Maryland voter forms to
provide third gender option
The Baltimore Sun reports voters in Maryland will no longer be required to identify themselves as male or female when they register to vote.
The Maryland State Board of Elections will soon allow voters to choose “X” or “unspecified” as a gender when they fill out voter registration forms.
The new option comes after the state moved recently to give Marylanders a third option for gender on their driver’s licenses.
Elections officials said the change can be made without any costs incurred. Existing paper forms that only offer the option of “male” and “female” will be used until they run out, and new forms will contain the third option.
The state elections board voted unanimously in favor of the change last week.
Festival in Utah again allows once-barred LGBTQ groups
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Utah LGBTQ groups were quietly accepted into a prominent July 4th festival in conservative Provo after being denied for years.
Five groups marched in the America’s Freedom Festival parade last year, but only after an initial refusal and high-profile dispute.
County officials threatened to pull $100,000 in taxpayer money from the privately-organized event until the groups were allowed to participate.
One was Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, who recently came out as gay.
This year, all four groups that applied were accepted to march in parade festivities. Freedom Festival Executive Director Paul Warner says the process was smooth.
Big business to Supreme Court: Defend LGBTQ people from bias
ABC News reported more than 200 corporations have signed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that federal civil rights law bans job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The brief was announced July 2 by a coalition of five LGBTQ rights groups.
It is being submitted to the Supreme Court this week ahead of oral arguments before the justices happen this fall on three cases that may determine whether LGBTQ folks are protected from discrimination by existing federal civil rights laws.
The cases are from New York, Michigan and Georgia.
Among the 206 corporations endorsing the brief are Amazon, American Airlines, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks, Viacom, the Walt Disney Co. and Xerox.
Two Major League Baseball teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays, are among the group.
Florida group probes why LGBTQ gala had hate crime
The Miami Herald reported an LGBTQ organization has suspended its director while it investigates why four men charged with hate crimes in an anti-gay attack attended the Florida group’s gay pride gala.
In a June 30 statement, the Miami-based nonprofit SAVE said it has placed director Tony Lima on administrative leave.
Lima said in a Facebook video the men bought their own tickets after volunteering with the group, but he didn’t consult with board members before welcoming them in his remarks. The South Florida Gay News said Lima announced on stage the men had been “wrongly accused.” Lima said he doesn’t remember saying that, adding, “if that’s what I said in haste, I apologize.”
The four men are accused of attacking two men and shouting anti-gay slurs following last year’s Miami Beach gay pride parade.
Transgender woman arrested after bathroom dispute escalates
The Washington Post reported Denny’s restaurant chain wants its customers to know that they can use the bathroom of their gender identity, nationwide, after a transgender woman was arrested this weekend in North Carolina.
A man called police when the transgender woman used the same bathroom as his wife at a Denny’s in Shelby, North Carolina.
Responding officers informed the man that the 22-year-old transgender woman broke no law. But their dispute escalated, and the transgender woman was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly spitting toward the man and his family.
A Denny’s statement says the company “does not tolerate discrimination of any kind” and expects customers to treat people equally.
Reporting via Associated Press