Speed Read: Supreme Court appeal

BIG T VICTORY IN MAINE: The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that a student with a gender dysphoria diagnosis who was widely accepted by school staff and students as a girl could not be barred from using the girls’ bathroom at her public school. Jennifer Levi of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which brought the lawsuit on behalf of the girl and her parents, called the decision in Doe v. Clenchy a “huge breakthrough” for transgender young people. GLAD also noted that the decision marks “the first time a state court has ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms that match who they are.” Full story.

EX-GAY CASE WILL GO TO SUPREME COURT: Liberty Counsel, the conservative legal group representing therapists who oppose California’s law barring use of reparative therapy on people younger than 18, said yesterday it will appeal the Ninth Circuit decision upholding that law. In two consolidated cases –Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown, Liberty Counsel has sought to argue that the law violates the First Amendment speech rights of therapists who wish to administer sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). The full Ninth Circuit announced Wednesday that it would not review a three-judge panel decision that upheld the law. Liberty Counsel, which has two similar challenges pending in New Jersey, noted that similar bans have been proposed in Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington. Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver said his group would continue to file lawsuits in other states to oppose such bans.

BLUE DOGS INCLUDE TWO LGBTs: Openly bisexual U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine are part of the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of conservative Democrats. A recent Washington Post article noted that the caucus’ membership has dwindled to 15 from a high of 50 a few years ago.

CATHOLIC SCHOOL FIRES MEAL PLANNER: Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination Thursday, saying a Catholic girls preparatory school violated the state’s human rights law when it withdrew a non-religious job offer from an applicant because he listed as his emergency contact a man as his spouse. The Fontbonne Academy in Milton hired Matt Barrett in July but after he filled out the routine paperwork, listing his spouse Ed Suplee, as his emergency contact, school officials said they couldn’t employ him because he was gay. GLAD attorney Bennett Klein said Fontbonne fired Barrett from a job that has nothing to do with religion.

HHS ‘ETC.’ REGS DISAPPOINT: Six national LGBT groups expressed their deep disappointment this week at a decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to publish new regulations that without language explicitly barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The regulations in question were published in the Federal Register January 16 and concern Medicaid’s Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS). The groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, asked that the non-discrimination policy explicitly include protections for LGBT people. But HHS said, in the Register, that “There are already general provisions in other regulations that … prohibit discrimination in State Medicaid programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, etc….” The groups issued a joint statement saying, “Failure to include explicit protections undermines efforts prevent anti-LGBT discrimination in home- and community-based care.”

THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF DAVOS: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey will deliver her annual State of the Movement address at Creating Change in Houston today. Carey has been at the Task Force for 10 years and executive director since 2008. Last night, Houston’s openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker welcomed the conference and Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox focused her keynote on transgender issues. Best quip of last night’s opening plenary came from comedian Kate Clinton: “In case you were wondering: Creating Change is the exact opposite of Davos.”


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