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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The State Department reverses a policy that denied citizenship to some babies born abroad to same-sex parents.

citizenship babies

In a victory for same-sex couples, the State Department on Tuesday said it would grant U.S. citizenship to babies born abroad to married couples with at least one American parent — no matter which parent had biological connection to the child.

The new policy effectively guarantees that American and binational couples who use assisted reproductive technology to give birth overseas — such as surrogates or sperm donations — can pass along citizenship to their children.citizenship babies

Earlier rules had left couples like Allison Blixt and Stefania Zaccari in a precarious — and often unexpected — legal situation.

Ms. Blixt, who is American, and Ms. Zaccari, who is Italian, sued the State Department after their older son, Lucas, was denied citizenship. Lucas was conceived and carried to birth by Ms. Zaccari, while his younger brother, who was conceived and carried by his American mother, was given U.S. citizenship when he was born.

“We are relieved and thankful that our fight for our family to be recognized by the government has finally ended,” Ms. Blixt said on Tuesday in a statement released by Immigration Equality, which was advocating on behalf of same-sex families. “Lucas, who made me a mother, will finally be treated as my son and recognized as American, as his brother always has been.”

The State Department said in a statement that it could not estimate how many couples the new guidance would affect. Lawsuits filed against the State Department during the Trump administration are pending, one official said, but the guidance issued on Tuesday may soon render the litigation moot.

Previously, the State Department, based on an interpretation of 1950s immigration law, required a child born abroad to have a biological connection to an American parent in order to receive citizenship at birth.

The emphasis on biology drew scrutiny in particular for its impact on same-sex couples, who are more likely to use artificial reproductive technology.

In several cases, same-sex couples sued the State Department after their child was not recognized as a U.S. citizen.

In one stark example, the daughter of a married gay couple was denied citizenship, even though both of her fathers are American citizens. In that case, one of the fathers is an American citizen by birth, born and raised in the United States. His husband was born in Britain to an American mother. Their daughter, who was born abroad to a surrogate using a donor egg and sperm from her British-born father, did not qualify for citizenship at birth.

NYTimes.com, May 18, 2021 by Lara Jakes and Sarah Mervosh

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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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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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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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As Biden Lifts a Ban, Transgender People Get a Long-Sought Chance to Enlist

transgender ban

The president’s order, reversing a Trump administration policy – the Transgender ban, creates opportunities for young people whose dreams of serving in the military had been sidetracked.

Nic Talbott has wanted for years to be an Army intelligence officer. Instead, he has been a Walmart shelf stocker, an Amazon delivery driver, a substitute gym teacher and currently, a night-shift courier for a veterinary lab — all because he is transgender and therefore was banned from serving in the military.Trump LGBT

But as he has driven his shift through the dark hills of Appalachia, he has wondered if years of deferring his dreams might end after former President Donald J. Trump left office.

“All I want is a chance,” he said.

Mr. Talbott, 27, has been trying to join the military for much of his adult life. He has a college degree, top physical scores, a spotless record and everything else that would make him an enticing candidate. “The only thing keeping me from serving my country is one word on my medical record,” he said, shaking his head.

That changed on Monday when President Biden signed an executive order reversing the ban on transgender troops that was imposed by the Trump administration. Mr. Biden’s order also called an immediate halt to involuntary discharges of transgender troops who were already serving, and for the Pentagon to review the files of any troops forced out under the ban in recent years. The order requires the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to report on progress within 60 days.

“Simply put, it’s the right thing to do, and is in our national interest,” the White House said in a statement.

The president’s signature clears the way for a generation of young transgender Americans like Mr. Talbott who have spent years waiting out the ban, faithful that in a nation that is increasingly tolerant, the ban would be overturned in court or reversed by a new administration. That has often meant putting life on hold, delaying careers, education and other commitments.

Because regulations created during the Obama administration can simply be reinstated, the move could mean that transgender recruits will be able to join up within weeks, according to Aaron Belkin, director of The Palm Center, a think tank that advocates for L.G.B.T.Q. policies in the military.

“Basically, you just have to flip a switch,” Mr. Belkin said. He described Mr. Biden’s order as an overdue recognition that no one who can meet the standards should be barred from military service. “Today, those who believe in fact-based public policy and a strong, smart national defense have reason to be proud.”

NYTimes.com, by Dave Phillips, January 25, 2021

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President Biden Issues Most Substantive, Wide-Ranging LGBTQ Executive Order In U.S. History

Biden Executive Order

Today, the Human Rights Campaign responded to the release of an executive order that implements the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the consolidated cases Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC.

The Order is included in a series of Day One Executive Orders that also includes executive actions launching a “whole-of-government” response to address racial equity, improving response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reducing its economic impact on the vulnerable, and combating climate change.legal surrogacy in New York

“Biden’s Executive Order is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president. Today, millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their President and their government believe discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not only intolerable but illegal. By fully implementing the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Bostock, the federal government will enforce federal law to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, health care, housing, and education, and other key areas of life. While detailed implementation across the federal government will take time, this Executive Order will begin to immediately change the lives of the millions of LGBTQ people seeking to be treated equally under the law. The full slate of Day One Executive Orders mark a welcome shift from the politics of xenophobia and discrimination to an administration that embraces our world, its people and its dreamers. We look forward to continuing to engage with the White House, Department of Justice, and other agencies to ensure that Bostock is properly implemented across the federal government.”

Alphonso David, President, Human Right Campaign

On June 15, in a landmark ruling in the consolidated cases of Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. In July 2020, HRC spearheaded a letter along with other leading LGBTQ rights organizations to call on the Department of Justice to not delay the application of the law and fully enforce the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision. However, the Trump Justice Department failed to adequately instruct the federal government to implement the ruling, leading to dangerous misinterpretations like the one the Department of Education released last week and that issued by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on Sunday.

HRC.org, January 20, 2021

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Indiana Asks the Supreme Court to Let It Strip Equal Parenting Rights From Same-Sex Parents

Indiana strip equal parenting rights

The justices have shown interest in an Indiana case that could begin the rollback of marriage equality and Strip equal parenting rights from Same-Sex Parents

On Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill asked the Supreme Court to strip equal parenting rights from same-sex parents. He did so at the request of the court, which is considering taking up his case. Hill implored the new conservative majority to rule that states may deny married same-sex couples the right to be recognized as parents of their own children. The case gives SCOTUS an opportunity to start chipping away at Obergefell v. Hodges by allowing states to withhold marital privileges from same-sex spouses. If the majority wants to begin eroding Obergefell, they will probably start here.Indiana strip equal parenting rights

What’s strange about this case, Box v. Henderson, is that it poses a question the Supreme Court has already answered—twice. The plaintiffs are eight married lesbian couples in Indiana who used a sperm donor to conceive. When a married opposite-sex couple uses a sperm donor, Indiana recognizes the birth mother’s husband as the child’s parent. When a married same-sex couple does the same thing, however, the state refuses to list the birth mother’s wife as the child’s parent. In both instances, the second parent has no biological connection to the child; Indiana’s decision to extend parental rights to the nonbiological husbands of birth mothers, but not the wives of birth mothers, is sheer discrimination.

On two different occasions, the Supreme Court prohibited this kind of mistreatment. In Obergefell v. Hodges, the court held that the Constitution entitles same-sex couples to marriage “on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.” Most courts understood that this requirement compelled them to provide the equal benefits to married same-sex parents. In Florida, for instance, a federal judge held that Obergefell “plainly requires” the state to list married lesbian couples as the parents of a child conceived with a sperm donor, since the state grants this right to married opposite-sex couples. (Florida’s Republican attorney general settled the case in apparent recognition that an appeal would be doomed.) When the Arkansas Supreme Court kept a birth mother’s wife off their child’s birth certificate, SCOTUS shot it down without even bothering to hear oral arguments. In 2017’s Pavan v. Smith, the court unequivocally ruled that states must issue birth certificates on equal terms to same-sex and opposite-sex couples. It announced a rule: If a state lists a birth mother’s husband as a parent despite his lack of biological connection, it must list a birth mother’s wife as a parent, too.

Slate.com by Mark Joseph Stern, November 24, 2020

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State Department no longer fighting in 2 cases involving citizenship of same-sex couples’ children

State Department Citizenship

State Department no longer fighting in 2 cases involving citizenship of same-sex couples’ children

The State Department no longer fighting in 2 cases involving citizenship of same-sex couples’ children.  Two families are celebrating a decision by the U.S. State Department to stop fighting in two cases involving the citizenship of children of same-sex couples.Birthright citizenship

On Monday, the department withdrew its appeal in one case, and decided not to appeal a district-court decision in another, according to a statement released by Lambda Legal, a legal advocacy organization that focuses on the rights of LGBTQ people.

Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland held that Kessem Kiviti, the daughter of same-sex married couple Roee and Adiel Kiviti, had been a citizen since birth.

Kessen was born in Canada via surrogacy. When her parents — both born in Israel and naturalized citizens — applied for her a passport, the State Department said that she didn’t qualify. They argued that she was only biologically related to Adiel, who had lived in the U.S. for less than five years.

The couple sued, and on June 19, a court held that for the children of married parents, the law required no biological connection to a parent, for the child to be born a citizen.

The State Department appealed, but has now withdrawn it.

NYDailynews.com, by Muri Asuncao, October 28, 2020

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