The Supreme Court on Friday turned away an appeal from a florist in Washington state who declined to make an arrangement for a gay couple’s wedding because of her religious beliefs, spurning another legal battle that pits religious freedom against LGBTQ rights. In declining to hear the case of Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, the high court leaves in place a lower court ruling that found she violated a state civil rights law that bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Three of the court’s conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said they would have heard the case.
For the first time ever, the federal government will allow nonbinary and intersex people to obtain IDs and passports with an “X” gender marker instead of an “M” or and “F.” The interim policy also removes the requirement that transgender people provide proof of gender transition from a physician, allowing gender diverse Americans to self identify. According to a source within the administration, nonbinary Americans are expected to be able to obtain the interim X gender markers by the end of the year. The new rule marks the most substantial change to federal documents for transgender people since 2010, when the Obama administration put in place a policy to allow trans Americans to update their passports.
DC drag queen Kabuki Bukkake was arrested for “unwanted sexual assault” after she fell on top of an audience member during a Pride drag brunch. The performer was taken to jail in full drag and held for 38 hours before being released after prosecutors declined to file charges. The queen had pulled the woman on stage during the performance when the accident occurred and her costume got caught on the woman’s top. One of the straps on the woman’s top ripped, but her breasts were not exposed. Other people in the audience told Metro Weekly that as Kabuki got up after the accident he grabbed the woman’s neck and it appeared that he was simulating oral sex. The woman stayed for the rest of the performance with a group of friends and reportedly called the police after telling her parents what happened at the show.
June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and while this year’s Pride celebrations have been smaller and predominantly virtual as a result of the pandemic, people across the U.S. are continuing to celebrate in many different ways. One way is by colorfully decorating spaces to show solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people around the world. Queer News Tonight has reported on many of these displays. From the National Building Museum, to the home of a gay couple in Chicago, to the many Soccer arenas in Germany that were lit in rainbows to protest LGBTQ+ injustice in Hungary, the lights of the rainbow have been shining brightly out of the darkness of the past year.
High School is challenging for many students, but especially for transgender teenagers. Gavin Grimm of Virginia had begun transitioning to Male during his freshman year. Initially, his principal approved him to use the boys’ bathrooms, but the school board changed their policy to stop that. Gavin sued, and after he won his case in appeals court, the case was sent to the Supreme Court. This morning, on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the Supreme Court announced it would not hear the case, upholding Gavin’s victory in the lower courts and securing the right of students to use the bathrooms of their true gender instead of the one assigned at birth.
President Biden hosted an LGBTQ+ Pride celebration at the White House, commemorating the return of Pride events at the White House as Trump largely ignored the important month for three out of his four terms. Sixteen-year-old Ashton Mota introduced the president at the event on Friday, June 25, 2021, as the administration kicked off the return of Pride commemorations. Mota is a 16-year-old Afro-Latin high school student from Lowell, Massachusetts who happens to be a transgender man.
President Joe Biden signed new legislation that has officially named Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub a national memorial. Surrounded by LGBTQ+ politicians and activists, Biden signed the document and gave an emotional speech honouring the victims of the 2016 mass shooting. He explained,“We are thankful that members of the U.S. House and Senate passed the bills unanimously. It is so meaningful to everyone here, especially the families of the 49, survivors, first responders and all the lives affected, that our federal government recognises the depth of the tragedy of Pulse. It’s so clear and lasting message to the LGBTQ+ community that what happened at Pulse matters and will never be forgotten for future generations, and that we will always outlove hate.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday struck down a bill prohibiting transgender athletes from competing on girls’ sports teams in Louisiana schools, pushing back against legislation that has passed several Southern states. The proposal by Franklinton Sen. Beth Mizell, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, passed with bipartisan veto-proof margins: a 29-6 vote in the Senate and a 78-19 vote in the House. Still, it’s unclear if enough lawmakers would hold together to call for a special veto session to try to override the governor’s rejection. The regular legislative session is over, and Louisiana has never held a veto override session under the current constitution adopted in 1974.
The owners of the Stonewall Inn in New York say they will not serve some beers at the famous LGBTQ+ bar during Pride weekend, to protest against manufacturer Anheuser-Busch’s political contributions to some politicians who have supported anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Co-owners Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly said they would be instituting the ban on Friday in support of the “Keep Your Pride” campaign, a recently launched effort highlighting five companies it says advertise support during Pride but have also made contributions to anti-LGBTQ+ lawmakers. The campaign, a project of Corporate Accountability Action, used data compiled from the National Institute on Money in Politics to show that Anheuser-Busch contributed more than $35,000 to 29 legislators it described as anti-LGBTQ+ between 2015 and 2020.
Former Democratic congressman Barney Frank has blasted the organizers of NYC Pride for barring uniformed police from participating in this year’s events, accusing them of “gay-on-gay bashing” and “bigotry”. In an opinion piece, Frank wrote, ““Having gotten used to Pride parades being occasions when the broad community can come together in an atmosphere of complete mutual respect, I was very disappointed at the injection of bigotry that has marred this season.” He continued by saying that the ban goes against one of the guiding principles of Pride: “that people should be treated as individuals based on their behavior, and not on some prejudice against the category to which they belong.”