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Taiwan: Court Rejects Gay Couple’s Attempt to Register Union

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Taiwan - Google Maps

from Google Maps

A same sex couple in Taiwan was rebuffed by a judge yesterday.

Gay Star News reports:

Veteran gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei and his partner filed the complaint with the Taipei court last year after a local household registration agency refused to register their marriage. The Taipei High Administrative Court on Thursday ruled that the agency did not violate the law that stipulates that ‘a marriage contract should be between a man and a woman,’ according to the Taipei Times. Gay and lesbian activists have been lobbying the government for years to make same-sex unions legal while Chi himself has launched multiple legal bids to seek recognition of his marriage since 1986, but all have been rejected.

Hopefully one day soon Taiwan’s LGBT community will be accepted rather than rejected, and this couple will finally be able to marry. But today is not that day.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

USA, Utah: Hearing on Marriage Equality Stay Due Monday

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Utah MapA federal judge has agreed to hear the state’s case for putting a stay on same-sex weddings tomorrow.

Equality on Trial reports:

On Monday morning at 9AM, Judge Shelby, who authored Friday’s district court decision striking down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, will hold a hearing in his courtroom to determine whether to grant a stay. The stay request came from state defendants late Friday. The hearing notice also says that if the plaintiffs are filing a response to the request for a stay, it’s due by 5PM on Sunday, December 22. The defendants can also file a reply, but it’s due before Monday’s hearing.

A separate request to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay has been filed by state defendants. This stay request is only temporary: it asks the Tenth Circuit to halt same-sex marriages only until the district court decides on a more permanent stay. The plaintiffs have filed their opposition to an emergency stay at the Tenth Circuit. Their main argument is that the state failed to address the criteria for granting a stay, and since a district court hearing is scheduled for early Monday morning, there is no reason for the Tenth Circuit to involve itself in the process.

Rachel Maddow took on the ruling in Friday night’s show.

Then Raw Story reports:

“I don’t know why this one feels different, but this one feels different,” Maddow said, pointing out that the federal court decision striking down Amendment 3 was the first of its kind since the Supreme Court did the same to the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 in June 2013.

Zach Ford at Think Progress has a great breakdown of the decision:

Friday’s decision by a federal judge overturning Utah’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (Amendment 3) represents the first major legal victory for marriage equality since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In that case, United States v. Windsor, the Court only addressed the question of federal recognition of marriage, and though procedural rulings in cases in other state have cited it, the Utah decision is the first time Windsor was cited to completely overturn a state law banning same-sex marriage. In an extremely readable opinion, Judge Robert Shelby — an Obama appointee whose nomination was supported by both Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) — explained not only why Windsor applied, but why the state’s arguments against same-sex marriage fell flat.

Finally, not everyone in Utah is unhappy with the decision. The Episcopal Church welcomed it.

Gay Star News reports:

The Episcopal Church in Utah has welcomed the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state by a Federal Court judge, with the state’s bishop releasing a statement celebrating that gay and lesbian Utahans will be treated with the same dignity as other Utahans. ‘As the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, I rejoice that US District Judge Robert J Shelby has struck down Utah’s Amendment 3,’ Bishop Scott Hayashi said of the ruling. ‘All people should have the right to due process and equal protection enshrined in the 14th Amendment. Gay and lesbian people are human beings with hopes, dreams, and the need for love. I celebrate that now they will have access to the same fulfillment enjoyed by heterosexual people. They are people made in the image of God.’

A ruling from the appeals court could come down at any time, or they could wait for the District Court hearing tomorrow. If the judge didn’t see a reason to place a stay on his ruling on Friday, were not sure why he would do so on Monday. Thoughts?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

USA, California: Anti-Marriage Equality Group Sues to Have Donors’ Names Stricken from Record

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Prop 8 OverProtect marriage, the group that passed Proposition 8 in California, is literally trying to erase history.

Joe.My.God reports

Protect Marriage has filed a lawsuit which demands that the names of their donors during the 2008 Prop 8 campaign be stricken from state records. Because the gays have been mean to them.
At a hearing Friday before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, backers of the hotly contested and now-overturned ballot measure, Proposition 8, sought to keep confidential the names of contributors of $100 or more. But members of the three-judge panel quickly pointed out that the identities of Prop. 8’s donors have already been released by court order. “They’ve got all this information on the Internet. You want us to ignore it?” asked Judge Milan Smith. “How can this court redress the grievance that you have?” asked Judge Sandra Ikuta. By ordering the state to remove the names from its website and seal its files, and by granting an exemption for future elections, replied James Bopp, lawyer for Prop. 8’s main sponsors, a conservative religious coalition called Protect Marriage. He said the organization expects to take part in additional “campaigns regarding protecting marriage.”


Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

USA, New Jersey: How the DOMA Case Brought Marriage Equality to the Garden State

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

DOMA OverThe New Jersey marriage equality case provides important foreshadowing for other cases to come, in part because it relied heavily on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.

The National Journal reports:

Two court decisions lie at the heart of the case. The first is this summer’s Supreme Court ruling that found the Defense of Marriage Act–which prevented the federal government from extending benefits to same-sex marriages–unconstitutional. The second is Lewis v. Harris, a 2006 decision by New Jersey’s highest court that ruled civil unions must be afforded the same legal rights as other married couples. What both of the decisions have in common is that they ruled same-sex couples were entitled to certain rights and benefits afforded to opposite-sex married couples.

The case, it seems, all comes down to language. Basically, since the federal government extends rights to married same-sex couples the same way New Jersey’s state government extends rights to same-sex couples in civil unions, those unmarried individuals should have the right to marry. Otherwise, New Jersey’s civil union law is blocking citizens from receiving federal benefits.

It seems to me that the same logic applies to every state in the country that has a ban on marriage equality

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.

Costa Rica: Court Says No to Civil Unions

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Costa Rica - Google Maps

from Google Maps

A few months ago, the Costa Rican legislature accidentally passed a law that would have allowed civil unions, theoretically. Now, a court has ruled on the law.

The Costa Rican Times reports:

It seems that Costa Rica is not quite ready to allow civil unions between same sex individuals. There was hope when the Young Persons Act was passed by 45 deputies on July 4th of this year, which would allow civil unions “without discrimination” based on sexual orientation. Immediately the deputies said that it was a mistake and like most government officials around the world do not actually read the laws and bills they are passing. Makes you feel warm inside knowing that these are the leaders of our nations huh? We knew that the next step in trying to get this loophole recognized as law in Costa Rica was for it to be ruled on in the Costa Rican court system to set legal precedence in the country. The first case has been rejected but the fight will continue.

It was a long shot, but it would’ve been nice to see the court support Costa Rica’s gay and lesbian couples.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Costa Rica.

USA, Pennsylvania: Both Sides Eagerly Await Marriage Equality Ruling

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Pennsylvania mapA ruling in the case of the state against Montgomery County could come down any day. reports:

A little past noon every day, Mike McMonagle checks the Commonwealth Court website, hoping for a ruling on same-sex marriage. It has been a week since oral arguments in the Montgomery County case, when President Judge Dan Pellegrini promised, “I will issue a decision as soon as I can.” Pellegrini didn’t give a timetable for a ruling, and his chambers said Wednesday that he had no plans to. But with each passing day, McMonagle gets a little more worried. “I would say, the longer the delay, the more worried our side should be. In our view,” he said, “it’s a very simple case to make.” McMonagle opposes same-sex marriage and led a protest on the courthouse steps after the Sept. 4 hearing in Harrisburg.

I would say marriage equality supporters have an even similar case to make. It’s equality, stupid.

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USA, Pennsylvania: Marriage Equality Hearing Due Wednesday

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Pennsylvania mapThe long-awaited hearing over marriage equality and marriage licenses in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania is almost here.

Time Magazine reports:

Wednesday’s hearing in Harrisburg pits Gov. Tom Corbett’s Health Department against D. Bruce Hanes, Montgomery County’s register of wills, who issues marriage licenses as part of his duties as clerk of the county orphan’s court. Hanes began giving marriage licenses to gay couples in late July, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Pennsylvania is the only Northeastern state that has neither gay marriage nor civil unions, but the legality of the more than 150 such licenses Hanes has handed out remains an open question. David Cohen, an attorney representing 32 couples who received licenses from Hanes, says it’s too early to speculate on the legal status of those marriages. “That’s certainly unknown because it would depend on the scope of the decision,” Cohen said. But he added that there’s plenty of legal precedent for courts to look at the core issue of how a local official decides whether an action is constitutional.

Even if the court were to declare Pennsylvania open for marriage equality, I’m sure the Republican State leadership would appeal. Still, it would be a huge step in the right direction.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

USA, Pennsylvania: State Defends Marriage Equality Ban, Compares Gay Couples to Twelve-Year-Olds

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Pennsylvania mapMontgomery County got its day in court yesterday, as the state argued against the county’s ability to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Towleroad reports:

In a brief Wednesday, state attorneys said those marriage licenses were never valid, and compared gay and lesbian couples to “12-year-olds” who are also barred from marrying under state law. The state Department of Health and Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes will appear in Commonwealth Court next Wednesday to argue the case… “Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old . . . is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his ‘license’?” the state wrote. 154 marriage licenses have been handed out to gay and lesbian couples since late July.

Although I love the fact that Montgomery County is issuing licenses to same-sex couples, I think they’re on shakier ground than the New Mexico counties – in Pennsylvania, it is still explicitly illegal, while New Mexico has no such ban.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Pennsylvania.

USA, New Jersey: NJ United for Marriage Asks Court for Quick Decision

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

New Jersey United for MarriageAfter the state filed a brief in the marriage equality case urging the court to go slow, gay rights activists filed their own brief pushing for the opposite. reports:

Lawyers for a group of gay couples said in a court filing Friday that New Jersey’s key argument against allowing same-sex marriage immediately is “contrary to established law.” The reply brief filed Friday is the last one expected before oral arguments on gay marriage in New Jersey, scheduled for Thursday… In Friday’s reply, lawyers for the couples said the state was wrong. “The state’s effort to avoid responsibility for its actions by blaming the federal government is contrary to established law,” they wrote.

Governor Christie has done everything he can to slow down progress on marriage equality in the state – time for a court remedy.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.

Brazil: Court Says Army Must Recognize Civil Union

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Brazil - Google Maps

from Google Maps

A court in Brazil is ordering the Army to recognize one couple’s civil union. Pink News reports:

The ruling was made by Judge Elio Siquerira, who said that the sergeant and his partner, a computer science student, were entitled to the same rights as straight couples. The benefits they will now be entitled to includes alimony and retirement benefits. An attorney acting on behalf of the sergeant on Friday said this ruling represents “the first time a court ordered the Army to recognize a same-sex union of one its officers.”

The soldier’s partner will now be entitled to alimony and retirement benefits – another small step toward equality in Brazil.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Brazil.