More than a year after the US State Department shrugged off existing same-sex marriage and immigration laws and rejected citizenship for a child of two gay dads, the agency is now appealing a federal judge’s ruling that the child is an American citizen. Comment
Police departments in dozens of the largest US cities — including New York City and surrounding counties — are failing to establish appropriate public policies for dealing with transgender and gender non-conforming people, according to a new report commissioned by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). Comment
In an historic turn in Albany, efforts to back away from criminalizing sex work have achieved lift-off. Comment
The US Supreme Court announced it would hear appeals in three cases presenting the question whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s employment nondiscrimination provisions cover claims of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The three cases involve the ’64 Act’s Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, and the high court’s April 22 announcement indicated they would be heard in the next term beginning in October. Comment
The NYPD significantly escalated tensions with advocates for sex workers on April 18 when a spokesperson said a letter from four local elected officials calling for an investigation into the department’s handling of sex work cases made “sweeping generalizations” that “blatantly mischaracterized” the department. The response from the NYPD, in turn, prompted some advocates to blast the department for itself running prostitution rings while resisting a potential probe. Comments (2)

Judith Clark Granted Parole


Judith Clark Granted Parole

Judith Clark, an out lesbian who has spent nearly four decades in prison for her role as an accomplice in a 1981 robbery that left a private guard and two police officers dead, has been granted parole. Comment
An upstate New York town has been ordered to pay $25,000 to a same-sex couple as part of a settlement after the town clerk refused to grant them a marriage license last July. Comment
Rejecting two petitions for review that were both considered long shots at best, the US Supreme Court, on April 15, announced it will not hear an appeal by gay death row inmate Charles Rhines, who contends the jury that sentenced him to death rather than life in prison without parole in his 1993 murder trial was tainted by homophobic statements some of the jurors made during deliberations. Comment
A lawsuit brought against a Harlem outlet of the Texas Chicken & Burgers chain by five gender non-conforming or transgender people who charged they were denied service there — only to have that allegation refuted by the company in court filings — has been ended by all parties. Comment
In a first round advance for the anti-LGBTQ litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom, a federal court judge has allowed a lawsuit challenging the Palatine, Illinois, high school district’s policy that allows transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity to proceed on theories of sexual harassment and free exercise of religion. Comment
A federal appeals court has ruled that the State of Texas did not violate a transgender inmate’s Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment by denying her gender confirmation surgery. Comment
As it turns out, the Mueller Report isn’t the only issue US Attorney General William Barr may be dragging his feet on. Comments (1)
Grindr enjoys totally immunity from liability for the harm suffered by a gay Manhattanite whose ex-boyfriend created fake Grindr profiles in his name that led more than a thousand people to contact him at home and at work for “fetishistic sex, bondage, role playing, and rape fantasies,” a unanimous federal appeals panel has ruled. Comment
The US Supreme Court announced on March 18 that it will not review a 2018 decision by Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals ruling that a small bed & breakfast operating in a private home violated the state’s civil rights law by denying accommodations to an unmarried lesbian couple. Hawaii’s civil rights law forbids businesses that are “public accommodations” from discriminating in providing their services based on the sexual orientation of customers. Comment

Federal Judge to Pentagon: Not So Fast on Trans Ban

In a three-page notice to the Pentagon, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly reminded the Trump administration that the nationwide preliminary injunction she issued in October 2017 against the proposed ban on transgender military service remains in place, at least until such time as the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issues a final mandate in its review of her order. Comment

Medicaid Coverage Ordered for Gender Reassignment in Iowa

The Iowa Medicaid program’s exclusion of coverage for sex reassignment procedures violates that state’s Civil Rights Act, the State Supreme Court ruled on March 8. Discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations has been part of Iowa’s Civil Rights Act since 2007. Comment
Barack Obama was the first sitting president to voice his support for marriage equality, but the first-ever same-sex marriage in the world might have occurred during Richard Nixon’s administration. Comment
Opinions released by two federal courts this month dramatically reduced the chances that lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Pentagon’s proposed ban on transgender service would be able to block its implementation even as the merits of the issue continue to be litigated. Comments (1)
In a pair of rulings on February 26, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed circuit court dismissals of sex discrimination lawsuits by gay and transgender plaintiffs. Comment
A federal district court in Virginia has refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Air Force’s refusal to allow healthy airmen living with HIV to continue serving and deploying to combat zones. At the same time, the court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the plaintiffs’ discharges pending a final ruling on the merits in the case. Comment

Palm Beach Conversion Therapy Bans Win Round One

On February 13, a federal district judge denied a motion by two Palm Beach County psychologists to block enforcement of the county’s ordinance forbidding licensed health care practitioners from providing “sexual orientation change efforts,” also commonly known as “conversion therapy,” to minors. Comment
Usually the US Supreme Court’s refusal to review a lower court decision puts an end to the case, but Liberty Counsel, a right-wing religious group that represents psychologists in New Jersey who want to provide conversion therapy to “change” minors from gay to straight, has seized on an opening created by a high court decision last June to revive their constitutional claims. On February 11, the organization petitioned the Supreme Court to effectively reopen the case. Comment
Roughly eight years after the passage of marriage equality in New York, the newly progressive State Senate finally overcame Republican obstruction to fix some lingering flaws in that law. Comment
A federal magistrate has recommended that the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida issue a limited preliminary injunction barring the city of Tampa from enforcing an ordinance banning licensed health care professionals from performing conversion therapy on minors. Comments (1)
A transgender woman is suing the NYPD for discrimination after police officers, she said, mocked and harassed her when she was arrested for charges including “false personation” after she provided them with both her current legal name and her previous one. Comment
The Supreme Court, on January 22, agreed to US Solicitor General Noel Francisco’s request that it stay the two nationwide preliminary injunctions issued in December 2017 by federal district judges on the West Coast blocking President Donald Trump’s ban on military service by transgender individuals from going into effect. Comment
When attorney Ben Crump stood outside the Stonewall Inn last August with five clients who were charging that a Texas Chicken & Burgers outlet had denied them service because they are transgender and gender non-conforming, he noted that the civil rights movement had advanced because racial prejudice and its attendant violence was caught in pictures that prompted demands for change. Comment
Kristen Prata Browde, a solo practitioner who specializes in family law and divorce, has been elected the board chair of LeGaL, the LGBT Bar of New York. Comments (2)
Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips is back in court, this time suing officials of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission and its Civil Rights Division and the state’s attorney general and governor to try to block the Commission from continuing a case against him for refusing to make a custom-designed cake celebrating the anniversary of a transgender attorney’s transition. Comments (2)
A unanimous three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on January 4 that District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly should not have denied a Justice Department […] Comment
A yellow cab driver is back on the road after being slapped on the wrist with a 10-day suspension and a modest fine for refusing to drive a gay customer in Midtown Manhattan earlier this year. Comments (1)
Two members of the US Air Force are suing the Trump administration after they were booted from the military because of their HIV status, which they say is a violation of the US Constitution and federal law. Comments (1)

$125,000 Damage Award for Photo’s Use in HIV Bias Ad

New York Court of Claims Judge Thomas H. Scuccimarra has decided that the State of New York should pay Avril Nolan $125,000 for using her photo in an HIV discrimination ad campaign without a disclaimer that the person in the picture was a “model.” Comment


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