2nd Circuit (again) finds anti-gay discrimination legal under Title VII

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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In a case filed by a now deceased gay skydiver who alleged sexual-orientation discrimination in the workforce, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals April 18 declined to accept the legal argument that anti-gay discrimination is prohibited under current federal civil rights law.

In a 13-page decision, the three-judge panel cites a 2000 decision in the Simonton case, a 2nd Circuit ruling that determined Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of the 1964, which bars sex discrimination in the workforce, doesn’t apply to sexual orientation. As a result of that precedent, the panel concludes Title VII cannot be applied in the pending case, named Zarda v. Altitude Express.

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Sen. Baldwin prepares for re-election fight in 2018

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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As Democrats gear up for the congressional mid-term elections in 2018, one race that will be critical for the LGBTQ community and potentially a challenge to win is the re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the only out lesbian in Congress.

After becoming the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Baldwin will face re-election in a state Trump won in a surprise last year. Her race will almost certainly be a priority for the LGBTQ community seeking to ensure visibility in Congress and to strike back at Trump after his victory there.

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‘Diverse’ co-chairs named for LGBTQ march on Washington

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Organizers of a planned LGBTQ march on Washington scheduled for June 11, which has been named The Equality March for Unity and Pride, released on Wednesday the names of 12 of 13 co-chairs of the event but provided few additional details such as how it will be financed or the route of the march.

“The Equality March for Unity and Pride is less than two months away and we are thrilled to host this historic march in our nation’s capital,” a statement released by organizers says.

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NCAA restores games to North Carolina despite new anti-LGBT law

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The National Collegiate Athletic Association has decided to restore games to North Carolina in the aftermath of the state reaching a deal to replace anti-LGBT House Bill 2 with another measure that civil rights groups say is also discriminatory.

The league announced its decision Tuesday, saying the conclusion was reached after the board of directors evaluated the replacement signed by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper after negotiations with Republican leaders.

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With Dem filibuster assured, Gorsuch nomination heads to Senate floor

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Monday the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, although the nomination has hit a significant snag now that Democrats have secured the votes necessary to successfully filibuster his confirmation.

Before the committee approved the Gorsuch nomination on a party-line vote, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) announced during the session he would oppose the nominee and support the Democratic filibuster against him. That made him the 41st vote needed for a successful filibuster.

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HB2 deal becomes a test of the LGBT movement’s strength

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A new test for the LGBT movement has emerged in the aftermath of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signing a deal to replace his state’s notoriously anti-LGBT House Bill 2 with a measure that critics say leaves discrimination in place.

In a rare occurrence, LGBT rights supporters will have to convince businesses the deal signed by a Democratic governor is bad enough to continue the boycott started after the anti-LGBT law was signed by the previous GOP governor that cost the state at least $650 million. That’ll be a tall order for a deal Cooper says alleviates discrimination in a state that has already suffered economic boycotts under HB2 and where companies are eager to grow after more than a year of business contraction.

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Equality Virginia to honor Gavin Grimm at annual dinner

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Equality Virginia will honor Gavin Grimm at its annual Commonwealth Dinner that will take place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond on Saturday.

Grimm is a transgender student at Gloucester County High School who filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School District’s policy prohibiting students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that don’t correspond with their “biological gender.” The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in Grimm’s case on March 28, but it remanded it to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX requires them to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

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Bob Marshall’s transgender challenger qualifies for June primary

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A transgender journalist who is challenging Virginia state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) has officially qualified for the ballot in the Democratic primary that will take place on June 13.

Danica Roem on March 13 submitted more than 500 petition signatures, which is well above the 125 signatures that she needed to collect.

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State Dept. defends anti-LGBT activist’s appointment to UN delegation

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The State Department on Monday once again defended the decision to appoint a representative of an organization that strongly opposes LGBT and intersex rights to the U.S. delegation to an annual U.N. women’s conference.

“The United States does seek to include individuals from civil society organizations with diverse viewpoints and allow them to observe the U.N. in action during the Commission on the Status of Women,” Acting spokesperson Mark Toner told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing.

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Ky. governor signs ‘religious freedom’ bill against LGBT students

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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On the same day President Trump came to visit his state for a “Make America Great Again” rally, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin penned his name to a bill allowing student groups at high schools and public colleges to turn away LGBT people out of religious objections.

Motivated in reaction to a school cutting a Bible verse from a student production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Senate Bill 17 was ostensibly intended to protect the religious expression of students. The measure permits them to express religious viewpoints, wear clothing with religious messages and use school media to announce student religious meetings free from discrimination.

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Montana lawmaker seeks voter referendum on transgender bathroom use

By : Wire Report
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) A Montana lawmaker introduced a bill Friday calling for a voter referendum on whether to ban transgender people from school and public restrooms and locker rooms that don’t match their gender at birth.

The bill sponsored by Republican state Rep. Carl Glimm of Kila was written with the assistance of the conservative Montana Family Foundation. It inserts Montana into a national debate over lesbian, gay and transgender people’s rights and is similar to controversial legislation that has passed or is under consideration in states like North Carolina, Arkansas and Texas.

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Wyoming court decides to censure, not remove judge who opposes marriage equality

By : Wire Report
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – A small-town judge who says her religious beliefs prevent her from presiding over same-sex marriages was publicly censured by the Wyoming Supreme Court on Tuesday.

But while the court said her conduct undermines the integrity of the judicial system, it does not warrant removal from the bench. In a 3-2 decision, Justice Kate Fox wrote that Judge Ruth Neely violated judicial conduct code but removing Neely would “unnecessarily circumscribe protected expression.”

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