USA: Does Florida Mean Marriage Equality is a Done Deal?

Written by scott on December 20th, 2014

US Supreme Court ColorThe US Supreme Court just turned down Florida’s request for an extension of the stay on a marriage equality ruling on a 7-2 vote. Is this the end for anti gay marriage forces?

John Gallagher at Queerty thinks so:

This time, however, the entire court considered the request for a stay. And in a telling action, only two justices-Antonin Scalia (of course) and Clarence Thomas-would have taken the request. That means seven justices let marriage equality take effect in Florida, including two-Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito-who dissented from the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling.

Now, it’s entirely possible that Roberts and Alito saw the request as a narrow legal issue that the Court had no reason to get involved with. But in general they’re not especially willing to place legal reasoning above political ideology. Apparently, they don’t object to marriage equality on legal principle, or at least not enough to try to stop it in its tracks. If they wanted to take a stand, this would have been the chance. Instead, they took a pass. Which is a pretty strong signal that the majority feels that the issue is largely settled. Because there are conflicting rulings, the Court will have to weigh in on the issue at some point.

Even the strongly anti-gay Attorney General, Pam Bondi, is now conceding defeat in her state.

Pink News reports:

In a statement shortly after, Bondi – who has spent much of the past year defending her aggressive action against same-sex marriage – finally admitted defeat. She said: “Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Regardless of the ruling it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on January 5.”

Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade puts in his own two cents:

The refusal from the Supreme Court to stay same-sex marriages in Florida is noteworthy because although justices have denied similar requests to halt same-sex marriages in Alaska, Idaho, South Carolina and Kansas, they’ve never done so before in a state where a federal appeals court has yet to rule on the issue. The decision with regard to Florida could be a sign the Supreme Court is ready to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality no matter what the federal appeals courts decide in the interim.

The fat lady may not have sung, but she’s backstage about to go on.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.


Marriage Equality Round-Up 12/20/14

Written by scott on December 20th, 2014

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!

Gay WeddingChina: Activists in Hong Kong are demanding disclaimers on books that promote conversiomn therapy. full story

Cuba: Queerty asks if the US will now challenge cuba to treat its LGBT community fairly. full story

Egypt: In the wake of recent anti-gay witch hunts, the LGBT community in the country has been forced underground. full story

Germany: The high court has ruled in favor of equality for gay couples who had children via a surrogate abroad. full story

Ireland: Three Irish gay couples talk about what marriage means to them. full story

Ireland: Amnesty International attacked the first draft of Ireland’s new gender recognition bill, saying it imposes unrealistic conditions. full story

Uganda: A revised version of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill has stalled after running into political hurdles. full story

USA: LGBT Americans face greater social and economic disparities in the South, Midwest, and Mountain states, a new study says. full story

USA, Montana: Vandals spray-painted “Fag” across the front door of a home where a bisexual teen boy lives. full story

Fag door

Photo by Hannah Potes, Billings Gazette

USA, South Carolina: A new bill would prevent state judges from recognizing or upholding marriage rights for same-sex couples, and would dock pay or fire judges who do not dismiss such cases. full story

USA: Today is the one year anniversary of the marriage equality ruling in the state. full story

USA, Wyoming: Goshen County Republican Party Members have signed a letter that criticizes Republican Gov. Matt Mead for not do more to fight marriage equality in Wyoming. full story


Florida Marriage Equality on 1/6 After Supreme Court Declines to Extend Stay

Written by scott on December 19th, 2014

Rainbow FloridaMarriage equality will come to Florida next month after the US Supreme Court declined to extend the stay on a pro same sex marriage ruling.

Watermark reports:

Same-sex weddings may soon begin in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block them. The court said Friday it wouldn’t block the marriages. A federal judge previously declared Florida’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and said same-sex marriage licenses could start being issued in the state after Jan. 5 unless the Supreme Court intervened. Most federal judges and appeals courts have ruled against state bans and gay marriages are occurring in about three dozen states. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has upheld the right of four states to decide whether to allow gay marriage.

Florida becomes the 36th state with marriage equality, and the biggest in awhile, with large LGBT populations in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West.

Full Story at Watermark Online | Florida Wedding Vendors


Marriage Equality Round-Up – 12/19/14

Written by scott on December 19th, 2014

Gay WeddingHere’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!

Chile: An anti-gay evangelical pastor began attacking lawmakers in the House of Deputies for approving an LGBT-inclusive initiative that would give legal protections to unmarried couples. full story

China: A court in China has ruled that a psychological clinic must re-pay costs to a gay man for trying to “cure” him. full story

Ireland: The government has finally published a long-awaited bill which will recognise the gender of trans people. full story

Poland: A bill that would have legalized civil unions failed for a third time, 235 to 185 votes. full story

Russia: A special education teacher who lost her job for being a lesbian plans to fight. full story

Turkey: Charles F. Hunter, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, is to marry his partner, Turkish pop star Ramadan Caysever. full story

UK, England: One of the first same sex couples to convert their civil partnership to marriage has been together 49 years. full story

UK, Scotland: A new guide to same-sex marriage and civil partnership has been published to mark the start of Scotland’s equal marriage law. full story

USA: AG Eric Holder has announced that sex discrimination provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 include protections against discrimination based on gender identity. full story

USA: Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson won’t say whether he believes being gay is a choice. full story

USA: The Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are about 5.6 million Americans who identify as LGBT. full story

USA: Apple CEO Tim Cook made a substantial donation to HRC to help fund a gay rights initiative in his native Alabama and two other Southern states. full story

USA, AR: A spokesperson for the Arkansas Supreme Court says a marriage equality decision could be handed down at any time. full story

USA, Florida: The Liberty Counsel says they will defend any state clerks who refuse to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples once the stay ends. full story

USA, Florida: The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a response to the state’s appeal of a federal court ruling that strikes down Florida’s marriage equality ban. full story

USA, Florida: The Osceola County Courthouse will open at midnight when the stay on marriage equality expires, in order to wed same sex couples. full story

USA, Florida: Orange County’s new Clerk of Courts hinted that she supports marriage equality, but says she will not issue licenses to same sex couples when the stay expires. full story

USA: News Channel 7 reports that Washington County residents are split on the issue. full story

USA, Florida: Morgan Welch at Dot429 has a great recap o the current situation in Florida. full story

USA, Hawaii: The state Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a state Republican lawmaker’s lawsuit challenging the marriage equality law. full story

USA, Indiana: An Indiana court allowed a transgender man to change his birth certificate. full story

USA, Kansas: Westboro Baptist Church has again ben barred from intervening in a marriage equality case. full story

USA, Utah: The state legislature will likely consider both an LGBT rights law and a “right to discriminate” law in the next session. full story

USA, Virginia: Richmond has a new billboard, this one with a more positive and LGBT-affirming message than another billboard that has gained national attention recently. full story

USA, Wisconsin: The ACLU has dropped its lawsuit to force recognition of marriages performed in June after the state said the marriages would be recognized. full story


Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Nautical Wedding Bells, New York

Written by scott on December 18th, 2014

Nautical Wedding Bells, New YorkPeriodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Officiants in New York, NY, USA. Captain Arnold is an ordained Chaplain and USCG Licensed Captain. He is also the only Captain registered with the City of New York as an official Wedding Officiant. Captain Arnold offers beautiful, unique and memorable Wedding Ceremonies and his Ceremony of Love has been seen and heard around the world.

See the Nautical Wedding Bells Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in New York City


Adorable Teen Couple: Soccer Player Dances With Homecoming King

Written by scott on December 18th, 2014

Michael and Jem

A gay teen soccer player in West Virginia came out with his boyfriend, the Homecoming King, at the high school dance.

Outsports reports:

It was something I thought I’d never do — dance a slow dance with the homecoming king at his high school. I am an 18-year-old senior all-state high school soccer goalie for Musselman High School in West Virginia. I also have been on the school’s football, tennis and swim teams. And I am openly gay. Growing up in rural West Virginia, it’s not the easiest place to be a gay teenager and it took me a long time to come out to myself and others.

Yet there we were, Jem and I, on an October night this fall, slow dancing with each other. We attend schools in different counties and met through friends and I was thrilled that he asked me to his dance so we could be together. He was wearing his gray vest and pink bow tie while I had on my black shirt with a gold tie. We danced to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, which was a perfect song for my first dance with a guy.

We both started the dance with our female friends who were our “dates.” The final song came on and Jem and I danced for a brief time. It was my first school event where I was with another guy, even though we came to the dance separately. I held his hand when we went to get refreshments and when we took breaks from dancing. It was a weird feeling for me, since I had just barely started coming out. I was nervous yet excited. After the dance we went to his house. That is where I asked him to be my boyfriend. I posed the question by writing it on the dry erase board on his wall. He quickly said yes.

This story was just too adorable not to share – read the whole thing. This is why we fight.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.


South Korea: Marriage Equality Support Reaches 35%

Written by scott on December 18th, 2014

titleA new poll shows that marriage equality support is on the rise in South Korea.

Gay Star News reports:

The majority of South Korea still opposes gay marriage although there has been a significant changes in attitude over the past decade, according to a new survey. A Gallup poll released last week (12 December) found that 35% of respondents were in favor of legalizing gay marriage, more than double the proportion 13 years ago. In the same period, opposition to gay marriage fell from 67% from to 56%.

We’re still a long way from majority support, but the change is encouraging, and 85% now support equal opportunities for gays and lesbians in the workplace.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.


USA, Louisiana: US Supreme Court to Look at State’s Marriage Equality Case

Written by scott on December 18th, 2014

Louisiana mapThe US Supreme Court has decided to at least consider taking another marriage equality case.

Equality on Trial reports:

The Supreme Court, in a brief update to the docket page for the Louisiana marriage case Robicheaux v. George, has noted that the case will be taken up in its next conference, on January 9. The case is the only one involving marriage equality that is currently listed for that conference, but the Court has a few more opportunities to add the rest of the cases.

Interestingly, the Court will consider taking the case on the same day that the Fifth Circuit hears it.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Louisiana.


USA, Florida: Broward County Judge Grants First Same Sex Divorce

Written by scott on December 18th, 2014

FloridaIt’s official – a lesbian couple is now divorced in the state of Florida.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Circuit Judge Dale Cohen on Wednesday dissolved the marriage of Heather Brassner and Megan Lade in a brief hearing. They were united in a 2002 civil union in Vermont but Brassner was unable to obtain a divorce in Florida for five years since their relationship ended. “It’s like an emotional weight being lifted off,” said Brassner, who is from Lake Worth. “I just feel free and I couldn’t have gotten a better holiday gift.”

Cohen ruled in August that Florida’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. Because the ruling came in a divorce case, it has the effect of also declaring that out-of-state gay marriages should be recognized in Florida. It does not mean same-sex marriage licenses can be issued in Broward County.

Judge Cohen’s action comes as a stay in another case is about to expire on 1/5, unless Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas grants an extension.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.


Marriage Equality Round-Up – December 18th

Written by scott on December 18th, 2014

Gay Wedding - HandsHere’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!

Australia: Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster, have offered to have lunch with donors to a campaign to raise $50,000 for Australian Marriage Equality. full story

Egypt: Prosecutors referred 26 men to trial on charges connected to their suspected homosexuality after they were arrested in a publicized raid on a Cairo bathhouse. full story

Europe: Amnesty International has released a report on gender recognition laws across Europe. full story

Malta: Since the civil unions law came into effect, there have been 22 civil unions in Malta, 2 in Gozo, and 11 couples who entered into a civil union or got married outside Malta and have now registered their relationship in the country. full story

Russia: The Russian Ministry of Justice has classified the LGBTI group Rakurs, an Archangelsk-based organisation dedicated to LGBTI rights, as a “foreign agent”. full story

UK, Scotland: The Scottish Episcopal Church warned its clergy that legally marrying a same-sex partner will result in disciplinary action. full story

USA: Leaked document shows Salvation Army is still homophobic, despite campaign top win back LGBT donors. full story

USA: Michael Sam says he will keep fighting to make his dream of playing in the NFL come true. full story

USA: Jewish congregations are increasingly becoming accepting of gays and lesbians. full story

USA, Florida: The ACLU’s response on why marriage equality in Florida should not stay on hold will be filed today. full story

USA, Idaho: Governor Butch Otter has filed an amicus brief in all five cases that are currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. full story

USA, Indiana: A Methodist church that suffered a massive walk-out after forcing its gay choir director to resign will close at the end of 2014. full story

USA, New York: New York officials are proposing authorizing coverage for transgender treatment under the state’s Medicaid program for low-income New Yorkers. full story

USA, Texas: A proposed bill would allow adopted children in the state to have the names of both parents listed on their supplemental birth certificates, regardless of the parents’ gender. full story