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Judge Rules Court Challenges to Illinois Gay Marriage Ban Can Proceed

An Illinois judge has rejected motions to dismiss two court cases challenging the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Reuters reports:

IllinoisCook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall ruled that lawsuits brought by same-sex couples have a chance of succeeding with the argument that the state's ban on gay marriage discriminates against them.

The ruling is a boost for Illinois supporters of gay marriage trying to legalize gay nuptials through the courts because efforts through the state legislature fell short.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal praised the decsion in a press release:

"This ruling is a big step forward in putting an end to government-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples and their families in Illinois, but we must continue to push forward until loving lesbian and gay couples have the freedom to marry here in Illinois," said John Knight, director of the LGBT Project at the ACLU of Illinois. "Same-sex couples and their children have been waiting far too long in Illinois for the freedom to marry, watching as state after state has recognized that lesbians and gay men should have the freedom to marry while Illinois continues to deny them the respect associated with marriage, as well as the full access to the federal protections and responsibilities."

Although the court dismissed the sex discrimination and other claims specific to the Illinois constitution, the plaintiffs can obtain everything they seek -- a declaration that the marriage ban is unconstitutional and an order requiring the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples -- through the claims that remain. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed the cases in May of 2012.

"We are pleased that the court saw that our couples have a right to their day in court on the merits of their claims for liberty and equality. Illinois' marriage ban not only brands these couples and their children as inferior under state law, but now that the federal law known as DOMA has been struck down by the Supreme Court, Illinois is the only thing standing between these families and full federal respect for their relationships," said Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. "Loving same-sex couples in Illinois can't wait any longer for the freedom to marry. We're excited to get to the next step and make the case for equality."

Read more about the ACLU case HERE and the Lambda Legal case HERE.

Take the Community Survey by Sunday night.


Only two days left to take the community-wide survey (45,000 participated last time). Sunday is the last day it's available.

It's about 15 minutes to contribute to a better understanding of the community. Managed by the well know lgbt Community Marketing, but0 we use the Towleroad results in developing our editorial and it helps us to  better describe the Towleroad community to the advertisers and sponsors that make it possible.

Again deadline is Sunday midnight. Why not do it now?

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton Signs Marriage Equality Bill: VIDEO


An historic and joyous day in Minnesota as Governor Mark Dayton signed the marriage equality bill into law.

Watch it go down, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton Signs Marriage Equality Bill: VIDEO" »

Take Action on Hawaii's Civil Unions Bill


Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has been deluged with letters over the civil unions bill which sits on her desk on a list of potential vetoes.

Lingle  The AP reports: "Gay rights groups hoisted signs in favor of same-gender civil unions at the Hawaii Capitol on Tuesday, while religious leaders asked their congregations to urge the Republican governor to veto the measure...Lingle's office has received about 20,000 letters, faxes, e-mails and phone calls, most of which oppose civil unions."

Alliance Pride Hawaii wants your help in lobbying Governor Lingle not to veto the civil unions bill, and urge you to write letters to that effect.

They write: "Keep in mind that timing is very crucial; to get it to her before she must make her decision (July 6, 2010), the letters must be sent this week. We have in mind letters with the following two themes: 'We are from _____ and we would sure love to have our civil union in Hawaii,' and 'We recently got a civil union in _____ but would much rather have had it in Hawaii.'"

Letters should be mailed to:

The Honorable Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawai`i
Executive Chambers
State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813

Federal Court Hears Challenge to DOMA Today in Boston


Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) appeares in federal court today to argue its lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The group wrote, in April:

Bonauto "The hearing will address the central issue of the case – is DOMA constitutional? –six years after the first same-sex couples in the country started marrying in Massachusetts, the result of GLAD’s groundbreaking marriage case, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. Arguing before U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro on behalf of seven married same-sex couples and three widowers will be Mary L. Bonauto (inset), GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director. Bonauto was the lead attorney in Goodridge...In opposing the government’s Motion to Dismiss and arguing in favor of the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment, GLAD will assert that DOMA Section 3 violates the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection as applied to federal income taxation, Social Security benefits, and federal employee and retiree benefits."

Said Evan Wolfson Executive Director of Freedom to Marry:

"GLAD's historic challenge to DOMA marks an important step on the road to ending federal marriage discrimination and securing the freedom to marry nationwide. DOMA creates two classes of marriage - those the federal government respects and some it doesn't - denying married same-sex couples and their families equal treatment and depriving them of the safety-net that marriage brings. Because of federal marriage discrimination, same-sex couples cannot share Social security benefits with a spouse, sponsor a partner for a green card or citizenship, or pool resources without being unfairly taxed. In the United States, we don't have second-class citizens, and we shouldn't have second-class marriages either."

Watch GLAD attorney Mary Bonauto explain the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Federal Court Hears Challenge to DOMA Today in Boston" »

Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone Marry in St. Bart's


Guest of a Guest reports: "Marc Jacobs made an honest man out of Lorenzo Martone this week, by marrying him in a private ceremony in St. Barts. Following the ceremony, the couples were feted at an exclusive private dinner hosted by Larry Gagosian, with guests including Russell Simmons and girlfriend Porschla Coleman."

Close-up of cake topper, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone Marry in St. Bart's" »


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