1st openly trans state legislator in US emphasizes record ahead of Virginia elections

By : Philip Van Slooten of the Washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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ABOVE: Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) will face off against Republican Kelly McGinn in next week’s General Assembly elections. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) is among those who are on the ballot in next week’s crucial General Assembly elections.

Roem, a former journalist, in 2017 defeated Bob Marshall, an anti-LGBTQ Republican who had represented the 13th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 1992. Roem is the first openly trans person seated in any state legislature in the U.S.

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Texas ‘bathroom bill’ fades as legislative session wraps up

By : Wire Report
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas will keep spending $800 million on border security while putting little new money into public schools, maintaining therapy cuts for disabled children and easing handgun license fees as the Republican-led Legislature approved a new state budget Saturday.

The $217 billion spending bill sent to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott will likely be a quiet footnote to a rancorous legislative session that ends Monday — upended by a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people and an immigration crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities.”

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North Dakota mulls changes to reflect same-sex marriage ruling

By : Wire Report
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota Legislature is deciding whether to update state law to reflect the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that declared same-sex couples have the right to marry, or to do nothing as a sign of protest.

The measure, which got its first hearing Jan. 4 in the Senate Judiciary Committee, would update dozens of references such as “husband and wife” to gender-neutral terms. North Dakota’s volumes of state laws, which are called the Century Code, list “one man, one woman” or “husband and wife” for everything from marriages and divorces to fishing licenses.

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Emboldened by Trump victory, new Florida legislature aims rightward

By : Billy Manes
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Though early reports of Florida’s arriving House of Representatives and Senate seem to indicate a kinder, gentler edge to proceedings – including more transparency, less nepotism, fewer spouses on airplanes during official business – at least one Democratic legislator isn’t really convinced. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who was officially elected to represent east Orlando this fall, making him the first Latino LGBTQ house representative to take that office, isn’t convinced.

“I think the Florida legislature is preparing to take a hard right turn,” he says. “They have been unapologetic already.”

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Republican Super PAC plans $8M in ads to keep North Carolina Legislature anti-LGBT

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A super PAC with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced plans Sept. 1 to spend $8.1 million on television ads in the North Carolina Senate race, where Republican incumbent Richard Burr is facing a spirited Democratic challenge.

With a goal of keeping the chamber in GOP hands, the Senate Leadership Fund said it is reserving ad time starting Sept. 13 in nearly all of the state’s TV markets and will air the ads regularly into late October. One Nation, a nonprofit arm of the fund, announced last month that it would air $2.5 million in ads praising Burr for what it called his efforts to preserve Medicare.

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N.D. governor issues memo barring LGBT discrimination

By : Wire Report
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Republican governor sent a memo to 17 government departments on April 6 saying discrimination against anyone is unacceptable, just two hours before every Democrat in the Legislature delivered a letter calling on him to go further and issue an executive order prohibiting bias against gays and lesbians.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s chief of staff sent the letter to all agency directors appointed by the governor.

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Indiana reveals religion bill changes, Arkansas gives ground

By : Wire Report
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Indianapolis (AP) — Indiana lawmakers on April 2 announced changes they plan to make to the state’s new religious-objections law aimed at quelling widespread criticism from businesses and others who have called the proposal anti-gay.

The revisions, which still require approval from the full Legislature and Republican Gov. Mike Pence, come as lawmakers in Arkansas scramble to revise that state’s own religious-objections legislation amid cries that it could permit discrimination.

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Anti-gay legislation moves through state, equality bills sit in committee

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tallahassee – Florida’s Legislature has been busy this year pushing through several anti-gay and discriminatory bills masked in the argument that they are to protect women and children.

The “Single-Sex Public Facilities” bill was introduced in the Florida House on Feb. 4 and would prohibit transgender individuals from using public facilities that align with their gender identities. While the bill does not use the word “transgender,” opponents of the bills say its sole purpose is targeting the transgender community.

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N.C. same-sex marriage back at legislature in exemption bill

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gay marriage is back on the front burner at the North Carolina legislature as senators consider legislation to let some court officials avoid marriage duties due to their religious beliefs.

A Senate judiciary committee scheduled debate Feb. 24 on the measure filed by chamber leader Phil Berger of Eden. The bill allows magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant and deputy registers of deeds to not issue licenses. But they couldn’t participate in traditional marriages, either.

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Illinois governor to sign marriage equality bill November 20

By : Wire Report
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn says he’s planning to sign same-sex marriage legislation on Nov. 20 in Chicago.

The governor announced Nov. 7 that he will sign the bill at the University of Illinois at Chicago in a 3:30 p.m. ceremony. The Legislature passed the measure Tuesday.

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Hawaiian Legislature takes steps toward marriage equality

By : Wire Report
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HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii could begin issuing licenses and performing ceremonies for gay couples on Nov. 18 if a bill passes during a special session that begins next week.

A Senate draft of the bill to be considered starting Oct. 28 says couples would be able to obtain licenses and be married the same day.

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Illinois governor pushes Wisconsin toward marriage equality

By : Wire Report
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Milwaukee (AP) – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says Wisconsin should follow the lead of other Midwest states and legalize gay marriage.

Quinn said Aug. 3 during a break at the National Governors Association meeting in Milwaukee that gay people should not have more rights in some states in the region and less in others.

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