Legal Battle Over North Carolina 'Bathroom Bill' Returns to Federal Court

The U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem on June 25 will hear pending motions in Carcaño, et al. v. Cooper, et al., regarding North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, which has been criticized as being discriminatory against gay and transgender people, reports The Winston-Salem Journal. The bill —repealed last year — was replaced with North Carolina House Bill 142, which omitted restroom, locker room and shower use requirements and prohibited local governments from putting forth any anti-discrimination ordinances through Dec. 1, 2020. You can view the complaint here.

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Supreme Court Rules on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple, The Washington Post reports. In an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not adequately considered the religious beliefs of baker Jack Phillips. Kennedy said, the commission had been hostile to the baker’s faith, denying him the neutral consideration he deserved. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

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Connecticut is Recruiting LGBT Families to Adopt and Foster Kids

Connecticut’s child welfare agency has launched an initiative to actively recruit members of the state’s LGBT community to become foster and adoptive parents, PBS reports. Governor Dannel P. Malloy said on Thursday that Connecticut wants to be known as a state that welcomes and embraces the LGBT community. This comes as states such as Kansas and Oklahoma have passed legislation allowing the denial of adoptions to LGBT families by faith-based organizations. Connecticut has around 4,300 children in state care, with about half unexpected to return to their biological families.

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LGBT Students in Oregon Were Bullied, Forced to Read Bible, Report Says

In an Oregon high school, LGBT students were taunted with homophobic slurs, pelted with food and when punished, forced to read the Bible, The New York Times reports. Students spoke on those allegations in recent investigative reports into the state’s North Bend School District. In the reports, gay and lesbian high school students described years of harassment and bigotry from school employees and other students, with a deeply religious culture that silenced their complaints. The state found “substantial evidence” of discrimination against LGBT students and maintains that top officials fostered hostile conditions for LGBT students.

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Howe resigns from Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce

The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday that its CEO, Lisa Howe, is resigning from her position, Out & About Nashville reports. Howe made headlines in 2010 when her employer, Belmont University, demanded her resignation after learning she and her partner were having a baby. Howe, who coached the Belmont women's soccer team at the time, was said to have violated the school’s "don’t ask, don’t tell' policy. She will leave her post at the Nashville Chamber in August.

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Understanding Workplace Experiences of Legal Professionals: Project Survey

The American Bar Association is launching a nationwide study, conducted by the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, to identify the biases encountered by LGBT and/or lawyers with disabilities and to help develop and implement strategies to ameliorate such biases. Taking this brief survey will assist the ABA in its goal to generate a positive impact on the legal profession and on the lives and careers of LGBT lawyers and/or lawyers with disabilities. Thanks for your help with this endeavor. 


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LGBT Section Welcomes New Middle Tennessee Delegate

Timothy Capria is the new Middle Tennessee delegate to the TBA's LGBT Section. He is an associate in the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. His practice focuses on acquiring intellectual property and providing trademark counsel for clients operating in diverse sectors. Tim is active with Lavender Law and was an officer in Duke University School of Law’s OutLaw student organization. He also chairs Bradley’s LGBT affinity group. Capria holds degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology and Duke University School of Law.

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Volunteers Still Needed for LGBT Section Booth at Nashville Pride Festival

The TBA LGBT Section will host a booth at the Nashville Pride Festival on June 22–23 in Public Square Park. Volunteers are needed to assist with the booth and distribute legal and general resources of concern to the community. Please send resource topic suggestions or volunteer interest to Section Coordinator Jarod Word.

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Kansas Bill Allowing Groups to Refuse Adoption to LGBT Couples Will Become Law

A bill that ensures faith-based adoption agencies can turn away gay and lesbian couples based on religious beliefs will be signed into law by Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer, The Wichita Eagle reports. Lawmakers passed the legislation last Friday, with one lawmaker suggesting that the need for the legislation proves the existence of the “homosexual agenda.” Opponents call the Kansas legislation needless and discriminatory
The Kansas Department for Children and Families has supported the bill, saying it would provide an opportunity for some organizations that have had concerns in the past. A network of companies that includes Apple, Google, Amazon and other tech firms sent a letter to Republican leaders opposing the bill. The adoption bill is among several that states across the nation have passed or are considering. Oklahoma lawmakers approved similar legislation last Thursday.
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Prominent Gay Rights Lawyer Commits Suicide by Self-Immolation

David S. Buckel, a lawyer nationally known for being a champion of gay rights died earlier this month, after setting himself on fire, The New York Times reports. Buckel was the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson, in which a Nebraska county sheriff was found liable for failing to protect Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Falls City, Nebraska. The murder of Teena was depicted in the film "Boys Don’t Cry."
A staunch advocate for LGBTQ persons, Buckel also served as marriage project director and senior counsel at Lambda Legal, a national organization that fights for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. According to police, Buckel left a note in a shopping cart not far from his body that alluded to environmental protest as the reason for his suicide. The note was also emailed to several news media outlets. Buckel was 60 years old.
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