News You Should Know July 24, 2014

BTL Staff

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman has already heard arguments regarding Louisiana's refusal to recognize the unions of gay couples legally married in other states. At the end of that hearing he asked for briefs on related issues- including whether the state's refusal to let same-sex couples marry in Louisiana is constitutional. Feldman said he didn't want to make a piecemeal ruling on the gay marriage issue. Feldman this week issued an order stating that he has studied the briefs in the case and found that no further briefs or arguments are needed. He gave no indication when he will rule.

NEW YORK (AP) - State agencies have begun adding gender identity to their data collection, part of an effort Gov. Andrew Cuomo says will help the state better meet the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers. A new report July 23, identifies eight agencies, including the Department of Health, collecting or updating their data systems to gather those demographics. New York's Office of Mental Health in 2011 began including sexual orientation and gender identity questions on admission forms at state mental health facilities, using it in a training curriculum for clinicians intended to improve treatment for LGBT people. In 2012, the state Office for the Aging updated its system to ensure including LGBT seniors, whom research indicates are likelier to live alone and lack some vital support systems.

TEXAS (AP) - Exxon Mobil Corp. says it will comply with new protections for gay and transgender employees required of federal contractors, but isn't saying whether it will formalize that wording in its corporate policies. President Barack Obama signed the executive order with the new protections Monday [July 21]. The energy company, which has hundreds of millions in federal contracts, has resisted pressure from civil rights groups and shareholders to enumerate such protections in its formal policy. Exxon Mobil has maintained that its stated zero-tolerance standards ensure protections without having to specifically name them. Exxon Mobil spokesman Alan Jeffers said Tuesday the company will "comply with all governmental laws." He wouldn't say if that meant changing the formal policy's language.

INDIA (THE ADVOCATE) - Two days before India's team left for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, up-and-coming sprinter Duttee Chand received the news that she wouldn't be joining her teammates. The reason? She "failed" a "gender test" due to high androgen levels, reports Scheduled to compete in the 200-meter this week, the Sports Authority of India demanded Chand take the controversial test last minute. The government agency, like many other countries worldwide, only tests female athletes suspected of naturally producing "excess" testosterone. "What is the definition of the female athlete?" parliament member Bharaturhai Mahtab asked, according to "Why [is a] sex test done on females only? This is discrimination." Although the Sports Authority of India insists the test does not determine gender, lack of awareness about intersex conditions has led some to conclude that Chand is male. But "Ms. Chand grew up as girl and remains a woman," { URL Trans Media Watch clarifies}. "There is no possibility that she could 'really' be a man and suggestions along these lines are likely to cause acute distress." Currently, Chand is not allowed to compete unless she exhibits lower androgen levels. According to Live Mint, she is still waiting to learn if the Sports Authority of India will strip her of previous medals and records.

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