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USA, Florida: Broward County Judge Grants First Same Sex Divorce

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

FloridaIt’s official – a lesbian couple is now divorced in the state of Florida.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Circuit Judge Dale Cohen on Wednesday dissolved the marriage of Heather Brassner and Megan Lade in a brief hearing. They were united in a 2002 civil union in Vermont but Brassner was unable to obtain a divorce in Florida for five years since their relationship ended. “It’s like an emotional weight being lifted off,” said Brassner, who is from Lake Worth. “I just feel free and I couldn’t have gotten a better holiday gift.”

Cohen ruled in August that Florida’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. Because the ruling came in a divorce case, it has the effect of also declaring that out-of-state gay marriages should be recognized in Florida. It does not mean same-sex marriage licenses can be issued in Broward County.

Judge Cohen’s action comes as a stay in another case is about to expire on 1/5, unless Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas grants an extension.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.

Judge Denies Westboro Intervention in Kansas Marriage Equality Case, Tenth Circuit Denies Stay

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

KansasWe have a couple new developments in the Kansas marriage equality case. First off, A judge basically told the Westboro Baptist Church to piss off in the request to intervene in the case.

The Washington Blade reports:

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree, an Obama appointee who on Election Day ruled against the Kansas ban on same-sex marriage, determined in a seven-page decision state officials defending Kansas law adequately represent Westboro’s interests. “WBC has not identified any differences between the defendant’s ultimate objective in the litigation and its own,” Crabtree writes. “Nor can the Court identify any–both seek to uphold Kansas’ constitutional and statutory prohibitions against same-sex marriage. A shared ultimate objective between an existing party and an applicant for intervention triggers a presumption of adequate representation.”

And on the same day, the 10th circuit denied the state’s request for a stay.

Joe.My.God reports:

The district court granted preliminary injunctive relief to plaintiffs on November 4, enjoining defendants from enforcing or applying Kansas constitutional and statutory provisions that prohibit issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The district court then stayed its injunctive order until 5:00 p.m. on November 11. Defendants immediately appealed the preliminary injunction ruling and also filed an emergency motion pursuant to 10th Cir. R. 8.1, asking this court to stay the district court’s injunctive order pending their appeal of the ruling. We conclude that defendants have failed to make the showings necessary to obtain a stay, and we deny the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal. We note that the district court’s temporary stay of its own preliminary injunction order remains in effect until 5:00 p.m. CST on November 11, 2014.

Noew the state has asked the US Supreme Court to step in.

Pink News reports:

The state of Kansas has asked the Supreme Court to halt same-sex weddings, which are due to begin statewide on Tuesday. Weddings are set to begin next Tuesday, after the Attorney General Derek Schmidt had his desperate attempt to stop them rejected by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, Mr Schmidt has now taken his case even further – asking the Supreme Court to halt the marriages. He said: “Because the federal District Court’s injunction will effectively disable a provision in the Kansas Constitution, I believe I have a duty to exhaust all of the state’s options for appeal.

If recent history is any guide, he’ll get a swift respnse from the Court, and it will be a “no”. In that case, the current stay will expire on Tuesday, November 11, and same-sex couples will be free to marry across the state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kansas.

Marriage Equality Comes to Arizona

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Arizona mapAnother day, another marriage equality state. This time it’s Arizona, where a Federal judge just struck down the states ban with no stay.

Towleroad.com reports:

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick (a George H.W. Bush appointee) has struck down Arizona’s ban on gay marriage, declaring it “unconstitutional by virtue of the fact that they deny same-sex couples the equal protection of the law.”

Adds Sedwick: “The court has considered whether to stay this decision to allow defendants to appeal. It is clear, however, that an appeal to the Ninth Circuit would be futile. It is also clear–based on the Supreme Court’s denial of petitions for writs of certiorari filed inconnection with several circuit court decisions which held that same-sex marriage must be recognized in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin –that the High Court will turn a deaf ear on any request for relief from the Ninth Circuit’s decision. It is further ordered that defendants are hereby ordered to permanently cease enforcement of those provisions of Arizona law declared unconstitutional by this order. Finally, this court declines to stay the effect of this order.”

These new states are coming online so quickly it’s hard to keep up – amazing!

Find more articles and gay wedding resource in Arizona.

USA, California: Judge Rules Against Group Trying to Repeal Transgender Kids Law

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Transgender FlagA group fighting to repeal a bill protecting transgender kids suffered another setback in court today.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A judge in Sacramento has ruled that elections officials in 30 California counties do not have to turn over records that would help sponsors of a failed ballot referendum challenge the invalidation of thousands of voter signatures. Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on Friday granted the state’s request to quash subpoenas issued on behalf of Privacy for All Students, which sought to repeal a new law that spells out the rights of transgender students in public schools. Relying on counts submitted by county offices, the secretary of state determined in February that the group was about 17,000 signatures short of the number needed to qualify its proposed referendum to repeal the law.

Hopefully this will put an end to this hateful attempt to take away the rights of some of the most vulnerable kids in the state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

USA, Arkansas: Judge Hears Marriage Equality Case, Will Rule in Two Weeks

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

ArkansasA Federal Jude heard the Arkansas marriage equality lawsuit today.

The Commercial Appeal reports:

Arguing for the plaintiffs, attorney Jack Wagoner said the voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is itself unconstitutional. The state and federal constitutions guarantee “rights that can’t be taken away,” Wagoner argued. Wagoner said rights to due process and equal protection cannot be superseded even by a state constitutional amendment. “When the government is in the marriage business, same-sex couples have to be treated the same,” Wagoner said. “The fact that they’ve been historically discriminated against is less reason to have laws targeting them.”

The Judge says he will rule within two weeks.

The Advocate reports:

A ruling will come in about two weeks in a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’s ban on same-sex marriage, says the judge who heard arguments in the case today. Pulaski County Circuit Court judge Chris Piazza announced his anticipated time frame at the end of today’s proceedings, the Associated Press reports. He heard arguments from lawyers on both sides of the issue at the court in Little Rock.

Yay – one ruling we won’t have to wait months for!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arkansas.

USA, Ohio: Judge Says State Must Recognize Same Sex Marriages Weddings Performed Elsewhere

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

OhioOhio took a step closer to full marriage equality yesterday, when a Judge told the state it must recognize the marriages of same sex couples who wed in other states.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Judge Timothy Black ruled that refusing to recognize lawfully performed same-sex marriages is a violation of constitutional rights and “unenforceable in all circumstances. The record before this court … is staggeringly devoid of any legitimate justification for the state’s ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Black wrote. he state plans to appeal Black’s ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage, which voters did overwhelmingly in 2004.

While the ruling leaves intact the ban on same sex weddings within the state, for now, it seems likely that too, would be struck down under the logic the judge used, if it were challenged directly.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Ohio.

Italy: Judge Orders City Council to Recognize Gay Couple’s New York Wedding

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Italy Gay CoupleSome big news out of Italy – for the first time, a gay couple’s wedding will be recognized by a local government in the country.

Towleroad.com reports:

An Italian court today recognized a gay couple as married for the first time in Italy, AFP reports: The court in Grosseto in Tuscany ordered the city council to list the couple, who had their wedding in New York in 2012, as married in a ruling that was immediately hailed by gay rights campaigners as historic. “This is an unprecedented case in our country,” Sergio Lo Giudice, a senator for the Democratic Party and a former head of the watchdog Arcigay, told reporters… Grosseto judge Claudio Boccini ruled that there was “no reference to gender” in the city council register of married couples and the couple in question should therefore be included.

It’s a long way from full marriage equality, but it is a crack in the wall in this very Catholic country.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Italy.

USA: Ninth Circuit May Re-Hear Gay Juror Case

Friday, March 28th, 2014

California MapOK, so it sounds a little boring, but this is important – apparently at least one judge in the Ninth Circuit wants a re-hearing on the “gay juror” case.

Equality in Trial explains:

The Ninth Circuit is asking all the parties in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories to file briefs telling the court whether it should rehear the case en banc, with a larger panel of judges. The call apparently came from one or more judges on the court under a rule that allows any judge to call for rehearing on their own after the time expires for a party to ask for rehearing…

If rehearing en banc is ultimately granted after all briefs are filed, the three-judge panel’s initial decision will be wiped out and will not remain precedent. This likely means that the circuit court’s determination that sexual orientation discrimination warrants heightened judicial scrutiny will be reconsidered. The larger panel, 11 judges in the Ninth Circuit, could still reach that same holding in its final decision, however. State officials in Nevada and Oregon – two states that fall within the Ninth Circuit – have declined to defend their state bans on same-sex marriage, in part because of the SmithKline decision.

I’ve never heard of a Circuit Court voiding its own decision like this, but then I’m not a lawyer. Does this kind of thing happen often?

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USA, Michigan: Judge Strikes Down Marriage Equality Ban

Friday, March 21st, 2014

MichiganThis just in – the judge in the marriage equality case in Michigan just struck down the state’s ban.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

In a historic ruling that provided a huge morale boost to the gay-rights movement, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman today struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, making it the 18th state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to join in matrimony, just like their heterosexual counterparts. The state has long argued that it is, and that the will of 2.7 million voters — who in 2004 decided that marriage is only to be between a man and a woman — should not be drowned out by a single judge. The state also argues that it has a “legitimate” interest in preserving the traditional family structure because — it claims — children thrive best when raised by married moms and dads. Friedman, though, sided with the plaintiffs: two Hazel Park lesbian nurses who argue the state has no “rational basis” for denying them the right to get married and adopt each others’ children.

Amazing – one more state for marriage equality. No word yet on whether the ruling is stayed pending appeal – anyone hear anything out there?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, Michigan: Mariage Equality Ruling Could Come Down Today

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

MichiganA federal judge could rule as early as today on the state’s marriage equality lawsuit.

The Detroit News reports:

A federal court ruling on whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional could come as early as Thursday, say observers of the case. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman is weighing the legal claims of a lawsuit filed by Hazel Park nurses April DeBoer, 42, and Jayne Rowse, 49, who are living as a couple and raising three special needs children they adopted as individuals. They are asking him to lift both the bans on same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples so they can adopt each other’s children.

It’s likely any favorable ruling would be immediately stayed, pending an appeal to the 6th District, the same circuit court that will consider the Kentucky appeal.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.