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Kim Davis – Let me show you what persecution looks like

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

KimDavisABClargeON US TV today (Sept. 22), the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to ANY couple because she didn’t believe in same sex marriage has said what hurts her most about how she has been treated since she defied the Supreme Court ruling on marriage in June – being called ‘a hypocrite’.

Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky, has been jailed, received a ‘Religious Liberty’ award for fighting ‘legal tyranny’, been called ‘the bravest woman in America‘ and compared to Abraham Lincoln by her lawyer. She has also been called a martyr and a victim of anti-Christian persecutionShe even admitted denying marriage licences to friends, and receiving death threats.

All because she believes in her Christian duty to break the oath she took as a US Government official to uphold the law, in a country whose constitution explicitly forbids the primacy of any religion. The First Amendment clearly states that the US government cannot make any law ‘respecting an establishment of religion.’ In the words of the Supreme Court, this generally means that the government can’t “pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another,” or otherwise become entangled in religious affairs.

Click to continue »

Breaking News: US Supreme Court Issues Historic Marriage Equality Ruling

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Freedom to Marry - Marriage Equality

Today, on the anniversaries of the Windsor and Lawrence V. Texas rulings that advanced LGBT equality, the US Supreme Court issued its long expected ruling on marriage equality.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court found that sexual orientation is covered under the 14th amendment. Justice Kennedy was the swing vote, as many expected.

The ruling means that marriage equality is basically legal immediately in all 50 states, including the 13 stragglers. While there will inevitably be some foot dragging in some states, the fight is basically over.

Marriage equality events will be held across the country today to celebrate. Our partner Marriage Equality USA has a list:

http://www.marriageequality.org/scotus_decision_day_events

wedding dayMark and I stood together at the top of the stairs on city hall to get married on March 11th, 2005, only to see the state Supreme Court wipe away our marriage.

We married again on November 1st, 2008, just three days before the passage of Prop 8. This time, things were different – it was the anti-gay law that was wiped away, not our marriage.

Now couples like us in every state in the nation now have the freedom to marry.

It’s a beautiful day.

Anti-LGBT Bills Become Law in Michigan, North Carolina

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Two states enshrined anti-LGBT discrimination into law yesterday, legalizing dangerously broad “religious freedom” aka right to discriminate laws.

The first one was North Carolina, where the House rushed through a veto override with no time for discussion. The Washington Blade reports:

North Carolina Map

The North Carolina legislature has succeeded in overriding Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of controversial legislation that would enable magistrates to opt out of performing marriages to which they have religious objection, including a same-sex union. The override succeeded in the House on Thursday by a vote of 69-41, which is three votes more than the three-fifths vote needed for the legislative maneuver. The Senate already succeeded in overriding the veto last week by a vote of 32-16. The legislation, Senate Bill 2, would enable magistrates and registers of deeds to opt out of issuing marriage licenses for a period of at least six months to same-sex couples — or any couple — based on a religious objection.

Up north in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder wasted no time signing his own state’s bills. The Washington Blade reports:

Michigan

“Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law on late Thursday morning a package of religious freedom bills seen to enable anti-LGBT legislation in the state’s adoption agencies. Snyder announced he had signed the legislation — House Bills 4188, 4189, 4190 — just one day after the Michigan Senate approved the bills. The Michigan House already passed the bills in March. In a statement, Snyder said he signed the legislation as a means to ensure children without homes in Michigan have access to families to care for them. The new laws are set to go into effect in 90 days.”

Let’s be clear that the laws in both states allow someone to refuse service to anyone, not just gays and lesbians, based on their own personal religious beliefs.

Marriage Equality Round-Up – Supreme Court Hearing

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

The US Supreme Court held hearings on marriage equality cases from four states yesterday. Here’s our round-up of what happened, how we got here, and what people are saying about it.

Background:

Record Number of Briefs: This week’s same-sex-marriage cases at the Supreme Court brought in a record number of friend-of-the-court briefs — 148 of them, according to the court, beating the previous record of 136 in the 2013 Obamacare case. full story

Ginsburg’s Role: MSNBC looks at how Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped pave the way for marriage equality. full story

Ohio Plaintiff Speaks Out: The Advocate has the video from Jim Obergefell, one of the plaintiffs who lost his husband after they married. full story

Americans Split on Ruling: Americans are evenly split on whether the Supreme Court should rule that same-sex marriage must be legal nationwide, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. full story

Outside the Court

Nine Signs Show Love is Winning: ThinkProgress was on hand to document the spectacle, including the many signs on display. full story

Nine Signs

More Photos from Outside: Joe.My.God has more photos from outside the Court and around the country, taken by Father Tony. full story

Photo by Father Tony

Even More Photos: Towleroad.com collected a bunch of photos from outside the Courthouse off of Twitter feeds. full story

Elizabeth Warren

Gay Men’s Chorus Sings: Adding to the circus-like atmosphere a Gay Men’s Chorus showed up to serenade the crowd. Hiot the link for the video. full story

GOP Senator Joins Marriage Equality Rally: Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) joined the rally yesterday, publically throwing his support behind marriage equality. full story

Same Sex Couples Take on Haters: If same-sex couples were stuck in an elevator with Justice Scalia, here is what they’d say to him. full story

Opponents Outside Ranted Non-Stop: Joe.My.God collects some of the videos of marriage equality opponents outside the Court. full story

Kochs fund Group Protesting at Court: Concerned Women for America, an organization that hosted an anti-gay marriage rally outside the Supreme Court this morning, has received the great majority of its funding in recent years from Freedom Partners, the “secret bank” of Charles and David Koch. full story

What the Protesters Said: A massive crowd appeared on the steps of the Supreme Court for Tuesday’s historic oral arguments over nationwide same-sex marriage. Here’s what some of them had to say. full story

The Hearing

What Happened Inside: The Advocate has a great rundown of what happened behind the closed doors of the Court today. full story

What Happened Inside II: SDGLN also has a run-down of the hearings. full story

Quotes from the Hearing: US News and World Report has gathered a bunch of quotes from the hearing. full story=

Protester Disrupts Hearing: An anti-gay protester interrupted the start of the U.S. Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality today, shouting “Homosexuality is an abomination!” full story

protester

Scalia Loves Lopez: @briantashman says that Scalia loved the brief from four children of same sex marriage opposing marriage equality. full story

Kennedy’s Telling Statements: Erin Fuchs looks art two telling statements Justice Kennedy made, one about how the current definition of marriage has been with us for millennia, and the other about affording dignity to same sex couples. full story

Surprising Questions from Roberts, Scalia: Erin Fuchs also looks at some of the tough questions two of the Courts’ conservatives had for opponents of marriage equality. full story

Ginsburg Takes Down Millennium Argument: During the hearing, Justice Ginsburg tackled the idea that because something has been around for so long, it should never be changed. full story

You Can’t “Un-Marry” Us: States would never try to ‘unmarry’ couples past childbearing age — so they shouldn’t be able to do the same to same-sex couples, argued pro-equality attorneys. full story

Early Reports: Chris Johnson tweeted a series of reports from the hearing ebncapsulating the Justices’ questions and thoughts. full story

Bonauto’s Closing Statement: Queerty flags Mary Bonauto’s “eloquent closing statement.” full story

Nine Most Awkward Moments: Politico rounds up the most awkward moments from the hearing. full story

Audio of Question One: Here is audio from Question 1 of the marriage arguments before the Supreme Court today: ” Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?” full story

Audio of Question Two: Here’s the audio from Question 2″ “Does the Fourteenth Amendment allow a state to refuse to recognize valid marriages performed out of state?” full story

Analyses:

Will We Become a Protected Class?: John Gallagher at Queerty looks at how the Justices might arrive at their decision. full story

Will John Roberts Vote Yes?: Trudy Ring at the Advocate asks the question. full story

Will John Roberts Vote Yes? II: In a telling moment at Tuesday’s Supreme Court arguments over same-sex marriage, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that he may have found a way to cast a vote in favor of the gay and lesbian couples in the case. full story

Inside Kennedy’s Head: Neal Broverman at The Advocate tries to figure out what Justice Kennedy is really thinking. full story

Expanded 14th Amendment?: Stephen Henderson at Detroit Free Press asks if the Court will expand the 14th Amendment? full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part One: Towleroad.com legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman listened to the hearing as the audio became available and issued a great series of analyses. Here’s the first one, on Question 1. full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part Two: Some additional notes on Question 1. full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part Three: Ari looks at the states’ arguments. full story

Ari’s Analysis, Part Four: Ari looks at the arguments on Question 2 – whether states must recognize valid marriages from other states. full story

Did State Lawyer Screw Up?: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress thinks one of the defense lawyers may have talked himself out of a victory. full story

Experts Predict the Outcome: The Detroit Free Press rounded up a number of expert views on the coming rulings. full story

From a Transgender Perspective: Stephanie Mott looks at the hearings from a transgender woman’s perspective. full story

Don’t Panic Over Kennedy’s Questions: Legal expert Anthony Michael Kreis says we shouldn’t freak out over Justice Kennedy’s questions about marriage equality and tradition. full story

Supporters’ Responses:

USA: Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has changed her 2016 presidential logo on social media outlets to rainbow ahead of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on same-sex marriage. full story

Hillary Logo

17 Stars Tweeting for Marriage Equality: The Advocate profiles a bunch of celebrities who tweeted in support of marriage equality. full story

Queen Latifah for Marriage Equality: Queen Latifah spoke out for marriage equality and against homophobia in the black community. full story

AG Lynch Chimes In: Newly sworn-in Attorney General Loretta Lynch said “I am committed – as is this department – to ensuring equal dignity and equal treatment for all members of society, regardless of sexual orientation. As we argued today before the Supreme Court, same-sex couples deserve that treatment now.” full story

Opponents’ Responses:

This Will Never Be Over: FRC staffer Cathy Ruse says the fight will never be over, despite what the Court may say. full story

Christians Will Be Sent to Jail: Right wing anti-gay activist Janet Porter says marriage equality will send Christians to jail. full story

NOM Encouraged About Kennedy: NOM chairman John Eastman says he ius encouraged by the questioning from Justice Kennedy, especially his comment about marriage being the same for “millennia”. full story

Heritage Foundation Smells a Win: Ryan T. Anderson tweets “oral arguments at Supreme Court suggest Court will uphold man-woman marriage laws.” full story

Liberty Counsel Pledge to Disobey SCOTUS: Mat Staver at the Liberty Counsel wants all GOP presidential candidates to sign a pledge to disobey the Court’s ruling. Huckabee and Santorum have already signed. full story

Tweets from the Opponents: Queerty gathers a bunch of tweets from opponents of marriage equality, and they’re pretty out there. full story

Alabama Supremes Challenge Federal Courts on Marriage Equality

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

AlabamaThe Alabama Supreme Court has weighed in on the marriage equality question, and it’s about what you’d expect.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Alabama Supreme Court late today (Tuesday) ordered all of the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance of orders from a federal district court judge overturning the Alabama same-sex marriage ban, and a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to block the district judge’s order… The state’s highest court said Alabama wasn’t bound by this “new definition” of marriage, though marriage equality has “gained ascendancy in certain quarters of the country,” including the federal judiciary. The supreme court’s ruling said: “As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman. Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”

The Court has given probate judges five days to respond to the new order.

The case was brought by two anti-gay groups.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The court’s ruling came in response to a request from the Southern Baptist-affiliated Alabama Citizens Action Program and the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, which asked the justices to halt same-sex unions.

Joe Godfrey, executive director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, said he was very excited about the decision. “We are concerned about the family and the danger that same-sex marriage will have. It will be a devastating blow to the family, which is already struggling,” Godfrey said. He said the decision will provide some stability in Alabama until the U.S Supreme Court rules later this year. The nation’s high court will hear oral arguments in April and is expected to issue a ruling by June regarding whether gay couples nationwide have a fundamental right to marry and whether states can ban such unions.

Mat Staver at the Liberty Counsel is over the moon about the decision.

Joe.My.God reports:

The ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court is historic, and is one of the most researched and well reasoned opinions on marriage to be issued by any court in the country. The legitimacy of the judiciary is undermined when a judge legislates from the bench or usurps the power reserved to the states regarding natural marriage. This decision of the Alabama Supreme Court is very well reasoned, which is quite rare from today’s courts. The decision not only affirms natural marriage but also restores the rule of law.

Meanwhile, the legislature is considering a “right to discriminate” bill.

SDGLN reports:

HB 56 would allow religious organizations to refuse solemnizing and recognizing any marriage, and prevents the government from penalizing organizations for their refusal to recognize marriage. In addition, the bill broadly defines religious organizations to include social service organizations. Because Alabama has no LGBT non-discrimination protections, this bill would exempt organizations from the general rules applicable to spouses, and could allow, for example, a religious hospital to refuse to recognize the spouse of a patient.

It’s gpnna be a crazy day down in Alabama.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Nebraska Marriage Equality Ban

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

A Federal Judge struck down Nebraska’s marriage equality ban, with an effective date in one week.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A federal judge blocked Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban on Monday… The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska sued the state in November on behalf of seven same-sex couples challenging the ban, which passed with the approval of 70 percent of voters in 2000. In addition to prohibiting gay marriage, the ban also forbids civil unions and legalized domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples miss out on medical and financial benefits that are available to heterosexual married couples, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said in issuing the injunction, which takes effect March 9.

The state immediately appealed the decision to the 8th circuit.

Zack Ford at Think Progress says the Eighth Circuit may be inclined to issue a stay:

Marriage equality would thus take effect on March 9, provided the Eighth Circuit doesn’t institute a longer stay. Unlike in other circuits, the Eighth Circuit might be inclined to do just that. Battalion has actually ruled against Nebraska’s ban before, way back in a 2005 case called Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning. The state appealed, and a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit unanimously overturned his decision, ruling that the ban did not violate same-sex couples’ equal protection under the law. The Eighth Circuit is the only appeals court that has a precedent for upholding marriage bans.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts denounced the ruling.

The Republican governor said Monday that the issue should be left to Nebraskans, and not an “activist judge” subverting their will. Ricketts say he will work with Attorney General Doug Peterson, a fellow Republican, to uphold the current constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2000.

Meanwhile, LGBT couples celebrated:

As it stands now, the ban on gay marriage has been lifted and is set to go into effect March 9th. It’s a day Roby and Tubach have been waiting for, for nearly 30 years. “This is our home. I’m not going to go somewhere else. I’m going to stay here and work through the process so that we can do this here,” said Roby. “I am most interested in being able to move this ring from my right hand ring finger to my left hand ring finger,” said an emotional Tubach.

And Rep. Brad Ashford (D) released a statement in support of the decision.

Discrimination against anyone based on their sexual orientation has no place in this country. Courts across the country are demanding equal treatment under the law, and today, Nebraska took a major stand against inequality in this country. This decision does not ask individuals to abandon their principles on the issue, but rather, to accept that this country is overwhelmingly diverse, and we must embrace those who might not hold our same beliefs. The many differences of individuals are what make this a great nation, and today’s decision recognizes that same-sex couples deserve equal rights under the law. I applaud this decision and commit to continue working for equality for all Nebraskans in the future.

In related news, the state’s welfare officials have been ignoring a ban on gay foster parents:

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services established a policy in 1995 that prohibited the placement of foster children with gay and lesbian couples or unmarried couples unless they are related to the children. During a review of state agencies, Ricketts’ office learned that the DHHS has been ignoring the policy, his spokesman Taylor Gage said. He said he didn’t know when the state began placing children with such couples or how many children had been placed in such homes.

The Dallas Voice has a new marriage equality map:

Dallas Voice marriage equality map

So does Wikipedia:

Wikipedia Marriage Equality Map

Alabama Marriage Equality Update – 2/13/15

Friday, February 13th, 2015

AlabamaMore counties got on board the marriage equality bandwagon today, and opponents gnashed their teeth. Hey, haters gonna hate.

As of this morning, the number of counties issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples had jumped again, in response to the Federal Judge’s chastising of Mobile County.

Joe.My.God reports:

“With 40 counties confirmed to be issuing #marriage licenses, 75% of #Alabama population lives in county with freedom to marry.” Yesterday’s ruling in Mobile County is having the predicted effect and more than a dozen other counties have relented this morning.

A little later in the day, that number had jumped to 47.

ABC News reports:

About 20 of Alabama’s 67 counties allowed gays and lesbians to wed on Monday. By Friday that number had jumped to at least 47, the Human Rights Campaign said. Other counties said they would revisit the decision next week.

HRC expects that to grow by next week.

The Advocate reports:

As of 4 p.m. local time on Friday, 47 counties in Alabama were issuing marriage licenses to all couples, according to the Human Rights Campaign, which has been tracking the situation since U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade’s pro-equality rulings took effect Monday. Those 47 counties contain 82 percent of the state’s population, and by next week, a full 50 counties will allow same-sex couples to legally marry, reports HRC.

LGBT has the details county by county:

Issuing to all couples: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Blount, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chilton, Coffee, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, Dekalb, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Green, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Russell, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox and Winston. 82 % of population; 47 counties

Will start next week: Hale, Marion, Marshall, 3%; 3

Issuing to only straight couples: Chambers, Choctaw, Clay, Cleburne. Covington, Houston, Marengo, Pickens, Shelby, Washington. 10%; 10

Not issuing licenses to any couples: Bibb, Clarke, Geneva, Pike, Randolph, Tallapoosa, Walker. 5%; 7

Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court is asking probate judges to respond in a lawsuit brought by the anti-gay Liberty Counsel.

Equality on Trial reports:

The Alabama Supreme Court has issued an order requiring the probate judges in counties who are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and named as defendants in a pending action filed by Liberty Counsel to “file answers and,if they choose to do so, briefs, addressing issues raised by the petition, including, but not limited to, any issue relating to standing or otherwise relating to this Court’s subject-matter jurisdiction, and any issue relating to the showing necessary for temporary relief as requested in the petition.” The order is addressing the petition filed by Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT organization, attempting to force county probate judges who are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples to stop issuing them.

Speaking of haters, here’s our first one.

Joe.My.God reports:

Cedric Hatcher, an outspoken street evangelist and regular at Birmingham City Hall, took to the lectern during the public comment portion of today’s meeting to express his disapproval of the marriages that took place just across Linn Park and around the state Monday. “To me yesterday was one of the most bizarre scenes I’ve ever seen in the city,” Hatcher said. “It was one of the most comedic scenes I’ve ever seen in public when I witnessed men with size 13 and 14 shoes out there kissing each other in the mouth in front of little kids. It was like a freak scene going on, that’s what I call it.” Like his previous statements on social issues, Hatcher didn’t soften his approach when criticizing the legalization of same-sex marriage. He delivered an abrasive critique instead. Hatcher cited several Bible passages and decried the presence of children in ceremonies he believed were abominable. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But the worst part? There are no batteries to be found on the shelves of Birmingham stores. Because gay marriage.

And Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s drama queen, was ranting about “slavery” and the “gay gestapo”.

Joe.My.God reports:

“When you are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your own conscience in something that you do, that is slavery. If you are forced to violate your conscience to do work, that is slavery. If you are forced to violate your conscience that is tyranny…that is the gay gestapo at work, ‘you either do what we tell you or you’re gonna get punished.'”

And the chair of the state GOP is NOT HAPPY.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The chair of Alabama’s Republican Party thinks God is pissed because same-sex couples can marry in his state. “The state of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman,” Alabama Republican Party Chair Bill Armistead wrote this week.

To take the sour taste out of your mouth, check out this great celebratory video from Freedom to Marry, including moments from the first day of Alabama same sex weddings.

Alabama Marriage Equality Update #2 – February 12th

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Things are still moving on marriage equality in Alabama.

As of this morning, 23 of the state’s 67 counties were giving marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Watermark reports:

Only 23 of Alabama’s 67 counties have followed a federal ruling declaring a ban on same-sex marriages there unconstitutional. That means 44 counties—which encompasses 56% of Alabamians—have refused to follow federal law. According to the HRC, 16 counties have refused to follow the ruling and have only given marriage licenses to opposite-gender couples. Twenty-eight counties have decided not to issue marriage licenses to any couples at all.

A lawsuit seeking to compel Mobile County’s probate judge to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples was held in front of the judge who overturned the ban in the first place.

SDGLN reports:

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade heard oral arguments today in an emergency motion filed by four same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses on Monday when marriage equality began in the state. Judge Granade told the packed courtroom that she would issue her decision as soon as possible.

Turns out, that was about an hour later, although it may technically only apply to the one county:

“Probate Judge Don Davis is hereby enjoined from refusing to issue marriage licenses to plaintiffs due to the Alabama laws which prohibit same-sex marriage,” Judge Granade wrote in her order released Thursday afternoon. “This injunction binds Judge Don Davis and all his officers, agents, servants and employees, and others in active concert or participation with any of them, who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage.”

Same sex couples started marrying shortly after.

Towleroad.com reports:

Following U.S. District Judge Callie Granade’s order that Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis must issue license to gay couples, marriage equality has now arrived in Alabama’s second-largest county. Pictured [below] are Robert Povilat and Milton Persinger, one of the four same-sex couples that filed the emergency motion with Judge Granade Monday night after Davis stopped issuing marriage licensee to all couples rather than allow gay couples to start tying the knot in his county. Povilat and Persinger are the first same-sex couple in Mobile County to receive a marriage license.

Gay Couple in Mobile County

And one more probate judge, this one in Baldwin County, said he will start issuing licenses to same sex couples tomorrow.

Equality on Trial reports:

Tonight, Baldwin County’s probate judge announced that, despite his personal misgivings on the issue of same-sex marriage, he will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples tomorrow: “I have reached this decision after much thought and prayer,” said Judge Russell. “While this offends my personal beliefs, I feel compelled to follow the order of Judge Granade issued to Judge [Don] Davis.” Russell added that Friday will be the first day same-sex couples can be wed in Baldwin County unless the federal or state courts provide “further guidance or rulings” on the issue.

Meanwhile a Presbyterian group in the state voted to support marriage equality.

AL.com reports

The Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, a central Alabama group of churches affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), voted 75-39 Thursday in favor of approving gay marriages. They became one of about 38 presbyteries nationwide that have voted in favor of gay marriage.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo took on Chief Justice Roy Moore in a blistering 25 minute interview.

Joe.My.God reports:

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was interviewed this morning by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who attacked Moore relentlessly over his position on same-sex marriage. While some of the interview devolved into back-and-forth bickering, Cuomo landed blow after blow, at one point telling Moore that he was merely spewing “word salad.”

Among the idiotic things Moore said was that he would continue to fight marriage equality, even if the US Supreme Court rules in favor of it.

CNN reports:

Chief Justice Roy Moore likened an eventual U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage to the Dred Scott ruling and Plessy v. Ferguson, two 19th century Supreme Court rulings that upheld slavery and segregation, respectively. “If it’s an unlawful mandate you can refuse to mandate it. You can dissent to the United States Supreme Court,” Moore said in a testy interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.” “I will follow the law as I interpret it.”

Jon Stewart mocked Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is standing in the doorway to the courts trying to block same sex couples’ access to marriage equality.

Towleroad.com reports:

On last night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart took a look at the on-the-ground gay marriage situation in Alabama – including efforts by Chief Justice Roy Moore and certain probate judges to stop marriages from taking place. Stewart also put the spotlight on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s executive order removing LGBT protections in the state – with Stewart wondering why Brownback’s name hasn’t been “Santorumed” yet considering it already sounds pretty much like a sexual word.

The self-described Redneck Reporter looks at how marriage equality has changed his state.

BGR reports:

Gay marriage is legal in the state of Alabama and Alabama resident and self-described “Redneck News” reporter Jeremy Todd Addaway has decided to give us a tongue-in-cheek report on the ground about how this has completely changed his state. Unsurprisingly, Addaway found that practically nothing had changed in Alabama despite dire predictions that the state’s entire moral fabric would unwind if legalized gay marriage ever came to pass.

And the Birmingham News nailed it with a new editorial cartoon:

SameHate

Will more counties change their minds tomorrow, too?

Alabama Marriage Equality Update – February 11th

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

AlabamaAnother day, another batch of marriage equality news out of Alabama.

Chief Justice Roy Moore played the “gay friends” card.

On Top Magazine reports:

When asked whether he would attend the wedding of a gay friend, Moore responded: “I’ve had many friends who are homosexual. I’ve treated people just like other people. This is not about how I treat people or how I go to a wedding or marriage or anything. It’s about the constitution of Alabama, the constitution of the United States.” “But you wouldn’t be reluctant personally to go to a same-sex wedding?” host Mark Halperin asked. “I would not go to a same-sex wedding, no,” Moore answered.

As of first thing this morning, the number of counties issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples had jumped.

Joe.My.God reports:

Per Equality Alabama, the number of counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses will grow to 22 today as more judges relent. That’s more than double the first day’s number.

Alabama map

Two more counties, Calhoun and Crenshaw, jumped on the marriage equality bandwagon.

Joe.My.God reports:

Confirmed: Crenshaw County, Alabama issuing marriage licenses to all couples as of today, total of 24.

The Calhoun County Probate Judge’s office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this morning. In a statement released this morning, Martin said several factors went into the decision to begin. “We have considered the Order issued by Justice Moore, which I have been compliant with, and the statements made by Governor Bentley relating to the Order,” she said. “While I am of the opinion an Order with further instruction to the Probate Judges is necessary, that has not been forthcoming, and the Supreme Court’s decision, by a 7 to 2 majority, has been the ultimate deciding factor in my decision today to issue marriage licenses to same-sex applicants.”

Queerty has a new marriage equality map.

…the situation is a bit confusing. Some counties are issuing marriage licenses to eager same-sex couples (see map, via New York Times), and some have closed up shop altogether, preventing both gay and straight couples from tying the knot.

Queerty Marriage Equality Map

The hearing in the Mobile County case is tomorrow. Equality on Trial will be there.

I’m not sure exactly how the hearing will go down, but it seems like there’s at least a chance she may rule from the bench given the immediacy of the situation: couples have been wanting to get married since Monday.

Meanwhile, two conservative groups asked the state Supreme Court to step in to shut down the weddings.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Two conservative groups are asking the Alabama Supreme Court to order state probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples. The Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program filed the request Wednesday. The groups are asking the justices to back the position of Chief Justice Roy Moore that probate judges should not issue the licenses.

In a separate case, the state Supreme Court declined to offer an opinion on whether probate judges should issue the licenses.

Equality on Trial reports:

In an order from the Alabama Supreme Court, the court declined to address the issue of whether individual county probate judges should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court held that the request is an advisory opinion, simply seeking their views on a question with no adversarial proceedings. Those kinds of opinions are only allowed under Alabama law if they are sought by the governor or the legislature

The Atlantic looks at the abysmal level of support for marriage equality in the state.

The state is last in the nation in support for marriage equality—tied with next-door neighbor Mississippi. Although majorities of Americans now favor same-sex marriage, just 32 percent of Alabamians and Mississippians do, according to numbers from the Public Religion Research Institute. PRRI is releasing an unusually large data set, including 40,000 interviews conducted over 2014 in all 50 states, as part of the American Values Atlas. The biggest factor in the low support seems to be the high concentration of white evangelical Protestants in those two states — 39 percent of Alabamians identify as members of that demographic, double the nationwide average. Even as the rest of the South has undergone huge shifts in opinion toward marriage equality, Alabama and Mississippi remain outliers.

The GOP in the state issued a statement on the mess.

Joe.My.God reports:

“…how is it that God’s truth can be turned on its head as the debate now rages in Alabama regarding the meaning of marriage? The answer is that we, as a society, have become our own god. We have made God in our image. But, God will not be mocked. The State of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman.”

Paul Gordon at the Huffington Post looks at how Alabama’s defiance shows what’s wrong with the push for “religious freedom” laws.

So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits?… It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

The Huffington Post profiles the Federal Judge who brought down the state’s marriage equality ban:

It may be only fitting then that now, standing on the other side of Moore, is Granade, the granddaughter of a civil rights-era judge who stood up to the white segregationist South during the 1950s and 1960s and helped advance equality for African-Americans. Judge Richard Rives played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. Richard Rives, Granade’s grandfather, was one of the judges known as the “Fifth Circuit Four.” These judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued decisions that were crucial in breaking down segregation barriers in the South. Writing in The Nation in 2004, College of Charleston Professor Jack Bass said they “fleshed out the bare bones of [Brown v. Board of Education] and transformed it into a broad mandate for racial justice.”

We’ll end with a moving story from Troy Masters, who spent a lot of his childhood in Alabama in the 1960’s.

Gay City News reports:

“Troy is a queer,” I overheard my stepfather say with energetic disgust to another family member. Even at 13, I understood that my feelings for other boys were supposed to be secret. Now I knew terror. What my stepfather said humiliated me, sending an icy panic through my body that changed my demeanor and ruined my confidence. For the first time in my life, I felt depression and I became painfully shy. Alabama became a place, not of love, not of shelter, not of the magic of family, but of fear… But that Alabama is not the Alabama of tomorrow.

The hearing in the Mobile case is tomorrow.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Alabama Marriage Equality Update 2/10/15

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

AlabamaAnother day, more controversy in Alabama as the marriage equality fight continues.

At least three counties have relented and started to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples:

It’s possible that these counties are reacting to a statement made last night by the governor. Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican and a Southern Baptist, said he believes strongly that marriage is between one man and one woman, but that the issue should be “worked out through the proper legal channels” and not through defiance of the law. The governor noted that Alabama is about to be in the spotlight again with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed after civil rights marchers were attacked and beaten in Selma, Alabama — events chronicled in the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma.” “I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years ago when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that,” Bentley said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. The three counties (Limestone, Morgan, and Elmore) have a combined population of 280,000. That still leaves more than 50 counties who are not serving gay couples.

Attorney General Luther Strange filed his response to the plaintiffs’ amended complaint.

Equality on Trial reports:

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has filed his response to yesterday’s request from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who’s representing the plaintiffs in Strawser v. Strange, to amend their complaint, add new plaintiffs and defendants, and request a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the Mobile County Probate Judge. The filing notes that the attorney general can’t issue marriage licenses, nor can he order county probate judges to take any actions or open their offices. Because of that, he doesn’t oppose the addition of plaintiffs who are seeking marriage licenses from Mobile County, and the probate judge of the county as a defendant.

The judge in the case has scheduled a hearing for Friday.

Equality on Trial reports:

The federal district court judge who overturned Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, February 12 on the request in Strawser for an injunction requiring Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis. The county is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and they’re see

Some straight couples have been caught in the crossfire:

Meanwhile, Governor Bentley made some conciliatory noises.

Equality on Trial reports:

The governor noted that Alabama is about to be in the spotlight again with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed after civil rights marchers were attacked and beaten in Selma, Alabama — events chronicled in the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma.” “I don’t want Alabama to be seen as it was 50 years ago when a federal law was defied. I’m not going to do that,” Bentley said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

“I’m trying to move this state forward.”

Chief Justice Roy Moore mouthed off again.

The Dallas Voice reports:

…on Monday, Feb. 9, Moore explained to ABC News that he has to stop same-sex marriage, because if loving, committed adult couples of the same gender are allowed to legally marry, then all hell is gonna break loose and then “men and their daughters or women and their sons” would be insisting they be allowed to get married too.

In a fitting tribute, the Klu Klux Klan came out in support of Moore today.

Joe.My.God reports:

From the website of the United Dixie White Knights: The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama’s chief justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of Federal tyranny. The Feds have no authority over individual States marriage laws. The fudgepackers from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their Imperialist, Communist Homosexual agenda!

Lambda Legal is urging probate judges to ignore Moore.

SDGLN reports:

Lambda Legal today sent an open letter to the president of the Alabama Probate Judges Association and probate judges of counties that are not issuing licenses to same-sex couples urging them to disregard Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s legally incorrect and unfounded Administrative Order and instead issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and different-sex couples alike, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state’s request for a stay.

A woman in Autauga County was arrested after trying to perform a same sex wedding ceremony in the probate judge’s office.

Joe.My.God reports:

An Autauga County woman was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct Tuesday morning after offering to perform a same sex marriage inside the probate judge’s office. Anne Susan Diprizio, of the 300 block of Cambridge Street, is charged with disorderly conduct, said Dave Hill, chief deputy of the Autauga County Sheriff’s Office. She was being processed in the Autauga Metro Jail after her arrest and was unavailable for comment. Courthouse records show she doesn’t have an attorney. She was being held on a bond of $1,000, Hill said.

The state has put up the biggest fight against marriage equality so far.

AL.com reports:

Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond School of Law professor who has tracked same-sex marriage litigation across the country, said he does not believe any other state has resisted the federal court system as aggressively as Alabama. He said the closest analogy probably is Florida, where clerks across the state initially insisted that a judge’s order striking down that state’s ban applied only in one county. “It never really culminated in this situation,” he said, referring to Monday’s wild day in Alabama. “The day came, and they were ready and everything went OK.”

US Senator Jeff Sessions jumped into the fray today.

Towleroad.com reports:

Sessions told CQ Roll Call that he believes judges’ rulings in favor of marriage equality have more to do with sentiment that an accurate interpretation of the U.S. Constitution: “I think it’s an unhealthy trend that judges feel that they’re somehow reflecting popular opinion when first of all, it’s not popular opinion, and secondly, who are they to be ruling on cases based on how they feel.”

Nate Cohn at the New York Times looks at the depth of opposition to gay marriage in Alabama:

…Those results suggest that Alabama would have voted overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage if it had been on the ballot there in 2012. I estimate the vote would have been roughly 73 percent to 27 percent against same-sex marriage. The estimate is based on the relationship between support for same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington; educational attainment; population density; the number of evangelical Christians and African-Americans; and support for Mr. Obama. Support for same-sex marriage has increased further over the last two years, rising to about 54 percent last year from 49 percent in 2012, according to Pew and Gallup national polls. Nonetheless, a majority — and probably two-thirds — of Alabama voters most likely remain opposed.

Now we wait for Friday’s hearing and the judge’s ruling.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.