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Baja California Official Stops Same Sex Wedding

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Baja California - Apple MapsLast week, the Mexican Supreme Court cleared the way for a same-sex couple in Baja California to get married. But yesterday, a local official did everything she could to block the wedding.

SDGLN reports:

Outside the Mexicali City Hall, anti-gay protesters prayed and shouted slurs… A judge stood by to marry the couple, and a local television station began a livestream broadcast of the historical moment. The small room at City Hall was crowded with the media along with family and friends of the couple. The mood was upbeat.

But then Rosa Maria Real, who is charged with officiating marriages with the Mexicali government, showed up to stop everything in its tracks. She told everyone: “I know nothing” about a marriage today, according to a tweet by Sandra Dibble @sandradibble, who covers Baja California news for U-T San Diego. Nevermind that their names were listed in the Civil Registry, El Mexicano reported. Her remarks sparked screams of protest.

The couple’s attorney, Jose Luis Marques Saavedra, objected and eventually got on a phone with federal officials seeking to hold the government of Mexicali in contempt of the Supreme Court. Then there was a bomb threat. The bridegrooms, family and friends refused to evacuate the room, considering it a hoax. Eventually, everyone was cleared out of the room and the wedding ceremony was not conducted. Local media reported that the wedding party planned to return at 2 pm today to see if the legal mess could be resolved by that time.

But even after all this, she still wasn’t done. She then claimed that the signature of a witness did not match one another documents. Then she said she found inconsistencies on the birth certificates of both men, and other things that concerned her. It’s a transparent attempt to block this legal wedding, and it’s disgusting.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Mexico.

Image via Apple Maps

Marriage Equality Round-Up – November 22nd

Saturday, November 22nd, 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!

China: The landmark gay conversion case in China appears to have stalled, as the court hearing the case has missed a deadline. full story

Ireland: Singer Danny O’Donoghue, of the band The Script, has come out in support of the marriage quality referendum in Ireland. full story

Russia: The parents of Matthew Shepard are going to Russia to try to change hearts and minds, as they share their story and talk with parents of LGBT youth. full story

USA: The Human Rights Campaign has a list of 10 things you should know about the Concerned Women for America. full story

USA: More than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking TLC to dump the show “19 Kids and Counting” after recent anti-gay statements made by members of the family. full story

USA: Transgender actor Kingston Farady, star of the new short film Black is Blue, talks about his powerful journey of love and hate. full story

USA: The National Organization for Marriage has vowed to stop marriage equality, even if it takes 100 years. full story

USA: Gays and lesbians who live in non-marriage equality states are receiving letters from the Social Security Administration denying and death benefits for their spouses. full story

USA, Arkansas: No immediate decisions were made in marriage equality cases before a federal court and the state Supreme Court. full story

USA, Arkansas: Michelle Dugger has in making Robo calls against the proposed ordinance that would allow transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender. full story

USA, Florida: Two Florida counties voted to support marriage equality this last week – Alachua County and Palm Beach County. full story

USA, Florida: the anti-gay Liberty Counsel has filed an amicus brief against marriage equality at the 11th circuit. full story

USA, Idaho: At her father’s direction, a transgender woman was presented as a man at her funeral. full story

USA, Maryland:A member of GOP governor elect Larry Hogan’s transition team once compared gays to pedophiles and serial killers. full story

USA, Michigan: Archbishop Allen Vigneron banned a Catholic LGBT rights group from using a Detroit parish for a meeting with a pro-gay-rights speaker. full story

USA, Mississippi: The state Supreme Court will hear a same-sex divorce case on January 21st. full story

Marriage Equality Round-Up – November 21st

Friday, November 21st, 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!

South Korea: A Seoul city meeting on a proposed LGBT rights ordinance was postponed after more than 200 Christian protesters stormed City Hall. full story

Taiwan: The country’s Ministry of Justice says it is not yet the right time to legalize marriage equality. full story

Uganda: A Ugandan lawmaker wants the new anti-gay law to be passed swiftly, as a “Christmas gift” to the nation. full story

USA: Think Progress has a new marriage equality map. full story

Think Progress Marriage Equality Map

USA: The Dallas Voice has a new marriage equality map. full story

Dallas Voice Marriage Equality Map

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

Wikipedia Marriage Equality Map

USA: Actor Sean Hayes has married his longtime partner, music producer Scott Icenogle. full story

USA, Alaska: The Ninth Circuit has declined to give the state an en banc review of the marriage equality case. full story

USA, Arkansas: The state Supreme Court held a hearing on marriage equality yesterday. full story

USA, Idaho: Like anti-gay politicians elsewhere, Gov. Butch Otter is latching onto the Sixth Circuit decision against marriage equality in an attempt to get his own states case reviewed once again. full story

USA, Kansas: Although marriage equality, some state agencies are not recognizing the new marriages of same-sex couples. full story

USA, Kansas: The ACLU plans to sue the state to force it to recognize the new marriages. full story

USA, Louisiana: LGBT rights advocates have appealed the Louisiana marriage equality decision directly to the US Supreme Court, bypassing a federal appeals court. full story

USA, Louisiana / Texas:The Fifth Circuit’s has finally scheduled arguments on marriage equality cases from Texas and Louisiana For January 9th. full story

USA, Montana: Yellowstone County is allowing some clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of the clerks’ religious beliefs. full story

USA, New York: Rikers Island prison is opening a special unit for transgender inmates. full story

USA, North Carolina: A total of 16 magistrates have now quit in the state over marriage equality. full story

USA, North Carolina: A lesbian couple in Canton discovered they were victims of homophobic slur on Google Maps. full story

USA, South Carolina: State agencies began recognizing same-sex marriages on Thursday. full story

USA, West Virginia: Students at Winfield High School in Putnam County when their fight to establish a Gay-Straight Alliance. full story

Vatican: The Vatican is strengthening ties with evangelicals and Mormons against marriage equality. full story

South Carolina Supreme Court Lifts Marriage Equality Stay Early

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

UPDATE 7:20 AM: The US Supreme Court just turned the state away.

The Washington Blade reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t stop same-sex marriages from taking place in South Carolina following a decision against the state’s ban on gay nuptials. A one-page order from the court on Thursday indicates the stay request from state officials to block same-sex marriages and presented to U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts was referred to the entire court and denied. However, the order notes U.S. Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have granted the stay.


South Carolina MapThings are moving along on the marriage equality front in South Carolina too. The state Supreme Court lifted the stay on the recent ruling early.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The South Carolina Supreme Court has lifted an injunction that prohibited the state’s probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The order comes following a ruling on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs in Columbia in favor of Highway Patrol Trooper Katherine Bradacs and U.S. Air Force retiree Tracie Goodwin, who sued to have the state to recognize their marriage performed in Washington, D.C. Childs ruled the state’s failure to recognize their marriage was unconstitutional.

At least six couples in Charleston immediately received marriage licenses.

On Top Magazine reports:

At least six gay couples received marriage licenses Wednesday in South Carolina. According to multiple local sources, Probate Judge Irvin Condon in Charleston issued the licenses. Within hours, Kristin Anderson and Kayla Bennett exchanged vows, making them the first gay couple to legally marry in the state. The women, together 4 years, wed in front of the Charleston County Courthouse in a ceremony officiated by Tobin Williamson.

Atty. Gen. Alan Wilson is still pinning his hopes on the US Supreme Court.

Fits News reports:

South Carolina is the only state in the fourth circuit blocking gay marriages. Its lawyers argue that conflicting lower court rulings (the sixth circuit court of appeals has upheld the right of states to ban gay marriage) necessitate the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court. For his part, Wilson has said he’s just doing his job as the state’s top lawyer – but in the process he’s become a hero of the religious right. “Alan Wilson isn’t simply going through the motions,” said Oran Smith of the Palmetto Family Council – a group which opposes gay marriage. “He and his lawyers are crafting new strategies.”

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

Marriage Equality Comes to Montana

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

MontanaA federal judge struck down the ban on marriage equality in Montana yesterday.

The Washington Blade reports:

In an 18-page decision, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, struck down the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage on the basis of an earlier decision in favor of marriage equality by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Montana. “No family wants to deprive its precious children of the chance to marry the loves of their lives,” Morris writes. “Montana no longer can deprive Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples of the chance to marry their loves.” Applying heightened scrutiny, or a greater assumption a law is unconstitutional, to Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage, Morris writes that state officials defending the marriage ban in court failed under that standard “to justify the discrimination engendered by the Montana laws that ban same-sex marriage.

No stay was issued on the ruling, so same-sex couples immediately started seeking marriage licenses.

The Charlotte Observer reports:

Gay couples were expected to line up for marriage licenses Thursday at county courthouses across Montana after a federal judge tossed out the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. At least two counties — Missoula and Park — started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples Wednesday, while court clerks elsewhere geared up to do so Thursday.

Among the first Montana couples to get their licenses on Wednesday were Amy Wagner, 56, and Karen Langebeck, 48, of Livingston, who have been together for 22 years. After hearing about the ruling at 2 p.m. MST, they got on the road to get their license. “Being able to get married and introduce Karen as my wife — that’s a big deal. Now I have a way to describe this relationship that everybody understands,” Wagner said.

Friend of the blog Matt Baume has compiled some of the best quotes from the decision, including:

Antigay attorneys love to rely on the Baker case, in which a 1972 dismissal from the U.S. Supreme Court stated that marriage equality wasn’t a federal issue. That was 42 years ago, and a lot has changed since then. Nevertheless, state attorneys keep bringing it up to try to persuade courts that they shouldn’t weigh in; and courts keep shooting that argument down. “Baker no longer precludes consideration of challenges to the constitutionality of laws that prohibit same-sex marriage,” Judge Morris wrote.

Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, is thrilled with the decision.

Joe.My.God reports:

“Today’s decision ensures we are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity, and equality for all Montanans. It is a day to celebrate our progress, while recognizing the qualities that bind us as Montanans: a desire to make a good life for ourselves and our families, while providing greater opportunities to the next generation. I have instructed my administration to quickly take all appropriate steps to ensure that we are recognizing and affording the same rights and responsibilities to legally married same-sex couples that all married Montanans have long enjoyed.”

But the Montana Family Foundation is not.

Joe.My.God reports:

“I am heartbroken for the people of Montana who have had the redefinition of marriage forced on them by an out-of-control federal judiciary. I am also grieved for the children of same-sex couples who have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. While we mourn the direction of a misguided judiciary, we’re encouraged by the fact that natural marriage was enshrined in 31 state Constitutions, and a recent Pew poll showed that support for same-sex marriage has dropped by 5% in the past 3 months. While the courts believe same-sex marriage is a settled issue, it’s anything but settled in the hearts and minds of the people. While we’re disappointed in the decision, we will not despair, we will not throw in the towel and we will not give up. As Cicero once said, ‘Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature.'”

Republican Atty. Gen. Tim Fox has already vowed to appeal the ruling.

Joe.My.God reports:

“It is the attorney general’s sworn duty to uphold and defend Montana’s constitution until such time as there is no further review or no appeal can be made in a court of law. Fulfilling that duty, the state of Montana will appeal this ruling in light of the fact that there are conflicting federal court decisions and no final word from the U.S. Supreme Court.”

All we can say is “good luck with that.”

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Montana.

Marriage Equality Round-Up – November 20th

Thursday, November 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!

MyDoorSign-300x240International:MyDoorSign.com will expand its all-gender toilet sign donations to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom. full story

International: LGBT weekly profiles the work that the Alliance Defending Freedom is doing to promote anti-gay “sodomy” laws around the world. full story

Australia: Liberal MP Don Harwin, Senior politician, just came out as gay. full story

China: A rural gay couple who overcame gossip, exorcists, and arrange marriage is profiled. full story

France: Former President Sarkozy has been condemned by some of his key allies for saying he would try to repeal the marriage equality law. full story

Gambia: Amnesty International calls the crackdown on the LGBT community in the country unacceptable. full story

Jamaica: As LGBT activists push for their rights in the country, the Jamaica Observer has been publishing homophobic articles. full story

UK, England/Wales: Pink News has a great Q&A on converting your civil partnership to marriage. full story

USA: The Human Rights Campaign says that the National Organization for Marriage’s funding dropped by more than 50% in 2013. full story

USA: A group of pastors has signed a pledge that they will no longer sign marriage licenses for anyone because of their disagreement with marriage equality. full story

USA: The latest Wikipedia marriage equality map shows a solid block of Western states, now that Montana has joined the club. full story

Wikipedia Map

USA: Many Americans still disapprove of public displays of affection by gays and lesbians, a new poll says full story

USA, Alaska: The state has spent more than $100,000 defending its marriage equality ban in court. full story

USA, Arkansas: The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the marriage equality lawsuit today. full story

USA, Arkansas: Josh Dugger, the oldest child of the “19 Kids and Counting” TV family, led an anti-gay marriage rally in Little Rock yesterday. full story

USA: Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the NBA, has announced his retirement. full story

USA: Freedom to Marry campaign director Marc Solomon says the group will disband once its work is done. full story

USA, California: A Bay Area photographer has decided to stop photographing weddings altogether after turning away a same-sex couple. full story

USA, Florida: Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi is asking for an extension of the stay on a marriage equality ruling past the current January 5th date. full story

USA, Missouri: A Springfield school district will begin granting benefits to married same-sex couples next month. full story

USA, Ohio: LGBT activists are pushing for a statewide non-discrimination law. full story

USA, Texas: The gay couple booted out of Big Earl’s Restaurant in Texas got the last laugh yesterday. full story

Vatican: A series of anti-gay clips being shown at the Vatican “family” conference this week were filmed by discredited researcher Mark Regnerus. full story

South Carolina Marriage Equality Update

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

South Carolina MapThings are moving quickly in South Carolina. Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit declined to issue a stay on same sex weddings, which were slated to begin today.

Equality on Trial reports:

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has just denied South Carolina’s request for a stay of same-sex marriages pending their appeal of the district court decision striking down the ban. The request was made days ago, along with a request for a more temporary stay so that state officials could ask the Supreme Court for relief. The order notes that both the stay pending appeal and the temporary stay are denied.

Attorney General Alan Wilson then filed a “demand” to the US Supreme Curt to step in and block the impending weddings.

On Top Magazine reports:

South Carolina on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to stay a ruling striking down the state’s ban on gay marriage as it pursues an appeal. Within hours, Wilson filed a similar request with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who oversees federal courts in South Carolina. Wilson explained in a statement that the state continues “to believe the doctrine of federalism and the Tenth Amendment should allow South Carolina’s unique laws to be considered at the highest appropriate court of appeal.”

In the meantime, a judge has issued the first marriage licenses to same sex couples in the state.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A judge has issued the first same-sex marriage licenses in South Carolina, ahead of a planned move by the state’s attorney general to block such unions. South-CarolinaEarly Wednesday, the office of Probate Judge Irvin Condon in Charleston said that he had issued six licenses to same-sex couples. The judge’s attorney, John Nichols, says the way was cleared for issuing the licenses by a decision in a case in Columbia. On Tuesday, the judge in that case ruled that South Carolina must recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple performed in Washington, D.C.

So by my count, we have three more states that are in the middle of the process of legalizing same sex marriage, where couples can get married in some counties but not others – Kansas, Missouri and South Carolina, and at least one more where a decision is imminent – Mississippi. All in the bible belt or Deep South. Amazing.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

Marriage Equality Round-Up – November 19th

Wednesday, November 19th, 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!

International: International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach Is recommending that the group add sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in the Olympic Charter. full story

Iraq: A new report says LGBT Iraqis are under threat of imminent death in areas under ISIS control. full story

Ireland: Irish comedian Dara O’Briain has come out in support of the upcoming marriage equality referendum. full story

Qatar: Despite its anti-gay laws, Qatar has been granted the 2019 World Athletics Championships. full story

Russia: A married gay couple from Russia is applying for asylum in the US. full story

UK, England/Wales: The House Of Lords has approved the regulations for converting civil partnerships to marriages. full story

USA: Joe.My.God has the latest Wikipedia marriage equality map, showing the uncertainty in Kansas and Missouri. full story

Wikipedia map

USA: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is unlikely to be passed during this lame-duck session, congressional sources say. full story

USA: All four states in the Sixth Circuit have now had their marriage equality cases appealed to the US Supreme Court, likely in time to be decided by June if the court takes up any of the cases. full story

USA: Several organizations have launched the “LGBT Health Care Bill of Rights”. full story

USA: The portrayal of transgender characters on television is improving, according to a new report from GLAAD. full story

USA: Procter & Gamble has come out in favor of marriage equality. full story

USA: According to the Human Rights Campaign, the National Organization for Marriage is late on its 2013 donor reporting. full story

USA, Arkansas: Both the state Supreme Court and a federal judge will hear arguments in marriage equality cases in Arkansas this week. full story

USA, Florida: The anti-gay Family Research Council is planning a rally in Little Rock against marriage equality today. full story

USA, Florida: Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said during an interview Monday that she is “proud” of her transgender son. full story

USA, Florida: A gay couple in Florida is fighting the state’s attempts to take away their drivers licenses because they legally changed their names after getting married out of state. full story

USA: The Alachua County Commission has joined the city of Gainesville and other local governments in signing a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of marriage equality. full story

USA, Kansas: As of today, with marriage quality supposedly legal in the state, only 19 counties are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. full story

USA, Kansas: The Wichita Eagle has some photos of the mass same-sex wedding ceremony in the city on Monday. full story

USA, Kansas: The state Supreme Court lifted the stay on same-sex weddings in Johnson County, but is not yet ruled on the issue overall. full story

USA, Louisiana: Lambda Legal is joining the appeal of the Louisiana marriage equality case to the Fifth Circuit. full story

USA, Mississippi: Equality on Trial has the transcript from the Mississippi marriage equality hearing. full story

USA, Mississippi: Gov. Phil Bryant has vowed to appeal the forthcoming marriage quality ruling if it strikes down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. full story

USA, Oklahoma: Former ex-gay leader John Smid just married his same-sex partner. full story

USA, Oklahoma: The state has now had its first same-sex divorce, a couple who married several years ago out of state. full story

USA, Texas: Freedom to Marry is launching a new statewide marriage equality campaign in Texas. full story

Vatican: Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in eastern San Diego County, called gay marriage “clearly demonic” at a Vatican meeting this week. full story

Vatican: Pope Francis made some fuzzy statements on marriage and the family that were taken as positive by both sides of the marriage equality debate. full story

UK: New Poll Shows Conservative Opposition to Marriage Equality Dropping

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

titleA new YouGov poll shows that only a bare majority of the country’s most conservative voters now oppose marriage equality.

Pink News reports:

A YouGov survey into the views of supporters of political parties uncovered data suggesting that people who vote for UKIP are increasingly at odds with some of the party’s right-wing members. The data found that just 51 percent of the party’s supporters remain opposed to equal marriage – with 39 percent now in favour. Same-sex marriage has the support of the majority in all other parties, however, with 77 percent of Lib Dems, 68 percent of Labour voters and 53 percent of Conservatives in favour. Marriage equality is opposed by 35 percent of Tories, 21 percent of Labour supporters, and just 14 percent of Liberal Democrats.

Marriage equality came to England and Wales, and the sky didn’t fall. That tends to take a lot of the wind out of the opposition’s sails.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

Will Marriage Equality Arrive in South Carolina Thursday?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

South Carolina MapThe stay on a marriage equality ruling in South Carolina is due to expire on Thursday.

Joe.My.God reports:

Late last night the plaintiffs in that case filed a motion in opposition to state Attorney General Alan Wilson’s demand that the stay be continued while he flails about with appeals. Via the Post & Courier: “Currently 34 states permit same-sex couples to marry, or recognize marriages legally celebrated by same-sex couples in other states. If history is any indicator, the State’s claim of potential harm here is overstated, if not completely contrived,” the new filings says. Malissa Burnette, lead attorney in Condon’s case, has said she feels very optimistic the Fourth Circuit will uphold Gergel’s ruling. It is the same court that struck down Virginia’s constitutional gay marriage ban and was among those that triggered the recent cascade of legalized same-sex marriage across the nation.

All the motions and responses have now been filed with the Fourth Circuit.

Greenville Online reports:

The motion and response are in from the two sides of the gay marriage debate in South Carolina. Now it’s up to the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to decide whether to grant a stay – and stop marriages for same sex couples due to begin at noon on Thursday – as the state has asked.

The Atty. Gen. is latching onto the Sixth Circuit ruling against marriage equality, claiming that it means the US Supreme Court will have to weigh-in before the state is forced to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.