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USA, Utah: Tenth Circuit to Hear Marriage Equality Lawsuit Today

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Today is the day the first of the new marriage equality lawsuits reaches a district court.

Ari Ezra Waldman has a few things to look for at today’s hearing:

1. Will the court issue a ruling as broad as Judge Shelby’s or limit it in some way?

2. What, if anything, does the court say about the required level of scrutiny in antigay discrimination cases?

3. Will the political backgrounds of the judges play a role in their decision making?

Lisa Keen has a detailed look at the trial and its participants.

Towleroad reports:

The judges: The three-judge panel tasked with hearing the appeal includes two Republican and one Democratic appointee. Judge Paul Kelly (an appointee of President George H.W. Bush) is considered conservative. Judge Carlos Lucero (a Clinton appointee) is considered liberal. But both judges voted with the majority at the Tenth Circuit in the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius case. They said the owners of the retail store were allowed, under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment free exercise clause, to cite their religious beliefs in order to deny contraceptive services in their health plans under the Affordable Care Act. Judge Jerome Holmes (a George W. Bush appointee) is the wild card. He was recused from the Hobby Lobby case. He was one of two judges in the Tenth Circuit to deny an emergency request from the state of Utah to stay a district court decision pending appeal. They said a stay was “not warranted.”

Tenth Circuit LawsuitsHRC has a map and recap of the marriage equality cases pending before the 10th Circuit:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has jurisdiction over Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Presently there are at least seven marriage equality cases in states within the Tenth Circuit that ban marriage equality. Some of the cases were filed in state courts, while the others were filed in federal courts. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on December 19, 2013, that same-sex couples in the state had the right to marry. The decision took effect immediately.

Meanwhile, the state just threw Mark Regnerus and his flawed gay parenting study under the bus in a last-minute brief. reports:

First, we wish to emphasize the very limited relevance to this case of the comparison addressed by Professor Regnerus. As the State’s briefing makes clear, the State’s principal concern is the potential long-term impact of a redefinition of marriage on the children of heterosexual parents. The debate over man-woman versus same-sex parenting has little if any bearing on that issue, given that being raised in a same-sex household would normally not be one of the alternatives available to children of heterosexual parents.

Second, on the limited issue addressed by the Regnerus study, the State wishes to be clear about what that study (in the State’s view) does and does not establish. The Regnerus study did not examine as its sole focus the outcomes of children raised in same-sex households but, because of sample limitations inherent in the field of study at this point, examined primarily children who acknowledged having a parent who had engaged in a same-sex relationship. Thus, the Regnerus study cannot be viewed as conclusively establishing that raising a child in a same-sex household produces outcomes that are inferior to those produced by man-woman parenting arrangements.


Finally, a Mormon couple with a gay son is defying the church by being featured in an ad for marriage equality. reports:

A Utah Mormon couple with a gay son (below), four other kids, and 18 grandchildren pushes for marriage equality in a new ad campaign airing this week as the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considers a challenge to the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Will the Utah case be the next to reach the US Supreme Court?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

Australia: Filmmaker Focuses on Marriage Equality

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Australia Marriage EqualityAfter the success of his documentary The Doctor’s Wife, filmmaker Jonathan Duffy in now in the process of making a sequel, and he’s looking for opinions on both sides of the gay marriage debate.

“I’m looking at marriage equality in Australia and the elements of it; in that we don’t have it and reasons why,” he said.

The first film followed the story of Jonathan and his partner Vincent Cornelisse as they made the move to Mundubbera in the central Burnett, and they way they became a part of the community. Vincent moved to the town to take up a position as a GP.

Full Story from ABC

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Maryland, USA: Marriage Equality Supporters Rally

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Maryland Marriage EqualityWith same-sex marriage opponents successful in their drive to force a public vote in Maryland, about 100 people gathered in Hagerstown on Saturday to talk about the other side of the issue.

The rally was organized by Hagerstown Hopes, a group Anna Draper formed about two years ago. Draper, who lives in Hagerstown, said she wants to help gays and lesbians gain more acceptance.

Describing herself as “a middle-aged, straight, soccer mom,” Draper said she has seen her best friend, uncle and ex-sister-in-law, as homosexuals, experience prejudice and pain based on their sexual orientation.

Full Story from the Herald Mail

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New York, USA: Another Judge Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

DOMA Ruling in NYI love it. The National Organization for Marriage is going to need a truckload of tissues to weep with as the legal cases continue to chip away their definition of marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. In this instance it is the case of Edie Windsor, who sought a refund of federal estate taxes paid by the estate of her late wife, Thea Spyer. If she had been in a heterosexual marriage, Windsor would not have had to shell out taxes.

“Thea and I shared our lives together for 44 years, and I miss her each and every day,” said Windsor. “It’s thrilling to have a court finally recognize how unfair it is for the government to have treated us as though we were strangers.”

Clinton appointee U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones (via MetroWeekly’s report):

Regardless whether a more “searching” form of rational basis scrutiny is required where a classification burdens homosexuals as a class and the states’ prerogatives are concerned, at a minimum this court “must insist on knowing the relation between the classification adopted and the object to be attained. The search for the link between classification and objective gives substance to the equal protection analysis. Additionally, as has always been required under the rational basis test, irrespective of the context, the court must consider whether the government’s asserted interests are legitimate. Pursuant to those established principles, and mindful of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudential cues, the court finds that DOMA’s section 3 does not pass constitutional muster.

Full Story from Pam’s House Blend

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WA: Quotes From House Marriage Equality Debate

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

“With today’s vote, we tell the nation that Washington state will no longer deny our citizens the opportunity to marry the person they love. We tell every child of same-sex couples that their family is every bit as equal and important as all other families in our state. And we take a major step toward completing a long and important journey to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.” –Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire.

“No one in this state has the right to change the definition of marriage. The bill casts aside one of the greatest cornerstones of our society, the family unit, which starts with a father and a mother.” –Rep. Jim McCune, R-Graham.

“Why should their union of over 23 years not be recognized? They are committed to each other. They love each other.” –Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, talking about her Democratic colleague, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, and her partner, Laura Wulf.

Full Story from the Seattle PI

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Getting Married in Italy

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Florence at Night

Italy is such a beautiful country to discover and to see each time from a different perspective. It’s rich in culture and nature, and each trip offers new surprises, revealing hidden places.

Florence WeddingItaly is not just nature and art, but also good food, wine, colours, flavours and people.

Each region welcomes you not with typical local cuisine, and also with kindness and helpfulness that are not found everywhere in Europe.

But ours is also a country of great contradictions between our history, culture, and the modern lifestyle. Although Italy is no shining light in the international gay-community, we a thriving gay scene.

It’s smaller than those in many other European capitals, but it is out there, and we even have big annual gay events – Gay Pride and Gay Village in the summer.


In terms of gay rights, though, Italy is a late bloomer. Homosexuality is legal and even accepted here, but it is publicly frowned on by the government, the views of which largely coincide with the Vatican’s.

Even if Italy isn’t the most tolerant country regarding same-sex couples, due to the heavy influence of the Vatican, it has grown to accept homosexuality, especially over the past few decades.

It is rather common to see openly gay couples walking down the streets in big cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence, though university cities like Pisa are also very gay friendly. But in smaller towns, it can be more dangerous to be too open in public venues.

There are several gay associations in Italy: Arcigay is one of the most important, its head office is in Bologna. It has 33 local political groups throughout the country: the largest and more active ones are in Bologna, Milano and Tuscany.

Outstanding ItaliaArcigay boasts 57 recreational private groups like bars, saunas and discos among its members. A membership card for foreigners is available.

There are also several unaffiliated associations, including an historical group in Rome under the name Mario Mieli, who was the organizer of the World GLBT Pride in year 2000.

Italy is a very romantic place get married, even if gay weddings are not recognized by the Italian law. Many foreign same sex couples choose to marry legally in their home countries and hold a romantic ceremony in Italy.

You can have your special day in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, with ancient villas, gentle countrysides, beaches, and more.

Outstanding ItaliaOutstanding Italia, a gay friendly company specializing in custom travels and events in Italy, works with passion to find the most impressive location for your unforgettable day. Our team works hardly to understand exactly what are you dreaming of, paying close attention to detail in order to ensure high quality service.

We carefully choose the location and the setting that fits our customers needs, and we personally select gay-friendly services to ensure the right mood during the most important day of your life. We successfully liaise with professionally qualified celebrants, who have been working in Europe for many years and have an excellent reputation. We also design your honeymoon through Italy, taking care not only to find great cultural events, but also to insure your relaxation and comfort.
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US: Bachmann Confronted by Student on Marriage Equality Position

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Footage of a US student’s careful line of questioning to Michele Bachmann on equal marriage rights has been gaining exposure online.

16-year-old Jane Schmidt challenges the Republican presidential nominee hopeful at a town hall meeting in the town of Waverly, Iowa on 30 November.

As head of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, she asks Bachmann what support she would offer GSAs and the wider LGBT community if elected.

Full Story from Pink News

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