Whitaker v. Kirby (USA)

On August 3, 2018 three women who all have children who identify as transgender filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against Judge Joseph W. Kirby of Warren County, Ohio alleging Judge Kirby discriminated against their children by not granting their name change petitions.  Continue reading

Michigan’s Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act (USA) @SchuetteOnDuty

In May 2018, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (“Commission”) voted to expand its interpretation of the term “sex” in the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”) to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The Commission announced it would begin accepting complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Michigan Legislature recently asked Attorney General Bill Schuette to clarify whether the Commission has the authority to interpret the ELCRA to prohibit such discrimination.

On July 20, 2018, Schuette issued a formal opinion in which he concludes the Commission’s interpretation of the ELCRA is invalid because it conflicts with the plain language of the statute. “ELCRA’s text prohibits discrimination based on sex but does not cover distinctions based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” See Opinion No. 7305.

Schuette bases his opinion on the fact that the term “sex” refers to “the biological differences between males and females, not . . . the concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity.” He cites several cases showing that “courts consistently understood, from the 1970s to the 2000s, that there is a difference between classifying someone based on sex and classifying based on sexual orientation.” He acknowledges that although recent federal decisions, see Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College and Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act have held that it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, “these newer federal decisions interpreting Title VII do not follow Michigan’s principles of statutory interpretation.” Further, “Michigan courts interpreting ELCRA have not expanded the meaning of “sex” in the way that a few federal courts interpreting Title VII have.” He also cites the Supreme Court’s holding in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, in which the Court concluded that sex stereotyping was a form of sex discrimination under Title VII, but notes “the Michigan cases that have cited Price Waterhouse have not extended ELCRA to require treating discrimination based sexual orientation or gender identity as discrimination based on sex.  As a result, Michigan law on the meaning of discrimination based on sex has not evolved in the way that federal law may be evolving.”

Finally, “[t]he Legislature may, if it chooses, add the new categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to the statute.  But . . . legislation addressing this precise issue has been introduced every year for the past 15 years, and each year the Legislature has declined the invitation to add sexual orientation and gender identity to protected categories under ELCRA.”

“[I]t is my opinion that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s Interpretative Statement 2018-1, which concludes that the term “sex” as used in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity, is invalid because it conflicts with the original intent of the Legislature as expressed in the plain language of the Act, and as interpreted by Michigan’s courts.”

Bill Schuette is running for Governor in the 2018 election.

Schuette: Michigan law doesn’t protect LGBTQ people from discrimination — Detroit Free Press 

 

Modern Witches Confluence (USA)

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On July 18, 2018, Casey Zabala wrote to Max Dashu, an accomplished scholar who documents women’s herstory worldwide, to inform her that she was no longer invited to present at the upcoming Modern Witches Confluence in San Francisco as the result of “serious push-back” from people asserting via Facebook comments that they feel “excluded by [Max’s] presence” at the event. Zabala claims “I am going to have to remove you from our workshop line-up” as though there is no other option.

This is yet another troubling example of trans activists pushing for the exclusion of women from events they were invited to because those trans activists decided they couldn’t handle being around women who don’t share their opinions. The thing is, no one was forcing anyone to go hear Max Dashu speak. Attendees could go to the event and just, not go to her talk if they don’t want to listen to her speak.

That Zabala and the other organizers of this event decided the appropriate thing to do was to exclude Max Dashu from speaking at the event entirely instead of inviting attendees who don’t wish to hear her speak to simply not go to her talk, is garbage. You should be ashamed of your actions.

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Rich Allison (USA)

Rich Allison is a men’s rights activist who has brought at least 13 lawsuits against female-focused businesses, alleging discrimination against men in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act because he’s upset he’s not invited to ladies’ night and doesn’t qualify for privately offered diversity scholarships aimed at getting women involved in industries that are already dominated by men. He was inspired to get involved in the men’s rights movement after he saw a T-Mobile ad he didn’t like featuring Sarah Silverman during the Super Bowl.

In his youth, Mr. Allison attended a boys’ prep school in Connecticut before moving to California. One reasonably wonders whether he’s planning to file suit against his former school next. Further, was the value of being educated in an environment focused on supporting his development as a young man simply lost on him? How sad.

He spends his time filing these lawsuits to deal with his emotions regarding his former military service, and also to remind women that civil rights laws were written to guarantee “full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges or services” for everyone, including men’s rights activists.

A Fight for Men’s Rights, in California Courts — New York Times

Vanna Belton and ‪@FlavorBaltimore ‬

Vanna Belton

Vanna Belton is an owner of Flavor, a restaurant and bar that caters to lesbians in Baltimore. She apparently claims to have worked to get a woman fired for marching at Baltimore Pride while carrying a sign Belton does not like. Below is a message she allegedly sent to a member of the Bmore Queer Facebook group, a cesspool of garbage. We redacted information that could be used to harass a woman who exercised her right to free speech. Continue reading

Bray v. Starbucks (USA) @starbucks

On December 27, 2017, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed in part a summary-judgment dismissal of a case alleging discrimination on the basis of transgender status, finding a genuine issue of material fact. The case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings regarding the alleged discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

The case was brought by Paul Allen Bray, who identifies as a “transgender/transsexual male,” against Starbucks, alleging that an employee disclosed Bray’s transgender status to another employee, who subsequently “began to treat him differently.”

Court reinstates transgender man’s discrimination suit against Starbucks — Pink News

Bray v. Starbucks — unpublished opinion