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5/29 open thread


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  • 1. VIRick  |  May 29, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    Missouri Attorney-General Curtly Told to "Google What Police Do"

    The Missouri Attorney-General has been told to “Google what police do” after telling cops to enforce a trans healthcare ban, given that the self-same head legal officer for the state does not seem to even know the difference between criminal and civil penalties. Missouri Attorney-General Andrew Bailey (R) is being thoroughly mocked for failing to understand the role of police officers after he demanded that they enforce a gender-affirming care ban that is outside their jurisdiction.

    The Missouri state legislature recently passed a bill banning trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care. While it has not yet been signed by Gov. Mike Parson (R), the City Council of Kansas City has already declared itself a sanctuary city for gender-affirming care in anticipation of Parson’s likely approval of the bill.

    In response, Bailey sent a letter to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners asking them to “do something unprecedented and radical” after he claimed the City Council “publicly urged you to disregard your duty to enforce this critical legislation. It is the Board’s constitutional duty to enforce the law and ensure that children are protected from these dangerous experimental gender transition interventions," he wrote. He further said that supporting the City Council’s resolution “would not only harm children, but would also be a flagrant violation of the Board’s legal duties.”

    In a statement responding to Bailey’s directive, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves explained that the legislation purports civil, not criminal, penalties and thus does not involve police enforcement. Others were not quite as reserved with their feelings about Bailey’s words, given that Bailey has made banning gender-affirming care his singular, myopically-focused mission in Missouri.….

  • 2. VIRick  |  May 29, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    Uganda: President Signs "Anti-Homosexuality Act" into Law

    On 29 May 2023, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the latest Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act , 2023, into law, including the portion that calls for the death penalty for anyone found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”

    In 2014, Museveni, with the support of anti-LGBTQ evangelicals from the US, signed an earlier version of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, one that imposed a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts. The law was known as the “Kill the Gays” bill because it had previously contained a death penalty provision. Later, the Uganda Constitutional Court struck down the entire 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act on a technicality having to do with improper legislative process during the time of the Act's passage.. The new 2023 version is basically a "rinse and repeat" of that 2014 law which was already struck down once.

    Meanwhile, Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesara, an Uganda LGBTQ and intersex activist, and Sexual Minorities Uganda Executive Director Frank Mugisha are among the plaintiffs who have already challenged the constitutionality of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, at the Uganda Constitutional Court. They did so on the same 29 May date, immediately after Museveni signed the measure into law.

  • 3. VIRick  |  May 30, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    Japan: Nagoya District Court Rules that the LGBT Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 30 May 2023, a Japanese court became the country's second to rule that the lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, in a move likely to add pressure on the government to accelerate efforts to do more to protect sexual minorities.

    However, the Nagoya District Court, ruling on a lawsuit filed in February 2019 by a male couple in their 30s from Aichi Prefecture, after their attempt to register as a married couple was not accepted, dismissed their demand for the state to pay them each 1 million yen ($7,100) in compensation, and also stopped short of acknowledging that the legislative body had neglected to take action.

    Still, the ruling said that current laws in Japan do not "even provide a framework to protect the relationships of same-sex couples," thus violating Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures the right to equality, as well as violating Article 24 of the Constitution, one that guarantees the freedom of marriage.

    This latest ruling, the fourth among five similar lawsuits, follows the Sapporo District Court's landmark verdict of March 2021 that said that not recognizing same-sex marriage under civil and family registration laws violates Article 14 of the Constitution.The Nagoya District Court ruling, however, is the first to acknowledge the violation of multiple constitutional articles over this same issue.

    As for Article 24, the Nagoya court acknowledged a violation of the section that states that laws concerning matters pertaining to marriage and family "shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes."

  • 4. VIRick  |  May 31, 2023 at 10:51 am

    Guatemala: Only One Presidential Candidate in Favor of Marriage Equality

    El candidato presidencial guatemalteco Manuel Villacorta asegura que está a favor del matrimonio igualitario en el país centroamericano, y que de ganar las elecciones el próximo 25 de junio, presentará una reforma para su legalización en una de las naciones "más conservadoras de la región."

    Villacorta es uno de los 22 candidatos que permanecen en la lucha por la presidencia de Guatemala, y es el único en un mar de propuestas conservadoras, que ha plantado una
    postura abierta sobre el matrimonio igualitario y los derechos de la diversidad sexual.

    Guatemalan presidential candidate Manuel Villacorta assures us that he is in favor of marriage equality in the Central American country, and that if he wins election on 25 June, he will present a reform for its legalization in one of the "most conservative nations in the region."

    Villacorta is one of 22 candidates who remain in the fight for the presidency of Guatemala, and is the only one in a sea of conservatives who has staked an open position concerning marriage equality and the rights of sexual diversity.

  • 5. VIRick  |  May 31, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Latvia: Parliament Elects New, Gay Head of State for 4-Year Term

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 31 May 2023, the 100-member Saeima (parliament) elected the long-serving, popular Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkevics, as President. He has been Latvia's top diplomat since 2011 and is a strong backer of Ukraine.

    Rinkevics, who announced in 2014 that he is “proudly” homosexual, will be the first openly gay president in the Baltic nations, all former Soviet republics where attitudes to sexual minorities have been less tolerant than in Western Europe. He has advocated for LGBT civil unions in the past, although parliament killed a bill for such in 2022. Courts in Latvia have since created a form of civil union for LGBT couples.

    Latvia’s presidency is largely a ceremonial post and the head of state acts mainly as an opinion leader and uniting figure in the country where almost one-third of residents speak Russian. The president represents Latvia abroad, acts as the supreme commander of the armed forces, signs bills into law, nominates the Prime Minister, and has the right to dissolve Parliament. Rinkevics will be sworn-in on 8 July.

  • 6. ianbirmingham  |  June 1, 2023 at 9:23 am

    Los Angeles: Bigots burn a trans teacher's Pride flag, organize anti-Pride protest

    A transgender teacher's Pride flag was burned after an intruder broke into Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood over the weekend and set the flag on fire.

    The full-time teacher, who is a transgender man, discovered its remains in a plant pot which was also broken.

    He has now been removed from the school by the Los Angeles Unified School District over concerns for his safety.

    The incident comes after parents set up an Instagram account on May 16 called 'saticoyelementaryparents' to protest against the school's upcoming Pride assembly where teachers read a Mary Hoffman book titled 'The Great Big Book of Families'.

    It talks about diversity and 'all kinds of families' including those with LGBTQ+ parents.

    And just three days later, parents took their children out of a class which was being taught by a transgender substitute teacher, three school sources said.

    The teacher is said to have previously worked at the school without any problems before the backlash over the Pride event.

  • 7. VIRick  |  June 1, 2023 at 2:50 pm

    Idaho: Trans Teens Sue State over Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    Two Idaho families with transgender children have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s law that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to trans minors. House Bill 71, signed into law by Gov. Brad Little (R) in April, deems the delivery of any such care to be a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The law is set to go into effect in January 2024, but the lawsuit seeks to keep that from happening.

    “The Idaho State Legislature has taken the extraordinary step of criminalizing the provision of well-accepted medical care,” reads the suit, filed on 31 May 2023 in US District Court for Idaho. “Under HB 71, an Idaho doctor faces 10 years in prison for providing to a transgender minor healthcare that is supported by every major medical organization in the United States, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.”

    The ban “also infringes on a fundamental right — parents’ right to make decisions about their own children’s medical care,” the suit continues. Both this right and the right to equal protection make the law subject to strict scrutiny by the court, it notes. It seeks to have the ban declared unconstitutional and unenforceable, as it violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

    Plaintiffs in the suit are two trans teens, identified by the pseudonyms Jane Doe and Pam Poe, and their parents. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, its Idaho affiliate, and the law firms Wrest Collective; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; and Groombridge, Wu, Baughman & Stone LLP. Named as defendants are Idaho Attorney-General Raúl Labrador; Jan M. Bennetts, county prosecuting attorney for Ada County, Idaho; and members of the Idaho Code Commission.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  June 1, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    Florida faces ‘mass migration’ as trans people flee state in fear of Ron DeSantis’ ‘hateful bills’

  • 9. VIRick  |  June 1, 2023 at 7:24 pm

    ECHR Rules Ukraine Must Provide Equal Legal Protections for Same-Sex Couples

    On 1 June 2023, Europe’s top rights court ruled that Ukraine violated the human rights of a gay couple who had been denied legal recognition of their relationship, in the latest in a series of rulings against member states that have not yet legalized same-sex marriage.

    The European Court of Human Rights found that by treating straight and gay couples differently, Ukraine had violated the European Convention on Human Rights and said that the country must provide equal legal protections for same-sex couples, although it is free to restrict the use of the word "marriage" to heterosexual relationships.

    The two men, Andriy Maymulakhin and Andriy Markiv, have been together for nearly 15 years. In 2014, they applied for a marriage license from municipal authorities, a request that was denied on the grounds that the Ukrainian constitution limits marriage to a union between one man and one woman. The couple then filed a complaint with the ECHR, created in 1953 to protect the civil and political rights of Europeans.

    When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Markiv then joined the National Guard of Ukraine to defend his country. As he did not have a wife, he was informed that in the event of his death, his mother would be notified, not his partner. The panel awarded the men 14,064 euros ($15,000) in damages and costs, including the 32 euros ($34) that each had paid to have wills notarized, since they could not inherit from one another without such written legal contract.

    Last month, the court issued a similar decision in a case involving 21 gay Romanian couples. Of the 46 member states in the Council of Europe, the body overseeing the ECHR, 30 offer same-sex couples either marriage or an equal form of legal partnership.

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  June 2, 2023 at 8:17 am

    Utah school district removes The Bible from school libraries after a parent complains it's 'one of the most sex-ridden books around'

    The Davis School District review committee decided to pull The Bible from all schools other than those at a high school level after a parent filed a challenge last year, citing passages that describe sex and violence.

    It is understood that the challenge was first made on December 11 by a parent who wrote in their complaint they were frustrated with books being deemed 'inappropriate' by conservative groups and removed from schools in recent months.

    Listing topics found in the religious text the parent said were concerning, they wrote: 'Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide,' according to the Tribune.

    'You'll no doubt find that The Bible, under Utah Code Ann.§76-10-1227, has 'no serious values for minors' because it's pornographic by our new definition,' they said.

    Currently, Davis School District has other religious texts — including the Book of Mormon, Torah and Quran — available to check out without age restrictions. Those have not been challenged.

  • 11. VIRick  |  June 2, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    Kentucky Families Sue State over Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    Seven Kentucky families have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s recently passed ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors. Kentucky’s SB 150, passed into law over the veto of Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in March, is one of the most extreme among a tidal wave of laws recently enacted in retrograde, Republican-dominated red-state legislatures. The Kentucky law is set to go into effect from 29 June 2023.

    Since late May, the 7 families of transgender youth, represented by the ACLU of Kentucky and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, have already filed for a preliminary injunction to block the state from enforcing said ban. On 1 June 2023, the US Department of Justice joined the challenge with an amicus brief supporting the call for an injunction.

    In addition to banning gender-affirming care for trans youth, SB 150 also denies use of bathrooms aligning with gender identity in schools, conflates and excludes LGBTQ-related topics and information on sexually transmitted diseases from sex education, and prohibits school staff and students from properly addressing trans-identifying minors. These other provisions in the extreme law have not yet been challenged.

    Besides the Justice Department, a group of 22 organizations representing healthcare professionals and medical groups are seeking permission to submit an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs. In a statement, the ACLU called SB 150 an egregious government overreach into the families’ personal decision-making.

    Meanwhile, Kentucky Attorney-General Daniel Cameron (R) filed a motion to intervene to defend the law.

  • 12. VIRick  |  June 2, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Maryland: Prince George's County Library Launches Banned Book Club

    The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System has launched its Banned Book Club, one that will feature monthly discussions of the top 13 banned books from 2022, most of which focus on LGBTQ-specific themes.

    The club’s first discussion, which will take place at the Hyattsville Branch Library on 14 June 2023, will be on “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe.

  • 13. VIRick  |  June 2, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    Texas: Governor Signs Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Minors

    On 2 June 2023, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law a ban on gender-affirming healthcare for most minors in the state, making Texas the latest and largest state in the US to place restrictions on transgender youth’s access to critical care.

    Senate Bill 14 bars healthcare providers from providing gender transition surgeries, puberty blocking medication, or hormone therapies to those under 18 in Texas, with violators at risk of losing their licenses. It takes effect from 1 September 2023.

    The law makes minor exceptions for children who had begun receiving non-surgical gender-affirming care before 1 June 2023, and underwent 12 or more sessions of mental health counseling or psychotherapy six months prior to beginning prescription drug care. Trans youth to whom those exceptions apply can continue their care but must “wean” off from the treatment with the help of their doctor.

    At least 20 states have now passed legislation banning or severely restricting gender-affirming healthcare for minors, including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

    To date, states that have already been sued over said restrictive legislation include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The partial Arizona ban only applies to gender-affirming surgery, which, in any event, is not performed on minors. The partial Georgia ban also contains multiple caveats.

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  June 3, 2023 at 5:55 am

    Picture of Street Pride in Taipei, Taiwan

  • 15. VIRick  |  June 3, 2023 at 8:14 am

    Tennessee Anti-Drag Law Ruled Unconstitutional

    After a two-day trial, on 2 June 2023, a federal judge for the western district of Tennessee ruled that a Tennessee law restricting drag shows under the guise of “adult entertainment” is unconstitutional. The anti-drag legislation, the Adult Entertainment Act (AEA), was signed into law in March by Gov. Bill Lee (R). It passed along with a bill banning gender-affirming care for youth, and was set to take effect from 1 April 2023 until it was blocked by a temporary injunction issued just hours beforehand.

    In his ruling, US District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker, a Trump appointee, wrote, “The Tennessee General Assembly can certainly use its mandate to pass laws that their communities demand.” He added, “But that mandate as to speech is limited by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which commands that laws infringing on the Freedom of Speech must be narrow and well-defined. The AEA is neither.”

    The drag-centric, Memphis-based theater group, Friends of George’s, brought the federal suit in late March.

    The entire ruling in "Friends of Georges Inc. v. Mulroy" is here:

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  June 3, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Federal Judge rules Tennessee drag ban is unconstitutional

    U. S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker of the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee declared Tennessee’s anti-drag Adult Entertainment Act to be unconstitutional.

    A Shelby County-Memphis based LGBTQ theatre company, Friends of George’s, had sued the state of Tennessee, claiming the law unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

    In his 70 page ruling Friday, June 2, 2023, Parker wrote:

    “After considering the briefs and evidence presented at trial, the Court finds that—despite
    Tennessee’s compelling interest in protecting the psychological and physical wellbeing of
    children—the Adult Entertainment Act (“AEA”) is an UNCONSTITUTIONAL restriction on
    the freedom of speech.”

    “The Court concludes that the AEA is both unconstitutionally vague and substantially
    overbroad. The AEA’s “harmful to minors” standard applies to minors of all ages, so it fails to provide fair notice of what is prohibited, and it encourages discriminatory enforcement. The AEA is substantially overbroad because it applies to public property or “anywhere” a minor could be present.”

    Read the entire ruling here:

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  June 4, 2023 at 7:16 am

    A Utah school district removed the Bible from some school libraries. Now it’s received a request to review the Book of Mormon

    The Salt Lake Tribune reported the request calls for the book to be reviewed because it contains violence, including battles, beheadings, and kidnappings.

    Utah Library Association president Patrick Hoecherl told CNN this year has seen an “increase in challenges” toward books in school libraries across Utah.

    But he said most of the requests for removals or bans come from a small minority of parents, and do not reflect most parents’ attitudes.

    “Really, most parents strongly oppose pulling books from school library shelves,” he said. “They trust their local librarians and teachers over government officials to work with parents locally to make decisions on what books are appropriate for kids.”

    Hoecherl cited the 2022 American Family Survey, conducted by Deseret News and the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University. The study found just 12% of respondents agreed books should be removed from libraries if a parent objects, and only 16% believed public school libraries include inappropriate books on their shelves.

    He added although the Utah law only specifically prohibits sexual content, in practice, it has mostly been used to target books discussing LGBTQ+ issues and race.

    “That’s concerning to us because we know that pulling books based on topic or viewpoint is a clear violation of the First Amendment,” he said.

    “As librarians we want to be providing access to kids,” he said. “It’s important to us that kids have a variety of different viewpoints that are available to them so that they can understand their world and learn about these great works of literature.”

  • 18. VIRick  |  June 4, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    Thailand: Move Forward Party Pledges to Legalize Marriage Equality/Gender Identity

    On 4 June 2023, the front-runner to be Thailand's next Pime Minister joined the Pride parade in Bangkok, promising to pass laws that would allow for same-sex marriage and gender identity rights if he becomes premier.

    Thousands of LGBTQ people, their allies, and political leaders marched through central Bangkok, marking Pride month and promoting gender equality in the second annual official Pride parade to be held in the country. Political figures joining the parade included Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the progressive Move Forward Party, which is pushing to lead a coalition after winning the most seats in the recent 14 May 2023 general election when voters made clear their hope of ending almost 10 years of rule by the military and military-backed governments.

    The coalition, which consists of eight political parties, has made a joint pledge to pass laws, including the Marriage Equality Act, to ensure equal rights for all couples regardless of gender, after the passage of the draft law and its related legislation was stalled in Parliament under the previous government.

  • 19. VIRick  |  June 4, 2023 at 9:11 pm

    St. Lucia: Domestic Violence Act of 2022 Covers Same-Sex Relationships

    The Domestic Violence Act of 2022, which was passed in the St. Lucia Parliament, provides legal protections for persons in same-sex relationships who experience domestic violence. They are now able to access all the resources and remedies provided by the Act, including protection orders from the court.

    A verdict in the case against the St. Lucia Sexual Offenses Act, one that would effectively strike down the antiquated, colonial-era sodomy ban, is still pending.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  June 5, 2023 at 4:51 am

    Tens of thousands gather for Utah Pride Parade

    "I just love how welcoming the community is. You walk through the streets and everybody's just smiling, and everybody's dancing — and it's honestly the happiest you've ever seen Salt Lake City," paradegoer Heather Berrett said. "And everybody's just so full of love; it's amazing to watch."

    Avery Miller, another participant at the parade, said the way the community gathers together creates a sense of safety.

    "I love that there's a sense of unity, like there's so much love, and there's so much diversity, too. There's so many different kinds of people," Miller said. "Especially in light of everything that's going on in the world today, it's really fun to have an event where you have a safe space for just a minute."

    Nan Osborne, a volunteer marching with Encircle Together, an LGBTQ+ resource center for youth, noted how when her daughter came out, it helped her realize the need to always be learning how to best be an ally to the community, especially as a parent.

    "I think gathering together really helps promote community," Osborne said. "We moved to Utah last year just in time to come to this parade, and we've never seen a parade like it in our whole lives."

    A group of police officers stood to the side of the protesters. According to Chad Call, a spokesman for the Utah Pride Center, security had been carefully planned to best protect the paradegoers. And the department didn't just provide protection — it marched in the parade itself.

    "As the largest law enforcement agency in the state of Utah, we're glad to be here," Salt Lake police spokesman Brent Weisberg said. "Every day we are out supporting, protecting and helping support this community."

  • 21. ianbirmingham  |  June 5, 2023 at 4:53 am

    Orlando's Gay Days draws LGBTQ crowds to Disney World

    "Rainbow-hued merchandise designed by Disney — including a plush Mickey Mouse waving a Pride flag — flew off the shelves almost as quickly as it could be restocked," The Washington Post reported Sunday. "Drag queen bingo was held. In the end, all 1,001 rooms at the host hotel were booked."

    Disney has never officially sponsored Gay Days, but over the years Disney World and other nearby theme parks "have thrown down the welcome mats as Gay Days has become a profitable bounce between the spring break and out-of-school summer crowds," The Associated Press reported. It is now one of America's largest Pride Month events. And Disney is hosting a major LGBTQ+ event, the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit, in September.

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  June 5, 2023 at 5:22 pm

    India: Society should stand firmly behind the 'LGBTQIA+' community

    Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra, Dr. Shrikant Deshpande asserted that for the democratic process to be meaningful, it is necessary for the society to know the problems of the 'LGBTQIA+' community and stand firmly behind them.

    Dr. Deshpande, participating in the pride walk of the LGBTQIA+ community organized by 'Yutak' in Pune, appealed to the attendees to register as voters. Deputy Election Collector Bhausaheb Galande, Sub Divisional Officer Sneha Kisve-Devkate, Tehsildar Radhika Haval-Bartakke and representatives of 'LGBTQIA+' community and Yutak Sanstha were present on this occasion.

    Chief Electoral Officer Dr. Deshpande said, everyone's participation is important in the democratic process. When the members of the 'LGBTQIA+' community participate in the padayatra and present their problems to the society, they need to be encouraged by the society as well. The society needs to pay attention to the issue of their education and employment. He said that every section of the society needs to participate in the voting process to strengthen democracy.

    The rally was organized at Sambhajiraje Udyan – Deccan Bus Station, Good Luck Chowk – FC Gate – Shirole Road – Sambhajiraje Udyan. On this occasion, voter registration was also called for. In the rally, members of the 'LGBTQIA+' community raised their issues before the society.

  • 23. VIRick  |  June 5, 2023 at 9:16 pm

    Louisiana Senate Passes Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Transgender Minors

    On 5 June 2023, a controversial bill that at one point had been presumed dead, one that bans gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths in Louisiana, was passed by the Senate and is likely to reach the governor's desk in the coming days.

    The bill, which passed in the Senate mainly along party lines, 29-10, would prohibit hormone treatment, gender-affirming surgery, and puberty-blocking drugs for transgender minors in Louisiana. However, the measure must return to the House, which has already overwhelmingly passed the legislation, to approve of minor amendments, including pushing back the effective start date of the law to 1 January 2024.

    If the House concurs, the legislation would then be sent to the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who opposes it. Edwards has not said whether he would veto the bill, but if he does, lawmakers could convene a veto session to try to override his decision.

  • 24. ianbirmingham  |  June 6, 2023 at 8:00 am

    Human Rights Campaign declares a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, releases “a guidebook for action”

    The campaign said it’s taking action in response to an unprecedented and dangerous spike in discriminatory legislation sweeping state houses this year, with more than 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced and more than 70 signed into law so far in 2023 — more than double last year’s number. In a report released Tuesday called “LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack,” it says the new laws are a result of coordinated Republican efforts, supported by “well-funded extremist groups.”

    The “LGBTQ+ Americans Fight Back” guidebook, meanwhile, also provides information about filing complaints for violations of civil rights and points to resources for financing moves and finding employment in what it calls “safer” states.

    In a section called Know the Enemy/Opposition, the guidebook offers tips on how to engage in local advocacy opposing anti-LGBTQ+ efforts and how to navigate tough conversations about hate with friends and family.

    The guidebook aims to help millions of vulnerable people, "whether they’re planning summer travel through regions that are becoming increasingly hostile to LGBTQ+ people, or whether they already live in a state where legislative assaults and political extremism are continuing to put a target on our backs," Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

    The emergency declaration is the first in the 40-year history of the HRC.

  • 25. VIRick  |  June 6, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Florida: Federal Judge Blocks Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Trans Minors

    On 6 June 2023, federal Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida issued a preliminary injunction against the state’s ban on gender-transition treatments for minors. In "Doe v. Lapado," Hinkle asserted that “gender identity is real.” In his view, “the overwhelming weight of medical authority supports treatment of transgender patients with GnRH agonists and cross-sex hormones in appropriate circumstances.”

    “I find, based on the record now before the court, that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that they have obtained appropriate medical care for their children to this point,” wrote Hinkle. The plaintiffs in this case — seven parents of transgender children — argued before the court that “banning treatment with GnRH agonists and cross-sex hormones violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.”

    Hinkle pointed to a case, "Brandt v. Rutledge," where the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a preliminary injunction against enforcement of an Arkansas statute identical in relevant respects to the Florida ban. There, the judge found that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the equal-protection claim and were also likely to succeed on a separate assertion of parental rights under the Due Process clause.

  • 26. ianbirmingham  |  June 6, 2023 at 2:41 pm

    Florida: Federal Judge Robert Hinkle's injunction vs. DeSantis law enables 3 trans kids to receive gender-affirming health care

    “The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset,” Hinkle wrote in his decision. “Gender identity is real. The record makes it clear.”

    “The plaintiffs’ adolescent children will suffer irreparable harm — the unwanted and irreversible onset of and progression of puberty in their natal sex — if they do not promptly begin treatment with GnRH agonists. The treatment will affect the patients themselves, nobody else, and will cause the defendants no harm.”

    "State action motivated by purposeful discrimination, even if otherwise lawful, violates the Equal Protection Clause. See Adams, 57 F.4th at 810 (recognizing that an otherwise neutral law still violates the Equal Protection Clause when it is “motivated by ‘purposeful discrimination’”) (citing Pers. Adm’r of Mass. v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 274 (1979)); see also Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Sec’y of State for Ala., 992 F.3d 1299, 1321–22 (11th Cir. 2021). The statute and rules at issue were motivated in substantial part by the plainly illegitimate purposes of disapproving transgender status and discouraging individuals from pursuing their honest gender identities. This was purposeful discrimination against transgenders. The plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their equal-protection claim."

  • 27. VIRick  |  June 6, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    Maryland: Governor Signs Executive Order Protecting Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    On 5 June 2023, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order that protects gender-affirming health care in the state, signing the directive during a Pride month reception at Government House in Annapolis.

    “In the state of Maryland, nobody should have to justify their own humanity,” said Moore. “This order is focused on ensuring Maryland is a safe place for gender-affirming care, especially as other states take misguided and hateful steps to make gender-affirming care cause for legal retribution. In Maryland, we are going to lead on this issue.”

  • 28. VIRick  |  June 6, 2023 at 9:49 pm

    California: State Constitutional Amendment 5, Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The proposed text of the California state constitutional amendment to repeal Proposition 8 and establish marriage as a fundamental right has been released. If passed by the Assembly, the measure would be put to the voters in November 2024.

    The text of the California Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, Marriage Equality, as amended on 5 June 2023, is here:

  • 29. VIRick  |  June 7, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    Missouri: Governor Signs Two Anti-Transgender Bills into Law

    On 7 June 2023, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a pair of anti-transgender bills into law, one that bans gender-affirming health care for transgender minors, and another that restricts athletes’ participation in sports to teams that match their biological sex. Both new laws will take effect from 28 August 2023.

    Although most trans adults will still continue to have access to their current transgender healthcare under the new law, such care will no longer be covered by Medicaid. With Missouri now included, at least 20 states have thus enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors.

  • 30. VIRick  |  June 7, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    Fukuoka, Japan: Law Barring Same-Sex Couples from Marrying Is Unconstitutional

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 7 June 2023, the Fukuoka District Court has ruled that barring same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional.

    This is the fifth marriage equality ruling from a Japanese District Court, out of a total of six. Of those, it is the third such court to rule that barring same-sex couples from marrying to be unconstitutional, and follows behind similar rulings from the District Courts in Sapporo and Nagoya.

    The fourth court, that of Tokyo, tried to have it both ways, by ruling right down the middle. It complained about certain shortcomings in the current marriage law, but stopped short of declaring any unconstitutionality. This ruling has been appealed. Only the District Court in Osaka upheld the current marriage law and its procedure as being constitutional.

    Per NHK news bulletin:

    The Fukuoka District Court, in a lawsuit filed by a same-sex couple, ruled that not recognizing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

  • 31. ianbirmingham  |  June 8, 2023 at 6:05 pm

    Orange Trumpanzee Is Indicted On Seven Federal Charges

    The indictment includes seven charges related to unlawful possession of classified documents, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.

  • 32. ianbirmingham  |  June 9, 2023 at 11:35 pm

    Full Text Of Orange Trumpanzee's Federal Indictment…

    I highly recommend reading Page 9, which details the hypocrisy of the Orange Trumpanzee

  • 33. VIRick  |  June 8, 2023 at 10:22 pm

    Trump Has Been Indicted in Classified Documents Case

    Trump has been indicted on federal charges in an investigation into his handling of classified documents. Trump faces at least seven charges in the federal indictment:

    -Willful retention of national defense information (maximum penalty if convicted: 10 years)

    -Conspiracy to obstruct justice (maximum penalty: 20 years)

    -Withholding a document or record (maximum penalty: 20 years)

    -Corruptly concealing a document or record (maximum penalty: 20 years)

    -Concealing a document in a federal investigation (maximum penalty: 20 years)

    -Scheme to conceal (maximum penalty: Five years)

    -False statements and representations (maximum penalty: Five years)

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  June 9, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    European court rules that Romania must legally recognize same-sex unions

    The European Court of Human Rights says Romania violated the European convention on human rights by not giving same-sex couples any means of legally safeguarding their relationships. The ruling does not specify “marriage,” but it does require Romania to recognize civil unions for same-sex couples. The ruling cites Article 8 of the European Convention, which protects the right to respect for family life.

    The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by 21 Romanian same-sex couples, who argued that they were discriminated against in healthcare decisions, joint medical insurance, property and employment rights that were only given to married couples in the country.

    The ECHR has authority in the matter because Romania is a member of the European Union. The conservative country is one of the lower-income countries in the EU, but Romania is making strides forward, and recently won the right to enter the Shengen Zone, a free travel zone among most members of the EU.

  • 35. VIRick  |  June 9, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Arizona: Governor Vetoes Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill

    On 8 June 2023, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) vetoed a bill that would have banned transgender students from using the appropriate restrooms at school. Legislative Republicans, who passed the bill in the first place, although a narrow majority, do not have the required two-thirds majority in either chamber to overcome her veto.

    So far for the current calendar year, the governor has vetoed 111 bills on a wide range of subjects that were sent to her for signing into law. None have yet been over-ridden.

  • 36. VIRick  |  June 9, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    Louisiana: Governor Vows to Veto All Anti-LGBTQ Bills

    On 9 June 2023, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he will veto three bills that target LGBTQ youth and vowed to veto any other anti-LGBTQ bills sent to his desk. Edwards compared the Republican attempts to target the LGBTQ community with that of opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

    All three bills slated to be vetoed target queer youth and schools:

    HB 466 is the Republicans’ attempt to mimic Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, and would ban discussing or mentioning sexual orientation, gender identity, or “pronouns” in schools. While Florida’s law bans such discussions through the eighth grade, Louisiana’s version would apply through twelfth grade.

    HB 81 would require school employees to use the pronouns and names that match the gender marker on a student’s birth certificate unless a parent requests otherwise. Even then, a teacher does not need to respect the parent and student’s request if they can claim that they have a “religious or moral conviction” to treating the student otherwise.

    HB 648 would ban doctors and nurses from prescribing transgender youth proper medical treatment like hormone therapy or gender-affirming care.

  • 37. VIRick  |  June 9, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    Hideously Anti-LGBT Televangelist Preacher Pat Robertson Is Finally Dead at 93

    The weasel-faced Southern Baptist televangelist preacher was infamous for constantly making outrageous and offensive statements, most frequently on subjects about which he knew absolutely nothing, while simultaneously touting an “age-defying energy shake.” On 8 June 2023, his so-called Christian Broadcast Network confirmed that he finally croaked.

    A public figure who was active in American politics since the 1960s, Robertson became as well-known for making Bible-belt Christianity central to the Republican Party as he was for his many sickeningly offensive comments and unhinged rantings targeting LGBTQ people, as well as Haitians, Blacks, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Asians, feminists, and more.

    This "Washington Blade" article details 17 of Pat. Robertson's most disgustingly vile statements made over the many years that he incessantly continued to blather on and on:

  • 38. ianbirmingham  |  June 9, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    Army veteran who disarmed Club Q attacker to lead first Pride parade since the shooting

    Organizers in Colorado Springs, Colorado, are preparing for the city’s first Pride parade since a November 2022 shooting at an LGBTQ club in the city that left five people dead and 17 others injured.

    Richard Fierro, a decorated Army veteran who was one of two individuals who tackled and subdued the gunman inside Club Q, will lead the Colorado Springs Pikes Peak Pride in remembrance of the five people killed in the shooting.

    “I’m humbled beyond belief to be accepted into the community and asked as a straight dude to grand marshal their parade,” Fierro told NBC News.

  • 39. ianbirmingham  |  June 9, 2023 at 10:49 pm

    ‘Cracker Barrel has fallen’: Right-wingers rage over restaurant’s Pride Month support

    After the southern-style chain posted that “everyone is welcome” during Pride month, the Texas Family Project (TFP) stated: “We take no pleasure in reporting that Cracker Barrel has fallen. A once family-friendly establishment has caved to the mob.”

    The Tennessee-based company showing support for Pride month has come as a surprise to many, having once been known as an anti-LGBTQ+ business.

    The chain was criticised in the early 1990s for dismissing several workers based on their sexuality. In 1991, the New York Times reported that Cracker Barrel had announced gay employees would be fired as it goes against its “concept of traditional American values”.

    The policy was soon reversed, and the company attempted to repair its image with the queer community. It currently rates 80 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

    However, Texas Family Project was clearly unhappy about this growth, tweeting: “Places kids don’t belong: Gender clinics, drag shows, Cracker Barrel.”

    One Twitter user praised the chain’s support of the LGBTQ+ community and progression since the 1990s, recounting: “Couple years ago a Cracker Barrel executive was talking to me and my wife, and we were like, ‘it makes us nervous to go there as queers idk’, and the executive reached into their bag and gave us a stack of meal vouchers and said, ‘when we say everyone is welcome, we mean it’.”

    The meme has even reached merch-status, with the Disaster Girls podcast announcing that they had made a series of ‘Cracker Barrel Has Fallen’ products, with profits going to drag charity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

  • 40. Randolph_Finder  |  June 9, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    Between Cracker Barrel and Chick Fil A moving a tiny bit closer to actually respecting LGBTQ people, is Hobby Lobby all that's left?

  • 41. ianbirmingham  |  June 10, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    I wrote the declassification rules, and they leave the Orange Trumpanzee largely defenseless

    When I was serving as then-President Barack Obama’s special counsel for ethics and government reform, I helped write Executive Order (EO) 13526, which reformed the classification system for national security documents. When former President Donald Trump took office in 2017, he left the rules in place.

    Special counsel Jack Smith has indicted Trump on 31 counts under the Espionage Act, 18 USC § 793(e), as well as six additional counts related to obstruction and his alleged attempt to conceal his retention of classified documents.

    The problem for Trump is that EO 13526 is central to knocking down every variation of his defense that his retention of the documents was somehow authorized. Evaluating Trump’s pattern of statements and actions against the backdrop of the executive order and the rest of the applicable law, it’s clear that he is in defiance of the legal system. In each of his defenses, Trump is running up against the core American idea that no one, not even an ex-president, is above the law.

  • 42. VIRick  |  June 10, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Iceland: Parliament Passes Law Banning "Conversion Therapy"

    On 9 June 2023, the Icelandic Althingi (parliament) passed a law, as proposed by Reform Party MP Hanna Katrín Friðriksson, banning so-called "conversion therapy" practices on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in a landslide majority vote, 53-0, with 3 abstentions.

    On a nationwide basis, Iceland now joins Canada, Brasil, Ecuador, Spain, Germany, France, Malta, and New Zealand in having banned said harmful conversion practices.

  • 43. VIRick  |  June 10, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Finland: Initiative to Ban "Conversion Therapy" Re-Submitted to Parliament

    Per YLE News:

    A citizens' initiative to ban "conversion therapy" will head to the Finnish Parliament after it exceeded the required 50,000 signatures on 4 June 2023. The aim of the "No Violation" citizens' initiative is to ban treatments aimed at the so-called "conversion" of sexual and gender minorities.

    Once the number of signatures of support has been verified and approved, the initiative can then be formally submitted to Parliament. The previous citizens' initiative to ban "conversion therapy" was submitted to Parliament in 2021. However, it lapsed because Parliament's Social Affairs and Health Committee did not add it to the legislative agenda prior to the parliamentary elections in April. Citizens' initiatives that have not been heard by Parliament expire at the end of parliamentary terms.

  • 44. ianbirmingham  |  June 10, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    The Orange Trumpanzee's judge will most likely be his own judicial appointee Aileen Cannon, who in previous cases has already handed him favorable rulings that had legal experts scratching their heads

    US District Judge Aileen Cannon — who has previously ruled favorably for former President Donald Trump — is likely to preside over the historic, closely scrutinized trial regarding the Department of Justice's first-ever indictment of a former US president.

    Cannon, 42, has been assigned to oversee Trump's trial, according to a summons cited by numerous news outlets. Trump nominated Cannon for her role when he was in the White House. Cannon would be responsible for determining what the sentence would be if a jury determines Trump is guilty.

    Cannon likely was assigned the case because she presided over a related matter late last year, Jon Sale, a former Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of Florida, told Insider.

    "There is a preliminary determination that it's related, and if it is related, the rules are that the judge keeps it," Sale said.

    In a widely criticized ruling last year, Cannon determined that an independent arbiter known as a special master should review the documents that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago. The decision was reversed in a scathing opinion by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Cannon can recuse herself from the latest case, though she isn't required to unless she determines it isn't related to the documents matter she heard last year, Sale said.

    If Cannon recuses herself from the case, it would go to a "wheel" where another federal judge in the district would have it randomly assigned to them. Trump appointed five out of the 27 judges in the district.

  • 45. ianbirmingham  |  June 10, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    Illinois adopts new LGBTQ+ protections

    One of the new laws will update language in existing acts to be more gender inclusive in order to affirm LGBTQ+ youth in foster care, and the other will make it easier for LGBTQ+ couples to marry. The laws will be effective on Aug. 8 and on Jan. 1, 2024, respectively.

  • 46. ianbirmingham  |  June 11, 2023 at 11:12 am

    North Carolina GOP censures US Senator Thom Tillis for his votes on LGBTQ+ rights

    Republican delegates in North Carolina criticized Tillis, who has held his seat in the Senate since 2015, for his work last year on the Respect For Marriage Act, which enshrined protections for same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law.

    Both the state and national GOP platforms oppose same-sex marriage. But Tillis, who had opposed it earlier in his political career, was among the early supporters of the law who lobbied his GOP colleagues in Congress to vote in favor of it.

    While the vote Saturday, which took place behind closed doors, cannot remove Tillis from office, supporters said they hope it sends a firm message of dissatisfaction. A two-thirds majority of the state party’s 1,801 voting delegates was needed for the resolution to pass, party spokesperson Jeff Moore said.

  • 47. ianbirmingham  |  June 11, 2023 at 4:40 pm

    Biden marks LGBTQ+ Pride Month with celebration on White House South Lawn

    This was the largest Pride event ever hosted at the White House.

  • 48. ianbirmingham  |  June 13, 2023 at 6:08 am

    Turkey: Furor erupted last week after video footage was released of a bathroom door in a luxury shopping mall that was marked with a rainbow and unisex sign

    In Ankara on the same day, police clashed with students at the prestigious Middle East Technical University as they assembled for a march to mark Pride week. Berkay Yildirir, an activist and a volunteer at KAOS GL, an advocacy group for LGBTQI individuals, was among more than a dozen students who were detained and roughed up by police. He got off lightly with a few bruises, but some others were badly beaten and had to be hospitalized, Yildirir said. “Police beat our friends in the head with their bare fists and their shields,” he told Al-Monitor.

    A recent survey by the International Institute of Islamic Thought revealed that piety is declining among young Turks, particularly among university students who advocate for secularism and LGBTQ and women’s rights more than any other of those polled.

    Since 2014, Pride parades have been formally banned in major cities, most notably in Istanbul where massive crowds would congregate unhindered. Today, police violence to disperse and prevent Pride marches is sanctioned by the Interior Ministry.

    Throughout his election campaign, Erdogan lashed out at LGBTQ people, calling them “deviants” who spread like “the plague.” His pro-secular rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, was one of them, Erdogan claimed, and called homosexuality “a poison injected into the family.”

    Yildirir — the activist who served as an observer for the opposition at a ballot box during the May 14 elections — recalled how a fellow observer for the AKP sneered at his nail polish. The fellow observer told Yildirir, “The day will come when we will chop off those fingers of yours.”

  • 49. VIRick  |  June 13, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Nuevo León: State Congress Plans to Approve Marriage Equality

    Nuevo León: Perfila en Congreso Estatal Aprobar Matrimonio Igualitario

    El Congreso estatal perfila aprobar mañana, el 14 de junio 2023, el matrimonio igualitario en Nuevo León, dando paso al cumplimiento de la Suprema Corte de Justicia (SCJN).

    Tomorrow, 14 June 2023, the state Congress plans to approve marriage equality in Nuevo León, acceding to compliance with the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN).

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Marriage equality has been legal in Nuevo León ever since the 2019 SCJN "Action of Unconstitutionality" ruling was decided against the state. Nuevo León remains one of 5 states that have yet to codify marriage equality into state law. The other 4 states are: Aguascalientes (since 2019), Chiapas (since 2017), Chihuahua (since 2015), and Guanajuato (since 2021). The first two have had marriage equality because of the same type of SCJN court ruling decided against the state, while the latter two have had it due to statewide executive decrees.

  • 50. VIRick  |  June 14, 2023 at 11:28 pm

    Nuevo León: State Congress Approves Marriage Equality

    Nuevo León: El Congreso Estatal Aprueba Matrimonio Igualitario

    El 14 de junio 2023, con 23 votos a favor y 10 en contra, los diputados finalmente modificaron artículos del Código Civil para permitir el matrimonio igualitario.

    On 14 June 2023, with 23 votes in favor and 10 against, the deputies finally modified articles of the Civil Code in order to permit marriage equality.

  • 51. VIRick  |  June 14, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Indiana: ACLU Seeking Preliminary Injunction against Anti-Trans Healthcare Law

    On 14 June 2023, a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit seeking to block an Indiana law banning doctors from providing puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-affirming surgeries to minors.

    The ACLU of Indiana has asked the judge in Indianapolis for a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from taking effect from 1 July. The group filed its lawsuit on behalf of 4 transgender youth and an Indiana doctor who provides transgender medical treatment just hours after Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed the bill into law on 5 April.

    The organization argues that the ban violates the Equal Protection guarantees of the US Constitution, as well as federal laws regarding essential medical services, and wrongly prohibits Indiana doctors from communicating with out-of-state doctors about gender-affirming care for their patients younger than 18.

  • 52. ianbirmingham  |  June 14, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    Saudi Arabia bans new Spider-Man movie that features transgender flag

    Saudi authorities did not say exactly why Spider-Man will not be shown, but the decision could relate to LGBTQ content in the movie. The Gwen Stacy character in the film has a flag reading “protect trans kids” in her room — a reference to transgender children. Her father also sports a trans flag on his uniform. This has led many fans to view the character as a trans rights hero, Vox reported last week.

    Several issues of censorship of LGBTQ-themed content have occurred in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Gulf. In June of 2022, several countries in the region banned the animated film “Lightyear” due to a same-sex kissing scene. The same month, Saudi state media ran a report alleging that rainbow-colored toys promote homosexuality.

  • 53. ianbirmingham  |  June 15, 2023 at 5:47 am

    India: Modi Weighs Replacing Religion-Based Marriage Laws Ahead of 2024 Polls

    Currently, matters of marriage, divorce, adoption and inheritance are governed by multiple religious and customary laws. The drafters of India’s independent constitution had laid out that a uniform civil code should eventually replace these often regressive and patriarchal laws.

    Successive governments since then have stayed away from amending these laws for fear it will anger voters belonging to the Hindu majority as well as the minority Christians and Muslims because of the perceived clash with their fundamental right to practice their faith. The constitutional amendment will require the approval of parliament.

    A previous round of public consultations on the issue in 2018 ended without consensus. However, the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has remained focused on the creation of a uniform civil code for decades.

    BJP-ruled states Gujarat and Uttarakhand have already announced their intention to implement uniform civil laws and formed panel to prepare drafts.

  • 54. VIRick  |  June 15, 2023 at 9:54 am

    Estonia: Parliament to Vote on Marriage Equality Next Week

    Estonia’s liberal coalition government is only two months old and has moved swiftly on a draft bill legalizing same-sex marriage, among other measures, in order to distance itself from neighboring Russia. A vote is due early next week, and LGBTQ activists hope Estonia’s parliament will back a government bill that will allow gay and lesbian couples to marry and obtain the same rights as heterosexual couples.

    If the bill is passed, Estonia, with some 1.3 million inhabitants, will lead the way among states once ruled by Moscow by legalizing same-sex marriage. It should also end the current state of legal uncertainty faced by some same-sex couples in civil unions whose status has been questioned at hospitals, embassies, and government offices.

    Same-sex sexual relations between men was criminalized under Soviet occupation, and did not become legal again in Estonia until 1992, one year after (the definitive re-assertion of) independence, (which was confirmed on 20 August 1991). In 2002, Estonia began allowing trans people to change their legal gender without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, sterilization, or divorce. In 2014, Estonia introduced same-sex civil unions, which did not deliver the same adoption rights and parental recognition rights that automatically come with marriage.

    In neighboring Latvia and Lithuania, where bills recognizing same-sex couples have failed to pass, campaigners hope Estonia paves the way for progress.

  • 55. ianbirmingham  |  June 15, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    City votes unanimously to ban Pride flag to “respect the religious rights of our citizens”

    A city near Detroit has banned Pride flags from flying on public property. The City Council of Hamtramck, Michigan voted unanimously against the Pride flag after what were reportedly a contentious few months that culminated in a three-hour public comment period.

    The entire Hamtramck City Council is Muslim, as are about 50% of city residents. The Detroit Free Press reported that councilmembers argued that while LGBTQ people are welcome in the city, flying the Pride flag would disrespect the religious freedom of others.

    The resolution banning the Pride flag also banned flags with political or racist messaging.

    Hamtramck is in the district of state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D), who released a statement in support of the LGBTQ community after the flag was banned.

    “To Hamtramck LGBTQ community members and their families — please know that you have many allies throughout the city and state, and that includes me as your state senator. You are loved, you are welcome, and you are valued. Hamtramck has had a long history of being a place of hope and opportunity for people of all backgrounds.”

  • 56. ianbirmingham  |  June 15, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    This ban is blatantly unconstitutional. The courts consider public parks, streets and sidewalks to be public property which constitutes a First Amendment public forum — the "town square." Such a ban amounts to unconstitutional "prior restraint".

  • 57. ianbirmingham  |  June 15, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    "Punk" = the passive or "bottom" partner in a male-on-male prison sexual relationship. (The dominant or "top" man is called the "jock" or "jocker".) From Truman Capote's IN COLD BLOOD 1966): "Just two jockers fighting over a punk."

    As A Prisoner, The Orange Trumpanzee Would Have Secret Service Protection In The Shower

    One Secret Service agent for shower and yard time

  • 58. VIRick  |  June 15, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    Nevada: Governor Signs Bill Mandating Insurers Cover Gender-Affirming Care

    In a break with his party, on 13 June 2023, Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo of Nevada signed a bill, SB 163, requiring all insurance companies and Medicaid to cover gender-affirming care, including surgery, for both minors and adults.

    The law also bans insurance companies “from engaging in certain discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.” There are no religious exemptions for businesses or healthcare providers. All employers are required to adhere to the Standards of Care from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

    According to "The Nevada Globe," the bill passed the legislature along party lines without a single Republican Senator or House member voting in its favor.

  • 59. VIRick  |  June 15, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    Michigan House Votes to Ban "Conversion Therapy" on Minors

    On 14 June 2023, Michigan House members voted along party lines to approve bills that would prohibit mental health professionals from performing "conversion therapy," a form of forced therapy seeking to make gay, lesbian, or transgender minors change their sexual orientation or gender identity. Any mental health professional found guilty of using such "conversion therapy" will be subject to "disciplinary action and licensing sanctions" under the legislation.

    The ban is specific to conversion therapy used on minors and would apply to physicians, psychologists, licensed nurses, counselors, social workers, and therapists. Similar bills are awaiting votes in the Michigan Senate.

  • 60. ianbirmingham  |  June 16, 2023 at 7:18 am

    Homophobic chants disrupt CONCACAF Nations League soccer championship

    Play was halted in the 90th minute of USA vs. Mexico because of homophobic chants. When action resumed, 12 minutes of stoppage time were signaled but resumed chants caused Barton to end the match in the eighth added minute.

    FIFA fined Mexico 100,000 Swiss francs ($108,000) in January for anti-gay chants by fans at two games.

    'In terms of the chant, I want to make it very clear first and foremost, for our beliefs and our culture, it has no place in the game,' Callaghan said. 'It has no place in our value system.'

    Mexico fans have routinely engaged in homophobic chants – specifically a chant using the word 'puto', an anti-gay slur in Spanish – during matches and the FMF has received harsh punishments as a result.

  • 61. VIRick  |  June 16, 2023 at 10:05 am

    In Mexican Spanish, if the female version of the word, "puta," means a whore-for-hire, and "casa de las putas" refers to a whore-house, then the male version of the word, "puto," also refers to a gay whore-for-hire (and presumed "bottom"). The work of an exceptionally prolific, busy, and adept whore-for-hire of either sex, whether a "puta" or a "puto," is known as "putao." Taking the concept one step further, while also giving it a semi-violent, negative twist (as if gay "bottoms-for-hire" truly needed any semi-violent, negative twists thrown into the routine), in hard-core futbol parlance, "a complete fuck-up" is known as "putao." In this sense, "putao" is the absolute opposite of "golazo," the scoring of an extra-ordinarily amazing goal.

    I believe that the offending word involved in the chant is actually "putao," rather than "puto," but in either case, Mexico is fined and games are called whenever fans begin the chant against the opposing team's goalkeeper that contains this offending phrase.

  • 62. ianbirmingham  |  June 16, 2023 at 7:28 am

    US Space Force's Deputy Chief of Space Operations, Lieutenant General DeAnna Burt, slams anti-LGBTQ state laws in a fiery speech at the 12th Annual DoD LGBTQ Pride Event in Washington DC

    The General explained: 'When I look at potential candidates, say, for squadron command, I strive to match the right person to the right job.

    'I consider their job performance and relevant experience first. However, I also look at their personal circumstances, and their family is also an important factor.

    'If a good match for a job does not feel safe being themselves and performing at their highest potential at a given location, or if their family could be denied critical health care due to the laws in that state, I am compelled to consider a different candidate, and, perhaps less qualified.

    'Those barriers are a threat to our readiness, and they have a direct correlation to the resiliency and wellbeing of our most important operational advantage: our people.'

    Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a statement vowing he is 'dedicated to making sure that our LGBTQ personnel across the Joint Force can continue to serve the country that we all love with dignity and pride.'

    'To defend our republic and win its wars, the ranks of the US military must remain open to all qualified patriots who seek to serve,' he said.

  • 63. ianbirmingham  |  June 16, 2023 at 7:35 am

    A US Navy Hospital Corpsman serves up Rainbow Cake to fellow sailors in celebration of Pride Month aboard the deployed 7th Fleet aircraft carrier USS Nimitz

  • 64. VIRick  |  June 16, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    Eswatini: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBT Rights Group

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 16 June 2023, the Eswatini Supreme Court ruled that the government erred by refusing to register an LGBT advocacy group, ESGM, as a non-profit.

    Per Southern Africa Litigation Centre:

    Supreme Court of Eswatini Unanimously Finds Registrar’s Decision on LGBTIQ Organization Unconstitutional

    Today, a five-panel bench of the Supreme Court of Eswatini passed a judgment setting aside the decision by the High Court that dismissed the application by Eswatini Sexual and Gender Minorities, ESGM, to be registered as a non-profit organization.

    In the 26-page long judgment, the bench unanimously declared that “the approach undertaken by the Registrar in this regard does not meet the legal requirements contained in Section 33 of the Constitution.” Section 33 provides for the right to administrative justice, including the right to be treated in accordance with the requirements of fundamental justice and fairness. This includes the right to procedural, lawful, and reasonable administrative action.

  • 65. ianbirmingham  |  June 17, 2023 at 5:56 am

    Eswatini, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and formerly named Swaziland, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its north, west, south, and southeast.

  • 66. VIRick  |  June 16, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Indiana: Enforcement of Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare Blocked

    Per Chris Geidner:

    On 16 June 2023, in Indianapolis, a federal judge blocked enforcement of Indiana’s ban on gender-affirming medical care.

    The Preliminary Injunction in "K.C. v. Medical Licensing Board of Indiana" hereby enjoining and restraining said defendant licensing board is here:

    So, 4 preliminary injunctions won against gender-affirming healthcare bans (Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, and Indiana) with at least 16 or more needed.

  • 67. VIRick  |  June 17, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Utah: Federal Court Rules that Drag Shows Are Protected by 1st Amendment

    Per Adam Steinbaugh:

    On 16 June 2023, a federal court in Utah ruled that drag shows are protected by the First Amendment, and orders the City of St. George to issue a permit.

    The Memorandum Decision and Order in "Southern Utah Drag Stars v. City of St. George" is here:

  • 68. ianbirmingham  |  June 17, 2023 at 7:43 pm

    Ron DeSantis: “my [US Supreme Court] justices will be along the lines of a Sam Alito and a Clarence Thomas”

    Ron DeSantis says he can do better than the three jurists former President Donald Trump picked for the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “Well, actually, I would say we’ll do better than that. I mean, I respect the three appointees he did, but none of those three are at the same level of Justice (Clarence) Thomas and Justice (Samuel) Alito,” DeSantis told Hugh Hewitt, regarding Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

    “I think they [Thomas & Alito] are the gold standard, and so my justices will be along the lines of a Sam Alito and a Clarence Thomas,” DeSantis added.

  • 69. ianbirmingham  |  June 17, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    Chris Christie would literally ask Samuel Alito to pick his US Supreme Court nominees

    Christie said essentially he’d outsource the vetting process to Justice Samuel Alito, like Christie a former U.S. Attorney in New Jersey.

    “I’d call my friend, Justice Alito to the White House and I’d say to him, ‘okay, who are the very best circuit court judges whose opinions you read all the time, who are just like you: quiet, smart, consistent conservatives,” he said.”Give me four or five names. I’ll interview those folks, and those are the folks I’ll pick from.”

  • 70. VIRick  |  June 17, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    New York: NYC Mayor Signs Executive Order Protecting Gender-Affirming Care

    New York City Mayor Eric Adams has signed an executive order protecting people who come to the city for gender-affirming healthcare. The order prohibits the use of city resources or officials in detaining individuals or in assisting out-of-state investigations into anyone who seeks or provides gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

    The order, which Adams signed on 12 June 2023, noted that gender-affirming treatments are legal in New York State. It also noted that 20 other states have enacted legislation to restrict such care for minors. Some of that legislation allows state officials to punish any adults who help minors obtain gender-affirming care. As such, if any out-of-state individual violates their state’s laws restricting gender-affirming care and then flees to New York City, Adams’ order ensures that the city and its representatives will not help another state investigate or prosecute said individual.

  • 71. VIRick  |  June 17, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Queensland: Self-Identification of Gender Legalized

    Transgender and gender diverse people in Queensland, Australia, will no longer require surgery for updating the gender on their birth certificates and other official documents, following a change in law by the state parliament. On 14 June 2023, the Queensland Parliament passed several laws making a series of changes to gender self-identification.

    The changes mean people aged 16 and over can now legally self-identify on their birth certificates without sexual reassignment surgery, as long as a supporting statement is provided by an adult they have known for at least a year. Those aged 12 to 15 can also do so if they obtain parental permission or apply to the courts, "The Australian" reported.

    Parents also have the option to not list any gender on the birth certificate of a newborn, with Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath saying it would “give people the greatest agency over what information they want recorded."

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