Gay Marriage Hub




Fourth Circuit Affirms Virginia's Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional: An Analysis of the Dissent

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

NiemeyerToday, the Richmond, Virginia-based Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court judge's decision striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. When last we discussed this case, a three-judge panel was hearing oral argument and one judge, Paul V. Niemeyer (right), was using his time questioning the pro-equality advocacy to spout particular offensive rhetoric.

Not surprisingly, Judge Niemeyer is in the minority today, writing a lone dissenting opinion to the majority's affirmation that banning gays from marrying denies them a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. That fundamental right -- the right to marry -- is denied to gay persons when a state says that they cannot marry the person they love, that they could be forced to deny the equality of their love and union (by being relegated to a civil union or worse) or could easily marry a stranger as long as that stranger is of a different gender.

The majority opinion sounds pretty familiar: the appellants have standing, Baker v. Nelson does not foreclose a federal decision on the merits, and Virginia's ban violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments by denying gays the fundamental right to marry, a right that the Supreme Court has affirmed and reaffirmed more than 15 times.

We have covered all those matters before. AFTER THE JUMP, I want to spend a few column inches on the dissent, a diatribe that is dimissive, at best, and hateful, at worst.

Continue reading "Fourth Circuit Affirms Virginia's Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional: An Analysis of the Dissent" »


Fourth Circuit Upholds Ruling Striking Down Virginia’s Ban on Gay Marriage

Virginia

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Virginia’s gay marriage ban. The court has also granted a stay pending appeal.

The ruling was 2-1 with George H.W. Bush appointed Judge Paul Niemeyer dissenting.

USA Today reports:

"We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable," the majority said. "However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws."

The circuit court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The panel's decision can be appealed to the full court or to the Supreme Court

Back in June, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling striking down Utah’s gay marriage ban.

Read the ruling here.

Developing…


Gay Marriage News Watch - Updates From CO, WI, MT, ND, FL, TX - VIDEO

Baume

Matt Baume's weekly video from the American Foundation for Equal Rights mentions:

"The rules have changed yet again for marriage in Colorado with new rulings from multiple courts, new polls show growing support for the freedom to marry in western states, but multiple attorneys general have filed briefs to stop gay and lesbian couples from marrying. And another Republican member of congress has come out for the freedom to marry.”

Watch his latest set of announcements, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch - Updates From CO, WI, MT, ND, FL, TX - VIDEO" »


Study: Texas Would Make Millions On Gay Marriage

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A new study released Wednesday from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that Texas could make $180 million if it granted same-sex couples the right to marry. KENS-5 San Antonio reports that part of the boon that could hit the Lone Star State would be attributed to an influx of couples from neighboring states where same-sex marriage is illegal:

The study predicts that more than 23,000 same-sex couples in Texas would marry within three years if the state allowed them to. The legalization of gay marriage would mean a surge in gay weddings, the study estimates, creating a nearly $15 million boost to sales tax revenue over three years. The economic impact would likely be greater if Texas extended marriage rights to gay couples ahead of neighboring states like Louisiana and Oklahoma, because the state could become a wedding destination for same-sex couples, said Christy Mallory, one of the study's authors. But chances are slim that conservative Texas lawmakers would allow same-sex marriage unless the courts force states to do so.

The Williams Institute previously found that Utah could add over $15 million to its economy by legalizing same-sex marriage. Other studies have looked at the cost of anti-gay laws and homophobia, including one recent study that estimated homophobia costs India $31 billion annually.

Still, some conservatives in Texas argue against the logic from the UCLA study:

Jonathan Saenz, executive director of the socially conservative group Texas Values, said the study used a model that wouldn't apply to Texas.

"For 10 straight years, Texas has been ranked as the top state for business. It's no surprise that Texas has also defined marriage as between one man and one woman in its constitution during these same 10 years, since 2005," Saenz said. "California, a state that performs homosexual marriages, is ranked as one of the five worst states for business in 2014. Case closed."

Mallory, however, cautioned against this reading of the statistics, saying,

“[business rankings’ take into account a variety of factors that contribute to the state's overall economy, and do not negate our findings that marriage would boost spending in the wedding and tourism industries.”

Regardless of the case for equality, the likelihood of Texas voluntarily legalizing same-sex marriage is unfortunately bleak. Just this year, the state’s Republican party (which has essentially had a monopoly on all elected statewide offices for the past twenty years) decided the best way to mitigate anti-gay language enshrined in the state party’s platform was to endorse gay conversion therapy.

Still, gay marriage may yet come to Texas despite Republican opposition. A recent poll showed that a majority of Texans support marriage equality and three judges have found that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage (passed in 2005) to be unconstitutional


60 Percent Say Irish Baker Who Refused To Make Cake Supporting Gay Marriage Should Not Face Legal Action

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A ComRes poll commissioned by the Christian Institute shows that 60% of respondents think no legal action should be taken against a bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to make a cake for an LGBTI activist group, reports Pink News.

Earlier this month we reported that Ashers Baking Company refused an order for a cake which was to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and wrote to Ashers asking that it remedy the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

However, the Christian Institute poll shows that 60% do not approve of legal action against the bakery.  Additionally, 80% of those polled over the aged of 65 disagree with legal action.

In a similar ongoing case in Colorado, Denver baker Jack Phillips has appealed an order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission requiring him to prepare wedding cakes for same-sex couples. Phillips said that although he has no problem with LGBTI people, he disagrees with same-sex marriage.  He has also stated that he would rather close down his business than make cakes for same-sex weddings.


Senator Marco Rubio Accuses Marriage Equality Activists Of Intolerance

Rubio

In what should be regarded a part of a years-long run-up for his inevitable U.S. presidential campaign, Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio proved his conservative credentials in a speech he made at Catholic University in Washington on Wednesday.

During the speech, Rubio parroted the conservative talking points of how opposing same-sex marriage doesn’t make one anti-gay and how gays are “intolerant” toward people who support so-called “traditional marriage.”

MSNBC reports:

“I promise you even before this speech is over I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay. This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Support for the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage.”

Noting President Obama didn’t declare his support for gay marriage until 2012, Rubio said, “If support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before 2012 election.”

Of course Rubio's point about Obama is partly disingenuous both because Obama supported it back as early as 1996, and when he refused to support same-sex marriage earlier in his  presidency, marriage equality supporters repeatedly criticized him for it.

Soon, Rubio took a different conservative tack in his speech by acknowledging the actual existence of anti-LGBT discrimination. But he then continued in a conservative vein re-iterated the disproven notion that “the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and father,” adding that heterosexual parenting “deserves to be elevated in our laws.”

MSNBC has more from Rubio:

“There was once a time when our federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employers, it required contractors to identify and fire them,” Rubio said. “Some laws prohibited gays from being served in bars and restaurants and many cities carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay Americans.”

Rubio also acknowledged that many gay couples “feel humiliated by the law’s failure to recognize their relationship as a marriage." ... He said he respected those arguments as well as the rights of states to recognize same sex unions...

“Those who support same sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislatures to change state laws,” he said. “But Americans who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing that overturned by a judge.”

Rubio opposes LGBT employment protections, has offered similar speeches for virulently anti-gay groups like Florida Family Policy Council, a group whose leader warned of rampant sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts now that they allow gay members.


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