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

Tuesday, 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

Tuesday, 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!

Tuesday, 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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Seriously? What Marriage Equality Opponents Are Saying

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Seriously?Here’s the the latest in our ongoing series of some of the crazy things the anti-gay marriage equality opponents are saying and doing around the world.

We’re Making Shitloads of Money off this Idaho Lie

Tony Perkins is flogging the Idaho story of a couple who own a Christian wedding chapel like his life (or more accurately, his bank accounts) depended on it:

“If homosexuals get their way, Pastor Donald Knapp won’t be behind the pulpit — he’ll be behind bars. That’s the stunning development in Idaho, where the day liberals promised would never come is already here. Two ministers — a husband and wife team — have been told by their city government that refusing to ‘marry’ a same-sex couple will send them straight to jail. FRC warned this moment was coming, but even we didn’t expect the government to move this quickly.”

Unfortunately for the religious right, the whole story turns out to be a lie:

City officials in Coeur d’Alene say they have not received any formal complaints that the Hitching Post wedding chapel has violated the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance by refusing to solemnize same-sex marriages. A lawsuit filed in federal court Friday on behalf of Don and Lynn Knapp, ordained ministers and owners of the Hitching Post, claims the couple’s constitutional rights to religious freedom are being violated by the city, through the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, because it compels them to officiate over gay marriages. The law, adopted in 2013, prohibits sexual orientation and gender identity to be used as a basis for discrimination in housing, employment and other public accommodations. News of the lawsuit sparked national headlines over the weekend, primarily from conservative media, claiming that the city is threatening to arrest the Knapps. “We have never threatened to jail them, or take legal action of any kind,” said city spokesman Keith Erickson. [snip] Gridley wrote that the city will not prosecute legitimate nonprofit religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies or other exempt organizations or anyone else as a result of their lawful exercise of their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion. When contacted by The Press for comment, Don Knapp said the Hitching Post is not operating as a not-for-profit religious corporation. He also said he does not know ADF Attorney David Cortman.

But don’t expect these guys to let the truth get in the way of a good fundraising effort.

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Christians Should Run for the Border

Pat Robertson is suggesting that Christians in states that now have marriage equality need to get the hell out:

“If I were that couple I’d get ahead of the curve. Get on an airplane and leave Idaho or get in your car and drive across the border into Montana. Get out of that state and if need be close your chapel down. Get ahead of it because this is outrageous. But I was afraid this would happen. The next thing you know it’ll be a church, a church is going to be forced to do things like that. You can see some Catholic church being forced to perform a gay marriage.”

And of course, as soon as “Christians” do run for the border under this spurious threat, Robertson and his ilk will claim that they had been driven out.

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Gay Mariage Is Destroying the US

Rush Limbaugh has launched one of his trademark diatribes against marriage equality and the left:

“Standards have deteriorated, morality is no longer allowed to be defined or used. Nobody is allowed to pass judgement on what’s obviously right or wrong. There’s no foundation, there aren’t any guardrails anymore…it’s no wonder people who are rooted in the great traditions and institutions of this country may think they are crumbling, because they’re routinely assaulted – they, the people, and the institutions.”

Or maybe what you so narrowly define as “right and wrong” was based on a lie in the first place… that gay people choose to be that way and so are inherently sinful?

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Gay Marriage is a Pestilence of Gay Gremlins

That’s what Anthony Culler, Republican candidate for South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District, apparently thinks of the gays and marriage equality:

“Same-sex “marriage” is a pestilence that has descended on our society, against our will, by those in the courts and government that do not value the traditional family… Same-sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are NOT cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life.””

Let me set you straight here. Gay people are not gremlins. They are people – your neighbors, teachers, doctors, and yes, constituents – people who just want to live a normal life with the person they love. Allowing them to marry changes exactly nothing for you or your “way of life”.

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Marriage Equality Round-Up October 21st

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Gay Wedding - RingsHere’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!

Worldwide: Despite a report a change in policy, Facebook appears to still be walking out the pages of some drag queens. full story

Chile: Several thousand marched through the streets of Santiago Saturday to demand marriage equality. full story

UK: Ugandan LGBT exiles greeted Pres. Museveni with a protest during his visit to the country. full story

USA: Some evangelicals in the US are tying creationism to opposition to marriage equality. full story

USA, Alabama: The state’s Atty. Gen. is asking for summary judgment upholding the marriage equality ban. full story

USA, Arkansas: A federal judge set a hearing on the state’s marriage equality lawsuit for November 20th. full story

USA, Kansas: A federal court will hear the ACLU’s demand for the immediate lifting of the marriage equality ban in the state on Friday. full story

USA, Mississippi: Roberta Kaplan, lead counsel in U.S. v. Windsor, will also lead the Mississippi marriage equality case. full story

USA, Montana: A hearing date has been set for November 20 for the state’s marriage equality lawsuit. full story

USA, North Carolina: The North Carolina Values Coalition Is telling the states registers of deeds that they can refuse to perform weddings for same-sex couples. full story

USA, Washington DC: Transgender military personnel from 18 countries gathered to discuss overturning the US’s ban on transgender military service. full story

Seriously? What Marriage Equality Opponents Are Saying

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Seriously?Here’s the the latest in our ongoing series of some of the crazy things the anti-gay marriage equality opponents are saying and doing around the world.

It’s a Secular Inquisition

Columnist Robert Tracinski’s hair is on fire over a case out of Idaho where a wedding chapel is being told they must cater to everyone:

So it’s official: a new religious orthodoxy is sweeping across the nation, imposed by government and backed by force. It’s a religious orthodoxy required by secular authorities for a secular purpose, but no matter. Heretics will be found out and forced to recant. No one ever expects the Secular Inquisition. Except that we actually did expect it. In fact, it’s inherent in the fundamental basis of the left’s arguments for gay marriage. I’m speaking here of the argument for gay marriage. It may be hard to remember now, but not very long ago there were compromise proposals for same-sex “civil unions” that were legally equivalent to marriage but under a different name. Gay rights activists consciously rejected these unions in order to specifically demand the use of the term “marriage,” insisting that the state legally recognize and enforce the equality of these marriages with old-fashioned, outmoded heterosexual ones.

First off, I’m inherently suspicious of these claims that the couple will go to jail – I’ve only seen these on conservative sites. Remember, too, that right now it’s the couple that’s suing the city, not the other way around.

I also want to set the record straight on something. Civil Unions were not offered by loving, well-meaning Christians and then rejected by gays. They were, in fact, the only way we could get our rights at all at one point in this country, and were bitterly fought for. These so-called “Christians” were on the front lines, fighting against them. They only started offering them as an alternative to marriage equality once it became apparent they were losing the fight, and then only as a way to forestall the inevitable. So let’s not rewrite history.

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Gays and Gay Marriage Supporters Will be Judged by God

Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman A.J. LaFaro says God will have the final word on marriage equality:

“The Republican Party, and its Platform, is very clear about being against same sex marriage. Individuals that believe and engage in same-sex marriage will ultimately be judged by God, not the U.S. Courts.”

So will the bigots.

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Mandatory Gay Brain-Washing

The AFA, meanwhile, ran a news report on two “Christian” owned businesses facing difficulties for turning away same sex couples, under the headline:

“Two more Christian business owners face fines, mandatory gay brain-washing”

Let’s state this slowly and clearly so they will understand. No one, and I repeat no one is telling these business owners what they should think. They are free to be anti gay or pro traditional marriage in their minds, and in their speech, as loudly and as often as they desire. But when you open a FOR PROFIT business, you have to treat everyone equally. Everyone. If you want to provide these services out of the goodness of your Christian hearts, by all means, pick and choose your beneficiaries. But a public business must be open to all of the public.

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They’re Performing a Political Genocide Against Christians

Mike Huckabee is jumping on the bandwagon in the Houston HERO case:

“The Houston case reminds us how rapidly our country is being taken over by intolerant despots who will unleash a form of political genocide against Christians who still cling to their Bibles and refuse to bow their knee to the false gods of hate and religious bigotry. The Houston mayor and her ilk, like mayors in Chicago and Boston who tried to prevent businesses opening in their city because the business owners were bible believing Christians, well she needs to apologize and start respecting all citizens – or at least have the integrity to resign. They shouldn’t expect taxpayers to fund hate-filled, gestapo-like tactics to openly attempt ot shut down the free exercise of religion and attempt to establish a religion of godless secularism. “

Once again, it is “Christians” who have brought this lawsuit. This is not a case of the city going after Pastors – instead, the city is defending itself against a lawsuit brought by “CHRISTIANS” to try to take away the rights of the city’s LGBT community. A little perspective here, please.

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Marriage Equality Round-Up 10/20/14

Monday, October 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!

India: Indian actor Aamir Khan’s hit talk show Satyamev Jayate discussed “alternative sexualities,” and many viewers said the program changed their perception of LGBTI people. full story

Russia: A homophobic Russian politician has declared the stamps produced to commemorate gay artist Tom of Finland as gay “propaganda” and should be refused by the Russian Post Office. full story

South Korea: Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is back-tracking on comments he made in support of gay marriage to foreign media after a backlash at home. full story

UK: A gay couple was told to stop kissing or get off a bus by the driver. full story

USA: Freedom to Marry has a new marriage equality map. full story

Freedom to Marry map

USA: Singer Lance Bass and his partner Michael Turchin will tie the knot on December 20th. full story

USA: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reaffirmed her earlier statement that there’s no need for the Supreme Court to step in on marriage equality until one of the district courts disagrees. full story

USA, Arizona: Openly gay actor George Takei cheered a ruling striking down his home state’s ban on marriage equality. full story

USA, Arizona: In a stunning turnaround, Attorney General Tom Horne now says the case against marriage equality is on such weak legal grounds that he would violate his ethical duties as an attorney if he pursued it any further. full story

USA, Illinois: A hearing is set for Tuesday in a lawsuit alleging anti-gay bias at Exxon Mobil. full story

USA, Louisiana: Lambda Legal is urging the Fifth Circuit to strike down a Federal Judge’s ruling upholding the state’s marriage equality ban. full story

USA, New Mexico: A former University of New Mexico student is claiming that she was shunned by school officials for making anti-gay remarks in a class paper, and is suing the school. full story

USA, Washington DC: A Russian gay couple has traveled more than 4,000 miles to be able to say their vows legally in DC. full story

USA, Wyoming: Will today be the day that Governor Mead officially notifies the Federal judge that he will not appeal the marriage equality decision? full story

Vatican: After plans to welcome gays into the Catholic Church were scrapped by conservative anti-gay Bishops, Pope Francis has told them “God is not afraid of new things.” full story

Matt Baume’s Marriage News Watch: Three More States Just Won Marriage Equality

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Matt BaumeWe just picked up more states with the freedom to marry, and the number could continue increasing over the course of this week.

But in several states, officials are blocking the start of marriage despite courts ruling against their bans.

We’ll have the details on how couples are fighting back.

Plus, more bad news for the National Organization for Marriage. This time it’s a ruling in Virginia that means they’ll lose out on over half a million dollars.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at Marriage News Watch

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75% of Young Catholics in the US Support Marriage Equality

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

titleIn the wake of a conservative Bishop revolt over even saying one nice thing about gays and lesbians, there’s a new poll out.

Pink News reports:

A poll has found that young Catholics in the US overwhelmingly approve of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, despite the Church’s teachings. The Pew Research Centre research, conducted earlier this year, found that 85 percent of Catholics aged 18-29 approve of homosexuality, while 75 percent support equal marriage. A majority of every single age group accepted homosexuality, with the lowest support among over-65s – 57 percent of whom still approve of it.

How long until some of these youth get into Church leadership and start changing minds?

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Marriage Equality Round-Up October 19th

Sunday, October 19th, 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!

Philippines: The transgender community in the Philippines held a press conference to call for justice in the Jennifer Laude case. full story

USA, Arizona: David Larance, 36, and Kevin Patterson, 31, are believed to be the first gay couple to marry in Arizona. full story

USA, Idaho: An anti-gay wedding chapel is suing the city of Coeur d’Alene to again make it legal to discriminate against LGBT Americans. full story

USA, Kansas: Governor Brownback joined a rally in Wichita on Saturday in opposition to gay marriage. full story

USA, Nevada: Several Las Vegas wedding chapels say they will not marry same sex couples. full story

USA, North Carolina: A Charlotte Unitarian Universalist Church will celebrate the arrival of marriage equality at their Sunday morning services today with special music from the Charlotte Pride Band. full story

Vatican: It’s official – in the final report of a synod on the family which exposed deep divides in church hierarchy, there is no mention of the “gifts and qualities” gay people can offer. full story