation of the law, four ethics law experts told ProPublica.

  • 21. VIRick  |  April 13, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Washington State: "Shield" Law to Protect Those Seeking Gender-Affirming Care/Abortion

    On 13 April 2023, the Washington state legislature passed a “shield" law to protect people from out-of-state who come to Washington seeking either gender-affirming care or an abortion.

    HB 1469 prohibits Washington state legal authorities from cooperating with out-of-state subpoenas, court orders, warrants, and extradition requests regarding either gender-affirming or reproductive health care. The law also protects state residents, as well as those from other states who come to Washington to obtain healthcare, in addition to all those who are providing for such healthcare within the state itself.

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is expected to sign the bill into law. This legislation has become increasingly relevant as Washington’s neighbor, Idaho, continues to pass harsh laws restricting both reproductive rights and gender-affirming care.

    Earlier this month, Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed one of the nation’s most punitive bans on gender-affirming care that made providing such care to a trans person under the age of 18 a felony, with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Around the same time, Idaho became the first state to ban some out-of-state travel for abortions, making it illegal to help a pregnant minor obtain an abortion in another state. This comes after Idaho already banned almost all abortions in August 2022.

    By Executive Order, the governors of Minnesota and New Jersey have already issued similar "shield" protections, while the governor of New Mexico has just signed that state's protection orders into law. Washingtom State will now become the 4th state to do so.

    Similar "shield" laws are in process of passage in Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon.

  • 22. VIRick  |  April 13, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Argentina: Same-Sex Couple from Kyrgyzstan Marry

    Kyrgyzstan: First Equal Marriage to Have Taken Place Anywhere

    Per Diversidad al Palo:

    Nuestros compañeros Ceci, integrante de La Fulana, y Fer Albornoz, referente de FALGBT e integrante del equipo técnico de la defensoría LGBT, el 13 de abril 2023, asistieron al Registro Civil para ser testigos al matrimonio igualitario de turistas provenientes de Kirguistán.

    Our colleagues Ceci, a member of La Fulana, and Fer Albornoz, referred by FALGBT and a member of the technical team of the LGBT defense, on 13 April 2023, assisted at the Civil Registry so as to be witnesses for the equal marriage of tourists from Kyrgyzstan.

    To date, this marriage of a same-sex couple from Kyrgyzstan is undoubtedly the most "foreign" to have yet taken place in Argentina. In addition, this is also the first reference of a same-sex couple from Kyrgyzstan marrying anywhere in the world where it would be legal for them to do so.

    In addition to Argentina's on-going promotion encouraging foreign couples (same-sex or otherwise) to come to Argentina to marry, Argentina remains one of the few countries in the world that still does not require citizens of the various republics of the ex-Soviet Union, like Kyrgyzstan, to first obtain special travel visas beforehand.

    For comparative purposes, I can recall being issued a 6-month multi-entry "tourist" visa upon landing at Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires, a procedure that appears to be "standard issue" in Argentina for foreign citizens from many parts of the world. With it, I was also able to visit both Uruguay and Chile.

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  April 14, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    Bigots On Parade III: Elon Musk – 'Any parent or doctor who sterilizes a child before they are a consenting adult should go to prison for life.'

    Musk's transgender daughter, Vivian Jenna Wilson, said last year she wanted nothing to do with him after she was granted a legal request to change her name and gender identity when she turned 18.

    Wilson asked the court to change her name to agree with her gender identity and said: 'I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.'

    Wilson, who has a twin named Griffin and was formerly named Xavier Alexander Musk, officially adopted her mother, Justine's, maiden name.

    Justine Wilson divorced Musk in 2008 after 8 years of marriage.

    In October last year Musk blamed America's colleges for turning his daughter Vivian against him.

    In an interview with the Financial Times, he blamed 'neo-Marxists' in elite schools and universities for the estrangement between him and his daughter.

  • 24. VIRick  |  April 14, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    US Supreme Court and Mifopristone

    On 14 April 2023, the US Supreme Court temporarily suspended orders from the District Court for the Northern District of Texas and from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that would have restricted the nationwide sale and distribution of the abortion medication mifepristone. The move, issuing an administrative stay by conservative Justice Alito, will give the High Court until 19 April to decide whether those restrictions will be kept in place pending the outcome of litigation over the case, "Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. US Food and Drug Administration," now on appeal before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    On 6 April 2023, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a stay of the 23 year-old FDA approval of mifepristone, effectively barring its sale and distribution nationwide, to take effect in 7 days, from 14 April. On appeal, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late Wednesday night, 12 April 2023, that access to the drug would be restricted, though not banned entirely, pending the outcome of the case.

    But for today's Supreme Court decision, which effectively preserves the status quo until 19 April, access to mifepristone would have required multiple doctors visits, while tele-health consultations and mail-order prescriptions would have been excluded.

    Medication abortions account for more than half of all abortions performed each year in the United States. Mifepristone was first approved by the FDA in 2000, and the drug has since been proven safe and effective for these past 23 years.

  • 25. VIRick  |  April 15, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    Washington State: Conflicting Federal Court Ruling on Mifepristone

    On 6 April 2023, US District Court Judge Thomas Rice issued a ruling saying that the FDA could not suspend its approval of mifepristone in 17 states and DC, nearly at the same time that District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas stayed the agency's authorization nationwide. In Washington State, Judge Rice ruled that the Food and Drug Administration cannot roll back access to abortion pills in 17 states and the District of Columbia (all parties to the lawsuit before him), regardless of the conflicting orders issued in other federal courts.

    "The restrictions imposed by the Fifth Circuit Court’s radical decision (on 12 April 2023) do not impair access to mifepristone in the 18 states that are a part of our coalition," Washington State Attorney-General Bob Ferguson, who led the multiple states that brought the Washington State case, told Axios. "The Washington State injunction is unmistakably clear: No changes to the status quo in our states — period. The Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling does nothing to change Judge Rice’s order, and that became even clearer today," he added.

    The Washington State ruling applies in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State.

    Between the lines: The Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine, the coalition of anti-abortion groups that brought the lawsuit challenging the FDA's mifepristone approval, has been accused of "court shopping" by filing its case in Amarillo TX where Kacsmaryk, a Trump-appointee who has openly opposed "Roe v. Wade," is the only presiding judge.

  • 26. VIRick  |  April 14, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Nebraska: Endless Filibuster to Block Bill Banning Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    Nebraska lawmakers who are fighting anti-transgender legislation are seeking to have an impact far beyond their state’s borders. Sens. Machaela Cavanaugh, John Frederickson, and Megan Hunt, all representing the Omaha area, have formed a political action committee, "Don’t Legislate Hate," to support pro-equality candidates for state legislatures around the nation.

    Cavanaugh has made news with her filibuster against a bill seeking to ban gender-affirming health care for trans youth. She started it in late February, vowing to “burn the session to the ground over this bill.” That has meant hours of debate over every piece of legislation to keep the anti-trans measure from passing.

    Hunt and Frederickson, the first two out LGBTQ members of the legislature, were as appalled by the bill, LB 574, as Cavanaugh was. “We’ve never had a bill like this,” Hunt, a bisexual woman with a trans son, said in a recent interview with The Advocate. “We’ve never had a bathroom bill. We’ve never had anything attacking trans youth. … We just wanted to say, in Nebraska, it’s not going to happen this way.”

    She and Frederickson had been working behind the scenes with conservative lawmakers to fight the bill in Nebraska’s unicameral, officially non-partisan, legislature while Cavanaugh filibustered. But eventually they joined Cavanaugh’s filibuster, and the national attention and unsolicited donations it brought made them realize they needed to do more.

    “We just thought we should put our heads together, and we should combine our resources and start a PAC so that we can bring hope to the LGBTQ community," Hunt said. "We can let them know that someone is fighting for them.” They are encouraging other legislators around the country to do the same, given that more than 450 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced at the state level in 2023..

  • 27. ianbirmingham  |  April 15, 2023 at 3:39 am

    Bigots On Parade IV: Florida GOP House member calls members of trans community ‘demons,’ ‘mutants’

    Volusia County Republican Webster Barnaby was addressing the House Commerce Committee following a debate about a measure that would criminalize transgender adults who intentionally enter a restroom or changing facility opposite their sex at birth.

    “I’m looking at society today and it’s like I’m watching an ‘X-men’ movie with people, when you watch the X-men movies from Marvel comics, it’s like we have mutants living among us on Planet Earth, and you know, some people don’t like that, but that’s a fact,” Webster said. “We have people that live among us today on Planet Earth that are happy to display themselves as if they were mutants from another planet.”

    “This is the Planet Earth!” he went on to say. “Where God created men, male, and women, female. I’m a proud Christian conservative Republican. I’m not on the fence. Not on the fence.”

    Barnaby went on to add that there “was so much darkness in our world today. So much evil in our world today. And so many people who are afraid to address the evil, the dysphoria, the disfunction. I’m not afraid to address the dysphoria or the disfunction. The Lord rebuke you Satan, and all of your demons and all of your imps who come parade before us. That’s right, I called you demons and imps who come and parade before us and pretend that you are part of this world.”

    Orlando Democrat Anna Eskamani blasted Barnaby’s comments immediately afterwards.

    “Truly unacceptable for any member of the Legislature to refer to the public that testifies as “demons and imps” which is what just happened during the Commerce Committee during the debate on the bill to ban trans people from using the bathroom that reflects their gender identity,” she tweeted.

  • 28. VIRick  |  April 15, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    Jamaica: Up-Date on Court Case Challenging Amended Colonial-Era Sodomy Ban

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In Jamaica, as of 4 April 2023, the court case challenging the sodomy law has been delayed indefinitely while the Supreme Court decides a preliminary issue: whether the challenge is allowed at all, given that the Jamaica Constitution protects all colonial-era laws from constitutional scrutiny.

    The plaintiff's challenge asserts that the sodomy law is not "saved" by the constitution because the law in question has been substantively amended (more than once, each time to increase the penalties,) since Independence.

  • 29. VIRick  |  April 15, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    India: 5-Judge Constitutional Panel to Hear Marriage Equality Cases Selected

    Per "Live Law:"

    The composition of the 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India that will hear the pleas on 18 April 2023 seeking same-sex marriage recognition has been announced.

    The bench will consist of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Ravindra Bhat, Justice Hima Kohli, and Justice PS Narasimha.

  • 30. ianbirmingham  |  April 16, 2023 at 8:50 am

    Chief Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud, part of the unanimous majority in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India which decriminalized all consensual adult sex in India, can be counted as in favor of SSM recognition:

    Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul can also be counted in favor of SSM:

    Justice Ravindra Bhat can likewise be counted in favor of SSM:

    Justice Hima Kohli is probably in favor of SSM:

    Finally, Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimh is relatively hard to predict.

    Overall, I conservatively count 3.5-plus out of the 5 total as being pro-SSM.

    A unanimous verdict in favor of SSM is certainly very possible here.

    As India has just now surpassed China as the world's most populated country, and as India also has a rather large Muslim population, the ruling in this case will be, as Joe Biden famously said about Obamacare, "a Big Fucking Deal".

  • 31. scream4ever  |  April 16, 2023 at 10:26 am

    It would essentially double the number of people living in a jurisdiction with same-sex marriage. Also, it would no doubt put further pressure on Nepal to finally legalize same-sex marriage themselves, which they are now under explicit order per their supreme court to do so.

  • 32. VIRick  |  April 15, 2023 at 7:20 pm

    Cook Islands: Parliament Decriminalizes Homosexuality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Parliament of the Cook Islands (Te Marae Akarau Vananga O Te Kuki Airani) has repealed provisions in its Crimes Act that had criminalized homosexuality. The Crimes (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill 2023 which, among others, aimed to decriminalize homosexuality, was presented to Parliament and went through its second and third readings before being passed into law on Friday afternoon, 14 April 2023. Said amendments will take effect from 1 June 2023.

    This Bill amends the Crimes Act 1969 which stated that men can be jailed for five years for engaging in what’s dubbed “indecent acts” with other men. People hosting these acts in their premises (under section 159) faced up to ten years jail.

    This was the culmination of a 6-year-long effort to pass an LGBT decriminalization bill in the Cook Islands (Te Kuki Airani), one that has finally been pushed through over multiple objections, delays, reversals, and elections. The Cook Islands already has a law prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination.

  • 33. Fortguy  |  April 16, 2023 at 11:15 pm

    The New Zealands territory of Tokelau does not criminalize same-sex relationships. This leaves Niue as the only remaining territory of New Zealand, or any other colonial power within Oceania for that matter, to still criminalize being gay although the prohibition there is not enforced. Among fully sovereign states in the region, Kiribati, Samoa, Soloman Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu still have buggery laws on the books, but they are enforced nowhere.

    For this discussion, I'm classifying Papua New Guinea as part of Southeast Asia rather than Oceania, along with the other East Indies countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.

  • 34. VIRick  |  April 15, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    Colorado Enacts Gender-Affirming Care/Abortion "Shield" Law for Out-of-State Patients

    On 14 April 2023, Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) signed three bills into law that extend protections to out-of-state patients who can come to the state to have an abortion, access puberty blockers, and/or receive gender-affirming procedures and medications without worrying about prosecution, the Associated Press reported. Access to such procedures and care are either banned or limited in nearby Republican-led states, such as Wyoming and Utah.

    One of Colorado's three new bills protects those who travel to the state for an abortion or gender-affirming care from lawsuits or criminal prosecution launched in other states. Providers of those procedures are also protected. The bill also integrates gender-affirming care into the definition of reproductive health care.

    Colorado has become the 5th state to have enacted such a "shield" law/protections.

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  April 16, 2023 at 10:22 am

    Justice Clarence Thomas has been filing false financial disclosure forms since 2007

    Over the last two decades, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has reported on required financial disclosure forms that his family received rental income totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a firm called Ginger, Ltd., Partnership.

    But that company — a Nebraska real estate firm launched in the 1980s by his wife and her relatives — has not existed since 2006.

    In 2011, after the watchdog group Common Cause raised red flags, Thomas updated years of his financial disclosure reports to include employment details for his wife, conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. The justice said at the time that he had not understood the filing instructions. In 2020, he was forced to revise his disclosure forms after a different watchdog group found he had failed to report reimbursements for trips to speak at two law schools.

    A judicial ethics expert said the pattern was troubling.

    “Any presumption in favor of Thomas’s integrity and commitment to comply with the law is gone. His assurances and promises cannot be trusted. Is there more? What’s the whole story? The nation needs to know,” said Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University.

    Gillers said all three branches of government should investigate Thomas’s compliance or noncompliance with federal ethics law.

    On Friday, congressional Democrats with oversight of federal courts cited Thomas’s “apparent pattern of noncompliance with disclosure requirements” in calling on the Judicial Conference — the policymaking body for the federal courts — to refer him to the attorney general for an investigation into whether he violated federal ethics laws.

  • 36. VIRick  |  April 16, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Missouri: Attorney-General Sets Severe Restrictions on Gender-Affirming Care

    On 13 April 2023, Missouri’s Attorney-General, Andrew Bailey (R), issued an "emergency" regulation severely restricting gender-affirming care for both minors and adults, claiming that gender-affirming care is already banned in the state due to a state law blocking some medical treatments deemed to be dangerous. The rule was made under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and is slated to take effect on 27 April, after paperwork is filed with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.

    In the regulation, any medical intervention for a trans person would require psychological or psychiatric assessment and would institute a three-year waiting period. Those assessments would need to be 15 sessions across 18 months. Individuals who transition would have to obtain a medical follow-up in the 15 years following the intervention.

    Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri have said they will file legal action against the rule, stating, "This rule is a shocking attempt to exploit Missouri’s consumer protection laws in order to play politics with life-saving medical care."

    Once filed, this promised lawsuit will be at least the third such lawsuit filed against this over-reaching Missouri Attorney-General. See immediately below for the details on lawsuits already filed by Children's Mercy Hospital of Kansas City as well as that by Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

  • 37. VIRick  |  April 16, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Missouri Attorney-General Sued

    A Kansas City hospital is suing Missouri Attorney-General Andrew Bailey over what it calls his “burdensome” requests for records on gender-affirming care. In a lawsuit filed on 14 April 2023 in Jackson County, attorneys for Children's Mercy Hospital asked a judge to deny Bailey's 54 investigative demands for records and testimony, despite the hospital facing no allegations of wrongdoing, "The Kansas City Star" reported.

    Bailey has demanded that the hospital provide records on any prescriptions for hormone blockers as well as surgeries for transgender patients, the lawsuit said. He's also asking for information on when the hospital has reported child abuse.

    Children's Mercy argues in its lawsuit that releasing the information sought by Bailey would violate state and federal laws, including those involving private medical decisions made between patients and doctors. The hospital also contends that Bailey doe not have the jurisdiction to investigate health care companies and physicians, which are regulated by the Missouri Board of Healing Arts. The lawsuit also argues that many of Bailey's requests are “poorly disguised interrogatories” that have nothing to do with gender-affirming care.

    In February, Bailey, a Republican who was appointed attorney-general in November 2022, announced he was investigating the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital after an employee alleged the center was providing children with gender-affirming care without informed consent. Bailey has since expanded the investigation to other health care providers in Missouri.

    Earlier in April, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri sued over Bailey's document demands to that organization as part of its investigation. Planned Parenthood also argued in its lawsuit that Bailey has no authority to investigate its clinic, which is inspected by the state health department.

  • 38. Fortguy  |  April 16, 2023 at 9:51 pm

    "Ukrainian lawmakers recently tabled draft legislation that would recognize same-sex relationships and address the lack of inheritance, medical and other rights for the partners of LGTBQ soldiers killed or wounded fighting pro-Moscow forces."

    I see the article has three co-authors: a producer and a correspondent both based in London and another reporter without description whom I presume to likely also be in the U.K. It does not say whether their editor is based in the U.K., but should have understood that the term "table", when referring to legislation, has a contradictory meaning in the U.K. than how it is understood by NBC News' primarily U.S. audience creating an unaddressed ambiguity.

  • 39. ianbirmingham  |  April 17, 2023 at 6:02 am

    Florida: Grassroots LGBTQ group mounts online push to stop bills in Tallahassee

    South Florida-based Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE) is sending out a code red, asking 26,000 subscribers to its emailed newsletter to contact their lawmaker and make their displeasure with three particular bills known now.

    Those who put in a name and address on the platform SAVE is providing will be able to find both the Representative and the Senator representing their district. An email is routed to each lawmaker’s inbox.

    The sender can personalize the email, but SAVE has preloaded three Senate bills and their House companions in various stages of making their way to becoming law for protest.

  • 40. ianbirmingham  |  April 17, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    Republicans reject Judiciary Committee Feinstein swap, putting Democrats in a bind

    Key Senate Republicans came out Monday against temporarily replacing Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on the Judiciary Committee, leaving Democrats in a predicament as several of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees are bottled up in the panel.

    Feinstein, 89, has been absent from the Senate for weeks after revealing she had been hospitalized with shingles. Amid calls to resign her seat, Feinstein issued a statement asking that she be swapped out with another Democrat so that the panel can advance judges until she is able to return.

    The likely GOP rejection of a committee replacement puts the onus back on Feinstein, who has no timetable for a return and has conceded that her absence is a problem for Democrats. The Judiciary Committee is split 11-to-10 between Democrats and Republicans, and a tie vote means a nominee cannot advance.

  • 41. ianbirmingham  |  April 18, 2023 at 3:27 am

    Mickey and Minnie Mouse will soon be dressed in rainbow costumes

    Disneyland has announced 'Pride Nite' celebrations as the company's CEO Bob Iger remains locked into a battle with Ron DeSantis stemming back to the Governor's 'Don't Say Gay' bill.

    The announcement was shared to Twitter Monday afternoon just moments after a press conference where DeSantis threatened to build a state prison next to Walt Disney World and Reedy Creek.

    According to Disney, characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse will wear special rainbow costumes at the event to celebrate everything LGBTQ.

    'This is Disney standing up to Florida's radical governor,' wrote actor Steven Pasquale. 'This is how you handle bullies. Bravo, @Disney'

    The California theme park's 'Pride Nite' celebrations will be held on June 13 and June 15 from 9pm to 1am and tickets will cost $139.

    The event – part of 'Disneyland After Dark – will have tickets go on sale April 20.

    A dance party with characters in 'special attire' and other photo opportunities with 'pride-themed backdrops' will be offered, Disneyland officials said.

  • 42. VIRick  |  April 18, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    Querétaro: Marriage Equality Summary for State Capital, Santiago de Querétaro

    "Hasta la fecha, de matrimonios igualitarios, van 125 desde que se inició la reforma el 13 de noviembre 2021, de los cuales 50 son entre hombres, 75 entre mujeres. Se han registrado cinco divorcios entre personas del mismo sexo, nada más ha habido uno este año," informó el director del Registro Civil del Municipio de Querétaro, José Luis Romero Montes.

    "To date, there have been 125 equal marriages since the reform was initiated on 13 November 2021, of which 50 were between men, 75 between women. Five same-sex divorces have been registered, there having been only one this year,” reported the director of the Civil Registry of the Municipality of Querétaro, José Luis Romero Montes.

  • 43. VIRick  |  April 18, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    Arizona: Federal Lawsuit Filed Challenging Transgender School Sports Ban

    On 18 April 2023, the parents of two transgender girls in Arizona filed a federal lawsuit challenging a year-old state law banning transgender girls from participating in school sports. Attorneys for the families, whose names are concealed in court documents out of fear for their children's safety, filed the complaint in US District Court in Tucson.

    The plaintiffs include an 11-year-old who wants to play girls' soccer, basketball, and cross-country, and a 15-year-old volleyball player. In court filings, they are going by the names Jane Doe and Megan Roe.

    “The ban’s exclusion of plaintiffs from participating in school sports because they are transgender denies them equal treatment under the law," attorneys wrote in the 21-page complaint. The attorneys also argued that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution and Title IX.

  • 44. ianbirmingham  |  April 19, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Florida bans lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in ALL public school grades

    The move marks a huge expansion of the The Parental Rights in Education law – also known as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill – which was signed last year by the governor and sparked a firestorm across the country.

    'It is wrong for a teacher to tell a student that they may have been born in the wrong body or that their gender is a choice,' Desantis said during his remarks in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday morning.

  • 45. ianbirmingham  |  April 19, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    Teachers run the risk of losing their educator credentials

    Under the updated rule expanding the legislation panned as “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, teachers run the risk of losing their educator credentials for leading instruction on those topics to students through 12th grade instead of strictly kindergarten through grade 3. This new guideline, which board members approved unanimously, appears to be even stronger than the parental rights expansions that Republican lawmakers are currently advancing at the statehouse.

    LGBTQ advocates opposed the rule change, contending it unfairly targets and bullies the LGBTQ community. They also argued that it puts the careers of educators in jeopardy for violating what some consider vague policies.

    “This rule is by design a tool for curating fear, anxiety and the erasure of our LGBTQ community,” Joe Saunders, former state legislator and Equality Florida’s senior political director, told the board Wednesday.

  • 46. ianbirmingham  |  April 19, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Remember when Ron DeSantis said his “Don’t Say Gay” bill was only intended for children younger than the third grade? Well, that was bullshit.

    While DeSantis and his administration insisted that blatant efforts to reshape Florida’s education system into a bastion of conservative thought were only intended to protect young children, they have at this point ensured that every pupil in the state — be they kindergarteners or college students — feel the effects.

  • 47. VIRick  |  April 19, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    Portugal: Bills to Ban "Conversion Therapy," Allow Gender Self-Determination in Schools

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Parliament in Portugal is currently debating two LGBT bills, one to ban so-called "conversion therapy," and the other to allow for gender self-determination in schools.

    "Não se cura o que não é doença.” Ainda há, em Portugal, quem queira, acha que pode, e "garante" que sabe fazer a “conversão” de homossexuais em heterossexuais.

    "One cannot cure that which is not a disease/illness." Even now, in Portugal, anyone (any fool) who wishes, thinks that they can, and "guarantees" that they know how to make the “conversion” of homosexuals into heterosexuals.

    In Portuguese, "quem queira" is a semi-polite expletive combining "idiots, fools, and ignorant braggarts" into one terse term, but without being completely direct about it.

    Parlamento discute hoje, em 19 de abril 2023, a autodeterminação de género nas escolas e a punição das práticas de "conversão" contra pessoas LGBTI.

    Today, 19 April 2023, Parliament discussed gender self-determination in the schools and the punishment of "conversion" practices against LGBTI persons.

  • 48. ianbirmingham  |  April 19, 2023 at 8:52 pm

    Ex-Florida lawmaker behind the 'Don't Say Gay' law pleads guilty to COVID relief fraud

    Joseph Harding entered a guilty plea on Tuesday in federal court in the Northern District of Florida to one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of making false statements, according to court records.

    Harding faces up to 35 years in prison, including a maximum of 20 years on the wire fraud charge. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 25 at the federal courthouse in Gainesville.

    The former Republican lawmaker shot to notoriety last year as one of the sponsors of a controversial Florida law that outlawed the discussion of sexuality and gender in public school classrooms from kindergarten through grade 3.

    The legislation became a blueprint for similar laws in more than a dozen other conservative states.

  • 49. VIRick  |  April 19, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    Oregon: Democrats Plan New State Constitutional Amendment on LGBT/Abortion Rights

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In Oregon, state Democrats plan to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot repealing the defunct ban on marriage equality, ensuring access to abortion and to trans healthcare, and banning anti-LGBT discrimination.

    On 19 April 2023, Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber, D-Portland, Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, and Sen. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 33 to expand Oregon’s constitutional protections to marriage and healthcare, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Democrats will need to gain approval from only a simple majority in both chambers to refer the resolution to the November 2024 ballot. The amendment would repeal language that has been in the Oregon Constitution since 2004 that states, “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.” Even though that language remains in the state Constitution, it has not been enforced since 2014, after a federal judge deemed it unconstitutional.

  • 50. VIRick  |  April 19, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    Mexico: Federal Bill to Ban "Conversion Therapy" Moves to Full House for a Vote

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A committee in the lower House has advanced the federal bill to ban "conversion therapy." The Senate has already passed said measure.

    Avanza en Diputados prohibición a "terapias de conversión." La iniciativa, que fue turnada al Pleno de la Cámara de Diputados, propone penas de hasta 6 años a quienes practiquen dichas terapias u obliguen a tomarlas.

    "Conversion therapy" ban advances in the House. The initiative, which was referred to the full body of the Chamber of Deputies, proposes penalties of up to 6 years for whoever practices said therapies or forces others to take them.

  • 51. VIRick  |  April 20, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    North Dakota: Providing Gender Affirming Healthcare Now a Felony

    On 19 April 2023, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has signed a bill into law criminalizing the provision of gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors. The measure goes into effect immediately, the Associated Press reports. It had passed the state House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.

    The new law makes it a felony to perform gender-affirming surgeries on minors for the purpose of transition and a misdemeanor to prescribe hormones or puberty blockers. The penalty for the felony charge would be a prison term of up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; for the misdemeanor, it would be up to 360 days in prison and a $3,000 fine.

    Per Human Rights Campaign:

    North Dakota has become the 14th state to ban this necessary care via a statute this year.

  • 52. VIRick  |  April 20, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    Brasil: Bill Introduced in Legislature of Federal District to Ban "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    “Cura gay:" projeto de lei quer multa de até R$ 65 mil para quem promover “conversão" sexual. A proposta protocolada na Câmara Legislativa do Distrito Federal (CLDF) visa penalizar práticas e terapias de "conversão" de orientação sexual ou identidade de gênero no Distrito Federal.

    "Gay cure:" the bill proposes a fine of up to R$ 65,000 for anyone who promotes sexual "conversion.” The proposal filed in the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District (CLDF) seeks to penalize practices and therapies of "conversion" of sexual orientation or gender identity within the Federal District.

  • 53. ianbirmingham  |  April 20, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    Michigan: Half of Senate GOP votes to keep Michigan’s 92-year-old ban on unmarried cohabitation

    Michigan’s senators voted Wednesday to repeal a nearly century-old law prohibiting unwed men and women from living together – a move half of all Republicans in the chamber objected to.

    Senate Bill 56 strikes from Michigan law the idea that an unmarried man and woman living together are inherently committing lewd and lascivious behavior. Under that 1931 law, a couple found guilty could be jailed for no more than a year or fined up to $1,000.

    Couples, however, could not be prosecuted “after one year from the time the offense was committed.”

    Michigan and Mississippi are the only states that still have this law, according to a 2016 Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of a prior bill with the same intent as SB 56.

    The bill passed April 19 in a 29-9 bipartisan vote, with all “nay” votes coming from Republicans.

  • 54. VIRick  |  April 20, 2023 at 9:36 pm

    Florida: "Don't Say Gay" Administratively Expanded to Include Grades K-12

    On 19 April 2023, Florida’s Board of Education voted to implement a rule that expands the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law to now prohibit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity right up through 12th grade in Florida public schools. The rule change, which does not require legislative approval, will ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from fourth to 12th grade unless required by state standards or as part of a reproductive health course, one that parents can opt out their offspring from taking.

    The vote was put forth by the Florida Department of Education, both bodies being controlled by appointees of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has publicly stated his opposition to LGBTQ equality and civil rights. The rule goes into effect in 34 days (on 23 May 2023), according to the Florida Department of Education.

  • 55. VIRick  |  April 20, 2023 at 10:26 pm

    Paraguay: General Elections Take Place on 30 April 2023

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 30 April 2023, about 4 million Paraguayans will go to the polls from 07:00 to 17:00 to elect the country’s president and vice-president for the 2023-2028 term. Voting intention polls showed that President Mario Abdo-Benitez (Colorado Party) and former Senator Efraín Alegre (National Concertation Party) are the candidates who are likely to obtain the highest number of votes.

    Abdo-Benitez, a son of a former personal secretary of dictator Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989), has promised to defend the family's traditional values and increase the security forces’ budget and equipment.

    Meanwhile, left-wing politician Alegre pledged to fight corruption, improve access to health and education services, and establish a universal basic income. He also proposed to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage.

    Paraguayans will also choose 45 senators, 80 Lower House members, 17 governors, and 18 representatives to the Mercosur Parliament. The current electoral law only allows for a single electoral round.

    If Alegre were to actually win the presidency, and subsequently, if Paraguay were to then legalize both abortion and marriage equality, a number of major miracles will have had to occur. In many ways, Paraguay is still suffering from the lingering after-effects of the 35-year Stroessner dictatorship, despite the fact that said dictatorship supposedly ended over 34 years ago.

  • 56. ianbirmingham  |  April 21, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Outrage as Florida Republicans pass ‘fascist’ bill to remove trans kids from parents

    SB254 — which one former lawmaker has called "fascist" legislation — would allow the state to rip children from their parents when they are "at risk" or "subjected" to gender-affirming health care. The bill is written so that even a child of Floridian parents living out of state could trigger the law.

    “I can’t believe I’m writing this,” Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former House lawmaker, and the state’s first Latino LGTBQ representative, wrote on Twitter last month. “This is fascist.”

    Kara Gross, the legislative director and senior policy counsel of the ACLU in Florida, called the state's assault on trans existence "shameful."

    “It is shameful that our Florida Legislature continues to pass dangerous bills designed to silence, harm, and erase trans people in Florida," she said in a statement. "These bills directly threaten transgender Floridians’ fundamental human rights and safety. The Florida Legislature’s insistence on targeting trans people is bizarre, unnecessary, unconstitutional, and extremely dangerous."

    She said bills like Florida's make it "impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like everyone else," and that it invites abuse and hostility from the public.

    "This is state sanctioned discrimination against Florida's vibrant trans community," she said.

  • 57. ianbirmingham  |  April 21, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    Florida drag performers balance pain and defiance as anti-LGBTQ+ laws loom

    A recent New York Times report chronicles the social conservative movement’s search for a galvanizing issue after same-sex marriage became law of the land. “We threw everything at the wall,” Terry Schilling, the president of American Principles Project, told the Times. What took hold was the issue of transgender identity, particularly among youths, ranging from sports to bathrooms to parents’ rights in schools.

    A speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference called for the elimination of transgender identities, using an outdated term, “for the good of society.”

  • 58. VIRick  |  April 21, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    Kansas: Governor Vetoes 4 Anti-Transgender Bills

    On 20 April 2023, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) vetoed four anti-transgender bills, but the Republican-dominated legislature is setting up to attempt overrides. Kelly vetoed a ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors, a bill restricting restroom use, a measure requiring gender segregation according to birth sex on overnight school trips, and one mandating similar segregation in jails, "The Topeka Capital-Journal" reports.

    Kelly, who had vowed to veto any anti-LGBTQ legislation, issued a statement saying the bills were “stripping away rights.” She also said they would hurt the state’s economy.

    “Companies have made it clear that they are not interested in doing business with states that discriminate against workers and their families,” she said. “By stripping away rights from Kansans and opening the state up to expensive and unnecessary lawsuits, these bills would hurt our ability to continue breaking economic records and landing new business deals.”

  • 59. VIRick  |  April 21, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    Tennessee: ACLU/Lambda Legal File Federal Suit Over Anti-Trans Healthcare Ban

    On 20 April 2023, , the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in federal court in Nashville on behalf of three families with transgender children, and a Memphis doctor providing gender-affirming care, in order to block Tennessee SB 1.

    SB 1 was passed by state Republicans in February and signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) in early March. The law, which is set to take effect on 1 July 2023, bans Tennessee doctors from providing gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, to anyone under the age of 18. The law would also require trans young people who are already receiving gender-affirming care to end their treatment by 31 March 2024. At the time, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Tennessee said they would sue the state over the law. They have now done so.

    The federal lawsuit says that SB 1 unlawfully discriminates against transgender people based on their sex, in violation of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. It also violates prohibitions on sex discrimination in the provision of healthcare, as found in the Affordable Care Act.

  • 60. ianbirmingham  |  April 22, 2023 at 5:54 am

    ACLU certainly has its hands full with all the unconstitutional bigotry coming from the Republican party right now. I'm very proud to be a card-carrying member and longtime supporter of the ACLU. Join here:

  • 61. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 23, 2023 at 5:14 am

    Here is a link to the complaint document PDF

  • 62. VIRick  |  April 26, 2023 at 6:19 pm

    Tennessee: DOJ Files Suit Challenging Law Banning Transgender Healthcare

    On 26 April 2023, the Justice Dept. filed a federal complaint challenging Tennessee Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), a recently enacted law that denies necessary medical care to youth based solely on who they are. The complaint alleges that SB 1’s ban on providing certain medically necessary care to transgender minors violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The department is also asking the court to issue an immediate order to prevent the law from going into effect on 1 July 2023.

    SB 1 makes it unlawful to provide or offer to provide certain types of medical care for transgender minors with diagnosed gender dysphoria. SB 1’s blanket ban prohibits potential treatment options that have been recommended by major medical associations for consideration in limited circumstances in accordance with established and comprehensive guidelines and standards of care. By denying only transgender youth access to these forms of medically necessary care while allowing non-transgender minors access to the same or similar procedures, SB 1 discriminates against transgender youth. The department’s complaint alleges that SB 1 violates the Equal Protection Clause by discriminating on the basis of both sex and transgender status. Doctors, parents, and anyone else who provides or offers to provide the prohibited care faces the possibility of civil suits for 30 years and other sanctions.

    As further noted by the DOJ concerning similar legislation in Alabama:

    On 29 April 2022, the Justice Department intervened in a federal lawsuit challenging a law in Alabama (Senate Bill 184) that imposes a felony ban on medically necessary care for transgender minors. As a result of that litigation, the most significant provisions of Alabama SB184 have been preliminarily halted from going into effect, and the United States continues to challenge its constitutionality.

  • 63. VIRick  |  April 21, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    Minnesota: Bill Passes to Ban "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 21 April 2023, the Minnesota state legislature passed HF 16, a bill to ban "conversion therapy." The measure now heads to the Governor, who has pledged to sign it.

  • 64. VIRick  |  April 21, 2023 at 10:06 pm

    Tennessee Legislature Has Adjourned for the Year

    Per "The Tennessee Holler:"

    So, after 1 Governor in drag, 1 Lt. Governor thirsting for almost-naked twinks on Instagram, 1 resigned sexual harasser, 2 expelled young Black Democrats, countless questions around the Speaker, (at least 1 massive federal lawsuit filed), and 0 common-sense gun laws later… (on 21 April,) the Tennessee legislature adjourned for 2023.

  • 65. ianbirmingham  |  April 22, 2023 at 5:41 am

    Alabama education director ousted over usage of a teacher training book written by a nationally recognized education group

    Barbara Cooper was forced out as as head of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education after Ivey expressed concern over the distribution of the book to state-run pre-kindergartens. [Governor Kay] Ivey spokesperson Gina Maiola identified the book as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice Book, 4th edition. Maiola said she understands that the books have been removed from the state classrooms.

    The governor’s office said Ivey first asked Cooper to “send a memo to disavow this book and to immediately discontinue its use.” Ivey's office did not say how Cooper responded but that the governor made the decision to replace Cooper and accepted her resignation. Cooper could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The book is a guide for early childhood educators. It is not a curriculum taught to children.

    The governor’s office, in a press release, cited two examples from the book — one discussing white privilege and that “the United States is built on systemic and structural racism” and another that Ivey's office claimed teaches LGBTQ+ inclusion to 4-year-olds. Those sections, according to a copy of the 881-page book obtained by The Associated Press, discuss combating bias and making sure that all children feel welcome.

    “Early childhood programs also serve and welcome families that represent many compositions. Children from all families (e.g., single parent, grandparent-led, foster, LGBTQIA+) need to hear and see messages that promote equality, dignity, and worth,” the book states.

  • 66. VIRick  |  April 22, 2023 at 10:14 am

    Australia: Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) Obituary

    Australian comedian and actor Barry Humphries, with a career spanning over 60 years, and who is best known for his drag alter-ego Dame Edna Everage, has died at age 89.

    Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote on Twitter: "For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone. But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry. A great wit, satirist, writer, and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift."

    Dame Edna, who first appeared in a comedy skit in 1955, was best known for her catchphrase, "Hello, Possums!," her lavender-colored hair, and her rhinestone glasses.

    Humphries, who was born in Melbourne in 1934, died at a Sydney hospital after being readmitted Wednesday, 19 April, following surgery on his hip last month, according to the "New York Times."

    "A stiletto-heeled, stiletto-tongued persona who might well have been the spawn of a ménage à quatre involving Oscar Wilde, Salvador Dalí, Auntie Mame, and Miss Piggy, Dame Edna was not so much a character as a cultural phenomenon, a force of nature trafficking in wicked, sequined commentary on the nature of fame," the paper writes.

  • 67. ianbirmingham  |  April 23, 2023 at 7:14 am

    President Biden leads charge to protect LGBTQ rights as GOP legislates culture wars ahead of 2024

    Many Americans don’t know what it means to be transgender or are unfamiliar with the transgender community, and extremist politicians are using that to stoke fear and to score political points, said Ash Orr, spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality.

    Biden, who supported same-sex marriage before many other Democrats were on board, has also been out front attacking those who attack transgender Americans. He and other members of his administration have publicly condemned new anti-LGBTQ laws as cruel, dangerous and even immoral.

    “Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know. But no person should have to be brave just to live in safety and dignity,” Biden said in a statement posted on his official @POTUS Twitter account on March 31 to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility.
    White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the first out gay woman to hold the post, has used the briefing room podium and her official Twitter account multiple times to condemn what she calls "shameful, hateful and dangerous attacks" by GOP lawmakers and others against LGTBQ people.

    The administration’s campaign to protect LGBTQ rights isn’t limited to speaking out against the spate of new state laws. Biden has taken action on several fronts to shield the LGBTQ community.

    In December, Biden signed legislation writing protections for same-sex marriage into federal law amid fears the Supreme Court might revisit its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex nuptials.
    In his first week in office, Biden signed executive orders revoking a Trump-era ban on transgender individuals serving in the military and barring discrimination in the federal government on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. He also has appointed LGBTQ Americans in prominent positions throughout his administration.

  • 68. ianbirmingham  |  April 23, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    Hungarian president vetoes anti-LGBTQ law

    Hungary’s president has vetoed a law widely seen as being discriminatory toward LGBTQ+ people, urging parliament to strike a controversial paragraph that would make it legal to anonymously report certain same-sex couples to the government.

    The Hungarian parliament approved a law earlier this month that in theory transposes an EU directive protecting whistleblowers, but would also allow make it possible for people to report on those who challenge the “constitutionally recognized role of marriage and the family” and those who contest children’s rights “to an identity appropriate to their sex at birth.”

    This, Hungarian President Katalin Novak said in a letter to the National Assembly, goes beyond transposing EU law, as the controversial chapter “does not strengthen but rather weakens the the protection of fundamental values.”

    Lawmakers can still override Novak’s veto, Bloomberg reported. Regardless, this constitutes a rare rebuke of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

    Orbán has been clamping down on LGBTQ+ rights for more than a decade. A year after he came to power, in 2010, his party passed a new constitution that bans same-sex marriage. Later, the document was amended to bar same-sex couples from adopting children.

    This has pit Budapest against Brussels, with the European Commission taking Hungary to the bloc’s highest courts for passing a law that the EU executive believes discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

    The “anti-propaganda” law where Hungary is seeking to ban content that “promotes or portrays” what it refers to as “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality” to minors.

    The European Parliament and European Commission, along with more than a dozen European countries, have joined the lawsuit against the law.

  • 69. VIRick  |  April 24, 2023 at 11:58 am

    Texas: The "Nightmare" Legislature Is Only Beginning Its Onslaught

    LGBTQ activists and many Texas Democratic lawmakers are bracing for a months-long fight. Many say the proposed measures amount to attempts to minimize queer expression and restrict people’s rights. One such group, Equality Texas, has identified more than 90 “bad bills” filed so far this session, already more than the total identified by the group in 2021 during a full session and three special sessions. The clash comes at a time when 72% of Texans support anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ persons.

    One bill signaling a slightly more positive shift in opinion toward the LGBTQ community is House Bill 2055, which would repeal the state law criminalizing gay sex. The law, on the books for 50 years, cannot be enforced after the US Supreme Court declared that it, and 12 similar laws across the country, were unconstitutional in 2003. The legislation has bipartisan support. The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee unanimously advanced the bill on 4 April, but it has not yet come to the House floor.

    The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee unanimously voted in favor of HB 2055 by Rep. Venton Jones, D-Dallas, on 5 April. The law would repeal the “sodomy ban” established in 1973, which made it illegal to engage in anal or oral intercourse with someone of the same sex. The bill awaits action by the full lower chamber. Its Senate counterpart, SB 2046, has not yet been taken up by the Senate State Affairs Committee.

    That was the "good" news. Now, one can wade through the remainder of the many, many anti-LGBT proposals, particularly the multiple anti-trans bills, in this extended report here:

  • 70. ianbirmingham  |  April 25, 2023 at 4:20 am

    It's like a horror movie: 'Return of the Republican Freedom-Hating Zombies'

  • 71. VIRick  |  April 24, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    Missouri: State Sued Over "Emergency Rule" Banning Gender Affirming Healthcare

    On 24 April 2023, advocacy groups sued the Missouri Attorney-General after he declared an “emergency rule” limiting transgender care for minors and adults, a rule that was expected to go into effect this week. Petitioners sued to stop the rule, asking the Circuit Court of Saint Louis County to declare it invalid “due to the Attorney-General’s lack of statutory authority to promulgate it,” in addition to other legal arguments, according to the petition filed by advocacy groups representing Southampton Community Healthcare in St. Louis and several providers and patients.

    “The Rule targets gender-affirming care with unprecedented and unique restrictions so onerous that it effectively prohibits the provision of this necessary, safe, and effective care for many, if not most, transgender people in Missouri,” the petition says. The suit also seeks a stay on the rule’s expected 27 April start date, and requests that the court award reasonable fees and expenses, as well as any relief the court deems just and proper.

  • 72. ianbirmingham  |  April 26, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    Ukraine: Pro-SSM petition attains 25K signatures; President must now consider it

    The authors of the petition ask to support the introduction of same-sex partnerships in Ukraine and to actively promote the adoption of Bill No. 9103. This draft law envisages granting same-sex and different-sex couples the status of close relatives without the need to marry.

    The main author of the petition believes that society is ready for it. He cites a poll carried out by the National Democratic Institute and the Kiev International Institute of Sociology in which 56 per cent of Ukrainians support the introduction of civil partnerships for LGBT people and only 24 per cent are against it.

  • 73. VIRick  |  April 26, 2023 at 8:14 pm

    Missouri: Judge Blocks Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare from Taking Effect

    On 26 April 2023, a state judge in Missouri temporarily blocked the state’s limits on gender-affirming care for minors and adults in the state, putting them on hold just hours before they were set to go into effect. In a brief order from St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo, the court essentially bought itself more time to consider whether it should issue emergency relief in a lawsuit seeking to strike down the restrictions.

    Ribaudo said she would issue a decision on the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order by next Monday, 1 May 2023, saying she wanted more time to review briefs that will be submitted by Republican Attorney-General Andrew Bailey, who issued the new restrictions. “The Attorney-General has not yet filed their brief in opposition, which the court would like to review,” the order read.

    The draconian restrictions were set to go into effect on 27 April, but Ribaudo’s order means that, for now, some of the nation’s most wide-reaching limits on gender-affirming care will be paused for at least several days. "We are glad that the court is taking this seriously, and we hope that the rule will be enjoined after she considers all the evidence in front of her,” said Gillian Wilcox, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, which is providing representation to the plaintiffs in the case.

  • 74. VIRick  |  April 26, 2023 at 10:22 pm

    Florida: Disney Filed Federal Suit against State over "Don't Say Gay" Law

    Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has sued Florida Gov. Ron De Santis and other state officials, saying the state’s assertion of control over Disney property is retaliation for the company’s opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.

    “A targeted campaign of government retaliation — orchestrated at every step by Governor De Santis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech — now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights,” says the suit, filed on 26 April 2023 in US District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

    Since 1967, Disney has had a special tax district, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District that includes Walt Disney World, the theme park near Orlando. The district gives the company “unusual control over fire protection, policing, waste management, energy generation, road maintenance, bond issuance and development planning,” the New York Times" explains.

    In February, state legislators dissolved Reedy Creek and empowered De Santis to appoint a board to oversee a renamed district, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors. Before the new board was seated, however, the existing one, appointed by the company, had approved a plan for Disney to build more theme parks and thousands of new hotel rooms in the district. It also limited some uses of nearby land. These actions would have limited the De Santis board’s ability to manage the area’s development, so when that board came in on 26 April 2023, it nullified the previous board’s approval. Disney filed the lawsuit just minutes later.

  • 75. ianbirmingham  |  April 27, 2023 at 6:36 am

    Supreme Court on ethics issues: Not broken, no fix needed

    The justices' response on Tuesday struck some critics and ethics experts as tone deaf at a time of heightened attention on the justices' travel and private business transactions.

    Charles Geyh, an Indiana University law professor and legal ethics expert, said everything the justices detailed Tuesday evening about ethics was essentially outlined in Chief Justice John Roberts' annual year-end report from 2011, more than a decade ago.

    “They’re basically saying … What we’ve been doing is just fine. Let’s just re-say it for those of you at the back…That just strikes me as, you know, pretty empty,” Geyh said.

    The series of revelations has provoked outcry and calls for reform particularly from Democrats. On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Angus King, the independent from Maine, announced legislation that would require the Supreme Court to create a code of conduct and appoint an official to oversee potential conflicts and public complaints. Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Supreme Court ethics reform.

    Kathleen Clark, a legal ethics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said in her view the problem is that the justices “have not been subjected to basic accountability that just about everybody else in the federal government has to comply with.”

    What was striking to her about the statement, she said, was “a failure to grapple with the fundamental problem of lack of accountability.” The justices "seem to be utterly clueless about the problem they have … They're in a bubble apparently. They don't see what a big problem they have with the lack of accountability,” she said.

  • 76. VIRick  |  April 27, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Minnesota: Laws Signed to Ban "Conversion Therapy"/Protect Transgender Healthcare

    On 26 April 2023, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed three laws, one that bans "conversion therapy," another that protects access to abortion rights, and a third that protects access to gender-affirming healthcare. The laws will defend LGBTQ persons, as well as reproductive rights, against attacks on both by Republican legislators nationwide.

    Minnesota is now the 22nd state to ban "conversion therapy," and is one of 5 to guarantee access to gender-affirming healthcare by law.

    According to a map provided by LGBT Marriage News, 21 states plus DC and Puerto Rico have banned "conversion therapy" on minors, as have at least 54 jurisdictions (mostly municipalities, plus a few counties) in 14 additional states. Although not an outright ban, 4 more states do not allow any governmental funds to be spent on "conversion therapy."

  • 77. VIRick  |  April 27, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    Moldova: Same-Sex Couple Sues State for Legal Recognition

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Two activists from Moldova’s LGBT community, Angelica Frolov and Leo Zbanke, have filed an action in the country’s courts demanding that the state recognize them as a couple. Their action comes after the Public Services Agency (ASP) previously refused to register their union because they are of the same sex, and Moldovan legislation does not currently allow for this.

    Frolov stated that it does not matter whether the state recognizes their relationship as marriage, partnership, or cohabitation. “Call it what you want, but let us have all the rights available to any married couple in Moldova. I am a taxpayer and a citizen of Moldova. I have every justification for demanding from the state what belongs to me – equal rights,” she wrote.

    The couple’s action comes after the European Court of Human Rights on 17 January 2023 ruled that member countries of the Council of Europe, including Moldova, must recognize and protect by law families formed by people of the same sex. If Moldova does not comply with the European court’s decision on same-sex couples, after this approach in the Moldovan courts, Angelica Frolov and Leo Zbanke said they would seek justice before the ECtHR.

  • 78. VIRick  |  April 28, 2023 at 7:13 am

    North Dakota: Anti-Trans "Bathroom" Bill Signed into Law

    North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has signed an anti-transgender “bathroom" bill into law, the eighth anti-LGBTQ measure he has signed this year. The legislation, HB 1473, bars trans persons from using restrooms, showers, and changing rooms consistent with their gender identity in domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities, and dormitories at public colleges and universities, although dorm administrators can make “reasonable accommodation” upon request, the bill states.

    Burgum signed it on 25 April 2023 and announced the action on 26 April, the Associated Press reports. He declined further comment on the legislation. Several more anti-LGBTQ bills are pending in the legislature, and North Dakota could end up passing more homophobic and transphobic legislation than any other state this year, the Human Rights Campaign reports.

  • 79. ianbirmingham  |  April 28, 2023 at 10:52 am

    Democrats face a daunting 2024 Senate map that puts them on defense in 23 of the cycle’s 34 races

    West Virginia: Manchin’s biggest possible GOP rival could be West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, reportedly the state’s richest man and a favored contender for the Senate race. Election analysts at Sabato’s Crystal Ball in January gave West Virginia a “Leans R” rating, making it the most vulnerable Democrat-held Senate seat of the cycle.

    Arizona: If Sinema runs, the Arizona Senate race could become a three-way matchup. It’s far from clear who would have the advantage in the swing state, which Biden won over Trump in 2020 by less than one percentage point.

    Montana: Sen. Jon Tester is one of three Democrats in the 2024 cycle who is defending a seat in a state that voted for Trump in the last presidential election. The Republican ex-president won Montana by about 16 points in 2020. Tester’s seat is considered a toss-up by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, though the Cook Political Report says the seat leans in Democrats’ favor.

    Ohio: Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has held his seat since 2007, and he has already announced his plans for a fourth term in office. But the 2024 Senate race in Ohio is currently considered a toss-up, as Republicans have made significant gains in the state in the last two election cycles.

  • 80. ianbirmingham  |  April 28, 2023 at 10:58 am

    In Arizona, Ruben Gallego should (with our firm support) be elected to the US Senate, and in Ohio Sherrod Brown should (with our firm support) be re-elected. These two are very reliable Democrats.

    West Virginia is a basket case. All we can do there is hold our noses and hope.

    Montana is a difficult state. Not so much nose-holding, but let's hope Tester makes it.

  • 81. scream4ever  |  April 28, 2023 at 6:02 pm

    Tester is usually reliable.

  • 82. ianbirmingham  |  April 28, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    GOP-controlled North Carolina Supreme Court reverses rulings that struck down partisan gerrymanders by Republican lawmakers

    The ruling is a victory for the GOP state legislature, which brought the case back to the state Supreme Court after Republicans flipped seats on the court in the midterms, giving them the majority. The GOP legislature had also taken the case to the US Supreme Court – where Republicans were pushing an aggressive theory that would limit the role state courts can play in election disputes – and it is unclear whether Friday’s ruling prompts the US Supreme Court to dismiss the case that is before it.

    The 5-2 opinion was written by Chief Justice Paul Newby, who was joined by the four other Republican members of the court. Democratic Justice Anita Earls wrote a dissent joined by Justice Michael Morgan, a fellow Democrat.

    The ruling is a major loss for the voting rights groups that had challenged the congressional plan that had been drawn by the Republican legislature after the 2020 census, as the ruling will prevent them from going to state court in the future to bring claims of extreme partisan gerrymandering against North Carolina maps.

    The court also reversed its decision to block the state’s 2018 voter ID law. The court had held last year that the law was “motivated by a racially discriminatory purpose”.

  • 83. ianbirmingham  |  April 28, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Kansas: Veto override enacts sweeping transgender ‘bathroom bill’

    Republican legislators in Kansas on Thursday enacted what LGBTQ rights groups have characterized as one of the most sweeping and restrictive transgender bathroom bills in U.S. history, overriding Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of the measure.

    The Kansas House voted 84-40 Thursday to override Kelly’s veto of Senate Bill 180, which defines sex in state law to mean an “individual’s biological sex, either male or female, at birth.” The Senate voted 28-12 on Wednesday to do the same.

    The measure, which will take effect July 1, also legally defines women as individuals “whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova” and men as individuals “whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.”

  • 84. VIRick  |  April 28, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    Montana: Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Trans Minors Signed into Law

    On 28 April 2023, Montana became the latest state to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth, after Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed a bill that was passed in the legislature last week. The bill restricts the use of hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and surgeries on people under age 18 for the purposes of gender transitioning.

    The bill passed along party lines on 18 April, after Gianforte vetoed an original version of the bill and asked for new definitions for male and female. The law, which also makes medical professionals liable to penalties for offering the gender affirming services to youth, is slated to go into effect on 1 October 2023.

    Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Montana have said they would file a court challenge against the ban.

    Fourteen other states also block trans minors from access to these medical procedures.

  • 85. ianbirmingham  |  May 1, 2023 at 11:11 am

    LGBTQ+ rights situation at home drives young Slovaks abroad

    Members of the LGBTQ+ community are worried about what they see as a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being submitted to the Slovak parliament — the Slovak National Council — by both MPs and the government.

    "The Slovak National Council recently rejected a European Parliament resolution calling for better protection of queer citizens. That and other laws being discussed by politicians show us that many of them do not hesitate to abuse this topic and foment society against us," says Samotny.

    Gay people in Slovakia can neither marry nor enter into civil partnerships. Only one party — Sloboda a Solidarita (Freedom and Solidarity) — has proposed a bill on the introduction of civil partnerships. But Slovakia's parliament rejected the proposal, and no other attempts have been made to submit proposals protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community since.

    Marian Kukelka, a 40-year-old journalist, has been with his partner for 13 years. They want to marry, but cannot do so in Slovakia. "Austria is just across the border and it does allow gay marriage. Even though it wouldn't be legally recognized here in Slovakia, we see it as a symbolic gesture," he told DW.

  • 86. ianbirmingham  |  May 2, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Former Equality Florida governmental affairs manager and 3-term State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith raises more than $80,000 in just three weeks after announcing his State Senate candidacy in District 17

    “Carlos’ record of fighting for equality and progressive values has clearly resonated with voters, donors, and working families.” said Shayne Cheshire, Smith’s fundraiser.

    “By this time last cycle our current coalition of 12 Senators had received 49 grassroots contributions combined, while Carlos has received 571 in three weeks. This early fundraising success shows that our campaign has the momentum and support needed to win next year.”

    Smith has quickly rallied Democratic leaders in the Legislature and the Orlando area behind his campaign. He boasts endorsements from U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, state Sens. Lori Berman, Shevrin Jones, Geraldine Thompson and Victor Torres, and state Reps. LaVon Bracy Davis, Anna Eskamani, Rita Harris and Johanna López.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!