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Judge Denies Westboro Intervention in Kansas Marriage Equality Case, Tenth Circuit Denies Stay

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

KansasWe have a couple new developments in the Kansas marriage equality case. First off, A judge basically told the Westboro Baptist Church to piss off in the request to intervene in the case.

The Washington Blade reports:

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, an Obama appointee who on Election Day ruled against the Kansas ban on same-sex marriage, determined in a seven-page decision state officials defending Kansas law adequately represent Westboro’s interests. “WBC has not identified any differences between the defendant’s ultimate objective in the litigation and its own,” Crabtree writes. “Nor can the Court identify any–both seek to uphold Kansas’ constitutional and statutory prohibitions against same-sex marriage. A shared ultimate objective between an existing party and an applicant for intervention triggers a presumption of adequate representation.”

And on the same day, the 10th circuit denied the state’s request for a stay.

Joe.My.God reports:

The district court granted preliminary injunctive relief to plaintiffs on November 4, enjoining defendants from enforcing or applying Kansas constitutional and statutory provisions that prohibit issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The district court then stayed its injunctive order until 5:00 p.m. on November 11. Defendants immediately appealed the preliminary injunction ruling and also filed an emergency motion pursuant to 10th Cir. R. 8.1, asking this court to stay the district court’s injunctive order pending their appeal of the ruling. We conclude that defendants have failed to make the showings necessary to obtain a stay, and we deny the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal. We note that the district court’s temporary stay of its own preliminary injunction order remains in effect until 5:00 p.m. CST on November 11, 2014.

Noew the state has asked the US Supreme Court to step in.

Pink News reports:

The state of Kansas has asked the Supreme Court to halt same-sex weddings, which are due to begin statewide on Tuesday. Weddings are set to begin next Tuesday, after the Attorney General Derek Schmidt had his desperate attempt to stop them rejected by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, Mr Schmidt has now taken his case even further – asking the Supreme Court to halt the marriages. He said: “Because the federal District Court’s injunction will effectively disable a provision in the Kansas Constitution, I believe I have a duty to exhaust all of the state’s options for appeal.

If recent history is any guide, he’ll get a swift respnse from the Court, and it will be a “no”. In that case, the current stay will expire on Tuesday, November 11, and same-sex couples will be free to marry across the state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kansas.

USA, Utah: 10th Circuit to Hear Utah Marriage Equality Case Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Utah MapThe Utah marriage equality lawsuit winding its way through the courts hits the appeals level tomorrow.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Denver-based court will hear oral arguments Thursday in the Utah same-sex marriage case Herbert v. Kitchen. By order of the court, there will be no audio or video recording, broadcasting, photography, blogging, tweeting, emailing or any other broadcast mechanism or wireless communication anywhere in the courthouse during oral arguments. In that crowded courtroom, a three-judge panel will scrutinize the Dec. 2013 decision of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby (an Obama appointee). Shelby ruled that the state constitution’s definition of marriage as being only between “a man and a woman” is not permissible under the U.S. Constitution. He said the law’s prohibition of same-sex couples marrying violates the due process and equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. He said the ban denies gay and lesbian citizens their “fundamental right to marry and, in doing so, demean[s] the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason.”

Marriage equality USA plans a rally tomorrow in Salt Lake City, and a conference call tomorrow night to discuss the hearing.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

USA, Utah: Marriage Equality Foes Win Seven Day Extension

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Utah MapUtah won a minor skirmish, getting an extra week to submit briefs in the marriage equality lawsuit.

Equality on Trial reports:

…the Tenth Circuit today granted a request filed by the state of Utah seeking a time extension in the expedited briefing schedule that had previously been provided by the appellate court. Originally, the Tenth Circuit had ordered briefing in the appeal of Judge Shelby’s decision in Kitchen to be completed by February 25, but Utah officials asked for a 10-day stay in light of the very recent appointment of a new attorney general and a search for outside counsel conducted by the state. Although the Tenth Circuit said in its original briefing order that requests for delay were “very strongly discouraged,” the circuit court today granted Utah’s request in part, allowing an extension of seven days. This means that the opening brief will now be due February 3, the response brief will be due February 25, and any reply brief will be due March 4. It is possible that the Tenth Circuit will consider oral arguments in the case during its March 17-21 sitting.

If the Tenth Circuit rules against Utah, it would set a great precedent going up to the Supreme Court, and other conservative states would be in serious danger of losing their own bans on marriage equality. One can only hope.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

USA, Utah: Federal Government to Recognize Same Sex Marriages

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Utah MapThe Obama administration announced yesterday that the federal government would recognize the 1300 same-sex marriages performed in Utah before the Supreme Court issued a stay.

The New York Times reports:

The statement also provided a new twist in a fight that has pitted notions of individual equality against the right of states to define marriage as a majority of their voters see fit. It added to legal confusion surrounding the status of couples who married in a brief window after a Federal District Court judge unexpectedly struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages last month, before the Supreme Court stayed the ruling on Monday, effectively shutting down any further same-sex nuptials in the state for the duration of the litigation.

“I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in an unusual video announcement on the Justice Department website. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds.”

In related news, Maryland’s Attorney General said the state will also recognize Utah’s new same-sex marriages.

The Washington Blade reports:

“Maryland will continue to recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages as we continue to strengthen the Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law,” said Gansler. “It is an affront to the idea of basic human rights that the battle for full marriage equality in this country remains in headlines and courtrooms.” Gansler told the Washington Blade his office on Thursday received a call from a gay Maryland couple who married in Utah about whether the state would recognize their union.

Yesterday also saw a rally inside the Utah State Capitol building for marriage equality.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Just hours after the Obama administration said it would recognize the 1,300 same-sex marriages in Utah, hundreds of marriage equality supporters gathered inside the state Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday calling on Republican Gov. Gary Herbert to do the same. And for the same-sex couples who have lived through a wave of emotions, the show of support from the federal government provided validation and turned the rally into a raucous celebration.

Now we wait for the 10th circuit hearing on marriage equality in Utah.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

USA, Utah: County Clerks Can Finish Same-Sex Marriage Paperwork Already in Progress

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Utah MapEnding one small part of the uncertainty around the marriage equality lawsuit in Utah, the Attorney General ordered the state’s county clerks to finish any paperwork on same-sex marriages that was started before the Supreme Court’s stay.

Joe.My.God reports:

The stay remains in effect while the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the long-term question of whether gay couples have a right to wed in Utah. In Weber County, about 30 couples married before the ruling, but their marriage certificates were not completed after county attorneys said to put them on hold. Reyes’ new advice was issued to clear up some confusion and only applies to marriages that were solemnized, his spokeswoman Missy Larsen said. “As long as the marital ceremony happened prior to the stay, then the marriage can receive documentation,” Larsen said. The attorney general’s office said Thursday’s guidance is not a decision on whether the marriages are valid.

So that’s something.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign is asking the US Attorney General to ensure that Utah’s new same-sex marriages are recognized federally.

Pink News reports:

The AP has obtained a letter from the HRC which calls on the US Attorney General to immediately recognise the marriages of those couples, and allow them federal benefits.
A US Supreme Court ruling in June 2013 extended over a thousand benefits to same-sex married couples. The same court is expected to decide some time in February whether Utah same-sex couples will be able to marry going forward.

And the Mormon church is not filing a brief in the case at this point.

Gay Star News reports:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormons, has said it will not get involved in the Utah state government’s appeal to the legalization of same-sex marriage by a District Court for now – but has not ruled out becoming involved at a later date. Church spokeswoman Jessica Moody told Fox News 13 that the Mormons were not currently seeking to file a ‘friend of the court’ brief in the appeal of the District Court ruling that allowed over 1,300 same-sex couples to marry since 20 December – although the US Supreme Court has now stayed any further same-sex couples marrying until an appeal is heard.

Briefs in the case are due by February 25th, and the case could be heard as soon as March 17th by the 10th circuit. Could this be the case that blows away all those same-sex marriage bans? Or will the Supreme Court still be cautious once a case reaches them?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

USA, Utah: After Supreme Court Issues Stay, Married Couples in Limbo

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Utah MapIn the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to stay same sex weddings in Utah, more than 1,000 couples who married in the last two weeks are in a legal limbo,

The New York Times reports:

In a move that cast doubt over the marriages of roughly 1,000 same-sex couples in Utah, the United States Supreme Court on Monday blocked further same-sex marriages there while state officials appeal a decision allowing such unions. The development created what Utah’s attorney general called “legal limbo” for the same-sex couples who had wed in the state in recent weeks. With the state’s ban on such unions reinstated for now, many wondered whether their window to marry in Utah had closed forever.

“As remarkable and miraculous as it was, we’re still cognizant of the fact that this still is one of the most conservative states in the union,” said Michael Ferguson, half of the first gay couple to receive a marriage license in the state. “I don’t feel a sense of despair or hopelessness or anything remotely close to that. This is part of living in a civil society where we have the rule of law.”

We know how they feel. Mark and I went through this twice – once in 2004, when our San Francisco wedding was overturned, and once i 2008, when it was not. But this is a little different, as the ban here was already i place, and we’re in a post DOMA/Prop 8 world.

Jacob Combs at Equality on Trial analyzes the stay:

First of all, the Utah situation is relatively unprecedented, and presents new questions for the justices to grapple with that Sotomayor may have wished to decided with her colleagues rather than on her own. But the most important reason that she likely referred the stay to the full court is the simplest: it was almost certain to get to them one way or another. If Justice Sotomayor had denied the stay, the state of Utah could have refiled the request with any other justice, according to the Supreme Court’s rules. For example, Utah could have gone to Justice Scalia in the hopes that he felt differently about the stay than Justice Sotomayor.

In theory, the state could keep doing this until five justices had individually denied the request for an emergency stay. And even if any justice did grant the stay, the party opposing a stay (in this case the couples) could go to the full court to have them vacate that stay! In order to avoid such a convoluted and drawn out process, justices who receive a petition that has been rejected by another justice typically refer the matter to the full court out of custom. Justice Sotomayor probably wanted to avoid the possibility of drawing out this issue and longer than necessary; an initial decision from the full court on the stay issue is final, and settles the matter conclusively.

So this might have been the best of all current possible outcomes.

Governor Herbert is happy but wishes the stay had been granted sooner.

CBS 12 reports:

Utah officials are praising a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on gay marriage in the state. Gov. Gary Herbert says the stay should have been granted earlier to avoid uncertainty. Two previous courts turned down the state’s request for a stay.

And hunger-striking Trestin Meacham had a yogurt.

The Daily Beast reports:

The Supreme Court put a hold on a Utah judge’s ruling, invalidating the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and, in celebration, Trestin Meacham ate some yogurt. The 35-year-old one-time state senate candidate had been fasting for 15 days in protest of the court’s decision, hoping that his hunger strike would result in Utah nullifying the ruling. That didn’t happen. But Meacham is happy to count the Supreme Court’s stay as a personal victory, even if he acknowledges that starving himself almost certainly had no impact on the high court’s decision.

The Tenth Circuit has expedited the appeal, so we could see a trial there as soon as March 17th.

Keen News Service reports:

The challenge to Utah’s ban (the state constitutional Amendment 3 and related statutes), Kitchen v. Herbert, now proceeds as Herbert v. Kitchen on an expedited schedule before the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The next briefing date, according to attorney Peggy Tomsic who is part of the team representing same-sex couples, is January 27. The last brief due before oral argument is February 25. The court date has not yet been announced but the next argument session after that deadline is March 17-21.

Utah’s argument? Think Progress reports:

Although they attempt to address the first proposition — i.e., that children generally do better in various ways when raised by a mother and father, at least one of whom (or preferably both) is a biological parent — Respondents attack a straw man: They mischaracterize this point as an argument that “same-sex parents are inferior to opposite-sex parents.” That is not the point: The State does not contend that the individual parents in same-sex couples are somehow “inferior” as parents to the individual parents who are involved in married, mother-father parenting. The point, rather, is that the combination of male and female parents is likely to draw from the strengths of both genders in ways that cannot occur with any combination of two men or two women, and that this gendered, mother-father parenting model provides important benefits to children.

That this would be so is hardly surprising. Society has long recognized that diversity in education brings a host of benefits to students. If that is true in education, why not in parenting? At a minimum, the State and its people could rationally conclude that gender diversity — i.e., complementarity — in parenting is likely to be beneficial to children. And the State and its people could therefore rationally decide to encourage such diversity by limiting the coveted status of “marriage” to man-woman unions.

LMAO at that streeeeeeeetch.

For now, the weddings of the last two weeks remain valid, though a future decision could change that.

10th Circuit Refuses Stay for Utah Same Sex Marriages

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-25 at 7.07.57 PMAp is reporting that a federal appeals court has refused yet again to stop gay marriage in Utah, making it more likely that same-sex weddings in the home of the Mormon church are here to stay for the immediate future.

Judge Robert J. Shelby‘s decision last week to strike down a 2004 voter-approved gay marriage ban sent gay couples rushing to county clerk offices to get marriage licenses. About 700 gay couples have obtained licenses since Friday, with most of the activity in Salt Lake City. The State then made several attempts to stay the marriages, right up to the 10th Circuit, with all 4 attempts at an emergency stay denied.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals‘ rejection of Utah’s request for an emergency order to put gay marriage on hold marked was the latest legal setback for the state. Utah’s last chance to temporarily stop the marriages would be a long-shot request before U.S. Supreme Court.

That’s what the Utah attorney general’s office is prepared to do, spokesman Ryan Bruckman said. Gov. Gary Herbert‘s office declined to comment on the decision.

“We’re disappointed in the ruling, but we just have to take it to the next level,” Bruckman said.

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USA, Utah: 10th Circuit Will Not Stay Weddings

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Utah MapThis just in from Brooke Adams @Brooke4Trib on twitter:

10th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Utah’s request for emergency stay while it seeks stay from Judge Shelby. #utah #samesexmarriage

Update from Fox News SLC::

According to the documents, the filing for an Emergency Motion for Temporary Stay did not address nor satisfy the factors that must be established to be entitled to a stay pending an appeal. The denial is without prejudice if the defendants-appellants file a motion for stay pending appeal that complies with regulations.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.