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ACLU Opposes DOMA Lawyer's Intervention in Federal Challenge to Ohio Gay Marriage Ban

Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who successfully fought Edie Windsor's DOMA case with the ACLU before the Supreme Court, filed a motion to intervene in an ACLU case challenging Ohio's gay marriage ban several weeks ago. On Friday, the ACLU told the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny her intervention, the Washington Blade reports:

KaplanIn a filing Friday before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Civil Liberties Union — along with the ACLU of Ohio and private attorneys at Gerhardstein & Branch — expressed opposition to Roberta Kaplan’s intervention in a case seeking recognition of same-sex marriages in Ohio for the purposes of death certificates.

The 16-page brief argues that Kaplan should be denied intervention in the Ohio case — in which she sought entry on behalf of Equality Ohio and four same-sex couples — on the basis that she wants to enter the case at too late a stage and is making arguments already stated by plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs-Appellees have the utmost respect for Equality Ohio and the four unmarried couples and their counsel and the important interests they represent,” the brief states. “However, Plaintiffs-Appellees should be entitled to continue to litigate the case that they initiated in July of last year without the disruption and prejudice that would flow from new claims and parties at this late stage.”

The ACLU also expressed displeasure at Kaplan's timing, months after the case was filed and briefings were scheduled.

Kaplan refused to respond to the Blade when asked, saying she would be filing her response with the court.

More at the Blade...

ObergfellThe case is an appeal of a ruling by Judge Timothy Black brought by John Arthur and Jim Obergfell, who flew to Maryland from Ohio last year so they could marry on the airport tarmac before Arthur's ALS, a progressive neurological disease that robs patients of their ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe, became too difficult.

Arthur died in October.

Ohio's attorney general appealed Black's ruling in January, bringing the case before the Sixth Circuit.


Monday Speed Read: Taxes, Alaska, Texas, Project One America, Boy Scouts, Asian Commission

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

ALASKA COURT TAX VICTORY: Aclu_alaska

In a partial victory, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that a tax break given to seniors and people with disabilities “potentially treats same-sex couples less favorably than it treats opposite-sex couples.” The ACLU-led case, State v. Schmidt, was appealed to the high court by the state and Anchorage on behalf of three same-sex couples. The court ruled that the denial of the partial property tax exemption to same-sex couples who cannot marry violates the equal protection guarantee of the state constitution. (The ruling did not include the third couple because neither partner formally owned the property.) In its decision, the court said the state’s existing ban on same-sex marriages does not prohibit or permit the state to offer or deny a benefit it grants to married couples to same-sex couples “who demonstrate they are similarly situated to married couples.” Committed same-sex couples who want to marry,” said the decision, “are similarly situated to opposite-sex couples who want to marry.”

NellermoeDIVORCE DELAYED:

A Texas appeals court on Thursday granted a request to stay a state district judge’s ruling that the state “cannot discriminate against same-sex couples” and that the state’s ban against allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the child’s right to equal protection of the law. The Austin Statesman reports that the appeals court in San Antonio granted state Attorney General Greg Abbott’s request for an emergency stay of the ruling. Abbott said Judge Barbara Nellermoe’s ruling in the lesbian divorce and custody case last Tuesday could create “legal chaos.” The appeals court has set a May 5 deadline for briefs in the appeal.

PoaSHORING UP THE SOUTH:

The Human Rights Campaign Saturday announced a three-year, $8.5 million project to help improve legal protections for LGBT people living in three southern states. The campaign, called Project One America, will also devote a staff of 20 people concentrating on Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi –the states where, says an HRC press release, “there are no non-discrimination protections for LGBT people at the state or local level in employment, housing or public accommodations, and where each state’s constitution expressly prohibits marriage equality.” HRC says it has 57,000 members in these three states.

BsaBOY SCOUT BELLY FLOP:

Legal counsel for the Louisville Metro Council advised the local Boy Scouts troop last week that the city could not pay for the group to use a local pool because the Boy Scouts’ policy exhibits “intentional discrimination.” The Louisville Courier-Journal reported April 25 that at least $45,000 in city money was appropriated for scout activities last year. It said the troop’s assistant scoutmaster threatened to end scout volunteer work at local park clean-ups in retaliation it the city doesn’t provide the financial assistance.

TWO NAMED TO ASIAN COMMISSION:

Two of the 14 newly named members of President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are openly gay. One is the head of Asia Services in Action, Inc., Michael Byun, of Ohio; the other is actor Maulik Pancholy, best known for is secondary roles on the hit series 30 Rock and Weeds.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


ACLU Says Challenge to Pennsylvania Marriage Ban Should Proceed Without Trial

ACLU of Pennsylvania

When the ACLU challenged Pennsylvania's gay marriage ban last summer, the trial was originally scheduled to be held this June. However, the ACLU this week filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge John Jones to rule without a trial .

From the ACLU of Pennsylvania:

A trial became unnecessary after the commonwealth stated that it will not call any experts to counter the plaintiffs’ argument that there is no rational reason why lesbian and gay couples are excluded from marriage, nor does it plan to dispute the specific harms caused to the plaintiffs by the marriage ban. All legal papers in the case will be filed by May 12, meaning a ruling could come at any time after that date.

The commonwealth filed its own motion for summary judgment on Monday.


Colorado Military Vets Speak Out For Marriage Equality In New PSA - VIDEO

Gay_psa_1

Why Marriage Matters Colorado — a new effort organized by the LGBT PAC One Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and the national marriage equality group Freedom to Marry — just released their first advertisement. It features active and retired military servicemembers discussing why they support equal rights for one of their gay troopmates.

The video’s description reads:

Three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant T. Ashley Metcalf — who is still actively serving his country — represent 45 years of military service. Sgt. Metcalf is gay, and his band of brothers — former Army Staff Sgt. Izzy Abbass, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Mont'Ros, and former Marine Sgt. Will Glenn — talk about the importance of the freedom to marry for everyone.

Colorado currently has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Why Marriage Matters Colorado says, “We can win marriage either by amending the constitution by a vote of the people or by winning in the courts. Both paths are being pursued simultaneously. Whatever our path, it’s important to have this public conversation about why marriage matters to us all.”

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Colorado Military Vets Speak Out For Marriage Equality In New PSA - VIDEO" »


ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Michigan To Recognize 300 Gay Marriages

Michigan

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, asserting that the state is "obligated to extend the protections that flow from marriage" to the approximately 300 same-sex couples who were married there last month. The unions took place immediately after a federal judge struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage. The suit was filed on behalf of eight of the same-sex couples who were married during the brief window county clerks issued licenses. 

-04b455fc83cee3afFrom the ALCU's press release

The lawsuit argues that once same-sex couples are legally married in Michigan, they gain protections that cannot be taken away retroactively. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution compels state officials to recognize those protections regardless of the ultimate outcome of the appeal of Judge Friedman’s ruling.

The lawsuit is separate from the original federal case challenging Michigan’s marriage ban, which is on appeal before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. That case was brought by private attorneys on behalf of an Oakland County lesbian couple – April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse – who have been together for more than a decade and are raising three adopted children. The ACLU of Michigan filed a friend-of-the-court brief in that case.

Read the full legal complaint here.

The US government has announced it will recognize those marriages.

Watch moving testimony from Clint McCormack, one of the couples included in the lawsuit, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Michigan To Recognize 300 Gay Marriages" »


Three New Lawsuits Seek the Freedom to Marry in Arizona and Indiana

Macpherson_stolen
Rob MacPherson and Steven Stolen, plaintiffs in the ACLU Indiana suit.

Yesterday we reported that the ACLU filed a lawsuit in Florida demanding recognition of gay marriages from out-of-state.

Also filed yesterday were two others, in Arizona and Indiana.

ArizonaflagFreedom To Marry has details, on Arizona:

Lambda Legal filed this federal lawsuit - Majors v. Roche - in Arizona on behalf of seven same-sex couples - and the surviving spouses of two other same-sex couples - seeking the freedom to marry or respect for legal marriage licenses received in other states.

"Every day that same-sex couples in Arizona are denied marriage, the government sends a message that their families are not worthy of equal dignity and respect," Lambda Legal Senior Council Jennifer Pizer explained.

The plaintiffs include married same-sex couples, couples who want to marry in Arizona, and individuals whose same-sex spouses have passed away without Arizona ever respecting their status as a married couple. The lead plaintiffs are Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey (pictured), who are both in their 70s and have been together for more than 55 years.

IndianaAnd Indiana:

Lambda Legal filed this federal lawsuit - Baskin v. Bogan -on behalf of three same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in Indiana.

The plaintiffs include: Rae Baskin and Esther Fuller, who have been together for 24 years; Bonne Everly and Linda Judkins, together for over 13 years; and Dawn Lynn Carver and Pamela Eanes, together for 17 years. All of the couples are unmarried.

The named plaintiff, Rae Baskin, explained, "We just want what everyone else has in Indiana – a real, honest and legal marriage. We are a family. Esther loves me unconditionally and I can’t imagine life without her.”

And today comes news that the ACLU has filed ANOTHER, separate lawsuit in Indiana:

The American Civil Liberties Union, The ACLU of Indiana, along with attorney Sean Lemieux of the Lemieux Law Office in Indianapolis, have filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of 15 plaintiffs seeking the freedom marry in Indiana.

The suit seeks to stop the state from enforcing the current discriminatory law, to require the state to recognize marriages that have taken place outside of Indiana and to allow same-sex couples to wed in Indiana.

These lawsuits around the country are proliferating so quickly it is becoming increasingly challenging to keep track of them all. But we'll do our best!


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