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New Marriage Equality Lawsuit in South Carolina

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

South Carolina MapAfter the AG indicated he would drag his feet as long as possible on marriage equality in the state, the ACLU has filed a new lawsuit.

The Washington Blade reports:

A new lawsuit seeks to compel South Carolina to comply with precedent in its judicial circuit that has established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The 15-page complaint was filed on Wednesday by the LGBT group Lambda Legal on behalf of a lesbian couple, Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley, who applied and paid for a marriage license when Charleston County allowed same-sex marriage, but were unable to marry. In a statement, Condon said she and her partner were excited about the possibility of being wed after obtaining a marriage license and disappointed when that didn’t come to pass.

These conservative states in districts affected by the US Supreme Court non-decision are like dead men walking. It’s over, but they haven’t realized it yet.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

National LGBT Groups Drop ENDA Support

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

New Human Rights Campaign President Ready to Wade Into More Marriage Equality FightsIt started yesterday with an announcement from NGLTF.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Six of the nation’s leading LGBT rights advocacy groups on Tuesday announced they were withdrawing their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), fearing that broad religious exemptions included in the current bill could compel private companies to cite objections similar to those that prevailed in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week.

The withdrawal was first announced earlier Tuesday by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and by mid-afternoon the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the Transgender Law Center issued a joint statement that they would no longer support the current version of ENDA because it provides “religiously affiliated organizations … a blank check to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBT people.”

The issue has been simmering for awhile, but the Hobby Lobby decision last week brought it to a boil.

Towleroad.com reports from the NGLTF press release:

“The morning after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, we all woke up in a changed and intensified landscape of broad religious exemptions being used as an excuse to discriminate. We are deeply concerned that ENDA’s broad exemption will be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country. We are concerned that these types of legal loopholes could negatively impact other issues affecting LGBT people and their families including marriage, access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and access to other reproductive health services. As one of the lead advocates on this bill for 20 years, we do not take this move lightly but we do take it unequivocally – we now oppose this version of ENDA because of its too-broad religious exemption. We cannot be complicit in writing such exemptions into federal law.”

The lone hold-out? HRC.

Pink News reports:

Despite the shift, the Human Rights Campaign – which tackled anti-gay discrimination – has maintained support for the bill. Human Rights Campaign Vice President Fred Sainz said yesterday: “HRC supports ENDA because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LGBT people.”

Is HRC hanging on because it has spent years and years failing to get this thing passed, and now fears seeing the whole thing go down in flames?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Wisconsin Marriage Equality Updates: ACLU Edition

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Wisconsin MapAlthough Wisconsin marriage equality is on hold, the ACLU is taking several actions in the state.

First, it plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the 500 same sex couples who married before the stay was enacted.

Pink News reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the US state of Wisconsin is preparing to file a lawsuit which will aim to protect, and have recognised, the more than 500 marriages of same-sex couples. US District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban on Friday 6 June, leading to some counties issuing marriage licences immediately, and allowing more than 500 gay and lesbian couples to wed.

The state is also asking the judge who ruled in the case to lift her stay.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Crabb put her ruling on hold a week later, granting Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s request to stay the order pending appeal. The ACLU filed a motion Thursday to lift the stay, arguing Van Hollen has had weeks to file notice of an appeal but has done nothing in hopes of delaying a ruling as long as possible. The motion was referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker. Van Hollen has until July 21 to file under court rules. His spokeswoman says the ACLU’s impatience won’t affect his timing.

Based on recent history, I’d say recognition of the existing marriages has a better shot than the stay being lifted before appeal.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Marriage Equality Lawsuits Expected Over Validity of Marriages

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Wisconsin MapNow that a federal judge has stayed her Wisconsin marriage equality ruling, lawsuits are expected to enforce the validity of weddings performed before the stay.

Edge Boston reports:

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union in Wisconsin are looking at whether to file lawsuits on behalf of same-sex couples who got married after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on gay marriages. ACLU spokeswoman Molly Collins said Tuesday no decision has been made yet on the next step to ensure those marriages are recognized as legal, even though the ruling striking down the ban is on hold.

The Federal Government has stepped in to recognize marriages in similar circumstances, in Utah and other states.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

Alabama Marriage Equality Lawsuit Filed by the ACLU

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Another Alabama marriage equality lawsuit has been filed, this time by the ACLU.

ACLU LogoThe Montgomery Advertiser reports:

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning, is on behalf of April and Ginger Aaron-Brush, a Birmingham couple who were legally married in Massachusetts two years ago and are raising a 7-year-old daughter together. The state’s 1998 Protection of Marriage Act and 2006 Sanctity of Marriage Amendment both outlaw the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. The laws already face legal challenges. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued on behalf of a Montgomery man, and two Mobile women have filed a lawsuit as well. Wendy Crew, one of the cooperating attorneys in the case, said the suit challenges the laws based on the equal protection and full faith and credit clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Now that we’ve exhausted all the states with no lawsuits, I guess we’re going back for seconds on the states that do?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Wisconsin Marriage Equality Updates: Pizzeria Covers Newlyweds’ Bill; ACLU Files for Injunction Against Ban

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Wisconsin MapA couple more updates out of Wisconsin this morning.

First off, a Pizzeria picked up the tab for a gay couple celebrating their wedding.

Towleroad.com reports:

A gay Wisconsin couple likely weren’t expecting to have the day they had last Friday. First, a judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Second, they were married hours later. Third, the pizzeria they went to for their wedding dinner covered their entire bill. Christopher Graham and Andrew Capelle posted a photo on Facebook of their receipt from the Transfer Pizzeria and Cafe with a message thanking the staff: Yesterday, my husband and I could legally get married in Wisconsin. After our ceremony (and staying to witness several others) we stopped in last night for dinner to celebrate. When the check came, our server, Melissa, told us that our bill had been taken care of by the staff.

How sweet is that?

In other news, the ACLU has filed a demand for a permanent injunction against the marriage equality ban.

Joe.My.God reports:

The ACLU yesterday filed the requested demand for a permanent injunction against the enforcement of Wisconsin’s marriage ban. Defendants Scott Walker and J.B. Van Hollen, in their official capacities,and their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and all those acting in concert with them, are permanently enjoined from enforcing art. XIII, S 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution and any Wisconsin statutory provisions limiting marriage to different-sex couples, including those in Wis. Stat. ch. 765, so as to deny same-sex couples the same rights to marry that are provided to different-sex couples or to deny same-sex couples lawfully married in Wisconsin or in other jurisdictions the same rights, protections, obligations and benefits of marriage under Wisconsin law that are provided to different-sex couples.

Could marriage equality be here to stay in Wisconsin?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

USA, North Carolina: ACLU Files New Marriage Equality Lawsuit

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Ellen and PearlHilighting same sex couples facing serious health issues, the ACLU filed another marriage equality lawsuit in the state.

ABC News reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday launched a new legal assault on North Carolina’s constitutional ban on recognizing same-sex marriage, urging a federal judge to quickly negate it to help children and gay couples suffering from urgent health problems. The civil rights group said it was seeking to speed up a decision in lawsuit filed in 2012 by citing the urgent health needs of a child who suffers from cerebral palsy who was adopted by one of the lesbian couples involved in the case. The ACLU also filed a new lawsuit on behalf of three other lesbian couples struggling with health conditions made more difficult because they lack legal recognition of their marriages performed in other states, said ACLU staff attorney Elizabeth Gill.

Towleroad.com highlights two of the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit, an adorable lesbian couple:

“We don’t have time to wait,” said High Point resident Ellen “Lennie” Gerber, 78, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. “Pearl is 89 and frail. We’ve been treated nicely in High Point, but what if we call 911 in another city? What if I’m not allowed to be there? It would be beyond intolerable if that should happen.” Gerber and Pearl Berlin have been together for 48 years, and married legally last year in Maine. But a hospital could deny Gerber visitation rights because she is not legally recognized as a family member or next of kin in North Carolina.

And why should they have to wait? The case hilights the real damage done to same sex couples by the ban on marriage equality. We shouldn’t have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

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.

USA, Missouri: ACLU to Sue for Marriage Equality

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Missouri mapYet another marriage equality lawsuit is popping up in the midwest, this time in Missouri.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The ACLU announced today that they will file a marriage equality lawsuit against the state of Missouri. Stephanie Perkins, deputy director for PROMO, a Missouri gay and lesbian advocacy group, said the litigation seeks to overturn Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage. Couples from Kansas City, St. Louis, mid-Missouri and Springfield are included in the suit, which will be filed in state court in Kansas City.

Amazing how the movement continues to grow and reach new places…

Also in Missouri today, a lesbian couple was refused communion.

Towleroad.com reports:

When Carol Parker’s (above right) partner was mentioned in her deceased mother’s (left) obituary this December, the priest at their local Catholic church took notice and took action. Parker and her partner, Josephine Martin, were members of Saint Columban Catholic Church for 12 years until the priest, Father Benjamin Kneib, denied them communion upon learning of their romantic partnership. Parker sang in the choir, and worked as a cantor and lector for the church, and both women were saddened by the church’s actions.

So petty…

Click here for gay travel resources in Missouri.

USA, Nebraska: Will Someone Challenge Marriage Equality Ban in State?

Friday, January 17th, 2014

NebraskaNebraska’s ban on marriage equality is overly broad, in comparison to other bans that are already being struck down.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Nebraska doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, under a constitutional amendment approved by 70 percent of voters in 2000. The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union – on behalf of a group dubbed Citizens for Equal Protection – sued the state in 2003 challenging the ban. U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down the measure in 2005, ruling it was overly broad and deprived gays and lesbians of participation in the political process, among other things. But the victory was short-lived. In 2006, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Bataillon’s ruling, reinstating Nebraska’s voter-approved ban.

The ACLU currently has no plans to re-file:

Since then, there have been no federal challenges filed against the Nebraska law, and the ACLU said Wednesday that it has no plans to challenge the law again.

Will someone step in to challenge this law? Or will this ban stand until the Supreme Court finally gets around to invalidating it?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Nebraska.