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Gay Rights

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Pride parades kicked off in some of America’s biggest cities Sunday amid new fears about the potential erosion of freedoms won through decades of activism. The annual marches in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere take place after at least one Supreme Court justice signaled, in a ruling on abortion, that the court could reconsider the right to same-sex marriage recognized in 2015. That warning shot came after a year of legislative defeats for the LGBTQ community, including the passage of laws in some states limiting the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity with children.

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Poland’s conservative ruling party leader has challenged what he described as Western views on LGBTQ rights. Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski spoke at a rally in Grudziadz, a city in northern Poland. He described a theoretical situation in which a person named Wladyslaw, which is traditionally a male name, comes to work asking to be called Zosia, a traditionally female name. And then he said, “And according to what we are recommended from the West that everyone should obey it,” His party has in recent years used anti-LGBTQ rhetoric while campaigning, and Poland has elections next year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a constitutional right to abortion could lead to the loss of other rights. And he's indicating that his country will continue to allow Americans to get abortions in Canada. Trudeau on Saturday called the court’s decision “horrific” and voiced concern that the ruling could someday allow a rollback of legal protections for gay relationships, including the right for same-sex couples to marry. He says it is a reminder that people has to stand up for the rights of all.

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Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey says religious schools seeking to take advantage of a state tuition program must abide by state law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. He says that could deter some of them from participation despite a Supreme Court decision this week. The high court ruled that Maine can’t exclude religious schools from a program that offers tuition aid for private education in towns that don’t have public schools. One of the attorneys who successfully sued says the state can balance the interests of all parties if elected officials “are genuinely committed to that task.”

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Sweeping Supreme Court rulings on guns and abortion this past week have sent an unmistakable message. And that message is that conservative justices hold the power and aren't afraid to use it to make transformative changes in the law. It was never clearer than when the court took away a woman’s right to abortion that had stood for nearly 50 years. The conservative majority said no more half measures when they overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to outlaw abortion. And the day before, they ruled for the first time that Americans the right to carry handguns in public for self-defense. The decisions are the latest and perhaps clearest manifestation of the court's control by an aggressive conservative majority.

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Police fired tear gas from the windows of the Arizona Capitol building to disperse hundreds of people demonstrating outside Friday night, as lawmakers briefly huddled in a basement. The lawmakers were working to complete their 2022 session as thousands of protesters gathered on the Capitol grounds in Phoenix. They were divided into groups condemning and supporting the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. KPHO-TV reported the officers opened fire when several anti-abortion protesters started banging on glass doors of the building. It wasn’t immediately known if there were injuries or arrests.

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The Supreme Court has stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion. It's a fundamental and deeply personal change for Americans' lives after nearly a half-century under the court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Friday's new ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. The ruling by the high court's conservative majority was unthinkable just a few years ago. It was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump. The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito.

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LGBTQ Pride commemorations that sometimes felt like victory parties for civil rights gains are now grappling with an environment of ramped-up legislative and rhetorical battles over sexual orientation and gender identity. There are also fears that a Supreme Court ruling on abortion opens the door to their rights being taken away. Crowds are expected this weekend at Pride events in New York City and other places including San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and Toronto to wrap up Pride month. But it’s a month that’s been marked by disruption at other Pride and LGBTQ-affirming events around the country, from protests and harsh language to violent threats.

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing states to ban abortion is stirring alarm among LGBTQ advocates. They fear that the ruling could someday allow a rollback of legal protections for gay relationships, including the right for same-sex couples to marry. In the majority opinion issued Friday that overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Samuel Alito said the decision applied only to abortion. But critics discounted that statement. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should review other precedents, including decisions legalizing same-sex marriage and striking down laws criminalizing gay sex. A protester at a Topeka, Kansas, abortion-rights rally said conservatives would not stop with abortion.

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President Joe Biden is vowing to try to preserve access to abortion after the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade. He's calling for voters to elect more Democrats who would safeguard rights upended by the court’s decision. Short of that, his options are limited. Biden assailed the ruling Friday, saying other legal precedents ensuring same-sex marriage and access to birth control could also be at risk. He says, “This is an extreme and dangerous path this court is taking us on." Republicans and conservative leaders are celebrating the culmination of a decades-long campaign to undo the nationwide legalization of abortion that began with Roe v. Wade in 1973.

The Associated Press is making available the full text of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the final opinion issued Friday that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrong and had to be overturned. The text begins with “Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views. Some believe fervently that a human person comes into being at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life."

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The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years. The court’s conservative majority, in a decision released Friday, voted to overturn Roe v. Wade from 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion. The outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion said Roe “was egregiously wrong from the start.” The court's three liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, ended their opinion by saying, "With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”

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LGBTQ youth of faith across the United States are sharing their stories during Pride Month. They hope to encourage others to embrace their religious and gender identities. It comes at a time when states like Florida and Texas are passing legislation that critics say marginalizes LGBTQ people, while several major denominations continue to condemn same-sex unions as sinful. Some young people say they have found support by joining online multifaith groups where they virtually share stories, sing and pray.

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The rights of LGBTQ students would become enshrined in federal law and victims of campus sexual assault would gain new protections under new rules proposed by the Biden administration. The proposal comes on the 50th anniversary of the Title IX women’s rights law. It's intended to replace a set of controversial rules issued during the Trump administration by then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The current education secretary, Miguel Cardona, says Title IX has been “instrumental” in fighting sexual assault and violence in education. The new proposal is almost certain to be challenged by conservatives, and it’s expected to lead to new legal battles over the rights of transgender students in schools, especially in sports.

The biggest gathering of the year for U.S. Olympic policymakers came on the 50th anniversary of Title IX. One of their most urgent debates behind closed doors was what the future of the law might mean for transgender athletes in sports. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee board members are trying to define their federation’s role in the discussion. The debate comes as global bodies that run swimming, rugby and, soon, possibly track and field, press forward with their own policy changes. USOPC chair Susanne Lyons says it will be difficult to set a policy. But, she says, the board agreed that as an organization that leads sports in this country, it's important to come up with a philosophy that can help guide the conversation in the U.S.

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A visitor center dedicated to telling the story of the LGBTQ rights movement will open next to the Stonewall Inn. The groundbreaking for the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood will take place Friday. The center is expected to open in 2024. The visitor center will be managed by the nonprofit Pride Live in partnership with the National Park Service. The Stonewall National Monument became the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ history when it was dedicated in 2016 across the street from the Stonewall Inn, which is the site of 1969 riots that followed a police raid of the bar’s gay patrons.

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed a law to allow doctors, nurses and medical students to deny performing procedures that violate their conscience. LGBTQ advocacy groups expressed concerns Tuesday that the law signed by the GOP governor on June 17 would disproportionately impact LGBTQ people and restrict their healthcare access.  But proponents of the law argue that healthcare professionals should not have to perform procedures for which they have moral, ethical or religious objections. Lawmakers say commonly rejected procedures listed in other states include abortion, certain contraception procedures, genetic experimentation, death penalty executions and the sterilization of minors.

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A Japanese court has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated. The Osaka District Court ruling is the second decision on the issue, and disagrees with a ruling last year by a Sapporo court that found the ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. It underscores how divisive the issue remains in Japan, the only member of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations that does not recognize same-sex unions. Support for sexual diversity has grown slowly in Japan, but legal protections are still lacking.

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Title IX is best known for its role in gender equity in athletics and sexual harassment on campuses. But the landmark U.S. law covers a wide variety of topics and educational settings — and those continue to evolve.  The law was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972. That means Title IX is 50 years old — but it remains a vital piece in the ongoing push for equality, including for the LGBTQ community.

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Clela Rorex, a former Colorado county clerk considered a pioneer in the gay rights movement for being the first public official to issue a same-sex marriage license in 1975, has died. She was 78. The Daily Camera reports that Rorex died Sunday of complications from recent surgery at a hospice care facility. Rorex was a newly elected Boulder County clerk when a gay couple denied a marriage license elsewhere sought her help in March 1975. The then-31-year-old agreed and went on to issue six licenses to gay couples before Colorado’s attorney general ordered her to stop. Colorado legalized gay marriage in 2014. A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognized the fundamental right nationwide.

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The law known as Title IX has influenced athletics in the United States for 50 years. Many wonder if the law should be reshaped to ensure participation for transgender athletes in sports in much the same way the statute enshrined rights for women. Without federal legislation to set parameters, officials in at least 40 states have adopted their own rules and laws. There are big differences. Some rules bar transgender athletes from girls and women's sports. Others define someone's sex as the one they are assigned at birth. It underscores how difficult it will be to reach a national consensus.

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At least 19 states have passed laws or adopted rules that either bar or limit participation in sports by transgender athletes. It has become a polarizing political issue even though only a fraction of America’s 8.5 million high school and college athletes are believed to be transgender athletes. Title IX was a landmark law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in programs that receive federal funding. As the 50th anniversary of Title IX approaches, The Associated Press provides an overview of the debate.

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order to stymie what the White House says are discriminatory legislative attacks on the LGBTQ community by Republican-controlled states. The order seeks to discourage “conversion therapy,” which is a discredited practice that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It also is intended to promote gender-affirming surgery and expanded foster care protections for gay and transgender parents and children. Biden says the actions are meant to counter 300-plus anti-LGBTQ laws introduced by state lawmakers over the past year alone. Biden hosted a reception Wednesday to sign the order which featured LGBTQ activists, members of Congress and top administration officials.

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