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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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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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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