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BREAKING: Judge Overturns Oregon Marriage Equality Ban

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Oregon Marriage Equality

Update 12:27 PM From Oregon United for Marriage:

The ruling will go into effect immediately, and marriage licenses will soon be available in counties across the state. Already, Multnomah County is issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

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It’s official – Federal Judge Michael McShane has just overturned the constitutional ban on Oregon Marriage Equality.

Oregon United for Marriage reports:

Judge Michael McShane has ruled that Oregon’s marriage ban is unconstitutional! Stay tuned for more updates.

The Washington Blade elaborates:

A federal judge in Oregon struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage Monday, making for the 13th straight win for gay nuptials in the federal courts since the U.S. Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act. In a 26-page decision, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled in the consolidated case of Rummell v. Kitzhaber and Geiger v. Kitzhaber that Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage violates rights under the U.S. Constitution. “Because Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” McShane writes.

In related news, the ninth circuit has denied NOM’s request to intervene in the case.

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Oregon United for Marriage just released this statement:

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional–paving the way for couples to begin marrying immediately.

The lawsuit alleged that Oregon’s constitutional ban on marriage for lesbian and gay couples–Measure 36–violates the U.S. Constitution.

The consolidated case–Geiger v. Kitzhaber, filed on October 13, 2013, and Rummell v. Kitzhaber, filed on December 19, 2013–was argued on April 23, 2014. Attorneys Lake Perriguey (Law Works, LLC) and Lea Ann Easton (Dorsay & Easton, LLP), argued on behalf of plaintiff couples Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson, and Robert Duehmig and William Griesar. Attorneys Rose Saxe and Amanda Goad (American Civil Liberties Union), Kevin Diaz (ACLU of Oregon), and volunteer counsel Misha Isaak and Tom Johnson (Perkins Coie, LLP), and Jennifer Middleton (Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC), argued on behalf of two additional couples–Paul Rummell and Ben West, and Chris Tanner and Lisa Chickadonz–and Basic Rights Education Fund.

“The importance of Judge McShane’s decision cannot be overemphasized,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Our federal Constitution does not allow any state – or its voters – to deny same sex couples equal protection under the law simply because of who they are and who they love. This type of discrimination is wrong and it’s also unconstitutional.”

“Our clients Deanna Geiger & Janine Nelson and Bob Duehig and Bill Griesar are grateful the Attorney General, Governor, Ms. Woodward and Mr. Walruff carefully considered their position and so clearly articulated Oregon’s position that it values our relationships and commitments to each other and our families,” said Lee Ann Easton, an attorney at Dorsay & Easton who, with co-counsel Lake Periguey, filed the Geiger case. “They are very pleased the District Court adopted their position along with the Rummell plaintiffs in his decision. With this advancement of civil rights, gay and lesbian Oregonians are now equal under the law.”

“After years of working in every way possible way to bring the freedom to marry to Oregon, today is a historic day,” said Vanessa Usui, board chair of Basic Rights Education Fund. “Starting with a ballot measure, and ultimately with this court victory, we have finally ensured that all loving, committed same-sex couples are free to marry in Oregon.”

“Today’s ruling acknowledges that Oregon same-sex couples are entitled to equal dignity under our Constitution,” said Misha Isaak, who argued on behalf of the Rummell plaintiffs at the April 23 hearing and serves on Basic Rights Oregon’s legal advisory group. “We are parents, siblings, neighbors, coworkers, and friends, just like our fellow Oregonians, and we have the same constitutional rights as our fellow Oregonians. Our loving, committed relationships are worthy of the state’s equal recognition. Finally, they will get it.”

“Today Oregon joins the increasing number of states in embracing the freedom to marry for all,” said Rose Saxe, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “This decision brings us one step closer to ensuring that all loving and committed couples will be able to take care of each other and their loved ones with the protections and dignity that only come through marriage.”

The anti-marriage equality group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) attempted to intervene in the case just before the April 23 hearing. On May 14, Judge McShane denied their motion. NOM filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 19, and also requested an emergency stay of Judge McShane’s ruling. The request for a stay was denied, but the appeal is still pending.

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Oregon has already indicated it won’t appeal. Gay and lesbian couples may begin to marry as soon as this afternoon in the state – now the entire West Coast has full marriage equality.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oregon.

Oregon Marriage Equality Decision Coming Monday

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Oregon Gay MarriageThis just in from Oregon United for Marriage:

The federal judge in Oregon’s marriage equality lawsuit said he plans to issue an opinion at noon on Monday.

If judge Michael McShane strikes down Oregon’s law excluding same-sex couples from marriage, all loving and committed couples in Oregon could be granted the freedom to marry.

“We don’t know which way the judge will rule, but we are hopeful that Oregon is on the verge of making history–and that by next week, all of Oregon’s loving, committed couples will be able to wed in our state,” said Amy Ruiz, deputy campaign manager for Oregon United for Marriage.

Oregon United for Marriage launched a “Decision Day Resource Page” last week, for Oregonians anticipating the ruling.

On April 23, Judge McShane heard arguments on motions for summary judgment in the case. On Wednesday May 17 the Judge heard oral arguments from the National Organization for Marriage, which filed their motion to intervene in the case at 11:04 p.m. two days before oral arguments.

So far, more than a dozen judges have ruled for the freedom to marry since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act last year. Once Oregon wins marriage equality, Multnomah County has said that it plans to start issuing licenses right away to gay and lesbian couples.

BACKGROUND ON THE CASES:

Attorneys filed two lawsuits last year in the federal court in Eugene to challenge laws that exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon. In October, attorneys Lake Perriguey and Lea Ann Easton filed the first case, Geiger v. Kitzhaber, on behalf of two couples.

In December, staff attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oregon, and volunteer counsel Misha Isaak and Tom Johnson of Perkins Coie, LLP, and Jennifer Middleton of Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC, filed a second case, Rummell v. Kitzhaber, on behalf of two same-sex couples who wish to marry in Oregon and Basic Rights Education Fund. In January, the judge, Michael McShane, consolidated the two cases.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February that Measure 36 is indefensible. “Sexual orientation does not determine an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and enduring relationship,” she wrote in a brief filed with the court. “The ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.”

The National Organization for Marriage in Washington D.C. filed a motion to intervene in the case, and now the judge is hearing arguments about how to rule.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oregon.

USA, Michigan: Another County Will Issue Marriage Licenses to Same Sex Couples

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Michigan Counties

Map via US Census

Another county is set to start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples Monday Morning.

Mlive.com reports:

Same-sex couples who want to marry in Michigan may get marriage licenses in Genesee County on Monday, March 24. That is, however, only if a judicial stay isn’t issued, said Genesee County Clerk-Register of Deeds John Gleason. “We intend to accept the first applications 8 a.m. Monday morning,” Gleason said. Gleason said he also expects to have ministers available in the office to make the marriages official. He said at least one minister plans to be in the office Monday. Follow this link for information from the Clerk’s office on what couples need to bring to the courthouse.

That’s five counties now and counting…

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

USA, New Jersey: Governor Christie Will Comply with Supreme Court’s Order on Same-Sex Weddings

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

New Jersey Governor Chris ChristieNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he will comply with the state Supreme Court’s order that same-sex weddings can begin on Monday.

Edge Boston reports:

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak says in a statement that the governor “firmly believes that this determination should be made by all the people of the state of New Jersey.” But he says the state Health Department will help towns carry out Friday’s state Supreme Court ruling. The court denied the Christie administration’s request to delay a lower-court order that the state recognize same-sex marriage beginning Monday. Same-sex marriages will begin within days in New Jersey after the state’s highest court ruled unanimously Friday to uphold a lower-court order that gay weddings must start Monday and to deny a delay that was sought by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

In related news, NOM’s Brian Brown activist judges blah blah blah.

Joe.My.God reports:

“It is extremely disappointing that the New Jersey Supreme Court has allowed the ruling of an activist judge to stand pending its appeal through the court system. The definition of marriage is something that should be decided by the people of New Jersey themselves, not by any judge or court. New Jerseyans should have the right to vote on this issue just as voters in nearly three dozen other states have done. In addition, the decision to allow same-sex ‘marriage’ to proceed even while the law is being tested in court is unfair both to the voters of the state and to same-sex couples themselves.”

Same old, same old.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.

Will Supreme Court Bring Marriage Equality Back to California Tomorrow?

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Will Supreme Court Bring Marriage Equality Back to California Tomorrow?Just in from AFER:

Tomorrow, the United States Supreme Court could announce whether it has granted or denied review in Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown), the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. The Perry case, along with several cases challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), were distributed for discussion at the Justices’ private Conference of Friday, November 30, 2012.

Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. DOMA, which was enacted by Congress in 1996, nullifies the marriages of gay and lesbian couples for all purposes of federal law.

The Perry case was filed on May 22, 2009, in Federal District Court on behalf of two California couples, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark ruling upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. On July 30, 2012, the proponents of Proposition 8 asked the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s judgment. A request for Supreme Court review, known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, is only granted upon an affirmative vote of four Justices.

Should the Court grant review, the Justices will go on to consider whether Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. If the Court denies review, the February 2012 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that struck down Proposition 8 is made permanent, ending four years of marriage inequality in California.

On Friday, November 30, the United States Supreme Court issued an Order List revealing two cases considered at its November 30 Conference that have been granted review. The Perry case and the DOMA cases were not on that list. The Supreme Court is expected to release an Order List with its decisions on cases it has granted or denied review from its November 30 Conference by Monday, December 3 at 9:30 a.m. EST/6:30 a.m. PST.

In the event that the Court neither grants nor denies review in Perry by December 3, the Justices will discuss the case again at a future Conference.

If the Court takes action in the Perry case and/or the DOMA cases, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of the Perry case, will hold a national media conference call. No call will be held if action is not taken in the Perry case and the DOMA cases.

To listen in to the call, please dial (866) 535-6106. Enter conference ID 76518722.

READ PLAINTIFFS’ BRIEF IN OPPOSITION HERE: http://www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012-08-24-Plaintiffs-Brief-in-Opposition.pdf

READ PROPONENTS’ PETITION FOR CERTIORARI HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/2012-07-31-Proponents-Petition-for-Certiorari.pdf

READ THE NINTH CIRCUIT’S ORDER DENYING REHEARING EN BANC HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012-06-05-En-Banc-Order.pdf

READ THE NINTH CIRCUIT’S DECISION HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/2012-02-07-Decision-on-Merits.pdf

READ THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT’S DECISION HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Prop8Decision.pdf

NY: Marriages Continue As Clerks’ Offices Open Statewide Monday Morning

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

New York Gay Weddings ContinueClerk’s offices in hundreds of rural and suburban towns across New York began offering marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples for the first time on Monday, even as a conservative group filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s Marriage Equality Act and nullify the same-sex marriages.

And in New York City and the other communities that had opened their offices Sunday for same-sex weddings, a steady but slower flow of newly eligible couples sought licenses on Monday.

State officials said they did not yet have statistics to indicate how many gay and lesbian couples had sought licenses in the first two days of legal same-sex marriage, but a survey of clerks in several of the state’s largest cities and towns suggested that at least 1,200 licenses had been issued. Most of the licenses were issued in New York City, home to about 40 percent of the state’s population.

Full Story from The New York Times

Click here for gay wedding resources in New York.

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