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Missouri Judge Rules for Marriage Equality for Out of State Weddings

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Missouri mapOvershadowed by the news out of the Supreme Court, a state judge in Missouri just ordered the state to recognize marriages from other jurisdictions.

Dot429 reports:

A judge has ordered that Missouri recognize same-sex marriages from outside the state, marking the first ruling against the state’s marriage equality ban. Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs wrote in his twenty-page decision on October 3, “The undisputed facts before the Court show that, to the extent these laws prohibit plaintiffs’ legally contracted marriages from other states being recognized here, they are wholly irrational, do not rest upon any reasonable basis, and are purely arbitrary. All they do is treat one segment of the population–gay men and lesbians–differently than their same-sex counterparts, for no logical reason.”

Missouri’s AG, Chris Koster, says the state will not appeal the ruling. reports:

The circuit court’s judgment in Barrier v. Vasterling held that Missouri must recognize marriages lawfully entered into in other states. We will not appeal that judgment. Our national government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that empowers Missouri to set policy for itself, but also obligates us to honor contracts entered into in other states. A consequence of this morning’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court is that gay marriage will soon be legal in as many as 30 states. At a time when Missouri is competing to attract the nation’s premier businesses and most talented employees, we should not demand that certain individuals surrender their marriage licenses in order to live and work among us.

It’s not full marriage equality – couples cannot yet get married in the state – but it’s a huge step in that direction.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Missouri.

Naples Mayor Will Register Same Sex Marriages

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Naples Mayor Luigi de MagistrisAn Italian mayor, Naples mayor Luigi De Magistris, says he would recognize the weddings of gay and lesbian couples married in other countries.

On Top Magazine reports:

Luigi De Magistris, the mayor of Naples, Italy, has signaled his willingness to register the foreign marriages of gay and lesbian couples. The news, provided by the blog Agere per Formulas, comes after Fano on Friday became the first Italian town to register the marriage of a gay couple without a court order.

It’s another crack in the wall of Catholic-dominated Italy’s homophobic culture.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Italy.

Australia: Parliament Will Consider Recognizing Out of Country Marriages

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Sydney, Australia Opera HouseThe Australian Senate will consider whether to recognize out of country weddings of same sex couples.

Gay Star News reports:

The Australian Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Committee will hold an inquiry on legally recognizing same-sex marriages performed overseas after Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a bill that would recognize them if passed. Australia already recognizes heterosexual marriages which are legally conducted overseas and the Greens bill seeks to also recognize same-sex marriages performed overseas where they are legal.

It’s a small step toward marriage equality in a country that strongly supports it. Will the politicians finally start to come around?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Australia.

USA, Ohio: Judge Says State Must Recognize Same Sex Marriages Weddings Performed Elsewhere

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

OhioOhio took a step closer to full marriage equality yesterday, when a Judge told the state it must recognize the marriages of same sex couples who wed in other states.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Judge Timothy Black ruled that refusing to recognize lawfully performed same-sex marriages is a violation of constitutional rights and “unenforceable in all circumstances. The record before this court … is staggeringly devoid of any legitimate justification for the state’s ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Black wrote. he state plans to appeal Black’s ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage, which voters did overwhelmingly in 2004.

While the ruling leaves intact the ban on same sex weddings within the state, for now, it seems likely that too, would be struck down under the logic the judge used, if it were challenged directly.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Ohio.

Italy: Judge Orders City Council to Recognize Gay Couple’s New York Wedding

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Italy Gay CoupleSome big news out of Italy – for the first time, a gay couple’s wedding will be recognized by a local government in the country. reports:

An Italian court today recognized a gay couple as married for the first time in Italy, AFP reports: The court in Grosseto in Tuscany ordered the city council to list the couple, who had their wedding in New York in 2012, as married in a ruling that was immediately hailed by gay rights campaigners as historic. “This is an unprecedented case in our country,” Sergio Lo Giudice, a senator for the Democratic Party and a former head of the watchdog Arcigay, told reporters… Grosseto judge Claudio Boccini ruled that there was “no reference to gender” in the city council register of married couples and the couple in question should therefore be included.

It’s a long way from full marriage equality, but it is a crack in the wall in this very Catholic country.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Italy.

San Marino: Country Considers Recognizing Same Sex Marriages

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

San MarinoSan Marino, the beautiful city-state completely surrounded by Italy, is considering recognition of same sex marriages performed elsewhere. reports:

Federico Podeschi and Darren Williams, one of the first same-sex couples to marry in the UK last month, filed an instanza (Initiative of the Council) in San Marino’s official government office on Sunday to have their marriage recognized. Podeschi is originally from San Marino. The istanza is now before the two Reggenti (Governors) of San Marino who have a month to approve or reject the initiative. If approved the initiative would be introduced in the Consiglio Grande e Generale (San Marino legislature) and then the istanza will face a vote. The mandate of the Reggenti lasts only 6 months so in October San Marino will elect another two governors (and then in April 2015). If the two Reggenti reject the istanza the citizenry of San Marino could file the same initiative the first Sunday after the October elections.

San Marino is a beautiful little country that is effectively part of Italy, although it maintains its own government. We visited there a couple years ago – it has three fairy-tale castles perched on a tall hill, overlooking the Italian countryside below. Will this tiny nation effectively leapfrog Italy on LGBT rights?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Australia: Bill Introduced to Recognize Overseas Same Sex Marriages

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Australia MapThe Green Party has introduced a new bill to recognize same sex weddings performed in other countries.

Gay Star News reports:

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has announced she will introduce a bill to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in overseas jurisdictions in reaction to same-sex couples in England and Wales being able to marry from tomorrow. Hanson-Young has also proposed an inquiry to examine the affect that the legalization of same-sex marriage has had in those jurisdictions where it is legal which would then draft a report for the parliament.

It’s a crack in the dam. Will it pass?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Australia.

USA, Michigan: ACLU May Sue State to Force Recognition of 300 Married Couples

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

ACLU LogoOK, that was fast – the ACLU may take the state to court to force it to recognize the 300+ new same sex marriages that the Governor called legal and valid, but said he won’t recognize.

Pink News reports:

Now the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the state of Michigan, slammed the Governor for his position, and the organisation is talking to couples who married on Saturday to explore the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the state. Michigan LGBT project attorney Jay Kaplan said the couples were still being treated as “second class citizens”.

“It’s very disconcerting that in one breath, he’s saying these marriages are legal, and yet he’s saying the state will deny any benefits, protections or recognitions associated with the marriage. How can you talk out of both sides of your mouth? These people have legal marriages, and under the laws of our state, as well as the constitution, you have to treat them equally.”

Good for the ACLU – the state’s stance makes absolutely no sense at all – let’s call them on it.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

How can you be married and not married at the same time?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The time of year for all good citizens to focus on their federal and state income taxes has returned. As usual, tax taxesforms are due to the IRS by no later than April 15. Even if you file for an extension on the payments, the paperwork is due to the government by the third Tuesday of April this year. While most married opposite-sex couples will have no issues filing their taxes, same-sex couples face many obstacles. In states that have marriage equality, such as New York, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware, the matter is a simple one. File your income taxes as a married couple, filing either a joint return, or separate single returns, depending on your own unique circumstances. As a result of the US Supreme Court ruling in the US v. Windsor case last year, all legally married, same-sex couples living in states which honor such marriages can file their income taxes in the same way as opposite-sex couples.

However, if you happen to live in Pennsylvania or one of the other 33 states which does not allow marriage for same-sex couples, you will need to file your returns differently. First, file your federal return as a married couple, again deciding whether to file a joint return or two separate returns based on your unique circumstances. You will then need to file two separate forms for your state and local taxes as a single taxpayer. I realize that the numbers will be a mess, and filing for financial aid for college will become a nightmare without some guidance. Nevertheless, that is what the law proscribes.

With all that said, a suggestion was sent in to ME4PA to consider. Many people file their income taxes online using programs from TurboTax, H&R Block, and other companies. If you complete your own tax forms, and you file online, your federal information will carry over automatically to your state return. I found this to be true when working on my own taxes. The computer asked to whom I am married, but did not care about the gender of the person to whom I am married. In fact, the computer is not going to run a background check on my marriage license to determine its validity. As long as the names on the forms match the Social Security numbers, all is right in the world. So if Pat and Lou are getting married, that could be two women, two men, or one of each. The government would not know unless it conducted an audit. However, the chances of an audit are incredibly small; furthermore, the federal government will already recognize as married, a same-sex couple who marries in a state such as New York or New Jersey. In both those states, the marriage licenses and certificates do not denote the gender of the couple. Hence, the computer has no way of knowing for sure who is really married to whom.

Before acting on this idea, I strongly encourage consulting a qualified tax adviser or lawyer. Still, just because you are in a same-sex relationship in Pennsylvania or any other state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, does not diminish the fact that your marriage certificate deserves to be recognized, whether you are two men, two women, or one of each. No matter what choice you make on your taxes, just remember, file by April 15.

USA, Kentucky: Judge Puts Same sex Marriage Recognition on Hold

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

KentuckyA Federal Judge sided with the state’s Governor, putting his ruling forcing the state to recognize married same sex couples on hold pending appeal.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A federal judge is giving the conservative state of Kentucky more time to officially recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries, saying doing so will allow the law to become settled without causing confusion or granting rights only to have them taken away. The ruling Wednesday comes just two days before gay couples would have been allowed to change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain the benefits of any other married couple in Kentucky… U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II of Louisville said in a four-page order that it is “best that these momentous changes occur upon full review” rather than being implemented too soon or causing confusing changes. “That does not serve anyone well,” said Heyburn, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Heyburn said the delay would stay in place until the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati either rules on the merits of the case or orders the stay lifted.

I wonder why the judge caved now, after being so insistent before that he would not stay the ruling?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kentucky.