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Utah LGBT rights and marriage equality news


Houston Destroys HERO; LGBT Candidates Fare Better

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

The election news is in, and it’s pretty bad. But LGBT candidates won a number of races across the country.

Houston HERO

The LA Times reports on the fall of HERO in Houston:

Houston voters rejected a controversial ordinance Tuesday that would have barred discrimination against gays and transgender people, an outcome that came after an 18-month battle pitting gay rights advocates against those who believed they were defending religious liberty. The vote had been expected to be close. But with nearly 94% of precincts reporting, the measure was failing by a wide margin, 61% to 39%. Opponents of the measure celebrated, while one of its leading supporters, Mayor Annise Parker, predicted that the city’s reputation would suffer.

Opponents of the LGBT rights law won dirty. Keen News reports:

But opponents of the measure, the Campaign for Houston, portrayed the ordinance as “The Bathroom Bill” and pounded the airwaves with an ad showing a man following a young girl into a public bathroom stall. The voiceover warned that a vote for HERO would mean “any man at any time could enter a woman’s bathroom by simply by claiming to be a woman that day. Even registered sex offenders could follow women or young girls into the bathroom and, if a business tried to stop them, they’d be fined,” said the ad.

Openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker lamented the vote:

Houston Mayor Annise Parker is blaming the rejection of an ordinance that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people on “fear mongering” and “deliberate lies” by opponents. The openly gay mayor told more than 100 people at an election night watch party in downtown Houston that the opponents’ campaign was part of an effort to demonize the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The GOP wave also threatened to take out Parker’s democratic replacement:

The Houston mayoral race appears to be headed to a run-off between Democrat and state Rep. Sylvester Turner, a LGBT ally, and Bill King, a former Kemah, mayor who has mixed feelings on the ordinance.

Voters gave a number of reasons for rejecting the ordinance:

Susan Hunter said she doesn’t know why anyone would think that men going into a women’s bathroom or swimming pool, locker room would be a good idea. Hunter said it’s not safe and people need to find another solution. Another voter, Randal Hankla, rejected the measure saying the tactics were being used to frighten people. Hankla says there’s already an ordinance in place for discrimination, so why pile on another rule or law? Jeff Jansen, who also voted against the proposal, said it was pushing a social agenda that he doesn’t agree with.

The folks over at the far-right wing site Breitbart are dancing:

This is a national game changer. Today’s vote is a massive victory for common sense, safety, and religious freedom, not just in Houston, but for all of Texas. The eyes of the nation were on Houston, and the people sent a clear message and soundly rejected this intentionally deceptive and dangerous ordinance. Millions of dollars pouring in from national LGBT extremists, an out-of-control Mayor, and a sustained media onslaught could not overcome the tireless efforts of Houston pastors and people of faith standing for common sense, safety, and liberty. I was born and raised in Houston, and I had faith Houstonians would do the right thing, and they did. This vote will impact the nation and shows, once again, that the people still support common sense Texas values.

In Kentucky, Matt Bevin, the tea party favorite, won the Governor’s race in a come-from-behind victory riding the coattails of the Davis fiasco:

Republican Matt Bevin, who exploited Kim Davis to order to galvanize evangelicals, decisively won Kentucky’s gubernatorial race tonight, defeating Attorney General Jack Conway, who had refused to defend his state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Bevin’s candidacy was heavily supported across Teabagistan.

There was a little ray of light in Utah, where it looks like there may now be an openly lesbian mayor:

Jackie Biskupski (above), a former state legislator, was leading incumbent Mayor Ralph Becker 52 percent to 48 percent by an unofficial count Tuesday, reports The Salt Lake Tribune. Both are Democrats; the mayor’s race is nonpartisan. No further results will be released until after a November 17 canvass.

Also in Utah, marriage equality plaintiff Derek Kitchen was elected to city council:

Thank you! Thank you to my family for standing next to me through this campaign, for my volunteers for putting in countless hours knocking on doors, making calls, and talking to their friends. Thank you to all my supporters, your enthusiasm, donations, and moral cheers really kept me going. This has been such a positive experience for me as a first time candidate for public office. I’m happy to say that we ran a clean campaign focused on the issues and the residents of this great city. I feel honored that the residents of District 4 have put their faith in me to represent them and make important decisions on their behalf. I’m energized and excited to get to work on the salt lake city council as your next representative!

And overall, LGBT candidates themselves had a decent night:

There were anti-gay smear campaigns and surprise victories in conservative strongholds, as 30 of 48 openly LGBT candidates won election Tuesday night.

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Universal Heart Ministry, Salt Lake City, Utah

Monday, December 1st, 2014

RevChristopher-FULL-Color-no-background-copy6-207x300Periodically 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.

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Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Utah

Utah Supremes Lift Hold on Same Sex Adoptions

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Same sex couples can now adopt in the state of Utah.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The Utah Supreme Court is lifting its hold on adoptions by same-sex couples. The high court halted all such adoptions in May as the state appealed a federal ruling striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that decision to stand, effectively legalizing same-sex unions in Utah and 10 other states. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Thursday’s decision to lift the hold comes in the cases of four adoptions sought by wedded same-sex couples, and will presumably allow those adoptions and others to proceed.

I wasn’t sure I would live long enough to see marriage equality come to Utah, and now this!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

Marriage Equality Updates: Utah

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Utah MapWe’re running down some of the updates in the aftermath of the shocking Supreme Court decision to turn down all the pending marriage equality cases.

Next, Utah:

Utah was one of the five states with a case before the Court, so time’s up.

Gay and lesbian couples are now marrying once again in the state.

Pink News reports:

Same-sex couples have resumed marrying in Utah, after the Supreme Court declined to rule on a previous case striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban… Utah previously performed over 1300 same-sex marriages while the unions were briefly legal for 17 days last year – but couples have struggled for legal recognition from the state, after the ban was put back in place.

Joe.My.God reports that the GOP Governor and Attorney General have thrown in the towel:

Gov. Gary Herbert said at a news conference that he sent a letter to his cabinet members ordering them to recognize all legally performed marriages, that gay couples can follow the same process as everyone else to get benefits. “We are a nation of laws and we here in Utah, we’ll uphold the law,” Herbert said. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he hadn’t had chance to “review the impact of this case” but says it lends clarity to issues of adoption and marriage recognition. “It’s time for people of goodwill on both sides of the issue to come together now and heal any rifts. We are all Utahns,” Reyes said. Gill later issued a statement saying he had conferred with Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, advising her she may immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “We are excited and pleased that we now have clarity from the courts and the fundamental rights of all Utahns are honored and protected,” Gill said. “The legal analysis of Judge [Robert] Shelby has been affirmed to the benefit of all.”

The Mormon Church, however, has no plans to change its mind. Towleroad.com reports:

The succession of federal court decisions in recent months, culminating in today’s announcement by the Supreme Court, will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God.

The Church can think whatever it wants, so long as we have our rights.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

What to Expect Now That Supreme Court Delayed Marriage Decision

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

US Supreme Court bw

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court held its first conference of the new session and considered whether to take up a marriage equality case this year. And today, the justices released the first list of cases to which they’ll grant a review. There are no marriage cases on the list.

So what does this mean?

It’s impossible to read the court’s mind, but delaying a decision generally means the justices need more time to consider whether to take a case. They have additional conferences scheduled from now until the end of their term, so there’s no telling exactly when they’ll finally choose to hear a case — or choose to reject them all.

Recently, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested that the court would wait until there was disagreement between appellate courts on the issue of marriage. Looking ahead to upcoming appellate rulings, a decision is due any day now in the Ninth and Sixth circuits. The Ninth is likely to agree with the other circuits that found marriage bans to be unconstitutional. The Sixth Circuit is harder to predict, but so far all of the lower-court rulings within the circuit have rejected marriage bans as well.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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49% in Utah Support Marriage Equality

Monday, September 29th, 2014

titleMarriage equality support in Utah has risen to record levels:

On Top Magazine reports:

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they should be allowed, while 48 percent said they remain opposed. Majorities of Democrats (79%) and independents (51%) support marriage equality, as do 29 percent of Republicans. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said same-sex marriage would not affect their families. Ninety-four percent of married respondents said allowing gay couples to marry would affect their own marriages not much or not all, while 5 percent said it would a great deal or somewhat. A large majority (67%) of respondents also want the Supreme Court to decide the issue and 66 percent believe the court will strike down state marriage bans.

That’s almost 50% in the state that’s home to the Mormon Church!!!

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Supreme Court Could Choose a Marriage Equality Case Tomorrow

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

US Supreme Court ColorTomorrow is the first day the US Supreme Court could actually choose a case or cases in the marriage equality fight this year.

NBC News reports:

The justices, who will meet in a closed-door conference on Monday, will consider whether to hear any of three same-sex marriage lawsuits during the next term, which officially starts Oct. 6. If they decide to review one or more of the cases, a ruling could be reached by July on whether same-sex marriage must be allowed nationwide. If they choose not to hear the cases, the decision would allow gay nuptials in the ten states covered by the three lawsuits. The court could also wait for a circuit court to disagree with the others and support the state bans. The justice have until January 2015 to make their decision. Both opponents and supporters of gay marriage predict that the justices will hear at least one of the cases.

Which case do you think they will take, if any? Utah, Oklahoma, or Virginia?

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US Supreme Court Will Look at All 7 Pending Marriage Equality Cases

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

US Supreme Court bwThe US Supreme Court has asked the petitions be ready for all seven marriage quality cases that have reached the court.

Scotus Blog reports:

Matching the speed of lawyers and lower courts in handling the same-sex marriage controversy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set the stage for its first look at all of the pending cases, when the Justices assemble on September 29 for a private Conference. Seven petitions — three from Virginia, and one each from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin — will be submitted to the Justices at that session. There is, of course, no certainty that they will act on any or all of them at that point, but the option is there. With all sides agreeing that the time to rule is now, it would be a surprise if the Court opted to bypass the issue altogether in its new Term… Together, the petitions raise two constitutional questions: do states have power to refuse to allow same-sex couples to marry, and do states have power to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states? In all of the federal appeals courts’ decisions being challenged in these cases, state marriage bans of one or both of those kinds were struck down under the federal Constitution, either under equal protection or due process guarantees, or both.

Another set of cases before the Sixth Circuit could be decided soon.

Towleroad.com reports:

…the Supreme Court could have more cases headed its way very soon. Many are focsued on 4 pending cases before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a court some legal analysts suspect is more likely than others to uphold marriage bans: “If that happens, it’s a virtual certainty that the Supreme Court would step in and resolve the disagreement.”

The cases awaiting Supreme Court consideration on 9/29 are from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Which Marriage Equality Case Will the Supreme Court Take (If Any)?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

US Supreme CourtThis past month, lawyers from Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider reviewing three federal appellate court decisions that struck down the states’ respective bans on same-sex marriage. If the Supreme Court chooses not to hear the cases, then the appellate courts’ decisions will stand, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in the states that fall within the jurisdiction of those two circuits (the 4th Circuit includes Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas, while the 10th Circuit includes Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Wyoming).

However, should the Supreme Court choose to hear one or more of the cases, which it likely will, a definitive ruling on same-sex marriage will be in store, either enforcing the remaining 31 states’ bans on same-sex marriage, or overturning them and disallowing any new bans to be instituted.

The question at hand in each case is whether or not the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution, specifically the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses located in Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. There are a few crucial debates that stem from this question.

Authored By Chris Dietz – See the Full Story at Equality on Trial

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Utah Marriage Equality Poll: 61% Opposed

Monday, August 18th, 2014

titleA new Utah marriage equality poll shows pretty much what you’d expect – almost two-thirds are opposed to it.

UtahPolicy.com reports:

A new Zions Bank/UtahPolicy.com poll, conducted by Dan Jones and Cicero Group, shows that 61 percent of Utahns oppose same sex marriage; only 29 percent support it. And by far most “very active” Mormons oppose same sex marriage (88 percent), as their religion now teaches. At the same time, those who told Jones that they have no religion, 88 percent favor same sex marriage. A complete flip-flop connected to Mormons and the unreligious. Even though most Utahns – 61 percent – oppose same sex marriage, 58 percent believe the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately rule unconstitutional Utah’s state ban denying gay couples the right to marry.

As the article concludes, things are unlikely to change much unless and until wither the Mormon Church approves marriage equality, non-Mormons become a majority, or the younger Utahns grow up and replace their more conservative elders.

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