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Gay Marriage News Watch: Updates from MI, MO, MS, and CO — VIDEO


There is good news and bad news for marriage in Michigan - its ban on same-sex marriage had been struck down, but is being appealed. Michigan won't recognize the marriages, but the federal government will. A Missouri rep. has introduced a bill for marriage equality in Missouri. Activism in Mississippi led to the denial of several marriage licenses there where a lawsuit may soon appear. An equality campaign in Colorado is taking off.

Plus, new national polling, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch: Updates from MI, MO, MS, and CO — VIDEO" »

Pile of Prominent Coloradans Sign On to Marriage Equality Initiative

The Denver Post is reporting that a number of prominent Denver leaders and organizations have endorsed the state's newly launched marriage equality initiative Why Marriage Matters Colorado

Rhonda_fieldsThe list includes former speaker of the state House of Representatives Terrance Carroll; current state House Speaker Pro Tempore Rhonda Fields [pictured], D-Aurora; Denver City Councilman Paul D. López; Denver Public Schools board member Rosemary Rodriguez ; and former state Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver.

Endorsers also include Amanda Gonzalez, executive director of the Colorado Latino Forum; Scott L. Levin, Mountain States regional director of the Anti-Defamation League; Rabbi Steven Foster ; and community leader Moses Brewer.

Said Fields:

"If a committed couple here in Colorado wants to build a family through marriage, we should not judge them or stand in their way.

"That's why I am proud to join the growing majority of Coloradans - and the majority of African-Americans nationwide - who support marriage for all of our families."

Last year, legislators approved civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Colorado passed its constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage back in 2006. 

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Comes Out for Marriage Equality: VIDEO


Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper came out for marriage equality on Monday in a statement coinciding with a new equality campaign in the state, 9News reports:

In juxtaposition to Hickenlooper's support for civil unions, which he prominently announced as a legislative priority in his 2012 State of the State address, Hickenlooper's first public comment as Governor in support of same-sex marriage came in the form of a written statement toward the bottom of a press release from LGBT group One Colorado announcing the new legalization effort:

Governor John Hickenlooper: "We have advocated for equal rights for all Coloradans and we will continue to advocate for equal rights for all Coloradans. Last year, Colorado took a historic step forward when we passed bipartisan legislation recognizing civil unions. If all men and women truly have the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and if all people are created equal, then by extension of law, logic, and love, every adult couple should also have the freedom to join in marriage."

Up till now, Hickenlooper has expressed his  views that gay couples should have the same legal rights as straight couple, but has not explicitly mentioned marriage.

Conservatives are angry at Hickenlooper for not making a public statement and hiding his 'coming out' in a press release.

Watch the 9News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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20+ Prominent Republicans From Western U.S. Sign Brief In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

TenthcircuitThe times they are a-changin', or so it seemed yesterday when it was announced that over twenty prominent Republican lawmakers would file a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of same-sex marriage for the 10th Circuit court (right). The court will hear appeals this April from both Oklahoma and Utah, states looking to reinstate same-sex marriage bans after federal courts struck them down this winter. 

The New York Times reports:

The most prominent of the approximately 20 signers of the brief are former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a longtime supporter of gay rights, and former Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas, who said last year that she had reconsidered her former opposition to same-sex marriage. The document says that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The Times noted that the brief is but one document in an on-going shift in the Republican party, which has seen much more support for same-sex marriage in the past couple of years.

Last month, a New York Times/CBS News poll found a rapid shift in Republican attitudes nationwide. Forty percent of Republicans said same-sex marriage should be legal, up from 33 percent last May and only 24 percent in September 2012.

Sean Gallagher, a lawyer and Republican Party activist in Denver who helped prepare the brief, said many Republicans were rethinking their positions. “The themes of liberty and freedom resonate especially well in the West,” said Mr. Gallagher, who was chief counsel in Colorado for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012.

Early last year, dozens of Republicans, including four former governors and former White House officials, joined in a similar legal brief to the Supreme Court, arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry. Neither Mr. Simpson nor Ms. Kassebaum signed that document.

If the 10th Circuit appeals court upholds the federal courts' decisions, we could see same-sex marriage legalized not only in Utah and Oklahoma, but also Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming. New Mexico, which already legalized same-sex marriage in December, is also a part of the 10th Circuit.

Nine Couples File Suit to Overturn Colorado's Gay Marriage Ban

On Wednesday Colorado saw the filing of a second lawsuit challenging its ban on gay marriage, the Denver Post reports:

HickenlooperThe lawsuit filed Wednesday names Gov. John Hickenlooper (pictured) and Denver City Clerk Debra Johnson as defendants. Currently Colorado permits civil unions between gay couples, but the Colorado constitution bans gay marriage.

"This denial of equal protection, due process, and basic fairness violates the Constitution of the United States of America," says the lawsuit filed by the law firms of Reilly Pozner, Law of the Rockies and Gutterman Griffiths.

Colorado's attorney general John Suthers told the Denver Post he will defend the state's ban.

The AP adds:

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Denver District Court, four of the couples applied for marriage licenses in Denver in recent days, one pair on Valentine’s Day. The other five married in states where such unions are legal but live in Colorado, where “their valid marriages are reduced to second-class and unequal civil unions, which do not afford them the same rights, protections and security as marriage,” the lawsuit says.

Read the complaint here.

Last October, Dr. Rebecca Brinkman and her partner Margaret Burd filed a suit against Colorado seeking the freedom to marry.

Colorado Legislature Approves Joint Tax Filing For Gay Couples


Colorado's House of Representatives today passed a measure previously approved by the state's Senate that would allow Coloradans in same-sex marriages to file joint tax returns. The bill will now head to Governor John Hickenlooper's desk for his approval or veto. According to the AP:

The Colorado House passed the measure Monday on a largely party-line vote with Democrats in favor... 

The measure requires gay couples in a civil union to file their Colorado taxes using the same filing status on their federal tax return if they are married in another state. 

While Republican lawmakers complain that the measure would violate the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, Democrats insist they are merely complying with federal law. Back in August the Federal Government announced it would recognize same-sex marriages for the purpose of filing joint tax returns regardless of where the marriage took place and irrespective of whether the state in which a couple currently resides recognizes same-sex marriage. According to the Treasury Department:

Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory, or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

Colorado currently does not allow same-sex marriage but codified civil unions in March of last year.

Check out a news report on Colorado's newest legislation concerning same-sex couples, AFTER THE JUMP...

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