Virginia Republicans deny censure of GOP rep. who wed two men
The Roanoke Times reported a group of Republicans tried but failed to censure a GOP congressman for failing to uphold the party’s values by officiating a gay couple’s wedding.
The Fifth Congressional District Republican Committee held a closed session July 27 to discuss reprimanding Rep. Denver Riggleman.
Committee member Wendell Johnson then introduced a motion in open session to express formal disapproval of Riggleman’s act for “failing to uphold the Republican Party platform” on same-sex marriage.
Committee chairman Melvin Adams said the motion was out of order. Committee member Diana Shores motioned to overrule Adams, but only four people voted in favor, so the motion and censure effort failed.
Riggleman wed two of his campaign volunteers on July 14.
Rally to demand continued transgender access to health care
Supporters of transgender rights staged a rally in downtown Boston to demand continued federal protections for transgender people who need health care.
Activists and advocates planned to gather at City Hall Plaza July 28 to protest the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of the Health Care Rights Law.
Organizers said they’re mobilizing in response to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal that would tell health care providers and insurance companies to ignore the law, which is designed to guard against gender discrimination. It was enacted as part of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition said flouting the law “will deny transgender people access to live-saving care by falsely telling doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies that they can turn away transgender people.”
Gay counselor sues Indianapolis archdiocese over her firing
The Indianapolis Star reported a gay guidance counselor is suing the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, accusing it of discrimination for firing her because she’s in a same-sex marriage.
Lynn Starkey filed her federal lawsuit July 29 against the archdiocese and Roncalli High School.
The suit accuses the archdiocese and the Indianapolis school of retaliating against her, subjecting her to a hostile work environment and discriminating against her on the basis of her sexual orientation.
The archdiocese said in a statement that Starkey had “knowingly violated” her contract by entering into a same-sex marriage, “making clear that she disagrees with the Church’s teaching on marriage.”
Archbishop Charles Thompson has said the recent firings of gay teachers at two Catholic high schools were about upholding church teachings on marriage and not sexual orientation.
Alabama sued in transgender driver’s license case
ABC News reported a federal judge is questioning Alabama’s requirement for a transgender person to undergo gender-affirmation surgery to change gender designation on driver’s licenses.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson held a hearing July 30 on the lawsuit filed by three transgender individuals challenging the requirement as unconstitutional.
Thompson declined to issue an immediate order and will rule later if the case will go to trial.
Thompson noted the violence faced by transgender individuals. He said a license gender that contradicts public appearance will disclose a person as transgender. He said they “might as well have a scarlet letter T.”
A state attorney argued Alabama has an interest in proper identification and has a simple rule on the matter.
ACLU attorney Gabriel Arkles said states shouldn’t be forcing medical decisions.
Utah high court allows surrogacy agreements for gay couples
The Deseret News reported the Utah Supreme Court said language in a state law that prevented gay couples from reaching a workable agreement with a surrogate to bear their child is unconstitutional.
An opinion released by the high court Aug. 2 threw out that section of law because it denied same-sex couples a benefit long enjoyed by a husband and wife in Utah.
The decision says “same-sex couples must be afforded all of the benefits the state has linked to marriage.”
The law in question allowed judges to approve surrogacy agreements if the intended mother, meaning a woman, could not bear a child or the pregnancy would be risky.
A judge had refused to approve an agreement between a surrogate and a gay couple because both partners were male.
Reporting via Associated Press