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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters, Detroit, Michigan

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Board in Detroit or St. Clair Shores and marry legally in Canadian waters! or get married on the US side now that marriage equality has come to Michigan!

See the Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Michigan

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 – US Supreme Court Edition

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

US Supreme Court Color

There’s a lot going on around the US Supreme Court’s decision to take five marriage equality cases from the Sixth Circuit. Here’s a wrap-up of the current news and analysis

USA: The hearing will be held in April. full story

USA: The ACLU looks at where we’re at and how we got here. full story

USA: Time Magazine looks at the court’s options in the case. full story

USA: Lambda Legal asks “what happens if we lose?” full story

USA: New Now Next profiles the couples in the four cases. full story

USA: Just like the last time, it probably all comes down to Justice Kennedy. full story

USA: Not so fast, says the New Republic – Chief Justice Roberts may have a role to play too. full story

USA: Time also looks at the Supreme Court’s own history with the issue. full story

USA: Garrett Epps at The Atlantic looks at the odds. full story

USA: Time recaps what five of the Justices have written or said about marriage equality in the past. full story

USA: Prop 8 attorney David Boies thinks marriage equality will win out at the Court. full story

USA: Attorney General Eric Holder says he will file a brief with the Court in favor of marriage equality. full story

USA: While announcing the Court’s decision to take the cases, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith slammed the “continuing discrimination” by states that are still fighting same-sex marriage full story

USA: Steve Sanders at ScotusBlog looks at the issue of “animus” in the state bans and the upcoming decisions. full story

USA, Michigan: The plaintiffs here say they are in awe that the Court has decided to take up their case. full story

USA, Texas: Neel Lane, attorney the plaintiffs in the Texas marriage equality case, is calling on the three judge panel to issue a ruling even though the Supremes have now taken four marriage equality cases. full story

USA, Alaska: Attorney General Craig Richards said he would suspend his hopeless appeal of the decision striking down the state’s ban while the Supremes consider the issue. full story

US Supreme Court Takes Four Marriage Equality Cases

Friday, January 16th, 2015

US Supreme Court Color

This is huge – the Supremes just took all four cases from the Sixth Circuit:

The Supreme Court has just granted certiorari — i.e. agreed to hear oral arguments — in the Sixth Circuit marriage cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. They were consolidated. This means that the question of whether or not the United States Constitution protects the freedom of same-sex couples to marry is likely to be decided by the end of June. The Supreme Court order, issued this afternoon at approximately 3:30 PM, contains the following instructions: The cases are consolidated and the petitions for writs of certiorari are granted.

We should know by June if the whole US has marriage equality!

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Michigan Domestic Partnership Ban Overturned

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

MichiganA federal judge has finally officially overturned Michigan’s ban on getting benefits for couples in domestic partnerships.

Think Progress reports:

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the state’s law banning the same-sex partners of public employees from receiving benefits is unconstitutional. The law in question was passed just back in 2011. It specifically infringed on municipalities that were already providing benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of city employees. Five couples whose benefits were cut by the law’s passage filed the complaint that led to this decision. Judge David Lawson, a Clinton appointee, pointed out that the marriage rulings are not relevant in this case because “this is case is not about marriage.” Rather, he wrote, it has to do with whether a state “may adopt a narrow definition of family, and pass laws that penalize those unions and households that do not conform.” Only public employees with same-sex partners are impacted by the law, he explained, and it imposes a significant financial burden on them by cutting their benefits.

It’s a small but symbolic victory for the LGBT community in a state that was just burned by the anti-marriage equality decision at the 6th Circuit. And it has huge ramifications for the couples involved.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

Sixth Circuit Upholds Marriage Equality Bans

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Sixth Circuit

My friends, we have a circuit court split – the Sixth Circuit became the first in the nation to uphold a ban on same sex marriage.

The Washington Blade reports:

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that bans on same-sex marriage in each of the four states within its jurisdiction are constitutional, once again opening up the possibility for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue. In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prohibitions on same-sex marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee pass constitutional muster.

The 42-page majority opinion was written by U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, an appointee of George W. Bush who was seen as the panel’s swing vote on marriage. Sutton bases much of the ruling on his determination that bans on same-sex marriage pass rational basis review and, much like he suggested during his questioning in oral arguments, that the democratic process should decide the marriage issue, not the courts.

“When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers,” Sutton said. “Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”

Justice Ginsberg said recently that there was no reason for the Court to step in until and unless there was a split among the circuit courts. Will the Court now take another marriage equality case?

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New Poll Shows Michigan Voters Evenly Split on Marriage Equality

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

titleA new poll shows that Michigan voters are about equally split on the marriage equality issue.

Mlive.com reports:

Michigan voters appear perfectly split on a potential 2016 ballot proposal to allow same-sex marriage by amending the state constitution. If the issue was on the ballot and the election was held today, 47 percent said they would approve a gay marriage amendment, while 47 percent would vote “no,” according to a new statewide poll by EPIC-MRA. Michigan voters approved an amendment to ban gay marriage in 2004, but it’s possible talk of opening up the constitution turned some people off. Other polls have suggested a small majority of residents support the general “right of gay and lesbian couples to be legally married.”

Let’s hope marriage equality comes to the state sooner rather than later, as support continues to increase.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

Will Sixth Circuit Be First to Rule Against Marriage Equality?

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Sixth Circuit

Andrew Sullivan collects some of the views from pundits who see a possible end to the winning streak for marriage equality in the courts.

The Dish reports:

At one rather awkward point, Sutton launched into a strange monologue about the gay rights movement’s tactics, one that seemed barely tethered to the merits of the case at hand:

I would’ve thought the best way to get respect and dignity is through the democratic process. Forcing one’s neighbors, co-employees, friends, to recognize that these marriages, the status deserves the same respect as the status in a heterosexual couple. … If the goal is to change hearts and minds … isn’t it worth the expense? Don’t you think you’re more likely to change hearts and minds through the democratic process than you are through a decision by five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court?

These words should be very unnerving for supporters of same-sex marriage. Don’t come to us with your demands for equal protection and fundamental rights, Sutton implied; take your case to the voters instead. Being a legal stranger to your spouse and child isn’t so bad, he suggests, that you need to turn to the federal courts for relief.

How soon will the court rule? And if it does rule against marriage equality, will this help to create incentive for the US Supreme Court to step in?

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Sixth Circuit Hears Marriage Equality Cases From Four States

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit heard marriage equality cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee yesterday.

Freedom to Marry has a nice collection of quotes from the decisions that got the cases here:

“Once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot take your marriage away, because the right t remain married is properly recognized as a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.” –Obergefell v. Wymyslo ruling, Ohio

“No one has offered any evidence that recognizing same-sex marriages will harm opposite-sex marriages, individually or collectively. One’s belief to the contrary, however sincerely held, cannot alone justify denying a selected group their constitutional rights.” Bourke v. Beshear ruling, Kentucky

“In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. Today’s decision affirms the enduring principle that regardless of who finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.” Deboer v Snyder ruling, Michigan

Joe.My.God also has a couple videos from the marriage equality rally before the hearing:

During the hearing, at least one of the judges, Martha Daughtrey, openly mocked Mark Regnerus, author of a discredited study on gay parenting (from a reporter’s tweet and notes):

“Even the Texas professor’s University doesn’t believe anything this man says… What harm comes? It doesn’t look like the sky has fallen in other cases.”

Judge Daughtrey also pressed a Michigan Attorney on the comparison between bans on same sex marriage and interracial marriage.

She also pressed him to differentiate between banning same-sex marriage and prohibiting interracial marriage, which was prevalent in many states until a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia. “That was a vote by the people of many states against interracial marriage,” she said. Lindstrom countered that race doesn’t play a role in the fundamental definition of marriage.

The two GOP appointees on the panel appeared to give some weight to the “will of the people” argument, while the Democratic appointee appeared to clearly favor marriage equality:

Republican appointee Judge Jeffrey Sutton repeatedly questioned whether voters rather than courts should decide whether gay marriage is legal. Sutton is respected within legal circles and his views could help sway the five conservative members of the Supreme Court. The panel’s sole Democratic appointee, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, was the only member who clearly signaled support for plaintiffs seeking recognition for gay marriage. The third judge, Deborah Cook, gave fewer indications of where she stood. But like Sutton, Cook indicated that deference should be given to voters.

The New York Times has their own take on the three judges:

Judge Sutton did suggest that the arguments offered against marriage equality were weak, saying that marriage bans would be hard to defend if subjected to the intense “heightened scrutiny” that courts apply when fundamental civil rights are at stake. But he also wondered whether legal precedents in the Sixth Circuit and the Supreme Court should prevent the panel from declaring same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right deserving court intervention.

In often caustic questions, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, the Clinton appointee, left no doubt where she stood. When the lawyer for Michigan said that the courts should not tamper with an institution as deeply rooted as marriage, she replied that bans on interracial marriage were also deeply rooted before the Supreme Court found them unconstitutional. “That was the law across a huge swath of the Southern states,” she said.

The third judge, Deborah L. Cook, another Bush appointee, spoke little during the unusual proceeding in which one state’s case followed another without any breaks. But she seemed to favor the right of states to ban same-sex marriage.

The audio files for the hearings have now been posted.

So now we wait for a few months for the rulings. Yes, two judges were GOP appointees, but there are a number of GOP-appointed judges among those who have ruled for marriage equality over the last year.

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Sixth Circuit to Hear Six Marriage Equality Cases From Four States Today

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Sixth Circuit

The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in a series of marriage equality cases today from the jurisdiction’s four constituent states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. It is an unprecedented coming together of marriage equality litigation that has the potential to change the destiny of marriage in the federal courts for several reasons:

First, these cases cover the entire Sixth Circuit and any decision could affect all of them directly, even if a decision is stayed pending appeal to the Supreme Court. We have seen this happen in the Fourth Circuit, where the appellate court overturns a ban on marriage equality and other states in the circuit, North Carolina and West Virginia, either stop defending their own bans or take other pro-equality actions because they see the writing on the wall even though the decision is stayed pending appeal.

Second, the three-judge panel reflects the right-of-center tilt of the circuit, consisting of a Clinton appointee and two George W. Bush appointees, one of whom has made his fiercely conservative views public.

And, third, as the third federal appeals court to hear a post-Windsor marriage case — after the Tenth (the Utah case) and the Fourth (the Virginia case), but before the Seventh (on August 26), the Ninth (on September 8), and at some point, the Fifth — the Sixth Circuit is being watched to determine if a pattern is emerging among the circuits or if there will be a split among the panels.

Authored By Ari Ezra Waldman – See the Full Story at Towleroad.com

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