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USA, Idaho: Victory for Gay Adoption at State Supreme Court

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

IdahoThe Idaho Supreme Court handed a victory to a lesbian woman who wanted to adopt her spouse’s children.

Reuters reports:

Idaho’s top court on Monday ruled that state law allows a woman to adopt the children of her same-sex spouse, in a precedent-setting victory for gay couples in a socially conservative U.S. state that has banned the unions. The ruling stems from an adoption petition filed last year by an Idaho woman shortly after her marriage in California to her same-sex partner, the parent of boys ages 12 and 15, legal records showed.

The Idaho Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision reversing the lower court’s ruling, said a person’s gender or sexual orientation was not part of the legal criteria that allowed a minor to be adopted by an in-state adult resident. “Any adult person” is defined as any human being over the age of 18 and “cannot possibly be construed to mean ‘any married adult person’ as the magistrate ultimately determined,” Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones wrote for the court.

While the ruling doesn’t address the state’s ban on same sex marriage, it’s definitely a big step in the right direction in this conservative state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Idaho.

USA, New Mexico: Both Sides Think Supreme Court Will Approve Marriage Equality

Friday, October 25th, 2013

New Mexico MapBoth supporters and opponents of marriage equality think the state spring court is likely to approve it when it makes its ruling.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports:

“I think the die was cast before we came in here,” State Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, told a reporter during a break at the hearing. Sharer is part of a group of current and former Republican lawmakers who have filed lawsuits trying to stop county clerks around the state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But, he added, “whatever happens here [in the Supreme Court] won’t be the last word. It’s not over until the people have spoken.”

Santa Fe couple Rose Griego and Kim Kiel — who are plaintiffs in the case before the high court Wednesday — both expressed optimism after the hearing. “I’m super excited,” Griego said. “It’s historic, and I’m so happy that this is going to help a lot of people.” Kiel agreed. “I feel really good that the outcome will be positive.” Griego and Kiel got married in Santa Fe in August after a judge ordered County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Advocate has some of the highlights from Wednesday’s hearing.

Attorney Maureen Sanders, who is representing the six same-sex couples who initially filed the suit, argued that it was unconstitutional to deny gay and lesbian New Mexicans the right to marry their partner. Sanders also countered the opposition’s argument that marriage is intended primarily as a vehicle for procreation, a worn-out and tired trope repeatedly offered as legal justification for discrimination by those who oppose marriage equality. Sanders said that marriage is “a relationship between two individuals, whether or not they want to have children,” reports the The New Civil Rights Movement. Sanders also pointed out that there is no “litmus test” for procreation, and asking couples before they’re allowed to marry if they will have children is not only unprecedented but would violate that couple’s right to privacy.

It’s all over but the waiting.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Mexico.

USA, New Mexico: State Supreme Court Hears Marriage Equality Case

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

New Mexico MapThe New Mexico Supreme Court yesterday held a hearing on marriage equality, specifically whether the law in New Mexico bans it. The court has stepped in to resolve the issue because a number of County clerks have started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The New Civil Rights Movement reports:

Arguments from the anti-gay side were predictably obtuse and irrelevant. The flawed and debunked anti-gay “parenting” study by Mark Regnerus was used to argue that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples. Other anti-gay arguments included “husband and wife means husband and wife,” tradition, the institution of marriage must be protected and therefore gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry, and marriage was designed to channel mankind’s procreative powers — a situation that gay and lesbian couples don’t have to worry about.

Other preposterous claims were made, including that LGBT people have extraordinary political power and therefore don’t need the courts to intervene, and that either the people or the legislature should decide the issue of marriage. Ironically, when the court took a short break, one attorney not realizing the cameras were still live, quipped that if the legislature passed marriage equality, the issue would till return to the state Supreme Court.

Typical hypocrisy on the part of the anti-gay Right. Now we wait – some sources think we’ll have a ruling within a couple weeks.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Mexico.

USA, New Mexico: State Supreme Court To Hear Marriage Equality Case Next Week

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

New Mexico MapThe dispute in New Mexico over whether county clerks can issue marriage licenses to same sex couples will reach the state Supreme Court next week.

Edge Boston reports:

The five-member high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments next Wednesday in a case that could resolve an issue that’s historically stalled in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. New Mexico law doesn’t explicitly authorize or prohibit gay marriage, but lawmakers have refused to ban it or allow for domestic partnerships. The court agreed to take the case after New Mexico’s county clerks asked the justices to clarify the law and decide whether a decision by a state district judge in Albuquerque was correct. That judge ruled in a lawsuit against two counties that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court’s decision would apply statewide.

It’s possible that the court will rule almost immediately, or, of course, they could take their time.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Mexico.

USA, New Mexico: Briefs Filed in Marriage Equality Case

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

New Mexico MapSeveral briefs were just filed in New Mexico’s marriage equality case.

Towleroad.com reports on one:

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the law firm of Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC, and other New Mexico attorneys filed a brief with the New Mexico State Supreme Court on behalf of six couples seeking the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples in New Mexico. The brief was requested by the NM Supreme Court in response to a petition filed by 33 New Mexico County Clerks asking the court to issue a state-wide, binding resolution on the legality of same-sex marriage.

Said Laura Schauer Ives, ACLU-NM legal director, via press release: “Every New Mexico court that has considered our claims has agreed that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage to loving, committed same-sex couples. We are hopeful that the New Mexico Supreme Court will agree that same-sex couples in our communities deserve full respect and recognition of their relationships, and issue a writ to resolve all claims on constitutional grounds.”

The GOP also got into the act. the Albuquerque Journal reports:

Nearly two dozen current and former Republican legislators are urging New Mexico’s highest court to declare that state law prohibits same-sex marriage. An Arizona-based group called the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the state Supreme Court in a case that could resolve whether gay marriage is legal in New Mexico. Monday is the deadline for submitting written arguments to the court.

Ah yes, the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) – haven’t heard from them in awhile…

Also in New Mexico, Attorney General Gary King slammed the idea of putting the issue to a public vote. Joe.My.God reports:

“Here is where some critics have incorrectly interpreted the legal process. Some have said that I am trying to unilaterally disregard state law by not suing county clerks who have elected to issue same sex marriage licenses. Several District Courts have addressed the issue. Two separate judges essentially ordered two different county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Another judge ruled that the state’s prohibitive statutes are unconstitutional, paving the way for another clerk to start issuing the licenses. I maintain that the best way to resolve this issue is for the NM Supreme Court to decide whether our current law is unconstitutional. Finally, some people, including the governor, say that the issue of whether same sex couples should be afforded the same rights as everyone else in our state must be decided by the voters. I urge the reader to consider the following: The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863; The 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage) in 1920; the Civil Rights Act of 1964;—none of which were voted upon by the general electorate.”

Go, Gary, go!

The state Supreme Court will hear the case on October 23rd.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Mexico.

USA, New Mexico: Marriage Equality Lawsuit On Hold Pending State Supreme Court Decision

Monday, September 16th, 2013

New Mexico MapA lawsuit seeking to force Sandoval County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has been put on hold pending a state Supreme Court hearing.

On Top Magazine reports:

A lawsuit asking Sandoval County Clerk Eileen Garbagni to issue a marriage license to a lesbian couple has been put on hold for now. According to the Rio Rancho Observer, District Judge George Eichwald has decided to wait on the outcome of a New Mexico Supreme Court case before issuing a ruling. “He said it made more sense to wait to see what the state Supreme Court had to say,” Sandoval County spokesman Sidney Hill said. “He didn’t want to act and have something potentially overturned.”

The hearing is scheduled for October 23.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Mexico.

USA, New Mexico: Supreme Court Asked to Consolidate And Expedite Marriage Equality Cases

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

New Mexico MapA same-sex couple that is suing the state of New Mexico for marriage equality is asking the state Supreme Court to consolidate several cases in order to expedite a decision. LGBTQ Nation reports:

A same-sex couple from Santa Fe has asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to streamline the handling of lawsuits seeking to legalize gay marriage in the state. Rep. Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat and lawyer for the couple, said Tuesday the goal is to get a quick lower court decision and clear the way for an expedited ruling by the state’s highest court. The justices are being asked to consolidate all cases involving the gay marriage issue and assign them to a district court judge in Santa Fe, who would issue a ruling that would go directly to the Supreme Court for review.

According to the article, the Supreme Court has done so before, consolidating cases over new legislative boundaries in 2011.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Mexico.

USA, Missouri: State Supreme Court to Take Another Look at Marriage Equality Case

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

St. Louis Arch - MissouriAnother “in the wake of” story after the US Supreme Court DOMA ruling – the Court has asked for written arguments in the case. Towleroad.com reports:

This past February, the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments challenging a state law banning same-sex marriage. The case was brought before the court after Kelly Glossip, partner to deceased Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard, was denied the survivor benefits granted to opposite-sex couples under Missouri Law. While is is still not clear if the court will make a ruling on the case, it has asked for attorneys on both sides to file written arguments in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down Section 3 of DOMA, which dealt with benefits to married couples (including death and inheritance benefits) among other issues.

Marriage equality is poised to start spreading across the heartland, not just the coasts anymore…

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Missouri.

USA, California: State Supreme Court Says No to Prop 8 Supporters’ Request

Monday, July 15th, 2013

California Supreme CourtThe California Supreme Court just put the kibosh on the last-ditch effort by Prop 8 supporters to stop the same sex weddings now going on across the state. Bloomberg reports:

The California Supreme Court refused a request by backers of Proposition 8 to reinstate the measure, which banned gay marriage, after they lost a fight in nation’s highest court to block same-sex weddings. Proposition 8 backers filed a petition July 12 and asked the state’s high court to order county clerks to enforce the gay-marriage ban, claiming the measure was still valid because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month didn’t find it was unconstitutional. They asked for an immediate injunction reinstating the law while the lawsuit is pending. “The request for an immediate stay or injunctive relief is denied,” the court said in a filing today, without giving a reason.

So that’s that – no big surprise, but it’s good to see that the Court saw through their ridiculous arguments.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

USA, New Jersey: Christie May Get Off the Hook on Marriage Equality

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

New Jersey Governor Cris ChristieAfter personally blocking marriage equality for years in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie ought to pay a political price, right? Maybe not. Philly.com says he may get off scott-free:

First and foremost, this may no longer even be an issue by the November gubernatorial election, let alone the 2016 presidential race. New Jersey courts could legalize gay marriage as soon as next month. If that happens – and Christie is obligated by law to comply – then done is done. State Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex), Christie’s opponent, can make the argument all she wants that Christie is “denigrating and demeaning and marginalizing our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” as she did last week. But will that statement have currency among voters when pictures show the opposite, of men marrying men and women marrying women at town halls across New Jersey?

And even if it doesn’t, democrats may not be able to override his veto until he is safely reelected as Governor.

Over at NJ.com, they’re calling the Governor’s bluff on his contention that he doesn’t run the GOP in New Jersey, and that republican lawmakers are free to vote for marriage equality if they want:

Another straddle: Christie has always opposed gay marriage, but he said last year he was “adamant” that same-sex couples “deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples.” Each side got something: No to marriage, but yes to equal rights. That straddle exploded when the U.S. Supreme Court extended federal benefits to same-sex married couples. Civil union couples in New Jersey cannot enjoy those benefits precisely because of Christie’s veto. And yet, he stands by the veto, and was among the first to criticize the court’s decision. So what is it, Governor? Do same-sex couples deserve equal legal rights or not?

And so we wait to see what the New Jersey Supreme Court has to say on the issue.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.