Mary Rowland is first LGBTQ Trump judicial nominee confirmed by Senate

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Mary M. Rowland, Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

With little fanfare, the U.S. Senate confirmed lesbian judicial nominee Mary Rowland to a seat on the federal bench in Illinois, marking the first confirmation to the judiciary of an out LGBT Trump nominee.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Rowland—who has ties to the LGBT group Lambda Legal—to a seat in the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois by voice vote on Wednesday with no recorded opposition.

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Judge won’t dismiss count against Pulse gunman’s wife

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A federal judge won’t dismiss an obstruction charge against the wife of the man who massacred 49 people at Pulse nightclub.

The judge denied a request from Noor Salman July 18 to dismiss one of the two criminal charges she faces.

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Dispute over Louisiana governor’s LGBT-rights order heads to court

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – A judge could decide within days whether Gov. John Bel Edwards violated Louisiana’s constitution in giving workplace protections to LGBT people through executive order.

The Democratic governor issued the order in April prohibiting discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with an exception for contractors that are religious organizations.

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US pastor to ask judge to reject Uganda anti-gay lawsuit

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) – A Massachusetts evangelist will ask a federal judge to reject a lawsuit that accuses him of waging a long campaign to persecute gays in Uganda.

An East African gay advocacy group filed the lawsuit in 2012 against minister Scott Lively under a statute that allows non-citizens to file U.S. court actions for violations of international law.

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Pulse victim’s mom says calls’ release would be traumatizing

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The mother of a patron who was gunned down at Pulse nightclub says in a letter to a judge that the release of audio recordings of 911 calls from the club during the massacre would be “traumatizing.”

Rosetta Evans wrote the letter to an Orlando judge ahead of a hearing Oct. 31 on whether the 911 calls should be made public.

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Judge extends Florida’s voter registration to Oct. 18

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge extended voter registration until Oct. 18 in the battleground state of Florida Oct. 12, due to the disruption and damage from Hurricane Matthew.

During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed to extend the deadline for six more days. He had already extended the Oct. 11 deadline one day, after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last weekend, following the hurricane’s brush with Florida’s east coast.

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Alabama Chief Justice off bench for defying feds on same-sex marriage

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from the bench Sept. 30 for defying the U.S. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage, more than a decade after he got in trouble for refusing federal orders to move a Ten Commandments monument.

By suspending Moore for the rest of his term, the nine-member Alabama Court of the Judiciary has effectively removed him from office for the second time.

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Sailor who stabbed transgender woman 119 times appears in court

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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) – A Navy seaman in training accused of stabbing a transgender woman to death appeared before a Jackson County judge Sept. 12 for a preliminary hearing.

Sheriff’s Deputy Leo Allen revealed details about what investigators found in a St. Martin hotel room on July 23. Autopsy results show 25-year-old Dee Whigham was stabbed 119 times, he said. Allen said many of the wounds were to Whigham’s face, and her throat was slashed three times.

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LGBT rights group appeals denial of transgender name change

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ATLANTA (AP) – An LGBT rights group is asking an appeals court to step in after a Georgia judge declined a legal name change for a second transgender man.

Lambda Legal says it filed an appeal Sept. 8 of a June order by Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper rejecting a petition from the 21-year-old transgender man seeking to legally change his name to Andrew Baumert.

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Judge in Texas temporarily blocks Obama’s transgender rules

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A federal judge in Texas is blocking for now the Obama administration’s directive to U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

Hundreds of school districts woke up Aug. 22 to news of the order by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on the first day of class in Texas and elsewhere.

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Federal judge rules in favor of transgender employment discrimination

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DETROIT (AP) — A judge dismissed a lawsuit Aug. 18 filed on behalf of a transgender embalmer who was fired by a Detroit-area funeral home after disclosing that she was transitioning from male to female and would dress as a woman.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox ruled that R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home didn’t discriminate against Aimee Stephens. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Garden City funeral home on behalf of Stephens, who was fired in 2013 after telling her employer she was transitioning.

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Suspended chief justice gets additional time to respond

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Montgomery, Ala. (AP) – Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has gotten additional time to respond to judicial ethics charges that could result in his ouster.

Holly Meade, a spokeswoman for Moore’s attorney, says the Alabama Court of the Judiciary granted a 14-day extension of the deadline for him to file a response to the charges.

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