Anti-LGBTQ Trump judicial nominee Kyle Duncan confirmed to Fifth Circuit

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate has confirmed to the federal bench a Trump judicial nominee who made a major component of his career as a lawyer attempts to block LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage and transgender student Gavin Grimm’s access to the high school boys’ room,

Kyle Duncan, a partner at the D.C.-based Schaerr Duncan LLP, was confirmed Tuesday to a seat on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals — which has jurisdiction over Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi — by a party-line vote of 50-47.

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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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Puerto Rico Senate approves religious freedom bill

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Puerto Rico Senate has approved a religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth. Activists and their supporters have urged Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to veto the measure. Image by Nicolas Raymond; courtesy Flickr

The Puerto Rico Senate on Sunday approved a religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth.

The bill — which is known as the Law for the Protection of Religious Liberty in Puerto Rico — notes the U.S. and Puerto Rican constitutions guarantee freedom of religion. The measure also states “it is important to remember the situations of confrontations that the religious sector experienced in the past administration where the public education sector tried to impose an ideology contrary to parents’ Christian principles.”

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Supreme Court won’t review Texas decision against same-sex benefits

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up review of a Texas Supreme Court decision casting doubt on whether the 2015 ruling for LGBTQ nationwide requires municipalities to offer same-sex spousal benefits to employees.

The Supreme Court announced it has denied certiorari, or refused to take up the petition seeking review of the decision, in an order list Monday reflecting decisions justices made during a conference last week Friday. It takes a vote of four justices to take up a case, but the vote on petitions isn’t made public.

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Supreme Court rules for lesbian parents in Ark. birth certificate case

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court reversed Monday an Arkansas high court ruling allowing the state to refuse to place a lesbian parent’s name on the birth certificate of their child if the parent isn’t the birth mother.

In the case of Pavan v. Smith, the court in a per curiam decision issued a summary reversal of the Arkansas Supreme Court decision on the basis it contravened the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges extending marriage equality nationwide, which was handed down exactly two years to the day of the reversal.

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Veterans Administration makes right on old wrong

By : Billy Manes
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According to a story from thenewcivilrightsmovement.com, the U.S. Veterans Administration is beginning to change its tune when it comes to paying out retroactive death benefits to some partners in civil unions who had not yet had the ability to convert those civil unions into marriage licences. The move came, obviously,  in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage on June 26. Joe Krumbach and Army vet Jerry Hatcher had all the trappings of a legitimate union in Washington, right down to the outrageous wedding ceremony in Seattle replete with butterflies and an Austin Powers impersonator (!). Unfortunately, Hatcher passed away from cancer in 2008, years before all civil unions would be automatically converted into marriages in Washington, leaving Krumbach begging at the federal trough for the benefits he rightfully deserved.

“I was pissed,” Krumbach told a Washington NBC affiliate. “How dare you say ‘no.’ His service was no different than any other service and denying someone those benefits is inherently wrong.”

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