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Cases before the Supreme Court

 

If I Must Accept the Hobby Lobby Decision, You Must Accept Marriage Equality

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

US Supreme Court Color

June 2014: the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In a 5-4 vote, the court allows corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal laws. Opponents are angered but accept the court’s decision as the final word on the subject.

June 2015, the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Obergefell v. Hodges. In a 5-4 vote, the court grants same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Opponents are angered and do not accept the court’s decision as the final word on the subject. With excessive pouting, they demand an end to the Supreme Court as we know it.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, self-appointed leader of the outraged, convened a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting titled, ‘With Prejudice: Supreme Court Activism and Possible Solutions.’ He spoke gravely with lots of heavy sighs and theatrical turns of phrase: “Much to my great disappointment, this past term, the court crossed a line. Continued its long descent into lawlessness. To a level that I believe demands action. [dramatic pause] The court today is not a body of jurists. It is not a body of judges following the law, but rather it has declared itself, in effect, a super-legislature.” A musical stab would have worked wonderfully here to punctuate his point. He continued in a supremely serious tone: “Five unelected judges declared that the marriage laws of all 50 states were now, somehow, transformed into being unconstitutional … That’s not law. That’s not judging. That’s policy-making.”

By Domenick Scudera – Full Story at the Huffington Post

‘Rainbow Profile Pictures for Sex Offenders’ – Homophobia NOT Satire

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was one of 26 million people who used the rainbow filter on his profile picture. SOURCE: Facebook

IT’S LATE – my phone rings. It’s someone I haven’t heard from in a while. I answer.

His greeting is warm, but it sounds like he’s been drinking.

He chats about Facebook – he says he doesn’t use it much but he’s logged in and noticed the rainbow filter on my profile picture, the only one among his list of friends on the site.

He says he is concerned because he has just read an article claiming that sex offenders have been ordered to use rainbow profile pictures on social media so others can easily identify them as potential predators. 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.

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 in Turmoil After Marriage Equality Comes to State

Monday, February 9th, 2015

As the US Supreme Court declined to extend the stay on a Federal Judge’s ruling and as same sex couples started to marry in the state, opponents of marriage equality dug in their heels.

Things started off well enough, with many counties issuing licenses.

Joe.My.God reports:

According to local media it appears that the majority of Alabama’s 67 counties are issuing or prepared to issue same-sex marriage licenses. At this writing fewer than a dozen counties have confirmed that they are defying this morning’s order by the Supreme Court. Probate judges in several counties decided not to issue any marriage licenses at all – to same-sex or heterosexual couples. In some counties, including Butler County, Colbert County and Coosa County probate courts are taking marriage applications from all couples but not issuing licenses. In Coffee County, Jefferson County, Chilton County and Madison County, probate judges said they will issue marriage licenses to all couples, gay and straight, on Monday morning. Probate judges in other counties chose to follow the order issued late Sunday by Chief Justice Moore. Probate judges in Bibb County, Covington County, Cleburne County and Washington County decided not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday, but will still issue licenses to opposite-sex couples.

As the day wore on, more and more counties jumped on the anti-gay discrimination bandwagon.

Joe.My.God reports:

At the start of the day fewer than a dozen of Alabama’s 67 counties had been confirmed as refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. It appears that number has now about tripled. Most of the counties contacted by AL.com this morning have suspended issuing all marriage licenses in the wake of conflicting rulings from a federal judge and the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The majority of counties across the state have either suspended the issuance of all marriage licenses or are only accepting applications. Probate judges have said it is the best compromise for the moment, until they determine which order to follow. Other probate judges have said that they may change their policies within hours or days. Counties colored red are not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Those colored green are issuing licenses to all couples. Those shaded in yellow are not issuing any marriage licenses and those colored orange are only accepting applications, but issuing no licenses.

Alabama Map

The Governor was no help.

Towleroad reports:

“This issue has created confusion with conflicting direction for Probate Judges in Alabama. Probate Judges have a unique responsibility in our state, and I support them. I will not take any action against Probate Judges, which would only serve to further complicate this issue. We will follow the rule of law in Alabama, and allow the issue of same sex marriage to be worked out through the proper legal channels.”

And the Attorney General took up the Chief Justice’s contention that probate judges could turn away same sex couples.

On Top Magazine reports:

In responding to a decision by the Supreme Court not to stay two federal judge’s rulings striking down Alabama’s ban on gay marriage, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange suggested that probate judges do not have to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Strange had asked the Supreme Court to delay Monday’s scheduled implementation of the rulings. In a 7-2 decision, the court denied Strange’s request.

The Human Rights Campaign called for the impeachment of Chief Justice Moore over his refusal to follow the federal court judgment.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition to remove Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore from office. Moore urged the governor of Alabama and probate judges, who issue licenses in the state, to stand in the way of same-sex marriages despite an explicit order by a federal judge. The HRC petition calls on the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Moore — who previously declared that homosexuality should be a punishable offense and grounds for losing parental custody — for shirking the law and the obligations of his office.

One of the plaintiff couples filed a contempt motion against the Mobile County probate judge for refusing to issue licenses.

Equality on Trial reports:

Mobile County, Alabama, is stalling in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The county has said there are some delays, and they’re not issuing licenses until those are worked out. They aren’t even opening the marriage license division. Attorneys for the couple who filed Searcy v. Strange have just filed a contempt motion requesting “an Order declaring the Honorable Don Davis to be in contempt, to further order law enforcement to open the marriage license division of Mobile County Probate Court, impose sanctions against the Honorable Don Davis, and any such further legal remedies this Court deems appropriate and just, the premises considered.”

The motion was promptly swatted down by a federal judge.

Joe.My.God reports:

“Probate Judge Don Davis is not a party in this case and the Order of January 23, 2015, did not directly order Davis to do anything. Judge Davis’s obligation to follow the Constitution does not arise from this court’s Order. The Clarification Order noted that actions against Judge Davis or others who fail to follow the Constitution could be initiated by persons who are harmed by their failure to follow the law. However, no such action is before the Court at this time.”

The couple responded with an amended complaint against pretty much everyone in Mobile County government.

Joe.My.God reports:

Mobile lawsuit

The Supreme Court’s decision to not extend the stay reinforces the trend they started in Florida.

USA Today reports:

The Supreme Court will decide whether to allow same-sex marriage nationwide later this year. But it’s leaving little doubt which way it’s leaning. The latest evidence came Monday, when the high court denied Alabama’s request that gay marriages be blocked while the state appeals a federal judge’s ruling that allowed gays and lesbians to wed. That was the same decision the justices reached in Florida two months ago, allowing the Sunshine State to become the 36th in the nation where same-sex marriage is legal. Alabama now becomes the 37th.

In one bit of excellent news, Paul Hard, a gay man who has been embroiled in a legal fight against his deceased husband’s mother as she tries to steal her son’s estate won the latest round.

Towleroad reports:

The state of Alabama has issued Hard a new death certificate for Fancher, this time listing Fancher as his husband. Said Hard, “Getting David’s death certificate was emotional. Just to finally see the wording on there that at the time of his death he was married, and he was married to me, corrects a hurtful wrong.”

This will make it much harder for the evil mother-in-law to get her hands on her son’s estate.

We’ll leave you with this cartoon, which draws a great parallel between the hateful men blocking the door to marriage equality and their counterparts in an earlier era.

Cartoon Birmingham News

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

US Supreme Court Won’t Intervene In Alabama Marriage Equality Case

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Alabama mapOnce again, the US Supreme Court has declined to step in to halt same sex weddings in a Southern State.

Equality on Trial reports:

This morning, the Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request to put same-sex marriages on hold pending the appeal of two cases. Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia dissented, writing, “Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States. Over the past few months, the Court has repeatedly denied stays of lower court judgments enjoining the enforcement of state laws on questionable constitutional grounds.

This means weddings will begin in the state today, and some counties are already marrying same sex couples.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

The Marriage Equality Cases Before the US Supreme Court

Friday, January 30th, 2015

US Supreme Court ColorLast time, we spoke about the importance of framing the case through the Questions Presented. I argued that despite some concern, the two questions posed in the Supreme Court’s order do not indicate that the justices are looking for a way out. They are ready to rule. Before we discuss the substance on which the justices will rule, let’s review the four cases that will decide the marriage equality question.

This matters because not all cases are fungible. Some come with better facts, others come with messy complications; some come with sympathetic plaintiffs, others have unfortunate optics. Especially when it comes to appellate review, the record on appeal can even tilt the outcome of the case. Plus, the cases are fun to talk about at nerdy cocktail parties.

Bourke v. Beshear is the Kentucky case and it was one of the earlier (though not the earliest) post-Windsor pro-equality decisions from a federal district court. It is about both the right to have a valid out-of-state marriage recognized in a home state and Kentucky’s own in-state ban. The judge, the Honorable John G. Heyburn, relied heavily on Windsor and found that Kentucky’s marriage laws discriminated against gay persons in violation of the Equal Protection Clause as applied to the states. Using rational basis review — the lowest form of scrutiny that only requires a rational connection between a law and a legitimate government objective — the court said there was no rational reason to treat gays this way. He struck down the anti-recognition law.

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

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

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

Marriage Equality USA Community Call Tonight on Supreme Court Cases

Friday, January 16th, 2015

MEUSA Community Call

Please join Marriage Equality USA, for a call THIS EVENING, Friday, January 16th, to discuss the United States Supreme Court announcement today that they WILL take all four marriage cases from the 6th Circuit this term!

Our partners for this call are:

ACLU-KY
ACLU-WI
Equality Michigan
Fair Wisconsin
Fairness Campaign
GetEQUAL
Las Vegas PRIDE
Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center
Montrose Center (TX)
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN)
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, TX
TIME OF CALL: 6pm PT / 7pm MT / 8pm CT / 9pm ET

SIGN UP NOW FOR TONIGHT’S CALL!

Today SCOTUS announced that they are granting cert to (agreeing to review) the 6th Circuit marriage cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee during their 2015 term.

You are invited to our Community Call to discuss the high Court’s decision, to hear community reaction, and to ask questions about what this decision might portend for the marriage equality movement. This call is open to all supporters of marriage equality and allies — feel free to share this info!

Participants on the call will include: Kathleen Perrin, Director, Equality Case Files and host John Lewis, Director of Legal and Policy, Marriage Equality USA. The call will be moderated by Brian Silva, Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA.

To receive the call in information, sign up now! All attendees will receive the call information by email today, Friday, January 16.

~ The MEUSA Communications Team

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!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.