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Guam Marriage Equality Ban Struck Down

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Guam - NASA

A federal judge has struck down a Guam law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Pacific Daily News reported that U.S. District Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s ruling will take effect on Monday at 8 a.m. local time (6 p.m. EST on Sunday.)

Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan filed a lawsuit against the marriage ban in April after the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services denied them a license that would allow them to tie the knot in the U.S. territory.

The Pacific Daily News reported that Aguero and Pangelinan plan to apply for a marriage license on Monday.

Authored By Michael K. Lavers – See the Full Story at The Washington Blade

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Image via NASA

Federal Judge Overturns Mississippi Marriage Equality Ban

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Mississippi MapJust hours after the Arkansas decision, a federal judge also overturned the marriage equality ban in Mississippi.

The Washington Blade reports:

U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves issued his 72-page ruling less than two weeks after he heard oral arguments in the case the Campaign for Southern Equality last month filed on behalf of two lesbian couples seeking marriage rights in the Magnolia State. “The court concludes that Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban deprives same-sex couples and their children of equal dignity under the law,” writes Reeves. “Gay and lesbian citizens cannot be subjected to such second-class citizenship.” Reeves, an African American who President Obama appointed to the federal bench in 2010, referenced the civil rights movement throughout his decision.

The judge also noted that discrimination against gays is not over in the state:

Reeves in his decision also noted Mississippi lawmakers earlier this year approved a measure – Senate Bill 2681 – that opponents contend allows business owners to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs. SB 2681 took effect on July 1. “Discrimination against gay and lesbian Mississippians is not ancient history,” writes Reeves.

The ruling has been stayed for two weeks, pending appeal.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Mississippi.

Federal Judge Overturns Arkansas Marriage Equality Ban

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

ArkansasA federal judge just struck down the state’s ban on marriage equality.

The Washington Blade reports:

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, an Obama appointee, wrote in a 45-page decision that Arkansas’ prohibition on gay nuptials, known as Amendment 83, violates the fundamental right to marriage protected by Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “As demonstrated, a most searching examination of Separate Defendants’ proposed reasons for Arkansas’s marriage laws reveals that these laws are not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest,” Baker writes. “The bases Separate Defendants suggest for upholding Amendment 83 and the challenged statutes, primarily encouraging procreation and ensuring the best interests of children, in addition to the laws’ mismatched means, do not withstand strict scrutiny.”

Queerty flags some of the best quotes from the decision, including:

These cases underscore that the drafters of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments “knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.”

The judge stayed her own decision, so there will be no same-sex weddings immediately.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arkansas.

Federal Judge Invalidates Missouri Marriage Equality Ban; Decision on Hold

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Missouri mapA federal judge struck down Missouri’s ban on marriage equality yesterday.

Think Progress reports:

District Judge Ortrie D. Smith, a Clinton appointee, dismissed the state’s argument that the ban promotes “consistency, uniformity, and predictability” as circular. “The State essentially argues,” he wrote, that “the restriction satisfies governmental interests because it creates a rule that can be applied by the recorders of deeds and others — but then, all restrictions create rules, so by the State’s logic any restriction is automatically constitutional simply because it creates rules that can be followed.” He concluded that there was “no real reason” for Missouri to ban same-sex marriage, because none of its interests were served by doing so.

This follows an earlier decision this week at the state level opening up marriage equality in St. Louis.

Missouri Atty. Gen. Chris Koster announced he would appeal the ruling.

Towleroad reports:

“The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri today ruled that Missouri’s ban against same-sex marriage violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the United States Constitution. We will appeal the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.” Earlier this week, Koster appealed a separate ruling striking down the state’s ban which applied only to St. Louis.

The ruling was stayed pending appeal, so we won’t see marriages all across Missouri just yet.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kansas.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Marriage Equality Ban

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

KansasLost amidst all the election news – a Federal Judge in Kansas struck down the marriage equality ban there, with weddings to commence on November 11th.

The Washington Blade reports:

In a 38-page decision, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, an Obama appointee, issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement on Kansas law prohibiting of marriage rights for same-sex couples. The injunction is warranted, Crabtree writes, because of legal precedent and because state officials defending the law haven’t made a sufficient case they would prevail in court. “Because Kansas’ constitution and statutes indeed do what Kitchen forbids, the Court concludes that Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution,” Crabtree writes. “Accordingly, the Court grants plaintiffs’ request for preliminary relief and enters the injunction described at the end of this Order.”

Of course, there’s that state Supreme Court hearing today, so we’ll see how that plays into things.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kansas.

Federal Judge in Puerto Rico Upholds Marriage Equality Ban

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Puerto RicoA second Federal Judge has upheld a marriage equality ban (the first was in Louisiana).

LGBTQ Nation reports:

U.S. District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez, cited Baker v. Nelson, a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld Minnesota’s ban on same-sex marriage, and said that allowing same-sex marriage raises the question of a constitutional right to polygamous and incestuous marriages. The case, Conde-Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla, was filed in March by Lambda Legal on behalf of five gay and lesbian couples and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, an organization that represents LGBT Puerto Ricans and their families.

Think Progress points out that the decision reads like a National Organization for Marriage press release:

Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law. Traditional marriage is “exclusively [an] opposite-sex institution . . . inextricably linked to procreation and biological kinship,” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2718 (Alito, J., dissenting). Traditional marriage is the fundamental unit of the political order. And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage. Those are the well-tested, well-proven principles on which we have relied for centuries.

Lambda Legal plans to appeal:

“The court’s ruling directly conflicts with the wave of recent decisions finding these marriage bans unconstitutional and perpetuates the discrimination and harm done to same-sex Puerto Rican couples and their families,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “It defies the unmistakable import of the Windsor decision and flies in the face of the blizzard of rulings of the last year, the reasoned rulings of the Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits, and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand the rulings striking down five bans similar to Puerto Rico’s. One struggles to understand how this judge came to a different conclusion. We will, of course, appeal this ruling to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals,” Gonzalez-Pagan said. “All families in Puerto Rico need the protections of marriage.”

The Judge was apparently a democratic appointee.

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Federal Judge Requires Arizona to Recognize Same-Sex Marriage On Death Certificate

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Fred McQuire and George MartinezA man who lost his partner recently has just won the right to have himself listed as spouse on the death certificate.

AZCentral reports:

A federal judge has issued an emergency order requiring Arizona to recognize the California marriage of Green Valley couple Fred McQuire and George Martinez. Fred McQuire has found a little peace, maybe the first he’s had since his partner of 45 years died late last month of pancreatic cancer.

This case gets to the heart of what marriage equality really is – the recognition of two people who love one another.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

North Carolina Marriage Equality Stayed Until Virginia Decision

Friday, August 29th, 2014

North Carolina MapA federal judge just put the brakes on North Carolina marriage equality until the US Supreme Court either takes up or passes on the Virginia case.

Joe.My.God reports:

Yesterday a federal court stayed any further action on North Carolina’s same-sex marriage battle until SCOTUS rules on Virginia’s Bostic case. According to the order, should SCOTUS decline to hear Virginia’s case, the stay will be lifted. Also yesterday AFER followed Virginia AG Mark Herring and the Alliance Defending Freedom in asking SCOTUS to hear Bostic.

If the Supremes take up the case, this means no marriage equality North Carolina until next year. If it doesn’t, the stay will be lifted shortly thereafter.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Another Colorado Marriage Equality Ruling Imminent

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

ColoradoThe Federal Judge who heard testimony yesterday against the state’s ban on marriage equality said he will strike it down today.

ABC News reports:

A federal judge in Denver is expected to rule Wednesday whether Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban should be overturned immediately, or if the issue should be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore’s decision will be in response to a lawsuit by six gay couples who want an injunction declaring Colorado’s ban unconstitutional. While Moore indicated the injunction is expected to be granted, he said the question is whether to put his decision on hold.

If no stay is issued, it could open the door for couples to begin marrying across the state.

Ironically, the last clerk who was issuing licenses to same sex couples reluctantly agreed to stop yesterday.

Pink News reports:

Hillary Hall, the county clerk who issued over three dozen same-sex marriage licenses in Boulder, Colorado, has reluctantly agreed to stop. Hall ceased to issue same-sex marriage licenses only after a ruling last Friday by the state’s highest court ordered a Denver County clerk to stop.

Will weddings resume today in the state?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

USA, Arizona: Judge Won’t Combine Marriage Equality Lawsuits

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Arizona mapA Federal Judge has denied a request to combine two marriage equality lawsuits into one.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A federal judge is refusing to combine two separately filed lawsuits challenging Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. However, U.S. District Judge John Sedwick ordered that both cases be assigned to him. One already was assigned to Sedwick but a second was randomly assigned to a different judge.

Lawyers who filed the second lawsuit had requested consolidation, arguing that both cases involve the same issues. Lawyers who filed the first lawsuit responded by saying their case is further along and they also cited differences in the cases, including that they share only one common defendant.

Interesting that he had both cases assigned to himself but is trying them separately. Any hidden meaning here, legal tea readers?

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