Eric Holder Hub




HRC Calls on Feds to Recognize Utah Same-Sex Marriages; ACLU Prepares Lawsuit

The Human Rights Campaign today called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure that the marriages of more than 1300 gay couples who married before the SCOTUS stay are recognized by the federal government, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

HolderIn a letter delivered to Holder Thursday, the civil rights organization said there is no "legal reason to question the validity" of marriages that occurred between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a federal judge’s ruling overturning Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The letter pointed out Utah Gov. Gary Herbert initially directed state agencies to recognize the marriages.

"Even though the governor’s office has now made a political decision to cut off this recognition, it continues to insist that it makes no pronouncement about the validity of these unions," wrote Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). "There is simply no reason for the United States government not to extend federal recognition to these more than 1,300 couples."

HRC also sent a letter to attorneys general in 17 states where same-sex marriage is legal, calling on them to recognize the Utah marriages.

The Department of Justice is reviewing Herbert's decision to put the marriages on hold.

BakerSupport for marriage equality in Utah is at a record high, the Washington Blade reports:

A recent consumer survey conducted in Utah reveals that support for same-sex marriage in the state was at an all-time high last week just before the Supreme Court halted the weddings with a stay.

The poll, conducted using Google’s digital platform polling system, found that support for same-sex marriage reached 41 percent as of last week. Although the poll shows a majority of Utah voters have yet to embrace marriage equality, the result demonstrates a 13-point increase in support over two years when compared to an earlier poll from Brigham Young University.

David Baker (pictured), a Mormon and gay D.C. activist, said he ran the poll in the aftermath of the federal district court ruling in Utah in favor of marriage equality for more updated data on the state’s support for same-sex nuptials.

UtahThe ACLU is planning a lawsuit against Utah for putting marriages on hold, TPM reports:

The ACLU called for plaintiffs on Wednesday, and got "overwhelming interest" from couples who were married before the stay was granted.

"We have a great pool and we are working through that, and plan to bring litigation that will protect all marriages, whether the couples are named plaintiffs or not," the ACLU said in a statement.

In a letter to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes on Wednesday, ACLU of Utah legal director John Mejia called on the state to recognize the same-sex marriages performed before the stay.

"In short, these marriages are valid and have vested the married couples with rights that the state and federal governments must recognize. Utah and the federal government should thus accord same-sex couples who married in Utah all of the same protections and obligations that married couples of the opposite sex receive," he wrote. "When these couples married, they immediately obtained all of the same protections and obligations enjoyed by all of the other married couples in Utah."

Meanwhile, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is telling county clerks to complete the paperwork for same-sex marriages performed before the SCOTUS stay, the AP reports:

Reyes' spokeswoman Missy Larsen says the office is notifying counties Thursday afternoon...Larsen says Reyes' new directive was issued to clear up some confusion and only applies to marriages that were solemnized.

And The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced today that it was joining the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., as counsel for the plaintiff couples in Kitchen v. Herbert, the case which went before Judge Shelby and has been appealed to the Tenth Circuit:

The case was brought by three same-sex couples in Utah: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. The Tenth Circuit has ordered an expedited briefing schedule, with briefing to be completed by February 25, 2014.

Said Peggy Tomsic of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C.: “We believe it is in our clients’ best interest now that the case is on appeal, and particularly since it is on an expedited briefing schedule, to have a national organization with significant experience litigating and winning marriage equality cases to enhance our perspective and fire-power as we move forward.

We also wanted a national organization that has a real connection with Utah. Kate Kendell, NCLR’s Executive Director, was raised in Utah, worked here as a lawyer for many years, and has a daughter living here who finally had the opportunity to marry the love of her life when Judge Shelby issued his ruling.

I have known Kate for years. I know she and NCLR are committed to bringing equality to every gay and lesbian citizen in this country, and I know that Kate will work tirelessly to bring equality to her home state.”


George W. Bush Shares His Paintings with Hillary Clinton on Air Force One: PHOTO

Clinton_bush

On the way back from the Mandela memorial, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Attorney General Eric Holder,  National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett were treated to an iPad showing of George W. Bush's paintings.

(White House photo - Pete Souza)


Obama Administration Says It Will No Longer Defend Law Barring Gay Veterans from Spousal Benefits

HolderThe Department of Justice won't enforce Title 38, a law barring gay veterans from spousal benefits, the Washington Blade reports:

In a letter dated Sept. 4, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder notifies U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) of the change in the way the Justice Department will enforce Title 38 of the U.S. code.

“[I]n light of subsequent developments and my recommendation, the President has directed the Executive Branch to cease enforcement of Sections 101(3) and 101(31) of Title 38,” Holder writes. “Decisions by the Executive Branch not to enforce federal laws are appropriately rare. Nonetheless, for the reasons described below, the unique circumstances here warrant non-enforcement.”

The HuffPost adds:

Holder said last year that the Justice Department would no longer defend Title 38 in court. But Wednesday’s announcement went even further, with DOJ finding that the legal basis laid out by the Supreme Court in the DOMA decision should nullify the marriage definition in the provision. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said just last week that the spouses of gay veterans weren’t eligible for benefits because no court had found Title 38’s definitions to be unconstitutional.

Writes the White House in a press release:

The new policy means that the administration will no longer enforce statutory language governing the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) that restricts the awarding of spousal benefits to opposite-sex marriages only. The language, contained within Title 38 of the U.S. Code, has, until now, prevented the Executive Branch from providing spousal benefits to veterans—and in some instances active-duty service members and reservists—who are in same-sex marriages recognized under state law.

In a letter to Congressional leaders, Holder stated that the President’s decision was consistent with the Court’s decision in Windsor in June.

“Although the Supreme Court did not directly address the constitutionality of the Title 38 provisions in Windsor, the reasoning of the opinion strongly supports the conclusion that those provisions are unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment,” Holder wrote.

The decision not to enforce Title 38 aligns with the Obama administration’s determination last year that two provisions of Title 38 that govern benefits for veterans and their families were unconstitutional as applied to legally married same-sex couples. At that time, the Attorney General informed Congress that the Department would no longer defend the Title 38 provisions, but that the Executive Branch would continue to enforce them. Today’s announcement makes clear that enforcement of the provision in Title 38 defining marriage as between a man and a woman will now cease.

The announcement comes after the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) recently decided to stop defending the Title 38 provisions in pending cases. In addition, last week, a federal district court in California held the Title 38 provisions unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. After consideration of these developments and a recommendation by the Attorney General, the President directed the Executive Branch to cease enforcement of the Title 38 provisions.

Previously...
Federal Judge Strikes Down Law Barring Same-Sex Veteran Benefits [tlrd]


Eric Holder: MLK's Dream Now Includes Latinos, Asian-Americans, Lesbians, Gays — VIDEO

Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the National Action to Realize the Dream March today on the National Mall as part of the 50th Anniversary of MLK's March on Washington, noting that King's legacy and vision have expanded to include many others, including gays and lesbians.

Said Holder, in part:

Fifty years ago, Dr. King shared his dream with the world and described his vision for a society that offered, and delivered, the promise of equal justice under law.  He assured his fellow citizens that this goal was within reach – so long as they kept faith with one another, and maintained the courage and commitment to work toward it.  And he urged them to do just that.  By calling for no more – and no less – than equal justice. By standing up for the civil rights to which everyone is entitled.  And by speaking out – in the face of hatred and violence, in defiance of those who sought to turn them back with fire hoses, bullets, and bombs – for the dignity of a promise kept; the honor of a right redeemed; and the pursuit of a sacred truth that’s been woven through our history since this country’s earliest days:  that all are created equal.

Those who marched on Washington in 1963 had taken a long and difficult road – from Montgomery, to Greensboro, to Birmingham; through Selma and Tuscaloosa.  They marched – in spite of animosity, oppression, and brutality – because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept.  Their focus, at that time, was the sacred and sadly unmet commitments of the American system as it applied to African Americans.  As we gather today, 50 years later, their march – now our march – goes on. 

And our focus has broadened to include the cause of women, of Latinos, of Asian Americans, of lesbians, of gays, of people with disabilities, and of countless others across this country who still yearn for equality, opportunity, and fair treatment.

Watch his speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eric Holder: MLK's Dream Now Includes Latinos, Asian-Americans, Lesbians, Gays — VIDEO" »


NEWS: Frank Ocean, WWE, Egypt, Helen Mirren, New Species

Milo Road Frank Darabont brings Milo Ventimiglia back to the small screen in a new noir style mini-series heading to AMC titled Mob City.

Road U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asks Ireland to extradite 'largest facilitator of child porn': "He is accused of using encryption technology to offer an anonymous hosting service for websites with a total of more than 1 million pornographic pictures, including images of rape and torture of pre-pubescent children."

Road Miley Cyrus poses for Terry Richardson.

Road Debate: would a Hilary Clinton administration be more pacifistic or more hawkish?

Road Kyra Sedgwick dishes to Andy Cohen about Helen Mirren's love for porn.

NewspeciesRoad The Smithsonian announced the discovery of a new species of animal that is apparently a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear called the olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe): "Researchers argue that the olinguito should be considered the smallest living member of the raccoon family, which includes other animals that make us go "awww" such as cats, dogs and meerkats. This one had been seen before by humans, Helgen said, but it had been "a case of mistaken identity." You know he's going to make a cameo in the Ted sequel.

Road British stuntman who parachuted into the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics as James Bond has died in a wingsuit-jump accident in the alps.

Road Lindsay Lohan will guest star on East Bound and Down. The comeback tour continues!

Road Death toll in Egypt rises to 525 as protesters clash with government, torch government buildings. President Obama says President Morsi's government "was not inclusive and did not respect the views of all Egyptians" but condemns the actions of the interim government: "The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces. We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest. We oppose the pursuit of martial law, which denies those rights to citizens under the principle that security trumps individual freedom or that might makes right. And today the United States extends its condolences to the families or those who were killed and those who were wounded.

WillsRoad CNN gets first interview with Prince William since the birth of his son, Prince George of Cambridge. The Duke of Cambridge also talks about his passion for conservation in Africa.

Road In case you've ever thought how you'd much rather go to your vet than a doctor, don't. No, really.

Road People are freaking the eff out over the possibility of Laura Prepon leaving Orange is the New Black.

Road "Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold" tells the stories of "transgender, gender-varient, and gender non-conforming individuals" through photos (some images NSFW).

Road Frank Ocean addresses parking lot fight with Chris Brown in new song: "He called me faggot, I was just calling his bluff ... Why his mug all bloody? That was a 3-on-1"

Road Aaron Paull and Ethan Hawke give good AMA.

Road Darren Young becomes the first WWE superstar to come out as gay: “Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.”

Road Senator Rand Paul on the defeat of the Voter Rights Act: "I don't think there is objective evidence that we're precluding African-Americans from voting any longer."

Road Aaron Taylor-Johnson continues to look all kinds of fine. This time in GQ.


NEWS: Turner Field, Drug Sentences, The Deficit, Clinton 2016, Musicians, and Superheroes

 Road President Obama has announced the leader of its new independent committee that will be investigating potential ethics violations by the nation's surveillance programs. At the head of the committee is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence who has already previously misled Congress. Turnerfield

Road A Georgia man fell to his death last night at Atlanta's Turner Field during a match-up between the Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Road US Attorney General Eric Holder announced yesterday that he will work to cut mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenses, stating that "too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long."

Road Current peace talks taking place between Israel and Palestine are facing potential problems as 26 long-term prisoners were moved by Israeli officials shortly before their release.

 Road North Dakota's U.S. attorney Timothy Purdon addressed a crowd of hundreds during a recent joint Pride Celebration hosted by Fargo and Moorhead, MN. During his impassioned speech, he told the state's LGBT citizens point-blank: "you have an ally". 

Road The U.S. Government announced yesterday that its budget deficit through July of next year will be 37.6 percent, and that the budget starting in September 2014 is on its way to having the smallest deficit in five years. 

Road Rihanna and Katy Perry recently reunited during a restaurant opening in NYC. No word yet as to whether there were any more "quasi-bi" antics this time around. 

Road Anthony Weiner, intentionally or not, teased a 2016 bid by Hillary Clinton for President of the United States, telling Buzzfeed that he "knows his wife's role" in the upcoming campaign. 

Road Adele is currently in talks to make a cameo appearance in Mathew Vaughn's upcoming film The Secret Service. If successful, she will be appearing in the film alongside David Beckham and Elton John. 

Road Those wishing to partake of fried food without the sting of racism can breathe a little easier

Road The Wanted released a new music video. Apparently, they also own the night. Who knew? Batman Wedding

Road Lady Gaga committed another possible fashion faux-pas in her quest to obtain even more "Applause". 

Road Meanwhile, Madonna was possibly channelling her uber-butch self a little too much during a recent paintball game. 

Road Breaking Bad continues with its ultra-violent final season.

Road Robert Downey, Jr continues to roll in it after new endorsement deals follow him after his successes with The Avengers and Iron Man 3

Road Torn between you love for your hubby and your love for Batman? Can't decide how to properly honor them both. Just do what these two guys did!


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