Tennessee governor approves transgender youth treatment ban

Tennessee Transgender

After signing two bills into law targeting transgender people over the past week, Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee has approved legislation that bans gender-confirming treatment for young minors despite objections that the series of bills unfairly discriminate against an already vulnerable population.

The move makes Tennessee just the second state in the United States to enact such a transgender ban after Arkansas approved a similar version earlier this year over a veto from Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.Tennessee Transgender

Tennessee’s version, which goes into effect immediately, is slightly different. Under the new law, doctors would be banned from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment to prepubescent minors. Arkansas’ ban applies to anyone under the age of 18 and also specifically bans doctors from providing gender-confirming surgery.

It’s unclear how many will be affected by the new law. Advocates argue that no doctor in Tennessee is currently providing hormone therapy to youths before they enter puberty. Meanwhile, the Endocrine Society also does not recommend offering puberty blockers or hormone treatments until children reach puberty.

However, with Lee signing off on the legislation, Tennessee continued its streak of being on the front lines of Republican statehouses across the country targeting the LGBTQ community through legislation. Only Texas has filed more anti-LGBTQ proposals this year than Tennessee.

PBS.org, May 19, 2021 from NATION

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U.S. Lutheran Church Elects Its First Openly Transgender Bishop

first openly Transgender bishop

The Rev. Megan Rohrer, the first openly transgender Bishop, was elected to lead a synod that includes about 200 Lutheran congregations in Northern and Central California.

A pastor in California became the first openly transgender person to be elevated to the role of bishop in a major American Christian denomination when they were elected on Saturday to lead a synod in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

first openly Transgender bishop

Photo Courtesy New York times

The Rev. Megan Rohrer was elected to a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific synod, an assembly based in Sacramento that includes about 200 congregations across Northern and Central California and northern Nevada.

“I am so proud to be a Lutheran,” Pastor Rohrer, 41, who will be installed as bishop on July 1, said in an email on Monday. “I pray that my election by the faithful people of the Sierra Pacific Synod will become a constant reminder that God’s fabulous love is never limited by the opinions or legislation of others.”

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said in a statement on Monday that the Sierra Pacific Synod recognized Pastor Rohrer’s gifts as a leader.

“When we say all are welcome, we mean all are welcome,” Bishop Eaton said. “We believe that the Spirit has given each of us gifts in order to build up the body of Christ.”

Pastor Rohrer, who uses the pronouns “they” and “them,” currently serves as the pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco. They earned a Master of Divinity and completed postgraduate course work in Christian education at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., according to their profile on the church’s website.

“I want to be the kind of bishop that moves whatever stumbling blocks might have been placed before you, who roots for you, and worships with you,” Pastor Rohrer said before the vote on Saturday.

NYTimes.com, May 11.2021 by Jesus Jimenez

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An Inheritance Tax Bill You ‘Can’t Fathom’: $10.8 Billion – Samsung

inheritance tax Samsung

The Samsung family in South Korea will also donate billions of dollars’ worth of art, including Picasso and Monet.

Picasso, Monet and Dalí are among the assets South Korea’s richest family is parting with as it prepares to pay one of the largest inheritance tax bills in history.inheritance tax Samsung

The Samsung family announced on Wednesday that it would pay $10.8 billion in inheritance taxes after the death of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung’s chairman, last year. South Korea has one of the highest inheritance taxes in the world. ​The family is required to inform the tax authorities of how it plans to pay the bill by Friday.

The answer will have deep implications for the family’s control of the company, the biggest and most profitable family-run conglomerate in South Korea. ​

Mr. Lee was credited with turning Samsung into a global tech giant known for its semiconductors and smartphones. But the reclusive chairman kept many secrets, including how he wanted to split his wealth ​among his wife and three children after he died.

Mr. Lee’s only son, Lee Jae-yong, is the de facto leader of Samsung. If he inherits his father’s shares in Samsung subsidiaries, it will tighten his control of the company. But it remains unclear how much he will inherit or how he will raise the billions of dollars needed to pay the inheritance tax. ​

Analysts expected Mr. Lee to sell some nonessential Samsung shares and secure bank loans​, hoping to pay them back with dividend payouts ​from his Samsung holdings​.

“How to split Chairman Lee’s fortune is at the heart of the question of who controls Samsung,” said Chung Sun-sup, editor of chaebul.com, which monitors South Korea’s family conglomerates, also known as chaebol. “It appears that the family has not yet reached a complete agreement.”

The Lees are South Korea’s richest family. The $10.8 billion is more than half the value of the father’s total estate, and more than three times the total inheritance taxes the government collected last year, according to Samsung.

 

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He was adopted months after he was born. After decades of searching, he’s finally met his birth family

adopted

 

The door was open and a “frail little voice” called out for the brothers to come inside.

Sitting in a medical lifting chair was their mother, a woman in her late 80s who Martin Hauser had never known.adopted
 
After 30 years searching for his biological family, Hauser, 59, finally got to meet his birth mother just a day after meeting his brother for the first time. It’s been a week since the emotional moment and the family is starting to mend old wounds.
 
“Not only did I come to North Carolina to see my brother for the very first time, I met my birth mother, which was totally unexpected,” Hauser told CNN this week. “Every experience we’ve had has been a blessing, has been a goose pimples, hair-raising experience of what we’ve been going through.”
 
The journey to get here wasn’t an easy one for Hauser, who was adopted months after he was born in 1962 in North Carolina.
 
Hauser and his sister were told they were adopted at a young age — Hauser was adopted in Greensboro. He said his adoptive mother, who lives in Georgia with his adoptive sister, always encouraged him to find his birth family.
 
Hauser, a resident of Mesa, Arizona, spent his childhood in Greensboro before going to junior high school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He and his adoptive mother moved to Tucson, Arizona, after his parents divorced.
 
He had to overcome obstacles as he tried to learn about his biological family.
 
Adoption records are closed and sealed in North Carolina. He requested family medical information from Guilford County’s child services department when he started having his own children in the early 1990s, he said. No identifying information could be released at that time.
 
Cnn.com, May 1, 2021. by Christina Zdanowicz
 
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Connecticut Looks To Ensure Parentage Rights For LGBTQ Couples

Connecticut lgbtq

Connecticut lawmakers will consider a bill that would extend parental status to non-biological, unmarried and LGBTQ couples for the children under their care.

Proponents told the state judiciary committee that the Connecticut Parentage Act would fill the gaps in the existing state law and ensure equal protection for these LGBTQ parents to have custody, parenting time, and legal and medical decision making. It also ensures that children are connected to their parents’ healthcare.Connecticut lgbtq

Advocates argue that the current law is outdated and unconstitutional.

“Even though I was not legally the child of one of my fathers, even though many treated us with disgust and disdain, I am certain that my life and the moment I was born has brought my fathers deep and abiding joy,” said Malina Simard-Halm, a New Haven resident and member of LGBTQ+ family advocacy organization COLAGE. “And because of my dads, I have grown up in a family that has shown me the meaning of love, that supported me so much that now I am lucky enough to be here advocating so that people don’t have to go through what they did.”

On Monday, state lawmakers on the judiciary committee heard testimony from Simard-Halm and other advocates for the bill, including members of non-traditional families, doctors, lawmakers, lawyers and nonprofit organizations. 

Simard-Halm said her fathers used a surrogate mother to have her and fought through what she described as a “hostile legal system” to raise her.

“Exclusive parentage law sends a message that children like me do not belong,” she said. “When I was growing up, laws like Connecticut’s gave authority to the schoolyard bullying and kindled my own insecurities. At times, it led me to feel ashamed of the people who loved me and fought for me the most,” she said.

Douglas NeJaime, a professor of family and constitutional law at Yale Law School, helped draft the bill and has pushed for its passage since it was introduced in 2019.

“The Connecticut Parentage Act solves the problems in our parentage law,” NeJaime said. “It satisfies constitutional requirements. It reflects the diversity of families in our state. It protects children who are vulnerable under current law. It brings order to an area where there is uncertainty. It updates law that is outdated and it reflects best practices.”

A 2019 version of the bill was reintroduced this year with input and revisions from state courts and agencies.

wshu.org, March 9, 2021 by Alek Lewis

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Biden’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declares anti-LGBTQ credit discrimination illegal

consumer financial protection bureau LGBTQ

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that sex-based protections include LGBTQ people now that Joe Biden is in office.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), under the direction of the Biden administration, has announced it will now include discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual discrimination within discrimination outlawed by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).consumer financial protection bureau LGBTQ

The CFPB is implementing President Joe Biden’s executive order from his first day in office, which directed federal agencies to interpret bans on discrimination based on sex to include LGBTQ people, in line with the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision from last year. The ECOA and Regulation B ban discrimination on the basis of sex “in any aspect of a credit transaction.”

CFPB’s Acting Director David Uejio, appointed by Biden, stated, “In issuing this interpretive rule, we’re making it clear that lenders cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The CFPB will ensure that consumers are protected against such discrimination and provided equal opportunities in credit.”

The issuance of the “interpretative rule” means that the Bureau will interpret existing laws and policies with a common understanding, rather than creating new or circumventing existing laws and policies. It will be the position of the CFPB, responsible for enforcing the ECOA among other federal consumer finance regulations, that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is not legal for anyone under their jurisdiction.

Being rejected for a credit application by a lender or lending service because of your identity will now not be allowed.

“This prohibition also covers discrimination based on actual or perceived nonconformity with traditional sex- or gender-based stereotypes, and discrimination based on an applicant’s social or other associations,” CFPB stated.

LGBTQNation.com, March 10, 2021 by Juwan J. Holmes

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Three dads, a baby and the legal battle to get their names added to a birth certificate

three dads

Meet the three dads: Ian Jenkins and his partners, Alan and Jeremy.

They’re a “throuple”: a committed polyamorous relationship involving three people.birth certificate
 
And after a complicated and expensive court battle to all become legal parents, the trio are raising two toddlers in Southern California — and proving how families come in all forms.
 
They’re part of a unique and very modern family that includes three dads, two surrogates and one egg donor. In a new book, “Three Dads and a Baby,” Jenkins chronicles their search for potential egg donors and a surrogate, and a fight to change a medical and legal system geared toward heterosexual couples.
 
The three men have all been together for more than eight years. Jenkins says they fought to get all three of their names listed on the birth certificates to protect their parental rights and the rights of their children. The process was emotionally grueling.
“But we are hopeful that other people benefit from the experience we had,” he told CNN in a recent interview, “and that it’s easier, less expensive and less stressful for them.”
 
As a gay teenager in Virginia, Jenkins says he faced death threats after coming out and couldn’t imagine he’d ever be able to openly love another man.
 
“I was completely isolated. I didn’t know a single gay person when I was in high school,” he says. “I thought I’d never be able to live an authentic life.
 
“It never occurred to me that people could even have two partners.”
He met Alan while they were doing their medical residencies in Boston.
“He was smarter than the other students. It was obvious, even though he wasn’t straining to show off his medical knowledge, like half of them were,” Jenkins says.
 
cnn.com, 3/6/2021 by Faith Karimi
 
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House Passes The Equality Act – Sweeping Gay and Transgender Equality Legislation

equality act

The bill, The Equality Act, which was first passed by the Democratic-led House in 2019, faces a steep climb in the Senate.

A divided House on Thursday narrowly passed a sprawling bill, The Equality Act, that would extend civil rights protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, but the measure faced an uphill battle to enactment, with Republicans almost uniformly opposed.equality act

The legislation, passed 224 to 206, almost entirely along party lines, stands little chance of drawing enough Republican support in the Senate to advance, at least in its current form. It was the second time the Democratic-led House had passed the measure, known as the Equality Act, which seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add explicit bans on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in both public and private spaces.

“In most states, L.G.B.T.Q. people can be discriminated against because of who they are, or who they love,” said Representative David Cicilline, an openly gay Democrat from Rhode Island and the lead sponsor. “It is past time for that to change.”

In a landmark decision in June, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 civil rights law protects gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination, and that the language of the law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, also applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Equality Act builds on that ruling, and would expand the scope of civil rights protections beyond workers to consumers at businesses including restaurants, taxi services, gas stations and shelters.

It would also water down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the 1993 law at the heart of the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case that set a high bar for governments to enact laws that “substantially burden” an individual’s freedom to exercise religious beliefs. Those protections have been cited by, for example, bakers or photographers who object to serving same-sex weddings.

The House first passed the legislation in 2019, but the Republican-controlled Senate at the time refused to take it up. Upon taking office, President Biden encouraged the Democratic-controlled Congress to “swiftly pass” the bill, calling it a “critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality.”

But 10 Republicans would need to join Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to pass legislation under normal Senate procedures, a level of support its proponents are unlikely to muster, unless substantial changes are made.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the only Republican in that chamber to co-sponsor the legislation during the last Congress, told The Washington Blade that she would not do so again, citing the lack of certain revisions she had requested. Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, has indicated he would not support the legislation, saying it lacked “strong religious liberty protections.”

In the House, consideration of the measure devolved into bitter acrimony after Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the first-term Republican from Georgia who is known for spreading false and bigoted conspiracy theories and has a history of online trolling, attacked the daughter of Representative Marie Newman, Democrat of Illinois.

NYTimes.com, February 25, 2021 by Catie Edmundson

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Cuomo Directs Insurers to Cover Fertility Services for Queer Couples

fertility services queer couples

Governor Andrew Cuomo is directing insurers to begin covering fertility services for queer couples.

Health insurance companies in New York must immediately cover fertility services for queer couples, according to a new statewide mandate announced on February 11.fertility services queer couplesfertility services queer couples

Governor Cuomo is directing the Department of Financial Services to eliminate any extra costs facing same-sex couples seeking fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, egg freezing, sperm donations, and more. Queer people are sometimes forced to pay six to 12 months of out-of-pocket costs for fertility treatments before qualifying for coverage, while cisgender, heterosexual couples do not face these same barriers.

The Governor’s office did not immediately respond to a question asking whether the mandate extends to transgender people in heterosexual relationships.

“For too long same sex couples have been denied coverage for immediate infertility benefits, forcing them to pay high — often prohibitive — out-of-pocket costs to start a family,” Cuomo said in a written statement. “No New Yorker should be denied the opportunity to become a parent, nor the joys of raising a child, because of their sexual orientation, and this change reflects what we as New Yorkers know to be true: that love is what makes a family, that inclusivity is our strength and that the law should work for all New Yorkers.”

In a statement, Melissa DeRosa, the Governor’s spokesperson and chair of the Council on Women and Girls, said the move is a step toward removing barriers in reproductive health care.

Gaycitynews.com, February 11, 2021 by Tat Bellamy-Walker

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Couple Forced to Adopt Their Own Children After a Surrogate Pregnancy

New York surrogacy

Tammy and Jordan Myers will have to adopt their twins after two Michigan judges denied them parental rights because the children had been carried by a surrogate.

The nursery in the home of Jordan and Tammy Myers in Grand Rapids, Mich., is painted in shades of gray, white and midnight blue for the couple’s newborn twins. Their 8-year-old daughter, Corryn, can’t stop talking about how excited she is to finally be a big sister.compensated gestational surrogacy

But before the state of Michigan will recognize the couple as the babies’ legal parents, the Myerses will have to adopt them.

That’s because the babies were not carried by Ms. Myers, and Michigan law does not automatically recognize babies born to surrogates as the legal children of their biological parents. As a result, the birth certificates for the twins, a boy named Eames and a girl named Ellison, list the surrogate and her husband as the parents, not Jordan and Tammy Myers.

Twice, judges have denied their requests to be declared the legal parents of the twins, even though a fertility doctor said in an affidavit that the babies are the couple’s biological children. In separate affidavits, the surrogate and her husband have agreed that the Myerses are the parents of the twins.

The Myerses have started the adoption process, which will entail home visits from a social worker, personal questions about their upbringing and their approach to parenting, and criminal background checks. They said they have already submitted their fingerprints.

Being forced to prove they are fit to adopt their own children is “offensive,” said Mr. Myers, 38.

“We have successfully raised a loving and caring 8-year-old child and that’s not taken into account when you’re going through this process,” he said.

Instead of looking forward to leaving the hospital with the twins, who were born eight weeks premature on Jan. 11, the couple must get reference letters to send to the state. Ms. Myers said they needed “temporary permission” from the surrogate, Lauren Vermilye, to bring the babies home.

NYTimes.com, by Maria Cramer, January 31, 2021

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