Judge vacates Trump admin’s anti-LGBTQ ‘conscience rule’ for health workers

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, photo by palinchak via Bigstock.

A federal judge in New York has vacated a Trump administration “conscience rule” allowing health care workers to get out of procedures with which they have religious objections, such as abortion or gender reassignment surgery.

In a lengthy 147-page decision against the “conscience rule,” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer, an Obama appointee, concludes the measure was enacted in contravention of the Administrative Procedures Act, calling the violations “numerous, fundamental and far-reaching.”

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Idaho makes it harder to change gender on birth certificates

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) | Idaho officials have made it more difficult for young transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates despite a U.S. court ruling that appears to ban such obstacles.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare released comments from the public Oct. 24 on a temporary rule requiring people younger than 18 to get approval from medical or mental health professionals before requesting the change.

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DC holds hearing on local hate crimes prosecution, panic defense bills

By : Philip Van Slooten of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: The D.C. Council on Oct. 23 held a hearing on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s failure to prosecute hate crimes in D.C. and banning so-called LGBT panic defense in the city. (Washington Blade photo by Philip Van Slooten)

Lambda Legal and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers were among the groups Oct. 23 that weighed in at a hearing on hate crimes prosecution and two related panic defense bills currently before the D.C. Council.

Though their representatives sat at the same witness table, each expert differed sharply on the issues of an LGBT victim’s right to respect and the defendant’s right to due process.

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Kevin Jennings named CEO of Lambda Legal

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Jennings is the new CEO of Lambda Legal. Photo courtesy Jennings.

Longtime LGBT rights advocate and former Obama administration official Kevin Jennings will become the CEO of Lambda Legal, the organization announced Monday.

“Being Lambda Legal’s CEO is a dream job that anyone would love to have, and I am thrilled to be stepping into this role at such a critical time for Lambda and our nation,” Jennings said in a statement. “From my childhood as the son of a Southern Baptist preacher to when I became a member of the Obama administration, I’ve known what it’s like to be the target of hateful, anti-LGBT bullies, but those attacks only made me more determined to challenge them.”

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Transgender group’s birth certificate suit advances in Ohio

By : wire report
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) | Four transgender people challenging an Ohio rule preventing people from changing the gender listings on their birth certificates have won their day in court.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson denied the state’s request that the lawsuit filed by the ACLU, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Ohio be dismissed.

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Lawsuit prompts decision to repeal NYC conversion therapy ban

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: NYC. Photo by Daniel Schwen, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Corey Johnson, the openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council, introduced a bill Sept. 12 to repeal a law the Council passed in 2017 that prohibits mental health professionals from performing so-called conversion therapy on both adults and minors.

Johnson said he remains convinced the practice of attempting change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is harmful and ineffective based on assessments by virtually all of the nation’s mainstream mental health advocacy organizations, which have issued statements opposing conversion therapy.

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Bucking Trump’s promise, Labor Dept. to undercut Obama LGBTQ order

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, photo by Michael Vadon via Flickr.

In an apparent contradiction to President Trump’s promise to keep “intact” an Obama-era executive order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, the Department of Labor has signaled it would expand the scope of the religious exemption for federal contractors seeking to deny employment to LGBT workers.

In the proposed rule, the Labor Department proposes regulations to clarify the scope and application of the religious exemption in Executive Order 11246, an 1965 executive order signed by President Johnson which bars federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on race, sex and other characteristics.

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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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LGBTQ groups, HHS clash over asking youth in foster care about sexual orientation

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT rights groups and the Department of Health & Human Services are clashing over the proposed elimination of questions seeking to identify the sexual orientation of youth in foster care, which the Trump administration concluded could be “intrusive and worrisome.”

Julie Kruse, director of federal policy at the pro-LGBT Family Equality Council, said in a statement the planned removal from HHS is an “abdication of its statutory responsibilities to promote the safety, well-being, and permanency of foster youth, including those who are LGBTQ.”

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North Carolina sued again over transgender rights

By : wire report
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) | North Carolina is being sued again over its treatment of transgender people, as state employees argue that their health plan violated federal law by dropping coverage of medically necessary procedures.

The new lawsuit comes amid unresolved litigation over North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill and the law that replaced it.

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Gillibrand declares support for third-gender option on federal IDs

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 Democratic hopeful, has come out in favor of a non-binary gender marker on federal identification documents, according to CBS News.

The New York Democrat’s support for the third-gender option — a practice adopted in at least two states — Oregon and New Jersey — for birth certificates and driver’s licenses — makes her the first 2020 candidate to take that position.

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Group of 30 LGBTI migrants enter Mexico from Guatemala

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico | A group of 30 LGBTI migrants entered Mexico from Guatemala on Feb. 1.

Estuardo Moscoso of Asociación Lambda, a Guatemala City-based advocacy group that provides assistance to LGBTI migrants, told the Washington Blade the migrants who are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador crossed the Suchiate River, which marks the border between Guatemala and Mexico, and arrived in Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico’s Chiapas state. Moscoso said the migrants are currently traveling to Tapachula, a city that is roughly 30 miles northwest of Ciudad Hidalgo.

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