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Plaintiffs Fighting for the Freedom to Marry Gather Outside SCOTUS Ahead of Tomorrow's Oral Arguments

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On the eve of the Supreme Court's historic hearing on the freedom to marry, the plaintiffs families and attorneys from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee gathered outside the high court's chambers.

Need a primer on what to expect at the oral arguments tomorrow? Check out our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's latest column HERE.

Towleroad will also be outside the court tomorrow filming reactions and the expected rallies so be sure to add us on Periscope. Download the live-streaming app on the App Store, search for Towleroad and then add us. You'll be notified when we start streaming. 


Marco Rubio Tells Christian Broadcasting Network It's 'Absurd' to Think Gays Have Constitutional Right to Marry: VIDEO

Rubio

Pandering to the right-wing, religious zealot vote on the Christian Broadcasting Network this weekend, Florida senator and 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio dismissed claims that gay people have a constitutional right to marry as "ridiculous and absurd."

Said Rubio:

It doesn’t exist. There is no federal constitutional right to same sex-marriage. There isn’t such a right. You would have to really have a ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex. There is no such constitutional right.

Rubio went on to say that marriage equality supporters "ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t Right Wing Watch]

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Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court 2.0: What To Expect at Oral Argument Tomorrow?

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BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case called Obergefell v. Hodges. Mr. Obergefell, an Ohio man who married his late husband in a medically-equipped jet on a tarmac in Maryland, is just one plaintiff among several, bringing one case among several. But this case gives the Court the chance to make the freedom to marry a nationwide reality.

Mary Bonauto, a veteran of the LGBT equality movement and winning litigator in the Massachusetts marriage case, will argue on behalf of Michigan and Kentucky couples seeking the right to marry in their home states. Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, a former assistant solicitor general, will argue for Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee plaintiffs. Plaintiffs from these states married elsewhere and seek home-state recognition of their out-of-state marriage.

There are, then, two separate questions to be argued on Tuesday: (1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment allow states to ban gays from marrying? (2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment allow states to refuse to recognize valid same-sex marriages performed in other states?

Looking forward to oral arguments on Tuesday, a few underlying questions should dominate the discussion. How the Court approaches these salient issues should determine the outcome.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Marriage News Watch: SCOTUS, Ted Cruz, NOM

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Matt Baume with American Foundation for Equal Rights reports on what to expect at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the National Organization for Marriage's latest legal defeat, Ted Cruz's two new anti-LGBT bills, and more.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Georgia Graphics Store Refuses To Print Gay Couple’s Wedding Invitations

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A Suwanee, Ga. gay couple is the latest victim of discrimination after the owner of a local AlphaGraphics franchise refused to print wedding invitations for them, citing his religious beliefs reports 11Alive.com. Paige Beckwith contacted the local chain after a friend referred her to the business to order intricate, custom wedding invitations however, owner Alan Akins refused her.

Said Beckwith:

"The owner called me back and let me know that he's not going to print our invitations because he does not support same sex marriage.

"I kept asking him how, why, how he could do this? He just basically stood on his religious beliefs, referenced the Bible, called it a sin, and I was basically in tears saying 'How could you treat me this way?'" 

Akins confirmed he denied the couple but that he would've printed other things for the couple except for the invitations. 11Alive Legal Analyst Philip Holloway says Akins was exercising his legal rights.

Said Holloway:

"Under Georgia law businesses do have the right to say I'm not going to do business with this sort of couple."

Beckwith took her complaint to AlphaGraphics' main office and received a full apology and the company produced Beckwith’s custom wedding invitations at no charge.

Said AlphaGraphics' spokesperson:

"We do not condone discrimination of any kind, and wish to make clear that customers of any race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome at our franchisees' locations nationwide.

"We also wish to apologize to the customers who were impacted by the actions of this franchisee, and hope that our response conveys the level of commitment we feel toward upholding our company's standards of inclusion, and that all members of the Suwanee community continue to feel welcome at AlphaGraphics."

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 11.12.25 AMAlthough the couple won a small victory, the "religious freedom" debate continues to rage in the state. Georgia Sen. Josh McKoon managed to get the state senate to pass S.B. 129 in March - a religious freedom bill similar to Indiana's. The contentious nature of the bill even gained the ire of former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers, known for defending the state’s sodomy laws in the 1980s, saying the bill would "give the opportunity to exclude in the name of religion, and I think that's a disaster." Luckily, the bill is officially dead this legislative session as of April 2, but McKoon vowed that he would attempt to fully pass it again in next year's legislative session. 

Editor's Note: A previous version of this post mislabeled Philip Holloway. He is a legal analyst for Atlanta outlet 11Alive. 


Nationwide Marriage Equality Rallies, TV Ads Planned In Advance Of Tuesday's SCOTUS Arguments: VIDEO

UniteForMarriage

Marriage equality rallies are planned in more than 40 cities over the next few days to mark Tuesday's oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court.

From Unite For Marriage

Like in 2013, a coalition of organizations and dedicated local organizers will be working together leading up to the oral arguments and Decision Day to make clear to the Supreme Court that the American public supports marriage equality, and that now is the time to rule once and for all that all couples -- gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and straight -- are entitled to the same rights and protections of marriage.

Marriage equality supporters will rally outside the Supreme Court beginning at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Unite For Marriage is also staging a national weekend of prayer that will culminate in a service at National City Christian Church in Washington on Sunday evening.  

FreedomtomarryDozens of other rallies are planned from Alaska to Florida on Sunday and Monday, including three in Alabama and four in both Mississippi and Tennessee. To find out whether there's a rally planned in your city, visit Unite For Marriage

Meanwhile, Freedom To Marry has released a national TV ad scheduled to air Sunday on three national political shows and 60 Minutes, in addition to cable programs throughout the week:  

“With this latest ad, Freedom to Marry is summing up our closing argument, in hopes of closing our doors after getting the national win,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “After 30-plus years of doing marriage work, I am gratified that we're in such a strong place as we head into court on Tuesday. The American people have resoundingly and unequivocally embraced the side of love and fairness. We hope the Supreme Court does the right thing and agrees with more than 60 federal and state courts that have held marriage discrimination unconstitutional. America is ready for the freedom to marry. It's time.”

Watch the ad, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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