Almost Everything You’ve Been Told About The Idaho Wedding Chapel Story Is A Lie

Written by scott on October 22nd, 2014

IdahoTwo ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, own a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, but say they cannot marry same-sex couples because of their faith. Now that same-sex couples can legally marry in Idaho, the Knapps face a possible issue.

Earlier this year, as you can see in this video, Donald Knapp (photo, above,) said he’d close the chapel rather than violate his faith. At the center of the controversy is their small town’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Bottom line, depending on how they’ve licensed their business, they likely would be exempt from the ordinance, but that hasn’t stopped the maniacal anti-gay religious right who have hitched their wagons to the Hitching Post’s story and are profiting from it — because that’s just what they do.

Authored By David Badash – See the Full Story at The New Civil Rights Movement

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Analysis: Marriage Equality Has No Impact on Rate of Straight Marriages

Written by scott on October 22nd, 2014

titleA new survey done by the Reno Gazette-Journal found no impact on straight weddings after marriage equality was introduced in a given state or country.

The Advocate reports:

A recent analysis by Fact Checker at the Reno Gazette-Journal looked into the marriage rate of countries abroad that have legalized same-sex marriage and compared the marriage rate over time. The findings show that same-sex marriage has not had any impact on the rate of different-sex marriages. So Nevada need not be worried about marriage equality recently coming to the state. The ongoing decline in different-sex marriages is actually a trend started decades before same-sex marriage became an issue. Fact Checker looked at Eurostat data and compared marriage rates in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands over the decades. Although they have differing laws about marriage, all three countries had the same trend, according to Fact Checker, and showed declines in marriages since the 1970s.

Think it will make any difference?

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Federal Judge in Puerto Rico Upholds Marriage Equality Ban

Written by scott on October 22nd, 2014

Puerto RicoA second Federal Judge has upheld a marriage equality ban (the first was in Louisiana).

LGBTQ Nation reports:

U.S. District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez, cited Baker v. Nelson, a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld Minnesota’s ban on same-sex marriage, and said that allowing same-sex marriage raises the question of a constitutional right to polygamous and incestuous marriages. The case, Conde-Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla, was filed in March by Lambda Legal on behalf of five gay and lesbian couples and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, an organization that represents LGBT Puerto Ricans and their families.

Think Progress points out that the decision reads like a National Organization for Marriage press release:

Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law. Traditional marriage is “exclusively [an] opposite-sex institution . . . inextricably linked to procreation and biological kinship,” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2718 (Alito, J., dissenting). Traditional marriage is the fundamental unit of the political order. And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage. Those are the well-tested, well-proven principles on which we have relied for centuries.

Lambda Legal plans to appeal:

“The court’s ruling directly conflicts with the wave of recent decisions finding these marriage bans unconstitutional and perpetuates the discrimination and harm done to same-sex Puerto Rican couples and their families,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “It defies the unmistakable import of the Windsor decision and flies in the face of the blizzard of rulings of the last year, the reasoned rulings of the Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits, and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand the rulings striking down five bans similar to Puerto Rico’s. One struggles to understand how this judge came to a different conclusion. We will, of course, appeal this ruling to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals,” Gonzalez-Pagan said. “All families in Puerto Rico need the protections of marriage.”

The Judge was apparently a democratic appointee.

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New US Marriage Equality Maps

Written by scott on October 22nd, 2014

We have three new US marriage equality maps for you. For the first time (at least for me) it really looks like the marriage equality states are dominant on the map:

Pew Forum has a great interactive map (with a slider) showing marriage equality by state over time. See the Interactive Map

Pew Map

Think Progress also has a new marriage equality map. full story

Think Progress Map

Wikipedia has a new marriage equality map too. full story

Wikipedia Map


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Marriage Equality Round-Up October 22nd

Written by scott on October 22nd, 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: Hotel Hyatt Canberra is taking heat for hosting the national conference of a notoriously anti-gay group. full story

Costa Rica: A new survey shows 20% of cops think it’s ok to harass gay people. full story

Jamaica: A report by Human Rights Watch shows there is widespread discrimination and violence against the LGBT community in the country. full story

Mexico: Hundreds of activists will attend an LGBT rights conference in Mexico City next week. full story

Russia: LGBT rights rights activists lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights after being prohibited from holding a marriage equality rally in Moscow.
full story

Singapore: A gay blogger has been charged with contempt for implying that the courts are ‘systemically biased’ against homosexuality. full story

UK: Singer Annie Lenox says she’s so happy that transgender people can now come out of the shadows. full story

USA: Singer/actress Jennifer Hudson has joined W Hotels and HRC in a new campaign for marriage equality. full story

USA, Florida: October 24th is a key deadline on the state – it’s possible couples there will be able to marry, if a judge lifts his stay. full story

USA, Florida: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Miami Beach jointly filed an amicus brief in favor of marriage equality. full story

USA, Hawaii: The lawsuit against the state for marriage equality has been wrapped up by the Ninth Circuit. full story

USA, New Jersey: The state just celebrated 1 year of marriage equality. full story

USA, North Carolina: The Columbus County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution opposing marriage equality. full story

USA, North Carolina: Senate Leader Phil Berger Sr. (R) will introduce “right to discriminate” legislation to allow magistrates to refuse to issue marriage licenses or perform weddings for same sex couples. full story

USA, North Carolina: Raleigh became the sixth statewide to protect transgender workers from employment discrimination, passing the ordinance unanimously. full story

USA, Texas: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a debate on marriage equality last week. full story

USA, Texas: Michael sam has ben cut from the Dallas Cowboys. full story

USA, Wisconsin: Governor Walker proudly re-iterated his opposition to marriage equality in a letter to a conservative group. full story

USA, Wyoming: Same sex couples began to marry in Wyoming yesterday. full story


Why Gay Marriage Watch is Changing its Name

Written by scott on October 21st, 2014

Scott & MarkWelcome to the new Marriage Equality Watch!

We started life on January 1st, 2008 as Gay Marriage Watch. At the time, the term “gay marriage” was the most-used term to describe marriage between a couple of the same gender. The phrase “marriage equality” existed at the time – I just checked our blog, and we first used the term on 1/10/08. But Web searches for “gay marriage were much more common, and it was important for us to get the word out to as many people as possible.

When we first began our partnership with Marriage Equality USA in 2011, I remember sitting down with the President at the time, Carole Scagnetti, and talking about this very issue. I still felt, fairly strongly, that the name recognition of the phrase “gay marriage” was key to getting the word out.

Over the next several years, I started to come around about “marriage equality”. Several folks made the point that “gay marriage” was sometimes used by our opponents to make our unions seem alien or different. I started to use the phrase most of the time in our posts instead of “gay marriage”, reserving that phrase for when I was discussing our opponents’ positions and claims.

Fast forward to today. Marriage equality is quickly becoming the law of the land. For my own part, I’ve always thought of it fundamentally as a gay and lesbian issue. Bisexual folks can at least marry one of their two attracted genders, right? And transgender folks are often not gay or lesbian at all, so they’re not really affected. Right?

Well, I’ve learned that I was wrong on both counts. Over the last few months, we’ve seen transgender couples who were same-sex attracted denied marriage licenses, just like the rest of us.

And then I got this email:

Being a bisexual who advocates for marriage equality I find it stunning that you would refer to your updates as Gay Marriage Watch. This is exclusionary and offensive on so many levels!! –Mark Metz, Bisexuals For Marriage Equality

Now, I don’t know Mark – I’m sure he does good work. And I have to say, we should be fighting the religious right, not each other. But he brought up a good point.

While Mark and I had good reasons at the time for calling the blog “Gay Marriage Watch”, that time has passed. We are constantly learning from others in the movement, and even after reporting on marriage equality and LGBT rights for 6 years, every single day, we are still learning new things. We hope the new name is more inclusive – especially for our bi and trans brothers and sisters who are in the fight with us.

So welcome to the new Marriage Equality Watch – we look forward to continuing to bring you the latest in marriage equality and LGBT rights news.


–Scott & Matk


Transgender Navy SEAL – It’s time to forgive the Human Rights Campaign .@HRC

Written by Sean Sala on October 21st, 2014

Kristin Beck – National Transgender Liaison Military Freedom Coalition (Far left) and Human Rights Campaign President – Chad Griffin (Far right)




Recently HRC president Chad Griffin apologized to the entire transgender community for HRC’s past exclusion of transgender people in it’s advocacy work. Many in the transgender community are still upset with their track record. To add to the dilemma there are still people in the gay and lesbian community who don’t even understand the transgender community, and wonder why we are here and part of HRC. I’m not even going to mention the armies of haters and prejudice toward the entire LGBTQ community, but maybe just point out that the prejudice and hate is through the same lens.


Why the exclusion and now why the apology? The gay and Lesbian focus for quite some time has been on marriage while the transgender community is just trying to stay alive and not be beaten up in the streets. The gay and lesbian community is about three decades beyond the rights most of us in the transgender community are fighting for today. This time delay between the “LGB” and the “T” Needs to be addressed and remedied.


We, the transgender community don’t want to be left behind anymore. This recent HRC apology is building a bridge, but many on both sides are not willing to traverse from either direction. A bridge never used is useless.


I was a leader in the SEAL teams and know a few things about team work. I see the LGBTQ  team made up of some very remarkable people. People with different views, different goals and from all walks of life. This is a team or even better a family and like every family we don’t always see eye to eye. Also like a family we need each other and need to work together if we want to get anything done. It is going to take all of us, and sadly from my point of view there is still a rift in our family. I want to get past this and move on.


Many in the gay and lesbian community will remain focused on marriage equality and that is OK, but don’t forget your brothers and sisters. There are a hundred differences between us, but there are thousands of things that are the same. A dream of true equality can come true. The bridge is there, we need to use it and join the team… all of us.


I accept the apology from Chad. I hope the entire staff of advocates really live up to HRC’s new agenda to include the transgender community in all of its efforts. I also implore the rest of the LGB community to get to know your transgender brothers and sisters and understand that we are part of your family and your culture. We don’t want the back of the bus anymore.


I am asking the rest of the transgender community to take a step back, put away the past and work with HRC and the other advocacy groups. For us just being out is activism, but the time to join forces is now. The time for all of us is now. Together the entire LGBTQ community is strong. I for one want my dream of equality to come true; we can achieve this. I believe in all of us. That is why this year, myself and other Military Freedom Coalition leaders are honored to have been invited to the HRC gala – an olive branch.


There are going to be many things here and there that we hope to change – building dialogue.


We have to stop pretending our leaders are perfect. We must let leaders be human. It’s time for a radical shift. It’s time for that radical love and forgiveness we always talk about. Today is that day. The day that LGBT walks together arm in arm towards our dream of equality and inclusion.


President Obama: “I Think The Equal Protection Clause Does Guarantee Same-Sex Marriage” In All 50 States

Written by scott on October 21st, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama’s evolution on marriage equality continues, as he discusses in an interview with the New Yorker.

The New Yorker reports:

Obama opposed marriage equality until May of 2012. He told me that he now believes the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, an argument that his Administration has not yet made before the Supreme Court. “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”

How many other Americans are now shifting their views on the subject, now that things are moving so quickly?

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A Procedural Rule Could Keep Any Future Marriage Equality Case From the US Supreme Court

Written by scott on October 21st, 2014

US Supreme Court ColorOne of the great benefits of the marriage equality debate is that it has forced Americans to learn way more about constitutional law than they probably ever wanted to. In just a few years, terms like “heightened scrutiny” and “liberty interest” have wriggled their way into the demotic parlance, to my unceasing delight. But the schooling, it seems, will not end at the 14th Amendment, because Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne just cited a rule of civil procedure in refusing to defend his state’s ban on same-sex marriage. And if his theory is correct, opponents of marriage equality may be procedurally barred from ever getting a gay marriage case to the Supreme Court again.

Here’s the thrust of Horne’s unexpected argument: Under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, attorneys must certify that any motions they file are “nonfrivolous” and aren’t designed to “cause unnecessary delay.” If you violate that rule, you might face sanctions–a pretty embarrassing and sometimes expensive penalty. For months, the conventional wisdom dictated that states could appeal gay marriage rulings without stumbling on Rule 11; the Supreme Court, after all, has yet to issue a definitive ruling on the matter.

But all that changed over the last few weeks, as the justices have swatted away every single request to rule on gay marriage bans. So extreme is the court’s laissez-faire attitude that it refuses to stay lower courts’ pro-gay rulings, allowing couples to wed immediately. After a district court struck down Arizona’s gay marriage ban last Friday, Horne seems to have surveyed this trend and decided that, by not speaking, the court had spoken–and any appeal would be utterly useless. The judicial expansion of marriage equality, Horne suggested, is so emphatic and irreversible that an appeal of the district court’s judgment might be seen as a frivolous delaying tactic, in direct violation of Rule 11.

Authored By Mark Joseph Stern – See the Full Story at Slate

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Wyoming Weddings Begin Today!

Written by scott on October 21st, 2014

WyomingThe State Attorney General has given the go-ahead for same sex couples to start marrying there as of today.

Reuters reports:

Gay marriages can begin in Wyoming on Tuesday after the state files a formal notice that it will not appeal a judge’s order overturning a ban on same-sex matrimony, the state’s attorney general said on Monday… “After reviewing the law and the judge’s decision that binding precedent requires recognition of same-sex marriage, I have concluded that further legal process will result in delay but not a different result,” Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael said in a statement. Michael said that the nuptials can begin immediately after the state files a formal notice with the court stating that it would not seek that appeal. The move will bring to 32 the number of states that allow gay marriage.

The LGBT community in the state that became infamous for the death of Matthew Shepard now has reason to celebrate.

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