aroundtheregion

Wisconsin
A federal court has ruled that Wisconsin must list both same-sex parents on birth certificates, according to a press release from Lambda Legal:

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that the state of Wisconsin must issue accurate birth certificates listing both parents for the children of married same-sex couples, including the son of Lambda Legal clients Chelsea and Jessamy Torres, a married lesbian couple.
“We are pleased with today’s ruling from the Court, which grants Chelsea, Jessamy, and their son, and other families in similar situations, the critical protection that a birth certificate accurately naming both parents provides.” said Kyle Palazzolo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “Many same-sex parents can breathe a sigh of relief. Now, their children will have the security of both parents listed on their birth certificates, a vital document in a family’s day-to-day life.
“As important, the Court today also delivered a significant victory for true equality, ruling that married same-sex couples and their children deserve to be treated in the same way as married different-sex couples and their children. Because Wisconsin automatically gave the children of different-sex spouses birth certificates that named both spouses as parents, Wisconsin was required to do the same for the children of same-sex spouses. While we brought this case solely on behalf of Jessamy, Chelsea, their son and certain other families who used reproductive technology to have children, the court emphasized that other Wisconsin families have been unfairly denied two-parent birth certificates, too. The court stated that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services should act quickly to issue corrected birth certificates to these children, and update their forms to respect same-sex couples and their families, or face future lawsuits.”

The Star Tribune interviewed the couple who sued Wisconsin:

When their son was born 1½ years ago, Jessamy and Chelsea Torres shared the joy of being first-time parents. But the state of Wisconsin would recognize only one mother.
The women married in 2012 and had a baby two years later after Chelsea Torres was artificially inseminated. The parents expected that both of their names would appear on their son’s birth certificate. They didn’t.
But this week, a federal judge ruled that they should, siding with the couple in their lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin. In her order, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb advised the state to “provide the equal treatment that same-sex couples are entitled to receive under the law.”
“It’s been a long road waiting for this,” Jessamy Torres said after the couple’s victory.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, couples around the country have filed lawsuits to get their names placed on their children’s birth certificates.

The Wausau school district is dealing with conservative Christian parents opposing transgender inclusion in the district, the Wausau Daily Herald reports:

A group of parents and community members came out in force Monday to protest the Wausau School District’s new rules that allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their chosen gender — regardless of their gender at birth.
The district’s rules comply with controversial federal recommendations currently tied up in court. Monday was the first time the Wausau School Board took public comment on the matter.
Guidelines on which bathrooms transgender students use could endanger students, said some parents who attended the meeting. Some opponents suggested transgender students use a gender-neutral bathroom, others said those students should use the bathroom of the sex they were born to.
One commentator said transgender people can be in danger if they’re forced to use the bathroom that doesn’t correspond to their chosen gender. Others opposed to the rule change worried about the safety of girls sharing bathrooms with kids born as boys.

Iowa

Iowa Rep. Steve King told CNN last week that same-sex parents should not benefit from any plan to help parents. Raw Story has more:

Donald Trump unveiled something resembling a plan to give new parents a child-care tax credit, but one of his strongest supporters already sounds wary of it.
While being interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) expressed skepticism about whether Trump could really find enough money to pay for his plan just by eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” in unemployment insurance.
Even more interesting, however, was King’s assertion that only “natural families” ought to benefit from the proposed policy.
In other words: No gay people need apply.
“I want to respect all people, but I want to promote the natural family, Chris, and I think that’s the most wholesome thing we can do,” King said. “The natural family is a man and a woman joined together in — hopefully — holy matrimony, blessed by God with children.”

Anti-gay bullying in the Carroll school district has community members concerned, the Daily Times Herald reports:

One is a 39-year-old professional, married with a child. Established.

The other is a high school senior.

They’re both gay.

And both were the target of comments in Carroll this past week, among students and in the City Council chambers, that the leader of a statewide gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organization described as “troubling” and “damaging.”

‘He should kill himself’

Last week, a group of Carroll High School students started a group text message, referencing a gay classmate who had been selected for this year’s homecoming court.

Some of the students texting were on the football team, but not all. About four made comments:

I’ll drop out if he’s on Homecoming Court.

He should go die.

He should kill himself.

A printout of the comments was left on the windshields of Carroll’s football coach Dennis McCartan’s car, as well as those of some of the players, when they returned from a game in Glenwood Friday. The conversation was passed on to Carroll Community Schools Superintendent Rob Cordes, and administrators at the high school began talking to the student in question and those involved in the group text to determine how the school will respond.

The case of a state employee allegedly fired for being gay has reached the Iowa Supreme Court, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports:

The Iowa Supreme Court is considering whether Iowans may receive monetary compensation for rights violations committed by state government.
The court heard arguments Wednesday on portions of a lawsuit filed by Chris Godfrey, a former state workers’ compensation commissioner who claims Gov. Terry Branstad reduced his salary because of political motivations and because Godfrey is gay and an outspoken advocate for gay rights.
The court also is considering whether Godfrey’s claims should be considered through the judicial branch or the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, which investigates claims of violations of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which protects categories of individuals, including people who are gay, from discrimination.
Jeffrey Peterzalek, the state’s assistant attorney general defending Branstad, said a Supreme Court ruling allowing Godfrey to seek monetary damages would set a legal precedent.
“There’s nothing in the facts of this case, or in the law of this court, or in the Constitution of this state that supports or compels this court to create a wholly new and unprecedented cause of action for damages,” Peterzalek said.

The Iowa State Daily takes a look at the changes at the LGBTSS Center:

Founded in 1992, Iowa State’s LGBTSS Center is the 14th oldest LGBT resource center in the country and the second oldest in Iowa. It’s located at 1064 Student Services Building, south of Pearson Hall and west of the Enrollment Services Building.
The center provides resources, education and support for all students. Forty-five to 50 students visit the center on a weekly basis.
“Sometimes people think of our office and think only students that identify under the LGBT umbrella can use our space just because of how our name sounds,” said Clare Lemke, Ph.D., student services specialist and assistant director of the LGBTSS Center. “That’s not true. We’re here to serve all students with a focus on gender identity, gender expression and sexual identity.”
Claire Lemke is a student services specialist at the LGBTSS Center. The center is located at the Student Services Building and is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
During the summer, Lemke, along with LGBTSS director Brad Freihoefer, bought new furniture and art work for the center space. Some of the new additions include a new powder blue couch and multi-colored sets of chairs. An old bookcase also was removed, exposing a bright yellow wall and adding space for activities.
“It’s all bright and colorful,” Lemke said. “We like to be inviting and fun.”

The Column is a community-supported non-profit news, arts, and media organization. We depend on community support to continue the work of solid LGBT-centric journalism. If you like this article, consider visiting Give MN to make a contribution today.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here