Filmmaker PJ Raval (“Call Her Ganda”) and Filipina activist Naomi Fontanos discuss the broad implications of Duterte’s pardon of the U.S. Marine who killed trans woman Jennifer Laude!
LGBTQ’s mourn the loss of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, same-gender couples win and lose in Hong Kong High Court, a U.S. judge makes rights retroactive for pre-equality queer couples, U.K. Equality Act found to protect gender variance, Chick-fil-A flip-flops in San Antonio Airport flap, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of September 21, 2020
Program #1,695 distributed 09/21/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Human rights champion Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg succumbs to pancreatic cancer at the age of 87 [with brief soundbites from Ginsburg and Democratic presidential nominee JOE BIDEN] … Hong Kong’s High Court rules for queer partner inheritance but rejects legal recognition of same-gender marriages performed elsewhere … a U.S. federal judge rules that the remaining partners of long-term same-gender relationships who were unable to legally marry are still entitled to Social Security spousal survivor benefits … a U.K. Employment Tribunal decides that the Equality Act protects non-binary and gender-fluid workers from employment discrimination, while England now requires that LGBTQ people be included in primary school discussions of different kinds of families, and that sex education in secondary schools should be LGBTQ-inclusive … and embattled notoriously anti-queer fast food chicken sandwich peddler Chick-fil-A decides not to try to land at San Antonio International Airport (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MELANIE KELLER and MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR) + “This Week In TRUMP” (this week co-starring ABC-TV’s GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS and CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY WADE CROWFOOT, and music by STEVIE WONDER and JASON MRAZ).
Feature: Outrage continues in the Philippines and among international human rights organizations about the pardon and release of Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton (USMC), who killed trans woman Jennifer Laude in 2014. This Way Out’s LUCIA CHAPPELLE (with original reporting by CHRISTOPHER GAAL) brings us the disturbing new chapter in the story of Ganda, with comments from filmmaker PJ Raval (Call Her Ganda) and Filipina trans activist Naomi Fontanos.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending September 19, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Melanie Keller and Michael Taylor-Gray, produced by Brian DeShazor
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on September 18th. Ginsburg was 87 years old, and died at her home in Washington, D.C. surrounded by family members. She was appointed to the Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Ginsburg’s death creates a worrisome vacancy. In a 5-to-4 conservative Supreme Court majority, she was a stalwart champion of women’s rights and a progressive voice. Over the years she weighed in to support marriage equality, reproductive choice, voting and immigration rights, and affirmative action.
In a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, she questioned its proponents’ argument that marriage should be exclusively heterosexual:
[sound:] “You’re saying no, there are 2 kinds of marriages, the full marriage, and then there’s sort of … ‘skim milk’ marriage.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing gives Donald Trump a chance to add to the conservative majority he secured with the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Gorsuch notably disagreed with his conservative colleagues and wrote the recent ruling that LGBTQ people are protected in federal law from workplace discrimination.
Ginsburg was reportedly holding on as long as she could. National Public Radio Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg wrote that just days before her death, Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter. She said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate are not likely to honor her wishes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already announced that he intends to fill the vacancy before the administration’s term runs out.
Soon after hearing the news of Ginsburg’s passing, Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden reminded McConnell that the Senator refused to consider a high court nominee by Barack Obama in 2016 during his last 10 months in office.
[sound] “The voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the Justice for the Senate to consider.”
There are now less than 50 days before the presidential election.
A short list of prospective Trump nominees to the high court had already deeply disturbed LGBTQ advocates. Candidates include longtime senatorial opponents of LGBTQ equality Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. Also on the list are Paul Clement, who represented Congressional conservatives supporting the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, and former U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who has argued in favor of business owners’ right to base anti-LGBTQ discrimination on their religious beliefs.
A statement released by queer legal advocacy group Lambda Legal warned that the “list is teeming with individuals who have alarming anti-LGBTQ and anti-civil rights records, which could be disqualifying for any judicial nominee, let alone a nominee for the Supreme Court.”
In another High Court, Hong Kong LGBTQ people one won and lost one in this week. Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming ruled on both cases on September 18th.
He decided that Edgar Ng Hon-lam had the right to leave his estate to the husband he legally married in London, Henry Li Yik-ho. The couple still has a pending lawsuit arguing that their legal marriage entitles them to government-subsidized housing.
However in another case Justice Chow ruled that Hong Kong did not need to recognize local gay lawmaker Jimmy Sham’s legal marriage to another man in New York in 2013. The judge decided that existing Hong Kong statutes simply don’t allow it, and called Sham’s effort, “too ambitious” and “unsustainable as a matter of law.” Chow did acknowledge that current statutes are “vulnerable to [further] challenge.”
A U.S. federal judge ruled on September 11th for rights denied to queer couples before they were allowed to legally wed. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington found that long-term pre-equality partners are entitled to their spouse’s survivor benefits.
Helen Thornton had claimed those benefits based on her 27-year relationship with Marge Brown, who died in 2006. The state of Washington, where they lived, opened legal marriage to same-gender couples six years later.
Judge James L. Robart decided that denying Thornton survivor benefits was unconstitutional. He further certified the case as a national class action, so that there’s now a chance for others like Thornton to get federal benefits despite the lack of a legal marriage.
Thornton issued a statement through her attorneys at Lambda Legal saying, “We gladly paid into the Social Security System through our jobs, and it is an enormous relief to know I’m entitled to the same financial protections that are available to surviving [heterosexual] spouses.”
Non-binary and gender fluid people are now protected from workplace discrimination under the U.K.’s Equality Act. An employment tribunal ruled on September 14th that bias based on “gender reassignment” is included in the provisions of the 2010 legislation. Engineer Rose Taylor had been making vehicles at Jaguar Land Rover for more than 20 years when she began coming to work in women’s attire. After that point, Birmingham employment judge Patrice Hughes agreed that Taylor had been “subjected to insults and abusive jokes at work,” and had been harassed over her use of bathroom facilities.
The decision clarifies the uncertainty as to whether or not the Equality Act does indeed protect non-binary people under the law’s “gender reassignment” characteristic. Judge Hughes wrote that “gender is a spectrum” and that it’s “beyond any doubt” that the protections apply to people with diverse gender expression or identity. The Guardian reports that a follow-up hearing will be held in October to determine what damages Taylor should be awarded.
After contesting the case, the vehicle manufacturer issued a statement insisting that, “Jaguar Land Rover does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
While an employment tribunal ruling does not establish legal precedent, it is expected to influence the outcome of similar cases.
A statement from leading U.K. queer rights group Stonewall calls the decision, “a milestone moment in recognizing the rights of non-binary and gender fluid people.”
And as the new school term begins in England this month, there seems to be a disconnect between the attitudes parents may claim to hold and what they want their children to know.
All primary schools are now required to include LGBTQ people in discussions about different types of families. Secondary schools must include sexual orientation and gender identity in sex education classes.
Surveys have found overwhelming acceptance among the British public for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but Britons are not so sure when it comes to teaching younger children about them. The Kantar research group conducted a survey of about 2400 people who are at least 16 years old, between July 8th and August 6th of this year. Four in ten people said that they don’t want six-year-olds to be taught that it’s okay to be queer.
Parliament passed the education mandates in March 2019 after a number of religiously conservative parents in Birmingham pulled their children out of diversity education classes. The legislation specifies that all LGBTQ-related education is “sensitive and age appropriate.” Parents must be consulted in developing the curricula, however they’re not allowed to opt their children out of those classes.
U.K. Kantar Chief Executive Craig Watkins told Reuters that while the country has come a long way, in his words, “this study shows that social progress is not guaranteed.”
Finally, the infamous fast food chicken chain led by proudly anti-queer Christian right-wingers has abandoned the flap circling the San Antonio, Texas International Airport.
The gauntlet was thrown down in October 2019 when the San Antonio City Council approved a measure that prohibited Chick-fil-A from opening at the airport. They cited the company’s record of donating literally millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ groups and causes. That led the Republican-controlled Texas state legislature to pass a bill specifically banning bias against companies because of their faith-based anti-queer policies.
Even though the city finally relented, Chick-fil-A announced on September 14th that it would not be arriving at San Antonio’s airport after all. No specific reason — just that they have other outlets in the city, and, “are not pursuing a location in the San Antonio airport at this time.”
Mayor Ron Nirenberg thinks it’s time to park the contentious issue in the hangar, saying, “We’re in the middle of a pandemic and a recession. San Antonio has bigger issues on its agenda.”
© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
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