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A federal trial judge has issued his final ruling in a case challenging protections for transgender people under the Affordable Care Act, finding that a regulation guaranteeing that patients would be free from discrimination based on gender identity — as well as “termination of pregnancy” — was based on an incorrect interpretation of existing federal nondiscrimination law. Comment
In a Supreme Court session with several consequential LGBTQ cases pending, we learned on October 7 of two lawsuits that will not being going in front of the nation’s high court. Comment
Continuing litigation efforts dating back a quarter of a century, a group of “gentlemen’s cabarets” — which the court alternatively describes as “strip clubs” — and adult bookstores located in Manhattan are challenging the constitutionality of Rudy Giuliani’s zoning restrictions as they apply to “adult establishments.” Comment
Health

Tampa Conversion Therapy Ban Nixed

A federal district judge has ruled that the state of Florida’s overriding authority in regulating professional health care deprives the city of Tampa from imposing municipal sanctions on licensed healthcare workers who perform so-called “conversion therapy” on minors. Comment
News

At Supreme Court, Glimmer of Hope

News

At Supreme Court, Glimmer of Hope

Intense exchanges about the meaning of a 55-year-old civil rights statute in the context of the modern realities of homophobia and transphobia in the workplace, with plenty of bathroom hysteria sprinkled in, marked a dramatic morning of arguments at the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday. Comment
Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ litigation group, is asking the US Supreme Court to take a second look at a Washington Supreme Court ruling that a florist who refused to provide wedding flower services for a same-sex couple violated that state’s anti-discrimination law and did not have a valid First Amendment defense. Comment
A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction barring the State of Michigan from declining to renew the license of a Catholic adoption agency that refuses to certify same-sex couples or single people as adoptive or foster parents but instead refers them to other agencies. Comment
The US Department of Justice has taken the extraordinary step of diving into a state court contract law dispute in opposition to a Catholic schoolteacher who is suing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis after being fired for getting married to another man. Comment
Two recent federal court rulings mark important advances for access to gender confirmation surgery by transgender people — both under Medicaid regulations and in prison settings. Comment
News

Conversion Therapy Ban Upheld

News

Conversion Therapy Ban Upheld

A federal district judge has dismissed a right-wing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Maryland’s ban on conversion therapy when practiced on minors. Comment
Dozens of advocacy groups, led by Housing Works, plan to bring civil disobedience to the Supreme Court next month when oral arguments are heard in a series of pivotal cases related to sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Comment
A wedding venue in Mississippi has exposed itself as a hotbed of homophobia and racism after an employee told an inquiring customer that same-sex or interracial couples couldn’t get married there. Their excuse? Religion. Comment
The family of the late Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and five city officials responsible for her care, charging that they violated her constitutional rights as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Comment
After more than four years of litigation, Gavin Grimm has finally won a favorable ruling on the merits of his transgender rights lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia, where he completed high school in 2017. Comment
The Utah Supreme Court ruled on August 1 that a state law that allows for gestational surrogacy contracts subject to approval by a judge is unconstitutional to the extent that it excludes married same-sex couples from entering into enforceable contracts. Concluding that the offending exclusion is “severable” from the overall statute, the high court sent the case back to a trial court for approval of a surrogacy agreement involving a gay male couple. Comment
A Catholic foster care agency has asked the US Supreme Court to overrule a federal appeals court decision rejecting its claim that it enjoys a religious freedom right to maintain a contract with the city of Philadelphia while refusing to provide services to married same-sex couples. Comment
A lawsuit brought by a retired NYPD detective that charged Long Island’s LGBT Network and its chief executive with defaming him has been stayed while attorneys in the suit spar over a recording of the chief executive that was made by a witness in the case. Comment
Human rights laws in New York State have been expanded to protect public school students from bullying, discrimination, and harassment, effectively closing loopholes that prevented victims from taking action to address those problems. Comment
The city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced on July 30 that Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, a transgender woman who was found dead at Rikers Island on June 6, died of seizures caused by epilepsy. Comment
A unanimous four-judge panel of the New York Appellate Division in Brooklyn revived a gay dad’s petition to adopt his son, reversing a “clearly erroneous” decision by Queens County Family Court Judge John M. Hunt. Comment
News

Mixed Appeals Ruling on Trans Service

News

Mixed Appeals Ruling on Trans Service

Ruling in one of the lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s new ban on transgender military service, a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has delivered neither a complete win for the government nor one for the plaintiffs. As a result, Karnoski v. Trump will go forward before District Judge Marsha J. Pechman in Seattle. Comment
In a scathing June 10 opinion, a New Jersey judge ordered the immediate dissolution of a so-called conversion therapy organization that he found was an “alter ego” of a group convicted in his courtroom four years ago for violating the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. Comments (1)
News

Key NYS Co-Parent Precedent at Risk

News

Key NYS Co-Parent Precedent at Risk

A 2016 ruling from New York’s highest court that overruled a 25-year-old precedent barring a same-sex co-parent without legal or biological ties to a couple’s child from seeking custody or visitation rights could be in jeopardy as the result of a gay biological father’s appeal to the US Supreme Court. Comment
The US Supreme Court has, for the third time, essentially kicked the can down the road on the question of businesses claiming religious exemptions from providing goods and services for same-sex weddings. Comments (1)
A divided panel of the Richmond-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a constitutional challenge by James William Hill, Jr., to his conviction under the federal hate crimes law for assaulting a gay co-worker. Comment
A settlement stemming from a lawsuit that exposed the NYPD’s discriminatory policing of sex workers — including a disproportionate number of trans women of color — has forced the department to update its patrol guide to stop targeting people on the basis of “gender, gender identity, clothing, and location” when enforcing the controversial loitering law. Comment
The LGBTQ community and the family of a transgender woman of color who died while being held alone in a “restrictive housing” jail cell at Rikers Island are demanding answers about the circumstances surrounding her death. Comment
Members of DecrimNY took their campaign to a new level on June 10 when they stood alongside a handful of legislators in a State Assembly hearing room in Lower Manhattan and announced a bold, comprehensive bill that would decriminalize sex work for those who trade sex consensually and wipe out laws that criminalize those who assist sex workers. Comment
The nine-member Washington State Supreme Court refused on June 6 to back down from its earlier decision that Barronelle Stutzman and her business, Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws in February 2013 when she told Robert Ingersoll she would not provide floral arrangements for his wedding to Curt Freed. Comment
The Supreme Court, on May 28, announced it will not review a lower court decision that rejected a challenge mounted by cisgender students upset that their school district decided to let transgender students use bathroom and locker room facilities consistent with their gender identity. Comment
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)
News

Judith Clark Granted Parole

News

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
News

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
News

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
News

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)
News

$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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