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

Wednesday, 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

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Idaho.

Federal Judge in Puerto Rico Upholds Marriage Equality Ban

Wednesday, 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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Marriage Equality Comes to Arizona

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Arizona mapAnother day, another marriage equality state. This time it’s Arizona, where a Federal judge just struck down the states ban with no stay. reports:

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick (a George H.W. Bush appointee) has struck down Arizona’s ban on gay marriage, declaring it “unconstitutional by virtue of the fact that they deny same-sex couples the equal protection of the law.”

Adds Sedwick: “The court has considered whether to stay this decision to allow defendants to appeal. It is clear, however, that an appeal to the Ninth Circuit would be futile. It is also clear–based on the Supreme Court’s denial of petitions for writs of certiorari filed inconnection with several circuit court decisions which held that same-sex marriage must be recognized in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin –that the High Court will turn a deaf ear on any request for relief from the Ninth Circuit’s decision. It is further ordered that defendants are hereby ordered to permanently cease enforcement of those provisions of Arizona law declared unconstitutional by this order. Finally, this court declines to stay the effect of this order.”

These new states are coming online so quickly it’s hard to keep up – amazing!

Find more articles and gay wedding resource in Arizona.

Why Houston’s Pastor Subpoenas Have Nothing To Do With Religious Liberty

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Texas mapThere has been a new clash this week in the fight over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law that would protect LGBT individuals and other targeted groups from discrimination. The latest hubbub involves the city subpoenaing five pastors for their sermons, which has prompted conservatives to claim that religious liberty is under attack and that the subpoenas are a form of intimidation.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, was on Fox News last night claiming that Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) is “taking a bulldozer to that wall of separation [of church and state]” and trying to “dictate what pastors preach.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted that the subpoenas constitute a “march against our freedoms.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called the subpoenas a “grotesque abuse of power.” And Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R) wrote to the Houston City Attorney that the subpoenas should be unilaterally withdrawn because they reflect “hostility to religious beliefs.”

Assessing the veracity of these claims and the epic campaign conservatives are now launching in defense of the “Houston Five” requires an examination of how opponents are challenging HERO, what facts are material to their current lawsuit, and what exactly the city is asking for in its subpoenas of the pastors.

Authored By Zack Ford – See the Full Story at Think Progress

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Arizona AG Concedes That 9th Circuit Ruling Applies, Awaits Mandate

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Arizona Attorney General Tom HorneThings are moving along for marriage equality in Arizona. Republican Atty. Gen. Tom Horne just conceded that the recent Ninth Circuit rulings in Nevada and Idaho apply to Arizona.

AZ Central reports:

In legal documents filed Thursday, Republican Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne wrote that he believes a recent appeals-court ruling striking down similar marriage bans in other states applies to Arizona. But he asked U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick to wait to overturn the law until the appeals court issues its legal mandate. A mandate instructs courts to go forward with the opinion. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued a mandate last week within hours of ruling that marriage laws in Idaho and Nevada violated couples’ rights to equal protection under the 14th Amendment. But the court withdrew its mandate so Idaho could appeal.

Nevertheless, the ruling is expected shortly:

Sedwick could issue a ruling at any time. If he deems the law unconstitutional, Horne could then either concede and instruct county clerks to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples or appeal to the 9th Circuit.

It’s quite possible that Arizona will have marriage equality by next week, unless of course the Atty. Gen. decides to draw this whole thing out.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

New Marriage Equality Lawsuit in South Carolina

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

South Carolina MapAfter the AG indicated he would drag his feet as long as possible on marriage equality in the state, the ACLU has filed a new lawsuit.

The Washington Blade reports:

A new lawsuit seeks to compel South Carolina to comply with precedent in its judicial circuit that has established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The 15-page complaint was filed on Wednesday by the LGBT group Lambda Legal on behalf of a lesbian couple, Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley, who applied and paid for a marriage license when Charleston County allowed same-sex marriage, but were unable to marry. In a statement, Condon said she and her partner were excited about the possibility of being wed after obtaining a marriage license and disappointed when that didn’t come to pass.

These conservative states in districts affected by the US Supreme Court non-decision are like dead men walking. It’s over, but they haven’t realized it yet.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

North Carolina Judge OK’s GOP Intervention, Says It’s a Waste of Time

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

North Carolina MapThe GOP and NOM have been granted the standing to intervene in a marriage equality case in North Carolina. Joe.My.God reports:

United States District Court Judge William Osteen today ruled that the GOP/NOM legal team has the standing to appeal North Carolina’s marriage equality case… But check out this smackdown towards the end of the ruling: Notwithstanding some of the ongoing cases on a national level, this discussion is merely academic in this court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued its ruling in Bostic. As recognized by the district court in General Synod, this district court, sitting in North Carolina and the Fourth Circuit, is bound to apply that law. The parties to this case have the right to expect nothing less, whether they agree with the law or not. The issue presently before this court is solely whether to permit intervention for the purpose of preserving and taking an appeal. Although it is a very close issue, this court concludes that the motion to intervene should be granted, but only for the purpose of lodging an objection and preserving that objection to this court’s application of Bostic.

In otherwords, you’ll get your day in court, but at this point you’re just wasting everyone’s time and money.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Victory in Alaska – The 30th Marriage Equality State

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

We’re at 30 – a federal judge in Alaska just struck down the ban there.

The Washington Blade reports:

A federal judge struck down on Sunday Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage, building on the momentum for gay nuptials that followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal last week to hear court decisions on the issue. U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ruled against Alaska’s prohibition on gay nuptials on the basis that it violates the right to equal protection and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Refusing the rights and responsibilities afforded by legal marriage sends the public a government-sponsored message that same-sex couples and their familial relationships do not warrant the status, benefits, and dignity given to couples of the opposite sex,” Burgess writes. “This Court finds that Alaska’s same-sex marriage laws violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because no state interest provides ‘exceedingly persuasive justification’ for the significant infringement of rights that they inflict upon homosexual individuals.”

And so, of course, there’s a new Wikipedia map:


Another map coming soon!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alaska.

Victory in North Carolina – Asheville Judge Overturns Marriage Equality Ban

Friday, October 10th, 2014

North Carolina MapOK, here we go – the expected ruling in North Carolina has finally been handed down by a Federal judge in Asheville.

Think Progress reports:

District Judge Max Cogburn ruled in a very short decision that North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Unlike the many federal rulings that preceded Cogburn’s, he didn’t have to write much, because all he had to do was point to the Fourth Circuit’s now-binding ruling against Virginia’s ban. Still, he noted that same-sex marriage is “neither a political issue nor a moral issue,” but a “legal issue” that is now settled law. Cogburn’s ruling permanently enjoined North Carolina’s ban, and the effect of lifting Idaho’s stay was immediate, meaning marriage equality is now the law in both states.

The ruling opens the door for gay and lesbian couples to marry now in North Carolina.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Marriage Equality: What’s Going On in North Carolina

Friday, October 10th, 2014

North Carolina MapAnd in North Carolina, the march toward marriage equality in the wake of the non-decision continues. Here’s what happened yesterday.

The state’s GOP leaders hired the Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, of all people, to head up their attempt to intervene in the case. LGBTQ Nation reports:

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger filed a motion seeking to intervene in legal challenges to the state’s gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2012. They also asked for a one-week delay to file additional documents. The GOP legislators have hired California lawyer John C. Eastman, chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage. Berger spokeswoman Shelly Carver said Eastman has agreed to forgo his first $10,000 in legal fees. After that, he will be paid $400 an hour.

Seriously. I guess they couldn’t find an impartial lawyer to take the case? The state asked for an 8 day delay to prepare their case, but a judge shot the request down. Joe.My.God reports:

…the attorneys requested an extension of eight days to make their arguments against same-sex marriage. Late Thursday evening, U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen issued an order denying their request. “In light of the stage of this litigation, and the arguments and positions previously asserted by both parties to this case, this court does not find good cause to extend the time for filing a proposed Answer,” Osteen’s order read. The judge gave them until noon tomorrow to file their motion to intervene.

In the meantime, church leaders and court officials were preparing for same sex weddings. The News Observer reports:

As the legal machinations grind on, prospective spouses, church leaders and court officials are preparing for the unprecedented change in North Carolina’s legal definition of marriage that could arrive any day. There were no lines of hopeful couples at the Wake County Justice Center on Thursday, but court employees cased the lobby, planning for potentially large crowds and trying to keep TV camera crews out of the way. In the office of the register of deeds, Laura Riddick, employees prepared to modify hundreds of marriage documents by hand. The state hasn’t yet given much guidance, according to Riddick.

Gay and lesbian couples are waiting, too. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Same-sex couples in North Carolina are eagerly awaiting federal court rulings they hope will allow them to get married. Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina filed a request late Wednesday asking Chief U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. to strike down the state’s gay marriage ban.

And the Asheville City Hall flew a huge rainbow flag to celebrate the coming of marriage equality. Joe.My.God reports:

The Campaign for Southern Equality reports that gay couples are camping out at county clerk offices across North Carolina in anticipation of a ruling to enact same-sex marriage.

Expect a ruling in North Carolina SOON.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Asheville Rainbow Flag