Pete and Chasten Buttigieg Announce They Are Parents

Buttigieg

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten are expecting a child.

Out gay US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, have expanded their family with a child!Buttigieg

In a tweet on August 17, the former presidential hopeful and mayor of South Bend, Indiana announced that he and his husband have become parents — and the couple expressed appreciation in response to the outpouring of love and support they have received along their parenting journey.

“For some time, Chasten and I have wanted to grow our family. We’re overjoyed to share that we’ve become parents!” Buttigieg tweeted. “The process isn’t done yet and we’re thankful for the love, support, and respect for our privacy that has been offered to us. We can’t wait to share more soon.” 

According to a Washington Post story published last month, the couple had been in touch with some prospective parents — but potential adoption scenarios initially fell through. The couple has been preparing for parenthood with “home studies and parenting workshops, writing up descriptions of their family values and ideal weekends.”

“It’s a really weird cycle of anger and frustration and hope,” Chasten said, according to the Washington Post. “You think it’s finally happening and you get so excited, and then it’s gone.”

Prior to serving as transportation secretary, Buttigieg rose to national fame during the 2020 Democratic primary race — when he and Bernie Sanders virtually tied to win the Iowa caucuses, though Buttigieg won the most delegates and officially became the first out LGBTQ person to win a state in a presidential primary race. After Buttigieg eventually dropped out, he backed Joe Biden’s candidacy for president, and in February, Buttigieg made history as the first openly gay cabinet member to be confirmed by the US Senate.

 

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The C.D.C. endorses Covid vaccinations during pregnancy

CDC Pregnancy

The C.D.C. endorses Covid vaccinations during pregnancy

Federal health officials on Wednesday bolstered their recommendation that pregnant people be vaccinated against Covid-19, pointing to new safety data that found no increased risk of miscarriage among those who were immunized during the first 20 weeks of gestation.C.D.C. Pregnancy

Earlier research found similarly reassuring data for those vaccinated later in pregnancy.

Until now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the vaccine could be offered during pregnancy; the recent update in guidance strengthens the official advice, urging pregnant people to be immunized.

The new guidance brings the C.D.C. in line with recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical specialty groups, which strongly recommend vaccination.

“At this time, the benefits of vaccination, and the known risks of Covid during pregnancy and the high rates of transmission right now, outweigh any theoretical risks of the vaccine,” Sascha R. Ellington, an epidemiologist who leads the emergency preparedness response team in the division of reproductive health at the C.D.C.

The risks of having Covid-19 during a pregnancy are well-established, she said, and include severe illness, admission to intensive care, needing mechanical ventilation, having a preterm birth and death.

So far, there is limited data on birth outcomes, she added, since the vaccine has only been available since December. But the small number of pregnancies followed to term have not identified any safety signals.

Pregnant women were not included in the clinical trials of the vaccines, and uptake of the shots has been low among pregnant women. The majority of pregnant women seem reluctant to be inoculated: Only 23 percent of pregnant women had received one or more doses of vaccine as of May, a recent study found.

New York Times, August 11, 2021 by Roni Caryn Rabin

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Biden Announces Two Lesbian Nominees to Federal Judiciary

Biden lesbian nominees

Judicial nominations announced Thursday by President Joe Biden include two lesbian nominees with long records of human rights work.

The first of the Biden lesbian nominees is Beth Robinson, the first out justice on the Vermont Supreme Court, is a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first out lesbian to serve on any federal circuit court. The second of the Biden lesbian nominees is Charlotte Sweeney, a Denver-based attorney specializing in employee rights, is a nominee for the U.S. District Court for Colorado. She would be the first out federal judge in the state and the first woman from the LGBTQ+ community to be a federal district court judge in any state west of the Mississippi.Biden lesbian nominees

Robinson, as an attorney, was co-counsel in Baker v. State, the case that resulted in the 1999 Vermont Supreme Court ruling that the state must grant same-sex couples the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex ones. Because of that ruling, Vermont became the first state to adopt a civil union law. Then in 2009, the state legalized same-sex marriage, making it the fourth state with marriage equality and the first to enact it by legislation rather than a court ruling. Robinson advocated for that law as head of Vermont Freedom to Marry.

She was appointed to Vermont’s high court by Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2011. Before that, she spent a year as counsel to the governor, following 18 years as an attorney with Langrock Sperry & Wool. Previously, she was an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington, D.C., and a law clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago Law School.

Sweeney is currently a partner at Sweeney & Bechtold, where she has practiced since 2008. Her law practice is devoted to representing individuals in employment law cases, dealing with discrimination, wrongful termination, and other issues. She was a partner with LaFond & Sweeney from 1999 to 2008 and LaFond & Bove from 1997 from 1999. She began her career as an associate with LaFond & Clausen in 1995 and was named a partner at the firm in 1998.

She is a graduate of California Lutheran University and University of Denver College of Law. She is a member of the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s board of directors.

Biden also announced the nominations of two other judges: Mary Katherine Dimke for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and John P. Howard III for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

All the nominees are “extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution,” says a White House press release. “These choices also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”

Advocete.com by Trudy Ring, August 5, 2021

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Israel’s high court opens the way for same-sex couples to have children via surrogacy

Israel's high court

A decision by Israel’s high court Sunday paved the way for same-sex couples to have children through surrogacy, capping a decade-old legal battle in what activist groups hailed as a major advance for LGBTQ rights in Israel.

Restrictions on surrogacy for same-sex couples and single fathers in Israel must be lifted within six months, Israel’s high court ruled, giving authorities time to prepare for the change while making clear that it is a definitive one.Israel's high court

“We won! And now it’s final,” the petitioners said in a statement, the Times of Israel reported. “This is a big step toward equality, not only for LGBT in Israel, but for everyone in Israel.”

Surrogacy was already permitted for heterosexual couples and single women. The law excluded same-sex couples, however, and some who couldn’t have kids with surrogate mothers in Israel turned to surrogates overseas.

The legal fight to widen access to surrogacy in Israel has stretched on since 2010, when a male same-sex couple first appealed to the court to overturn restrictions. Their first petition was unsuccessful, but they followed it with a new one in 2015 along with LGBTQ rights groups. A law passed in 2018 extended eligibility for surrogacy to single women, but it sparked protests because LGBTQ people were left out.

Israel’s high court ruled in February 2020 that the restrictions against gay couples “disproportionately harmed the right to equality and the right to parenthood of these groups and are illegal.” But it left them intact for up to a year, setting a March 2021 deadline for Israel’s parliament to change the law.

The deadline was later extended to September, but the government last week asked the court to decide on the issue because amending the law would be “unfeasible” in the current political situation, according to the Times of Israel.

In the year since the supreme court ruling, ultra-Orthodox lawmakers blocked a proposal to expand surrogacy access, according to Agence France-Presse. And Israel’s new governing coalition, which took power last month and holds only a slim majority, consists of an eclectic mix of parties that span the political spectrum — and diverge on LGBTQ issues. The Islamist Ra’am party opposes gay rights, while Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz — a member of a leftist party in the coalition — is openly gay.

Horowitz hailed the ruling on Twitter, writing that “discrimination against same-sex couples and single fathers has come to an end.” He said his ministry is preparing to uphold the ruling.

WashongtonPost.com, July 11, 2021, by Claire Parker

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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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