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Vox Sentences: Germany is set to recognize a 3rd gender

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Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore faces sexual misconduct allegations; Trump's election commission is being sued by one of its own members; Germany's highest court rules in favor of the country establishing a third gender option.


Roy Moore accused of sexual misconduct with teens

Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Roy Moore, the Republican frontrunner in Alabama’s Senate race, allegedly had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32 years old. [Washington Post / Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard, and Alice Crites]
  • In an interview with the Washington Post, the woman, Leigh Corfman, said that Moore met her when he was an assistant district attorney in Alabama. She said Moore kissed her and touched her over her underwear, and guided her to do the same. [Washington Post / Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard, and Alice Crites]
  • In addition to Corfman, the Post talked to three other women who said Moore pursued relationships with them when he was in his 30s and they were between the ages of 16 and 18 (16 is the legal age of consent in Alabama). [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • Moore has vehemently denied the allegations. But he’s already facing calls to exit his Senate race, including from members of Congress. [NYT / Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns]
  • Many Republican senators said that if the allegations are true, Moore should “step aside.” [Vox / Tara Golshan and Dylan Scott]
  • One notable exception to the “if true” couching was Sen. John McCain (R–AZ), who called on Moore to step aside immediately. [Seung Min Kim via Twitter]
  • Officials in Alabama had an ... interesting range of reactions to the allegations against Moore. Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said he didn’t understand why there was such a fuss, adding, “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” [Washington Examiner / Philip Wegmann]
  • It’s no surprise that GOP leaders are trying to offload Moore. He’s an inflammatory, conservative Christian who doesn’t shy away from controversy, and is backed by Steve Bannon, who has declared "war" on the Republican establishment. The latest news could be a boost to Moore's Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, who is trailing him by 11 points. [AL.com]
  • But actually getting rid of Moore will be difficult; he’s not legally required to withdraw from the race, and he’s showing no signs of doing so on his own. Some Senate Republicans are instead urging current Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, whom Moore defeated in the primary, to run as a write-in candidate. [Politico / Daniel Strauss, Elana Schor, and Kevin Robillard]

Trump’s super-secret voter fraud commission

Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images
  • President Trump’s voter fraud commission is being sued by one of the commission's members. [Mother Jones / Ari Berman]
  • Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, a Democrat, filed a federal lawsuit against the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity today in an attempt to get more information on what exactly it's up to. [Portland Press Herald / Colin Woodward]
  • Specifically, Dunlap is arguing that the commission is violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires advisory commissions established by the president to be politically balanced between Republicans and Democrats and to be transparent about their efforts. [Washington Post / John Wagner]
  • Dunlap contends that he and other Democrats on the commission have been left in the dark by the commission chair, Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Vice Chair Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and a Trump ally. There are seven Republicans on the commission and four Democrats, which Dunlap says in his suit is lopsided. [CNN / Tal Kopan]
  • Dunlap told his local newspaper that he first filed a request with the commission for more information when he was told a commission staffer named Ronald Williams II had been fired after he was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography. Dunlap added he wasn’t even aware Williams was working for the commission up to that point. [Portland Press Herald / Colin Woodward]
  • Trump set up the commission after the 2016 election, during which the president repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that there was widespread voter fraud, which he said robbed him of the popular vote. [ProPublica / Jessica Huseman]
  • This isn’t the first suit the commission has been hit with; the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law recently sued it over a lack of transparency. [Associated Press / Christina Cassidy]
  • Additionally, the federal watchdog Government Accountability Office is investigating the commission, after congressional Democrats called its activities into question. [Politico / Kelsey Tamborrino]

Germany is about to recognize a third gender. It’s not the first country to do so.

Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
  • Germany’s high court just ruled that the country’s government has to allow for a nonbinary third gender category. [Independent / Lizzie Dearden]
  • The court’s rationale is that forcing people to identify as either male or female is a privacy violation. The ruling applies to transgender people as well as to intersex people (those born with both male and female sex characteristics including chromosomes, hormones, and physical parts). [NYT / Melissa Eddy and Jessica Bennett]
  • This ruling just expands on a 2013 ruling where the court allowed parents of intersex children not to have to register their babies as one gender or the other. [NPR / Laurel Wamsley]
  • After a law goes on the books, Germany would be the first European country to have the option of a third gender. [CNN / Judith Vonberg]
  • Already, other countries including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, and Pakistan recognize an additional gender on the ID cards and passports they issue. [NYT / Melissa Eddy and Jessica Bennett]
  • Some of these countries may seem surprising, but it comes down to the fact that many see gender in a different cultural light than it is regarded in Western countries. For instance, in India, a third gender is referred to in Hindu scripture. Even with a third gender recognized by the Indian supreme court, transgender people are still fighting for additional rights in that country. [HuffPost India / Zainab Salbi]

Miscellaneous

  • Multiple women have gone public with sexual misconduct allegations against comedian Louis C.K., specifically that he masturbated in front of them. C.K. has been dogged by these rumors for years, but this is the first time accusers have gone on the record. [NYT / Melena Ryzik, Cara Buckley, and Jodi Kantor]
  • Scientists think dinosaurs actually might have survived if the massive asteroid responsible for wiping them out had only struck somewhere else on Earth. Bad luck, dinosaurs. [Washington Post / Ben Guarino]
  • Following numerous allegations of sexual assault, Sony Pictures is taking the unprecedented step of erasing Kevin Spacey from a movie it's already shot and replacing him with actor Christopher Plummer. [CNN Money / Sandra Gonzalez and Chloe Melas]
  • Orlando, Florida, is becoming home to thousands of young students and their families fleeing Puerto Rico after this summer’s hurricanes. Many don’t know if they’ll ever be able to return to the storm-ravaged island. [NPR / Claudio Sanchez and Elissa Nadworny]
  • Many people complain that well-known public universities like the University of Michigan have become too much like private schools, most notably with their price tags. [Politico / Benjamin Wermund]

Verbatim

  • “I refuse to believe it’s a lifelong imprint, yet, with age 70 in clear view, I admit to wondering whether I will ever entirely heal that young girl who was pinned down.” [NYT / Diana Nyad]
  • “Surely sometimes giving me the napkin is just muscle memory on the part of the very busy flight attendant, which I totally understand. But some flight attendants look at me like I have no idea what I’m talking about, like I’ve just asked to take a drink straight from their bottle of non-dairy creamer, and hand me a napkin.” [Atlantic / James Hamblin]
  • “The media presence doubled the size of your grieving community, or so it seemed. You couldn’t park at the post office. … You couldn’t get a quiet meal at the local cafe, where waitresses trying to get through their shifts were asked again and again to talk about the friends and family they had just lost.” [Dallas Morning News / Lauren McGaughy]
  • “Why is the assumption that I need to have a live band onstage for something to be authentic? It’s about the management of expectation, and I think it’s similar to people thinking that they have a glass of milk, and then they drink it and it’s Sprite. ‘I don’t like this.’ Actually you like Sprite too, you just weren’t expecting it.” [Musician St. Vincent to New Statesman / Alexandra Pollard]
  • “But now, because in some ways I have become a totem for infertility, a human talisman of despair for my comrades to lean on, I feel that I am the betrayer, and as a result, a twinge of shame and a bit of guilt and a lot of self-awareness neatly wrap my evolving pregnancy.” [Man Repeller / Leandra Medine]

Watch this: The world is poorly designed. But copying nature can help.

Biomimicry design, explained with 99% Invisible. [YouTube / Christophe Haubursin, Roman Mars, and Kurt Kohlstedt]


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