BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules Against Marriage Equality, Mocks Other Judges In Angry Diatribe | ThinkProgress

It seems a belligerent judge in Puerto Rico is letting his own bias leak out all over his decision in a marriage equality case. Here’s IAN MILLHISER writing for Think Progress

BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules Against Marriage Equality, Mocks Other Judges In Angry Diatribe


Anti-marriage equality protesters -- CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RANDY SQUIRES, FILE

In an opinion that frequently crosses the line from visible rage to outright belligerence towards his judicial colleagues, a federal judge in Puerto Rico became one of just two federal judges to deny equal marriage rights to same-sex couples on Tuesday. Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez’s opinion accuses the overwhelming majority of federal judges who have sided with marriage equality of “inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance.” At one point he appears to mock his colleagues, claiming that while the supposed fact that “this Court reaches its decision by embracing precedent may prove disappointing . . . there are some principles of logic and law that cannot be forgotten.” At another point, he claims that, if gay couples enjoy the same rights as straight couples, that will lead to a world where “laws barring polygamy, or, say the marriage of fathers and daughters” are “now of doubtful validity.”

The concluding section of Judge Pérez-Giménez’s opinion reads less like a judicial opinion than it does like a press release from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage:

Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law. Traditional marriage is “exclusively [an] opposite-sex institution . . . inextricably linked to procreation and biological kinship,” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2718 (Alito, J., dissenting). Traditional marriage is the fundamental unit of the political order. And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage.

Those are the well-tested, well-proven principles on which we have relied for centuries.

Notice the citation in this passage. Judge Pérez-Giménez relies on a quote from Justice Samuel Alito’s dissenting opinion in United States v. Windsor. Dissenting opinions are, by definition, not the law because they reflect the views of the judges or justices who were unable to persuade a majority of their colleagues. Alito, in fact, was unable to persuade any of his fellow justices to join his opinion in full, although Justice Clarence Thomas did join parts of it.

Despite the angry and, at times, outright vicious rhetoric that pervades his opinion, Pérez-Giménez relies on a narrow technicality to dismiss the plaintiffs’ plea for equal treatment. Although the Supreme Court currently has a great deal of discretion over which cases it wants to take and which cases it will simply pass over, the Court’s mandatory jurisdiction — i.e. those cases that it has no choice but to decide — used to be much larger. Under the previous legal regime, the justices would sometimes get rid of a case within their mandatory jurisdiction that they did not want to hear by proclaiming that the case did not present a “substantial federal question.” That’s what the Court did in a 1972 marriage equality case called Baker v. Nelson.

Few judges believe, however, that Baker v. Nelson has any bearing on whether federal courts may consider marriage equality cases today. Indeed, Pérez-Giménez acknowledges this fact with a lengthy citation to other court decisions holding that Baker is no longer binding on lower courts. The list of cases that disagree with him is so long that it takes up nearly an entire page of his opinion.

So, while Pérez-Giménez clearly holds very passionate views on the question of whether same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as everyone else, his views are unlikely to persuade many of his fellow judges. It’s even possible that his opinion could ultimately wind up bolstering the case for marriage equality. That’s because his decision will appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, a court dominated by Democratic appointees (although, it is worth noting that Pérez-Giménez was appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter). All four of the states that comprise the First Circuit — Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — are already marriage equality states, so a decision out of a federal court in Puerto Rico is the only path to bring a marriage equality case before this circuit.

Given the makeup of the First Circuit, the overwhelming consensus among federal judges in favor of marriage equality, and the belligerent tone of Pérez-Giménez’s opinion, it is unlikely that his decision will be upheld on appeal.

Read more here at Think Progress

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Ugandan Case Dismissed Against Two Accused Under Anti-Gay Penal Code


Good news from Uganda…

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

By Melanie Nathan, October 22, 2014.

Uganda Penal Codes criminalize gaysTwo Ugandans charged under a draconian anti-homosexuality Penal Code in Uganda have had all charges against them dismissed by the Magistrates Court, in Buganda.

The charges in the case of Uganda v. Mukisa Kim and Mukasa Jackson, Criminal Case No. 0085 of 2014 have been dropped as the prosecution, despite several postponements giving them ample opportunity to prepare the State’s case, failed to secure witnesses to testify against the accused.

The two accused were arrested on the 27th and 28th of January 2014 respectively by the Police following a mob’s attempt on the former one of the accused’s life. Instead of arresting the mob for their attempts to exact so called “mob justice” the two men were arrested based on the allegations.

The two were arrested after Kim Mukisa was thrown out of his house and beaten by local council authorities assisted by residents…

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Breaking Nigerian Court Strikes Down Case on Anti-Gay Law


Developments in Nigerian Court case…

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

LGBTI Protests the Nigerian  Jail The Gays Bill

LGBTI Protests the Nigerian Jail The Gays Bill

By Melanie Nathan, October 22, 2104.

Preliminary reports, yet to be verified by the Court, indicate that the Nigerian Abuja High Court has delivered a ruling striking down the case where the Court was asked to nullify the new “Jail the Gays” Act,  signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan in January of this year.

My source indicates that Justice Abdu Kafarati struck the case, after several postponements. He did not rule on the human rights claim or any merits,  as he asserted the claimant had ‘no right to file the claim.’ I am  not clear on the all the reasons for this and will report as soon as we hear more. Details and the exact ruling will follow in an update.


“The court didn’t make any pronouncement on the substantive case on its merit. It only considered the Federal…

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I’ve Updated My Essay, ‘Fairy JerBear & Gender Beyond The Binary’

For those who may be interested I have once again updated my long essay about coming to realize I identify as having a non-binary gender which embraces both my masculine and feminine characteristics. The update adds a whole section about how this internal search really started in high school. There is also an update on what has and has not transpired since my first edition of the essay. You can read the update here:

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#SpeakOutHIV: Jason Elliott – Charlottesville, Virginia

Once upon a time, there was a young, sexually active gay boy who didn’t know the dangers of unsafe sex, not talking about sexual health, and not getting tested for HIV. Then, it came to my attention that by engaging in some unsafe behavior, I might have been enjoying the experience, but I was truly putting my health at risk.

When I started showing signs of having possibly contracted HIV, I knew something had to change… so I decided to speak out and share my story. 

Not only is this video the first of my new endeavor to share my life through video blogs, but it is also helping to launch Greater Than AIDS brand new campaign to SpeakOUT and Bring HIV Out Of The Closet! Everyone has a story and/or thoughts on HIV… I want to hear yours! All you have to do is record a short 2-minute video sharing your thoughts, upload the video, and share it using “#SpeakOutHIV#. Why? Because you have a story, and your story is important…

Watch. Share. Add Your Voice. #SpeakOutHIV. Learn more at

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#SpeakOutHIV: 25 Young Gay Men. 25 Inspiring Stories.

This fall, Greater Than AIDS and partners brought together 25 gay men ages 25 and younger to record their personal #SpeakOutHIV stories. The videos they created offer an intimate and revealing look at HIV that is not often seen. The young men’s passion for change is inspiring. Watch. Share. Add Your Voice. #SpeakOutHIV

Learn more at

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‘Queer Kids’ photo exhibit celebrates gay teens coming out –


Photo by Michael Sharkey from the Queer Kids Gallery Showing

It’s wonderful to see the youth of our community getting visibility. Michael Sharkey’s wonderful portraits of Queer Kids are being shown in Fort Lauderdale. Here’s the story by Phillip Valys from

On a cold March evening in 2006, David, Bobby and Mike visited the forests of Fishkill, N.Y., wearing ripped Levis and tight suspenders over polo shirts, and struck a pose for photographer Michael Sharkey. Sharkey describes it the “most defiant” portrait he has ever taken, and he’s been photographing LGBT teenagers for eight years.


Photo by Michael Sharkey from the Queer Kids Gallery Showing

“They weren’t consciously, meekly saying, ‘What about us?’ They were saying, ‘Eff you — we’re not going to hide anymore,’ ” says Sharkey, whose portraits appear in the photo display “Queer Kids,” opening Oct. 30 at Stonewall National Museum and Archives. “They know the damage that the closet has done to gay people around the world, and they refuse to live their lives that way.”

The subjects of Sharkey’s photos are dignified and unsmiling, glamorous and confident, openly homosexual with a dash of grit. As a teenager in conservative Golden, Colo., in the early 1990s, Sharkey says he was none of these things, hiding boyfriends from his parents until he turned 20, and taking punches from high-school bullies.

“I was a bit of a punk growing up. I also had a lot of anger about being forced to hide my sexuality,” Sharkey recalls, speaking from his Brooklyn apartment. “It’s hard enough to be a teenager, but it’s doubly hard to be a gay teenager. So I think there’s a little bit of me in all these portraits. I identify with the kids so dearly. These are teenagers of the 21st century, and there’s a kind of strength, a self-awareness, a self-possession and self-understanding that I admire.”

The 30 large-format portraits that will occupy the Stonewall Museum are a small sample of Sharkey’s ongoing, globetrotting series, in which he has documented out teenagers and young adults in small American towns and large European cities. He began “Queer Kids” as a “creative outlet” for his other job, shooting celebrity portraits (Elton John, Donna Summer, the Jonas Brothers, Gwen Stefani, Jane Lynch) for GQ, Newsweek and other national magazines.

To track down his subjects, he first contacted New York chapters of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network with copies of his portfolio. If the subjects were underage, which was often, he convinced their parents to consent to the photoshoots. Sharkey, struck by the teenagers’ confidence, says he was capturing a “revolution” among LGBT youth.

“They were — still are — desperate to be seen and to be heard, and I knew this was the beginning of a new era in sexual-identity politics,” Sharkey says. “I realized this could be a great document of history. The kids are the real celebrities, the real stars. When all these famous people I’ve shot are no longer famous, the kids will be the ones that will remain in people’s memories.”

Sharkey asked his subjects to choose their own clothing and setting. Found among the portraits is a prom photo of Andy, 18, and Tanner, 16, from Orinda, Calif., each wearing a tuxedo and corsage. Lesbian couple Nancy and Marie, both from Brussels, Belgium, are photographed embracing each other in a park against a background of tall hedgerows. Eleet, a 20-year-old transgender female, is seen in tall, pink leggings strutting down a Brooklyn sidewalk. Brandon, an 18-year-old, wearing sunglasses and a golden heart medallion, poses in his grandmother’s Miami home. And Patrick, 22, a gay basketball player, is shown in his college locker room in Carlisle, Penn.

“I like ‘queer’ a lot more,” reads a quote from Patrick on a panel of wall text next to his portrait. “I feel like it’s a more confrontational identity that’s necessary when you are in such a marginalized position. ‘Gay’ is really ‘nice’ and ‘friendly’ … You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. ‘Queer’ is in your face and tough and calling people out and not being afraid to speak your mind, and that’s more me. I like ‘queer.’ I’m queer.”

954-356-4364, or

Queer Kids

When: Thursday, Oct. 30, through Jan. 4 (opening reception: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 30)

Where: Stonewall National Museum and Archives, 1300 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

Cost: Free

Contact: 954-763-8565 or

Read more and view more portraits here at


Photo by Michael Sharkey from the Queer Kids Gallery Showing

You can view many of Michael Sharkey Queer Kids photos here at this page on his website.


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