News Round-Up: March 16, 2021

Trans actor Elliot Page on the cover of TIME Magazine

Some news items you might have missed:

TIME Magazine: Elliot Page tells TIME he knew he was a boy at 9-years-old and it took the pandemic for him to transition. The X-Men actor came out in December becoming one of the most high-profile trans people in America.

NowThis News: A father with a transgender daughter shared his experience raising her in a powerful testimony against an anti-trans bill in Missouri. ‘As a parent, the one thing we cannot do — the one thing — is silence our child’s spirit.’

NPR: Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo, has become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. The Senate voted 51-40 Monday to confirm the Democratic congresswoman to lead the Interior Department, an agency that will play a crucial role in the Biden administration’s efforts to combat climate change and conserve nature.

Instinct Magazine: The new music video from Imagine Dragons – “Follow You” – is a veritable smorgasbord of shirtless hunks (presented in fantasy-mode) led by front man (and LGBTQ ally) Dan Reynolds.

USA Today: U.S. intelligence officials say Russia and Iran attempted to influence and sway the 2020 elections by spreading “false or inflated claims about alleged compromises of voting systems to undermine public confidence in election processes and results.” Russia specifically focused on “denigrating” Joe Biden’s candidacy.

HuffPost: After QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called Guam, a U.S. territory a foreign nation in a recent speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Guam Del. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas paid a visit to Greene’s office accompanied by a group of National Guard members from Guam who delivered a gift basket of cookies. Guam has been a U.S. territory since 1899, and its residents have been American citizens since 1950. Greene later claimed she was being ‘harassed’ by the National Guard.

QAnon Rep. Thinks Guam Is A Foreign Nation That Shouldn’t Receive US $$$

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)

During remarks made at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, last month, QAnon Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) lumped the U.S. territory of Guam in with a list of foreign nations she doesn’t believe should be receiving American aid.

From The American Independent:

“We believe our hard-earned tax dollars should just go for America. Not for, what? China, Russia, the Middle East, Guam, whatever, wherever,” said Greene.

People born in Guam are U.S. citizens. More than 160,000 Americans live in Guam, and 7,000 members of the American military are stationed at U.S. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base on the island.

While citizens of Guam cannot vote in presidential elections, in 2020 Republicans in the territory caucused during the primaries and awarded 9 delegates to Donald Trump, helping him to secure the Republican presidential nomination.

You’ll recall Donald Trump was slow to send aid to Puerto Rico. At the time, many felt the Donald might not have known that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.

Trump Congratulates Governor Of Guam On Becoming Famous Via North Korea Threat

The New York Post reports that President Trump called the governor of Guam on Friday to reassure him that as an American territory, the U.S. is at the ready to protect the residents of the island paradise.

Trump, who is personally obsessed with fame, made a point to tell the governor that he’s world famous now thanks to the attentions of North Korea.

Trump opened the conversation by telling Calvo, “Good morning, good morning. Great to speak with you. Good morning. I just wanted to pay my respects and we are with you 1,000. You are safe. We’re with you 1,000 percent. I just wanted to call and say hello.”

Trump later says, “We’re going to do a great job for you. All over the world they’re talking about Guam. Tourism is going to go up ten fold. It looks beautiful.” Calvo agrees. “It’s paradise.” And he told the former hotel magnate, “We have 95 percent occupancy and after all of this stuff calms down we’re going to have 110 percent occupancy.”

North Korean Missile Could Reach Guam In 14 Minutes

USA Today reports that should North Korea fire an armed missile at United States’ territory island Guam, residents would have 14 minutes before impact.

If North Korea fires missiles toward Guam, the deadly weapons would take about 14 minutes to reach the island, said Guam Homeland Security spokeswoman Jenna Gaminde.

She said residents would be immediately notified by the 15 All-Hazards Alert Warning System sirens, located in low-lying areas throughout the island.

North Korea announced Thursday that the nation has a detailed plan for a missile strike near Guam using four intermediate-range ballistic rockets.

“Our office will be notified from the military and will utilize all forms of mass communication to get the message out to the public,” Gaminde said. Local media, village mayors and social media would be used to disseminate information, she said.

Gaminde urged island residents to tune into local media for further instructions if sirens began sounding.

Hillary Clinton Wins Guam Democratic Caucuses

Sen. Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton (R)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has won the Guam Democratic caucuses over Sen. Bernie Sanders by a margin of 60% – 40%.

Guam’s seven pledged delegates will be split 4 for Clinton, and 3 for Sanders. Additionally, all five of Guam’s superdelegates have now announced their support for Clinton.

From ABC News:

Counting superdelegates, Clinton has amassed just over 93 percent of the necessary total to clinch the Democratic nomination, according to ABC News projections. To get to the magic number of 2,383, the former secretary of state needs to win 16 percent of all remaining delegates and 73 percent of pledged delegates.

Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to win 97 percent of all remaining delegates. He cannot reach 2,383 on pledged delegates alone; to win the Democratic nomination, he would need the support of the superdelegates.

Guam marks Clinton’s 26th victory in the primary season. Sanders has won 19 contests.

The next Democratic contest comes Tuesday where Sanders is expected to win. Real Clear Politics shows the Vermont senator leading by an average of 6 points.

First Same-Sex Marriages Take Place In Guam

Last week, a federal judge in Guam ruled that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on same-sex marriage applied to the U.S. Territory making marriage equality the law of land in the U.S. Territory.

Today, the first same-sex marriages took place.

From ABC News:

“It’s my privilege to officiate at this. Do you take each other to share your lives, to promise to take good care of one another for as long as you live?” Public Health Director James Gillan asked.

“I do,” said Deasia Johnson of Killeen, Texas.

“I do,” answered her bride, Nikki Dismuke of New Orleans.

“By the power vested in me by the laws of Guam, I pronounce you married,” Gillan said before the two military members kissed to solemnize their vows.

With those words, in a ceremony that lasted less than a minute in Gillan’s office, Johnson and Dismuke became the first gay couple to be legally married in a U.S. territory.

Loretta M. Pangelinan, 28, and Kathleen M. Aguero, 29, sued to overturn the territory’s law after being denied a marriage application in April. They based their lawsuit on the prevailing opinion from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had approved gay marriage in western U.S. states. Guam falls under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Court.

Marriage Equality Comes To Guam

It took just about an hour and a half for Guam’s chief federal judge to rule the territory’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

In doing so, Guam becomes the first U.S. territory to legalize same-sex marriage.

The ruling is expected to take effect on Tuesday.

From Pacific Daily News:

In her ruling, Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood said the laws denying marriage rights to same-sex couples were unconstitutional, citing a previous decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Guam.

Following her ruling, the courtroom erupted into applause for Loretta M. Pangelinan and Kathleen M. Aguero, the couple who filed the case.

Pangelinan and Aguero filed the case in April after they were denied a marriage license application at the Department of Public Health and Social Services. Their attorneys argued that the case had already been decided by the 9th Circuit in 2014 and, as a result, Guam had no choice but to follow suit.

Guam Is ThisClose To Having Marriage Equality

Guam looks like it wants to be the next Alabama.

Guam was set to become the first U.S. territory to make same-sex legal until the governor and lieutenant governor decided to gum up the works.

Two days after a lesbian couple were denied a marriage license, Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero sued in federal court.

The federal courts fall under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled last October that Idaho and Nevada’s bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

That ruling becomes precedent for the other states and territories under the 9th’s jurisdiction.

That being the case, Guam Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson issued a statement saying that “in accordance with the Ninth Circuit’s holding, and pending further ruling from the Supreme Court, the Department [of Public Health and Social Services] is herein advised to immediately begin processing of same gender marriage applications, and to review such applications in the normal course of business.”

This is where the governor and sidekick enter the fray:

Gov. Eddie Calvo and Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio issued a statement on the gay marriage issue. Although they respect the opinion of Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson that Guam should allow same-sex marriage immediately, the administration is deferring a decision, according to the statement.

“If it is the will of the people of Guam to make same-sex marriage legal on Guam, then the Guam Legislature, the people of Guam’s representatives, can take action to change the law, or a referendum can be held giving the people of Guam a direct voice in this issue,” the statement read in part.

The administration’s legal team is reviewing the matter, according to the written statement.

There are five US territories: Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.