Democratic senators bring LGBTQ issues to the fore during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett!
Exploring the independent film streaming service Ovid.tv, including an impressive queer collection!
Chile makes progress on marriage equality, advocates push Peru’s high court on languishing marriage lawsuit, an Israeli Orthodox rabbi affirms queer families, gay dads beat the U.S. State Department for surrogacy son’s citizenship, Texas okays bias-based service by social workers, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of October 12, 2020
SCOTUS Dancing and Movie Market!
Program #1,699 distributed 10/19/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A Chilean constitutional commission approves key provisions of a marriage equality bill that was first introduced more than three years ago … Peru’s Constitutional Court is being pressured to also follow the January 2018 order from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to all 20 members of the Organization of American States that had not already done so to open civil marriage to same-gender couples … a prominent Israeli Orthodox rabbi says LGBTQ people should be able to have children and build families … the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the U.S. citizenship of a now-three-year-old boy born via surrogate in Canada to a married gay U.S.-Canadian and Israeli couple … anti-queer Texas Governor Greg Abbott orders changes in rules for state social workers allowing them to refuse to care for LGBTQ or disabled people … the U.S. Supreme Court rejects a final appeal from trans-phobic Governor Brad Little of their ruling allowing an Idaho transgender prison inmate to receive gender-affirming surgery (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by TANYA KANE-PARRY and CHRISTOPHER GAAL, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett waltzed around any substance in her responses to questions about LGBTQ rights during her confirmation hearings this week. Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members Dianne Feinstein of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawai’i, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont tried to hold Barrett’s feet to the fire about the high court’s rulings concerning marriage equality and consensual sexual activity, but all they heard was a back-beat of bias (with music by MEN WITHOUT HATS).
Feature: Ovid.tv is a treasure trove of movies, many off the beaten path. This Way Out’s JOHN DYER V wandered around their online library and discovered three LGBTQ+ movies of note: Watermelon Woman, Olivia, and Tomcat (with intro music by VAN DYKE PARKS and BRIAN WILSON, plus incidental soundtrack music throughout).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending October 17, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Christopher Gaal,produced by Brian DeShazor
There’s finally been movement toward marriage equality in Chilé. The Senate’s Constitution, Legislation, Justice and Regulations Commission approved more than half of the articles of an equal marriage bill on October 16th. It’s been three years since the legislation was originally proposed by then-President Michelle Bachelet. It was the result of a Friendly Settlement Agreement Bachelet had signed with the country’s leading queer rights group, the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement, or Movilh. Passage of the measure will bring Chile into compliance with the original Inter-American Court of Human Rights order that all members of the Organization of American States open civil marriage to same-gender couples.
A statement from Movilh noted that “among the articles approved this day are those that recognize marriage between people of the same sex, the legal representation of children by same-sex couples, the replacement of the words father or mother for that of parents, and the recognition of filiation for those who are children of same-sex couples.” El Periodista quoted Movilh attorney Mónica Arias saying, “We can undoubtedly say that the Constitution Commission said yes to equal marriage.” Movilh spokesman Óscar Rementeria added, “This is good news, since … positive progress was made in more than half of the project.”
The remaining articles of the legislation are still being debated. It’s unclear when lawmakers might finally vote on the bill.
Like Chile, the government of Peru is also being pressured to comply with the same Inter-American Court marriage equality order.
LGBTQ advocacy groups, lawyers and educators across the country signed on to an open letter to the Constitutional Court this week urging them to rule on an unresolved marriage equality case.
The letter was addressed to Court President Marianella Ledesma according to La Republica. It expresses the signatories’ “deep concern over the fact that, more than two years after the public hearing of the case … the plenary session of the Constitutional Court has not yet issued the corresponding ruling.” The letter also charges that the delay “degrades the quality of human rights protections that Peru intends to give its citizens.”
Judges heard arguments in the case in June 2018. Peruvian activist Óscar Ugarteche sued after authorities refused to register his legal marriage to Mexican citizen Fidel Aroche. The suit cites provisions of Peru’s Civil Code that define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Ugarteche and Aroche legally married in Mexico in October 2010. After exhausting other avenues of appeal, Ugarteche filed suit in 2012 demanding that Peruvian authorities register the marriage.
As yet there’s been no response to the letter from the Constitutional Court.
A leading Orthodox rabbi in Israel said this week that Jewish law does not forbid LGBTQ people from having children and building families. Rabbi Benny Lau is a well-known progressive voice in Israel’s Religious Zionism, an Orthodox movement to the left of the more conservative Haredi Orthodox community.
Rabbi Lau issued a statement on October 10th via Facebook with the title “It is not good for humans to be alone: relationships and family for the sons and daughters of the LGBT community.” The rabbi wrote that, “Every person’s desire to bring life into the world is deep and innate in nature. No one can, and must not, suppress this inner desire.”
That support extends to the children of queer couples. Lau wrote, “Like their parents, the children of the couple did not sin and are not different from all other children. Care must be taken not to harm their dignity.”
Queer couples can’t legally marry in Israel, so Lau suggested that they hold commitment ceremonies that their families might feel more comfortable attending.
Rabbi Lau has come under fire in the past from the Orthodox community for his support of LGBTQ people, but some might say he is “well connected.” According to The Times of Israel, he’s the nephew of Israel’s former Chief Rabbi and the cousin of the current Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi. His brother is an openly gay rabbi living in New York.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed the U.S. citizenship of the now-three-year-old child of a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen and his Israeli citizen husband. Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks married in Canada in 2010. Their twin sons Aidan and Ethan were born via a Canadian surrogate. The boys came from different donor eggs from the same surrogate, with Aiden biologically related to the U.S. citizen, Andrew.
The State Department had no problem declaring Aidan a U.S. citizen. However authorities balked at extending citizenship to Aidan’s brother Ethan because he is only biologically related to the Israeli dad Elad – they called that being “born out of wedlock.”
This week’s appeals court decision upheld a federal district court ruling originally handed down in February 2019 that certified Ethan’s U.S. citizenship.
The couple and their sons now live in Los Angeles. Their case was spearheaded by the advocacy group Immigration Equality, which issued a statement for the family saying that they are “overjoyed and gratified.” “We hope this decision will help other LGBTQ families secure the equal rights they deserve,” they added.
The State Department is led by notoriously anti-queer Trump appointee Mike Pompeo, and can appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. A spokesperson said only that the Department was reviewing the decision.
The Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted this week to allow social workers to refuse to serve clients based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. It revokes bans against discrimination based on sexual orientation put into force in 2010 and bans against anti-trans bias added in 2012. Infamously anti-queer Republican Governor Gregg Abbott reportedly pressured the Board to make the changes to conform to Texas law, which offers LGBTQ people no anti-bias protections. Texas lawmakers expanded Abbott’s control over rules governing state-licensed professionals last year.
Will Francis is the executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. He found the rule change to be “incredibly disheartening.” Austin social worker Tracy Abzug told the Texas Tribune that it is “actually disturbing to me that the [Board] has agreed … to lower our standards as it relates to discrimination toward sexual orientation and gender identity.” In Houston, child trauma victim specialist Steven Parks called the rule change “both a professional and a personal gut-punch. … the law should never allow a social worker to do unethical things.”
Many other social workers took to social media to express their opposition to the rule changes – though there was no sign that opposition voices, however loud, would force a reversal.
Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court refused this week to hear Idaho Governor Brad Little’s repeat appeal of an appeals court ruling that allowed a trans prison inmate to undergo gender-affirming surgery. Adree Edmo was 22 years old when she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by prison doctors in 2012. She had attempted self-castration twice. A 7-to-2 Supreme Court ruling this past May cleared the way for her gender-affirming surgery, which she finally had in July. Governor Little still insisted on pursuing his beef with the Ninth U.S. Circuit’s ruling, but the high court rebuffed his requested review of the case on October 13th.
According to Boise State Public Radio, Edmo is only the second transgender prison inmate in U.S. history to have had gender-affirming surgery. She’s also the first transgender inmate in Idaho to be transferred from a men’s to a woman’s prison. Edmo is scheduled to be released in July 2021.
Governor Little argued in his request for a high court review that state taxpayers should not have to pay for a procedure he called “not medically necessary.” One would think that the governor would know that the cost of the surgery was paid for by the Idaho Department of Correction’s private prison healthcare provider, Tennessee-based Corizon Health. That covered procedure cost about $75,000. How much taxpayer money has Governor Little spent on legal fees to stop it? According to multiple reports, more than $456,000.
© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
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