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04/19/2007


Utah Distances Itself from Anti-Gay Activist Research Mark Regnerus in 10th Circuit Letter

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The State of Utah filed a letter to the Tenth Circuit court yesterday ahead of today's hearing on the Utah gay marriage ban distancing itself from discredited UT research Mark Regneres and his flawed parenting study which was recently cited to disastrous results in the Michigan gay marriage case.

Says the letter: Regnerus

Utah files this supplemental letter in response to recent press reports and analysis of the study by Professor Mark Regnerus, which the State cited at footnotes 34 and 42 of its Opening Brief, and which addresses the debate over whether same-sex parenting produces child outcomes that are comparable to man-woman parenting.

First, we wish to emphasize the very limited relevance to this case of the comparison addressed by Professor Regnerus. As the State’s briefing makes clear, the State’s principal concern is the potential long-term impact of a redefinition of marriage on the children of heterosexual parents. The debate over man-woman versus same-sex parenting has little if any bearing on that issue, given that being raised in a same-sex household would normally not be one of the alternatives available to children of heterosexual parents.

Second, on the limited issue addressed by the Regnerus study, the State wishes to be clear about what that study (in the State’s view) does and does not establish. The Regnerus study did not examine as its sole focus the outcomes of children raised in same-sex households but, because of sample limitations inherent in the field of study at this point, examined primarily children who acknowledged having a parent who had engaged in a same-sex relationship. Thus, the Regnerus study cannot be viewed as conclusively establishing that raising a child in a same-sex household produces outcomes that are inferior to those produced by man-woman parenting arrangements.

Think Progress notes:

During the district court trial, Utah cited Regnerus to suggest that the debate on same-sex parenting was inconclusive and thus should not be trusted. Judge Robert Shelby dismissed that argument, making essentially the same point Utah concedes in this letter: promoting parenting by different-sex couples has no connection to banning same-sex couples from marrying.

In appeals briefs, Utah officials have indeed focused more on different-sex parenting. For example, they have argued that banning same-sex marriage promotes “diversity” in parenting and helps protect birth rates from declining. Still, they have also continued to argue that same-sex parenting would be a threat to children’s well-being.

By focusing so much on the state’s “powerful interest in parenting by heterosexuals,” Utah’s briefings have actually attempted to paint heterosexuality as superior instead of homosexuality as inferior — arguably, a distinction without a difference.

Here is some excellent background if you want a preview of today's Utah hearing.

Ari Ezra Waldman: What To Watch For in Today's Tenth Circuit Court Marriage Hearing on the Utah Gay Marriage Ban; and,

Lisa Keen: Tenth Circuit to Hear Challenge to Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Tomorrow: A Preview of the Players

Watch a preview of the suit from the AP, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Utah Distances Itself from Anti-Gay Activist Research Mark Regnerus in 10th Circuit Letter" »


'We Don't Have Time To Wait' Says 78-Year-Old Plaintiff in New NC Marriage Lawsuit

Gerber

The ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation and the law firms of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Ellis & Winters LLP have filed a new suit in federal court on behalf of three married, same-sex couples in North Carolina seeking state recognition of their marriages.

The News-Record reports:

“We don’t have time to wait,” said High Point resident Ellen “Lennie” Gerber, 78, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. “Pearl is 89 and frail. We’ve been treated nicely in High Point, but what if we call 911 in another city? What if I’m not allowed to be there? It would be beyond intolerable if that should happen.”

Gerber and Pearl Berlin have been together for 48 years, and married legally last year in Maine. But a hospital could deny Gerber visitation rights because she is not legally recognized as a family member or next of kin in North Carolina.

The ACLU announced yesterday in a press release:

The ACLU has also sought immediate relief on behalf of one of the couples in the existing Fisher-Borne et al. v. Smith case who have a young child who is being denied critical medical care because North Carolina neither recognizes his mothers' marriage nor allows both mothers to adopt their child and establish a legal relationship.

The ACLU has also sought immediate relief on behalf of one of the couples in the existing Fisher-Borne et al. v. Smith case who have a young child who is being denied critical medical care because North Carolina neither recognizes his mothers' marriage nor allows both mothers to adopt their child and establish a legal relationship.

North Carolina's ban on marriage for same-sex couples prevents the plaintiff couples from securing hundreds of protections provided in both state and federal law to married couples. If one member of the couple were to die before the state recognizes their marriage, the surviving spouse will be forever denied not only these protections but the dignity that respect from the state affords, such as having one's relationship acknowledged forever on a death certificate.

The new case is Gerber and Berlin v. Cooper. The ACLU has more information on the plaintiffs HERE.

Watch a report from the News-Record, HERE.


What To Watch For in Today's Tenth Circuit Court Marriage Hearing on the Utah Gay Marriage Ban

By ARI EZRA WALDMAN

TenthcircuitThe Denver-based Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (pictured) is hearing arguments today in Kitchen v. Herbert, the federal case challenging Utah's ban on gays marrying. It is the first in a line of nearly 65 marriage lawsuits speeding their way through the federal and state judiciaries and, therefore, may be the one case to reach the Supreme Court and be the vehicle to determine whether we have a nationwide right to marry.

In December of last year, Judge Richard Shelby issued a broad ruling, holding that marriage discrimination violated both the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. It was the first same-sex marriage ruling after the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor and Judge Shelby relied heavily on that pivotal case. In fact, he seems to have set the tone for how the lower federal courts are interpreting and using Windsor. Shelby himself found that Windsor required some level of scrutiny higher than simple rational basis; other courts have found that it demanded heightened review. All courts have essentially found that Windsor made marriage discrimination pretty much untenable. 

It was, then, the second domino after Windsor.

There are a few things to watch for in this closed-door hearing.

1. Will the court issue a ruling as broad as Judge Shelby's or limit it in some way?

2. What, if anything, does the court say about the required level of scrutiny in antigay discrimination cases?

3. Will the political backgrounds of the judges play a role in their decision making?

Let's turn to each of this questions briefly AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "What To Watch For in Today's Tenth Circuit Court Marriage Hearing on the Utah Gay Marriage Ban" »


Court Recognizes Gay Couple as Married for First Time in Italy

Chigiotti

An Italian court today recognized a gay couple as married for the first time in Italy, AFP reports:

The court in Grosseto in Tuscany ordered the city council to list the couple, who had their wedding in New York in 2012, as married in a ruling that was immediately hailed by gay rights campaigners as historic.

“This is an unprecedented case in our country,” Sergio Lo Giudice, a senator for the Democratic Party and a former head of the watchdog Arcigay, told reporters...

...Grosseto judge Claudio Boccini ruled that there was "no reference to gender" in the city council register of married couples and the couple in question should therefore be included.

Fabrizio Marrazzo, a spokesman for Gay Center, called for a response from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Joseph Chigiotti and Stefano Bucci, the couple petitioning the court, were married in New York in 2012 but had been denied registration in Italy following their marriage.

(image source)


Utah Mormon Couple with Gay Son Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Ad: VIDEO

Ad_utah

A Utah Mormon couple with a gay son (below), four other kids, and 18 grandchildren pushes for marriage equality in a new ad campaign airing this week as the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considers a challenge to the state's ban on gay marriage.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

In the ads, sponsored by the same-sex marriage advocacy group Utah Unites for Marriage, the Bradshaws share their story, and their family, in hopes of convincing others that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry would strengthen, not harm, the state.

"A marriage is a bond between two people based in love and commitment," William Bradshaw says. "Allowing civil marriages will be a good thing for Utah."

It’s a campaign that emphasizes marriage as a legal and civil right and notes that no church or faith would be required to perform such unions.

Utah Unites for Marriage was formed last month by several notable Utahns, including former U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Terry Wood, a longtime television news anchor, reporter and radio personality.

Watch the Bradshaws ad and another featuring Wood, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Utah Mormon Couple with Gay Son Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Ad: VIDEO" »


Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Nationwide Ad: VIDEO

Simpson

Former Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, stars in a new ad from Freedom to Marry urging voters and lawmakers to "live and let live" and allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Says Simpson in the spot:

“I’m a Republican. The party’s basic core is, government out of your life and the right to be left alone. Whether you’re gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone and you want to marry them, marry them. I've had a wonderful married life. Why shouldn't someone else have the joy of marriage? Live and let live."

The ad, backed with a six-figure buy, will be aired nationally on Fox, MSNBC and CNN and locally in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Colorado, according to Politico.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Nationwide Ad: VIDEO" »


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