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Boulder County, Colorado Clerk Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples: VIDEO

Colo

Hillary Hall, the county clerk and recorder in Boulder, Colorado, has announced that Boulder will now provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hall’s announcement comes on the heels of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling today to uphold a previous decision that struck down the state’s ban on same sex marriage. A news report from local news channel ABC 7 also reported that Hall’s announcement was influenced by another key decision that came down today, that of U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young who found that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. According to The Denver Post,

Hall said she is moving forward with the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses because the 10th Circuit has upheld "the fundamental right to marriage."

"Couples across Colorado have been waiting a long time to have their right to marry the person they love recognized," she stated in the release. "I want to act immediately to let them carry out that wish.”

One couple (pictured above) has already been married in Boulder. The clerk’s office will begin issuing licenses again tomorrow starting at 8AM at its Boulder office, located at 1750 33rd St. for any of you out there in the Rocky Mountain State. Meanwhile, the clerk’s offices in Lafayette and Longmont will begin licensing marriages to same-sex couples on Friday. 

Hall made no mention in her release of the stay the tenth circuit put on its ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to weigh in. Meanwhile, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has already said any licenses issues by Boulder County will not be considered valid by the state:

Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for [the Colorado AG] said any same-sex marriage licenses issued in Colorado will be invalid. Because the 10th Circuit decision was stayed, Colorado's ban against gay marriage remains in effect, she said.

"It's not binding on Utah let alone on Colorado," Tyler said. "Boulder has a history of activism on this issue." 

She noted that in 1975, the Boulder County Clerk issued marriage licenses to a few gay couples.

"They are no more valid today than they were in 1975," Tyler said.

According to Denver Post reporters John Aguilar and Kirk Mitchell, Suthers also commented that, “Boulder has a history of activism on this issue."

Watch a news report on the Boulder County Clerk's decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Boulder County, Colorado Clerk Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples: VIDEO" »


In Surprise Announcement, Federal Judge Says He Wants to Expand Scope of Louisiana Gay Marriage Case

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73ddf9f93970d-200wiYesterday we reported that New Orleans-based U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman was set to hear arguments in a case challenging Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. The case brought before the court was particularly concerned with whether Louisiana should recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state. However, as The Advocate reports, Judge Feldman was not happy with the limited scope of the suit:

After hearing about an hour and half of oral arguments on the question before him, Feldman announced that he wants to decide on both issues involved in gay marriage lawsuits going on around the country; in other words, not just whether Louisiana must recognize legal marriages from elsewhere, but whether Louisiana must also allow same-sex couples to wed here.

“I feel uncomfortable resolving some issues one way or the other and not all issues one way or another,” Feldman said before calling lawyers for both sides into a private conference to sketch out a time line for additional briefs and oral arguments.

Now at stake in this case is whether Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage will stand or fall.


Ugandan Gay Rights Activists Lose Case To Ethics And Integrity Minister Who Stormed Meeting

SimonLokodoIn 2012, several gay rights activists were holding a workshop when Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo (right), accompanied by police officers, broke it up. The activists filed suit against Lokodo and now, two years later, they've lost. It is an unsurprising but upsetting reminder of just how little the LGBT community of Uganda has left to hold on to since the passage of heinous anti-gay laws late last year.

ENCA reports:

"We lost on all grounds," gay activist Jacqueline Kasha, one of the team who had brought the case against the minister, told AFP.

Lokodo raided the workshop in February 2012 in the Ugandan town of Entebbe flanked by police, saying he had broken up the meeting as the "conscience of this country."

At the time, Amnesty International condemned the raid as "an outrageous attempt to prevent lawful and peaceful activities of human rights defenders in Uganda."

Our condolences and well wishes to the activists.


Gambia To Toughen Anti-gay Laws By Banning All LGBT Rights Organizations and Advocacy

Momodou SaballyIn a statement to the press on Friday, Gambia’s Secretary General and Minister for Presidential Affairs Momodou Sabally announced legislation to further toughen anti-LGBT laws in the West African nation by banning all LGBT rights advocacy.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Gambia and can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.  

Sabally said the government plans to strengthen its efforts to ward off any attempt to promote homosexuality, drug abuse and other crimes in The Gambia and that his country "will not import any western culture into the country in exchange for foreign aid" - likely in reference to the U.S. recently imposing a series of sanctions on Uganda over the country's own anti-gay laws.

In the past, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has been outspoken about his hatred of gays - announcing his plans back in 2008 to 'cut off the head' of any homosexual caught in his country. 


Orlando City Council Files Brief In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage

FloridaIn a 5-2 vote yesterday, the Orlando City Council decided to file a brief in support of same-sex marriage, and in favor of overturning a 2008 ban. The brief argues that marriage equality will provide for a safer and more humane living environment as well as encourage higher levels of job recruitment and tourism in the state of Florida. Currently, attorney general Pam Bondi has vowed to argue against same-sex marriage in several lawsuits (including one filed by six couples in January) but this brief (along with one filed by Miami Beach) is the first to be submitted by a city in Florida and indicates that Bondi has a tougher fight on her hands.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Though the city is not party to any of the cases now pending in state and federal courts, Mayor Buddy Dyer sought permission from the City Council on Monday to file a friend-of-the-court brief arguing in favor of same-sex marriage.

The council approved that request in a 5-2 vote. Commissioners Jim Gray and Tony Ortiz, the council's two Republicans, voted no. Gray said it's an issue that doesn't belong before the City Council. Ortiz said his east Orlando district is "very conservative."

BuddyDyerSeveral of the council members articulated quite eloquently the need for same-sex marriage in Orlando (which approved a domestic partnership registry in 2011 and banned workplace and housing discrimination in 2008), and in the state of Florida.

"It's so important to be able to love the person of your choice and have that respected by your state and federal governments," [openly gay commissioner Patty Sheehan] said. "Anybody who stands for discrimination can't just say they have gay friends. … Equality is for everyone, not just who you decide to be friends with."

Dyer (left) argued that being seen as an inclusive city helps with economic development and tourism.

"If you're a city that promotes inclusion and fairness and equality, then you're more likely to attract this generation of knowledge workers who are going to make our city successful in the future," Dyer said. "If you are seen as a city that promotes diversity, you are head and shoulders above those that do not."

Dyer has continually been supportive of equal rights for the LGBT community, and would like to see Orlando as a beacon of progress in the state of Florida.


Activist Questions Denial of U.S. Visas to African LGBT SF Pride Invitees

MelanieNathanMelanie Nathan (right), director of the San Francisco African Leadership Institute, wrote a scathing piece about the state department's denial of visas for several LGBTI persons from African countries whom she had invited to march in the San Francisco Pride Parade. The 2014 celebration, called "Color Our World with Pride," should have been the perfect venue for the expression of oppressed communities from around the globe, particularly LGBTI Africans and particularly given the United States' response to anti-gay actions on the part of the Ugandan government, among others. Nathan found herself distressed at the notion of Secretary of State John Kerry touting the state department's commitment to global equality initiatives (as the speaker at the department's GLIFAA Pride event, no less) while denying visas to the people who need them most.

Writes Nathan at HuffPost:

The State Department denied seven people a platform to speak about the persecution in their countries, presumably for fear that they might not return home to the countries that persecute them. And after they were denied, a clear pattern emerged, and I pulled 11 of the remaining 14 applicants.

While the Obama administration and this secretary of state have supported the LGBT movement like none before, there is no excuse for this flagrant snub and the homophobic attitude expressed by some of the consular officials who did the interviewing.

JohnKerryNathan argues that by denying visas the U.S. government is abetting the oppression faced by many of the people she had invited for participation in the Pride event. "[By] denying these Pride visas, we may as well have added the victims of the persecution to the blacklist too," Nathan writes.

She believes that Kerry (left) and his department have done a disservice to the global community, and it is hard to deny the cruel irony of the situation:

"No matter where you are, no matter who you love, we stand with you," noted Kerry in that Pride-affirming speech. "And that's what pride means, and that's what drives us today."

And he further assured, "The journey isn't complete. The march isn't over. The promise isn't perfected. But we will march on together."

...

No, Mr. Secretary, it seems that in fact we are not marching together. You have denied us all that privilege.


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