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Thursday Speed Read: NOM and Oregon, Idaho Stay, Arkansas, Lorri Jean, South Carolina, Give Out Day

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

McshaneJUDGE SAYS NO TO NOM:

U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane yesterday denied the National Organization for Marriage motion to serve as intervenor to defend Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage. McShane, who is openly gay, held a hearing on two consolidated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the ban. Because the state attorney general said her office could not vouch for the ban’s constitutionality, no one argued in its defense. McShane is expected to issue his decision on that issue soon and, if he finds it unconstitutional, same-sex couples may be able to obtain marriage licenses right away. NOM has said it will appeal McShane’s ruling on the intervenor motion to the Ninth Circuit.

Flag_idahoIDAHO RUSHES TO APPEAL FOR STAY:

Idaho Governor Butch Otter is also on his way to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Otter is appealing the decision Wednesday by Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale to deny his request that she stay her decision striking the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Dale’s ruling on the ban, issued Tuesday, will go into effect Friday morning unless Otter is able to secure a stay from the federal appeals court.

Arkansas_supremeARKANSAS COMPLICATIONS:

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition from the state’s attorney general for an emergency stay of a county circuit judge’s May 9 ruling that two state laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The high court said that, for procedural reasons, the supreme court does not yet have jurisdiction. Responding to the attorney general’s argument that county clerks around the state are uncertain as to whether they should issues licenses or wait for the results of an appeal, the supreme court noted that Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling said nothing about a separate Arkansas law “and its prohibitions against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses.” Jack Wagoner, an attorney for the 12 plaintiff couples, told the Arkansas Times he’d be in court today to “fix” the problem. “How can you find something unconstitutional,” said Wagoner, “but not affect a statute that would require the clerks to do something unconstitutional?”

JeanANOTHER VOICE ON ENDA FRAILTY:

Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center Executive Director Lorri Jean, speaking to “An Evening with Women” event on Saturday, had this to say about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act: “Religious freedom does not include the freedom to oppress other people. These kinds of fundamentalist forces are behind efforts to gut what laws we do have in this country that protect LGBT people from discrimination….Even our own Employment Non-Discrimination Act—the only federal law currently being proposed to protect LGBT people—includes a broad religious exemption. It was put into ENDA eight years ago, expressly to weaken it. It does not belong there today.” Former NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman said Monday he thinks LGBT leaders should “pull the plug” on the current version of ENDA, saying it is “essentially a lifeless corpse.”

SouthcarolinaSOUTH CAROLINA SENATE RESTORES FUNDS:

The South Carolina Senate on Wednesday approved a state budget Tuesday that restores the $70,000 cut from the funding for two public universities over their use of books with positive depictions of gay people. But according to the State newspaper, the senate stipulated that the restored funds should be used to teach the constitution and other founding documents.

A DAY TO GIVE “OUT” TO LGBT COMMUNITY:

Today is “Give Out Day,” an event scheduled to encourage supporters of LGBT organizations to donate to them. Last year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the event raised over $600,000, from 5,474 individuals in support of over 400 nonprofits groups across the country.
© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Arkansas Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal of Gay Marriage Ruling, Denies Emergency Stay

The Arkansas Supreme Court today dismissed the appeal of Judge Chris Piazza's ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban because it wasn't a final ruling. It also denied a request for an emergency stay of the ruling, the Arkansas Times reports:

Arkansas_supremeThe court, however, seems to have returned the state to its old status quo — impossible for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses — because it notes that Piazza's ruling didn't mention another statute that prohibits clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Action will now shift to Piazza's court to pursue final orders, injunctive relief and a cleanup on the omitted statute.

Said Jack Wagoner, attorney for the plaintiffs:

We'll fix that tomorrow and be back here again.... How can order find something unconstitutional but not affect a statute that would require the clerks to do something unconstitutional?  

Justices Donald Corbin and Paul Danielson issued a separate concurrence that said the simply would have dismissed the appeal for lack of a final order and rejected the emergency stay request because the case is still before the trial court.

Read the order HERE.


Arkansas Plaintiffs File Motion Requesting Denial of Stay of Gay Marriage Ruling

Arkansas supreme court

Earlier today, the plaintiffs in the Arkansas case overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage filed a motion asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to deny separate requests filed by a group of county clerks and by the Attorney General for a stay on the ruling, The Arkansas Times reports:

The motion cites the [county clerk] appellants' contention that Piazza's order created a "lack of clarity as to the current state of the law" and says the stay "should be denied and dismissed because County Clerk Appellants have failed to allege facts or law establishing" their entitlement for the stay.

The motion states that "the proper remedy to resolve any uncertainty as to the intended scope of the May 9 Order is to request that the Circuit Court clarify and correct the Order."

Dustin mcdanielThe plaintiffs in the original lawsuit also filed a motion today seeking to stop the request for an emergency stay in the case that was filed Monday by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel [pictured]. The plaintiffs disagree with the state's claim that the May 9 Order be stayed "to avoid confusion and uncertainty about the effect of the Order on Arkansas marriage law." 

The Arkansas Supreme Court had asked both sides of the case to submit briefs by noon Tuesday stating their case on why the panel should or should not issue a stay in the case. The court could issue a stay as early as today, which would stop all counties in the state from issuing any more marriage licenses for same sex couples.


Tuesday Speed Read: Virginia, Keith Crisco, Clay Aiken, Mike Huckabee, Trans Military, Sam Kiss,

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

BosticAT THE FOURTH CIRCUIT THIS MORNING:

One of the fastest moving cases among the 60 or so lawsuits challenging state bans on same-sex couples marrying is the Bostic v. Schaefer case from Virginia. This morning, that case will be argued before a panel of one of the nation’s most conservative federal appeals courts, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in Richmond, Virginia. The identity of the three-judge panel is to be released this morning. The argument begins at 9:30 and Equality Virginia says it expects to have more than 100 people at a rally outside. The Fourth Circuit says an audio recording of proceedings will be available on its website by 2 this afternoon.

CriscoCLAY AIKEN CHALLENGER DIES:

Businessman Keith Crisco, who was fewer than 400 votes behind openly gay candidate Clay Aiken in the Democratic primary race for North Carolina’s Second Congressional District, died Monday. The News and Observer reported the Crisco family as saying the 71-year-old succumbed from injuries he sustained in a fall at home around midday. He reportedly planned to concede the primary to Aiken on Tuesday. Aiken issued a statement calling Crisco “a gentleman, a good and honorable man, and an extraordinary public servant.” Aiken will now face incumbent Tea Party Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers in November.

PiazzaHUCKABEE IMPLORES IMPEACHMENT:

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee called on current Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat who opposes same-sex marriage, to call a special session of the Arkansas legislature to impeach county circuit Judge Chris Piazza. Huckabee, according to The Hill newspaper, said Piazza usurped the authority of the legislature and the voters when he declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. The state attorney general filed a motion with the state supreme court Monday morning, seeking a stay of Piazza’s decision; at deadline, the state high court had yet to respond. Only five out of Arkansas’ 75 counties have issued licenses to same-sex couples.

HagelHAGEL OPEN TO DOD TRANS REVIEW:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on ABC’s This Week program Sunday that he is open to having DOD review its policy banning transgender people from the military, but that it’s a “bit more complicated” than gays because of special medical needs. He made his comment in response to a question from reporter Martha Raddatz, adding “every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.”

ThekissANALYZING THE KISS:

There was a lot of air time given Monday to talk about a widely seen video of openly gay football player Michael Sam getting the news Saturday that he had just been drafted by the St. Louis Rams and was becoming the first openly gay professional football player. The video shows Sam getting off the phone in tears and turning to his boyfriend Vito Cammisano who gives him a quick kiss on the lips and then they hug for a long time as Sam is clearly overcome with emotion. After viewing the video, a Miami Dolphins player tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible;” but his team general manager quickly released a statement, saying he was “disappointed” in the post and would “handle” the matter. MSNBC political commentator Chuck Todd had this perspective: “That could be the most significant cultural moment in hindsight. We may look back on that moment being sort of THE big moment when same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships as far as pop culture was concerned went mainstream. … That was as significant as a state legalizing, as being the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Arkansas Supreme Court Wants Response to Stay Request on Gay Marriage Ruling By Tomorrow

Arkansas sc

The Arkansas Supreme Court has responded to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s request for a stay of Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage by giving plaintiffs until noon tomorrow to respond.

The Arkansas Times paper adds that it’s unclear how quickly the Supreme Court will rule. It normally issues opinions on Thursdays, but in extraordinary cases sometimes issues them immediately.

Dozens of same-sex marriage licenses have been issued today at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock today and also at the Washington County courthouse in Fayetteville. 


Marriage Equality Comes to Arkansas: A Legal Analysis

By ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Arkansas-Judge-Chris-PiazzaLate Friday, Judge Chris Piazza (right), a state court judge in Arkansas, declared his state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and ordered the county clerk's office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. It was the first post-Windsor marriage equality decision based on federal and state grounds. And because he did not stay his order, gay couples could almost immediately get married (and have!). The Arkansas attorney general has filed a motion for a stay and only a select few counties are following the judge's order.

You may be asking yourself a few questions: How did this all come about? Why a state court case, especially since most of our post-Windsor success (save New Jersey and New Mexico) has come through the federal courts? Why are certain county clerks defying the judge and not issuing marriage licenses? What happens now?

Marriage equality lawsuits are proliferating throughout the country: most of them are run by or have the participation of the major gay rights litigation concerns (Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the American Foundation for Equal Rights, for example). Some, like the one in Arkansas, were filed by private attorneys on behalf of a phalanx of local couples who just want to get married near their families or have their out-of-state marriages recognized by their home state.

These plaintiffs are just like all the other marriage equality plaintiffs. They just want the freedom to love. And like so many other marriage equality decisions, this one proves that we are in a different world after the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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