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Kim Davis – Let me show you what persecution looks like

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

KimDavisABClargeON US TV today (Sept. 22), the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to ANY couple because she didn’t believe in same sex marriage has said what hurts her most about how she has been treated since she defied the Supreme Court ruling on marriage in June – being called ‘a hypocrite’.

Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky, has been jailed, received a ‘Religious Liberty’ award for fighting ‘legal tyranny’, been called ‘the bravest woman in America‘ and compared to Abraham Lincoln by her lawyer. She has also been called a martyr and a victim of anti-Christian persecutionShe even admitted denying marriage licences to friends, and receiving death threats.

All because she believes in her Christian duty to break the oath she took as a US Government official to uphold the law, in a country whose constitution explicitly forbids the primacy of any religion. The First Amendment clearly states that the US government cannot make any law ‘respecting an establishment of religion.’ In the words of the Supreme Court, this generally means that the government can’t “pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another,” or otherwise become entangled in religious affairs.

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‘Rainbow Profile Pictures for Sex Offenders’ – Homophobia NOT Satire

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was one of 26 million people who used the rainbow filter on his profile picture. SOURCE: Facebook

IT’S LATE – my phone rings. It’s someone I haven’t heard from in a while. I answer.

His greeting is warm, but it sounds like he’s been drinking.

He chats about Facebook – he says he doesn’t use it much but he’s logged in and noticed the rainbow filter on my profile picture, the only one among his list of friends on the site.

He says he is concerned because he has just read an article claiming that sex offenders have been ordered to use rainbow profile pictures on social media so others can easily identify them as potential predators. Click to continue »

Alabama Marriage Equality Update – February 11th

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

AlabamaAnother day, another batch of marriage equality news out of Alabama.

Chief Justice Roy Moore played the “gay friends” card.

On Top Magazine reports:

When asked whether he would attend the wedding of a gay friend, Moore responded: “I’ve had many friends who are homosexual. I’ve treated people just like other people. This is not about how I treat people or how I go to a wedding or marriage or anything. It’s about the constitution of Alabama, the constitution of the United States.” “But you wouldn’t be reluctant personally to go to a same-sex wedding?” host Mark Halperin asked. “I would not go to a same-sex wedding, no,” Moore answered.

As of first thing this morning, the number of counties issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples had jumped.

Joe.My.God reports:

Per Equality Alabama, the number of counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses will grow to 22 today as more judges relent. That’s more than double the first day’s number.

Alabama map

Two more counties, Calhoun and Crenshaw, jumped on the marriage equality bandwagon.

Joe.My.God reports:

Confirmed: Crenshaw County, Alabama issuing marriage licenses to all couples as of today, total of 24.

The Calhoun County Probate Judge’s office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this morning. In a statement released this morning, Martin said several factors went into the decision to begin. “We have considered the Order issued by Justice Moore, which I have been compliant with, and the statements made by Governor Bentley relating to the Order,” she said. “While I am of the opinion an Order with further instruction to the Probate Judges is necessary, that has not been forthcoming, and the Supreme Court’s decision, by a 7 to 2 majority, has been the ultimate deciding factor in my decision today to issue marriage licenses to same-sex applicants.”

Queerty has a new marriage equality map.

…the situation is a bit confusing. Some counties are issuing marriage licenses to eager same-sex couples (see map, via New York Times), and some have closed up shop altogether, preventing both gay and straight couples from tying the knot.

Queerty Marriage Equality Map

The hearing in the Mobile County case is tomorrow. Equality on Trial will be there.

I’m not sure exactly how the hearing will go down, but it seems like there’s at least a chance she may rule from the bench given the immediacy of the situation: couples have been wanting to get married since Monday.

Meanwhile, two conservative groups asked the state Supreme Court to step in to shut down the weddings.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Two conservative groups are asking the Alabama Supreme Court to order state probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples. The Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program filed the request Wednesday. The groups are asking the justices to back the position of Chief Justice Roy Moore that probate judges should not issue the licenses.

In a separate case, the state Supreme Court declined to offer an opinion on whether probate judges should issue the licenses.

Equality on Trial reports:

In an order from the Alabama Supreme Court, the court declined to address the issue of whether individual county probate judges should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court held that the request is an advisory opinion, simply seeking their views on a question with no adversarial proceedings. Those kinds of opinions are only allowed under Alabama law if they are sought by the governor or the legislature

The Atlantic looks at the abysmal level of support for marriage equality in the state.

The state is last in the nation in support for marriage equality—tied with next-door neighbor Mississippi. Although majorities of Americans now favor same-sex marriage, just 32 percent of Alabamians and Mississippians do, according to numbers from the Public Religion Research Institute. PRRI is releasing an unusually large data set, including 40,000 interviews conducted over 2014 in all 50 states, as part of the American Values Atlas. The biggest factor in the low support seems to be the high concentration of white evangelical Protestants in those two states — 39 percent of Alabamians identify as members of that demographic, double the nationwide average. Even as the rest of the South has undergone huge shifts in opinion toward marriage equality, Alabama and Mississippi remain outliers.

The GOP in the state issued a statement on the mess.

Joe.My.God reports:

“…how is it that God’s truth can be turned on its head as the debate now rages in Alabama regarding the meaning of marriage? The answer is that we, as a society, have become our own god. We have made God in our image. But, God will not be mocked. The State of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman.”

Paul Gordon at the Huffington Post looks at how Alabama’s defiance shows what’s wrong with the push for “religious freedom” laws.

So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits?… It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

The Huffington Post profiles the Federal Judge who brought down the state’s marriage equality ban:

It may be only fitting then that now, standing on the other side of Moore, is Granade, the granddaughter of a civil rights-era judge who stood up to the white segregationist South during the 1950s and 1960s and helped advance equality for African-Americans. Judge Richard Rives played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. Richard Rives, Granade’s grandfather, was one of the judges known as the “Fifth Circuit Four.” These judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued decisions that were crucial in breaking down segregation barriers in the South. Writing in The Nation in 2004, College of Charleston Professor Jack Bass said they “fleshed out the bare bones of [Brown v. Board of Education] and transformed it into a broad mandate for racial justice.”

We’ll end with a moving story from Troy Masters, who spent a lot of his childhood in Alabama in the 1960’s.

Gay City News reports:

“Troy is a queer,” I overheard my stepfather say with energetic disgust to another family member. Even at 13, I understood that my feelings for other boys were supposed to be secret. Now I knew terror. What my stepfather said humiliated me, sending an icy panic through my body that changed my demeanor and ruined my confidence. For the first time in my life, I felt depression and I became painfully shy. Alabama became a place, not of love, not of shelter, not of the magic of family, but of fear… But that Alabama is not the Alabama of tomorrow.

The hearing in the Mobile case is tomorrow.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Alabama.

Mexico’s Supreme Court Says Yes to Marriage Equality in Baja, California

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Baja CaliforniaThe Mexican Supreme Court just gave the go ahead for same sex weddings in Baja, California.

SDGLN reports:

The Mexican Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for the first same-sex marriage in Baja California. According to a news release from the court, the ruling stated that a provision in the Baja California Constitution limiting marriage to heterosexual couples is unconstitutional. “Excluding couples of the same sex goes against the right of persons to self-determination and for every individual’s personality to develop freely,” the statement said. “In addition, it implicitly creates a violation to the principle of equality, because it gives a different treatment to homosexual couples with respect to heterosexual couples.”

The ruling was the result of a planned wedding by a Mexican couple that the state objected to. The couple can now marry on November 21st.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Mexico.

Image via Apple Maps

Supreme Court Grants 24 Hour Stay in Kansas Marriage Equality Case

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Justice Sonia SotomayorSame-sex couples in Kansas will have to wait little bit longer before they can get married, after Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a short stay in the marriage equality case.

MSNBC reports:

With just over 24 hours to go until a ruling striking down Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban was due to take effect, Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday granted an emergency request for a stay from the state’s Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt. The stay might not last long; Sotomayor, the justice assigned to the 10th Circuit (which has jurisdiction over Kansas,) granted the request “pending receipt of a response, due on or before Tuesday, November 11, 2014, by 5 p.m. ET.” “She’s granted what sounds like a 24-hour stay,” said Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, to msnbc. “It’s real hard to say what’s going to happen next.”

Kansas lawyers cited the 6th Circuit ruling five times in their stay application, according to the Associated Press, in an attempt to convince the justices that the issue was not yet settled nationally and should be put on hold until the high court rules. That logic has worked in the past, with the Supreme Court granting stays in similar cases out of Utah and Virginia.

We’re not sure what wonderful new arguments the state is going to come up with to try to preserve its ban. But ultimately, it may make little difference, as weddings could not have began today anyway since clerks’ offices are closed for Veterans Day.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kansas.

There’s No Guarantee the Supreme Court Will Take Another Marriage Equality Case

Monday, November 10th, 2014

US Supreme Court Color

Now that a dissident federal appeals court has upheld same-sex marriage bans in four states, legal commentators say intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court — to resolve the conflicts among lower courts and set a uniform constitutional standard on the right to marry — is very likely. But it’s not inevitable.

The court faced another set of conflicting lower-court rulings on marital rights in 1955. The issue then was interracial marriage. When Virginia’s highest court upheld the state’s ban on whites marrying nonwhites — seven years after the California Supreme Court had become the nation’s first state to strike down a prohibition on interracial marriage — the ruling was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which under Chief Justice Earl Warren had declared school segregation unconstitutional the previous year. The court’s rules at the time required it to accept and decide such cases if they involved constitutional rights. But the justices found a way to sidestep the Virginia case, heeding the advice of Justice Felix Frankfurter that another incendiary racial decision could result in “thwarting or seriously handicapping the enforcement” of the school desegregation ruling. It wasn’t until 1967, in another Virginia case, that the court finally declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional, overturning laws in 16 states.

“The court chose to wait until national opinion was clearly on its side,” R. Richard Banks, a constitutional law professor at Stanford Law School, said Friday. “In the same-sex marriage context, it seems clear which way we’re moving. … The court might be content to let things percolate for another year, or two or three. Then there might be more support for a judicial ruling than there is now.”

Authored By Bob Egelko – See the Full Story at SFGate

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Utah Supremes Lift Hold on Same Sex Adoptions

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Same sex couples can now adopt in the state of Utah.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The Utah Supreme Court is lifting its hold on adoptions by same-sex couples. The high court halted all such adoptions in May as the state appealed a federal ruling striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that decision to stand, effectively legalizing same-sex unions in Utah and 10 other states. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Thursday’s decision to lift the hold comes in the cases of four adoptions sought by wedded same-sex couples, and will presumably allow those adoptions and others to proceed.

I wasn’t sure I would live long enough to see marriage equality come to Utah, and now this!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

One Way US Marriage Equality Could Still Lose

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

US Supreme Court bwThe Supreme Court seems determined to bring marriage equality to the United States as slowly as possible. If they move too slowly, however, the forces of discrimination may be smiling in a few years.

Although the Court threw up some pretty clear signs last week that there are five justices who support marriage equality, that could change if one of those justices leaves the bench. And if they do so before they and their colleagues get around to actually saying that equality is required under the Constitution, it will be much easier for the newly constituted Court to halt — or even reverse — nearly 20 years of progress on gay rights.

To be sure, it’s difficult to exaggerate the importance of a two-sentence order the Supreme Court issued Friday allowing same-sex marriages to begin in Idaho. A few days earlier, a federal appeals court declared Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, and the state had asked the justices to put that decision on hold pending further review by the Supreme Court. When the justices told Idaho “no,” they delivered the second major blow to marriage discrimination in under a week. On Monday, the Court denied review of several lower court decisions siding with marriage equality — a denial that effectively made equality a constitutional requirement in 14 states.

Authored By Ian Millhiser – See the Full Story at Think Progress

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Marriage Equality: What’s Going On in South Carolina

Friday, October 10th, 2014

South Carolina MapSouth Carolina’s had a bit of a bumpy road to marriage equality this last week too. As one of the states affected by but not directly part of the Supreme Court’s non-decision decision, there are still some legal hurdles to work through. Here’s what happened yesterday.

After a judge ruled for weddings to begin, a same sex couple waited eagerly for the 24 hour waiting period to expire. Watermark reports:

A South Carolina court has issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple despite the state’s constitutional ban against the practice and the attorney general’s pledge to defend it. Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon issued the license Oct. 8 morning to two women: Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley.

More couples were added. Greenville Online reports:

More than a dozen same-sex couples in Charleston County will be watching the clock and the state Supreme Court on Thursday to see if they can legally get married in South Carolina. A judge approved applications for marriage licenses for gay couples Wednesday, but state law requires all couples to wait 24 hours before the licenses are issued.

The AG then asked the state Supreme Court to step in. Greenville Online reports:

That gave Attorney General Alan Wilson time to ask the justices to refuse to grant the licenses. The Supreme Court has until 9:30 a.m. Thursday to stop Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon. Otherwise, the 24-hour wait will be up and Condon will begin giving out the licenses to the more than 15 same-sex couples who applied for them.

The SC Supreme Court did – saying that couples would have to wait for an official Federal ruling before marrying. Think Progress reports:

South Carolina’s Supreme Court has ruled that’s it’s not time for same-sex couples to start marrying there quite yet. As a state under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit, a federal judge would be bound to follow the Virginia precedent made final by the Supreme Court this week and overturn the state’s ban. But, the state’s highest court says couples have to wait until that happens — including the couple issued a marriage license Wednesday.

The case will start accepting briefs next week. Think Progress reports:

That case is Bradacs v. Haley, in which South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) is continuing to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Bradacs was stayed pending a final ruling in the Virginia case, but can now proceed to its only possible outcome.

So now we wait. Again.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

Florida Marriage Equality Case Bounced Up to State Supreme Court

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Florida From SpaceA state appeals court is asking the Florida Supreme Court to rule on a Florida marriage equality case.

SDGLN reports:

Florida’s highest court is being asked to decide whether or not the state’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional. In an unusual decision, the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday asked the Florida Supreme Court to settle the question due to “great public importance.” If the high court takes up the case, it could result in having the issue settled even before the U.S. Supreme Court acts. The ruling is connected to a Hillsborough County divorce case involving a same-sex couple who had been married in Massachusetts but since relocated to the Tampa area.

Will the court take the case, or bounce it back down?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.