Gay Marriage Hub

Appeals Notices Filed in Federal Ruling Upholding Louisiana's Gay Marriage Ban

LouisianaLate last week, Forum for Equality Louisiana and several gay couples filed their notices of appeal in Louisiana Federal Judge Martin Feldman's ruling earlier this month upholding the state's ban on marriage equality. 

Notably, Judge Feldman's bizarre, hateful opinion was the first (and so far only) federal loss for equality in this post-DOMA court landscape. The appeal now goes to the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a Texas gay-marriage case is also pending. 

The Shreveport Times reports that Michael Johnson, the attorney who defended Louisiana's ban, said an appeal of the ruling was to be expected

"We're prepared already to handle that," Johnson said. "We have a very good chance of prevailing in the 5th Circuit."

A win at that level would be even more significant than Wednesday's ruling, Johnson said, because it would indicate a split in appellate rulings, which is often a precursor to a case coming before the Supreme Court.

This case, Robicheaux v. Caldwell, could be the case that finally forces the Supreme Court to rule once and for all, he said. 

Gay Marriage News Watch: Updates from WI, IN, LA, NV, ID, HI, UT, OK, VA, FL, AZ - VIDEO


AFER's Matt Baume reports on the 7th Circuit's pro-equality ruling, the 9th circuit gay marriage hearings in Nevada, Idaho, and Hawaii cases this week, Judge Martin Feldman's ruling upholding Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage, and more.


Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch: Updates from WI, IN, LA, NV, ID, HI, UT, OK, VA, FL, AZ - VIDEO" »

Anti-gay Evangelicals File Brief Asking Supreme Court to Uphold Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban


The group of five prominent, anti-gay religious organizations have joined together in a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court to take up Utah's same-sex marriage case and uphold a state's right to deny gay couples the freedom to marry. 

The five organizations are:

  • U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • National Association of Evangelicals
  • The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • The Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod

The brief states, in part:

Marriage between a man and a woman is for us an article of faith and a profound social good. Our understanding of God’s law, fortified by experience, confirms the centrality of marriage between aman and a woman as a foundational institution for protecting children and sustaining the American scheme of ordered liberty. And our understanding of the limits of judicial authority under the Fourteenth Amendment leads us to conclude that laws reaffirming that ancient yet vibrant understanding are constitutional. [...]

And because marriage is not just a legal status but also a proxy for social and legal legitimacy, corollary issues are arising with increasing intensity. Will sexual orientation be recognized as the basis for a new suspect class akin to race, thus providing government with purportedly compelling reasons to override long-standing religious freedoms? If so, what statutory protections and exemptions should religious organizations seek to ensure their independence from State control and guard against retaliation? What exactly are the rights of organizations and individuals with sincerely-held religious objections to participating in, facilitating, or recognizing same-sex marriage?

Check out the brief in full AFTER THE JUMP to see all the other bigoted reasons for denying LGBT people equal treatment under the law...

Continue reading "Anti-gay Evangelicals File Brief Asking Supreme Court to Uphold Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban" »

Broward County, Florida May Start Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses Next Week After Appeal Deadline Passes

FloridaA Broward County, Florida clerk is contemplating whether to start issuing marriage license to same-sex couples starting next week following the passing of an appeal deadline in a case overturning the state's gay marriage ban, Equality Florida reports:

On August 4, Broward County Judge Cohen ruled Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples unconstitutional - and included the state must recognize legal out of state marriages. 

The judge stayed the ruling allowing for a 30-day appeal period. But as of Thursday, the deadline has passed and no appeal was made to the ruling. 

The case involved a woman from Lake Worth, Heather Brassner, who was seeking a divorce from her estranged partner. The couple had a civil union in Vermont back in 2002. 

The Miami Herald adds:

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 5.02.02 PM“Now we know the state isn’t appealing and we will have the first valid same-sex divorce in Florida,” said Coral Springs attorney Nancy Brodzki, who represents art dealer Heather Brassner in her divorce from Megan Lade. A hearing in the case, before Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for the divorce to become final.

“That very much leaves open the question as to whether the clerk of courts, on his own, will take it upon himself to say a judge in this circuit has [declared the ban] invalid and I will now issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” Brodzki said.

Broward County Clerk Howard Forman [pictured] said he expects to decide by early next week.

“I’m researching it as quickly as I can. We’ve been researching it for months,” Forman said Thursday evening. “Florida’s changing a lot and we’re vetting the issue as hard as we can.” adds "With 1.7M residents, Broward is Florida's second-most populous county and includes the state's highest concentrations of gay residents in Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, and Oakland Park"

And although Attorney General Pam Bondi didn't appeal this case, she did file a notice of an appeal in federal court on Thursday challenging a separate ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban. 

Arkansas Supreme Court Denies Recusal Request By Marriage Plaintiffs

CourtOn Thursday, Arkansas' highest court denied the request by plaintiffs in a case challenging the state's ban on gay marriage that member of the state Supreme Court recuse themselves from the case if they're seeking reelection.

The reason for the unusual request was that those seeking reelection could face retaliation by conservative state lawmakers should they side with marriage equality. The justices did not elaborate on their reasons for denying the motion.

The Associated Press adds:

McdanielAttorney General Dustin McDaniel had asked the court to reject the motion, saying it was unnecessary.

"As the attorney general stated when the motion was filed, it is a nonstarter to file recusal motions simply because justices must hear controversial cases and then stand for election," McDaniel spokesman Aaron Sadler said in an email. "We respect the court's decision."

It's unclear when the court will decide the appeal in the gay marriage lawsuit. The state has a Sept. 15 deadline to file its brief in the case.


Wisconsin Attorney General to Appeal Seventh Circuit Gay Marriage Ruling to Supreme Court

VanhollenIn an email sent to the Associated Press, Wisconsin's Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) said he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Seventh Circuit's 3-0 decision overturning his state's gay marriage ban. 

Spokeswoman Dana Brueck said that Van Hollen has always believed the case would be decided by the Supreme Court and that a stay on U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb's original ruling would remain in place until all appeals have been exhausted. 

And in other Wisconsin news, openly gay U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan issued the following statement yesterday following the Seventh Circuit ruling:

“Today’s decision puts Wisconsin back on track to ensuring full equality for every American,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “It is clear discriminatory laws that treat LGBT couples as second-class citizens will not stand in a court of law.” 
“I urge Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen to respect the Court’s ruling and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution,” continued Rep. Pocan. “In ruling after ruling, it has become unmistakable that the promise of America is everyone should be treated equally and with dignity. Today’s ruling brings us one step closer to fulfilling that promise.” 


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