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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