Mississippi court: Woman has parent rights in same-sex split

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Christina Strickland image from Lambda Lega website.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a woman has parental rights to a 6-year-old boy born to her ex-wife when the two were married, in a case watched by gay rights activists and groups aiding in vitro fertilization.

Christina “Chris” Strickland brought the appeal, challenging a lower court decision that an anonymous sperm donor still had parental rights and that Strickland did not. Strickland ultimately hopes to win 50-50 custody of Zayden Strickland, who bears her last name and was born by Kimberly Day through artificial means when Day and Strickland were married.

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Federal judge rules Puerto Rico birth certificate gender marker policy unconstitutional

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal judge has ruled Puerto Rico must allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

Lambda Legal last April filed a lawsuit on behalf of three trans Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a local advocacy group. U.S. District Court Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo in her ruling that she signed on March 28 said the U.S. commonwealth’s birth certificate policy, which the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decreed in 2005, is unconstitutional.

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Trump issues (moot) memo affirming ban on transgender military service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Consistent with expectations for timing for the new policy, ban on transgender military service issued a memo late Friday on transgender military service that — while moot thanks to court orders against banning transgender troops — nonetheless reaffirms policy against their service.

In the memo dated March 23, Trump defers on the transgender military issue to Defense Secretary James Mattis and based on his recommendation asserts transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to serve “except under certain limited circumstances.”

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Defying court, DOJ won’t name experts Trump ‘consulted’ on trans ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Despite a court order requiring the U.S. government to disclose the names of military experts President Trump consulted before announcing his transgender military ban, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday it would keep that information to itself.

In a five-page filing before U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Washington State, the U.S. Justice Department asserts executive privilege in keeping that information confidential — even though Pechman had determined that information isn’t subject to that protection — and insists information already given to the court is sufficient.

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Anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ bill is back — and Trump has promised to sign

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has reintroduced legislation in the U.S. Senate seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom” — and President Trump made signing the legislation a campaign promise during the 2016 election.

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Hawaii appeals court sides with lesbian couple denied B&B

By : wire report
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HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii bed and breakfast discriminated against a couple by denying a room to two women because they’re gay, a state appeals court affirmed.

Aloha Bed & Breakfast owner Phyllis Young had argued she should be allowed to turn away gay couples because of her religious beliefs. She appealed a 2013 lower court ruling that ordered her to stop discriminating against same-sex couples.

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Pence brags about ‘promises made and promises kept’ — and LGBT advocates agree

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday promises made by the administration are being kept after more than one year of President Trump in the White House. In terms of anti-LGBT commitments, LGBT rights supporters are agreeing with him.

In a speech before the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, Pence gave Trump high marks for staying true to commitments made on his campaign trail.

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No recommendation from Mattis yet on trans military service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Defense Secretary James Mattis is poised to make recommendations to the White House this week on transgender military service, although that hasn’t happened as of Wednesday afternoon despite a deadline of that day, a defense official said.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the Mattis recommendation is forthcoming, but not yet submitted.

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Trump judicial nominee called same-sex marriage ‘an assault on nature’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump is facing calls to withdraw yet another judicial nominee who was recently revealed to have stated anti-LGBT views. In this case, the pick called the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling same-sex marriage “an assault on nature” and “against God’s plan.”

Gordon Giampietro, whom Trump nominated for a position as a federal judge in Wisconsin, was revealed to have made the comments in 2015 during interviews with Lydia LoCoco, a social conservative who hosts a faith-based radio show. Buzzfeed was first to report the news Thursday.

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Report of HHS anti-trans health rule riles LGBT advocates

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A new media report that the Trump administration is set to propose a rule that would allow medical providers to refuse abortion-related services or treatment for transgender people has invoked concern among both LGBT and women’s groups.

On Wednesday, Politico reported the Department of Health & Human Services is preparing a rule enabling its civil rights office to shield workers who refuse to provide abortion-related care and services to transgender people on religious grounds. The rule would reportedly allow HHS to punish organizations that don’t allow practitioners to express these objections.

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Fate of HIV/AIDS council unclear after Trump terminations

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Weeks after the Trump administration fired all remaining members of the President’s Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS, the administration seems to be taking steps to refill those slots, but the ultimate fate of the body remains unclear.

In response to a question from the Washington Blade, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was non-committal when asked whether President Trump wants PACHA restaffed.

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Lambda Legal staffers vote overwhelmingly to form a union

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Employees at the LGBT legal group Lambda Legal voted Friday on an overwhelming 42-8 basis in favor of forming a union with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

The vote was counted after employees filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board as part of the process to unionize. As the Washington Blade reported earlier this month, Lambda Legal staffers sought to form a union amid complaints over cuts to benefits and high turnover at the organization.

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