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Pennsylvania Zombie Clerk Shot Down Again

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Zombie ClerkYes, she’s at it again. The Third Circuit shot down a Pennsylvania Clerk’s attempt to derail marriage equality yet again.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A federal appeals court has rejected a Pennsylvania county clerk’s latest effort to overturn a federal judge’s ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state… The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Monday denied a request by Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Register of Wills and Orphans’ Court Clerk for Schuylkill County, Pa., seeking an “en banc” hearing in her bid to gain standing to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage… On July 3, a three judge panel of the Third Circuit rejected Santai-Gaffney’s bid to gain standing in the case, affirming the District Court’s ruling that “if the highest elected official in the commonwealth chooses to abide by our decision, it defies credulity that we would permit a single citizen to stand in for him to perfect an appeal.”

What is this, her fourth or fifth attempt? Give it a rest, Ms. Santai-Gaffney, it ain’t gonna happen. Isn’t “frivolous lawsuits” a thing?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

Colorado Marriage Equality Stalled as Court Halts Boulder Weddings

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallThe push for Colorado marriage equality stalled for the moment, as the state Supreme Court finally forced Boulder County clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The court ruling was in response to an appeal from Republican Attorney General John Suthers, who has been trying for several weeks to get Boulder’s clerk to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples until there’s a definitive ruling on same-sex unions from the U.S. Supreme Court. The same court previously ruled in Suthers’ favor in ordering Denver to stop issuing licenses, but that ruling didn’t apply to Boulder. Boulder was the first Colorado county to begin giving licenses to gay couples in June after the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. That ruling was stayed pending appeal.

We also have a date for the state Supreme Court hearing in the case – October 20th.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Judge Rules Boulder Clerk Can Continue to Issue Marriage Licenses

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallIn something of a surprise decision, a Colorado judge has given Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall the ok to continue giving marriage licenses to same sex couples.

SDGLN reports:

A Boulder County clerk who has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of Colorado’s gay-marriage ban can continue, a judge ruled Thursday. Boulder County Judge Andrew Hartman decided county clerk Hillary Hall can ignore a federal stay on a ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver that states cannot set gender requirements for marriage. The judge said gay marriage is still technically illegal in Colorado but that Hall’s behavior was not harming anyone. But he said all who receive a license should be warned that they could still be invalid if a judge finds after trial that Hall didn’t have the authority to issue them.

Many had expected the marriage equality ruling in Colorado that was immediately stayed to stop Hall from issuing more licenses. Will this ratchet up pressure on the State Supreme Court to expedite the appeal of yesterday’s ruling?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Colorado Marriage Equality – The Other Lawsuit

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallSo there was big news out of the state yesterday as a judge struck down the Colorado marriage equality ban. But there was another trial going on at the same time.

The Denver Post reports:

The normally static courtroom erupted with applause and rumbled with scoffs as attorneys argued whether the Boulder County Clerk’s office is breaking the law by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Spectators inside the packed courtroom Wednesday — including couples who received their marriage license from the Boulder office — struggled to contain their emotions as the Colorado Attorney General’s Office asked the judge to temporarily order Boulder Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

No word yet on whether the judge will force Hall to stop issuing the licenses. The Colorado judge who struck down the ban also stayed the ruling, but Hall has been operating under her understanding of the tenth circuit Utah decision. Do what happens now?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Appeal Knocked Down By Alito

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Pennsylvania mapA county clerk who tried to appeal the Pennsylvania marriage equality decision all the way to the US Supreme Court was turned away – and by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, no less.

Towleroad.com reports:

Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Schuykill County, Pennsylvania Clerk who has been waging a one-woman crusade against the state’s legalization of gay marriage, petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court this week to intervene, halt the state’s gay marriages and defend the state’s ban in an appeal since the governor has refused… Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., denied without comment a Pennsylvania county clerk’s plea to stop such marriages in that state. That appears to remove the last potential legal barrier to Pennsylvania becoming the nineteenth state in which same-sex marriages are permitted.

Marriage equality is here to stay in Pennsylvania. Now Ms. Santai-Gaffney can either get in line or get out of the way.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

Oh Shit, It’s Going to Alito

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Pennsylvania mapA Pennsylvania clerk who has been rebuffed multiple times in her quest to singlehandedly appeal the state’s loss in the marriage equality case is at it again. This time, she’s taking her case to the US Supreme Court.

On Top Magazine reports:

A Pennsylvania county clerk on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to stay a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on gay marriage. Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the clerk of orphans court and register of wills in Schuylkill County, filed the request after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia denied her request to intervene in the case… Santai-Gaffney claims she should be allowed to appeal the decision because it affected her rights and duties as an elected official and left the state’s marriage law in a state of limbo.

And guess who gets the request? Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. is the justice who overseas the Third Circuit. This may get interesting.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

Colorado Attorney General Sues Boulder Clerk Over Marriage Licenses

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallColorado’s Attorney General is suing Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall to try to stop her from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

On Top Magazine reports:

Hall began issuing the licenses last week after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court’s ruling striking down Utah’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual unions. The appeals court’s jurisdiction includes Colorado, but the decision was stayed by the court. Hall said the court’s stay only applied to Utah.

According to the AP, the county has issued roughly 100 licenses to gay couples as of Thursday. “While we would prefer not to sue a government official, Ms. Hall’s actions are creating a legal limbo for both the state and the couples whose relationships she wants to champion,” Suthers said in a statement. “That limbo could have tangible and unintended consequences.”

The lawsuit will be heard Wednesday. Funny how when they want to block marriage equality, they can hear the case within days, but when we sue for it, it takes months and months.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Colorado Marriage Equality Breaks Out in Boulder

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallColorado marriage equality got a boost from a county clerk yesterday.

Towleroad.com explains:

Hillary Hall, the county clerk and recorder in Boulder, Colorado, has announced that Boulder will now provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hall’s announcement comes on the heels of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling today to uphold a previous decision that struck down the state’s ban on same sex marriage. A news report from local news channel ABC 7 also reported that Hall’s announcement was influenced by another key decision that came down today, that of U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young who found that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. According to The Denver Post, Hall said she is moving forward with the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses because the 10th Circuit has upheld “the fundamental right to marriage. Couples across Colorado have been waiting a long time to have their right to marry the person they love recognized,” she stated in the release. “I want to act immediately to let them carry out that wish.”

Colorado has a civil unions law and is facing a lawsuit for marriage equality. No word if these new weddings will have legal force or if/when the clerk will be ordered to stop. Hillary Hall, you’re our new hero.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Secure as Judge Shoots Down Appeal

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Pennsylvania mapA county clerk who tried an end run around the state’s decision to not appeal the Pennsylvania marriage equality decision has been shot down.

Towleroad.com reports:

The “deep personal disagreement” with the ruling of Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Schuylkill County issuer of marriage licenses, doesn’t make her a stand-in for the state, Jones said today. He rejected her request to intervene on its behalf. “If the highest elected official in the commonwealth chooses to abide by our decision, it defies credulity that we would permit a single citizen to stand in for him to perfect an appeal,” Jones wrote.

In related news, some judges are refusing to perform any weddings to get out of having to to gay ones.

Pink News reports:

A number of judges in Pennsylvania have stopped performing marriages altogether, following the legalisation of same-sex marriage… following the ruling, York County – which has 19 district judges in total – has just four judges remaining who are willing to perform marriages. State law gives district judges – along with mayors and clergy – the power to perform marriages, but they are not required to perform ceremonies, and are within their rights to stop entirely…

Three of the judges who have stopped told the York Dispatch that they stopped performing marriages because the issue was too controversial. A fourth claimed that he had stopped performing marriages due to ‘reduced office hours’, though he admitted his religious beliefs would prevent him marrying gay couples. A further six judges who have stopped either declined to comment or could not be reached.

And the weddings continue…

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

USA, Michigan: Day 5 of the Marriage Equality Trial

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

MichiganYesterday was the fifth day of the marriage equality trial in Michigan.

The first witness for the defense was tossed out.

Towleroad.com reports:

The state had planned on having its first witness – Sherif Girgis – on the stand for up to two hours. Prior to getting dismissed, Girgis spent about 20 minutes on the stand listing his credentials, most of which included lecturing and writing academic papers on the philosophical debate surrounding the definition of marriage. He also has written a book, “What is Marriage, Man & Woman in Defense.” But Friedman dismissed the witness following arguments from the plaintiffs side, who noted that Girgis is not a lawyer, child development expert, psychologist or expert in Michigan law. He has no experience in the issues that matter in this case, the plaintiffs argued.

The state’s second witness, however, the widely discredited Mark Regnerus, was not.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus testified for more than three hours as a witness for the state of Michigan, which is defending a ban on gay marriage. The constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2004, is being challenged by two Detroit-area nurses in a rare trial. Regnerus was the leader of a study that screened thousands of people, ages 18 to 39, and found roughly 250 who said they grew up in a house where a mom or dad eventually had a same-sex relationship. He found they were more likely to have problems — welfare dependence, less education, marijuana use — than young adults from stable families led by heterosexuals. But he later acknowledged that his study didn’t include children raised by same-sex couples in a stable relationship.

Regnerus did admit there was no conclusive evidence that gays are bad parents:

“We aren’t anywhere near saying there’s conclusive evidence” that children with same-sex parents grow up with no differences when compared to kids with heterosexual parents, he said. “Until we get more evidence, we should be skeptical. … It’s prudent for the state to retain its definition of marriage to one man, one woman,” said Regnerus, who believes that’s the best scenario for kids.

Cross-examination will happen today. I hope they take him and his “study” apart.

In related news, at least one Michigan clerk says she will issue marriage licenses if ordered by the court, even though the state AG has ordered her not to.

Pink News reports:

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown referred to a memo from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, which said county clerks should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under any circumstances. The memo read: “To all county clerks: Even if the U.S. District Court were to decide that Michgan’s Marriage Amendment was unconstitutional … same-sex marriage licenses should not be issued.” Brown said she would be at odds because she is expected to hold up both the state and US Constitutions, noting the 2013 strike-down of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “My gut is to follow what the judge says, not what the [Attorney Genera] says,” Brown said during her testimony on Monday.

And finally, Equality on Trial has some of the trial transcripts.

The case is expected to go on through the rest of the week. How quickly will the judge rule, and will he come down in our favor, like all the others lately?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.