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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 Event Location in Las Vegas, NV, USA. Our beautiful venue offers a one stop planning experience: from the start of the ceremony, vow renewal or partners for life ceremony to rooms and a indoor or outdoor reception with Hawaiian music, entertainers, bar, and amazing cuisine from Chef Juan. We can accommodate from 2-120 guests.
Gay Wedding Event Location in Las Vegas, NV, USA. Viva Las Vegas is the only gay owned and operated Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. We have been performing same sex commitment ceremonies since we opened our doors in 1999. As same sex marriage draws near to becoming legal, we are proud and excited to be the most gay friendly chapel in town.
Here’s what happened yesterday. First off, the Supreme Court admitted it had mistakenly blocked marriage equality in the state when it issued its stay for Iowa.
The Huffington Post reports:
The Supreme Court spokeswoman says Justice Anthony Kennedy mistakenly blocked the start of same-sex marriage in Nevada in an order that spawned confusion among state officials and disappointment in couples hoping to be wed. Spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said Thursday that Kennedy’s order issued a day earlier was an error that the justice corrected with a second order several hours later. By that time, however, Nevada officials had decided to hold off on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until they could be certain the legal situation was settled.
Then the group that had tried to intervene to preserve the ban dropped its challenge. SDGLN reports:
An anti-gay group that on Wednesday filed paperwork with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in Nevada’s gay-marriage case on Thursday withdrew its motions. The anti-gay Coalition for the Protection of Marriage did not give a reason for the withdrawals, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Lambda Legal, which challenged Nevada’s ban in district and appellate courts, confirmed to the newspaper that the motions were withdrawn on Thursday morning. One reason could be that the group has no legal standing in the court to defend “traditional” marriage between one man, one woman. The State of Nevada has declined to defend the ban, agreeing with both the district court and Ninth Circuit ruling that the ban is unconstitutional.
Then a Federal Judge signed an injunction to allow weddings to begin in the state. The Reno Gazette Journal reports:
The legal filing states the state and its political subdivisions cannot enforce any law that prevents “otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marrying, or denying recognition to marriages celebrated in other jurisdictions which, if the spouses were not of the same sex, would be valid under the laws of the state.”
Governor Sandoval and Attorney General Masto agreed it was a done deal. The Reno Gazette Journal reports:
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto issued joint statements on Thursday evening after a federal judge signed an injunction allowing gay marriage in Nevada. “This action brings finality to the issue of same sex marriage in Nevada,” Sandoval said. Cortez Masto said: “Based on this most recent action from the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada there are no remaining legal requirements that prevent Nevada county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.”
Then the Ninth Circuit concurred. The Reno Gazette Journal reports:
A federal appeals court has again declared that same-sex couples can get married in Nevada. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that its ruling striking down Nevada’s gay marriage ban is “in full force and effect.” The appeals court ordered a trial court judge in Las Vegas to adopt its ruling as soon as possible.
Las Vegas weding chapels are ready for the new newlyweds. Watermark reports:
Las Vegas saw this moment coming and prepared accordingly. The county’s marriage licenses went gender-neutral a couple weeks ago, just in case. The Chapel of the Flowers had its photographers practice with models to see how they might best shoot two brides in gowns. Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapels, which is gay-owned and operated, already hosts about 500 same-sex commitment ceremonies each year, said General Manager Brian Mills, who doubles as an officiant, often times in costume. In October, one of the chapel’s busiest months, he could be Dracula for one couple and the Grim Reaper the next.
And wedding licenses are now being officially issued to same sex couples in the state. On Top Magazine reports:
Nevada officials in one county have started issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, two days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down restrictive marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho.
Wedding bells are now starting to ring all across Nevada!
Nevada planned to drop its appeal of the case, meaning that the state would see same sex weddings begin almost immediately – by 2 PM yesterday. But Idaho officials had other plans for their own state. Towleroad.com reports:
“Idaho’s Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Governor Butch Otter (pictured) have filed an emergency motion to recall a 9th Circuit mandate that would lift the state’s gay marriage ban. KTVB reports: Because of the mandate, same-sex couples in Idaho won’t have to wait for the standard 7-day time span for the ruling to take effect. The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure typically provide the seven-day waiting period to give the losing side a chance to appeal. But the state of Idaho filed an emergency motion to recall that mandate, the attorney general’s office confirmed Wednesday morning. It’s unclear whether same-sex marriages will be allowed to proceed Wednesday.”
So essentially, the Ninth Circuit ordered the state to start marrying gays and lesbians, and the state said “hold on a minute”. Then Justice Kennedy stepped in. Reuters reports:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy granted a request from Idaho officials on Wednesday and temporarily blocked the planned start of gay marriages in that state after a regional federal appeals court’s ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
This is where things start to get murky. The media mistakenly reported that the order would also block weddings in Nevada:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has issued a stay on same-sex marriages in Idaho and Nevada pending any further order by Justice Kennedy or the entire court. “Lawyers for same-sex couples were told to file a response by 5 p.m. Thursday to Idaho’s request,” according to SCOTUS blog. The full order can be found here. An AP report confirmed BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner’s earlier inquiry that the stay would affect same-sex marriages in Nevada, which were also impacted by the Ninth Circuit court’s decision.
So Kennedy clarified that his order only affected Idaho, not Nevada. LGBTQ Nation reports:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has allowed same-sex marriage to begin in Nevada, clarifying that an earlier order blocking gay unions applies only to Idaho. Kennedy said in a brief order issued Wednesday afternoon that he is temporarily putting on hold same-sex marriage in Idaho, where state officials have asked for the delay. Nevada officials did not make a similar request.
Kennedy has called for a response to the stay in Idaho by 5 PM today. One couple did marry in Idaho before the stay was put in place. Towleroad.com reports:
According to The Idaho Statesman, one gay couple was able to get married in Twin Falls, Idaho before Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued his stay of the 9th Circuit’s ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada. Same-sex couples were supposed to be able to begin marrying immediately in both states following a mandate issued by the 9th Circuit.
Meanwhile, in Nevada, a group with no ties to the state (and likely no standing in the case) filed an emergency request to re-instate the stay there. Southernminn.com reports:
A group fighting to keep Nevada’s state ban on same-sex marriage wants the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a short-lived ruling that blocked weddings from taking place.Coalition for the Protection of Marriage attorney Monte Neil Stewart says he filed a request for Justice Anthony Kennedy to reinstate a stay on Wednesday afternoon.
The Ninth Circuit is giving the group its day in court, essentially, agreeing to put things on hold in Nevada until at least 5 PM today. Towleroad.com reports:
…the 9th Circuit is also considering whether to recall its mandate issued yesterday that same-sex marriages must begin in Nevada immediately following its ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The court has, however, already rescinded its mandate as it applies to Idaho. BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reports: Subsequent to the second order from Justice Anthony Kennedy, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recalled the mandate in the Idaho marriage case, per an order it filed Wednesday afternoon. Additionally, regarding the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage’s request before the 9th Circuit asking it to recall its mandate in the Nevada marriage case, the court called for responses to that request by 5 p.m. PT Thursday.
So now we wait for 5 PM.
8 News Now reports:
Clark County said it will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting at 2 p.m. Oct. 8. Originally, they had planned to start issuing them Oct. 28. Cheers and applause erupted inside The Center, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, moments after the county announced the marriage licenses would be available sooner than originally thought. The Tuesday order by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the federal court in Nevada for a final order invalidating the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Las Vegas should be a gold-mine for marriage equality, don’t you think?
The Washington Blade reports:
Just one day after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up petitions seeking to overturn rulings in favor of marriage equality, a federal appeals court struck down bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada. In a 40-page decision on Tuesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against the bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada. Writing for the court, U.S. Circuit Judge Reinhardt says judges found the law were unconstitutional by subjecting them to heightened scrutiny. “We hold that the Idaho and Nevada laws at issue violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they deny lesbians and gays who wish to marry persons of the same sex a right they afford to individuals who wish to marry persons of the opposite sex, and do not satisfy the heightened scrutiny standard we adopted in SmithKline,” Reinhardt writes. The ruling also means bans on same-sex marriage in Alaska, Arizona and Montana are expected to fall soon because those states are also in the Ninth Circuit.
Idaho may still appeal:
Now that the decision has been handed down, parties in the lawsuit that were defending the laws can let the decision stand, seek review before the full Ninth Circuit, or petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the cases. It seems unlikely the Supreme Court would want to consider the case given its denial of certiorari petitions for the circuit court decision finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. If an appeal is filed, it will come from attorney Monte Stewart, who was defending the Idaho marriage ban in court on behalf of Gov. Butch Otter (R) in addition to the ban in Nevada, where he participated in the case as an intervenor after Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) discontinued their defense of the law.
The Court sent the Nevada case back to the district court:
The court remanded Lambda Legal’s Nevada marriage equality case to the district court for the prompt issuance of an injunction permanently enjoining the state, its political subdivisions, and its officers, employees and agents, from preventing same-sex couples from marrying or denying recognition to marriages entered outside of the state. Same-sex couples will not be able to enforce their right to marry until that happens, but government officials in Nevada may allow same-sex couples to marry before then.
But Nevada is unlikely to appeal. From the Dallas Voice:
Fearing a tourism boycott from the LGBT community, officials in Nevada previously said they will not appeal a ruling on their marriage law. The state already had domestic partnerships.
So we’ll likely see couples marrying in Las Vegas within a few days or a week.
A soft-spoken attorney representing Idaho started his state’s anti-marriage equality argument by suggesting that allowing gays to marry violates the “bonding right” of children that they will be raised by their biological mothers and fathers. It took Judge Marsha Berzon just 15 seconds to ask her first question: “What is that word you’re using before ‘right'”? Judge Berzon can hear just fine; it’s just that she had never heard anyone make such a ridiculous claim before today. The rest of the hearing followed similarly.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter-appointee and liberal leader of the appellate courts, was joined by Judge Berzon, a sharp-minded progressive appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Robert Gould, another Clinton appointee, in a nearly two-hour long interrogation of attorneys from Idaho and Nevada that may not have been as bombastic as Judge Posner’s treatment of attorneys from Wisconsin and Indiana in the Seventh Circuit, a hearing which resulted in a marvelous unanimous victory (“Go figure!”), but was every bit as damaging to the forces opposed to marriage equality.
It also brought marriage equality full circle. Judge Reinhardt was the judge that wrote the first decision from a federal appellate court on marriage equality, affirming District Judge Vaughn Walker’s pioneering rejection of California’s Prop 8. We all know how that case turned out.
Equality on Trial reports:
Much discussion was made of the proper level of constitutional scrutiny which should be applied to the laws. Judge Berzon suggested that marriage equality proponents would be in trouble if the court resorted to traditional rational basis scrutiny, but all three judges entertained arguments that the Ninth Circuit’s earlier decision in SmithKline—which ruled that sexual orientation discrimination merits heightened scrutiny—requires a similar holding in these cases. Judge Berzon also expressed an interest in a possible ruling on sex discrimination grounds, which most other courts have been hesitant to do.
In short, it seems quite likely that the judges were unimpressed by [Attorney Monte] Stewart’s arguments and will invalidate the state marriage bans on heightened scrutiny. The real question at this point is whether the case will hinge only on sexual orientation discrimination claims or will instead include sex discrimination claims. Another question is whether the judges’ opinion will invalidate the laws as impermissible restrictions on same-sex couples’ fundamental right to marry, or if they will simply rely on equal protection to make their decision.
The Washington Blade points out that this case is unique, in that the Ninth Circuit has already held that laws dealing with gays and lesbians should be subject to heightened scrutiny in an earlier case:
The Ninth Circuit is uniques among other circuit that have heard marriage cases following the DOMA decision because the jurisdiction — along with the First Circuit — has precedent for subjecting laws related to sexual orientation to heightened scrutiny, or a greater assumption they’re unconstitutional. The precedent came about in June as a result of the decision in SmithKline v. Abbott, a case involving a gay juror who was excluded from deciding a case because of his sexual orientation. [Judge] Reinhardt — who also wrote the Ninth Circuit decision against California’s Proposition 8 — wrote the SmithKline decisio and was joined by Berzon. Meanwhile, Gould delivered a favorable ruling for gay people in the Ninth Circuit decision of Witt v. Air Force, which challenged “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
SDGLN says the defense used the same tired old arguments:
It was clear that Stewart had no real evidence to show the harm that is caused by gay marriage. All he could do is predict horrible things will happen if Idaho has gay marriage, such as the state will see a rise in “dad-less” or “mom-less” families. When Judge Berzon challenged him to cite evidence, Stewart fumbled through that question, citing numbers that showed that only about 58% of the state’s children came from a mom-dad family unit. Judge Gould grew weary of the “child’s bonding right” argument, and asked Stewart where that “bonding right” came from since it was not in the Bill of Rights. Stewart then admitted that he made up the phrase to collectively describe his argument that a child does best when it has a mother and a father who are married. Judge Reinholdt said if the state was so worried about marriage, shouldn’t it ban divorce? Stewart then launched into a diatribe against no-fault divorce, again veering far off the issue at hand. Judge Berzon summed it up best when she told Stewart that the “train has already left the station” on marriage being redefined, using historical milestones to rebut his argument.
If you want to watch for yourself, here’s the video stream from the court:
It’s about 2 hours and 33 minutes long.
These decisions seem to becoming faster and faster these days – hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the results of this one.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
A federal appeals court on Monday is set to consider same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled two hours of arguments Monday on whether such bans should be struck down in Idaho and Nevada. Hawaii legalized same-sex marriage in December so that appeal may be dismissed. The appeals court has previously ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the California challenge to Proposition 8, a 2008 voter approved same-sex marriage ban.
The Huffington Post has more details:
The 9th Circuit panel has allotted a combined two hours for three sets of arguments Monday. The court is expecting a big turnout and is limiting public seating in the courtroom through a lottery. The court will also stream the two hours of arguments live online. The case for gay marriage was bolstered when the court earlier this week unveiled the names of the three judges assigned to decide the issue in those three states. Judges Marsha Berzon and Ronald Gould were appointed by President Bill Clinton. And Judge Stephen Reinhardt, appointed by President Jimmy Carter, is considered one of the most politically liberal jurists on the 29-judge court. Reinhardt wrote the 2012 opinion striking down California’s gay marriage ban. He also wrote an opinion in January that declared gays and lesbians a “protected class” and extended to them the same civil right protections against discrimination that the U.S. Supreme Court has previously promised only women and racial minorities.
The live streaming link is here – the arguments start at 1 PM Pacific.
Every now and then you just have to stop for a minute, breathe, and realize what an amazing moment of time this is for LGBT rights.
Marriage Equality USA will have a Community Call tonight after the hearing, at 6 PM Pacific – sign up here.
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