Rulings

...now browsing by category

Court rulings on LGBT rights and marriage equality

 

Marriage Equality Round-Up – September 21st

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

OPINION: Lindsey Kirkham on why we need Bisexual Awareness Week. full story

POP CULTURE: Aydian Dowling, the bodybuilder who is on a mission to become the first transman on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, sat down with vlogger Raymond Braun recently to discuss the Men’s Health Ultimate Guy Search competition and what it’s like dating in the trans community. full story

POP CULTURE: Jeffrey Tambor won the first Emmy of his long career on Sunday for his performance as a transgender woman in the Amazon series Transparent, and dedicated his win to the trans community. full story

POP CULTURE: Transparent creator Jill Soloway won an Emmy for outstanding direction of a comedy series and used the moment to call for transgender equality. full story

Transparent creator Jill Soloway

POP CULTURE: Andy Samberg on Kim Davis: “If I wanted to see an intolerant woman dance, I would’ve gone to one of four of Kim Davis’ weddings. It’s amazing that Kim Davis came out of jail to ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ considering how many guys have boned each other to that song.” full story

Andy Samberg

POP CULTURE: Actress Evan Rachel Wood last week shared a powerful message about her bisexuality ahead of Bisexual Awareness Week, which began on 20 September. full story

EUROPE: In Romania and Finland, it’s legal to have sex with a live pig – but not to marry someone of the same sex. full story

FRANCE: A new poll released in France has revealed 56% of French people are against gay marriage, down from about 63% in 2013. full story

PERU: The first Peruvian children’s book featuring same-sex parents will be unveiled on September 30. full story

¿Camila tiene dos mamás?

SPAIN: The top brass of Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have attended the same-sex marriage of their deputy secretary-general, giving tacit approval to a law they once bitterly opposed. full story

UK: A Church of England preacher has left the church as he is not allowed to officiate once his planned same-sex marriage goes ahead. full story

VENEZUELA: A new wave of cinema is emerging from the violence of modern Venezuela focusing on gay love affairs and little boys who wear party dresses. full story

USA: Despite the U.S. military’s approval of hormone therapy for Chelsea Manning as part of her gender reassignment, the convicted Wikileaker has been denied her request to grow her hair out to female standards. full story

Chelsea Manning

USA, ALABAMA: The state Supreme Court has told a woman that the Georgia adoption of her ex-partner’s three children is not valid, and that she is no longer their legal guardian, even though Georgia legally authorized it when they lived there. full story

USA, NEW YORK: A woman and and her mother in New York City were mistaken for a lesbian couple and attacked whilst having dinner. full story

USA, NEW YORK: Two New York legislators are leading a campaign to designate Stonewall Inn as the first national park honoring LGBT history. full story

stonewall

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.

Mexican Supreme Court Opens Door to Marriage Equality Nationwide

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

Mexico Marriage Equality MapMexico’s supreme court has ruled it is unconstitutional for Mexican states to bar same-sex marriages.

But the court’s ruling is considered a “jurisprudential thesis” and does not invalidate any state laws, meaning gay couples denied the right to wed would have to turn to the courts individually. Given the ruling, judges and courts would have to approve same-sex marriages.

The high court ruled that any state law which considers the ultimate purpose of marriage to be “procreation, and or defines (marriage) as celebrated between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.”

Full Story at ABC News | Mexico Gay Travel Resources

Guam Marriage Equality Ban Struck Down

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Guam - NASA

A federal judge has struck down a Guam law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Pacific Daily News reported that U.S. District Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s ruling will take effect on Monday at 8 a.m. local time (6 p.m. EST on Sunday.)

Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan filed a lawsuit against the marriage ban in April after the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services denied them a license that would allow them to tie the knot in the U.S. territory.

The Pacific Daily News reported that Aguero and Pangelinan plan to apply for a marriage license on Monday.

Authored By Michael K. Lavers – See the Full Story at The Washington Blade

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Image via NASA

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

Texas Marriage Equality Update – February 20th

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Texas mapSo much going on in Texas after a Travis County judge overturned the state’s ban on marriage equality the other day.

First off, there was a legal same sex wedding in Austin.

On Top Magazine reports:

A lesbian couple together more than 30 years married Thursday in Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant exchanged vows outside the Travis County Clerk’s Office. The ceremony was presided over by Rabbi Kerry Baker. The women were denied a marriage license eight years ago.

The Dallas Voice has more on the couple:

Sarah Goodfriend is a unpaid policy advisor to Austin state Rep. Celia Israel. She advises primarily on environmental and energy issues. Suzanne Bryant is an attorney in private practice in Austin. The two have been a couple for 31 years, and they exchanged their wedding vows in front of the Travis County Clerk’s office this morning with Rabbi Kerry Baker officiating.

The Dallas Voice also points out that probate court rulings in the state only apply to a single county:

According to the Dallas County Clerk’s office, probate rulings do not carry from one county to another, so a ruling in Travis County earlier this week does not apply in Dallas… Dallas County Clerk John Warren has said he hoped to be the first county clerk to issue marriage licenses in the state. His office has advised that nothing would prevent a Dallas County couple from following the same path as Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant in Travis County and filing suit in probate court here. In this case, they’d have two Travis County opinions to cite in their petition to the court.

Meanwhile, Attorney general Ken Paxton blasted the judge’s ruling and asked the state Supreme Court to issue a stay.

Towleroad.com reports:

“Texas law is clear on the definition of marriage, and I will fight to protect this sacred institution and uphold the will of Texans, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment defining the union as between one man and one woman. The probate judge’s misguided ruling does not change Texas law or allow the issuance of a marriage license to anyone other than one man and one woman.”

The Supreme Court wasted no time in shutting things down, but avoided voiding the first wedding that took place.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Texas Supreme Court has issued a stay in the marriage between a Travis County couple following Attorney General Ken Paxton’s appeal. The order can be found here. However, this order apparently does not void Sarah Goodfriend’s and Suzanne Bryant’s marriage. Barbara Rosenberg, an attorney who works in the Dallas City Attorney’s Office, said her understanding is that the ruling can only stop future licenses from being issued.

The AG is arguing that the wedding should be voided.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Within hours, the Texas Supreme Court had blocked other gay couples from getting married under similar special exceptions – but didn’t address the women’s marriage, which Paxton said he considered void. But that remains in dispute, and Paxton’s spokeswoman, Cynthia Meyer, said their office will file additional paperwork with the state Supreme Court on Friday to argue their case. “Activist judges don’t change Texas law and we will continue to aggressively defend the laws of our state,” Paxton said in a statement.

In other state marriage equality news, the plaintiffs in a federal case are asking the court to lift a stay.

Equality on Trial reports:

In the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case DeLeon v. Perry, which has been submitted for decision since arguments have been heard, the plaintiffs are asking the appeals court to lift the stay, or at least to do so for the plaintiffs who have children. The state has filed its opposition, and they claim in part that even if the stay is lifted, the preliminary injunction wouldn’t affect the couple who wants their names listed on their child’s birth certificate.

And in Eastern Texas, other same sex couples celebrated the ruling, but were left waiting yet again.

KYTX reports:

It’s been back and forth all day between a Travis County clerk and the Texas Attorney General after the clerk issued the state’s first same sex marriage license. However, that one license doesn’t change the situation for many other same sex couples in Texas. Karen Wilkerson and her partner have been ready to get married for a year now in Tyler. “I can’t plan a wedding, I can’t send out invitations, I cant book a place for our reception, I can’t start talking to a travel agent to plan a honeymoon because I don’t know when the decision will come down to make it legal for me to marry,” Wilkerson said. She’s happy for Austin couple Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, but says unfortunately that won’t help her case.

The state Supreme Court has only issued a stay, and hasn’t ruled on the merits of the case. We’re also waiting to see what the Fifth Circuit does in regards to its stay.

Nevertheless, it’s a crack in the dam in texas.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Texas.

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.