Gay Marriage Hub




Washington State Supreme Court Hears Arguments Against Anti-gay Florist Barronelle Stutzman

Stutzman

In 2013 Baronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, turned away gay couple Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll - refusing their business for their upcoming wedding. Stutzman claimed she was exercising her religious liberties in refusing the couple service, but the state of Washington asserted she was in violation of consumer protection laws. Benton County Supreme Court Judge Alex Ekstrom heard two summary motions in the state’s case against Stutzman this past Friday.

“When it comes to running a business you cannot discriminate against someone based on their religion, based on their race, based on their age, or in this case, based on their sexual orientation,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “And unfortunately, that’s what [Stutzman] did here.”

Stutzman is currently awaiting trial for another suit filed on behalf of Freed and Ingersoll by the ACLU. Should Washington win in its suit against her, she could potentially be responsible for a $2,000 fine as well as covering attorney’s fees.


Supreme Court Denies Stay Request in Florida Gay Marriage Case, Marriage Equality Set to Begin January 5

Scotus

In a one page order released Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request for an emergency stay on Judge Robert Hinkle's August ruling overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The order indicates that Justices Scalia and Thomas would have granted the stay request.

Earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend Judge Hinkle's temporary stay on his ruling. With the Supreme Court now choosing not intervene in Florida, gay couples in the state are expected to be able to wed at the end of the day on January 5.

BondiBondi has released a statement saying:

“Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Regardless of the ruling it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on January 5.”

Chris Johnson with the Washington Blade writes on the importance of SCOTUS denying the stay request:

The refusal from the Supreme Court to stay same-sex marriages in Florida is noteworthy because although justices have denied similar requests to halt same-sex marriages in Alaska, Idaho, South Carolina and Kansas, they’ve never done so before in a state where a federal appeals court has yet to rule on the issue. The decision with regard to Florida could be a sign the Supreme Court is ready to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality no matter what the federal appeals courts decide in the interim.

Here's the order, via Equality Case Files:


Wyoming Republicans Lash Out At GOP Governor Matt Mead For Not Appealing Gay Marriage Ruling

Back in October, Republican Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead declined to appeal a federal district judge's ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban. 

Mead recognized that since the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Wyoming, had struck down similar bans in other states, and that since the U.S. Supreme Court had declined to review the decision, such an appeal would be futile. As a result, same-sex couples began marrying in Wyoming.

Mead.MattTwo months later, GOP leaders in Goshen County are still smarting over the outcome, and they've decided to lash out at Mead (right). Thirty-three members of the county party's central committee have written a letter to Mead — along with the Senate president and the House speaker — slamming the governor for not appealing the decision.  

The Casper Star-Tribune reports: 

“We hold that Gov. Mead was remiss in not strenuously supporting and defending our platform planks on family and marriage which was manifested in his failure to appeal the same-sex marriage ruling of the U.S. District Court,” the letter states.

“While the opportunity to appeal has regrettably passed, we call on all our Republican office holders and leaders to do all they can from this point forward to support and promote our official party platform planks relating to family and marriage.”

Mead, who was re-elected in November, issued a statement in response to the letter saying he continues to oppose same-sex marriage: 

“But we need to recognize where we are with the courts, and I do recognize that. This group or other groups are free to pursue any recourse they believe is available. Interestingly, when I was fighting the case in Wyoming federal district court and a separate case in Wyoming state court, I did not hear from this group.”

Jeran Artery, chairman of Wyoming Equality, had this to say about the letter: 

“The Goshen County Republicans are on the wrong side of history,” he said. “I wonder, when they issue a statement like that and sign their names to it, what their grandkids and great-grandkids are going to think of this.”

And Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of National Log Cabin Republicans, said: 

“If you are a fiscal conservative, continuing a stringent opposition to civil marriage equality in the wake of these bans getting struck down, one after another, is in many respects doing a disservice to the taxpayers of the state,” he said.

Last month, a poll found that 53 percent of Wyoming residents now support same-sex marriage, compared to only 39 percent who oppose it. 

Meanwhile, LGBT advocates in Wyoming hope the marriage ruling will create new momentum for a bill to outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination.  

Other county GOP groups reportedly intend to send similar letters criticizing Mead for not appealing the ruling, but despite their efforts, it sounds as though Wyoming may be on its way to living up to its nickname: The Equality State. 


Florida Court Clerks Association Warns Clerks Who Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses May Face Criminal Charges

Florida

Florida’s State Court Clerks Association has begun sending out notices to clerks throughout the state informing them that they may face legal action if they issue marriage licenses to same sex couples this upcoming January.

“Florida’s Court Clerks & Comptrollers’ duty is to act in accordance with Florida law,” warned the association in a statement. “Florida Statutes are unique in regard to prohibiting the issuance of a marriage license to a couple that is not a man and a woman, in that it provides that a Clerk who violates this prohibition is guilty of a criminal act and subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.”

BondiCurrently Florida’s ban on same sex marriage is in a state of legal limbo. Earlier this year U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle found that Florida’s ban was unconstitutional and moved to stay his decision until January 5th of 2015. Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General, unsuccessfully appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to have the stay extended past its current January expiration, and has since requested an extension from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

It’s expected that gay couples throughout Florida will apply for marriage licenses on the 6th of January, but the Court Clerks Association hazards that the details of Hinkle’s repeal of Florida’s ban only applies to a specific clerk explicitly named in the initial lawsuit that led to the ruling.

“When a federal judge declares a law unconstitutional, all public officials should cease enforcing that law. Period,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU in Florida. “Let’s leave the legalistic hypotheticals for the law school classroom and look at the practical reality: Are local officials seriously preparing to arrest and criminally charge Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin for enforcing a federal judge’s order? That’s preposterous.”

In related Florida news, the ACLU has filed a response to Bondi's Supreme Court motion, with the ACLU asking the high court to reject Florida's request for further extension of the stay. 

Read the ACLU response below:


U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO

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Charles F. Hunter, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, is to marry his partner, Turkish pop star Ramadan Çaysever, reports Daily Sabah.

Speaking at an event in the Dutch consulate, Hunter spoke about his relationship with Çaysever for the first time and confirmed reports about the planned marriage. The couple are thought to have met at one of Çaysever’s concerts.

Hunter proposed a few months ago and told friends about the planned wedding at Thanksgiving.

The wedding will take place in Hunter's hometown, Appleton, Wisconsin, where the couple are set to travel on December 20th.  However, a date for the ceremony has not been confirmed.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Wisconsin in October.

Watch the music video for Çaysever's "Diskotek", AFTER THE JUMP...

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Evangelical Pastor Has Violent Anti-Gay Meltdown, Attacks Deputy in Chilean Congress: VIDEOS

Soto

An anti-gay evangelical pastor named Javier Soto was ejected from the Chilean House of Deputies yesterday and began attacking lawmakers for approving an LGBT-inclusive initiative that would give legal protections to unmarried couples.

Soto burst into the chamber holding a poster for the AVP (Acuerdo de Vida en Pareja) bill, yelling (translation via euronews):

"Record, gentlemen... This is the filth they are offering up? To Chileans, this is perversion. This half-naked man… look at this and film it, gentlemen. This is what Mr. Rolando Jimenez (spokesperson for gay rights group Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation) does. Just look. Tell me otherwise."

He added: "I am an evangelical pastor and defend the gospel, gentlemen. Does this not lack modesty and decency?"

Soto then proceeded to go into full meltdown mode, and attacked Deputy Peter Brown before being ejected from the room.

The debate caused concern for the safety of lawmakers as nobody knew how Soto had gained access to the chamber but LGBT rights group MOVIHL told Noticia Cristina that it was by the invitation of another Deputy, Jorge Sabag.

Watch videos of the incident, AFTER THE JUMP...

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