Gay Marriage Hub




Plaintiffs Challenging Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Ask Supreme Court to Weigh in on Fundamental Right to Marry

As expected, the plaintiffs in the case challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to finally weigh in on the question of whether all citizens have a fundamental right to marry. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Scotus"Today, our nation’s same-sex couples and their children live in a country where they may be denied legal recognition as a family or may find their marriages invalidated simply by virtue of crossing a state line," according to the brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Utah’s request that the court hear its case.

"This court should grant the petition and hold that denying same-sex couples the fundamental freedom to marry and to have their marriages recognized violates our nation’s cherished and essential constitutional guarantees."

Said National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter:

“Same-sex couples experience real hardships as a result of being denied the freedom to marry and to have their marriages respected wherever they travel or live. In the past year, more than 30 state and federal courts have ruled that state laws barring same-sex couples from marriage are unconstitutional. We hope the Supreme Court will consider this issue in its next term and will concur that same-sex couples and their children are an integral part of our nation’s fabric and must be given the same protection and respect as other families.”    

Earlier this month, Utah became the first state to appeal a ruling striking down a state ban on gay marriage to the Supreme Court. The Utah government, led by Attorney General Sean Reyes, is arguing that states have a right to continue defining marriage as they see fit and has pledged to "spend whatever it takes" to keep the ban in place.  

This week, it was announced that head civil rights lawyer for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Mary Bonauto would be joining the legal team challenging Utah's same-sex marriage ban. 

Read the brief below:

Plaintiffs' Response Brief via Equality Case Files


Appeals Court Rejects Florida AG Pam Bondi's Request to Hold Off On Gay Marriage Rulings

Yesterday, a state appeals court rejected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request that state courts stop considering same-sex marriage cases until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether states have the right to ban gay marriage. 

The Miami Herald reports:

Bondi“Upon consideration, appellant’s motions to stay briefing are denied,” the Miami-based Third District Court of Appeal said in a terse ruling Thursday.

“That is the best news of the day. We would have been sitting in limbo for an undetermined amount of time,” said attorney Bernadette Restivo, who represents Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, two Key West bartenders who on July 17 won the right to marry in Monroe County Circuit Court. “Pam Bondi’s stay would have caused enormous irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and others similarly situated. Every day that we move forward in this case will hopefully mean we are moving closer to ending this oppressive discrimination.”

Said Bondi’s spokeswoman Jennifer Meale: “The Court has ruled that the case will move forward, and we will proceed accordingly.”

Following last week's federal court ruling overturning Florida's gay marriage ban, Bondi vowed to continue defending the ban in court, saying "I am just getting started"

 

 


Thousands Petition NC Governor Pat McCrory to Stop Defending Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO

Petition

On Wednesday, LGBT rights advocates delivered over 10,000 petitions to the offices of North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory [pictured below] urging him to stop defending the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Pat“We are proud to deliver this important message alongside families from all across the state who are demanding Gov. McCrory not waste one taxpayer dollar defending what is now an unconstitutional and indefensible law,” said Chris Sgro, Equality NC’s executive director. “In doing so, we join them in asking that our elected officials not only stand with their constituents, but also help North Carolina stand on the right side of history.” 

Check out video of petitioners delivering the letters to McCrory's regional office in Charlotte, AFTER THE JUMP...

A spokesman for McCrory, however, indicated that the governor wasn't swayed by the petitions:

 "This issue will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. As of now, North Carolina’s marriage amendment remains in full force and effect. To ensure that our laws remain in effect until the final Supreme Court ruling, we call on the attorney general to request a stay in North Carolina’s pending cases," said Ryan Tronovitch, deputy communications director. 

In related news, a federal court on Wednesday stayed any further action on North Carolina's same-sex marriage battle until the Supreme Court rules on Virginia's gay marriage ban. 

Last month, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his office would no longer defend the state's gay marriage ban after the Fourth Circuit overturned Virginia's ban. 


Anti-Equality Forces Get 'the Posner Treatment' at Seventh Circuit Hearing

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Posner, Richard 08-10By now you have heard that the attorneys representing Indiana and Wisconsin got a shellacking from the famous Reagan-appointee, Judge Richard Posner. Sean brought us 7 classic outtakes from Judge Posner's questioning, but even those barely scratch the surface of what it must have been like. As someone who has had the privilege (and dread) of arguing before Judge Posner, as well as admiring him from afar, quoting his work, and disagreeing with some of his scholarship, I can say that this is just Posner being Posner. A brilliant scholar with strong views who's been around a long time, he does not suffer fools, whether those fools are seeking millions of dollars in damages or challenging the constitutionality of a ban on gays marrying. Do not think Judge Posner's obvious frustration with the anti-equality attorneys is evidence of a particular love of marriage equality, something he still calls "homosexual marriage," after all. This is how he would approach anyone who comes to him with a stupid argument.

And that is the greatest take away from the Seventh Circuit marriage equality hearings: the arguments against us are just stupid, and everyone appears to get that.

Let's start with Judge Posner, who seemed to relish the opportunity to inject some sanity into Wisconsin's and Indiana's arguments. He repeatedly said things like, "So you don't have an answer to that?" or "How can you brief it if you don't know anything about it," in response to Wisconsin's inability to support its arguments that heterosexuals would stop marrying if gays could, or "You don't seem to have any reasons" for banning gays from marrying, or, as Sean noted yesterday, "You don't have any sort of empirical or even conjectural basis for your law." Judge Posner followed that one with a little snark: "Funny." Mic drop.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Equality Forces Get 'the Posner Treatment' at Seventh Circuit Hearing" »


9th Circuit Denies NOM Request To Halt Gay Marriages In Oregon: READ

OregonThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked a request from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to halt gay marriages in Oregon, The Oregonian reports:

The action comes in the wake of the May 19 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane in Eugene to strike down Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage. Voters in 2004 passed an amendment to the state constitution, Measure 36, defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Supporters of same-sex marriage applauded Wednesday's decision.

"We're thrilled by the news but not surprised at all," said Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon. "There was never any merit to their proposal and they've been denied now at every turn."

Frazzini read the court's decision and called it "decisive."

NOM can now either appeal its case to the full 9th Circuit (a three judge panel issued today's decision) or the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court previously denied a request from NOM to get involved in the case back in June. Should NOM appeal to the Supreme Court, the justices would have another chance to intervene. 

Read the 9th Circuit's ruling for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "9th Circuit Denies NOM Request To Halt Gay Marriages In Oregon: READ" »


Australian MP Books Room In Parliament To Host Anti-Gay Marriage Conference

Kevin

Australian Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has booked out the main room of the country’s parliament house so that the anti-gay Australian Families Association (AFA), an organization closely linked to the World Congress of Families (WCF), can hold a conference on “strengthening the family” that “[commemorates] the tenth anniversary of the redefining of marriage as ‘between a man and a woman’ in the 2004 amendment of the Marriage Act,” according to The Guardian:

In past years the organisation has held public events at parliament house. This year’s affair is a private event with all MPs invited to attend. The committee room must be booked by a sitting member. Andrews booked the room for the organisation, but is not attending, a spokeswoman told Guardian Australia.

The AFA conference on Wednesday will hear from a number of speakers on “relationship literacy for youth, strengthening marriages, family-based taxation and the economics of the family”.

The organisation will call for the government to “renew a culture of strong and lasting marriages by educating young people about the benefits of marriage and getting government taxation and support structures right,” the AFA’s national president Terri Kelleher said in a statement 

The affiliated WCF has been struggling to find a venue for its annual conference in Australia having been turned down by four venues in Melbourne


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