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Gay Star News reports:
74-year-old US Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor wants to be buried with her wife Jean Mixner’s ashes but Idaho’s state military cemetery won’t let her while that state retains its ban on same-sex marriage. Taylor had been in a relationship with Mixner beginning in 1995 but she died of emphysema in 2012 and was cremated – leaving Taylor to think about what she would like to have done when she died. She decided she wanted to be interred with Mixner’s ashes but when she contacted Idaho Veterans Cemetery in November to reserve a plot she was told that they could not be buried together… the Idaho state constitution bans any recognition of same-sex marriage so the couple’s 2008 California marriage cannot be recognized by the cemetery.
Imagine if your husband or wife died, and the state then told you that you couldn’t be buried with them when your time came.
Here’s our daily quick round-up of the marriage equality and LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we just didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!
China: A proposed law would allow transgender people to marry, but only if they had gender reassignment surgery first. full story
Singapore: A gay man has withdrawn his lawsuit alleging discrimination at his firm. full story
UK: A majority of conservative voters support marriage equality, a new poll shows. full story
USA: Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on the hit series, supports marriage equality. full story
USA: Jars Of Clay vocalist Dan Haseltine, a Cristian singer, tweeted out his support of marriage equality. of course, the blowback began immediately. full story
USA: Jodie Foster has married her partner in a private ceremony over the weekend. full story
USA: Matt Bomer apparently also got married – three years ago. full story
USA: A new book from Matthew Vines is stirring up a debate on marriage equality and evangelical churches. full story
USA: HRC’s Chad Griffin has responded to the controversy around the new marriage equality book, Forcing the Spring. full story
USA, California: Federal Judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over the marriage equality/Prop 8 case in California, underwent conversion therapy when he was young. full story
USA, Maryland: A Jewish group is holding a “conversation about same-sex marriage” on May 4th in Rockville. full story
USA, Mississippi: The town of Magnolia passed a pro-LGBT resolution last night on a vote of 3-2. full story
USA, Missouri: A house committee lead by the GOP is considering impeaching Governor Jay Nixon over his decision to allow married same sex couples to file their state taxes jointly. full story
USA, Virginia: The Fourth Circuit will allow a full hour for arguments in the marriage equality case in 5/13. full story
We Will Not Eat Until We Take Away Your Rights
Focus on the Family and the Family Foundation of Virginia are planning a forty day fast hoping God will make the judge in the marriage equality case there rule in their favor. Hey, he sends hurricanes and fires and floods against LGBT rights all the time, so why not a little nudge in a gay marriage lawsuit, right?
Every Single Marriage Equality Poll Cooked
Reviving a charge fromt he 2012 Presidential election, Gary Bauer, president of the Christian conservative American Values thinks all pollsters are in on a grand conspiracy to push mariage equality. “…there is an effort underway here to use polls not to measure public opinion but to form public opinion and move it in the direction of the demands of the gay rights movement.” So what does he do? He commissions a survey using slanted language to get the results he wants! You gotta love it.
Gays Shouldn’t Punish Anti-Gay People
This is an interesting one – a group of conservative gays have banded together to sign a statement that we should all respect the views of anti-gay individuals, and should not force them from their jobs, citing the Brendan Eich/Mozilla case. Except… not one of the majr LGBT groups went after Eich – they all stayed out of the fray. And it was mozilla employees and other corporations who did. And it was ultimately his donations to anti gay and anti-Semitic politicians that did him in. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good narrative?
Being Straight Will Soon be Illegal
OK, so in Illinois, a group of GOP party members who tried to oust the state’s gay-friendly state Chair were voted out of their positions by republicans. Which means, according to a Liberty Counsel tweet, it will “soon be taboo to be heterosexual in America”. Yes, and it will also be illegal soon to eat and breathe… seriously?
The Advocate reports:
Forget if you’re a parent or not — if you’re gay, you have to pick this book up. You will be the first to have it on your coffee table, and it will immediately secure you as the trendsetter among your friends. I’m talking about The Princes and the Treasure, a gay fairy tale by Jeffrey A. Miles. It starts off as a typical princess story but then segues into a sweet love story between two handsome princes, who get married in the end. It is technically a children’s book, but it has broad appeal because of its revolutionary concept.
I now read this book to my son among all of his other fairy tales, and he doesn’t make a distinction. It’s just normal to him. If every parent did the same, the next generation of kids would be well-educated on diversity, and homophobia might possibly become extinct. This book is important for many reasons, but it has a nonchalant quality in its charm. I am thrilled to have had this come into our lives, and I’m sure you will feel the same.
Heading over to Amazon to order one of these – and we don’t even have kids.
Bahrain: Two transgender prostitutes have lost an appeal on their 6 month jail sentence. full story
Canada: An Alberta judge ruled that a provincial law that requires gender reassignment surgery before gender can be changed on a birth certificate is unconstitutional. full story
USA: A new study looks at health disparities between transgender people and the population as a while. full story
USA, Illinois: A lawsuit filed last week says a health care services group improperly denied a transgender woman hormone therapy. full story
In late February, a federal judge ruled that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and stayed his ruling pending appeal. A state judge has now ruled likewise, paving the way for a San Antonio couple to proceed with their divorce and child custody case. The latest ruling comes in response to a same-sex divorce lawsuit that was filed in Bexar County in February by Allison Leona Flood Lesh and Kristi Lyn Lesh, who were married in Washington, D.C., in August 2010. Kristi Lesh became pregnant through artificial insemination during the marriage and gave birth Feb. 19, 2013. Her attorney argued that because Allison Flood Lesh isn’t the biological or adoptive parent, Kristi Lesh should retain sole custody. Allison Flood Lesh is seeking to split custody of the child. Because Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, there’s also no legal avenue available to pursue a divorce.
I’ve always thought it was strange that folks who don’t want gays to marry in the first place fight so hard to keep them from getting divorced once they do. I get the legal principle, but still…
Excluding loving, committed same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon is unconstitutional, attorneys said during oral arguments today in Oregon’s marriage equality lawsuit, the Rummell v. Kitzhaber and Geiger v. Kitzhaber consolidated case.
In his opening argument in front of U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, ACLU cooperating attorney Misha Isaak of Perkins Coie, LLP said:
“Oregon’s marriage exclusion tells loving, committed same-sex couples that their relationships are unworthy of equal recognition. It demeans same-sex couples, who the Constitution protects. And it humiliates children being raised by same-sex couples.
“The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon same-sex couples.
“Oregon is unique. Our constitution grants equal privileges and immunities to same-sex couples and our laws grant gay and lesbian couples many of the same rights as married couples. But the state carves out from its policy the right of same-sex couples to call themselves ‘married.’ This is a State-imposed badge of inferiority that the Equal Protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment will not abide.”
The attorneys represent loving and committed gay and lesbian couples who are challenging the law that excludes same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon. A ruling on the case is not expected until after May 14, when Judge McShane is set to hear arguments on a motion to intervene, filed earlier this week by the anti-marriage equality group National Organization for Marriage.
Although Oregon is the last state on the West Coast without marriage for same-sex couples, support for the freedom to marry in Oregon is at a record high of 55 percent, according to polling from Oregon United for Marriage.
The Oregon United for Marriage campaign has collected more than 160,000 signatures to qualify a ballot measure that would allow for marriage equality. The signatures are due on July 3, but the campaign is holding on to the signatures pending the court ruling.
“No one should be singled out for unfair treatment and discrimination because of who they are and whom they love,” said Jeana Frazzini, the executive director of Basic Rights Oregon’s Education Fund, a plaintiff in the case. “Marriage is a fundamental freedom, and freedom means freedom for everyone.”
“There is a growing consensus in the courts that when a state denies the freedom to marry to someone because of who they are and who they love is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “A majority of Oregonians agree that this kind of discrimination is wrong and needs to change.”
“We stand today with our friends and allies in Oregon in the fight for the freedom to marry,” said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “We trust that the court will do the right thing and allow Oregon to join the ever-growing number of states across the country by granting the same protections and dignity to these families as anyone else.”
Similar marriage equality cases are making their way through courts all around the country. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision last year, every federal judge who has ruled on a marriage case has ruled in favor of marriage equality. Attorneys for the plaintiffs are optimistic that the outcome will be the same in Oregon.
A report issued this month by UCLA’s Williams Institute estimates that allowing same-sex couples to marry would boost Oregon’s economy by $47.3 million over the course of the first three years, with $30.3 million in the first year alone. The analysis also predicts that wedding-related spending and tourism would generate more than 450 new jobs throughout the state.
Background on the cases
Attorneys filed two lawsuits last year in the federal court in Eugene to challenge laws that exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon. In October, attorneys Lake Perriguey and Lea Ann Easton filed the first case, Geiger v. Kitzhaber, on behalf of two couples. In December, staff attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oregon, and volunteer counsel Misha Isaak and Tom Johnson of Perkins Coie, LLP, and Jennifer Middleton of Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC, filed a second case, Rummell v. Kitzhaber, on behalf of two same-sex couples who wish to marry in Oregon and Basic Rights Education Fund. In January, the judge, Michael McShane, consolidated the two cases.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February that Measure 36 is indefensible. “Sexual orientation does not determine an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and enduring relationship,” she wrote in a brief filed with the court. “The ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.”
On Monday evening, the National Organization for Marriage in Washington D.C. filed a motion to intervene in the case. On Tuesday, NOM filed a motion seeking to postpone Wednesday’s hearing. In a ruling Tuesday afternoon, Judge McShane denied the motion to postpone, and set a hearing on the motion to intervene for May 14.
Richard and Roberto were partners for 3 years. They were deeply in love. One day Richard complained about a pain in his neck and was hospitalised a short time later.
Roberto said: ‘They banned me from seeing him. They said I didn’t count as family. I was able to sneak into his room for only two minutes. Enough time to hold his hand and tell him that I loved him. He died the next day. I wasn’t allowed to be there.
‘This happened because we were a gay couple in Peru and there’s no law to protect us. But, next Tuesday there’s a vote to decide whether families like mine can be protected with civil unions.’