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In 2015, a same-sex female couple in Indiana tragically lost their twin babies during a premature childbirth. But in a bizarre application of Indiana law, while both parents were permitted to be named on the children’s death certificates, one parent — the parent who was not genetically related to the children — was denied the right to be listed on the children’s birth certificates. The couple challenged the Indiana laws that were at play, joining several other same-sex couples in the litigation. Eventually, the couples won an injunction in federal district court.
Indiana appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017. On appeal, the Indiana Attorney General’s office argued that state law requires that the biological parents of a child must be listed on the child’s birth certificate. In other words, the right procedure for a same-sex female couple would be to list a sperm donor on the original birth certificate as the “father.” And then, go through an adoption procedure for the nongenetically related mother. Once that adoption was completed, the couple could request a reissued birth certificate. Oh that’s all? Actually, that’s quite a lot of red tape! And confusingly, the same standards apparently did not apply to an Indiana death certificate.
What Is Marital Presumption And What If The State Discriminates As To Who Gets The Presumption?
The plaintiffs argued that Indiana law was being applied in a discriminatory manner. For instance, Indiana law provided a presumption that any man married to a woman giving birth was presumably the father — the biological father — of the baby. That was true even if the couple had used a sperm donor in order to have a child. But Indiana declined to apply that same presumption when a woman was married to a woman. So a heterosexual couple using a sperm donor avoided quite a few headaches that a same-sex female couple had to overcome, in order to reach the same legal position as parents.
The Indiana attorney general argued that the state’s laws were not discriminatory, since all couples were being treated the same. Every woman giving birth should know that when filling out the “father” portion of the birth certificate under Indiana law, the law required her to write the information for the “biological” father –- whether he be an anonymous sperm donor or other –- and not necessarily her spouse. The attorney general further argued that if a woman were to write her husband, and he was not the biological father, then her husband would not have any parental rights to the child. Of course, this argument obfuscates the underlying issue at stake — that the marital presumption only applies to heterosexual couples, and that the state is only objecting when same-sex couples list both parents on the birth certificate.
But, But … Obergefell And Pavan Last week, the Seventh Circuit FINALLY ruled in the case known as Henderson v. Box … two and half years after arguments before the court, and just at the three-year mark after the case was appealed in 2017. In a victory for same-sex parents throughout Indiana, the appeals court ruled in favor of the parents. The judges on the panel were Flaum, Easterbook, and Sykes; Ford, Reagan, and George W. Bush appointees, respectively.
The court acknowledged that, yes, a man listed on a birth certificate, upon contest in Indiana, can be shown not to have parental rights to the child. However, the court pointed out that even with a “bursting-bubble presumption” –- one that vanishes as soon as it is contested — the presumption has consequences for parental rights. Unless the presumption is, in fact, contested, the husband is deemed the father (regardless of biological parent status), with full parental rights and parental duties, in a way that both women in a female-female marriage are not.
The court noted that the spouse of the woman giving birth may, indeed, be the biological mother of the child. One set of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are an example of this. The couple went through “reciprocal IVF” — where one spouse gestationally carried and gave birth to the child, and the other, through an egg retrieval and in vitro fertilization, was genetically related to the child.
Of course, this should have been an easy case all along, and resolved much sooner. We already know from SCOTUS rulings in Obergefell and a subsequent cased called Pavan that same-sex couples are entitled to receive the same “constellation of benefits” as different-sex couples. That includes parental rights. So if a man married to a woman gets the presumption of parenthood, a woman married to a woman, or a man married to a man, must receive the same presumption. Equally. Indeed, the Court’s opinion was a breezy 10 pages explaining this rationale.
Good Work. But In Less Helpful News …
Nice work to the court coming to a sound decision as to the plaintiffs’ rights to equal treatment under the law. If you are going to take 32 months to write a 10-page decision, you definitely want to get it right.
Of course, in less helpful news, the court specifically noted that the question as to “all-male” couples was “expressly left open for resolution by the legislature or in some future suit.” The court also made clear it was not ruling on any parental rights that a biological father — such as a sperm donor — might have to the child of a same-sex female couple. So all you donors out there, keep your eyes open for future similar cases.
Ellen Trachman is the Managing Attorney of Trachman Law Center, LLC , a Denver-based law firm specializing in assisted reproductive technology law, and co-host of the podcast I Want To Put A Baby In You . You can reach her at email@example.com .
Several Kansas City, Missouri, companies have earned the “ Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality ” distinction this year.
Every year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation ranks businesses for their adoption of inclusive workplace policies and practices such as domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive benefits and non-discriminatory policies, among others. This year eight of the 686 top companies in the U.S. are located in Kansas City.
“Kansas City for such a long time has had a reputation as being an enormously conservative city,” said Suzanne Wheeler, executive director of the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City.
Wheeler identifies as trans and grew up in the Kansas City suburbs in the 1980s. She spent 30 years away from Kansas City while in the military before she retired. Wheeler admits Kansas City wasn’t the first place she considered to retire, but she gave it a shot and went to a chamber meeting. She was pleasantly surprised.
“It was a completely different city than the one I left,” Wheeler said. “I realized there were plenty of opportunities for me in Kansas City. I wouldn’t just be able to make it but I would be able to thrive.”
The ratings suggest the city has become more inclusive for professional LGBTQ+ individuals, which is good for recruitment and therefore good for business. Every year, Kansas City’s ratings improve, Wheeler said, and the community notices.
“It’s fabulous because ultimately it helps show this eclectic and wonderfully accepting city that we live in,” Wheeler said.
KC companies that earned high scores are listed below: Cerner Corp. — 100
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City — 95
Hallmark Cards Inc. — 100
H&R Block Inc. — 100
Lathrop Gage — 95
Polsinelli — 100
Shook, Hardy & Bacon — 100
Stinson — 100
Photo by Danny Cooper / The Daily Pennsylvanian
In a sustainability win, the LGBT Center recently announced the arrival of poppers of tap. The party drug, popular amongst queers and avant-garde heterosexuals, will now be supplied on tap at the LGBT Center. Drop by with your reusable vial and fill up!
The announcement comes after months of pressure from numerous environmental groups on campus. Everyone knows one of the biggest sources of waste is poppers packaging. Go to any landfill and all you see are poppers bottles. With this historic installation, the days of poppers filled landfills will be over.
Students around campus rejoiced upon hearing the news and they can’t wait to feel the rush! College junior and hag Jaime Miller was especially ecstatic. “The environment is one the things I most care about in this world and it always broke my heart to have to throw away the 10 to 20 poppers bottles I would use every weekend,” said Miller. Now all Miller has to do is grab her reusable vial and head to the LGBT Center any time she needs a kick.
Miller excitedly declared, “I’m proud to attend a school that takes environmental issues so seriously. We may be deeply invested in the fossil fuel industry, but I sure sleep better at night knowing our landfills are poppers free! ”
The gay community in Taiwan followed the Irish same-sex marriage debate and referendum very closely and they kept in close contact with groups active in the campaign. Photograph: Ashley Pon/Bloomberg via Getty The battle has been long and at times bitter, but Taiwan’s LGBT activists say they now feel empowered to tackle remaining discrimination where they see it and act as a beacon for the burgeoning gay rights movement in Asia.
Taiwan became the first Asian state to recognise same-sex marriage last year, a historic breakthrough following a prolonged campaign, and one that activists say was buoyed by Ireland’s marriage equality referendum in 2015.
The introduction of the new law was divisive in Taiwan, and conservative and church groups vowed to punish President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party at the January 11th elections and vote in lawmakers who would reverse the legislation.
The electorate, however, delivered Tsai a landslide victory, meaning the LGBT community could heave a collective sigh of relief and focus on consolidating their position over the next four years. There is great solidarity across the world, and the Irish community was very helpful sharing all their experiences Taiwan has a vibrant LGBT scene, and one that has been spurred on by the legislative change. More than 200,000 people joined last year’s riotous gay pride parade in Taipei , among them many of the 2,600 same-sex couples who have legally tied the knot in Taiwan since the new law was introduced.
Also joining the party were representatives of several gay groups from all across Asia, many looking to emulate Taiwan’s legislative success in their own countries.
“We have had so many groups visit, from Hong Kong , Japan , Singapore , Malaysia , Korea, all over. We share our experience and resources, and together hope to develop the LGBT movement across Asia,” said Sih-Cheng Du, director of policy advocacy from the Taiwan TongZhi (LGBTQ) Hotline Association.
The community in Taiwan followed the Irish same-sex marriage debate and referendum very closely, he said, and they kept in close contact with groups active in the campaign in Ireland.
“It was inspiring. There is great solidarity across the world, and the Irish community was very helpful sharing all their experiences,” he said, “and now we are doing the same across Asia.” Taiwan president Tsai Ing-Wen was re-elected in a landslide victory on January 11th, cementing her government’s same-sex marriage legislation. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty The origins of the path to legislative reform can be traced back to 1986, the year before Taiwan’s four decades of martial law under Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek finally came to a close.
Chi Chia-wei, a solo activist at the time, decided to call a press conference in a downtown McDonalds. He stuffed notices into the postboxes of local and international media outlets, reserved a small section of the fast-food venue, bought dozens of soft drinks from the counter, and waited to see if anyone would show up.
His invites stirred press intrigue and with the cameras rolling he did the unthinkable in such oppressive climes: he openly declared his sexual orientation and launched a one-man HIV/Aids education campaign. He also petitioned the legislature to permit same-sex marriages, a proposal that was promptly and angrily rejected.
Chi quickly found himself in trouble with the law, and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on robbery charges that were widely seen as fabricated. He sat in a cell for five months, before being pardoned by a lenient and tearful judge who sent him on his way.
In the following years he set up an LGBT support hotline, raised funds for Aids victims, and continued challenging the island’s laws in the courts. A well-known public figure on the streets of Taipei, he would hand out free condoms, occasionally dressed in a suit made of condoms.
In 2013 he made another of his many attempts to apply for a marriage licence, and when denied he appealed to the Taipei city government, who referred the constitutionality question to the courts.
As that was winding its way through the legal system, Tsai Ing-wen was preparing for her first presidential bid. In November 2015 – the same month that same-sex marriage became legal in Ireland – she announced her support for the legislation in Taiwan.
When she came to power the issue was sidelined, though it proved to be deeply contentious amongst her governing ranks, much to the disappointment of the LGBT community, who accused her of reneging on campaign promises. She did, however, manage to appoint several liberally oriented judges to the constitutional court in her early days at the helm.
That court, considering Chi’s latest application that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, then reached the landmark decision in 2017, declaring that marriage in Taiwan should indeed be opened to same-sex couples. It gave the government two years to find a legal solution. Chi Chia-wei began his solo campaign for LGBT rights in Taiwan with a press conference in a branch of McDonalds in 1986. Photograph: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty The court decision was met with a conservative outcry, and opponents put forward a series of referendums in which two-thirds of the voters opted to reject same-sex marriage. While the government had said prior to the referendums that they were obligated to follow the court ruling regardless of any referendum outcome, it was an acrimonious time that drove a wedge into society.
“When we spoke to LGBT groups and individuals in Ireland, they told us to avoid a referendum if we could. They said it would be bitter and divisive and offensive and cause a lot of hurt to our community,” Du said. “They were right but we had no choice here. So, they advised us to prepare to protect our community, to give them emotional support.”
Conservative and Christian groups ran a well-funded campaign of hate and scare-mongering, he said, “and so much fake news” that led to “a huge amount of pain in our community . . . we really got beaten up in the process.” Same-sex couples still face areas of discrimination that the TongZhi group and others intend to challenge And while the vote was non-binding, it did lead the government to pass a special same-sex law as a compromise move, rather than amending the civil code, which is what the LGBT and human rights groups had been seeking to deliver full equality.
So, in May last year, right on the court’s two-year deadline, the legislators passed a Bill making same-sex marriage a reality.
Speaking to Taiwanese media at a rally outside the legislature after the vote, the 60-year-old Chi marvelled at the massive crowd around him.
“It was just a one-man campaign when I started, now I have 250,000 people here beside me. I am not alone in doing what is right,” he said.
He was never discouraged by the setbacks, he said, but always felt the cause was worthy.
“My belief is that if you can do one thing right in this life, then it is all worth it,” he said.
As the civil code was not amended, same-sex couples still face areas of discrimination that the TongZhi group and others intend to challenge, Du said.
Currently, same-sex couples can only adopt if the child is the biological offspring of one of the couple, for instance, and Taiwanese citizens can only have a transnational same-sex marriage recognised if their partner is from one of the 30 or so countries around the world that recognise gay marriage, he said.
“There are other issues too, such as gender equality education, that we need to tackle,” he said. “It will all take time. It’s a long process.”
But Taiwan, and Asia, are changing, he said.
After Tsai signed the historic law, she gave her pen to Chi in recognition of his decades-long struggle.
“I used this pen to sign the same-sex marriage Bill. Please keep it as a token. May love unite everyone in this land,” she wrote in a note to him.
Chi then acted as witness for the first same-sex marriages in the country, using the president’s pen to sign his name on the official marital documents.
Same-sex dance partners will be able to compete for the first time in the competition at the Mormon university. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP via Getty) A Mormon university that bans “homosexual behaviour” will allow same-sex couples to dance on its campus for the first time ever.
Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church.
BYU’s honour code prohibits “homosexual behavior”, and students can be expelled for not adhering to the code.
It states: “One’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.
“Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code.
“Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”
But this year, when the US National Amateur DanceSport Championships are held at the Utah campus March, the will be no limitations on the gender of partners dancing together.
The National Dance Council of America (NDCA) announced in September 2019 that it would be redefining the term “couple” in its rules to include people of any gender, including non-binary people.
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The US National Amateur DanceSport Championships are held every year at BYU, but this will be the first year anything other than opposite-sex partners will be allowed.
If BYU did not abide by NDCA rules it would no longer have accreditation from the organisation, but its own rules do stipulate that “competitors must not be overly suggestive in their movements” and there are strict guidelines for keeping costumes modest.
In August 2019, It Chapter Two star Taylor Frey said that his experience of being gay at BYU was like “a witch hunt”.
He told Attitude: “It’s the most incredible tattle-tale society. It’s damaging and it’s hurtful because you can be kicked out of school based on lies and rumours.
“I feel this fire in my chest when I speak about it because it was such a scary time for me… I’m still trying to let it go.”
“It’s happened to a lot of people, some people weren’t allowed to have their credits transferred, some people were close to graduating and were kicked out and their degrees were withheld.
“That’s why it’s scary, especially for someone like me who wasn’t out of the closet yet. I was afraid that had these accusations gone forward I’d have had to to tell my parents what they were about. That was horrifying.
“It was almost like I was being dragged through the mud. It was a witch hunt.”
After a decade of negotiations, Russia and Israel have agreed a deal that bans same-sex couples from adopting Russian children (Peter Muhly/Getty) Israel and Russia have signed a deal banning LGBT+ people from adopting Russian children, after a decade of negotiations.
The agreement, signed on January 22, stipulates that same-sex couples cannot adopt children from Russia.
Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem affairs minister, met with a senior Russian delegation Wednesday ahead of president Vladimir Putin’s scheduled Thusday visit to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum.
The senior Russian delegation included Russia’s foreign minister, economics minister and education minister, according to the Jerusalem Post .
Israel and Russia finalised two agreements at the meeting, one on same-sex adoption and the other regarding cooperation between the two countries’ foreign ministries. The adoption agreement is in accordance with Russian law and prevents LGBT+ couples from adopting Russian children.
Multiple Israeli lawmakers – including chairman of left-wing party Meretz, Nitzan Horowitz – expressed outrage at the agreement.
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Horowitz said the deal was “a spit in the face of the LGBT community”.
He added: “Netanyahu is getting in line with Putin’s homophobic policies and once again trampling the basic rights of hundreds of thousands of citizens of Israel who are members of the gay community.”
Eitan Ginzburg, of new liberal party the Blue and White MK, said: “The Netanyahu government is preventing us from being parents…. This is a continuation of Israel’s discriminatory policies.”
Minister Elkin also discussed economic cooperation and trade, which recently passed $5 billion per year between the two countries, as well as the possibility of a Russia-Israel free-trade agreement.
In September 2019, two gay dads fled Russia because they were afraid their children would be taken away from them.
Andrei Vaganov and Evgeny Erofeyev said they were forced to flee Russia after the government began investigating their family when it discovered that their two sons did not have a mother.
This came six years after Russia introduced what has become known as the “gay propaganda” law, which bans the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations to minors”.
Human rights organisations have been highly critical of the discriminatory law and have said that it is exacerbating hostility towards minority groups.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia has violated the rights of its LGBT+ citizens on three occasions since the law was introduced.
A woman holds a sign at a rally in downtown Salt Lake City demand that the Mormon Church change their policy of doing "worthiness interviews" with children that may involve sexual matters. (George Frey/Getty) Traumatising conversion therapy is now officially illegal for LGBT+ children in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS church), commonly known as the Mormon Church, is headquartered.
The anti-LGBT+ LDS church dominates politics in Utah and around a third of all Mormons in the US live in the state.
Most US states have a Mormon population of between zero and five percent, but according to the latest LDS figures, 68 percent of the Utah population is Mormon.
The proportion of the population who are members of the LDS church is greater than the proportion of Utah women who have jobs.
In October, 2019, the church announced that it opposed a proposed ban on conversion therapy in the state.
The church’s “family services” branch also sent a letter to the Utah Department of Commerce raising its concerns about the bill.
In the letter , the church said: “Regardless of a person’s sexual orientation, some behaviours related to or associated with sexual orientation can be destructive and psychologically unhealthy… Certainly a minor client with gender dysphoria who desires to change, through appropriate therapies, extreme or destructive ‘behaviours that express aspects of gender’ should be able to find help from responsible therapists.”
A month later, after assurances were added that churches would still be able to provide spiritual counselling, the LDS church u-turned and said it would not resist a ban on the traumatising and debunked practice of conversion therapy.
The change in law became final on Tuesday January 21, making Utah the 19th US state to ban the practice.
According to the Los Angeles Times , the original sponsor of the proposal, Republican Utah representative Craig Hall, said: “This measure will truly save lives.”
A study published in 2019 found that “transgender people who are exposed to conversion efforts anytime in their lives have more than double the odds of attempting suicide compared with those who have never experienced efforts by professionals to convert their gender identity.”
A Chick-fil-A logo is seen on a take out bag at one of its restaurants on July 28, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty) Despite immense backlash over its funding of anti-LGBT+ organisations, Chick-fil-A has insisted that it will push forward with opening a “permanent” UK location.
The statement comes on the same day that the UK’s only remaining Chick-fil-A shut its doors after facing a fierce public boycott . A second location in a shopping centre in Reading was also forced to close after sustained pressure from LGBT+ activists.
The chicken chain said the closure of the restaurant inside the Macdonald Aviemore Resort in the Scottish Highlands was not related to the backlash, despite a petition to the hotel chain attracting 1,200 signatures and support from Scottish parliamentarians.
The petition’s creator Scott Cuthbertson, manager of LGBTI Scotland, celebrated the closure and told PinkNews : “Chick-fil-A is a company with a terrible record of supporting anti-LGBT+ causes.
“Many LGBT people in the Highlands and beyond expressed alarm at the opening of a restaurant with such a record… I want to thank everyone who signed the petition to tell Chick-fil-A to cluck off.”
But, it seems the fast food chain is not gone for good.
A spokesperson for Chick-Fil-A told the The Herald Scotland : “The Chick-fil-A at Macdonald Aviemore Resort officially closed its doors on January 18, 2020 in line with our plan for a temporary pilot licensed location.
“It has been our pleasure to serve guests at this pilot restaurant for the past several months, and we are grateful to Macdonald Hotels for allowing us the opportunity to learn from each and every customer.
“These insights will help us immensely as we look to having a permanent location in the UK in the future.”
Chick-fil-A has a long history of opposing LGBT+ rights. The Baptist-owned company has given millions of dollars to anti-gay groups, leading to protests, boycotts, and several new US branches being banned from opening .
In 2013, it was reported that the chain’s anti-LGBT+ donations had almost doubled . The Chick-fil-A Foundation donated almost $3 million to an anti-marriage equality organisation in 2011.
In 2012, Chick-fil-A boss Dan Cathy confirmed that the chain is against same-sex marriage. He later said he regretted getting the company entangled in controversy surrounding LGBT+ rights, but said his views had not changed.
Rebecca Long-Bailey (left) interviewed by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg. (Screenshot) Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey has told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that trans women are woman and the law should allow trans people to self-identify their gender.
“Do you believe trans women are women?” Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, asked Long-Bailey in a January 22 interview.
Long-Bailey replied quickly and firmly: “Yes.”
Long-Bailey also pointed out that trans people already self-identify their gender in many instances.
The notable exception to this is the gender on birth certificates, which can only be changed by obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate – a complicated, expensive and bureaucratic process that requires providing medical evidence to a panel.
This process is controlled by the Gender Recognition Act, which the government has repeatedly promised to reform. What Kuenssberg misses here is that "self-identification" is already a well-established legal reality here in the UK. The two big exceptions are passports (where you need a doctor’s letter), or for birth certificates (where you need to apply for Gender Recognition Certificate). https://t.co/krsE06NHVj
— Ruth Pearce (@NotRightRuth) January 22, 2020 Kuenssberg then asked : “And do you have any concerns about changing the Gender Recognition Act? Because this is a tricky issue, Labour has got different views on this issue. Do you think that moving to self- identification is the right thing to do?”
“I think we need to fully support our trans community,” Long-Bailey replied, “and I understand the arguments on all sides of this debate, but I’m very firm in supporting the rights of trans people and I think as a party, you would expect the Labour Party to be at the forefront of doing that.” "We have to let people be who they want to be"
Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey tells @bbclaurak trans women are women and that self-identification – where trans people self-identify their gender – "should be the law" https://t.co/nSvBU0GvpB pic.twitter.com/RgPnz6hEFz
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 22, 2020 Kuenssberg said that was “not the same as saying that self-identification should become the legal way of doing it. Do you think that we should move to a situation of self-identification?”
“I think people self-ID,” Long-Bailey replied.
“I mean going through transition as a trans person, it’s a very, very difficult process. And speak to people who’ve been through the process themselves and self-IDing is the first step in that process for many.
“And we’ve got to respect and understand that we have to let people be who they want to be and respect their choices.”
“Should that be the law?” Kuenssberg asked.
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“I think it should be the law.”
“So you do, to be clear, self-identification-” Kuenssberg reiterated.
“Self-identification,” Long-Bailey confirmed. Hear more on why she still backs the defeated manifesto, abortion, trans rights, Netflix and takeaways and having Tory mates on #BBCNews6 and will post the full interview here later on
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) January 22, 2020