Marriage Equality Round-Up 7/28/14

Written by scott on July 29th, 2014

Wikipedia Marriage Equality MapHere’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!

Denmark: Copenhagen celebrates 25 years of legal recognition for same sex couples. full story

Jamaica: A new documentary highlights the lives of homeless gay, bisexual and transgender (GBT) youth in Jamaica. full story

Mexico: A lesbian couple has won the legal right to have children in the state of Michoacan full story

Sweden: Sweden’s largest LGBT rights group has ranked the Green Party as the country’s most gay-friendly parliamentary party. full story

Turkey: A new documentary looks at Istanbul’s transgender sex workers. full story

UK, Scotland: The Government is launching a new “Scotland believes in equality” campaign. full story

USA: Wikipedia has a new marriage equality map. full story

USA, Alabama / Arkansas / Mississippi: HRC has hired Kendra Johnson to direct its efforts for LGBT equality in the three southern states. full story

USA, Alaska: The state Supreme Court is ruling on marriage equality around the edges. full story

USA, Arkansas: HRC releases a new study on the state’s LGBT community. full story

USA, Colorado: Attorney General John Suthers on Monday filed a motion with the Colorado Supreme Court to try to force Boulder County clerk Hillary Hill to stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. full story

USA, Texas: Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office tried to refuse delivery of marriage equality petitions this week. full story

 

China Gay Cure Clinic Sued

Written by scott on July 29th, 2014

Great Wall of ChinaA China gay cure clinic is being sued by LGBT activists.

Pink News reports:

Campaigners in China have taken a clinic to court over its backing of gay-to-straight conversion therapy. It’s the first time a lawsuit of this kind has been staged in the country. China declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 2001, but scores of clinics still seek to provide so-called conversion therapy. Dr Zhou Zhengyou, of the Nanjing Urban Psychiatric Consultancy Centre, claims to have successfully “cured” 70% of his gay patients. He charges $120 (#70) a session. LGBT activists have begun a legal challenge against the clinic. The case will be heard in court on Thursday.

Wow – this is the first time I’ve heard of such action being taken in Asia, and in China, no less!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

 

Florida Marriage Equality Plaintiffs Ask for State Supreme Court Hearing

Written by scott on July 29th, 2014

Florida Marriage Equality plaintiffsThe plaintiffs in the Florida marriage equality case in Key West are seeking to bypass the appeals court and go directly top the state Supreme Court.

Joe.My.God reports:

The two Key West bartenders who two weeks ago won their marriage lawsuit in a Monroe County court are petitioning to have their case heard by the Florida Supreme Court. Via the Miami Herald: On July 17, Monroe Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia declared Florida’s 2008 gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, ruling against Bondi, whose office defended the ban. Huntsman and Jones have not been allowed to marry: Florida law mandates that an automatic stay pending appeal is triggered when a public official loses a court case. “We’re filing in the court of appeal, a motion, in layman’s terms, to pass through the jurisdiction of the third District Court of Appeal and to send the case directly to the Florida Supreme Court,” Restivo told the Miami Herald. “It’s going to certainly bring this case quicker to finality. It’s going to apply this case, one way or another, to the entire state of Florida, once the Supreme Court rules on it.”

Will the Supreme Court take the case, or send it back to wind its way through the appeals process?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.

 

Virginia Marriage Equality Ruling Updates

Written by scott on July 29th, 2014

VirginiaYesterday, the Fourth Circuit struck down the Virginia marriage equality ban.

But we’re not there yet, as Lambda Legal’s Jon Davidson cautions.

Joe.My.God reports:

Today’s 4th Circuit decision is not yet final. It won’t be final until at least August 18th (it could be longer if a petition for rehearing is sought) and, of course, a stay of today’s decision by the 4th Circuit or the Supreme Court might be sought by the clerks who defended the Virginia marriage ban. In addition, while nothing in the decision is unique to Virginia law and, once it becomes final, it will be binding precedent on the district courts in North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, the decision itself does not order the clerks in North Carolina, South Carolina or West Virginia to do anything. Nonetheless, just as the Boulder County clerk decided to allow same-sex couples to marry once the 10th Circuit issued its decision invalidating Utah’s marriage ban, clerks in North Carolina, South Carolina or West Virginia might conclude that their obligation to follow the mandates of the U.S. Constitution (as now explicated by the 4th Circuit) overrides their duty to follow state law.

So we could see same sex weddings as soon as 8/18 in the three states, although it is unclear if they will ultimately be declared valid.

Queerty flags five great quotes from the ruling, including:

The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.

In neighboring West Virginia, the AG is taking a wait-and-see approach, as Dave Boucher tweets:

“Office of @WestVirginiaAG (arguing in support of same-sex marriage ban in WV case) is “withholding comment on Va. case until decision final… West Virginia’s case remains pending so… marriage laws are still in effect as enacted by the legislature.”

Now we wait to see if a stay is enacted in the Virginia case.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Virginia.

 

Virginia Marriage Equality Ruling: South Carolina Continues to Defend Ban

Written by scott on July 29th, 2014

South Carolina Attorney General Alan WilsonUnlike in North Carolina, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says he will continue to defend his state’s ban in the wake of the Virginia marriage equality decision at the Fourth Circuit.

Towleroad.com reports:

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has said that he will continue to fight a lawsuit aiming to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage despite a ruling by a federal appeals court, reports The Daily Journal… South Carolina passed a law banning same-sex marriage in 1996. Voters approved a similar constitutional amendment in 2006… Mark Powell, a spokesman for Wilson, said he sees no need to change course because the U.S. Supreme Court will likely make the final decision.

Most of them will fight this thing out to the bitter end.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

 

Virginia Marriage Equality Ruling – North Carolina AG Will Stop Defending Ban

Written by scott on July 29th, 2014

North Carolina Attorney General Roy CooperIN the wake of the Fourth Circuit ruling striking down the Virginia marriage equality ban, North Carolina AG Roy Cooper says he will no longer defend it.

Joe.My.God reports:

Following a ruling today from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of marriage equality, North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper held a press conference in response, saying that as a result of the ruling, North Carolina’s own ban on the freedom to marry, “will almost surely be overturned.” He added that the North Carolina’s ban, known as Amendment One is now indefensible, saying “It’s time to stop making arguments we know will lose.”

Cooper, who supports marriage equality, had previously said he was obligated to defend the ban.

The battle there might not be over yet.

WNCN reports:

Republican Sen. Phil Berger, however, tweeted Monday afternoon that, “North Carolinians voted to put the marriage amendment in our Constitution” and he expected “our AG to uphold his oath by defending it.” Berger’s tweet underscored the acrimony between Cooper, who is expected to run for governor, and Republican leaders who led the bid to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state Constitution.

So will the General Assembly try to step in and defend the ban? We’ll have to wait and see.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

 

Virginia Marriage Equality Advances: Fourth Circuit Says Ban Unconstitutional

Written by scott on July 28th, 2014

VirginiaThis just in – the Fourth Circuit just upheld a lower court ruling that the Virginia marriage equality ban is unconstitutional.

Equality on Trial reports:

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. The ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer comes after the Tenth Circuit ruled similarly in cases from Utah and Oklahoma. The decision was 2-1 with Judge Niemeyer dissenting, a result that was anticipated. The court held that the ban violates the fundamental right to marry:

The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits themfromparticipating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.

Authored By – See the Full Story at

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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Rev. Ellyn Kravette, Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania

Written by scott on July 28th, 2014

Rev. Ellen Kravette - Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania

Periodically 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 Brodheadsville, PA, USA. Rev. Ellyn has been performing same sex marriages for over 20 years. To love another is the greatest blessing one can have and of course, those who love have answered the call of a higher authority… but it is wonderful that some of the states are catching up and we are acknowledged with the respect that all people, everywhere deserve.

See Reverend Ellyn Kravette’s Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Pennsylvania

 

Gay Soldiers Living Openly in Wake of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Written by scott on July 28th, 2014

Don't Ask Don't TellWhile the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military, it didn’t mark radical changes to the way the fighting force looked or behaved. Instead, it brought the possibility of marriage and spousal benefits to soldiers that were previously denied. And, an opportunity to live more freely.

“When you come out and you’ve been out so long, it’s hard to just go back in,” said Spc. Corderra Dews, 24, who was living in Austin, Texas, and openly gay before he joined the Army in 2011.

While there are no solid statistics on the number of gay and lesbian soldiers currently in the military, a group of soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, spoke with The Leaf-Chronicle about life in the military before and after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the Army’s decision to extend benefits to same-sex spouses, furthering the full inclusion of gay and lesbian soldiers in the military.

See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

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Louisiana Marriage Equality Ruling Due Shortly

Written by scott on July 28th, 2014

Louisiana mapA federal judge says he is ready to rule in the Louisiana marriage equality case.

On Top Magazine reports:

A federal judge has signaled he’s ready to rule on a challenge to Louisiana’s gay marriage ban… U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who was nominated to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan, heard arguments in the case last month in New Orleans. Feldman has already stated that he wants to broaden the case’s scope to include whether gay couples should be allowed to wed in the state, saying it would be unfair to rule “piecemeal.”

Waiting breathlessly on Arizona and Louisiana…

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Louisiana.