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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Va. GOP gubernatorial candidates make anti-trans comments

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart on Saturday said he would sign a bill that is equivalent to North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

“As governor, I will absolutely prohibit any locality from doing any such thing and promoting transgenderism in any way, shape or form,” he said at a forum the Amherst County Republican Party sponsored. “It’s absolutely horrendously despicable.”

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Federal appeals court rules civil rights law covers LGBTQ workers

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) – Companies cannot discriminate against LGBTQ employees in the workplace because of their sexual orientation, a federal appeals court said, in a ruling that a gay rights group called a “game changer.”

The 8-to-3 decision April 4 by the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago is likely to lead to a battle before the Supreme Court over the interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This is because a three-judge panel in Atlanta ruled the opposite three weeks ago.

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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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HHS seeks to dump LGBT elders from U.S. health survey

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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LGBT advocacy groups are opposing the Trump administration’s announced plans to remove questions seeking to identify gay, lesbian and bisexual elders in a U.S. health survey, saying the move represents a systematic plan to undermine LGBT progress.

Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders announced Monday the launch of a campaign to oppose the Department of Health & Human Services’ proposed elimination of the questions from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, or NSOAAP. The survey is intended to evaluate the effectiveness of programs funded by the Older Americans Act, such as services for home-delivered meals, homemaker services and the National Family Caregiver Support Program.

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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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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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Documentary explores drag scene in city of the US heartland

By : Wire Report
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)- Filmmaker Gabrielle Burton says she didn’t plan for her documentary about the drag scene in Ohio’s capital city to achieve wider distribution at a time of political and cultural division.

But becoming comfortable with complex subjects is something everyone needs at the moment, Burton says.

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Supreme Court will not hear case on transgender bathroom rights

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is handing a transgender teen’s case back to a lower court without reaching a decision.

The justices said Monday they have opted not to decide whether federal anti-discrimination law gives high school senior Gavin Grimm the right to use the boys’ bathroom in his Virginia school.

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Gavin Grimm makes case to Supreme Court on using the boys’ room

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Oral arguments in Gavin Grimm’s case before the Supreme Court are more than one month away, but his lawyers shot their initial salvo Thursday making the case he should be allowed to use the restroom in his school consistent with his gender identity.

In its opening brief before the court, the American Civil Liberties Union makes seven key arguments for why Gloucester County Schools in Virginia should be required to allow Gavin to use the boys’ room. The argument are based on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sex.

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