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Japan: 52% Support Domestic Partnerships

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

titleSupport for domestic partnership certificates for same sex couples has past 50%, a new poll finds.

Gay Star News reports:

More than half of Japan supports a Tokyo ward’s plan to issue partnership certificates to gay couples, according to a new survey by a major Japanese newspaper. Three in ten (27%) opposed the idea. The Asahi Shimbun poll also found that gay marriage supporters narrowly outnumbered opponents: 41% of respondents said gay marriage should be legalized compared to 37% who disagreed.

Support is growing for marriage equality in the country – it’s good to finally see some movement there.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Japan.

Michigan Domestic Partnership Ban Overturned

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

MichiganA federal judge has finally officially overturned Michigan’s ban on getting benefits for couples in domestic partnerships.

Think Progress reports:

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the state’s law banning the same-sex partners of public employees from receiving benefits is unconstitutional. The law in question was passed just back in 2011. It specifically infringed on municipalities that were already providing benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of city employees. Five couples whose benefits were cut by the law’s passage filed the complaint that led to this decision. Judge David Lawson, a Clinton appointee, pointed out that the marriage rulings are not relevant in this case because “this is case is not about marriage.” Rather, he wrote, it has to do with whether a state “may adopt a narrow definition of family, and pass laws that penalize those unions and households that do not conform.” Only public employees with same-sex partners are impacted by the law, he explained, and it imposes a significant financial burden on them by cutting their benefits.

It’s a small but symbolic victory for the LGBT community in a state that was just burned by the anti-marriage equality decision at the 6th Circuit. And it has huge ramifications for the couples involved.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Washington: All Domestic Partnerships to Become Weddings on June 30th

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Washington State Marriage Equality Repeal Effort6,500 couples who entered into domestic partnerships before the marriage equality law was passed in Washington state are about to get a letter from the state. reports:

Washington state plans to convert thousands of domestic partnerships to marriages on June 30, the Seattle Times reports: It’s the final piece of the state’s same-sex marriage law — a provision about which many couples are apparently unaware and one sure to trigger some uncomfortable conversations… Those being plunged into matrimony will no doubt include couples who simply hadn’t given it much thought. Or there will be those who broke up in the years since they registered as domestic partners, some of them now married — illegally — to other people. Some may be former Washington residents now living in other states — some in states where their partnerships aren’t recognized and where dissolution isn’t possible.

That should swell the ranks of married same sex couples a bit. Watch for legal fights for folks who got partnered in Washington state but live elsewhere, are now married there and can’t get divorced elsewhere.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington State.

USA, Oregon: Ninth Circuit Rules Domestic Partnerships to Be Treated the Same as Marriage

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Oregon Gay MarriageAlthough it is currently limited to a single case in Oregon, the latest ruling from the Ninth Circuit court could be a blockbuster.

The Advocate reports:

A three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals declared Monday that same-sex couples in domestic partnerships in states without marriage equality must be recognized as married for the purpose of federal benefits, reports BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner. Monday’s ruling only directly affects the ongoing case of former Oregon federal court clerk Margaret Fonberg, who will now receive back pay to offset the increased health insurance premiums she had to pay when the federal government refused to recognize her domestic partner as her spouse for the purpose of benefits. “To quote Joe Biden ‘This is a big fucking deal!'” Fonberg told BuzzFeed via email late Monday. “I’m … beyond thrilled with the decision.”

If applied to all states, the decision could offer same sex couple in states that only have domestic partnerships or civil unions the same treatment as their married counterparts in other states for Federal purposes.

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USA: Couples in Civil Unions Will Not Receive Federal Benefits

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

White HouseIt’s official – couples in civil unions are second-class citizens. In a widely-expected move that will give ammo to marriage equality advocates in states with civil unions laws, the federal government limited benefits of marriage to legally married couples. Think Progress reports:

The White House Office of Personnel Management released a series of memos dealing with different benefits for federal employees and explicitly made clear that only same-sex couples who are legally married can access them — not those in civil unions. Some benefits for domestic partnerships will remain intact, but same-sex couples in such partnerships or in civil unions “will remain ineligible for most Federal benefits programs.” Four states continue to offer civil unions: Hawaii, Colorado, Illinois, and New Jersey (Rhode Island’s civil unions will end August 1 when the marriage equality law takes effect). Though Colorado would require a constitutional amendment to upgrade civil unions to marriages, the decision has a profound impact on legislative efforts in the other three states.

We already have a lawsuit in New Jersey and a pending bill in Illinois – is Hawaii likely to be targeted next?

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Arizona, USA: Bisbee and Attorney General Agree to Watered-Down Civil Unions Ordinance

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Arizona Attorney General Tom HorneThe Arizona Attorney General has agreed not to sue the city of Bisbee after city officials agreed to water down their ordinance. reports:

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne withdrew his threat to sue the small southeastern city after its lawyers agreed to rewrite the controversial ordinance to remove rights Horne said were reserved for married couples as defined under Arziona law. The resulting language, which the Attorney General’s Office will help oversee, could provide a blueprint for other Arizona cities to confer some legal status on same-sex partnerships. Tempe City Council has sought legal clarification on civil unions following Bisbee’s historic vote earlier this month. Other city attorneys who sat in on the meeting with Horne, including representatives from Peoria and Marana, said their municipalities had no immediate plans to follow suit.

Voters clearly refused to enact the original ban on marriage equality in the state because it also banned civil unions. We wish the city had toughed it out and contested the AG’s empty threat.

In related news, the Texas AG, Greg Abbott, is pushing the same line in his state. The Dallas Voice reports:

Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion Monday saying domestic partner benefits offered by local government entities in Texas violate the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Abbott’s opinion, which is nonbinding, was issued in a response to a request last year from Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. Patrick requested the opinion after the Pflugerville ISD became the first school district in the state to agree to offer DP benefits.

Even these conservative states will eventually change.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Texas.

Florida, USA: Lawmakers Table Domestic Partnership Bill

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Florida From SpaceFlorida had the opportunity to extend some benefits fo same sex couples, but the legislature just dashed that hope, bottling the bill up in committee. As Queerty reports:

Anita Bryant should be happy that her legacy of hate is alive and well in the Sunshine State: Florida legislators have tabled a bill that would have created a domestic-partnership registry for same-sex (and opposite-sex) couples. State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, (D-Hollywood) introduced SB 196, the Families First Act, to the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs. It would have granted some, but not all, the legal privileges of marriage–including hospital and prison visitation, end-of-life decision-making and burial arrangements.

Anti-gay groups trotted out the same, tired old rhetoric:

The anti-gay Florida Family Association claimed that “homosexual activists are essentially using Families First, i.e. Domestic Partnership Bill SB 196, to legalize same-sex marriage in Florida.” FFA president John Stemberger tweeted that Families First was a “stealth gay-marriage bill.”

We feel sorry for our Floridian brothers and sisters – maybe some day the state will wake up and realize it has fallen way behind the times.

Wyoming, USA: House Committee Kills Marriage Equality Bill, But Advances Domestic Partnership Bill

Monday, January 28th, 2013

WyomingAccording to the Advocate:

The Wyoming House Corporations Committee rejected HB 169, which would have legalized same-sex marriage, by a 5-4 vote. Malicious testimony including graphic gay sex depictions and comparisons to pedophilia were included in the debate.

Trust the other side to win dirty.

Montana: Supreme Court Tells Domestic Partnership Plaintiffs to Revise Case

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Montana Supreme Court Tells Domestic Partnership Plaintiffs to Revise CaseThe Montana Supreme Court has sent a case on domestic-partnership rights back to a lower court, telling plaintiffs their argument is too broad and must be narrowed.

The Montana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had sued the state in 2010 on behalf of six same-sex couples, saying the denial of inheritance rights, tax benefits, medical decision-making power, and other rights violated constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law. The ACLU asked the Supreme Court to grant a declaratory judgment to that effect.

In a 4-3 ruling issued Monday, the court said that request was too sweeping and would create uncertainty among state legislators, and therefore ordered the plaintiffs to identify specific laws that discriminate against gay couples and take those arguments to the trial court.

Authored By trudy Ring – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Washington, USA: Now That Marriage Equality is Here, What Should Domestic Partners Do?

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Washington State: Now That Marriage Equality is Here, What Should Domestic Partners Do?Now that voters have approved Referendum 74 by a vote of 53.2% to 46.8%, same-sex couples can begin registering for marriage licenses in Washington state on December 6th and start marrying December 9th. Yay!

The 9,904 couples already in a Washington State Registered Domestic Partnership have several options.

If at least one person in the couple is 62 or older on June 30, 2014, the RDP remains an RDP unless the couple chooses to dissolve it. Going forward, RDPs will only be available to couples where one member is 62 or older.

Authored By Laurel Ramseyer – See the Full Story at Pam’s House Blend

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington State.

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