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USA, Louisiana: US Supreme Court to Look at State’s Marriage Equality Case

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Louisiana mapThe US Supreme Court has decided to at least consider taking another marriage equality case.

Equality on Trial reports:

The Supreme Court, in a brief update to the docket page for the Louisiana marriage case Robicheaux v. George, has noted that the case will be taken up in its next conference, on January 9. The case is the only one involving marriage equality that is currently listed for that conference, but the Court has a few more opportunities to add the rest of the cases.

Interestingly, the Court will consider taking the case on the same day that the Fifth Circuit hears it.

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Which Marriage Equality Case Will the US Supreme Court Choose?

Friday, August 29th, 2014

US Supreme Court bw

It’s getting so you can’t tell the potential Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage without a scorecard.

When the justices sit down for their first fall conference Sept. 29, they will consider the initial requests from states to review decisions striking down gay-marriage bans. Unless they quickly agree to hear one or more cases, those petitions won’t be the last.

Lawyers on both sides predict the justices will act soon to decide the issue by next June. That makes it likely they will choose from among the three cases pending. Some of the nation’s premier Supreme Court advocates, sensing history in the making, have signed on to represent gay couples or state officials.

“The issue is moving so fast,” says John Bursch, a former Michigan solicitor general defending Utah’s gay-marriage ban. “People want an answer soon, and I think the court is going to want to give it to them.”

Authored By Richard Wolf – See the Full Story at USA Today

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Will the Supreme Court Use a 1972 Case to Block Marriage Equality?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

US Supreme CourtA whole lot of judges who are being asked to decide whether states may ban same-sex couples from marrying think the Supreme Court clearly gave them the answer last year: no. But a few judges think the Supreme Court provided the answer more than 40 years ago: yes.

That reading comes from a one-sentence order the court issued in a 1972 case, Baker v. Nelson, which said there was no “substantial federal question” in a state’s decision to ban same-sex marriages.

The dismissal of that long-ago case might be the reason that same-sex marriage supporters see their winning streak in federal courts come to an end. And it could give lower court judges, who know the ultimate answer on same-sex marriage will come from the Supreme Court, a way to uphold voter-approved state bans without deciding the thorny constitutional questions that accompany the issue.

Authored By Robert Barnes – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

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Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg: Court Won’t Duck Marriage Equality Issue

Friday, August 1st, 2014

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg indicated yesterday that the Court is ready to tackle marriage equality head-on.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The 81-year-old Ginsburg said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that she expects a same-sex marriage case to be heard and decided by June 2016, and possibly a year earlier. Attitudes have changed swiftly in favor of same-sex marriage, which is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, Ginsburg said in her wood-paneled office on the court’s main floor. She predicted that the justices would not delay ruling as they did on interracial marriage bans, which were not formally struck down until 1967. “I think the court will not do what they did in the old days when they continually ducked the issue of miscegenation,” Ginsburg said. “If a case is properly before the court, they will take it.”

In the past, Ginsburg has publicly worried about the Supreme Court getting too far ahead of public opinion, so this is a refreshing change. She also officiated the wedding of a same sex couple last year.

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USA, Pennsylvania: Judge Rejects State Appeal in Marriage Equality Case

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Pennsylvania mapA federal judge in Pennsylvania rejected the state’s attempt to take the way his jurisdiction in the case, based on an old, old, old Minnesota marriage equality case from 1972.

Edge Boston reports:

U.S. District Judge John Jones on Tuesday rejected the state’s argument that his court lacks the power to hear the case, and suggested that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would agree with him. Jones says there’ve been “substantial and far-reaching” developments in how courts treat equal protection and due process rights since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1972 decision that it lacked the jurisdiction to decide whether a Minnesota law banning same-sex marriages violated the Constitution.

Good for him for rejecting this transparent attempt to nix the lawsuit. The case will get its day in court on June 9.

Perhaps trying to burnish his anti-gay image, Governor Tom Corbett came out today in favor of some protections for LGBT citizens in the state.

Joe.My.God reports:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who so far had been no friend to the gay community, has backed a bill that would protect LGBT residents from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Corbett, who has previously staked out conservative positions on social issues, told The Inquirer that he was “coming out in support” of the bill after learning that federal law does not cover discrimination in the state.

Small steps.

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USA, Utah: Marriage Equality Case Gets Hearing in Court Today

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Utah MapThree same-sex couples will be in court in Utah for a hearing today.

ABC News reports:

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby is expected to ask many questions during the hearing, but his ruling will likely come at a later date. There are 46 similar court challenges to same-sex marriage bans in 22 states, but Utah’s case is among the ones being closely watched because of the state’s history of being staunchly against the notion of allowing gays and lesbians to wed, said Jon Davidson, director of Lambda Legal which pursues litigation on a wide range of LGBT issues across the country.

It would be pretty amazing to see marriage equality become the law of the land in Utah, home to the Mormon church. Wouldn’t it?

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USA, Illinois: Marriage Equality Case Will Go On, Judge Rules

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Illinois mapThe judge in an Illinois marriage equality case refused a motion to throw the case out today.

GoPride reports:

A Cook County judge Friday ruled that a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ gay marriage ban can proceed. After hearing nearly two hours of oral arguments on Aug. 6, Cook County Circuit Judge Sophia Hall said that she’d make a ruling on Sept. 27. On Friday, Judge Hall threw out the motion to dismiss the lawsuit. “We are pleased that the court saw that our couples have a right to their day in court on the merits of their claims for liberty and equality,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal.

Even if Illinois lawmakers can’t get their act together on marriage equality, the courts may do it.

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USA, Texas: Divorce Could Open the Door to Marriage Equality

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Texas Supreme Court – Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

The state of Texas is refusing to allow gay and lesbian couples legally married in other states to get divorced.

Slate reports:

On Nov. 5 the Supreme Court of Texas will hear arguments regarding whether the men’s constitutional rights are violated by not granting them a divorce. J.B. and H.B.’s case is actually one of two same-sex divorce cases now pending before the Texas Supreme Court. In a second case, the same-sex divorce was granted to a lesbian couple after a state appeals court determined that the state of Texas intervened too late. These cases have placed Texas’ highest state officials in the ironic–one could even argue rather romantic–position of fighting to keep two gay couples married to one another. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened in the J.B and H.B. divorce case, taking the position that “because the Constitution and laws of the state of Texas define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the court correctly ruled that Texas courts do not have authority to grant a same-sex divorce.” Any other ruling, he said in a statement, would allow other states to impose their values on Texas.

It is ironic that a ruling allowing two men to divorce could end up basically affirming the right to marriage equality in Texas. Stay tuned…

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USA, California: It’s Official – Ninth Circuit Closes the Book on Prop 8 Case

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Prop 8 OverAlthough it’s really just housekeeping, it’s great to see this ugly chapter of California history finally officially closed. SDGLN reports:

Moments ago, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals officially closed the books on its involvement in California’s Proposition 8 case that took away same-gender marriage. The Ninth Circuit issued this order: “Order filed for PUBLICATION (STEPHEN R. REINHARDT, MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS and N. RANDY SMITH) In accordance with the Supreme Court’s opinion of June 26, 2013 as well as the resulting judgment, this appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The clerk is directed to issue the mandate forthwith.”

Now we just have to wait until the California Supreme Court rules on the petition last month by anti gay groups. The hearing will likely come next month, but the chances of the Court undoing all the new weddings seem slim to none.

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USA, Nevada: Could Challenge to State Marriage Equality Ban Spread to All 50 States?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Bellagio Las Vegas, NevadaA Las Vegas columnist thinks the challenge to Nevada’s ban on gay marriage has the potential to bring marriage equality to the whole country. Gay Star News reports:

Writing in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, [Steve] Sebelius argued that the Sevcik v. Sandoval challenge to the state’s voter passed ban on same-sex marriage mirrors the challenge to California’s Prop 8 because it was also passed by the voters. In that case the Supreme Court decided to send the case back to the state rather than ruling on it – thus allowing California to begin marrying same-sex couples as had been ruled by a lower court. However the ban on same-sex marriage in Nevada is different as the state’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval is defending the ban, whereas the state of California refused to defend its law – meaning that if the case comes before the Supreme Court it will have to rule on it – potentially legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States.

Ironic that the gambling state could be taking a gamble that might ultimately allow same sex couples across the country to marry.

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